Staff Pick

Tolentino writes from an explicitly millennial perspective, but the “generation-defining” forces she so ably and deeply explores—the internet, feminism, sexual harassment, the 2016 election--have touched everyone alive today, no matter when they were born. Blending the intimate, honest approach of a personal essayist—one not afraid to show us her weaker moments—with an experienced cultural critic’s skepticism and range, Tolentino both clarifies and complicates every subject she touches, from athleisure-wear and reality shows (her story of appearing in one is priceless) to “difficult women” and drug use. Calling the name of today’s game “scamming,” she draws on her own early experiences with blogs, books, and a megachurch—christened by its youthful members “the Repentagon”—to dissect some of the artifices at work on us today. These are mostly web-based, but even with familiar suspects like Amazon and Facebook Tolentino adds a lot to our understanding of how these forces work on us and how they stay so powerful; her discussion of the internet as a theatre without a backstage is apt and memorable, as are her expositions of how feminism still knuckles under to the “tyranny of the ideal woman” and of how intensive marketing, dating only from the nuptials of Queen Victoria, has created “traditional” weddings where, for just tens of thousands of dollars, every woman can get the royal treatment for a day.

Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525510543
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Random House - August 6th, 2019

Staff Pick

Blackburn’s beautiful and empathetic narrative uses memoir, travel, and several sciences to investigate the nature of time by way of an exploration of Doggerland, the submerged landmass that until 6,000 years ago connected Britain to Europe. A phenomenon as well as a casualty of climate change, Doggerland, which at various periods was a savannah and a frozen steppe, existed only vaguely until North Sea trawlers began hauling up bones, fossils, and tools in the early 20th century. Fascinated with “trying to see through the fact of absence” to what is over yet still exists, Blackburn traveled through Denmark, Holland, and the British coast, talking with archeologists, geologists, and fossil collectors about the deep past. She’s a meticulous observer and her narrative is full of wonderful details, from the laminations that preserve imprints of footsteps or raindrops from tens of thousands of years ago to the rhino fossil with bits of hawthorn in its teeth. Intertwined with these field expeditions are Blackburn’s more personal excavations of time. Revisiting places she once lived, she’s plunged into a past that has all the immediacy of the present; just as when she holds an ancient artefact or repeats an African folktale, she’s struck by the simultaneity of different times. This includes the intimation that “time passes backwards as well as forwards,” and Blackburn’s effort to think her way into the lives of the Doggerlanders as they saw their homeland drowning gives a taste of what people in low-lying areas are beginning to face now as the climate undergoes its next, wrenching upheaval.

Time Song: Journeys in Search of a Submerged Land Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101871676
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Pantheon - August 6th, 2019

Staff Pick

Does time really heal all wounds—or only pass them on? Does history actually repeat itself? For whom? When? In a series of case studies that shift the focus from the motives and humanity of the rescuer to those of the people needing help, Tumarkin’s passionate and compassionate study of trauma explores “what …humans do with their pain” and dramatically shows that there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Why did one child survivor of the Holocaust become a dynamic force in the entertainment world while another landed in jail for trying to protect her grandson? For both, their early experiences remained a daily reality, permeating their lives with the unmistakable “atmosphere” of the Holocaust. Even more difficult to explain is suicide. Do children of parents who killed themselves feel compelled to repeat the last act of their parent? The fear that one suicide will spark another inhibits even raising the subject, and Tumarkin’s chapter on a series of young peoples’ suicides within one community is both heartbreaking and revelatory. If suicide seems to run in families, can it run in a school, that loco parentis? Yet “there’s no space for a suicide in a school’s institutional memory”—even as teachers state that it’s the students they lose, not the success stories, they always remember. Grounded in “the bottomlessness of human endurance,” this is one of the many hard-won—not pat—truths Tumarkin uncovers in this riveting and troubling book.

Axiomatic Cover Image
ISBN: 9781945492297
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Transit Books - September 3rd, 2019