Nonfiction Edition
Fall / Winter 2020
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Nonfiction is an enormous umbrella term for books. The
result of which is that it earns itself an enormous catalog
-- to the tune of 100+ books!
What you’re going to find in this edition of Stacks is a
representative sample of the sort of nonfiction that
would be staring at you from the shelves or stacked high
on a table. We take a great deal of pride in not
condescending to our customers. You are an intelligent
bunch with incredibly broad tastes, backgrounds, and
curiosities. This edition has been a labor of love for me,
and we hope you love it too.
-- Brad
California & Western
Spirits of San Francisco (Bloomsbury) - Oct. 20
By Gary Kamiya & Paul Madonna
From two bestselling, prizewinning, and critically acclaimed
contemporary chroniclers of San Francisco comes a rich,
illustrated, idiosyncratic portrait of this great city.
Gary Kamiya's Cool Gray City of Love is a contemporary
classic. Now he joins forces with celebrated, local hero Paul
Madonna to take a fresh look at the East Bay’s frenemy, San
A People's Guide to the San Francisco Bay Area
(Univ of California Press) - Oct 6th
By Rachel Brahinsky, Alexander Tarr
Looking beyond the mythologized image of San Francisco to
the places where collective struggle has built the region.
Countering romanticized commercial narratives about the
Bay Area, geographers Rachel Brahinsky and Alexander Tarr
highlight the cultural and economic landscape of indigenous
resistance to colonial rule, radical interracial and cross-class
organizing against housing discrimination and police
violence, young people demanding economically and
ecologically sustainable futures, and the often-unrecognized
labor of farmworkers and everyday people.
With over 100 sites that you can visit and learn from, this
book demonstrates critical ways of reading the landscape
itself for clues to these histories. A useful companion for
travelers, educators, or longtime residents, this guide links
multicultural streets and lush hills to suburban cul-de-sacs
and wetlands, stretching from the North Bay to the South
Bay, from the East Bay to San Francisco.
A vivid journey through California's vast rural interior, The
Heart of California weaves the story of historian Frank Latta's
forgotten 1938 boat trip from Bakersfield to San Francisco with
Aaron Gilbreath's trip retracing Latta's route by car during the
2014 drought. Latta embarked on his journey to publicize the
need for dams and levees to improve flood control. Gilbreath
made his own trip to profile Latta and the productive
agricultural world that damming has created in the San
Joaquin Valley, to describe the region's nearly lost indigenous
culture and ecosystems, and to bring this complex yet largely
ignored landscape to life.
Urban Trails East Bay (Mountaineers)
Available Now
By Alexandra Kenin
Urban Trails: East Bay offers 40 routes for walkers, runners,
and hikers, with an emphasis on getting out and getting fit in
your own backyard. Expert local hiking guide Alexandra
Kenin offers a wide range of options, from leg stretchers
overlooking the Bay Area at Tilden Regional Park to an
afternoon stroll through the wineries around Jack London
Square to a 6-mile hike along the slopes of Mount Diablo to
spot seasonal waterfalls. Other features include:
* Trailhead locations, including public transit options
* Rated appeal for walkers, runners, or hikers
* Info for families and dog owners
* Trail distance, elevation gain, high point, amenities
* Sidebars on area history, nature, tips, and sights
* Historic trails, coastal trails, stairways, peak bagging
The Heart of California (Bison Books) - Nov. 1
By Aaron Gilbreath
American Babylon (Princeton Univ. Press) -
Available Now
By Robert O. Self
American Babylon demonstrates that the history of civil rights
and black liberation politics in California did not follow a southern
model, but represented a long-term struggle for economic rights
that began during the World War II years and continued through
the rise of the Black Panthers in the late 1960s. This struggle
yielded a wide-ranging and profound critique of postwar
metropolitan development and its foundation of class and racial
A foundational contemporary book for understanding Oakland.
Murch’s expert research into the largely hidden history of the
development of the Black Panther Party documents the
contributions of black students and youth who created new forms
of organization, grassroots mobilization, and political literacy. A
strong, important challenge to the all-male story too-commonly
Solutions & Other Problems (Gallery Books)
Available Now
By Allie Brosh
For the first time in seven years, Allie Broshbeloved author and
artist of the extraordinary #1 New York Times bestseller Hyperbole
and a Halfreturns with a new collection of comedic,
autobiographical, and illustrated essays.
Solutions and Other Problems includes humorous stories from Allie
Brosh’s childhood; the adventures of her very bad animals; merciless
dissection of her own character flaws; incisive essays on grief,
loneliness, and powerlessness; as well as reflections on the absurdity
of modern life.
God-Level Knowledge Darts (Random House)
Available Now
By Desus & Mero
We’ll let them describe it: “We want to share all we’ve learned,
after years in the Bronx streets, with you: the people. So with a
lifetime spent building up a plethora of information from trials
and tribulations and a handful of misdemeanors, we decided to
write this booka sequel to the Bible, or maybe to The
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, depending on how big a nerd you
are. Let this book be your North Star.”
Living For the City (Univ. of North Carolina Press)
Available Now
By Donna Jean Murch
Too often prison abolition is construed by its critics as a pie-in-
the-sky idealism. When we’re feeling generous, we consider the
possibility these critics are not arguing from a position of bad bad
faith .. they’ve just never read Ruth Wilson Gilmore.
Who suffers and who gains from the carceral state? These are the
guiding questions of Golden Gulag. Whether you come to agree or
not with prison abolition, engaging the idea on Gilmore’s terms
will change how you consider it.
Not new … but indispensable
Golden Gulag (Univ. of California Press)
Available Now
By Ruth Wilson Gilmore
Les Payne, the renowned Pulitzer Prizewinning investigative
journalist, embarked in 1990 on a nearly thirty-year-long quest to
interview anyone he could find who had actually known Malcolm
Xall living siblings of the Malcolm Little family, classmates,
street friends, cellmates, Nation of Islam figures, FBI moles and
cops, and political leaders around the world.
The result is unquestionably one of the great biographies of the
The Dead Are Arising (Liveright) - Oct. 20
By Les Payne, Tamara Payne
The Freezer Door (Semiotext(e)) - Dec. 8
By Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore
The Freezer Door records the ebb and flow of desire in daily life.
Crossing through loneliness in search of communal pleasure in
Seattle, Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore exposes the failure and
persistence of queer dreams, the hypocritical allure of gay male
sexual culture, and the stranglehold of the suburban
imagination over city life.
Ferocious and tender, it offers a complex meditation on the
trauma and possibility of searching for connection in a world
that relentlessly enforces bland norms of gender, sexual, and
social conformity while claiming to celebrate diversity.
Three Rings (Univ. of Virginia Press)
Available Now
By Daniel Mendelsohn
In this genre-defying book, best-selling memoirist and critic Daniel
Mendelsohn explores the mysterious links between the
randomness of the lives we lead and the artfulness of the stories we
Combining memoir, biography, history, and literary criticism,
Three Rings weaves together the stories of three exiled writers who
turned to the classics of the past to create masterpieces of their
own--works that pondered the nature of narrative itself.
Becoming a Visible Man (Univ. of Vanderbilt Press)
Available Now!
By Jamison Green
First published in 2004, Becoming a Visible Man remains a
beloved resource for trans people and their allies.
