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Travis's Reviews

Ornette Coleman The Territory and the Adventure by Maria Golia

Early in this new biography, Maria Golia calls Ornette Coleman “zeitgeist incarnate,” and a better description could not possibly be found. As a vanguard and architect of the free jazz movement, Coleman’s radical approach to sound and improvisation had a profound influence on 20th-century art as a whole. Golia deftly navigates the vast territories that Coleman’s music explored, leaving us with a vivid portrait of his groundbreaking life.  —Travis

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Ornette Coleman: The Territory and the Adventure By Maria Golia Cover Image
ISBN: 9781789145601
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Reaktion Books - June 7th, 2022

My Volcano by John Elizabeth Stintzi

A boy in Mexico City transported to 16th Century Tenochtitlan. A Mongolian shepherd transformed into a hive mind by a bee sting. A volcano growing out of a pond in Central Park. John Elizabeth Stintzi’s strange new novel is a dizzying spiral through time, space, and lives. Punctuated by the names of real-world victims of police brutality and hate crimes, My Volcano is a harrowing, yet hopeful, meditation on our present and our future. —Travis

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ISBN: 9781953387165
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Two Dollar Radio - March 22nd, 2022

King of the Blues: The Rise and Reign of B.B. King by Daniel de Vise

From impoverished sharecropper to global music ambassador, B.B. King’s story is nothing short of legendary. But this is also a story of the Black experience in America, of the Great Migration, and of Jim Crow. It is the story of a man reaching out to his people in the language of their own music. And it is also a story about commodification and cultural appropriation. Telling this story is quite an undertaking, and de Vise accomplishes it with a wit and charm to parallel King’s own.—Travis

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King of the Blues: The Rise and Reign of B.B. King By Daniel de Vise Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802158055
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Grove Press - October 5th, 2021

Not “A Nation of Immigrants”: Settler Colonialism, White Supremacy, and a History of Erasure and Exclusion

Most of us have heard America referred to as a “melting pot” or a “nation of immigrants.” While these self-congratulatory phrases paint a rosy picture of our past and present, they obscure or downright ignore some of the core tenets of this nation: white supremacy, settler colonialism, and capitalist exploitation of land and bodies. True to form, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’s latest work combines incisive criticism with unmatched clarity to provide a comprehensive history of both immigrants and xenophobia in America.


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ISBN: 9780807036297
Published: Beacon Press - August 24th, 2021

Assata by Assata Shakur

From the front lines of the Black liberation struggle to the underground torture chambers of Riker’s Island Correctional facility, Shakur’s harrowing autobiography details the systemic injustice and brutality of American society. Gracefully weaving together poetic brilliance, a pure love for humanity, and an uncompromising commitment to the struggle for liberation, Assata is among the most important books concerning the American experience ever written. - Travis

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Assata: An Autobiography By Assata Shakur, Angela Davis (Foreword by) Cover Image
By Assata Shakur, Angela Davis (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9781556520747
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Lawrence Hill Books - November 1st, 1999

Algiers, Third World Capital by Elaine Mokhtefi

Elaine Mokhtefi’s Algiers, Third World Capital is a staggering portrait of a life spent in revolution. From her beginnings with the Algerian National Liberation Front to her work with the international wing of the Black Panther Party, Mokhtefi chronicles her extraordinary life in elegant, engaging prose. Featuring a slew of heavy-hitters, like Frantz Fanon and Eldridge Cleaver, Algiers is a must-read for any student of anticolonialism, antiracism, and revolutionary history. - Travis

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Algiers, Third World Capital: Freedom Fighters, Revolutionaries, Black Panthers By Elaine Mokhtefi Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781788730037
Published: Verso - March 24th, 2020

Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones

Mongrels follows a family of outlaw werewolves as journey across the American South (think Kathryn Bigelow’s film Near Dark, but with werewolves). Like much of Jones’s work, Mongrels strikes a delicate balance between disturbing and hilarious, making this absolutely unforgettable. Be cautious, though, because you will never look at French fries or pantyhose the same again. - Travis

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Mongrels: A Novel By Stephen Graham Jones Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062412706
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - January 24th, 2017

The Book Collectors by Delphine Minoui

A staggering portrait of resistance and hope in the face of despair, Minoui’s The Book Collectors takes us to the Syrian rebel stronghold of Daraya, which endured nearly 4 years of all-out siege by the Assad regime. Daily bombings and brutal lockdown measures created a near-total separation from the outside world, but among the rubble, two young men began amassing an underground library that would become the focal point for community and culture in Daraya. Expertly researched and beautifully written, The Book Collectors offers a heartbreaking and poignant look at the power of books in shaping and maintaining community, even in the direst of circumstances.  — Travis

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The Book Collectors: A Band of Syrian Rebels and the Stories That Carried Them Through a War By Delphine Minoui, Lara Vergnaud (Translated by) Cover Image
By Delphine Minoui, Lara Vergnaud (Translated by)
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ISBN: 9780374115166
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - November 3rd, 2020

Nobody Ever Asked Me About the Girls by Lisa Robinson

Legendary music journalist Lisa Robinson, with her more than 40 years’ of experience in the industry, has sifted through thousands of hours of her own interviews to assemble this new compendium. Organized by topics that range from appearance and romance to fame and abuse, Robinson has crafted an indispensable archive of women’s experiences in American popular music while also providing illuminating perspectives from some of pop music’s most beloved icons. Candid, courageous, and sincere, this book takes the challenges and injustices that women in music face head on. — Travis

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Nobody Ever Asked Me about the Girls: Women, Music and Fame By Lisa Robinson Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781627794909
Published: Henry Holt and Co. - November 10th, 2020

Aria by Nazanine Hozar

Hozar’s debut novel is a sprawling, historical delight. Aria is an orphaned girl, abandoned on the streets of Tehran just before the 1953 coup and subsequent regime change. Her journey weaves through the myriad socio-political upheavals that characterized Iran in the latter half of the 20th century, culminating in the explosive Revolution of 1979. With a robust cast of characters that include Communists, religious fanatics, paupers, and elites, Aria is a deeply moving meditation on belonging. This is a must-read for fans of family sagas and intertwining life stories. —Travis

This book is part of our Fall Reading Challenge. Read more here.

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Aria: A Novel By Nazanine Hozar Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781524749033
Published: Pantheon - August 25th, 2020


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