Staff Pick

Thomas Page McBee was the first trans man to fight in a charity boxing match at the Madison Square Garden in 2016. In his second memoir, Amateur (Scribner, $24), he uses the story of his training to examine masculinity, gender, and navigating the world of boxing as a trans person. McBee is a raw writer: his prose is precise and tender, exposing all his vulnerabilities and worries. He looks at violence and gender stereotypes and what they do to men, and yet his empathy is coupled with the need to be better and be accountable for his thoughts and actions. McBee is one of the most articulate and self-aware authors working today, and Amateur is a beautiful and eye-opening read.

Amateur: A True Story About What Makes a Man Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501168741
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Scribner - August 14th, 2018

Staff Pick

The backstory to Elaine Pagels’s The Origin of Satan, Revelations, and groundbreaking studies of the Gnostic gospels is as much emotional as scholarly. As she realized when she was asked Why Religion? (Ecco, $27.99) her own life illuminates both why she’s made a career of studying religious texts as well as why religion itself still exists in the supposedly secular 21st-century. The daughter and wife of scientists, Pagels was taught early on to trust the rational, despite her biologist father’s unpredictable bouts of rage. At fifteen she went with friends to a Billy Graham crusade and was astonished, hearing Graham preach about nuclear weapons, to learn that science wasn’t always trustworthy. She was also intrigued by the shared spectacle of music and ritual, and craved experiences that would similarly “engage the imagination.” Pagels fell away from evangelicalism soon after finding it, but she continued to look for, and discover, experiences that could only be called spiritual. Then in 1987 Pagels’s five-year old son died, followed in July 1988 by the death of her husband, the physicist Heinz Pagels. Struggling to face these incomprehensible losses, Pagels plunged into the Gnostic gospels once again, she discovered other ways to shape grief and to interpret the problem of suffering in the world.

Why Religion?: A Personal Story Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062368539
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ecco - November 6th, 2018

Staff Pick

When he was nineteen, John Kaag was so devoted to Nietzsche that he nearly killed himself following in his footsteps on an Alpine trek. Nearly twenty years later, Kaag is still drawn to that ascetic ideal. Though he understands things in Nietzsche that he didn’t before, he makes a second pilgrimage to Sils Maria, the village where Nietzsche lived from 1883 to 1888. In Hiking With Nietzsche (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, $26) he's still hoping to reach the heights, but this time, he brings a wife and four-year-old daughter, as well as a more mature perspective that finds Zarathustra not a guide to the unalloyed truth, but a work by a dissatisfied, imperfect individual. Kaag largely maintains this clear-eyed, unromantic view throughout this refreshing and insightful book that, like the wonderful American Philosophy, is as much memoir as it is biography and history of ideas.

Hiking with Nietzsche: On Becoming Who You Are Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374170011
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - September 25th, 2018