What can birds teach us about the the planet’s ancient history? Who is Merry Clayton and how did she shape the musical landscape of music with one killer vocal track? What will planet Earth look like once we’re through with it? You can find the answers in this week’s new releases.
The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country by Amanda Gorman
On January 20, 2021, Amanda Gorman became the sixth and youngest poet to deliver a poetry reading at a presidential inauguration. Taking the stage after the 46th president of the United States, Joe Biden, Gorman captivated the nation and brought hope to viewers around the globe. Her poem “The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country” can now be cherished in this special gift edition. Including an enduring foreword by Oprah Winfrey, this keepsake celebrates the promise of America and affirms the power of poetry.
Almost two hundred years later, Jonathan Meiburg takes up this chase. He takes us through South America, from the fog-bound coasts of Tierra del Fuego to the tropical forests of Guyana, in search of these birds: striated caracaras, which still exist, though they’re very rare. He reveals the wild, fascinating story of their history, origins, and possible futures. And along the way, he draws us into the life and work of William Henry Hudson, the Victorian writer and naturalist who championed caracaras as an unsung wonder of the natural world, and to falconry parks in the English countryside, where captive caracaras perform incredible feats of memory and problem-solving. A Most Remarkable Creature is a hybrid of science writing, travelogue, and biography, as generous and accessible as it is sophisticated, and absolutely riveting.
A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance by Hanif Abdurraqib
“A Little Devil In America is a big-hearted, joyous, often somber, dance of poetry and prose from one of our foremost cultural critics. And as he’s proved in previous volumes, Hanif Abdurraqib can write lyrically and poignantly on just about any subject. He lends a careful ear here to decades’ worth of Black art, touching on topics like the work of Dave Chapelle, Merry Clayton’s contribution to one of classic rock’s biggest hits, and and tantalizes every sense as he grooves down memory lane to the sound of ‘Soul Train.’ It’s the kind of work you *feel* page-to-page. Simply put, this is a rich volume that wears its heart on its sleeve.”
— Uriel P.
Networking is often considered a necessary evil for all working professionals. With social media platforms like Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook at our disposal, reaching potential investors or employers is much easier. Yet, these connections often feel transactional, agenda-driven, and dehumanizing, leaving professionals feeling burnt out and stressed out.Instead, we should connect on a human level and build authentic relationships beyond securing a new job or a new investor for your next big idea. To build real and meaningful networking contacts, we need to go back to basics, remembering that technology is a tool and more than just a means to an end. We need to tap into our humanity and learn to be more intentional and authentic.
As a “serial connector” and communications expert, Susan McPherson has a lifetime of experience building genuine connections in and out of work. Her methodology is broken down into three simple steps:
- Gather: Instead of waiting for the perfect networking opportunity to come to you, think outside the box and create your own opportunity. Host your own dinner party, join a local meet-up group, or volunteer at your neighborhood food pantry.
- Ask: Instead of leading with our own rehearsed elevator pitches asking for help, ask to help, opening the door to share resources, experience, contacts, and perspectives that add diversity to your own vision.
- Do: Turn new connections into meaningful relationships by taking these newly formed relationships deeper. Follow through on the promises you made and keep in touch.
Woven together with helpful tips and useful advice on making the most out of every step, this book draws on McPherson’s own experience as a renowned “serial connector,” as well as the real life success stories of friends and clients. Filled with humor, humility, and wisdom, The Lost Art of Connecting is the handbook we all need to foster personal and professional relationships that blur the lines between work and play–and enrich our lives in every way.
Second Nature: Scenes from a World Remade by Nathaniel Rich
From the author of Losing Earth, a beautifully told exploration of our post-natural world that points the way to a new mode of ecological writing.
We live at a time in which scientists race to reanimate extinct beasts, our most essential ecosystems require monumental engineering projects to survive, chicken breasts grow in test tubes, and multinational corporations conspire to poison the blood of every living creature. No rock, leaf, or cubic foot of air on Earth has escaped humanity’s clumsy signature. The old distinctions—between natural and artificial, dystopia and utopia, science fiction and science fact—have blurred, losing all meaning. We inhabit an uncanny landscape of our own creation.
In Second Nature, ordinary people make desperate efforts to preserve their humanity in a world that seems increasingly alien. Their stories—obsessive, intimate, and deeply reported—point the way to a new kind of environmental literature, in which dramatic narrative helps us to understand our place in a reality that resembles nothing human beings have known.
From Odds Against Tomorrow to Losing Earth to the film Dark Waters (adapted from the first chapter of this book), Nathaniel Rich’s stories have come to define the way we think of contemporary ecological narrative. In Second Nature, he asks what it means to live in an era of terrible responsibility. The question is no longer, How do we return to the world that we’ve lost?It is, What world do we want to create in its place?
