Leslie Marmon Silko, author of the longstanding favorite, Ceremony, fuses elements of her family’s heritage with Native myths and reflections on the natural world in her beautiful memoir THE TURQUOISE LEDGE (Viking, $25.95). In her preface, Silko acknowledges that memory is imagination at work. Her imaginative self-storytelling travels across boundaries of time to share aspects of her life as they are remembered; she discusses her first divorce alongside the eradication of the Laguna language. Silko’s insight is shaped by the spiritual power of nature and a keen appreciation for the contradictions and ironies within Native history. Her stories are unified by turquoise and her vision of the world is straightforward: the landscapes of the rapidly changing natural world are woven with memories of the past and cautions to a future that are each complicated by the loss of languages, cultures, and land. 

The Turquoise Ledge: A Memoir Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780143120100
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - September 27th, 2011

In an enchanting new memoir, Pat Conroy attributes his life-long literary preoccupations to his mother’s having read to him all 1,000 pages of Gone with the  Wind when he was five and to a high-school English teacher’s infectious passion for great literature. These defining experiences launched him on the path so personally and appealingly described in MY READING LIFE (Nan A. Talese, $25). Despite the fact that I have never been a great fan of Conroy’s fiction, I was so completely absorbed by his accounts of the teachers, writers, and books that he has absorbed into his life’s blood that I read this book straight through to the end, pausing occasionally to reread sections like his tribute to War and Peace, a novel that so awed him he’s read it three times.

My Reading Life Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780385533577
Availability: Backordered
Published: Nan A. Talese - November 2nd, 2010

To tell someone how to find your house, you can direct them to go left then right, or you can say “head east for half a mile.” These two options are available to English speakers, that is. For Australian aboriginal speakers of Guuga  Yimithirr, only the latter mode is possible, as their language lacks an “egocentric” vocabulary of “left, “right,” “in front of,” and “behind.” In his fascinating trip THROUGH THE LANGUAGE GLASS (Metropolitan, $28), Guy Deutscher, author of The Unfolding of Language, investigates how language shapes, expands, and constrains human world views—or doesn’t. Does speaking a language that genders objects reflect a greater sensitivity to essential male and female traits than one, like English, in which all objects are “it”? Do speakers of languages that combine nouns and verbs see the world differently from those who need two words to describe an object in action? To address questions of individual languages and universal experience, Deutscher focuses on colors. “Why is the sky blue?” might seem to be a basic, formative question, but for linguists the first inquiry is “where is the ‘blue’?” Blue—or just “blue”—is absent from Homer’s epics, rich in descriptions and other colors though they are.

Through the Language Glass: Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9780312610494
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Picador - August 30th, 2011

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