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BEYOND THE HIGH BLUE AIR

When Lu Spinney’s twenty-nine-year-old son, Miles, flies up on his snowboard, “he knows he is not in control as he is taken by force up the ramp,” writes his mother, “skewing sideways as his board clips the edge and then he is hurtling, spinning up, up into the free blue sky ahead . . .” He lands hard on the ice and falls into a coma.

This begins the erratic loss—Miles first in a coma and then trapped in a fluctuating state of minimal consciousness—that unravels over the next five years. Spinney, her husband, and three other children put their lives on hold to tend to Miles at various hospitals and finally in a care home.

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THE WRONG WAY TO SAVE YOUR LIFE

From an important new American writer comes this powerful collection of personal essays on fear, creativity, art, faith, academia, the Internet, and justice.

In this poignant and inciting collection of literary essays, Megan Stielstra tells stories to ward off fears both personal and universal as she grapples toward a better way to live. In her titular piece “The Wrong Way To Save Your Life,” she answers the question of what has value in our lives—a question no longer rhetorical when the apartment above her family’s goes up in flames. “Here is My Heart” sheds light on Megan’s close relationship with her father,

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THE ART OF DEATH

Edwidge Danticat’s The Art of Death: Writing the Final Story is at once a personal account of her mother dying from cancer and a deeply considered reckoning with the ways that other writers have approached death in their own work. “Writing has been the primary way I have tried to make sense of my losses,” Danticat notes in her introduction. “I have been writing about death for as long as I have been writing.” The book moves outward from the shock of her mother’s diagnosis and sifts through Danticat’s writing life and personal history, all the while shifting fluidly from examples that range from Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude to Toni Morrison’s Sula. 

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NO TIME TO SPARE

Ursula K. Le Guin on the absurdity of denying your age: “If I’m ninety and believe I’m forty-five, I’m headed for a very bad time trying to get out of the bathtub.” 

On cultural perceptions of fantasy: “The direction of escape is toward freedom. So what is ‘escapism’ an accusation of?” 

On breakfast: “Eating an egg from the shell takes not only practice, but resolution, even courage, possibly willingness to commit crime.”

Ursula K. Le Guin has taken readers to imaginary worlds for decades. Now she’s in the last great frontier of life,

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PERSEPOLIS

New York Times Notable Book
Time Magazine “Best Comix of the Year”
San Francisco Chronicle and Los Angeles Times Bestseller

Wise, funny, and heartbreaking, Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi’s graphic memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution.

In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah’s regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq.

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WHEN SONGBIRDS RETURNED TO PARIS

When Germany invades France in 1940, Cecily Lefort can’t imagine how the aristocratic comforts of life as a French doctor’s wife are about to disappear. A return to native England eventually leads Cecily back to France, this time as a secret agent. Cecily is one of 13 female Special Operations Executive (SOE) spies who do not survive to tell their story.

But a 100-year old family-owned photograph of Cecily inspires author E.M. (Elizabeth) Sloan to travel to Paris and investigate the story of Cecily’s life–and death. The intuitive conversation between Elizabeth and Cecily–based on war documents, letters, and interviews–spins an international web of intrigue that captures the raw emotions of love and war.

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