Essays & Reference

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On Animals Cover Image
ISBN: 9781982181536
Availability: On Our Shelves (Note - We update this inventory once per day.)
Published: Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster - October 12th, 2021

Anytime Susan Orlean takes a deep dive into basically anything--undertaking, orchids, libraries--it is worth reading her book. On Animals collects all her work on human relationships with animals from pets to wild to the ones on our plate. It is beautifully written as always. Read her and you will come away from the table utterly satisfied.

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The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501153648
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Published: Simon & Schuster - November 16th, 2021

John Koenig herein presents all the words we needed but didn't have to describe life's complex emotions that regular words don't begin to describe. Great gift for the word nerd in your life.

Have you ever wondered about the lives of each person you pass on the street, realizing that everyone is the main character in their own story, each living a life as vivid and complex as your own? That feeling has a name: "sonder." Or maybe you've watched a thunderstorm roll in and felt a primal hunger for disaster, hoping it would shake up your life. That's called "lachesism." Or you were looking through old photos and felt a pang of nostalgia for a time you've never actually experienced. That's "anemoia."

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Graceland, at Last: Notes on Hope and Heartache from the American South Cover Image
ISBN: 9781571311849
Availability: On Our Shelves (Note - We update this inventory once per day.)
Published: Milkweed Editions - September 14th, 2021

This is not a book about Elvis Presley.
Rather, it is a collection of remarkable essays by bookseller favorite Margaret Renkl, Nashville resident and author of Late Migrations, on the many ways there are to be Southern. From Black Lives Matter to kudzu, Margaret's personal and reported observations are a highly satisfying read.

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12 Bytes: How We Got Here. Where We Might Go Next Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802159250
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Published: Grove Press - October 12th, 2021

In 12 Bytes, the New York Times bestselling author of Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal? Jeanette Winterson, draws on her years of thinking and reading about artificial intelligence in all its bewildering manifestations. In her brilliant, laser focused, uniquely pointed and witty style of story-telling, Winterson looks to history, religion, myth, literature, the politics of race and gender, and computer science, to help us understand the radical changes to the way we live and love that are happening now.

It will soon be time for those New Year's resolutions and reading more usually tops our lists here at the bookstore.
This is the perfect book to bring you up to speed on African American literature. Designed as a one year program, you'll be guided through 52 weeks of great reading by Black authors in every genre. Recommended by the ALA and annotated, you can easily follow this on your own or adapt it to your reading group.

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Things Are Against Us Cover Image
By Lucy Ellmann, Diana Hope (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781771964333
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Published: Biblioasis - September 28th, 2021

If you are a fan of Nora Ephron, the essays of Zadie Smith and Rebecca Solnit, or Jia Tolentino's Trick Mirror, or if you read Ellman's first book Ducks, Newburyport, you are going to love this hilarious collection of essays on just about everything right up through the "events" of January 6. Lucy Ellmann is a necessary antidote to the misogyny and general annoyances that plague women and other humans. You're going to love it.

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Bibliophile: Diverse Spines Cover Image
By Jamise Harper, Jane Mount, Jane Mount (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781797211916
Availability: On Our Shelves (Note - We update this inventory once per day.)
Published: Chronicle Books - November 2nd, 2021

Do you want to read more books by diverse authors but don't know where to start?

Jamise Harper (founder of the Diverse Spines book community) and Jane Mount (author of Bibliophile) collaborated to create an essential volume filled with treasures for every reader:

• Dozens of themed illustrated book stacks-like Classics, Contemporary Fiction, Mysteries, Cookbooks, and more-all with an emphasis on authors of color and authors from diverse cultural backgrounds
• A look inside beloved bookstores owned by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color
• Reading recommendations from leading BIPOC literary influencers

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Unfollow Me: Essays on Complicity Cover Image
ISBN: 9781635577112
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Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - September 7th, 2021

One summer, fed up with the faux liberal innocence of the Pacific Northwest, Jill Louise Busby made a short video about race, white institutions, and the danger of intentional gradualism and posted it on Instagram. The video went viral, receiving millions of views across platforms.

Over the next few years, as her pithy persona Jillisblack became an "it voice" for all things race-based, Jill began to notice parallels between the performances of "diversity" for the white corporate world and "wokeness" for her followers. Both, she realized, were scripted.

Unfollow Me is a memoir-in-essays about these scripts; about tokenism, micro-fame, and inhabiting spaces-real and virtual, black and white-where complicity is the price of admittance. Busby's social commentary is wryly funny and achingly open-hearted

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Entertaining Race: Performing Blackness in America Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250135971
Availability: On Our Shelves (Note - We update this inventory once per day.)
Published: St. Martin's Press - November 2nd, 2021

Entertaining Race is a testament to Dyson's consistent celebration of the outsized impact of African American culture and politics on this country. Black people were forced to entertain white people in slavery, have been forced to entertain the idea of race from the start, and must find entertaining ways to make race an object of national conversation. Dyson's career embodies these and other ways of performing Blackness, and in these pages, ranging from 1991 to the present, he entertains race with his pen, voice and body.

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The New York Times Book Review: 125 Years of Literary History Cover Image
By The New York Times, Tina Jordan (Editor), Noor Qasim (Editor)
ISBN: 9780593234617
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Published: Clarkson Potter - November 2nd, 2021

This collection is absolute fun for a bibliophile! It's essentially the story of modern American letters over the past 125 years..

Brimming with remarkable reportage and photography, this beautiful book collects interesting reviews, never-before-heard anecdotes about famous writers, and spicy letter exchanges. Here are the first takes on novels we now consider masterpieces, including a long-forgotten pan of Anne of Green Gables and a rave of Mrs. Dalloway, along with reviews and essays by Langston Hughes, Eudora Welty, James Baldwin, Nora Ephron, and more.

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Murakami T: The T-Shirts I Love Cover Image
By Haruki Murakami, Philip Gabriel (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780593320426
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Published: Knopf - November 23rd, 2021

Many of Haruki Murakami's fans know about his massive vinyl record collection (10,000 albums!) and his obsession with running, but few have heard about a more intimate passion: his T-shirt collecting.

The international literary icon opens his eclectic closet: Here are photographs of Murakami's extensive and personal T-shirt collection, accompanied by essays that reveal a side of the writer rarely seen by the public.

You can't read a new Murakami this year, but he's given us the next best thing.

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Orwell's Roses Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593083369
Availability: On Our Shelves (Note - We update this inventory once per day.)
Published: Viking - October 19th, 2021

Margaret Atwood and Left Bank Books owner Kris Kleindienst both love this book, but we're gonna let Claire Messud do the raving:

"[A] tribute by one fine essayist of the political left to another of an earlier generation…the great pleasure of reading [Solnit] is spending time with her mind, its digressions and juxtapositions, its unexpected connections . . . a captivating account of Orwell as gardener, lover, parent, and endlessly curious thinker…movingly, [Solnit] takes the time to find the traces of Orwell the gardener and lover of beauty in his political novels, and in his insistence on the value and pleasure of things."
-Claire Messud, Harper's Magazine