Since the first edition's publication, author Jamison Green's
writings and advocacy among business and governmental
organizations around the world have led to major changes in the
fields of law, medicine, and social policy, and his (mostly invisible)
work has had significant effects on trans people globally. This new
edition captures the changes of the last two decades, while also
imparting a message of self-acceptance and health.
Diary of a Detour (Duke Univ. Press)
Available Now
By Lesley Stern
Lesley Stern's memoir of living with chronic lymphocytic
leukemia. She chronicles the fears and daily experience of coming
to grips with an incurable form of cancer by describing the
dramas and delving into the science. Her immediate world is
inhabited with books, movies, politics, and medical reports that
provoke essayistic reflections. As her environment is shared with
friends, chickens, a cat called Elvis, mountain goats, whales,
lions, and microbes the book opens onto a larger than human
world. Intimate and meditative, engrossing and singular, Diary of
a Detour offers new ideas about what it might mean to live and
think with cancer, and with chronic illness more broadly.
The Names of All the Flowers (Feminist Press)
Available Now
By Melissa Valentine
Set in rapidly gentrifying 1990s Oakland, this memoir--"poignant,
painful, and gorgeous" (Alicia Garza)--explores siblinghood,
adolescence, and grief in a family shattered by loss.
The Names of All the Flowers connects one tragic death to a
collective grief for all black people who die too young. A lyrical
recounting of a life lost, Melissa Valentine's debut memoir is an
intimate portrait of a family fractured by the school-to-prison
pipeline and an enduring love letter to an adored older brother. It is
a call for justice amid endless cycles of violence, grief, and trauma.
Cancer Journals (Penguin Classics)
By Audre Lorde
First published over forty years ago, The Cancer Journals is a
startling, powerful account of Audre Lorde's experience with
breast cancer and mastectomy. Living as a "black, lesbian,
mother, warrior, poet," Lorde heals and re-envisions herself on
her own terms and offers her voice, grief, resistance, and courage
to those dealing with their own diagnosis. Poetic and profoundly
feminist, Lorde's testament gives visibility and strength to women
with cancer to define themselves, and to transform their silence
into language and action.
Memorial Drive (Ecco) - Available Now
By Nathasha Trethewey
A chillingly personal and exquisitely wrought memoir of a
daughter reckoning with the brutal murder of her mother at the
hands of her former stepfather, and the moving, intimate story
of a poet coming into her own in the wake of a tragedy
At age nineteen, Natasha Trethewey had her world turned
upside down when her former stepfather shot and killed her
mother. Grieving and still new to adulthood, she confronted the
twin pulls of life and death in the aftermath of unimaginable
trauma and now explores the way this experience lastingly
shaped the artist she became.
Wandering in Strange Lands (Harper) -
Available Now
By Morgan Jenkins
Following in the steps of the Great migration, Morgan Jerkins seeks
to understand not only her own past, but the lineage of an entire
group of people who have been displaced, disenfranchised, and
disrespected throughout our history. Through interviews, photos,
and hundreds of pages of transcription, Jerkins braids the loose
threads of her family’s oral histories, which she was able to trace
back 300 years, with the insights and recollections of black people
she met along the waythe tissue of black myths, customs, and
blood that connect the bones of American history.
How We Live Now (Bloomsbury)
Available Now
By Bill Hayes
Bill Hayes offers an ode to our shared humanity--capturing in real
time this strange new world we're now in (for who knows how
long?) with his signature insight and grace. As he wanders the
increasingly empty streets of Manhattan, Hayes meets fellow
New Yorkers and discovers stories to tell, but he also shares the
unexpected moments of gratitude he finds from within his
apartment, where he lives alone and--like everyone else--is
staying home, trying to keep busy and not bored as he adjusts to
enforced solitude with reading, cooking, reconnecting with loved
ones, reflecting on the past--and writing.
Carry (Ballantine) - Available Now
By Toni Jensen
Toni Jensen grew up around guns: As a girl, she learned to shoot
birds in rural Iowa with her father, a card-carrying member of the
NRA. As an adult, she’s had guns waved in her face near
Standing Rock, and felt their silent threat on the concealed-carry
campus where she teaches. And she has always known that in
this she is not alone. As a Métis woman, she is no stranger to the
violence enacted on the bodies of indigenous women, on
indigenous land, and the ways it is hidden, ignored, forgotten.
Wintering (Riverhead) - Dec. 1
By Katherine May
Sometimes you slip through the cracks: unforeseen circumstances
like an abrupt illness, the death of a loved one, a break up, or a job
loss can derail a life. These periods of dislocation can be lonely and
unexpected. For May, her husband fell ill, her son stopped attending
school, and her own medical issues led her to leave a demanding job.
Wintering explores how she not only endured this painful time, but
embraced the singular opportunities it offered.
Minor Feelings (One World) - Available Now
By Cathy Park Hong
Poet and essayist Cathy Park Hong fearlessly and provocatively
blends memoir, cultural criticism, and history to expose fresh
truths about racialized consciousness in America. Part memoir
and part cultural criticism, this collection is vulnerable,
humorous, and provocativeand its relentless and riveting
pursuit of vital questions around family and friendship, art and
politics, identity and individuality, will change the way you think
about our world.
Spirituality / Mythology
Yurei (Chin Music) - Oct. 20
By Zack Davisson
"I lived in a haunted apartment." Davisson opens his book on
Japan's ghosts, or yurei, with a personal tale about the spirit
world. Shifting from anecdotes to deep research to translation of
ancient ghost stories, he explores the persistence of yurei in
modern Japan and their continued popularity throughout the
West. Color images of yurei appear throughout the book.
Zack Davisson is an award-winning translator, writer, and
scholar of Japanese folklore and ghosts.
Popol Vuh (Restless) - Oct. 27
By Ilan Stavans, Gabriela Larios (Illustrator)
An inspired and urgent prose retelling of the Maya myth of
creation by acclaimed Latin American author and scholar
Ilan Stavans, gorgeously illustrated by Salvadoran folk
artist Gabriela Larios and introduced by renowned author,
diplomat, and environmental activist Homero Aridjis.
Popol Vuh: A Retelling is a one-of-a-kind prose rendition of
this sacred text that is as seminal as the Bible and the
Qur'an, the Ramayana and the Odyssey.
A Pre-Columbian Bestiary (Penn State Univ Press)
Nov. 1
By Ilan Stavans, Eko (Illustrator)
An encyclopedic collaboration between award-winning Mexican
American scholar Ilan Stavans and illustrator Eko, A Pre-
Columbian Bestiary features lively and informative descriptions
of forty-six religious, mythical, and imaginary creatures from the
Nahua, Aztec, Maya, Tabasco, Inca, Aymara, and other cultures
of Latin America.
Air Mail (Torrey House) - Available Now
By Amy Irving & Pam Houston
When the state of Colorado ordered its residents to shelter in
place in response to the spread of coronavirus, writers Pam
Houston and Amy Irvine--who had never met--began a
correspondence based on their shared devotion to the rugged,
windswept mountains that surround their homes, one on either
side of the Continental Divide. As the numbers of infected and
dead rose and the nation split dangerously over the crisis,
Houston and Irvine found their letters to one another nearly as
necessary as breath. Part tribute to wilderness, part indictment
against tyranny and greed, Air Mail reveals the evolution of a
friendship that galvanizes as it chronicles a strange new world.
