Syntax of the River, by Barry Lopez with Julia Martin

Staff Pick

Whether reflecting on the writer's role, recalling his far-flung travels, or offering watchwords—respect, discipline, hunger—for young writers, the late Barry Lopez speaks here with the same attentiveness, compassion, and wisdom that made Arctic Dreams, Of Wolves and Men, and many other books unforgettable. Recorded in 2010 with Julia Martin, a South African writer who has also collaborated with Gary Snyder, these conversations contain much to treasure and ponder, from Lopez’s commitment to writing as a way “to help” a world struggling with climate catastrophes and divisiveness to his belief that “you can learn about god anywhere…you just have to pay attention”—as Lopez always did, interrupting these dialogues, for instance, to watch the activities of herons and mergansers on the river by his door.

Syntax of the River: The Pattern Which Connects By Barry Lopez, Julia Martin Cover Image
ISBN: 9781595349897
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Trinity University Press - January 17th, 2023

How We Live is How We Die, by Pema Chodron

Staff Pick

You don’t have to subscribe to Buddhist notions of the bardo to get a lot out of this compassionate, wise, and eminently clear book on preparing for death. Chödrön, a teacher and author of Zen classics such as Start Where You Are, explains how to see death as half of a natural, ongoing cycle of transitions and, as such, something we experience moment by moment: with each change in our activities or thoughts—say, finishing a meal with friends and then walking the dog—we pass through the ending of one thing and into the beginning of another. Given this continuous series, we don’t have to fear the ending we call death, but rather should embrace it as an opening to another experience—and meet it with curiosity. Becoming aware that “rebirth takes place every moment” helps us recognize and modify our own proclivities, understand and connect with others, and navigate the inevitable ephemerality of the things of daily life—along with our own mortality.


How We Live Is How We Die By Pema Chodron Cover Image
ISBN: 9781611809244
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Published: Shambhala - October 4th, 2022

Rombo, by Esther Kinsky

Staff Pick

The climax of Kinsky’s quietly powerful novel—a pair of earthquakes that hit northeastern Italy in 1976—happens before the book begins, but its aftershocks continue. In a mesmerizing narrative that has the immediacy of oral history, she interweaves the stories of seven people who experienced the disaster, punctuating their accounts with third-person reflections on the plants, animals, and even the rocks of the affected region. In answering the question, “what had this night done to us?” Kinsky delivers a visceral natural and cultural history that details—in rugged and often exquisite prose—the area’s agricultural practices, its language, folklore, and more. As we come to know the protagonists we also learn what shaped them; in addition to relatable family dynamics, disappointments, and economic worries, they are the products of violin and pipe music that with “its minor variations…is infinite,” as well as the fables ingrained in the landscape, the thistles, orchids, and roses growing on top of it, and, for centuries, of the rombo, that low rumble beneath the ground announcing the next upheaval.

Rombo: A Novel By Esther Kinsky, Caroline Schmidt (Translated by) Cover Image
By Esther Kinsky, Caroline Schmidt (Translated by)
ISBN: 9781681377247
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: New York Review Books - March 14th, 2023