Staff Pick

Jensen’s powerful essays can be read both as a moving memoir of a strong and gifted Métis woman growing up in violence and poverty, and as a composite portrait of the nation whose history and values foster such difficult circumstances. The book opens with a stunning report from the Bakken fracking territory near Standing Rock; while extraction companies ravage the land, their workers menace the area’s Indigenous women, and Jensen traces these twin assaults to the country’s history of attempted genocide of Native peoples. She finds a similar trajectory in place after place she’s lived and visited, from her childhood with an abusive father in Audubon County, Iowa, to the “ordinary, everyday” workplace misogyny in Kingman, Arizona,—where Timothy McVeigh planned his attack—St. Paul, where the woman next door later murdered a cousin; and Pittsburgh, site of the 2018 Squirrel Hill mass shooting. Jensen further deepens this focus on origins with deft etymological research, and she manages to convey everything in steeled and impassioned prose, channeling her outrage and anger—as well as a deep humanity that reaches out to the perpetrators of violence as well as the victims—into sharply cadenced sentences that have the force—and grace—of litanies. 

Carry: A Memoir of Survival on Stolen Land Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781984821188
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Ballantine Books - September 8th, 2020

Staff Pick

Sherman, an American who lived in Tokyo for several years, describes the city as “one vast timepiece,” but on the evidence of her captivating memoir, it’s more of a living diorama, exhibiting the various ways time has been kept—and told—throughout the metropolis’s long history. During the centuries Tokyo was Edo, its rulers marked time with the daily tolling of nine bells, and Sherman has organized her book around a search for these relics. As she visits the various temples, castles, and other sites—such as a notorious prison—where the bells were once struck, she builds a rich narrative of cultural history that encompasses Eastern and Western notions of power, wealth, art, and, in the moving sections about the 1945 firebombing, war. Her prose is spare and lyrical—a perfect setting for an exploration of mutability that ranges from the shoguns’ mythic origins to the apportioning of hours by the animals of the zodiac, from clocks meant to be “more than just a machine” to atomic lattice clocks “accurate to within a second of the birth of the universe.”

The Bells of Old Tokyo: Meditations on Time and a City Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781250206428
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Picador - December 1st, 2020

Staff Pick

Ash takes her title from an Elizabeth Bishop poem, and the literary—with references to Sebald, Didion, Barry Lopez, and others—is one angle she uses in her rich exploration of the Cornish fishing village of Newlyn. Others are history, natural history, interviews, folklore, and, most of all, reports of her own adventures at sea. Flouting superstitions about women on boats (not to mention braving severe sea sickness), Ash joins the crews of trawlers and day boats, not just observing the different techniques for hauling in pilchards and eels, for instance, but jumping into the frenzy of a fresh catch and learning to gut the fish herself. In calmer moments, Ash proves a lyrical and meditative writer. Her prose vividly conveys the ocean’s beauty and mystery as she probes both the economic and the deeper, more spiritual needs that drive people to sea and compel them to keep returning despite the heavy emotional and physical toll of this difficult life. 

Dark, Salt, Clear: The Life of a Fishing Town Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781635576153
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - December 1st, 2020

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