The Age of Skin (Open Letter Press) - Nov. 17
By Dubravka Ugresic
These essays are written on the skin of the times. Dubravka
Ugresic, winner of the Neustadt International Prize and one of
Europe's most influential writers, with biting humor and a
multitude of cultural references--from La La Land and Dawn of the
Planet of the Apes, to tattoos and body modification, World Cup
chants, and the preservation of Lenin's corpse--takes on the dreams,
hopes, and fears of modern life. The collapse of Yugoslavia, and the
author's subsequent exile from Croatia, leads to reflections on
nationalism and the intertwining of crime and politics.
Stranger Faces (Transit Books) - Oct. 20
By Namwali Serpell
In a collection of speculative essays on a few such stranger faces--
the disabled face, the racially ambiguous face, the digital face, the
face of the dead--Namwali Serpell probes our contemporary
mythology of the face. Stranger Faces imagines a new ethics based
on the perverse pleasures we take in the very mutability of faces.
Belles Lettres / Critical Studies
Against Amazon (Biblioasis) - Nov. 17
By Jorge Carrión
Picking up where the widely praised Bookshops: A Reader's
History left off, Against Amazon explores the increasing
pressures of Amazon and other new technologies on bookshops
and libraries. It is in equal parts a celebration of books and
bookshops, an autobiography of a reader, a travelogue, a love
letter--and, most urgently, a manifesto against the corrosive
influence of late capitalism.
Kant's Little Prussian Head and Other Reasons
Why I Write (W. W. Norton) -- Oct. 13
By Claire Messud
In twenty-six intimate, brilliant, and funny essays, Messud
reflects on a childhood move from her Connecticut home to
Australia; the complex relationship between her modern
Canadian mother and a fiercely single French Catholic aunt;
and a trip to Beirut, where her pied-noir father had once
lived, while he was dying. She meditates on contemporary
classics from Kazuo Ishiguro, Teju Cole, Rachel Cusk, and
Valeria Luiselli; examines three facets of Albert Camus and
The Stranger; and tours her favorite paintings at Boston’s
Museum of Fine Arts. In the title essay, she explores her
drive to write, born of the magic of sharing language and the
transformative powers of “a single successful sentence.”
An Autobiography of the Autobiography of Reading
(Univ. of Alberta Press) - Available Now
By Dionne Brand
In this stunning lecture, poet Dionne Brand reflects on her early
reading of colonial literature and how it makes Black being
inanimate. She explores her encounters with colonial, imperialist,
and racist tropes; the ways that practices of reading and writing
are shaped by those narrative structures; and the challenges of
writing a narrative of Black life that attends to its own expression
and its own consciousness.
Forgetting (Little Island) - Available Now
By Gabriel Josipovici
We cannot understand the phenomenon of remembering without
invoking its opposite, forgetting. Taking his cue from Beckett,
Josipovici uncovers a profound cultural shift from societies that
celebrated ritual remembrance at fixed times and places, to our
own Western world where the lack of such mechanisms leads to a
fear of forgetting, to what Nietzsche diagnosed as an unhealthy
sleeplessness that infects every aspect of our culture.
Being Property Once Myself
(Harvard Univ. Press) - Available Now
By Joshua Bennett
Throughout US history, black people have been configured as
nonpersons, a subgenre of the human. Being Property Once Myself
delves into the literary imagination and ethical concerns that have
emerged from this experience. Each chapter tracks a specific animal
figure--the rat, the cock, the mule, the dog, and the shark--in the works
of black authors such as Richard Wright, Toni Morrison, Zora Neale
Hurston, Jesmyn Ward, and Robert Hayden.
Brad: “I had very high expectations for this one, and Bennett exceeded
them so greatly that they rendered them null & void!”
Index Cards (New Directions) - Available Now
By Moyra Davey
In these essays, the acclaimed artist, photographer, writer, and
filmmaker Moyra Davey often begins with a daily encounterwith
a photograph, a memory, or a passage from a bookand links that
subject to others, drawing fascinating and unlikely connections,
until you can almost feel the texture of her thinking. While
thinking and writing, she weaves together disparate writers and
artistsMary Wollstonecraft, Jean Genet, Virginia Woolf, Janet
Malcolm, Chantal Akerman, and Roland Barthes, among many
othersin a way that is both elliptical and direct, clear-headed and
personal, prismatic and self-examining, layering narratives to
reveal the thorny but nourishing relationship between art and life.
Iceland Zombie (Princeton Univ. Press) - Oct. 13
By Roni Horn
Contemporary artist Roni Horn first visited Iceland in 1975 at
the age of nineteen, and since then, the island's treeless
expanse has had an enduring hold on Horn's creative work.
Through a series of remarkable and poetic reflections,
vignettes, episodes, and illustrated essays, Island Zombie
distills the artist's lifelong experience of Iceland's natural
environment. Together, these pieces offer an unforgettable
exploration of the indefinable and inescapable force of remote,
elemental places, and provide a sustained look at how an
island and its atmosphere can take possession of the innermost
Under the Dome: Walks With Paul Celan
(City Lights) - Nov. 3
By Jean Daive
An arresting memoir of the final years and tragic suicide of
one of twentieth-century Europe's greatest poets, published
on the centenary of his birth.
Jean Daive illuminates Celan's process of thinking about
poetry, grappling with questions of where it comes from and
what it does: invaluable insights about poetry's relation to
history and ethics, and how poems offer pathways into a
deeper grasp of our past and present.
The Fall of America Journals, 19651971
(Univ. of Minnesota Press) - Nov. 10
By Allen Ginsberg
An autobiographical journey through America in the turbulent
1960s—the essential backstory to Ginsberg’s National Book
Awardwinning volume of poetry
Published in 1974, The Fall of America was Allen Ginsberg’s
magnum opus, a poetic account of his experiences in a nation in
turmoil. What his National Book Awardwinning volume
documented he had also recorded, playing a reel-to-reel tape
machine given to him by Bob Dylan as he traveled the nation’s
byways and visited its cities, finding himself again and again in
the midst of history in the makingor unmaking.
Just Us (Graywolf) - Available Now
By Claudia Rankine
As everyday white supremacy becomes increasingly vocalized with
no clear answers at hand, how best might we approach one
another? Claudia Rankine, without telling us what to do, urges us
to begin the discussions that might open pathways through this
divisive and stuck moment in American history.
This arrangement of essays, poems, and images includes the
voices and rebuttals of others: white men in first class responding
to, and with, their white male privilege; a friend’s explanation of
her infuriating behavior at a play; and women confronting the
political currency of dying their hair blond, all running alongside
fact-checked notes and commentary that complements Rankine’s
own text, complicating notions of authority and who gets the last
The Ancient Greek Hero in 24 Hours
(Harvard Univ. Press) - Available Now
By Gregory Nagy
Based on the legendary Harvard course that Gregory Nagy has taught
for well over thirty years, The Ancient Greek Hero in 24 Hours explores
the roots of Western civilization and offers a masterclass in classical
Greek literature. We meet the epic heroes of Homer's Iliad and
Odyssey, but Nagy also considers the tragedies of Aeschylus,
Sophocles, and Euripides, the songs of Sappho and Pindar, and the
dialogues of Plato.
