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

 

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

The Friend

The 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

What You Are Going Through

What You Are Going Through
$26.00

by Sigrid Nunez

February 24, 2021

NAMED A BEST BOOK OF 2020 BY NPR, PEOPLE, AND O, THE OPRAH MAGAZINE

A NEW YORK TIMES CRITICS' TOP 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: 

FOREST PRIMEVAL

FOREST PRIMEVAL
$16.95
New/Used: New

Winner, 2017 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award
Winner, 2016 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in the Poetry category
Finalist, 2015 Balcones Poetry Prize
Shortlist finalist, 2015 PEN Open Book Award for an exceptional book by an author of color

"Another Anti-Pastoral," the opening poem of Forest Primeval, confesses that sometimes "words fail." With a "bleat in [her] throat," the poet identifies with the voiceless and wild things in the composed, imposed peace of the Romantic poets with whom she is in dialogue. Vievee Francis's poems engage many of the same concerns as her poetic predecessors--faith in a secular age, the city and nature, aging, and beauty. Words certainly do not fail as Francis sets off into the wild world promised in the title. The wild here is not chaotic but rather free and finely attuned to its surroundings. The reader who joins her will emerge sensitized and changed by the enduring power of her work.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780810132436
Publication Date: 
November 30, 2015
Author: 
Publisher: 

Friday Black

Friday Black
$14.99
New/Used: New

by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

 

October 7, 2020

 

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"An unbelievable debut, one that announces a new and necessary American voice." --Tommy Orange, New York Times Book Review

"An excitement and a wonder: strange, crazed, urgent and funny." --George Saunders

"Dark and captivating and essential . . . A call to arms and a condemnation . . . Read this book." --Roxane Gay

A National Book Foundation "5 Under 35" honoree, chosen by Colson Whitehead
Winner of the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award
Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle's John Leonard Award for Best First Book

A piercingly raw debut story collection from a young writer with an explosive voice; a treacherously surreal, and, at times, heartbreakingly satirical look at what it's like to be young and black in America.

From the start of this extraordinary debut, Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah's writing will grab you, haunt you, enrage and invigorate you. By placing ordinary characters in extraordinary situations, Adjei-Brenyah reveals the violence, injustice, and painful absurdities that black men and women contend with every day in this country.

These stories tackle urgent instances of racism and cultural unrest, and explore the many ways we fight for humanity in an unforgiving world. In "The Finkelstein Five," Adjei-Brenyah gives us an unforgettable reckoning of the brutal prejudice of our justice system. In "Zimmer Land," we see a far-too-easy-to-believe imagining of racism as sport. And "Friday Black" and "How to Sell a Jacket as Told by Ice King" show the horrors of consumerism and the toll it takes on us all.

Entirely fresh in its style and perspective, and sure to appeal to fans of Colson Whitehead, Marlon James, and George Saunders, Friday Black confronts readers with a complicated, insistent, wrenching chorus of emotions, the final note of which, remarkably, is hope.

ISBN/SKU: 
9781328911247
Publication Date: 
October 23, 2018
Publisher: 

What Belongs to You

What Belongs to You
$17.00

by Garth Greenwell

October 21, 2020

Longlisted for the National Book Award in Fiction - A Finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction - A Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction - A Finalist for the James Taite Black Prize for Fiction - A Finalist the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize - A Finalist for the Green Carnation Prize - A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice - A Los Angeles Times Bestseller

Named One of the Best Books of the Year by More Than Fifty Publications, Including: The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The New York Times (selected by Dwight Garner), GQ, The Washington Post, Esquire, NPR, Slate, Vulture, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (London), The Telegraph (London), The Evening Standard (London), The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Miami Herald, The Millions, BuzzFeed, The New Republic (Best Debuts of the Year), Kirkus Reviews, and Publishers Weekly (One of the Ten Best Books of the Year)

Garth Greenwell's What Belongs to You appeared in early 2016,
and is a short first novel by a young writer; still, it was not easily surpassed by anything that appeared later in the year....It is not just first novelists who will be envious of Greenwell's achievement.--James Wood, The New Yorker

On an unseasonably warm autumn day, an American teacher enters a public bathroom beneath Sofia's National Palace of Culture. There he meets Mitko, a charismatic young hustler, and pays him for sex. He returns to Mitko again and again over the next few months, drawn by hunger and loneliness and risk, and finds himself ensnared in a relationship in which lust leads to mutual predation, and tenderness can transform into violence. As he struggles to reconcile his longing with the anguish it creates, he's forced to grapple with his own fraught history, the world of his southern childhood where to be queer was to be a pariah. There are unnerving similarities between his past and the foreign country he finds himself in, a country whose geography and griefs he discovers as he learns more of Mitko's own narrative, his private history of illness, exploitation, and want.

