Moon Palace Books is a big, beautiful, progressive bookstore in south Minneapolis, and I may be slightly obsessed with it. I’ve purchased both new and used books there, along with greeting cards and gifts. Every time I go, I’m amazed at the selection in all categories: from children’s books to young adult to fiction, with topics ranging from racial diversity to queer identity to feminism and more. They also regularly host a variety of events, and you can grab coffee and a vegan pizza at Geek Love Cafe. I stopped in today to check out the cafe for the first time, and naturally wandered upstairs to the used books section and found a few to add to my collection.
Does My Head Look Big In This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah – $4.50 ($8.99 new)
This book follows the life of a young Australian-Palestinian woman who decides to start wearing a hijab. From skimming it, it’s very young adult-friendly and fairly comical. I love books like this because they allow me to learn about people different from me.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie – $8 ($15.99 new)
Junior is a young Native American man who decides to attend school off-reservation at an all-white school, and the author has written it based on his own experiences growing up. I was drawn to this book because I went to school in a predominantly white suburb, and I’m curious to hear another person’s take on a similar but different experience. Junior wants to be a cartoonist, and the book includes art work by Ellen Forney to add a unique element within the text.
**So… in searching for a link for this that wasn’t Amazon, I came across this article titled Native American Lit Community Warns of Sexual Harassment Allegations Against Sherman Alexie.
Revenge Of The Mooncake Vixen by Marilyn Chin – $7 ($13.95 new)
My goal is always to find authors who are women and/or people of color, and this book sounds like a fun fictional story. It’s about two sisters who are Chinese food delivery girls just coming into their own under the care of their immigrant grandmother. I can attest that being the child of a first generation immigrant presents certain challenges between assimilation and retaining one’s culture, and I’m always looking for humorous ways to figure out the balance (it’s an ongoing thing).
The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez – $7.50 ($14.95 new)
This is a highly praised novel from 2014, and I can’t wait to dig into it. The story follows a young Mexican woman who has to immigrate to the US with her family following an injury. She falls in love but not without complication, and the description includes, “Resonant with the hopes and dreams, guilt and love of men and women from all over Latin America who have come to the United States.”
The Carnival At Bray by Jessie Ann Foley – $6.50 ($12.95 new)
I’m cheating on this one because I bought it at my last visit to Moon Palace, and I’ve already read it. I was drawn to it because most of it takes place in Ireland, one of my favorite places. I spent a semester abroad there in college and went back for a ten day vacation in 2010. This is an emotional coming of age story that takes place in 1993 and centers around a strong female lead.
Med Head (My Knock-down, Drag-out, Drugged-up Battle With My Brain) as told by James Patterson and Hal Friedman – $4.50 ($8.99 new)
The cover art jumped out at me because I started an anti-depressant five months ago, and reading stories from other people who have mental health struggles can be quite cathartic. As it turns out, this one will be different in that Corey Friedman has Tourette’s syndrome and obsessive compulsive disorder, but at one point he was on Wellbutrin which is what I’m currently taking. It’s based on his real life story from the ages of five to seventeen, and talking about mental health is vital to decreasing the stigma.
Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin – $8.50 ($17.00 new)
I recently watched Gender Revolution on Netflix, and one family’s story was about a female-presenting child who was born intersex (meaning they have parts of the reproductive anatomy of both sexes). Instead of making the decision to remove one or the other at birth, the parents are letting their child grow up intersex and decide for themselves at some point if they want to make any cosmetic changes to their own body. Golden Boy sounds like a similar story, only the main character Max Walker is in high school and facing the possibility of being “outed” as intersex. It’s “a fascinating exploration of autonomy, identity, and a family in crisis that you’ll read in one sitting and never forget.”
I’m honestly not quite sure where to start; these all sound interesting! If you’ve had any recent used book scores, feel free to share in the comments. And since I’m touting independent, progressive bookstores, I’d also recommend you check out Boneshaker Books, Magers & Quinn, and any other bookstores included on the Independent Bookstore Day website.
Moon Palace Books
3032 Minnehaha Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55406