Not a Novel (New Directions) - Available Now
By Jenny Erpenbeck
Jenny Erpenbeck’s acclaimed novel Go, Went, Gone launched one of
Germany’s most admired writers into the American spotlight. On
the heels of this literary breakthrough comes a book of personal,
profound, often humorous meditations and reflections.
There are lively essays about her literary influences (Thomas
Bernhard, the Brothers Grimm, Kafka, and Thomas Mann),
unforgettable reflections on the forces at work in her novels
(including history, silence, and time), and scathing commentaries
on the dire situation of America and Europe today.
Angels & Saints (New Directions) -
Now Available
By Eliot Weinberger
Angels have soared through Western culture and consciousness
from Biblical to contemporary times. But what do we really
know about these celestial beings? Where do they come from,
what are they made of, how do they communicate and perceive?
The celebrated essayist Eliot Weinberger has mined and
deconstructed, resurrected and distilled centuries of theology
into an awe-inspiring exploration of the heavenly host.
Threaded throughout are the enigmatic illuminated grid poems
by the eighteenth-century Benedictine monk Hrabanus Maurus.
The Selected Works of Audre Lorde (W. W. Norton) -
Available Now
By Audre Lorde, Roxane Gay (Editor)
A definitive selection of Audre Lorde’s "intelligent, fierce,
powerful, sensual, provocative, indelible" (Roxane Gay) prose and
poetry, for a new generation of readers.
This essential reader showcases her indelible contributions to
intersectional feminism, queer theory, and critical race studies in
twelve landmark essays and more than sixty poemsselected and
introduced by one of our most powerful contemporary voices on
race and gender, Roxane Gay.
Some of Us Did Not Die (Civitas Books) -
By June Jordan
The essays in this collection, which include her last writings and
span the length of her extraordinary career, reveal Jordan as an
incisive analyst of the personal and public costs of remaining
committed to the ideal and practice of democracy. Willing to
venture into the most painful contradictions of American culture
and politics, Jordan comes back with lyrical honesty, wit, and wide-
ranging intelligence in these accounts of her reckoning with life as
a teacher, poet, activist, and citizen.
How White Feminism Betrays Women of Color
(Catapult) - Available Now
By Ruby Hamad
Taking us from the slave era, when white women fought in court
to keep "ownership" of their slaves, through the centuries of
colonialism, when they offered a soft face for brutal tactics, to the
modern workplace, White Tears/Brown Scars tells a charged
story of white women's active participation in campaigns of
With rigor and precision, Hamad builds a powerful argument
about the legacy of white superiority that we are socialized
within, a reality that we must apprehend in order to fight.
Afropessimism (Liveright) - Available Now
By Frank Wilderson, III
Brad says:
“There is a sort of before-Afropessimism and after-Afropessimism
thinking. The core of Wilderson’s thesis is contentious, and he is not
afraid of the churning waters he creates in his wake. He is not
inclined to tell you what to do with his theory -- only that you should
face it and or own up to it. The quintessence of provocation.”
The Condemnation of Blackness
(Harvard Univ. Press) - Available Now
By Khalil Gibran Muhammad
How did we come to think of race as synonymous with crime? A
brilliant and deeply disturbing biography of the idea of black
criminality in the making of modern urban America, The
Condemnation of Blackness reveals the influence this pernicious
myth, rooted in crime statistics, has had on our society and our
sense of self. This is a contemporary classic.
Gender & Race Studies
Not new … but indispensable
A Billion Black Anthropocenes or None
(Univ of Minnesota Press) - Available Now
By Kathryn Yusoff
No geology is neutral, writes Kathryn Yusoff. Tracing the color
line of the Anthropocene, Yusoff xamines how the grammar of
geology is foundational to establishing the extractive economies
of subjective life and the earth under colonialism and slavery.
The Political Writings (Bloomsbury) -
Available Now
By Frantz Fanon
Frantz Fanon's political impact is difficult to overestimate.
His anti-colonialist, philosophical and revolutionary writings
were among the most influential of the 20th century. The
essays, articles and notes published in this volume cover the
most politically active period of his life and encapsulate the
breadth, depth and urgency of his writings. In particular,
they clarify and amplify his much-debated views on violent
These works provide new complexity to our understanding of
Fanon and reveal just how relevant his thinking is to the
contemporary world and how important his ideas are to
changing it.
Unapologetic (Beacon Press) - Available Now
By Charlene A. Carruthers
A manifesto from one of America's most influential activists
which disrupts political, economic, and social norms by
reimagining the Black Radical Tradition.
Drawing on Black intellectual and grassroots organizing
traditions, including the Haitian Revolution, the US civil
rights movement, and LGBTQ rights and feminist
movements, Unapologetic challenges all of us engaged in the
social justice struggle to make the movement for Black
liberation more radical, more queer, and more feminist.
Sex, Love, and Letters (Cornell Univ Press)
Available Now
By Judith G. Coffin
When Judith G. Coffin discovered a virtually unexplored treasure
trove of letters to Simone de Beauvoir from her international
readers, it inspired her to explore the intimate bond between the
famed author and her reading public. This correspondence, at the
heart of Sex, Love, and Letters, immerses us in the tumultuous
decades from the late 1940s to the 1970s-- from the painful
aftermath of World War Two to the horror and shame of French
colonial brutality in Algeria through the dilemmas and
exhilarations of the early gay liberation and feminist movements.
It also provides a glimpse into the power of reading and the power
of readers to seduce the authors of their favorite books.
Making All Black Lives Matter (Univ of California)
Available Now
By Barbara Ransby
Award-winning historian and longtime activist Barbara Ransby
outlines the scope and genealogy of the Black Lives Matter
movement, documenting its roots in Black feminist politics and
situating it squarely in a Black radical tradition, one that is
anticapitalist, internationalist, and focused on some of the most
marginalized members of the Black community. Ransby maps the
movement, profiles many of its lesser-known leaders, measures
its impact, outlines its challenges, and looks toward its future.
Stay Woke (New York Univ. Press)
Available Now
By Tehama Lopez Bunyasi, Candis Watts Smith
Tehama Lopez Bunyasi and Candis Watts Smith inspire readers
to address the pressing issues of racial inequality, and provide a
basic toolkit that will equip readers to become knowledgeable
participants in public debate, activism, and politics.
Angela Davis: Seize the Time (Hirmer) - Oct. 2
By Gerry Beegan (Editor), Donna Gustafson
Beginning in 1970 with her arrest in connection with a
courtroom shootout, then moving through her trial and
acquittal, the book traces Davis’s life and work during the
subsequent decades and her influential career as a public
intellectual. Profusely illustrated with materials found in the
archive, including press coverage, photographs, court sketches,
videos, music, writings, correspondence, and Davis’s political
writings. Also features essays on visibility and invisibility,
history, memory, and the iconography of black radical
Undrowned (AK Press) - Nov. 17
By Alexis Pauline Gumbs
Undrowned is a book-length meditation for social movements and
our whole species based on the subversive and transformative
guidance of marine mammals. Our aquatic cousins are queer,
fierce, protective of each other, complex, shaped by conflict, and
struggling to survive the extractive and militarized conditions our
species has imposed on the ocean. Gumbs employs a mix of poetic
sensibility and naturalist observation to show what they might
teach us, producing not a specific agenda but an unfolding space for
wondering and questioning.
Big Friendship (Simon & Schuster) - Available Now
By Aminatou Sow, Ann Friedman
A close friendship is one of the most influential and important
relationships a human life can contain. Anyone will tell you that!
