Bryn Mawr Reading Series

 

2020-21 Reading Series: Necessary Conversations


Spring 2021 Events

  • Feb. 24, 2021: Sigrid Nunez and Camille Dungy
  • March 10, 2021: Rebecca Makkai and Jorie Graham
  • May 5, 2021: Natalie Diaz and Kirstin Valdez Quade

Fall Events


  • Oct. 7, 2020: Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah and Karen Russell
  • Postponed (new date to be announced): Frank Bidart and Garth Greenwell
  • Postponed (new date to be announced): Dan Chiasson and Airea Dee Matthews
  • Postponed (new date to be announced): Eula Biss and Sarah M. Broom

Access to each online event requires a book purchase from one of the evening’s authors from the Bryn Mawr College Bookshop online. All books accompanied by a signed bookplate from our authors. Discussions moderated by Daniel Torday, Airea Dee Matthews, Emma Copley Eisenberg, and Cynthia Dewi Oka.

Full series information is available at: www.brynmawr.edu/reading-series

 

Postcolonial Love Poem

Postcolonial Love Poem
$16.00
New/Used: New

by Natalie Diaz

May 5, 2021

FINALIST FOR THE 2020 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR POETRY
FINALIST FOR THE 2020 LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK AWARD FOR POETRY

Natalie Diaz's highly anticipated follow-up to When My Brother Was an Aztec, winner of an American Book Award

Postcolonial Love Poem is an anthem of desire against erasure. Natalie Diaz's brilliant second collection demands that every body carried in its pages--bodies of language, land, rivers, suffering brothers, enemies, and lovers--be touched and held as beloveds. Through these poems, the wounds inflicted by America onto an indigenous people are allowed to bloom pleasure and tenderness: "Let me call my anxiety, desire, then. / Let me call it, a garden." In this new lyrical landscape, the bodies of indigenous, Latinx, black, and brown women are simultaneously the body politic and the body ecstatic. In claiming this autonomy of desire, language is pushed to its dark edges, the astonishing dunefields and forests where pleasure and love are both grief and joy, violence and sensuality.

Diaz defies the conditions from which she writes, a nation whose creation predicated the diminishment and ultimate erasure of bodies like hers and the people she loves: "I am doing my best to not become a museum / of myself. I am doing my best to breathe in and out. // I am begging: Let me be lonely but not invisible." Postcolonial Love Poem unravels notions of American goodness and creates something more powerful than hope--in it, a future is built, future being a matrix of the choices we make now, and in these poems, Diaz chooses love.

ISBN/SKU: 
9781644450147
Publication Date: 
March 3, 2020
Author: 
Publisher: 

When My Brother Was an Aztec

WHEN MY BROTHER WAS AN AZTEC (P)
$16.00
New/Used: New

by Natalie Diaz

May 5, 2021

I write hungry sentences, Natalie Diaz once explained in an interview, because they want more and more lyricism and imagery to satisfy them. This debut collection is a fast-paced tour of Mojave life and family narrative: A sister fights for or against a brother on meth, and everyone from Antigone, Houdini, Huitzilopochtli, and Jesus is invoked and invited to hash it out. These darkly humorous poems illuminate far corners of the heart, revealing teeth, tails, and more than a few dreams.

I watched a lion eat a man like a piece of fruit, peel tendons from fascia
like pith from rind, then lick the sweet meat from its hard core of bones.
The man had earned this feast and his own deliciousness by ringing a stick
against the lion's cage, calling out Here, Kitty Kitty, Meow!

With one swipe of a paw much like a catcher's mitt with fangs, the lion
pulled the man into the cage, rattling his skeleton against the metal bars.

The lion didn't want to do it--
He didn't want to eat the man like a piece of fruit and he told the crowd
this: I only wanted some goddamn sleep . . .

Natalie Diaz was born and raised on the Fort Mojave Indian Reservation in Needles, California. After playing professional basketball for four years in Europe and Asia, Diaz returned to the states to complete her MFA at Old Dominion University. She lives in Surprise, Arizona, and is working to preserve the Mojave language.


