Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Boy You Got Me Wantin' Books Books Books

For readers of Nora Ephron, Tina Fey, and David Sedaris, this hilarious, wise, and fiercely candid collection of personal essays establishes Lena Dunham—the acclaimed creator, producer, and star of HBO’s Girls—as one of the most original young talents writing today.

In Not That Kind of Girl, Dunham illuminates the experiences that are part of making one’s way in the world: falling in love, feeling alone, being ten pounds overweight despite eating only health food, having to prove yourself in a room full of men twice your age, finding true love, and most of all, having the guts to believe that your story is one that deserves to be told.

“Take My Virginity (No Really, Take It)” is the account of Dunham’s first time, and how her expectations of sex didn’t quite live up to the actual event (“No floodgate had been opened, no vault of true womanhood unlocked”); “Girls & Jerks” explores her former attraction to less-than-nice guys—guys who had perfected the “dynamic of disrespect” she found so intriguing; “Is This Even Real?” is a meditation on her lifelong obsession with death and dying—what she calls her “genetically predestined morbidity.” And in “I Didn’t F*** Them, but They Yelled at Me,” she imagines the tell-all she will write when she is eighty and past caring, able to reflect honestly on the sexism and condescension she has encountered in Hollywood, where women are “treated like the paper thingies that protect glasses in hotel bathrooms—necessary but infinitely disposable.”

Exuberant, moving, and keenly observed, Not That Kind of Girl is a series of dispatches from the frontlines of the struggle that is growing up. “I’m already predicting my future shame at thinking I had anything to offer you,” Dunham writes. “But if I can take what I’ve learned and make one menial job easier for you, or prevent you from having the kind of sex where you feel you must keep your sneakers on in case you want to run away during the act, then every misstep of mine will have been worthwhile.”

In 1892, America was obsessed with a teenage murderess, but it wasn't her crime that shocked the nation — it was her motivation. Nineteen-year-old Alice Mitchell had planned to pass as a man in order to marry her seventeen-year-old fiancée Freda Ward, but when their love letters were discovered, they were forbidden from ever speaking again.

Freda adjusted to this fate with an ease that stunned a heartbroken Alice. Her desperation grew with each unanswered letter — and her father’s razor soon went missing. On January 25, Alice publicly slashed her ex-fiancée’s throat. Her same-sex love was deemed insane by her father that very night, and medical experts agreed: This was a dangerous and incurable perversion. As the courtroom was expanded to accommodate national interest, Alice spent months in jail — including the night that three of her fellow prisoners were lynched (an event which captured the attention of journalist and civil rights activist Ida B. Wells). After a jury of "the finest men in Memphis" declared Alice insane, she was remanded to an asylum, where she died under mysterious circumstances just a few years later.

Alice + Freda Forever recounts this tragic, real-life love story with over 100 illustrated love letters, maps, artifacts, historical documents, newspaper articles, courtroom proceedings, and intimate, domestic scenes — painting a vivid picture of a sadly familiar world.

A dysfunctional British nuclear family seek a new life away from the big city in the sleepy Somerset countryside. At first their new home, The Hollow, seems to embrace them, creating a rare peace and harmony within the family. But when the house turns on them, it seems to know just how to hurt them the most — threatening to destroy them from the inside out.

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Stolen Child comes a hypnotic literary horror novel about a young boy trapped inside his own world, whose drawings blur the lines between fantasy and reality.

Ever since he nearly drowned in the ocean three years earlier, ten-year-old Jack Peter Keenan has been deathly afraid to venture outdoors. Refusing to leave his home in a small coastal town in Maine, Jack Peter spends his time drawing monsters. When those drawings take on a life of their own, no one is safe from the terror they inspire. His mother, Holly, begins to hear strange sounds in the night coming from the ocean, and she seeks answers from the local Catholic priest and his Japanese housekeeper, who fill her head with stories of shipwrecks and ghosts. His father, Tim, wanders the beach, frantically searching for a strange apparition running wild in the dunes. And the boy’s only friend, Nick, becomes helplessly entangled in the eerie power of the drawings. While those around Jack Peter are haunted by what they think they see, only he knows the truth behind the frightful occurrences as the outside world encroaches upon them all.

In the tradition of The Turn of the Screw, Keith Donohue’s The Boy Who Drew Monsters is a mesmerizing tale of psychological terror and imagination run wild, a perfectly creepy read for a dark night.

In “The Falling World,” Jade, sister queen of the Indigo Cloud Court, has traveled with Chime and Balm to another Raksuran court. When she fails to return, her consort, Moon, along with Stone and a party of warriors and hunters, must track them down. Finding them turns out to be the easy part; freeing them from an ancient trap hidden in the depths of the Reaches is much more difficult.

“The Tale of Indigo and Cloud” explores the history of the Indigo Cloud Court, long before Moon was born. In the distant past, Indigo stole Cloud from Emerald Twilight. But in doing so, the reigning Queen Cerise and Indigo are now poised for a conflict that could spark war throughout all the courts of the Reaches.

Stories of Moon and the shape changers of Raksura have delighted readers for years. This world is a dangerous place full of strange mysteries, where the future can never be taken for granted and must always be fought for with wits and ingenuity, and often tooth and claw. With two brand-new novellas, Martha Wells shows that the world of the Raksura has many more stories to tell…

Based on first-hand reporting from Syria and Washington, journalist Reese Erlich unravels the complex dynamics underlying the Syrian civil war. Through vivid, on-the-ground accounts and interviews with both rebel leaders and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Erlich gives the reader a better understanding of this momentous power struggle and why it matters.

Through his many contacts inside Syria, the author reveals who is supporting Assad and why; he describes the agendas of the rebel factions; and he depicts in stark terms the dire plight of many ordinary Syrian people caught in the cross-fire. The book also provides insights into the role of the Kurds, the continuing influence of Iran, and the policies of American leaders who seem interested only in protecting US regional interests.

Disturbing and enlightening at once, this timely book shows you not only what is happening inside Syria but why it is so important for the Middle East, the US, and the world.

The first half or so of this harsh and sometimes masterful fourth outing from poet, memoirist, and editor Wiman (Every Riven Thing) might represent the best verse he has yet penned. Wiman’s short lines and sometimes dense rhymes look back at his West Texas youth, at “that back-// seat, sweat-/ soaked, skin-// habited Heaven,” at the “cactus song” of a high-spirited grandma, at “my hard horizonless country/ whose one road releases me like heat as I walk on.” A former editor of Poetry magazine, Wiman’s wide reading there perhaps helped him develop his serious, careful, and widely admired technique. He now teaches at Yale Divinity School; as the volume progresses the poems’ themes gravitate toward questions of Christian faith. “I tried to cry out in the old way/ of thanksgiving, ritual lamentation, rockshriek of joy./ There was no answer. Had there ever been?” His search for religious answers twines itself tautly with reflections on his own illness, homages to poets of the past, and exemplary self-scrutiny. If these poems of anger and devotion find few immediate admirers, they are nonetheless part of a serious poet’s lifelong thought about life and death, about body and soul, about memory and family, about this world and what is beyond. (Publishers Weekly)
Humans were surrounded by other animals from the beginning of time: they were food, clothes, adversaries, companions, jokes, and gods. And yet, our companions in evolution are leaving the world — both as physical beings and spiritual symbols — and not returning. In this collection of linked essays, Alison Hawthorne Deming asks, and seeks to answer: what does the disappearance of animals mean for human imagination and existence? Moving from mammoth hunts to dying house cats, she explores profound questions about what it means to be animal. What is inherent in animals that leads us to destroy, and what that leads us toward peace? As human animals, how does art both define us as a species and how does it emerge primarily from our relationship with other species? The reader emerges with a transformed sense of how the living world around us has defined and continues to define us in a powerful way.

6 comments:

Tamayn Irraniah said...

Quite a gamut of books you've given us for the week! I look forward to plunging in very soon! Hope your week's been going well, and talk soon!

Writer said...

I was just thinking of you, Tamayn. I hope you are having a good weekend. :)

Tamayn Irraniah said...

Always wonederful to be thought of! Hope you're having a great week too! How have you been?

Writer said...

Tamayn, my weekend was good. I worked, but then Saturday night did some movie watching, and Sunday night I went with some friends to the local Thriller/Zombie Halloween parade. :)

Tamayn Irraniah said...

Ah, that sounds like fun! Did you dress up?

Writer said...

No. I'm never prepared for Halloween time...but next year! Next year will be THE year. :)