But for all the rosy sentiments surrounding friendship, most
people don’t talk much about what it really takes to stay close for
the long haul.
Now two friends, Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman, tell the story
of their equally messy and life-affirming Big Friendship in this
honest and hilarious book that chronicles their first decade in one
another’s lives. As the hosts of the hit podcast Call Your
Girlfriend, they’ve become known for frank and intimate
conversations. In this book, they bring that energy to their own
friendshipits joys and its pitfalls.
Caste (Random House) - Available Now
By Isabel Wilkerson
American Studies
They Were Here Property (Harvard Univ. Press)
Available Now
By Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers
Bridging women’s history, the history of the South, and African
American history, historian Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers draws on
a variety of sources to show that slave-owning women were
sophisticated economic actors who directly engaged in and
benefited from the South’s slave market. Because women
typically inherited more slaves than land, enslaved people were
often their primary source of wealth. Not only did white women
often refuse to cede ownership of their slaves to their husbands,
they employed management techniques that were as effective and
brutal as those used by slave-owning men. By examining the
economically entangled lives of enslaved people and slave-owning
women, Jones-Rogers presents a narrative that forces us to
rethink the economics and social conventions of slaveholding
Beyond race, class, or other factors, there is a powerful caste
system that influences people’s lives and behavior and the
nation’s fate. Linking the caste systems of America, India, and
Nazi Germany, Wilkerson explores eight pillars that underlie
caste systems across civilizations, including divine will,
bloodlines, stigma, and more. Using riveting stories about
people—including Martin Luther King, Jr., baseball’s Satchel
Paige, a single father and his toddler son, Wilkerson herself, and
many othersshe shows the ways that the insidious undertow
of caste is experienced every day. She documents how the Nazis
studied the racial systems in America to plan their out-cast of
the Jews; she discusses why the cruel logic of caste requires that
there be a bottom rung for those in the middle to measure
themselves against; she writes about the surprising health costs
of caste, in depression and life expectancy, and the effects of this
hierarchy on our culture and politics. Finally, she points forward
to ways America can move beyond the artificial and destructive
separations of human divisions, toward hope in our common
A Promised Land (Crown) - Nov. 17
By Barack Obama
You probably know of this guy, right?
In his highly anticipated first volume of his presidential
memoirs, Barack Obama tells the story of his odyssey from
young man searching for his identity to president of the United
We Are Not Dreamers (Duke Univ. Press) -
Available Now
By Leisy J. Abrego (Editor),
Genevieve Negrón-Gonzales (Editor)
The contributors to We Are Not Dreamers--themselves
currently or formerly undocumented--poignantly counter the
Dreamer narrative by grappling with the nuances of
undocumented life in this country. Theorizing those excluded
from the Dreamer category--academically struggling students,
transgender activists, and queer undocumented parents--the
contributors call for an expansive articulation of immigrant
rights and justice that recognizes the full humanity of
undocumented immigrants while granting full and
unconditional rights. Illuminating how various institutions
reproduce and benefit from exclusionary narratives, this
volume articulates the dangers of the Dreamer narrative and
envisions a different way forward.
Unworthy Republic (W. W. Norton) - Available Now
By Claudio Saunt
Saunt argues that Indian Removal, as advocates of the policy called it,
was not an inevitable chapter in U.S. expansion across the continent.
Rather, it was a fiercely contested political act designed to secure new
lands for the expansion of slavery and to consolidate the power of the
southern states. He shows how the politics and economics of white
supremacy lay at the heart of the expulsion of Native Americans; how
corruption, greed, and administrative indifference and incompetence
contributed to the debacle of its implementation; and how the
consequences still resonate today.
The Torture Letters (Univ. of Chicago Press)
Available Now
By Laurence Ralph
In The Torture Letters, Laurence Ralph chronicles the history of
torture in Chicago, the burgeoning activist movement against
police violence, and the American public’s complicity in
perpetuating torture at home and abroad.. This is a powerful
indictment of police violence and a fierce challenge to all
Americans to demand an end to the systems that support it.
Stakes Is High (Bold Type) - Available Now
By Mychal Denzel Smith
In a series of incisive essays, Smith exposes the stark
contradictions at the heart of American life, holding all of us,
individually and as a nation, to account. We've gotten used to
looking away, but the fissures and casual violence of institutional
oppression are ever-present.
There is a future that is not as grim as our past. In this profound
work, Smith helps us envision it with care, honesty, and
The Lexington Six (Univ. of Massachusetts Press) -
Oct. 30
By Josephine Donovan
On September 23, 1970, a group of antiwar activists staged a
robbery at a bank in Massachusetts, during which a police officer
was killed. While the three men who participated in the robbery
were soon apprehended, two women escaped and became fugitives
on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list, eventually landing in a lesbian
collective in Lexington, Kentucky, during the summer of 1974. In
pursuit, the FBI launched a massive dragnet. Five lesbian women
and one gay man ended up in jail for refusing to cooperate with
federal officials, whom they saw as invading their lives and
community. Dubbed the Lexington Six, the group's resistance
attracted national attention, inspiring a nationwide movement in
other minority communities. Like the iconic Stonewall
demonstrations, this gripping story of spirited defiance has special
resonance in today's America.
Global Studies
If Then (Liveright) - Available Now
By Jill Lepore
A revelatory account of the Cold War origins of the data-mad,
algorithmic twenty-first century.
The Simulmatics Corporation, launched during the Cold War, mined
data, targeted voters, manipulated consumers, destabilized politics,
and disordered knowledgedecades before Facebook, Google, and
Cambridge Analytica. Jill Lepore, best-selling author of These
Truths, came across the company’s papers in MIT’s archives and set
out to tell this forgotten history, the long-lost backstory to the
methods, and the arrogance, of Silicon Valley.
The Polymath (Yale Univ. Press) - Available Now
By Peter Burke
The first history of the western polymath, from the fifteenth
century to the present day
From Leonardo Da Vinci to John Dee and Comenius, from George
Eliot to Oliver Sacks and Susan Sontag, polymaths have moved
the frontiers of knowledge in countless ways. But history can be
unkind to scholars with such encyclopaedic interests. All too often
these individuals are remembered for just one part of their
valuable achievements.
Peter Burke argues for a more rounded view. Identifying 500
western polymaths, Burke explores their wide-ranging successes
and shows how their rise matched a rapid growth of knowledge in
the age of the invention of printing, the discovery of the New
World and the Scientific Revolution. It is only more recently that
the further acceleration of knowledge has led to increased
specialisation and to an environment that is less supportive of
wide-ranging scholars and scientists.
Spanning the Renaissance to the present day, Burke changes our
understanding of this remarkable intellectual species.
The chant of "Azadi "--Urdu for "Freedom "--is the slogan of the
freedom struggle in Kashmir against what Kashmiris see as
the Indian Occupation. Ironically, it also became the chant of
millions on the streets of India against the project of Hindu
Even as Arundhati Roy began to ask what lay between these
two calls for Freedom the streets fell silent. Not only in India,
but all over the world. The coronavirus brought with it
another, more terrible understanding of Azadi, making a
nonsense of international borders, incarcerating whole
populations, and bringing the modern world to a halt like
nothing else ever could.
In this series of essays, Roy challenges us to reflect on the
meaning of freedom in a world of growing authoritarianism.
