Literature/fiction

Days of Afrekete

Days of Afrekete
$19.50
$7.00
$7.00 - $19.50

by Asali Solomon

Discussion Date: October 27


 

"I didn't feel like I was reading this novel--I felt like I was living it." --Ann Patchett, author of The Dutch House

From award-winning author Asali Solomon, The Days of Afrekete is a tender, surprising novel of two women at midlife who rediscover themselves--and perhaps each other, inspired by Mrs. Dalloway, Sula, and Audre Lorde's Zami

Liselle Belmont is having a dinner party.

It seems a strange occasion--her husband, Winn, has lost his bid for the state legislature--but what better way to thank key supporters than a feast? Liselle was never sure about her husband becoming a politician, never sure about the limelight, never sure about the life of fundraising and stump speeches. Then an FBI agent calls to warn her that Winn might be facing corruption charges. An avalanche of questions tumbles around her: Is it possible he's guilty? Who are they to each other; who have they become? How much of herself has she lost--and was it worth it? And just this minute, how will she make it through this dinner party?

Across town, Selena Octave is making her way through the same day, the same way she always does--one foot in front of the other, keeping quiet and focused, trying not to see the terrors all around her. Homelessness, starving children, the very living horrors of history that made America possible: these and other thoughts have made it difficult for her to live an easy life. The only time she was ever really happy was with Liselle, back in college. But they've lost touch, so much so that when they ran into each other at a drugstore just after Obama was elected president, they barely spoke. But as the day wears on, memories of Liselle begin to shift Selena's path.

Inspired by Mrs. Dalloway and Sula, as well as Audre Lorde's Zami, Asali Solomon's The Days of Afrekete is a deft, expertly layered, naturally funny, and deeply human examination of two women coming back to themselves at midlife. It is a watchful celebration of our choices and where they take us, the people who change us, and how we can reimagine ourselves even when our lives seem set.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780374140052
Publication Date: 
October 19, 2021
Author: 

Butterfly Lampshade

Butterfly Lampshade
$16.95

by Aimee Bender

Wednesday, November 8

The first novel in ten years from the author of the beloved New York Times bestseller The Particular Sadness Of Lemon Cake, a luminous, poignant tale of a mother, a daughter, mental illness, and the fluctuating barrier between the mind and the world

On the night her single mother is taken to a mental hospital after a psychotic episode, eight year-old Francie is staying with her babysitter, waiting to take the train to Los Angeles to go live with her aunt and uncle. There is a lovely lamp next to the couch on which she's sleeping, the shade adorned with butterflies. When she wakes, Francie spies a dead butterfly, exactly matching the ones on the lamp, floating in a glass of water. She drinks it before the babysitter can see.
Twenty years later, Francie is compelled to make sense of that moment, and two other incidents -- her discovery of a desiccated beetle from a school paper, and a bouquet of dried roses from some curtains. Her recall is exact -- she is sure these things happened. But despite her certainty, she wrestles with the hold these memories maintain over her, and what they say about her own place in the world.
As Francie conjures her past and reduces her engagement with the world to a bare minimum, she begins to question her relationship to reality. The scenes set in Francie's past glow with the intensity of childhood perception, how physical objects can take on an otherworldly power. The question for Francie is, What do these events signify? And does this power survive childhood?
Told in the lush, lilting prose that led the San Francisco Chronicle to say Aimee Bender is "a writer who makes you grateful for the very existence of language," The Butterfly Lampshade is a heartfelt and heartbreaking examination of the sometimes overwhelming power of the material world, and a broken love between mother and child.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780307744180
Publication Date: 
June 8, 2021
Author: 
Publisher: 

Ceremony

Ceremony
$14.40
$18.00
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by Leslie Marmon Silko

Discussion Date: November 17


 

The great Native American Novel of a battered veteran returning home to heal his mind and spirit

More than thirty-five years since its original publication, Ceremony remains one of the most profound and moving works of Native American literature, a novel that is itself a ceremony of healing. Tayo, a World War II veteran of mixed ancestry, returns to the Laguna Pueblo Reservation. He is deeply scarred by his experience as a prisoner of the Japanese and further wounded by the rejection he encounters from his people. Only by immersing himself in the Indian past can he begin to regain the peace that was taken from him. Masterfully written, filled with the somber majesty of Pueblo myth, Ceremony is a work of enduring power. The Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition contains a new preface by the author and an introduction by Larry McMurtry.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780143104919
Publication Date: 
January 1, 2007
Publisher: 

Color Master

Color Master
$17.00

by Aimee Bender

Wednesday, November 8

A New York Times Notable Book of 2013

A traumatic event unfolds when a girl with hair the color of golden wheat appears in an apple orchard; a woman plays out a fantasy with her husband and finds she cannot go back to her old sex life; an ugly woman marries an ogre and struggles to decide if she should stay with him after he mistakenly eats their children; and two sisters travel deep into Malaysia, where one learns the art of mending tigers who have been ripped to shreds.

In each of The Color Master's fifteen remarkable stories, Aimee Bender holds a funhouse mirror up to reality, proving, once again, that she is one of the most intelligent and imaginative writers of our time.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780307744197
Publication Date: 
April 22, 2014
Author: 
Publisher: 

After Sappho

After Sappho
$28.95

"The first thing we did was change our names. We were going to be Sappho," so begins this intrepid debut novel, centuries after the Greek poet penned her lyric verse. Ignited by the same muse, a myriad of women break from their small, predetermined lives for seemingly disparate paths: in 1892, Rina Faccio trades her needlepoint for a pen; in 1902, Romaine Brooks sails for Capri with nothing but her clotted paintbrushes; and in 1923, Virginia Woolf writes: "I want to make life fuller and fuller." Writing in cascading vignettes, Selby Wynn Schwartz spins an invigorating tale of women whose narratives converge and splinter as they forge queer identities and claim the right to their own lives. A luminous meditation on creativity, education, and identity, After Sappho announces a writer as ingenious as the trailblazers of our past.