ISBN/SKU: 
9781556593833
Publication Date: 
May 8, 2012
Author: 
Publisher: 

Night at the Fiestas

NIGHT AT THE FIESTAS (P)
$15.95
New/Used: New

by Kirstin Valdez Quade

May 5, 2021

With intensity, dark humor, and emotional precision, Kirstin Valdez Quade's unforgettable stories plunge us into the fierce, troubled hearts of characters defined by the desire to escape the past or else to plumb its depths. Set in northern New Mexico, Night at the Fiestas is a beautifully rendered debut about living in a land shaped by love, loss, and violence.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780393352214
Publication Date: 
March 7, 2016
Publisher: 

The Five Wounds

The Five Wounds
$26.95

by Kirstin Valdez Quade

May 5, 2021

From an award-winning storyteller comes a stunning debut novel about a New Mexican family’s extraordinary year of love and sacrifice.

It’s Holy Week in the small town of Las Penas, New Mexico, and thirty-three-year-old unemployed Amadeo Padilla has been given the part of Jesus in the Good Friday procession. He is preparing feverishly for this role when his fifteen-year-old daughter Angel shows up pregnant on his doorstep and disrupts his plans for personal redemption. With weeks to go until her due date, tough, ebullient Angel has fled her mother’s house, setting her life on a startling new path.

Vivid, tender, funny, and beautifully rendered, The Five Wounds spans the baby’s first year as five generations of the Padilla family converge: Amadeo’s mother, Yolanda, reeling from a recent discovery; Angel’s mother, Marissa, whom Angel isn’t speaking to; and disapproving Tíve, Yolanda’s uncle and keeper of the family’s history. Each brings expectations that Amadeo, who often solves his problems with a beer in his hand, doesn’t think he can live up to.

The Five Wounds is a miraculous debut novel from a writer whose stories have been hailed as “legitimate masterpieces” (New York Times). Kirstin Valdez Quade conjures characters that will linger long after the final page, bringing to life their struggles to parent children they may not be equipped to save.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780393242836T
Publication Date: 
April 6, 2021

Music for Wartime

Music for Wartime
$17.00

by Rebecca Makkai

March 10, 2021

A short-story collection from the acclaimed author of The Great Believers

Named a must-read by the 
Chicago Tribune, O Magazine, BuzzFeed, The Huffington Post, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, and The L Magazine

Rebecca Makkai’s first two novels, The Borrower and The Hundred-Year House, have established her as one of the freshest and most imaginative voices in fiction. Now, the award-winning writer, whose stories have appeared in four consecutive editions of The Best American Short Stories, returns with a highly anticipated collection bearing her signature mix of intelligence, wit, and heart.

A reality show producer manipulates two contestants into falling in love, even as her own relationship falls apart. Just after the fall of the Berlin Wall, a young boy has a revelation about his father’s past when a renowned Romanian violinist plays a concert in their home. When the prized elephant of a traveling circus keels over dead, the small-town minister tasked with burying its remains comes to question his own faith. In an unnamed country, a composer records the folk songs of two women from a village on the brink of destruction. 

These transporting, deeply moving stories—some inspired by her own family history—amply demonstrate Makkai’s extraordinary range as a storyteller, and confirm her as a master of the short story form. 

 

ISBN/SKU: 
9780143109235T

The Great Believers

The Great Believers
$16.00

by Rebecca Makkai

March 10, 2021

PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST
A NEW YORK TIMES TOP 10 BOOK OF 2018
LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE WINNER
ALA CARNEGIE MEDAL WINNER
THE STONEWALL BOOK AWARD WINNER

Soon to Be a Major Television Event, optioned by Amy Poehler

"A page turner . . . An absorbing and emotionally riveting story about what it's like to live during times of crisis." --The New York Times Book Review

A dazzling novel of friendship and redemption in the face of tragedy and loss set in 1980s Chicago and contemporary Paris

In 1985, Yale Tishman, the development director for an art gallery in Chicago, is about to pull off an amazing coup, bringing in an extraordinary collection of 1920s paintings as a gift to the gallery. Yet as his career begins to flourish, the carnage of the AIDS epidemic grows around him. One by one, his friends are dying and after his friend Nico's funeral, the virus circles closer and closer to Yale himself. Soon the only person he has left is Fiona, Nico's little sister.

Thirty years later, Fiona is in Paris tracking down her estranged daughter who disappeared into a cult. While staying with an old friend, a famous photographer who documented the Chicago crisis, she finds herself finally grappling with the devastating ways AIDS affected her life and her relationship with her daughter. The two intertwining stories take us through the heartbreak of the eighties and the chaos of the modern world, as both Yale and Fiona struggle to find goodness in the midst of disaster.