Revolutions (Haymarket) - Oct. 20
By Michael Löwy
The photographs collected in this unique book provide a
startling visual documentation of seminal revolutionary
events, from the Paris Commune of 1871 through to a series
of "Unfinished Revolutions", from May 1968 in France to the
Zapatista uprising in the mid-1990s. The immediacy of the
images tells the story of these struggles in a way that texts
rarely can, with revolutions appearing as complex and messy
events driven by the actions of real, breathing humans who
make their own history.
Azadi (Haymarket) - Available Now
By Arundhati Roy
From the Bill of Rights to contemporary direct action tactics utilized
by the Ruckus Society, this handbook outlines a brief history of social
protest. Helpful resources and handy information are included, as
well as tips on everything from getting arrested to manipulating the
media. New chapters include electronic privacy and encryption, and
lessons learned from post-millenial actions.
The Civil Disobedience Handbook (Manic D) - Dec. 31
By James Tracy (Editor), Jenifer Joseph (Editor)
The Global Police State (Pluto) - Available Now
By William L. Robinson
As the world becomes ever more unequal, people become ever
more 'disposable'. Today, governments systematically exclude
sections of their populations from society through heavy-
handed policing. But it doesn't always go to plan. William I.
Robinson exposes the nature and dynamics of this out-of-
control system, arguing for the urgency of creating a movement
capable of overthrowing it.
Using data that reveals how far capitalism has become a
system of repression, Robinson argues that the emerging
megacities of the world are becoming the battlegrounds where
the excluded and the oppressed face off against the global
police state.
Pandemic Solidarity (Pluto) - Available Now
By Marina Sitrin (Editor), Colectiva Sembrar (Editor)
In times of crisis, when institutions of power are laid bare,
people turn to one another. Pandemic Solidarity collects
firsthand experiences from around the world of people creating
their own narratives of solidarity and mutual aid in the time of
the global crisis of Covid-19.
Moving beyond the present, these stories reveal what an
alternative society could look like, and reflect the skills and
relationships we already have to create that society, challenging
institutions of power that have already shown their fragility.
My Grandmother’s Hands (Central Recovery Press)
Available Now
By Resmaa Menakem
In this groundbreaking book, therapist Resmaa Menakem examines
the damage caused by racism in America from the perspective of
trauma and body-centered psychology.
My Grandmother's Hands is a call to action for all of us to recognize
that racism is not only about the head, but about the body, and
introduces an alternative view of what we can do to grow beyond
our entrenched racialized divide. It paves the way for a new, body-
centered understanding of white supremacyhow it is literally in
our blood and our nervous system.
We Will Not Cancel Us (AK Press) - Nov. 17
By adrienne maree brown
In We Will Not Cancel Us, movement mediator adrienne maree
brown reframes the discussion of “cancel culture” in a way that
points to possible paths beyond its impasses. Most critiques of
cancel culture come from outside the milieus that produce it,
sometimes even from from its targets. However, brown explores
the question from a Black, queer, and feminist viewpoint that
gently asks, how well does this practice serve us? Does it
prefigure the sort of world we want to live in? And, if it doesn't,
how do we seek accountability and redress for harm in ways that
reflect our values?
I Hope We Choose Love (Arsenal Pulp)
Available Now
By Kai Cheng Thom
Adelaide says: “In many ways these essays are a love letter to
movements for liberation. Kai Cheng challenges us to do better, to
act from love. Her critiques are sober reflections on the gaps
between our desires to create more magical worlds and our
behaviors which so often reflect the carceral logic of our current
Beyond Survival (AK Press) - Available Now
By Ejeris Dixon (Editor),
Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha (Editor)
In this collection, a diverse group of authors focuses on concrete and
practical forms of redress and accountability, assessing existing
practices and marking paths forward. They use a variety of forms--
from toolkits to personal essays--to delve deeply into the "how to" of
transformative justice, providing alternatives to calling the police,
ways to support people having mental health crises, stories of
community-based murder investigations, and much more. At the
same time, they document the history of this radical movement,
creating space for long-time organizers to reflect on victories,
struggles, mistakes, and transformations.
The Cost of Free Shipping (Pluto) - Available Now
By Jake Alimahomed-Wilson (Editor), Ellen Reese
With a wide variety of cutting-edge analyses, The Cost of Free
Shipping looks at the many dark facets of Amazon, including
automation, surveillance, tech work, workers' struggles,
algorithmic challenges, the disruption of local democracy and
much more. This timely book shows how Amazon represents a
fundamental shift in global capitalism that we should name,
interrogate and be primed to resist.
Having and Being Had (Riverhead) - Available Now
By Eula Biss
Through a series of engaging exchanges, Eula Biss examines
our assumptions about class and property and the ways we
internalize the demands of capitalism. Described by The New
York Times as a writer who “advances from all sides, like a
chess player,” Biss offers an uncommonly immersive and
deeply revealing new portrait of work and luxury, of
accumulation and consumption, of the value of time and how
we spend it. Ranging from IKEA to Beyoncé to Pokemon,
Biss asks, of both herself and her class, “In what have we
Think Least of Death (Princeton Univ. Press)
Available Now
By Steven Nadler
In Think Least of Death, Pulitzer Prize-finalist Steven Nadler
connects Spinoza's ideas with his life and times to offer a
compelling account of how the philosopher can provide a
guide to living one's best life.
We find Spinzoa’s moral philosophy invaluably insightful for
our lives still today. And who doesn’t need help with that?!
Wild Things (Duke University Press) - Oct. 23
By Jack Halberstam
In Wild Things Jack Halberstam offers an alternative history of
sexuality by tracing the ways in which wildness has been
associated with queerness and queer bodies throughout the
twentieth century. Halberstam theorizes the wild as an
unbounded and unpredictable space that offers sources of
opposition to modernity's orderly impulses. Wildness illuminates
the normative taxonomies of sexuality against which radical queer
practice and politics operate.
Grieving (Feminist Press) - Available Now
By Cristina Rivera Garza
Grieving is a hybrid collection of short cronicas, journalism,
and personal essays on systemic violence in contemporary
Mexico and along the US-Mexico border. Drawing together
literary theory and historical analysis, she outlines how
neoliberalism, corruption, and drug trafficking--culminating in
the misnamed "war on drugs"--has shaped her country.
Working from and against this political context, Cristina
Rivera Garza posits that collective grief is an act of resistance
against state violence, and that writing is a powerful mode of
seeking social justice and embodying resilience.
Sentient Flesh (Duke Univ. Press) - Oct. 23
By R. A. Judy
Drawing on numerous fields, from literary theory and
musicology, to political theory and phenomenology, as well as
Greek and Arabic philosophy, Judy engages literary texts
and performative practices such as music and dance that
express knowledge and conceptions of humanity appositional
to those grounding modern racialized capitalism.
Theory / Philosophy
Natural History & Nature Writing
Lost Spells (House of Anansi) - Oct. 28
By Robert MacFarlane, Jackie Morris (Illustrator)
Since its publication in 2017, The Lost Words has enchanted readers
with its poetry and illustrations of the natural world. Now, The Lost
Spells, a book kindred in spirit and tone, continues to re-wild the
lives of children and adults.
