History, Biography, and Politics

Henry Louis Gates, Harvard professor and director of the W.E.B. DuBois Institute for African and African American Research, gives us a sumptuously illustrated, landmark book tracing African American history. Using fresh scholarship and more than 800 images—maps, art, documents, photographs, cartoons, posters—Life Upon These Shores focuses on the defining events, debates, and controversies, as well as the achievements of people famous and obscure. Gates “deliver[s] an indelible (near-definitive?) history of African Americans ranging from the conquistadores to President Barack Obama.” —Library Journal

Life Upon These Shores: Looking at African American History, 1513-2008 Cover Image
$50.00
ISBN: 9780307593429
Availability: Backordered
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - November 22nd, 2011

In Blue Nights, Didion again writes about loss and grief, this time focusing on the death of her daughter, Quintana Roo. There is an unflinching honesty to Didion’s voice and she holds nothing back. Her writing is also layered and rhythmic, so we are handed sentences and words that repeat and spiral so that the narrative is circular and reaching, as this is what grief is—an overlapping thread of memories and moments that cannot be separated from the life and love of the person who is so suddenly absent. Blue Nights is haunting—a complex filter of a life sifted through loss. Together with The Year of Magical Thinking, Didion has handed us a compilation of grief—an assembly that is determined and striking, and that will ring familiar to anyone who has had to form their own narrative around the dichotomy of holding on and letting go.

Blue Nights Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780307267672
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Knopf - November 1st, 2011

In one of the most anticipated books of the season, best-selling author Isaacson provides an extraordinary account of Apple founder and former CEO Steve Jobs’ professional and personal life. Drawn from three years of exclusive and unprecedented interviews Isaacson conducted with Jobs, as well as extensive interviews with Jobs’ family members, key colleagues from Apple and its competitors, Steve Jobs is the definitive portrait of the greatest innovator of his generation.

Steve Jobs Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9781451648539
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - October 24th, 2011

With biting wit and droll presentation, Darst lays into her alcoholic family and the father who failed at fiction. She makes few excuses, spares no one’s pride—not even her own—and delivers laugh after laugh as she describes growing up in a world where using a cliché is far worse than swearing and the books you are reading are more important than your ability to remember where your pants are in the morning.

Reviewed by: 
Nici
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Fiction Ruined My Family Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9781594488146
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Riverhead Hardcover - September 29th, 2011

This is a memoir that will surely have broad local appeal. Theresa Weir was only 21 when she impulsively married a farmer and moved into a small house on his family’s apple orchard, where she found herself horrified by the widespread use of pesticides. It was a time when most of those chemicals were not yet banned, and the toxins left their mark on Weir’s husband and family. A hugely brave story about love and loyalty.

Reviewed by: 
Kat
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The Orchard Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9780446584685
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Grand Central Publishing - September 4th, 2012

“Two decades ago Luis Rodríguez became a superhero in Chicano literature with his survivor’s story of a gang banger youth (Always Running). Here, again, he beautifully details his not-so-ordinary life, its tragedies and graces, but now as a son, husband, father, a worker, journalist, and successful author. With It Calls You Back, Rodríguez maps out his activist past and leads us into the future.” —Dagoberto Gilb, writer

It Calls You Back: An Odyssey Through Love, Addiction, Revolutions, and Healing Cover Image
$24.99
ISBN: 9781416584162
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Touchstone Books - October 4th, 2011

Pulitzer Prize–winner Robert Massie is a master of narrative biography, and his intensive attention to detail brings one of the greatest women in history beautifully to life. Brilliant, idealistic, and insatiably curious, Catherine rose from an obscure childhood to empress of Russia and ruled according to the Enlightenment philosophies that so fascinated her. There are few figures so worthy of biography as Catherine the Great, and few biographers as worthy of writing that book as Massie. We should all be grateful that the two have found one another.

Reviewed by: 
Kat
Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman Cover Image
$40.00
ISBN: 9780679456728
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House - November 8th, 2011

“This first authorized biography probes both Vonnegut’s creative struggles and family life, detailing his transition from ‘the bowery of the book world’ to counterculture icon. Shields delivers a vivid recreation of Vonnegut’s ghastly WWII experiences as a POW during the Dresden firebombing that became the basis for Slaughterhouse-Five.... Tragedies and triumphs are contrasted throughout, along with an adroit literary analysis that highlights obscure or overlooked influences on Vonnegut.... With access to more than 1,500 letters, Shields conducted hundreds of interviews to produce this engrossing, definitive biography.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut: A Life Cover Image
Email or call for price
ISBN: 9780805086935
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Henry Holt & Company - November 8th, 2011

Leslie Marmon Silko (author of best-selling Ceremony) has written a book that is part memoir and part nature-writing. Using the backdrop of Arizona’s nature trails, Silko weaves tales from her family’s past into her observations of the landscape around her. In the tradition of Native American storytelling, The Turquoise Ledge is an intimate memoir of memory, nature, observation and the spiritual veins that connects us all. A must-have for both Silko fans and anyone who loves Terry Tempest Williams.

Reviewed by: 
S.M.C.
The Turquoise Ledge Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780143120100
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - September 27th, 2011

So truth be told, Micah Perks is one of my mentors and friends. I only say this in a confessional tone, because I’m about to sing praises about her memoir, and I wanted to be honest that there is a connection. But please know that I am persnickety and as picky about my mentors and friends as I am about the books that I praise, and Micah and her writing are worthy of both positions. In 1963, Micah’s parents set out to the Adirondacks to build a school/utopian community designed to help teens struggling with addiction and emotional problems. Micah is an infant, and her sister is not yet born and soon this complex dream of her parents, spanning from idealism to struggle, becomes Micah’s home. Told in a sparing and unflinching voice, Micah amplifies the joy and chaos of counterculture life. While she is revealing in her own personal history, she is deft and contained with a gathered subtlety, so that there is a way that her writing reaches forward, toward a broader opening, and we are left examining not only the beauty and heartbreak of Micah’s own story, but also a marked point in our own history; America in the 1960’s. This is a beautiful read.

Reviewed by: 
S.M.C.
Pagan Time: An American Childhood Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781582435398
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Counterpoint LLC - November 1st, 2009

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