Named a Best Book of 2018 by The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, NPR, San Francisco Chronicle, The Boston Globe, Entertainment Weekly, Buzzfeed, The Seattle Times, Bustle, Newsday, AM New York, BookPage, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Lit Hub, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, New York Public Library and Chicago Public Library

ISBN/SKU: 
9780735223530
Publication Date: 
June 4, 2019
Author: 
Publisher: 

Having and Being Had

Having and Being Had
$17.00

by Eula Biss

September 30, 2021

A NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS' CHOICE

NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY TIME, NPR, INSTYLE, AND GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

"A sensational new book [that] tries to figure out whether it's possible to live an ethical life in a capitalist society. . . . The results are enthralling." --Associated Press

 

A timely and arresting new look at affluence by the New York Times bestselling author, "one of the leading lights of the modern American essay." --Financial Times

 

"My adult life can be divided into two distinct parts," Eula Biss writes, "the time before I owned a washing machine and the time after." Having just purchased her first home, the poet and essayist now embarks on a provocative exploration of the value system she has bought into. Through a series of engaging exchanges--in libraries and laundromats, over barstools and backyard fences--she 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 invested?"

ISBN/SKU: 
9780525537465
Publication Date: 
August 31, 2021
Author: 
Publisher: 

Runaway

Runaway
$26.99

by Jorie Graham

March 10, 2021

An NPR Best Book of the Year

A new collection of poetry from one of our most acclaimed contemporary poets, Pulitzer Prize winner Jorie Graham

In her formidable and clairvoyant new collection, Runaway, Jorie Graham deepens her vision of our futurity. What of us will survive? Identity may be precarious, but perhaps love is not? Keeping pace with the desperate runaway of climate change, social disruption, our new mass migrations, she struggles to reimagine a habitable present--a now--in which we might endure, wary, undaunted, ever-inventive, "counting silently towards infinity." Graham's essential voice guides us fluently "as we pass here now into the next-on world," what future we have surging powerfully through these pages, where the poet implores us "to the last be human."

ISBN/SKU: 
9780063036703
Publication Date: 
September 1, 2020
Author: 
Publisher: 

Simulacra

Simulacra
$20.00
New/Used: New

by Airea Dee Matthews

October 20, 2021

Winner of the 2016 Yale Series of Younger Poets prize

 

A fresh and rebellious poetic voice, Airea D. Matthews debuts in the acclaimed series that showcases the work of exciting and innovative young American poets. Matthews's superb collection explores the topic of want and desire with power, insight, and intense emotion. Her poems cross historical boundaries and speak emphatically from a racialized America, where the trajectories of joy and exploitation, striving and thwarting, violence and celebration are constrained by differentials of privilege and contemporary modes of communication. In his foreword, series judge Carl Phillips calls this book "rollicking, destabilizing, at once intellectually sly and piercing and finally poignant." This is poetry that breaks new literary ground, inspiring readers to think differently about what poems can and should do in a new media society where imaginations are laid bare and there is no thought too provocative to send out into the world.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780300223965
Publication Date: 
March 28, 2017
Author: 
Publisher: 

Cleanness

Cleanness
$16.00

by Garth Greenwell

November 17, 2021

Longlisted for the Prix Sade 2021
Longlisted for the Joyce Carol Oates Prize
Longlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize

 

A New York Times Notable Book of 2020
A New York Times Critics Top Ten Book of the Year
Named a Best Book of the Year by over 30 Publications, including The New Yorker, TIME, The Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly, NPR, and the BBC

 

In the highly anticipated follow-up to his beloved debut, What Belongs to You, Garth Greenwell deepens his exploration of foreignness, obligation, and desire

 

Sofia, Bulgaria, a landlocked city in southern Europe, stirs with hope and impending upheaval. Soviet buildings crumble, wind scatters sand from the far south, and political protesters flood the streets with song.

 

In this atmosphere of disquiet, an American teacher navigates a life transformed by the discovery and loss of love. As he prepares to leave the place he's come to call home, he grapples with the intimate encounters that have marked his years abroad, each bearing uncanny reminders of his past. A queer student's confession recalls his own first love, a stranger's seduction devolves into paternal sadism, and a romance with another foreigner opens, and heals, old wounds. Each echo reveals startling insights about what it means to seek connection: with those we love, with the places we inhabit, and with our own fugitive selves.

 

Cleanness revisits and expands the world of Garth Greenwell's beloved debut, What Belongs to You, declared "an instant classic" by The New York Times Book Review. In exacting, elegant prose, he transcribes the strange dialects of desire, cementing his stature as one of our most vital living writers.

 

ISBN/SKU: 
9781250785664
Publication Date: 
January 12, 2021
Author: 
Publisher: