Staff Pick

This is, as the title indicates, a lot of poetry. But flip through it. Read a couple. Look at those messy lines that make up her quirky little sketches. Some still debate the literary merit of her work, but though she may couch her revelatory insights in what reads like plebeian’s prose, Smith is indeed a master of the form. Whether she is playing with your expectations of meter and rhyme by doing the exact opposite of what’s considered flowing and lovely (sometimes creating an awkward cacophony that is hard to say at all, let alone without laughing), or bluntly making fun of her English brethren, she is unabashedly and wholeheartedly her own category of poet. One worth unabashedly and wholeheartedly exploring.

All The Poems: Stevie Smith Cover Image
By Stevie Smith, Will May (Editor)
ISBN: 9780811223805
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: New Directions - February 22nd, 2016

Staff Pick

The mystically precocious Hong Gildong should have been an heir, but when fate takes a Shakespearean twist, this perfect heir is born to a concubine. Thus, he begins his life as a bastard, barred by tradition from serving his noble father, becoming a soldier, or working as a civil servant. The source of jealousy among his father’s mistresses and wife, he survives an assassination attempt and is forced to leave his home town. A virtuous prodigy, Gildong becomes a bandit that robs from the rich and provides for the poor. In this way, among several others, this folktale shares enough with western literary tradition to give English readers an extra layer of intrigue while discovering the destiny of this famous Korean hero.

The Story of Hong Gildong Cover Image
By Minsoo Kang (Translated by), Minsoo Kang (Introduction by), Minsoo Kang (Notes by)
ISBN: 9780143107699
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Classics - March 15th, 2016

Adam Johnson follows-up his Pulitzer-winning second novel, The Orphan Master’s Son, with this collection of rich, expansive stories. Winning this year’s National Book Award for fiction, Fortune Smiles (Random House, $27) showcases Johnson’s craft and emotional reach. “Nirvana” portrays a programmer whose wife is suffering from a severe auto-immune disease. The woman finds solace in the unlikely pairing of a digital simulacrum of the President of the United States and a soundtrack of Nirvana music. This sounds like a writing prompt: who can turn these plot elements into a compelling statement about adulthood, suffering, pop culture, and technology? Well, the answer is right here. In “George Orwell Was a Friend of Mine,” a former sswarden of a Stasi prison denies many details about his past, even as irrefutable evidence surfaces; the warden’s ostensibly innocent revisionism makes him the most fascinating character here. And in the title story, Johnson returns to Korea, scene of Orphan Master’s Son, chronicling the efforts of two North Korean defectors to adjust to their new lives in Seoul. From the range of his subjects to the depth of his treatment of complex themes, Johnson’s mastery makes each story distinct and unforgettable.

Fortune Smiles: Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812997477
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Random House - August 18th, 2015

Fortune Smiles: Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812987232
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - October 4th, 2016