"This book is splendid: Impish, irate, deep, courageous. . . . Brava!"--Lucy Ellmann, author of Ducks, Newburyport

ISBN/SKU: 
9781324092315
Publication Date: 
January 24, 2023

Alone with You in the Ether

Alone with You in the Ether
$18.99

From Olivie Blake, the New York Times bestselling author of The Atlas Six, comes a literary, intimate study of time, space, and the nature of love. Alone with You in the Ether explores what it means to be unwell, and how to face the fractures of yourself and still love as if you're not broken.

CHICAGO, SOMETIME--
Two people meet in the Art Institute by chance. Prior to their encounter, he is a doctoral student who manages his destructive thoughts with compulsive calculations about time travel; she is a bipolar counterfeit artist, undergoing court-ordered psychotherapy. By the end of the story, these things will still be true. But this is not a story about endings.

For Regan, people are predictable and tedious, including and perhaps especially herself. She copes with the dreariness of existence by living impulsively, imagining a new, alternate timeline being created in the wake of every rash decision.

To Aldo, the world feels disturbingly chaotic. He gets through his days by erecting a wall of routine: a backbeat of rules and formulas that keep him going. Without them, the entire framework of his existence would collapse.

For Regan and Aldo, life has been a matter of resigning themselves to the blueprints of inevitability--until the two meet. Could six conversations with a stranger be the variable that shakes up the entire simulation?

ISBN/SKU: 
9781250888181
Publication Date: 
October 24, 2023
Author: 
Publisher: 

America Fantastica

America Fantastica
$32.00

An American Master returns: The author of The Things They Carried delivers his first new novel in two decades, a brilliant and rollicking odyssey, in which a bank robbery by a disgraced journalist sparks a cross-country chase through a nation corroded by shameless delusion and deceit.

At 11:34 a.m. one Saturday in August 2019, Boyd Halverson strode into Community National Bank in northern California.

"How much is on hand, would you say?" he asked the teller. "I'll want it all."

"You're robbing me?"

"Not you, " Boyd replied, revealing a Temptation .38 Special.

Angie Bing, the teller, scraped together $81,000.

Boyd stuffed the cash into a paper grocery bag. "I'm sorry about this," he said, "but I'll have to ask you to take a ride with me. ..."

So begins the adventure of Boyd Halverson--star journalist turned notorious online disinformation troll turned JC Penny manager--and his irrepressible hostage, Angie Bing. Haunted by his past and weary of his present, Boyd has one goal before the authorities catch up with him: settle a score with the man who destroyed his life. By Monday Boyd and Angie reach Mexico; by winter, they are in a lakefront mansion in Minnesota. On their trail are hitmen, jealous lovers, ex-cons, an heiress, a billionaire shipping tycoon, a three-tour veteran of Iraq, and the ghosts of Boyd's past. Everyone, it seems, except the police.

America Fantastica marks the triumphant return of an essential voice in American letters. Just as O'Brien's modern classic, The Things They Carried, so brilliantly reflected the unromantic truth of war, America Fantastica puts a mirror to a nation and a time that has become dangerously unmoored from truth and greedy for delusion.

ISBN/SKU: 
9780063318502
Publication Date: 
October 24, 2023
Author: 
Publisher: 

Big Meal (acting edition)

$7.48
$14.95
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ISBN/SKU: 
9780573700620
Publication Date: 
March 12, 2015
Author: 
Publisher: 

BLUEST EYE (P)

BLUEST EYE (P)
$16.00
NATIONAL BESTSELLER - A PARADE BEST BOOK OF ALL TIME - From the acclaimed Nobel Prize winner--a powerful examination of our obsession with beauty and conformity that asks questions about race, class, and gender with characteristic subtly and grace.

In Morrison's acclaimed first novel, Pecola Breedlove--an 11-year-old Black girl in an America whose love for its blond, blue-eyed children can devastate all others--prays for her eyes to turn blue: so that she will be beautiful, so that people will look at her, so that her world will be different. This is the story of the nightmare at the heart of her yearning, and the tragedy of its fulfillment.

Here, Morrison's writing is "so precise, so faithful to speech and so charged with pain and wonder that the novel becomes poetry" (The New York Times).

ISBN/SKU: 
9780307278449
Author: 
Publisher: 

Bride of the Sea

Bride of the Sea
$8.48
$16.95
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During a snowy Cleveland February, newlywed university students Muneer and Saeedah are expecting their first child, and he is harboring a secret: the word divorce is whispering in his ear. Soon, their marriage will end, and Muneer will return to Saudi Arabia, while Saeedah remains in Cleveland with their daughter, Hanadi. Consumed by a growing fear of losing her daughter, Saeedah disappears with the little girl, leaving Muneer to desperately search for his daughter for years. The repercussions of the abduction ripple outward, not only changing the lives of Hanadi and her parents, but also their interwoven family and friends--those who must choose sides and hide their own deeply guarded secrets.

And when Hanadi comes of age, she finds herself at the center of this conflict, torn between the world she grew up in and a family across the ocean. How can she exist between parents, between countries?

Eman Quotah's Bride of the Sea is a spellbinding debut of colliding cultures, immigration, religion, and family; an intimate portrait of loss and healing; and, ultimately, a testament to the ways we find ourselves inside love, distance, and heartbreak.

ISBN/SKU: 
9781951142452
Publication Date: 
January 26, 2021
Author: 
Publisher: