Staff Pick

A fable/cautionary tale for the future of our life with technology, Ishiguro’s thought-provoking novel is narrated by Klara, a robot—whose name signals both lucid rationality and, in its spelling, Kafkaesque unreason. An Artificial Friend (AF), Klara and her ilk are designed to save young people from a loneliness that’s become so endemic even the AFs feel it. To fulfill her duties, Klara strives to understand as much as possible about human behavior. But for all her acute observations of her human family and its circle, the “rules” she seeks to learn are elusive—and shifting. Love, hope, commitment, faith—the timeless mysteries that have defined humans—are under increasing pressure from a world where success demands “genetic editing,” regardless of the risks, and, in Ishiguro’s most chilling vision, where robots can “continue” the lives of the deceased. If there’s really no “human heart”—nothing “that makes each of us special and individual”—what does it mean to be human? Ishiguro leaves it for readers to ponder. 

Klara and the Sun: A novel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780593318171
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Knopf - March 2nd, 2021

Staff Pick

Horrocks bookends her masterful second collection of stories with contrasting visions of what a new kind of life on earth could be. In the first, “The Sleep,” a few families start hibernating to get through the difficult winters, entrusting their property and well-being to their waking neighbors. Rather than divide the community, the plan, built on mutual respect, builds unity. In the title story, however, the six pioneers of NovaTerra—an experimental project reminiscent of Biosphere 2—struggle to stay alive as crops fail and animals die; eventually, they turn on each other. Between these two poles, Horrocks vividly evokes ordinary life in places ranging from the Midwest to Prague to a Cuzco tourist resort. Writing with empathy and prose studded with striking, dynamic images (behind a ramshackle farmhouse “old acreage spread out…like a taunt”), she takes us inside the mind of an elderly widow falling into dementia, follows a young gay woman hoping to find a model for her own life in her grandmother’s, and charts a middle-aged man’s flailing efforts to build a new life in a foreign city. Throughout, Horrocks excels in rich portraits of both individuals and the larger communities they’re part of—however unsure these characters may be of their roles.

Life Among the Terranauts Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780316316972
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Little, Brown and Company - January 12th, 2021

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

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