It evokes the wonder of everyday nature, conjuring up red foxes,
birch trees, jackdaws, and more in poems and illustrations that flow
between the pages and into readers' minds. Robert Macfarlane's
spell-poems and Jackie Morris's watercolour illustrations are musical
and magical: these are summoning spells, words of recollection,
charms of protection.
Ghostways (W. W. Norton) - Nov. 24
By Robert Macfarlane, Stanley Donwood, Dan
A hauntingly beautiful diptych of works inspired by Robert
Macfarlane’s travels with celebrated collaborators to two eerie
corners of England.
In Holloway, Macfarlane, artist Stanley Donwood, and writer Dan
Richards travel to Dorset, near the south coast of England, to
explore a famed "hollowed way"a path used by walkers and
riders for so many centuries that it has become worn far down
into the soft golden bedrock of the region.
In Ness, Macfarlane and Donwood create a modern myth about
Orford Ness, the ten-mile-long shingle spit that lies off the coast
of East Anglia, which the British government used for decades to
conduct secret weapons tests.
From the author of The California Field Atlas comes a major
work that not only guides readers through the Golden State's
forested lands, but also presents a profoundly original vision of
nature in the twenty-first century.
The Forests of California features an abundance of Obi
Kaufmann's signature watercolor maps and trail paintings,
weaving them into an expansive and accessible exploration of
the biodiversity that defines California in the global
imagination. Expanding on the style of the Field Atlas,
Kaufmann tells an epic story that spans millions of years,
nearly one hundred species of trees, and an astonishing
richness of ecosystems.
Braiding Sweetgrass (Milkweed) - Oct. 13
By Robin Wall Kimmerer
Updated with a new introduction from Robin Wall Kimmerer,
the special edition of Braiding Sweetgrass, reissued in honor
of the fortieth anniversary of Milkweed Editions, celebrates
the book as an object of meaning that will last the ages.
Beautifully bound in stamped linen cloth with a bookmark
ribbon and a deckled edge, this edition features five
brilliantly colored illustrations by artist Nate
Christopherson. In increasingly dark times, we honor the
experience that more than 350,000 readers in North America
have cherished about the book--gentle, simple, tactile,
beautiful, even sacred--and offer an edition that will inspire
readers to gift it again and again, spreading the word about
scientific knowledge, indigenous wisdom, and the teachings
of plants.
The Forests of California (Heyday)
Available Now
By Obi Kaufmann
Metazoa (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) - Nov.10
By Peter Godfrey-Smith
The scuba-diving philosopher who wrote Other Minds explores
the origins of animal consciousness.
Combining vivid animal encounters with philosophical
reflections and the latest news from biology, Metazoa reveals
that even in our high-tech, AI-driven times, there is no
understanding our minds without understanding nerves,
muscles, and active bodies. The story that results is as rich and
vibrant as life itself.
World of Wonders (Milkweed) - Available Now
By Aimee Nezhukumatathil,
Fumi Nakamura (Illustrator)
From beloved, award-winning poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil
comes a debut work of nonfiction--a collection of essays about
the natural world, and the way its inhabitants can teach,
support, and inspire us.
As a child, Nezhukumatathil called many places home: the
grounds of a Kansas mental institution, where her Filipina
mother was a doctor; the open skies and tall mountains of
Arizona, where she hiked with her Indian father; and the
chillier climes of western New York and Ohio. But no matter
where she was transplanted--no matter how awkward the fit or
forbidding the landscape--she was able to turn to our world's
fierce and funny creatures for guidance.
Animalia (Duke Univ. Press) - Nov. 6
By Antoinette Burton (Editor), Renisa Mawani
From yaks and vultures to whales and platypuses, animals have
played central roles in the history of British imperial control. The
contributors to Animalia analyze twenty-six animals--domestic,
feral, predatory, and mythical--whose relationship to imperial
authorities and settler colonists reveals how the presumed racial
supremacy of Europeans underwrote the history of Western
Absolutely fascinating.
Vesper Flights (Grove) - Available Now
By Helen Macdonald
In Vesper Flights Helen Macdonald brings together a collection of
her best loved essays, along with new pieces on topics ranging
from nostalgia for a vanishing countryside to the tribulations of
farming ostriches to her own private vespers while trying to fall
Few writers capture so well in words a sense of rapt observation,
fascination, time, memory, love and loss and how we make sense
of the world around us.
Iwígara (Timber Press) - Available Now
By Enrique Salmón
The belief that all life-forms are interconnected and share the
same breath—known in the Rarámuri tribe as iwígara—has
resulted in a treasury of knowledge about the natural world,
passed down for millennia by native cultures. Ethnobotanist
Enrique Salmón builds on this concept of connection and
highlights 80 plants revered by North America’s indigenous
peoples. Salmón teaches us the ways plants are used as food
and medicine, the details of their identification and harvest,
their important health benefits, plus their role in traditional
stories and myths. natural world.
Desert Oracle (MCD) - Dec. 8
By Ken Layne
For the past five years, Desert Oracle has existed as a quasi-
mythical, quarterly periodical available to the very determined only
by subscription or at the odd desert-town gas station or the
occasional hipster boutique, its canary-yellow-covered, forty-four-
page issues handed from one curious desert zealot to the next, word
spreading faster than the printers could keep up with. It became a
radio show, a podcast, a live performance. Now, for the first time
and including both classic and new, never-before-seen revelations
ithas been bound between two hard covers and is available to you.
Black Nature (Univ. of Georgia Press)
Available Now
By Camille R. Dungy (Editor)
Black Nature is the first anthology to focus on nature writing
by African American poets, a genre that until now has not
commonly been counted as one in which African American
poets have participated.
Black poets have a long tradition of incorporating treatments
of the natural world into their work, but it is often read as
political, historical, or protest poetry--anything but nature
poetry. This is particularly true when the definition of what
constitutes nature writing is limited to work about the pastoral
or the wild.
Camille T. Dungy has selected 180 poems from 93 poets that
provide unique perspectives on American social and literary
history to broaden our concept of nature poetry and African
American poetics. This collection features major writers such
as Phillis Wheatley, Rita Dove, Yusef Komunyakaa,
Gwendolyn Brooks, Sterling Brown, Robert Hayden, Wanda
Coleman, Natasha Trethewey, and Melvin B. Tolson as well as
newer talents such as Douglas Kearney, Major Jackson, and
Janice Harrington. Included are poets writing out of slavery,
Reconstruction, the Harlem Renaissance, the Black Arts
Movement, and late twentieth- and early twenty-first-century
African American poetic movements.
Timefulness (Princeton Univ. Press
Available Now
By Marcia Bjornerud
Few of us have any conception of the enormous timescales of our
planet's long history, and this narrow perspective underlies many of
the environmental problems we are creating. The lifespan of Earth
can seem unfathomable compared to the brevity of human
existence, but this view of time denies our deep roots in Earth's
history--and the magnitude of our effects on the planet. Timefulness
reveals how knowing the rhythms of Earth's deep past and
conceiving of time as a geologist does can give us the perspective we
need for a more sustainable future.
Epidemics and Society (Yale Univ. Press)
Available Now
By Frank M. Snowden
This sweeping exploration of the impact of epidemic diseases
looks at how mass infectious outbreaks have shaped society, from
the Black Death to today, and in a new preface addresses the
global threat of COVID-19. In a clear and accessible style, Frank
M. Snowden reveals the ways that diseases have not only
influenced medical science and public health, but also
transformed the arts, religion, intellectual history, and warfare.