Of Women and Salt: A Novel by Gabriela Garcia
A sweeping, masterful debut about a daughter’s fateful choice, a mother motivated by her own past, and a family legacy that begins in Cuba before either of them were born
In present-day Miami, Jeanette is battling addiction. Daughter of Carmen, a Cuban immigrant, she is determined to learn more about her family history from her reticent mother and makes the snap decision to take in the daughter of a neighbor detained by ICE. Carmen, still wrestling with the trauma of displacement, must process her difficult relationship with her own mother while trying to raise a wayward Jeanette. Steadfast in her quest for understanding, Jeanette travels to Cuba to see her grandmother and reckon with secrets from the past destined to erupt.
From 19th-century cigar factories to present-day detention centers, from Cuba to Mexico, Gabriela Garcia’s Of Women and Salt is a kaleidoscopic portrait of betrayals—personal and political, self-inflicted and those done by others—that have shaped the lives of these extraordinary women. A haunting meditation on the choices of mothers, the legacy of the memories they carry, and the tenacity of women who choose to tell their stories despite those who wish to silence them, this is more than a diaspora story; it is a story of America’s most tangled, honest, human roots.
The Beauty of Living Twice by Sharon Stone
Sharon Stone tells her own story: a journey of healing, love, and purpose.
Sharon Stone, one of the most renowned actresses in the world, suffered a massive stroke that cost her not only her health, but her career, family, fortune, and global fame. In The Beauty of Living Twice, Stone chronicles her efforts to rebuild her life and writes about her slow road back to wholeness and health. In a business that doesn’t accept failure, in a world where too many voices are silenced, Stone found the power to return, the courage to speak up, and the will to make a difference in the lives of men, women, and children around the globe.
Over the course of these intimate pages, as candid as a personal conversation, Stone talks about her pivotal roles, her life-changing friendships, her worst disappointments, and her greatest accomplishments. She reveals how she went from a childhood of trauma and violence to a career in an industry that in many ways echoed those same assaults, under cover of money and glamour. She describes the strength and meaning she found in her children, and in her humanitarian efforts. And ultimately, she shares how she fought her way back to find not only her truth, but her family’s reconciliation and love.
Stone made headlines not just for her beauty and her talent, but for her candor and her refusal to “play nice,” and it’s those same qualities that make this memoir so powerful. The Beauty of Living Twice is a book for the wounded and a book for the survivors; it’s a celebration of women’s strength and resilience, a reckoning, and a call to activism. It is proof that it’s never too late to raise your voice and speak out.
Who Will Pay Reparations on My Soul?: Essays by Jesse McCarthy
A supremely talented young critic’s essays on race and culture, from Toni Morrison to trap, herald the arrival of a major new voice in American letters.
Ranging from Ta-Nehisi Coates’s case for reparations to Toni Morrison’s revolutionary humanism to D’Angelo’s simmering blend of R&B and racial justice, Jesse McCarthy’s bracing essays investigate with virtuosic intensity the art, music, literature, and political stances that have defined the twenty-first century. Even as our world has suffered through successive upheavals, McCarthy contends, “something was happening in the world of culture: a surging and unprecedented visibility at every level of black art making.” Who Will Pay Reparations on My Soul? reckons with this resurgence, arguing for the central role of art and intellectual culture in an age of widening inequality and moral crisis.
McCarthy reinvigorates the essay form as a space not only for argument but for experimental writing that mixes and chops the old ways into new ones. In “Notes on Trap,” he borrows a conceit from Susan Sontag to reveal the social and political significance of trap music, the drug-soaked strain of Southern hip-hop that, as he puts it, is “the funeral music that the Reagan Revolution deserves.” In “Back in the Day,” McCarthy, a black American raised in France, evokes his childhood in Paris through an elegiac account of French rap in the 1990s. In “The Master’s Tools,” the relationship between Spanish painter Diego Velázquez and his acolyte-slave, Juan de Pareja, becomes the lens through which Kehinde Wiley’s paintings are viewed, while “To Make a Poet Black” explores the hidden blackness of Sappho and the erotic power of Phillis Wheatley. Essays on John Edgar Wideman, Claudia Rankine, and Colson Whitehead survey the state of black letters. In his title essay, McCarthy takes on the question of reparations, arguing that true progress will not come until Americans remake their institutions in the service of true equality. As he asks, “What can reparations mean when the damage cannot be accounted for in the only system of accounting that a society recognizes?”
For readers of Teju Cole’s Known and Strange Things and Mark Greif’s Against Everything, McCarthy’s essays portray a brilliant young critic at work, making sense of our disjointed times while seeking to transform our understanding of race and art, identity and representation.
New in Paperback
Where the Crawdads Sing: A Novel by Delia Owens
Redhead by the Side of the Road: A Novel by Anne Tyler
These titles and more are available for purchase in-store or online from BookPeople today.