What You Have Heard Is True by Carolyn Forché

Staff Pick

As a young poet translating work into Spanish, Carolyn Forché couldn’t always understand the conditions from which the Salvadoran poems she translated arose. That changed when human rights activist Leonel Gómez Vides “removed the blindfold, and ordered me to open my eyes.” He took her to hospitals lacking rudimentary supplies and dropped her off in remote mountain villages, where she slept on pallets in the huts of the campesinos, and washed with local women at a spigot of icy water. It was a world where Bible study was enough to get you killed, where villages were decimated, and their inhabitants brutalized in unthinkable ways. This searing and unforgettable memoir, What You Have Heard Is True (Penguin Press, $28), whose title comes from Forché’s frequently anthologized poem “The Colonel,” recounts her experiences as a poet and human rights activist, through the publication of her collection The Country Between Us and the assassination of Archbishop Monseñor Óscar Romero.

What You Have Heard Is True: A Memoir of Witness and Resistance By Carolyn Forché Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780525560371
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Penguin Press - March 19th, 2019

Underland by Robert Macfarlane

Staff Pick

Robert Macfarlane’s Underland (W.W. Norton, $27.95) is profound in all senses of the word. In it he explores the “deep time” of caves, glaciers, and burial chambers as well as reflecting on the meaning of our most ancient myths and primal dreams. It’s no accident that the title rhymes with Wonderland: here are wonders galore, from the magnificent geological formations of limestone and karst to the earliest human art in Lascaux and Chauvet to the myriad surprises waiting in the Paris catacombs. Here also is the wonder of Macfarlane’s prose; rhythmic, dramatic, and fluent in the rich vocabulary of geology, glaciology, and their emotional analogs, Macfarlane is spellbinding as he describes the look, feel, and sound of extreme cold; the amazing variety of blues in a Greenland glacier; and the remarkable life cycle of stone, which, seen in deep time, “folds as strata, gouts as lava, floats as plates, shifts as shingles.” But if the underland is where we store “that which we love and wish to save,” it’s also where we hope to unburden ourselves of “that which we fear.” Macfarlane found as many nightmares as wonders in his travels, and the anthrax spores released by melting permafrost and tons of radioactive nuclear waste also threaten those of us who stay safely on the surface.

Underland: A Deep Time Journey By Robert Macfarlane Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780393242140
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - June 4th, 2019

Solitary by Albert Woodfox

Staff Pick

Albert Woodfox was held in solitary confi nement for more than 40 years, reportedly longer than any prisoner in our nation’s history. His wise, insightful memoir, Solitary (Grove, $26)—a finalist for the National Book Award—begins with his growing up poor in the Deep South, turning to petty crime to survive, and landing in jail, uneducated, while still in his teens. During a brief escape, he is introduced to the Black Panther Party before being caught and sent to one of Louisiana’s most notorious prisons, Angola. Soon he is framed for the murder of a white prison guard and confi ned to a 6-by-9 foot cell 23 hours a day. His friendship with two fellow Panthers —they become the Angola Three—sustains him through years of physical and emotional torture and legal chicanery. Determined to maintain his dignity, self-respect, and sanity, he transforms his tiny cell into a makeshift meditation room, gym, debate hall, and classroom where he educates himself through works of literature, philosophy, history, and law. Woodfox, finally released in 2016, is a gleaming example of resilience, spirit, and grace. And his story is a vivid chronicle of why our criminal justice system desperately needs fixing.

Solitary: A Biography (National Book Award Finalist; Pulitzer Prize Finalist) By Albert Woodfox Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780802129086
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Grove Press - March 5th, 2019

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