War Dances - Sherman Alexie

Fresh off his National Book Award win, Sherman Alexie delivers a heartbreaking, hilarious collection of stories. War Dances (Grove, $23) explores the precarious balance between self-preservation and external responsibility in art, family, and the world. Alexie populates his stories with ordinary men on the brink of exceptional change and introduces us to personal worlds in transformation. In the title story, a famous writer must decide how to care for his distant father who is slowly dying a “natural Indian death” from alcohol and diabetes, just as he learns that he himself may have a brain tumor. Alexie dissects a vintage-clothing store owner’s failing marriage and his courtship of a married photographer in various airports across the country; shows what happens when a politician’s son commits a hate crime; and traces how a young boy discovers his self-worth while writing obituaries for his local newspaper. Brazen and wise, this is a provocative new work.

War Dances By Sherman Alexie Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802144898
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Grove Press - August 3rd, 2010

Zeitoun - Dave Eggers

His wife and their children evacuated New Orleans as Hurricane Katrina swept the Gulf Coast, but Abdulrahman Zeitoun, a Syrian-born contractor, stayed behind to look after his house and those he was working on. When the storm had passed and floods inundated his city, Zeitoun believed he was meant to help as many people as he could.  Eventually, though, he was arrested on an unspecified charge and taken to a makeshift jail where his pleas for understanding and justice were met with indifference and mistrust. Dave Eggers’s Zeitoun (McSweeney’s, $24) is a gripping piece of narrative non-fiction, recounting just one personal story in a disaster that affected millions of people.  Zeitoun’s story of altruism countered by prejudice and violence, though, is one all too representative of our recent history.

Zeitoun By Dave Eggers Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307387943
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Vintage - June 15th, 2010

On Kindness - Adam Phillips, Barbara Taylor

In response to the Epicureans, the stoic philosopher Seneca said, “No one can live a happy life if he turns everything to his own purposes.  Live for others if you want to live for yourself.”  Psychoanalyst Adam Phillips and historian Barbara Taylor trace the origins, evolution, and psychology of benevolent human interaction in On Kindness (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $20).  Chapters explore the earliest arguments for and against it, from ancient and Renaissance writers to Hobbes’s defense of individualism in Leviathan and the rebuttals from Rousseau and Hume.  The psychological root of the conflict between self-interest and the regard for others is traced from the mother/child relationship through puberty and the search for love and safety.  Insightful and erudite, On Kindness shows that the all-too-common, modern condition of disconnectedness is neither beneficial nor inevitable.

On Kindness By Adam Phillips, Barbara Taylor Cover Image
ISBN: 9780312429744
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
(This book cannot be returned.)
Published: Picador - June 22nd, 2010