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
  • April 7, 2021: Natalie Diaz and Kirstin Valdez Quade
Previous 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

 

What You Are Going Through

What You Are Going Through
$26.00

by Sigrid Nunez

February 24, 2021

An O, THE OPRAH MAGAZINEBEST BOOK OF 2020

 

NATIONAL BESTSELLER

 

"As good as The Friend, if not better." --The New York Times

"Impossible to put down...leavened with wit and tenderness."--People

 

"I was dazed by the novel's grace." - The New Yorker

 

The New York Times-bestselling, National Book Award-winning author of The Friend brings her singular voice to a story about the meaning of life and death, and the value of companionship.

 

A woman describes a series of encounters she has with various people in the ordinary course of her life: an ex she runs into by chance at a public forum, an Airbnb owner unsure how to interact with her guests, a stranger who seeks help comforting his elderly mother, a friend of her youth now hospitalized with terminal cancer. In each of these people the woman finds a common need: the urge to talk about themselves and to have an audience to their experiences. The narrator orchestrates this chorus of voices for the most part as a passive listener, until one of them makes an extraordinary request, drawing her into an intense and transformative experience of her own.

 

In What Are You Going Through, Nunez brings wisdom, humor, and insight to a novel about human connection and the changing nature of relationships in our times. A surprising story about empathy and the unusual ways one person can help another through hardship, her book offers a moving and provocative portrait of the way we live now.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780593191415
Publication Date: 
September 8, 2020
Author: 
Publisher: 

The Friend

Friend
$16.00

by Sigrid Nunez

February 24, 2021

When a woman unexpectedly loses her lifelong best friend and mentor, she finds herself burdened with the unwanted dog he has left behind. Her own battle against grief is intensified by the mute suffering of the dog, a huge Great Dane traumatized by the inexplicable disappearance of its master, and by the threat of eviction: dogs are prohibited in her apartment building. While others worry that grief has made her a victim of magical thinking, the woman refuses to be separated from the dog except for brief periods of time. Isolated from the rest of the world, increasingly obsessed with the dog's care, determined to read its mind and fathom its heart, she comes dangerously close to unraveling. But while troubles abound, rich and surprising rewards lie in store for both of them

ISBN/SKU: 
2800735219450
Publication Date: 
February 5, 2019

Guidebook to Relative Strangers

Guidebook to Relative Strangers
$15.95

by Camille T. Dungy

February 24, 2021

As a working mother and poet-lecturer, Camille Dungy's livelihood depended on travel. She crisscrossed America and beyond with her daughter in tow, history shadowing their steps, always intensely aware of how they were perceived, not just as mother and child but as black women. From the San Francisco of settlers' dreams to the slave-trading ports of Ghana, from snow-white Maine to a festive yet threatening bonfire in the Virginia pinewoods, Dungy finds fear and trauma but also mercy, kindness, and community. Penetrating and generous, this is an essential guide for a troubled land.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780393356083
Publication Date: 
August 7, 2018
Author: 
Publisher: 

Trophic Cascade

TROPHIC CASCADE (REPRINT)
$14.95
New/Used: New

by Camille T. Dungy

February 24, 2021

Winner of the Colorado Book Award in Poetry (2018)

 

In this fourth book in a series of award-winning survival narratives, Dungy writes positioned at a fulcrum, bringing a new life into the world even as her elders are passing on. In a time of massive environmental degradation, violence and abuse of power, a world in which we all must survive, these poems resonate within and beyond the scope of the human realms, delicately balancing between conflicting loci of attention. Dwelling between vibrancy and its opposite, Dungy writes in a single poem about a mother, a daughter, Smokin' Joe Frazier, brittle stars, giant boulders, and a dead blue whale. These poems are written in the face of despair to hold an impossible love and a commitment to hope. A readers companion will be availabe at wesleyan.edu/wespress/readerscompanions.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780819578563
Publication Date: 
November 1, 2018

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

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: 

Runaway

Runaway
$26.99

by Jorie Graham

March 10, 2021

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: 

The End of Beauty

END OF BEAUTY
$15.00
New/Used: New

by Jorie Graham

March 10, 2021

A collection of poems by "a poet of large ambitions and reckless music. Ms. Graham writes with a metaphysical flair and emotional power."--New York Times Book Review.
ISBN/SKU: 
9780880016162
Publication Date: 
May 1, 1988
Author: 
Publisher: 

Postcolonial Love Poem

Postcolonial Love Poem
$16.00
New/Used: New

by Natalie Diaz

April 7, 2021

FINALIST FOR THE 2020 NATIONAL 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 Poemunravels 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

April 7, 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: