On Juneteenth, by Annette Gordon-Reed

Staff Pick

Gordon-Reed’s brief yet panoramic survey of Texas history succeeds not only as scholarship and personal essay, but as a demonstration of how exposing the racism at the heart of the American saga can open fresh discussions and begin to heal painful legacies. Inserting her family history into the larger narrative that has excluded them, Gordon-Reed shows that being a Black Texan isn’t the contradiction in terms it might seem. In concise accounts of her state’s complicated relationships with the U.S., Mexico, and Indigenous peoples; its quest for independence; and the outsize figures who people its past—from Sam Houston and Jim Bowie to Quanah Parker, Iron Eyes Cody, and Billy Jack of the 1971 Loughlin film—Gordon-Reed expresses both affection for her difficuilt home and a historian’s faith that “observing the process of change over time”—such as the evolution of Juneteenth from private to public celebrations to a nationally recognized event, if not yet a national holiday—can positively affect the lives of the people living in its present and future. 



On Juneteenth Cover Image
ISBN: 9781631498831
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Liveright - May 4th, 2021

Shearwater, by Roger Morgan-Grenvills

Staff Pick

Morgan-Grenville pledged to follow the Manx shearwater for a year, from its breeding grounds off the British coast—where he was first enchanted by them during childhood visits to his grandmother, herself something of a force of nature--to its summer digs off Argentina, allow himself “to be changed, or not, by what” he learned, and make the facts available to raise awareness of this extraordinary bird, which, unlike so many others, is not only supremely adapted to its lifestyle, but, so far, is beating the odds of climate change, plastic, rats, and the rest, to thrive. Telling their story with gusto, heart, and humor, Morgan-Grenville revels in the history and habits of this “ultimate flying machine,” a 400-gram creature that doesn't touch land for four years after it leaves its burrow at ten weeks old and makes its way alone to South America, navigating by a keen sense of smell and continuous adjustment to the winds to travel at the rate of roughly 55 kmph and complete the 10,000 or so miles in under two weeks—a feat brought into sharp focus in the comparison with Morgan-Grenville’s own fraught trans-Atlantic airplane flight.   

Shearwater: A Bird, an Ocean, and a Long Way Home Cover Image
ISBN: 9781785787201
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Published: Icon Books - June 8th, 2021

Attrib. and Other Stories, by Eley Williams

Staff Pick

Williams puts her stamp on the interlocking-stories genre with a collection of richly language-driven vignettes—most spoken by an unnamed I to or about an unnamed you—in which moments are stopped and spun beyond time and space as the narrator relives her last glimpse of a departing you or overthinks kissing you in public. Leaving out as much as she tells, Williams fills the interstices of traditional narrative with a close focus on words themselves, investigating etymologies, synonyms, and sounds; in a typically sensual description, she loves etcetera for “its spokey consonants and rhythms, its bitedowns.” In another piece, the I chooses an on-line dating candidate because her email “smells like a sea breeze,” while in one of the few non-you-and-I narratives, two boys look closely into each other’s eyes, naming the shifting colors—“Truffle Leather 3,” “Enchanted Eden 2”-- as precisely and inventively as they can—all while one stuffs his friend’s mouth with marshmallows. If it’s only partially true that “this is all absurd,” such playfulness is certainly a large part of “the power of” Williams’s charming, quirky, empathetic and utterly original fiction debut.

Attrib. and Other Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593312353
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Anchor - May 18th, 2021