Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? - Jeanette Winterson

Taking her title from her adoptive mother’s response to the news that her daughter had a girlfriend, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? (Grove, $25), Jeanette Winterson could easily have written another Mommie Dearest. Mrs. Winterson, as the author refers to her mother, locked young Jeanette outside overnight, kept her captive in the coal hole, condemned her for her attraction to women, and, perhaps most painful of all, burned the future novelist’s secret stash of books. Winterson describes these experiences but does not wallow in suffering. In fact, she even finds humor in her upbringing, painting her grim industrial home town in bold strokes of black wit. A survivor, Winterson credits books with saving her from her cold, rabidly Pentecostal mother, and her memoir is as much a tribute to Fiction A-Z as it is the story of an indomitable girl becoming a fiercely independent literary artist.

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? By Jeanette Winterson Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802120878
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Grove Press - March 12th, 2013

Are You My Mother? - Alison Bechdel

Like the lonely, wandering protagonist of P.D. Eastman’s children’s book, Alison Bechdel, in her second memoir, Are You My Mother? (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $22), sifts through her life for clues to understanding her complex, often frustrating relationship with her mother. Helen Bechdel, an aspiring poet and actress, limited her artistic endeavors to community theater in order to teach high-school English, raise three children, and cope with her husband, the volatile closeted gay man Bechdel made unforgettable in her acclaimed Fun Home. Helen’s story is more resistant to narrative than her husband’s, and their daughter has constructed a rich collage of images and texts to try to get at the truth. Bechdel vividly recreates childhood events and her own adult psychotherapy sessions; quotes from her parents’ letters and her own diaries; and applies the work of writers as diverse as Dr. Seuss, Freud, Virginia Woolf, and, most of all, the psychologist Donald Winnicott to her own experiences, composing a book that’s as intellectual and even scholarly as it is passionate and imaginative.

Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama By Alison Bechdel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780544002234
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Mariner Books - April 2nd, 2013

The Word Exchange - Greg Delanty and Michael Matto

What do Billy Collins, Yusef Komunyakaa, Jane Hirshfield, Michael Collier, Robert Hass, and Molly Peacock have in common, aside from being accomplished poets? All have contributed modern English renderings of Anglo-Saxon poems to The Word Exchange (W.W. Norton, $18.95). Edited by Greg Delanty and Michael Matto, this diverse and fascinating anthology is a bilingual presentation of riddles and charms, laments and prayers, stories of heroes and saints that date back to the years between the mid-fifth and mid-eleventh centuries. The Anglo-Saxon period was marked by huge cultural and political changes; the poems narrate the consolidation of warring clans and tribes into stable communities under a centralized authority, the adoption of Christianity, and the rise of skilled craftsmanship. But you don’t need to know any of that to relish these poems. Just listen to the way the emphatic rhythms of Old English recharge today’s language, and notice how the situations—a spouse left alone, an old person wondering what’s next—are strikingly contemporary. And the riddles are great, clever fun.
The Word Exchange: Anglo-Saxon Poems in Translation By Greg Delanty (Editor), Michael Matto (Editor), Seamus Heaney (Foreword by) Cover Image
By Greg Delanty (Editor), Michael Matto (Editor), Seamus Heaney (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9780393342413
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - April 9th, 2012