Named by the World Economic Forum as the #1 book to read for
context on the coronavirus outbreak
Constructing the Outbreak (Univ. of Massachusetts
Press) - Available Now
By Katherine A. Foss
Demonstrates how news reporting on epidemics communicates
more than just information about pathogens; rather, prejudices,
political agendas, religious beliefs, and theories of disease also
shape the message.
Katherine A. Foss discusses how shifts in journalism and medicine
influenced the coverage, preservation, and fictionalization of
different disease outbreaks. Each case study highlights facets of
this interplay, delving into topics such as colonization, tourism,
war, and politics.
Blooming Flowers (Yale Univ. Press)
Available Now
By Kasia Boddy
An evocative and richly illustrated exploration of flowers and
how, over the centuries, they have given us so much sustenance,
meaning, and pleasure. In vibrant detail and drawing on a rich
array of illustrations, Boddy considers how the sunflower, poppy,
rose, lilyand many othershave given rise to meaning, value,
and inspiration throughout history, and why they are integral to
so many different cultures.
This is a delightfully unruly book, and extends far beyond the
Physical Sciences / Technology
The Alignment Problem (W. W. Norton) - Oct. 6
By Brian Christian
Today’s “machine-learning” systems, trained by data, are so effective
that we’ve invited them to see and hear for us—and to make
decisions on our behalf. But alarm bells are ringing. Recent years
have seen an eruption of concern as the field of machine learning
advances. When the systems we attempt to teach will not, in the end,
do what we want or what we expect, ethical and potentially
existential risks emerge. Researchers call this the alignment
In Brian Christian’s new book, we meet the alignment problem’s
“first-responders,” and learn their ambitious plan to solve it before
our hands are completely off the wheel.
Artificial Whiteness (Columbia Univ. Press) - Nov. 17
By Yarden Katz
Yarden Katz reveals the ideology embedded in the concept of
artificial intelligence, contending that it both serves and mimics
the logic of white supremacy. Bringing together theories of
whiteness and race in the humanities and social sciences with a
deep understanding of the history and practice of science and
computing, Artificial Whiteness is an incisive, urgent critique of
the uses of AI as a political tool to uphold social hierarchies.
In Analogia, technology historian George Dyson presents a look
back at the analog age and life before the digital revolutionand
an unsettling vision of what comes next.
he convergence of a startling historical archaeology with Dyson’s
unusual personal storyset alternately in the rarified world of
cutting-edge physics and computer science, in Princeton, and in
the rainforest of the Northwest Coastleads to a prophetic vision
of an analog revolution already under way. We are, Dyson
reveals, on the cusp of a new moment in human history, driven by
a generation of machines whose powers are beyond
programmable control.
American Lucifers (Univ. of North Carolina Press)
Available Now
By Jeremy Zallen
The surprisingly violent struggle to produce, control, and
consume the changing means of illumination over the
eighteenth and nineteenth centuries transformed slavery,
industrial capitalism, and urban families in profound, often
hidden ways. Only by taking the lives of whalers and
enslaved turpentine makers, match-manufacturing children
and coal miners, night-working seamstresses and the
streetlamp-lit poor as seriously as those of inventors and
businessmen can the full significance of the revolution of
artificial light be understood.
Analogia (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Available Now
By George Dyson
A revealing look at how negative biases against women of color
are embedded in search engine results and algorithms.
Algorithms of Oppression contributes to our understanding of
how racism is created, maintained, and disseminated in the
21st century.
Algorithms of Oppression (New York Univ. Press)
Available Now
By Safiya Umoja Noble
Beyond the Finish Line (McGill-Queens Univ. Press)
Available Now
By Jonathan Finn
In this fascinating journey through the history of the photo-finish
in sports, Jonathan Finn shows how innovation was animated by
a drive for ever more precise tools and a quest for perfect
measurement. As he traces the technological developments
inspired by this crusade --from the evolution of the still camera to
movie cameras, ultimately leading to complex contemporary
photo-finish systems -- Finn uncovers the social implications of
adopting and contesting the photograph as evidence in sport.
Performing Arts
Wagnerism (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Available Now
By Alex Ross
For better or worse, Wagner is the most widely influential figure in
the history of music. In Wagnerism, Alex Ross restores the
magnificent confusion of what it means to be a Wagnerian. A
pandemonium of geniuses, madmen, charlatans, and prophets do
battle over Wagner’s many-sided legacy. As readers have come to
expect, Ross’ covers a lot of ground across artistic disciplines, from
the architecture of Louis Sullivan to the novels of Philip K. Dick,
from the Zionist writings of Theodor Herzl to the civil-rights essays of
W.E.B. Du Bois, from O Pioneers! to Apocalypse Now.
Dolly Parton, Songteller (Chronicle) - Nov. 17
By Dolly Parton, Robert K. Oermann
As told by Dolly Parton in her own inimitable words, explore the
songs that have defined her journey. Illustrated throughout with
previously unpublished images from Dolly Parton's personal and
business archives.
Mining over 60 years of songwriting, Dolly Parton highlights 175
of her songs and brings readers behind the lyrics.
African American women have played a pivotal part in rock
and roll--from laying its foundations and singing chart-topping
hits to influencing some of the genre's most iconic acts. Despite
this, black women's importance to the music's history has been
diminished by narratives of rock as a mostly white male
enterprise. In Black Diamond Queens, Maureen Mahon draws
on recordings, press coverage, archival materials, and
interviews to document the history of African American women
in rock and roll between the 1950s and the 1980s.
The Meaning of Soul (Duke Univ. Press)
Available Now
By Emily J. Lordi
Emily J. Lordi proposes a new understanding of this famously
elusive concept. In the 1960s, Lordi argues, soul came to signify a
cultural belief in black resilience, which was enacted through
musical practices--inventive cover versions, falsetto vocals, ad-libs,
and false endings. Through these soul techniques, artists such as
Aretha Franklin, Donny Hathaway, Nina Simone, Marvin Gaye,
Isaac Hayes, and Minnie Riperton performed virtuosic survivorship
and thus helped to galvanize black communities in an era of peril
and promise.
Black Diamond Queens (Duke Univ. Press)
Oct. 30
By Maureen Mahon
There are few creative acts more mysterious and magical than
writing a song. But what if the goal wasn't so mysterious and
was actually achievable for anyone who wants to experience
more magic and creativity in their life? That's something that
anyone will be inspired to do after reading Jeff Tweedy's How
to Write One Song.
Tweedy brings readers into the intimate process of writing one
songlyrics, music, and putting it all togetherand accesses
the deep sense of wonder that remains at the heart of this
curious, yet incredibly fulfilling, artistic act.
How to Write One Song (Dutton) - Oct. 13
By Jeff Tweedy
Hawkwind (Strange Attractor) - Oct. 13
By Joe Banks
Fifty years on from when it first formed, the English rock band
Hawkwind continues to inspire devotion from fans around the
world. Its influence reaches across the spectrum of alternative
music, from psychedelia, prog, and punk, through industrial,
electronica, and stoner rock. Hawkwind has been variously, if
erroneously, positioned as the heir to both Pink Floyd and the
Velvet Underground, and as Britain's answer to the Grateful
Dead and Krautrock. It has defined a genre--space rock--while
operating on a frequency that's uniquely its own.