The five women featured in the nine stories of Susi Wyss’s debut, The Civilized World (Holt, $15), are from various cultures and countries linked by the commonalities of life: longing, fear, love, grief. As the stories progress, the women’s lives intersect and the novelistic aspects of the book emerge. In “Names,” Ophelia, the wife of an American Foreign Service Officer, writes down the names of Malawians she meets—a desperate attempt to manage the emotions around her infertility. Ophelia reappears in “Waiting for Solomon” as she tours Ethiopia with Janice while both women wait for child adoptions to be finalized. In the last story, “There Are No Accidents,” Janice happens upon a beauty salon in Ghana run by her former employee, Adjoa, whose twin brother robbed Janice’s house. Wyss’s humane portrait of modern Africa and African women is carefully drawn and astutely, beautifully delivered.

The Civilized World Cover Image
ISBN: 9780805093629
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Holt McDougal - April 12th, 2011

The orphaned nephew of a pastor, Jacob de Zoet is an earnest and naïve clerk with the Dutch East Indies Company. As he arrives on the tiny island of Dejima off the coast of Japan, his goals are two-fold: to prove his worth to his intended’s father and to wipe clean the corruption rampant in the Company. While the Europeans are strictly isolated from the Japanese population, Jacob nonetheless falls in love with a Japanese midwife, Orito, and her story widens the plot into a suspenseful saga of power and passion. David Mitchell is a spellbinding author and The Thousand Autumns Of Jacob De Zoet (Random House, $15), like Jacob himself, is an endearing creation.

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet: A Novel Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780812976366
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - March 8th, 2011

Grab a sketchbook and some pencils and pens! Ivan Brunetti will lead you through a fifteen- week course on how to create your own comics. Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice (Yale Univ., $13) is a small, thin book—but packed with ideas, tips, and exercises. You will begin with doodles to find your own “visual handwriting,” and progress through single-panel cartoons all the way to a four-page story. Brunetti has many clever exercises (condense your favorite novel into a drawing), but always stresses the hard, continuing work of daily drawing. “Practice is philosophy,” he says, and if you follow the course (or even try it for a few weeks), good things will happen.

Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780300170993
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Yale University Press - March 29th, 2011

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