The Underground Railroad - Colson Whitehead

Staff Pick

The devil’s in the details of Colson Whitehead’s Underground Railroad (Doubleday, $26.95). Taking direction from American slave narratives, the novel confronts the linked heritage of slaveocracy and democracy seeking to ensnare the fugitive teenage orphan, Cora. Cora’s flight from a Georgia plantation and from the slave catcher, Ridgeway, propels her towards fleeting notions of freedom on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line. As a subversive text, the novel undermines historical fiction with its fantastic literal dimension of locomotives, train tracks, and subterranean stations; it also outdoes the historical Underground Railroad’s metaphorical network of passageways, covert conductors, and secret safe houses. Colson’s ornate craft deftly depicts America’s reign of terror, inspiring reconciliation.

The Underground Railroad (Pulitzer Prize Winner) (National Book Award Winner) (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel By Colson Whitehead Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385542364
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Doubleday - August 2nd, 2016

Writings on the Wall: Searching for a New Equality Beyond Black and White - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Staff Pick

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA’s all-time leading scorer and a six-time champion, gracefully extended his personal spotlight to an international platform of social justice (as well as to literature: he’s written several history books, autobiographies, mysteries, children’s books, and graphic novels). Now he merges these passions and rallies for the win with Writings on the Wall: Searching for a New Equality beyond Black and White (Time Home, $27.95). Working with his frequent co-writer Raymond Obstfeld, Abdul-Jabbar deploys history and statistics to assess America’s current state of angst with regard to Islamophobia, media bias, rape culture, and the social plague of inequality reflected in housing, education, employment, sexism, and racial profiling. To keep these themes poignant, lyrical, and connected, the authors put them in a musical framework, drawing from songs as a source for chapter titles and segues; give a listen to Marvin Gaye’s “Makes Me Wanna Holler,” Imagine Dragons” “Radioactive,” and Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition.” The latter initiates the book with the haunting refrain: “...when you believe in things you don’t understand, then you suffer/superstition ain’t the way.” Through its elevating soundtrack and accessible discourse, Writings on the Wall offers and inspires solutions, encouraging fundamental change and renewing belief in the power of community.

Writings on the Wall: Searching for a New Equality Beyond Black and White By Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Raymond Obstfeld Cover Image
ISBN: 9781618931719
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Time Home Entertainment - August 23rd, 2016

Nasty Galaxy - Sophia Amoruso

Staff Pick

After bottling lighting and infusing it into the Rodeo Drive retail brands of Nasty Gal and #Girlboss, Sophia Amoruso repeats this feat with Nasty Galaxy (Putnam, $37). Comprised, in part, of fashion + interior design, photography, recipes, and profiles on glam punk, riot grrrl, womanist icons (Patti Smith, Tura Santana, Pam Grier, Siouxie Sioux), Nasty Galaxy thrives on free association as Amoruso charts a cosmology of kick-ass. Each of the twelve chapters, appended to a corresponding astrological sign, is heralded by the artwork of an iconic album cover, featuring artists such as Bauhaus, Betty Davis, and David Bowie. This luminous volume, swathed in a hot pink cloth cover, reads like a hypnotic Instragram feed, or an analog version of your favorite Tumblr/Pintrest board. Accordingly, its additional featured lists and assorted quotes pop like memes on the lustrous pages of its square folio, including one attributed to the oft black-clad rocker, Joan Jett—“I Don’t Look Good In Beige.” Immersed in defiant style and self-assuring swagger, Nasty Galaxy will lighten moods and brighten any room.

Nasty Galaxy By Sophia Amoruso Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399174889
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - October 4th, 2016