Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002) - David Sedaris

Staff Pick

I read everything that David Sedaris writes.  And when I have finished his latest piece, I always miss his voice.  That melancholy was even greater when I finished Theft by Finding, Diaries 1977-2002 (Little, Brown, $28).  Sedaris says this is the first volume of his diaries, edited, to be sure, because the man writes every day of his life.  Some of the entries are lengthy stories about the events of his day.  Some are observations about his friends and family.  Many, though, are short treats —funny or poignant or devastating bits from the world around him, written at the time he was experiencing them.  I made a mistake when I read this book.  I was so excited to have it, that I read the whole thing in just a couple of days.  On a road trip with my mom, I read choice passages to her while she drove.  It was a nice way to enjoy someone else’s diaries, but if I had it to do over again, I would have taken my time and savored each entry even more.

Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002) By David Sedaris Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316154727
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown and Company - May 30th, 2017

Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News - Kevin Young

Staff Pick

As Kevin Young says in Bunk (Graywolf, $30), and as everyone is now all too aware, we are living in a “golden age of the hoax: the supposed age of information.” But this book is much more than a treatise on the “fake news” in the subtitle. It covers centuries of fakery, cataloged with a sense for detail and implication that showcases Young’s literary gifts—he’s a poet and critic who currently serves as poetry editor for The New Yorker. His stylistic flair only adds to the meaning of the book: thorough historical treatments on the Great Moon Hoax of 1835, P. T. Barnum’s freak shows, and “caught on film” fairies all forecast some very evidently personal treatments of contemporary hoaxers like Lance Armstrong, JT LeRoy, and Rachel Dolezal. This is a maximalist approach that takes on some deeply provocative recurring threads: namely, how racial hierarchies creep up as the unspoken root of so many hoaxes, and what separates artifice that’s presented as fiction or satire from something that’s trying to pull the wool over your eyes, no matter how benign and inventive it might seem. This is the kind of mammoth book you might never get to the bottom of, and that’s why it already feels like a landmark that will be studied for years. 

Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News By Kevin Young Cover Image
ISBN: 9781555977917
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Graywolf Press - November 14th, 2017

The Origin of Others - Toni Morrison

Staff Pick

When I heard Toni Morrison was releasing a book with an introduction by Ta-Nehisi Coates this year, I was elated. The Origin of Others (Harvard, $22.95) gathers the Nobel laureate’s 2016 Norton lectures, in which Morrison discusses what it means to be considered the other in America. Focusing on race, she highlights how those who are not considered white must remain the “other” in order for racial hierarchies to stay intact. Realizing what this means comes by recognizing that we must deny parts of ourselves in order to make people we consider strangers to be just that —strangers. In order to analyze the many ways culture creates and reflects otherness, Morrison uses history, Southern literature, and personal anecdotes to illustrate her theory. Her lectures give an overview of many of her own novels, and readers will be inspired to read or reread them, along with those of the many writers Morrison presents.

The Origin of Others (Charles Eliot Norton Lectures #56) By Toni Morrison, Ta-Nehisi Coates (Foreword by) Cover Image
By Toni Morrison, Ta-Nehisi Coates (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9780674976450
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harvard University Press - September 18th, 2017