What Belongs to You
is a stunning debut novel of desire and its consequences. With lyric intensity and startling eroticism, Garth Greenwell has created an indelible story about the ways in which our pasts and cultures, our scars and shames can shape who we are and determine how we love.

ISBN/SKU: 
9781250117892
Publication Date: 
December 20, 2016
Author: 
Publisher: 

Half-Light: Collected Poems 1965-2016

Half-Light: Collected Poems 1965-2016
$20.00

by Frank Bidart

POSTPONED

WINNER OF THE 2018 PULITZER PRIZE IN POETRY
WINNER OF THE 2017 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR POETRY

The collected works of one of contemporary poetry's most original voices

Gathered together, the poems of Frank Bidart perform one of the most remarkable transmutations of the body into language in contemporary literature. His pages represent the human voice in all its extreme registers, whether it's that of the child-murderer Herbert White, the obsessive anorexic Ellen West, the tormented genius Vaslav Nijinsky, or the poet's own. And in that embodiment is a transgressive empathy, one that recognizes our wild appetites, the monsters, the misfits, the misunderstood among us and inside us. Few writers have so willingly ventured to the dark places of the human psyche and allowed themselves to be stripped bare on the page with such candor and vulnerability. Over the past half century, Bidart has done nothing less than invent a poetics commensurate with the chaos and appetites of our experience.

Half-light encompasses all of Bidart's previous books, and also includes a new collection, Thirst, in which the poet austerely surveys his life, laying it plain for us before venturing into something new and unknown. Here Bidart finds himself a "Creature coterminous with thirst," still longing, still searching in himself, one of the "queers of the universe."

Visionary and revelatory, intimate and unguarded, Bidart's Half-light: Collected Poems 1965-2017 are a radical confrontation with human nature, a conflict eternally renewed and reframed, restless line by restless line.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780374537692
Publication Date: 
August 21, 2018
Author: 

Yellow House: A Memoir

Yellow House: A Memoir
$17.00

by Sarah M. Broom

POSTPONED

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Winner of the 2019 National Book Award in Nonfiction

A brilliant, haunting and unforgettable memoir from a stunning new talent about the inexorable pull of home and family, set in a shotgun house in New Orleans East.

In 1961, Sarah M. Broom's mother Ivory Mae bought a shotgun house in the then-promising neighborhood of New Orleans East and built her world inside of it. It was the height of the Space Race and the neighborhood was home to a major NASA plant--the postwar optimism seemed assured. Widowed, Ivory Mae remarried Sarah's father Simon Broom; their combined family would eventually number twelve children. But after Simon died, six months after Sarah's birth, the Yellow House would become Ivory Mae's thirteenth and most unruly child.

A book of great ambition, Sarah M. Broom's The Yellow House tells a hundred years of her family and their relationship to home in a neglected area of one of America's most mythologized cities. This is the story of a mother's struggle against a house's entropy, and that of a prodigal daughter who left home only to reckon with the pull that home exerts, even after the Yellow House was wiped off the map after Hurricane Katrina. The Yellow House expands the map of New Orleans to include the stories of its lesser known natives, guided deftly by one of its native daughters, to demonstrate how enduring drives of clan, pride, and familial love resist and defy erasure. Located in the gap between the "Big Easy" of tourist guides and the New Orleans in which Broom was raised, The Yellow House is a brilliant memoir of place, class, race, the seeping rot of inequality, and the internalized shame that often follows. It is a transformative, deeply moving story from an unparalleled new voice of startling clarity, authority, and power.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780802149039
Publication Date: 
June 30, 2020
Author: 
Publisher: