Staff Pick

Sayaka Murata’s Convenience Store Woman is both poignant and unsettling. It’s an intimate glimpse into an ordinary life that, in the eyes of society, is still not ordinary enough. This tiny book packs within a Kafkaesque look on conformity, questions about how to live one’s life and what it means to be ‘normal’, all with a fiercely feminist voice and sharp insight. Murata’s novel is the perfect entry point into contemporary Japanese literature.

Convenience Store Woman Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9780802128256
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Grove Press - June 12th, 2018

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Staff Pick

I am very biased toward Number One Chinese Restaurant for reasons that have nothing to do with the book itself. It’s a debut novel by a writer from the DC area—plus, her name is very close to mine. Usually, when I’m biased toward a novel for such silly reasons, it then disappoints me.  Not this time! Number One Chinese Restaurant is a delight. Its food writing is as good as you want it to be, its characters are wonderful and wonderfully awful, and Li is expert at braiding together her high level of insight with her great sense of humor. Early in the book, one of her protagonists remembers ruefully, “Love came slowly, as weaknesses in the body often do.” As soon as I read that, I was sold.

Number One Chinese Restaurant Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781250141293
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Henry Holt & Company - June 19th, 2018

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Staff Pick

Read the title fast, and it might seem like the soothing “there, there” offered at moments of disquiet. But There There has little that’s comforting about it. Drawing the title from Gertrude Stein’s often misunderstood remark about Oakland, “there’s no there there,” Orange in his tremendous debut novel wants “to bring something new to the vision of the Native experience” by presenting the untold and as yet unstereotyped “Urban Indian story.” He brilliantly accomplishes this in twelve vivid interwoven profiles that tap into the “real passion…and rage” of Native Americans in contemporary Oakland. Powerful and moving, these virtuoso narratives bring us into the lives of children and grandparents, single mothers and drug thugs, recovering alcoholics and victims of abuse. All have complicated relationships with their heritage. Some are members of one or more specific nations, others don’t know where they belong. Some are always conscious of their identity, others feel Indian only when dressed in Indian regalia. For many, their heritage is too easily confused with patronizing images. One worries that “virtually everything” he’d “learned about being Indian he’d learned virtually.” Is he authentic or only a “Pretendian,” conforming to white-mediated assumptions about Native life? For those half-white/half-Native, the challenges are still greater. One man holds advanced degrees in Native American lit but has no confidence he knows how to be a Native American. Another man feels his mixed race puts him in the crosshairs of history, that he’s “from a people who took and took and took and took. And from a people taken.” Through such intimate and urgent stories Orange recovers the “there” of a Native history that’s “been paved over.” At the same time he emphatically ends American Indians’ long struggle “to be recognized as a present-tense people, modern and relevant.”

There There Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9780525520375
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - June 5th, 2018

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