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Book Reviews

In the Darkroom

In The Darkroom by Susan Faludi is an incredibly smart, probing act of memoir/biography. After a 27-year estrangement, Faludi gets an email from her father. The email says that he, formerly a toxic force of masculine energy, has undergone gender correction surgery and is now living as a woman in her native Budapest. The story of the evolving father/daughter relationship is worth the price of admission alone. But Faludi isn’t content to simply recount contemporary family events.

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$32.00
ISBN: 9780805089080
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Published: Metropolitan Books - June 14th, 2016

PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST
ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW'S 10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR
WINNER OF THE KIRKUS PRIZE


Black Wave

Michelle Tea’s Black Wave is like no other apocalyptic novel you’ve seen. Its first half is a shaggy, charming, queer coming-of-age story set in 1990s San Francisco that feels (appealingly) like Elieen Myles. Think Chelsea Girls goes west. After slash-and-burning her bridges with friends and lovers, though, protagonist Michelle moves to Los Angeles. Upon arrival, Michelle promptly finds out the world will end in a year. What follows is a lyrical meditation on the environment, dreams, and love anchored by a feminist, ecological sensibility.

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$18.95
ISBN: 9781558619395
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Published: Amethyst Editions - September 13th, 2016

Desperate to quell her addiction to drugs, disastrous romance, and nineties San Francisco, Michelle heads south for LA. But soon it's officially announced that the world will end in one year, and life in the sprawling metropolis becomes increasingly weird.


The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man's Love Affair with Nature

In a series of linked essays about his childhood in rural Edgefield, South Carolina, Lanham reclaims an environmental love and ethos for people of color. He is a self-described "eco-addict," who loves nature because "I've yet to have a wild creature question my identity.

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The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man's Love Affair with Nature Cover Image
$24.00
ISBN: 9781571313157
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Published: Milkweed Editions - October 11th, 2016

"In me, there is the red of miry clay, the brown of spring floods, the gold of ripening tobacco. All of these hues are me; I am, in the deepest sense, colored." From these fertile soils of love, land, identity, family, and race emerges The Home Place, a big-hearted, unforgettable memoir by ornithologist and professor of ecology J. Drew Lanham.


Swing Time

Zadie Smith’s funny and energetic new novel Swing Time tells the story of childhood friends Tracey and the book’s unnamed narrator; Tracey is a talented dancer, the narrator loves dance but is not gifted at it. They both live in a northwest London housing estate that the narrator eventually leaves and Tracey doesn’t. This deceptively simple story is the root of a layered, clever, and thought-provoking mediation on, well, lots of things. Smith’s primary concern is how identities can blend and mix.

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$27.00
ISBN: 9781594203985
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Published: Penguin Press - November 15th, 2016

A New York Times bestseller * Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction * Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize

An ambitious, exuberant new novel moving from North West London to West Africa, from the multi-award-winning author of White Teeth and On Beauty.


Tru and Nelle

Tru and Nelle by Neri G. is a terrific young adult book about the friendship between Truman Capote and Nelle Harper Lee. Based on real events in the lives of these two literary figures, the book in many ways mirrors To Kill a Mockingbird, hinting at the real characters and events in Monroeville, Alabama that gave birth to their parallels in the novel. It's beautifully written and has both the adventure and moral peril present in To Kill a Mockingbird. Highly recommended by Kelly.

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$16.99
ISBN: 9780544699601
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Published: Houghton Mifflin - March 1st, 2016

Long before they became famous writers, Truman Capote (In Cold Blood) and Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird) were childhood friends in Monroeville, Alabama. This fictionalized account of their time together opens at the beginning of the Great Depression, when Tru is seven and Nelle is six.


Eleanor and Hick

Eleanor and Hick: The Love Affair That Shaped a First Lady by Susan Quinn. Though it's no secret that Eleanor Roosevelt had a long-term affair with journalist Lorena Hickok, Quinn's careful examination of their decades-long correspondence reveals the depth of both their love and fear during a time when such relationships were strictly verboten. The narrative views the tumultuous days of Depression, world war, and social change through the window of cultural trespass, which offers interesting insights into both a much-studied era and political icon.

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$30.00
ISBN: 9781594205408
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Published: Penguin Press - September 27th, 2016

A warm, intimate account of the love between Eleanor Roosevelt and reporter Lorena Hickok--a relationship that, over more than three decades, transformed both women's lives and empowered them to play significant roles in one of the most tumultuous periods in American history


Anybody

Identity is a slippery thing in Ari Banias's excellent debut collection Anybody. Late in the collection, for instance, a speaker says, "Mostly a name feels like the crappy overhang I huddle under/while rain skims the front of me." The declaration serves to embody Anybody's​ pre-occupation and exploration of identity, its limits, and its grey areas. The pronoun, that gram-matical home of cisgendered thinking, is of particular worry and curiosity to these voices in these poems.

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Anybody: Poems Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9780393247794
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Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 20th, 2016

In Anybody, Ari Banias takes up questions of recognition and belonging: how boundaries are drawn and managed, the ways he and she, us and them, here and elsewhere are kept separate, and at what cost identities and selves are forged.


The Little Stranger

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters is a ghost story for everyone. By everyone, I mean those who love ghost stories and also those who resist them. The writing is so spot-on and the hauntings so psychologically resonant, that they give even the skeptical reader pause. The Ayres' family estate is crumbling. Its remaining residents, Emily, her shell-shocked son Roderick, and sturdy, unmarried daughter Caroline, make an ill-fated decision to host a party to re-establish themselves in the social scene of Warwickshire, England.

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$17.00
ISBN: 9781594484469
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Published: Riverhead Books - May 4th, 2010

"The #1 book of 2009...Several sleepless nights are guaranteed."--Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly


A Reunion of Ghosts

A Reunion of Ghosts by Judith Claire Mitchell is one of the best novels that I’ve read in years. A wry black comedy, it begins in 1999 and is the story of the 40-ish Alter sisters: Lady, Vee and Delph, who share an apartment on New York’s upper East Side. But it’s also the story of four generations of the Alter family, beginning with their great-grandfather, a brilliant German chemist who invented chlorine gas, among other terrible things. Tragedies have occurred in each generation, leaving the Alter sisters to conclude that there is only one solution that will break the curse.

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$15.99
ISBN: 9780062355898
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Published: Harper Perennial - January 26th, 2016

A NATIONAL JEWISH BOOK AWARD FINALIST

"The Alter sisters are mordant, wry, and crystalline in wit and vision; it is a tremendous pleasure to rocket through generations of their family histories with them." --Lauren Groff, New York Timesbestselling author of Fates and Furies, The Monsters of Templeton, and Arcadia


Exposure

Helen Dunmore’s newest novel is a beautiful tribute to the sweet comfort of home, to the fierce focus of mother love, and to the random risks and dangers that we are all exposed to.  She writes about the year 1960 in London, the cold war is in full cry and Dunmore describes everyday life with telling details: muddy galoshes, gold cuff links, the smells of primary school children and the sound of a train coming down the track.

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Exposure Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780802124937
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Published: Atlantic Monthly Press - April 5th, 2016

"Dunmore so cleverly interweaves each of the character's stories that as the tale unfolds it has the chilling ring of absolute authenticity. It's gripping and page turning and all those things you expect in a Spy Drama--but always laced with her trademark humanity. I was totally caught up in the story which is paced perfectly. Her best book yet."--Mavis Cheek


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