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Author Archive: "Renee P."

Karate Chop

The first work to be translated into English by Danish author Dorthe Nors is a slim collection of brief, surprising stories exploring everything from a teenager losing her virginity to a retired husband's secret obsession with female murderers. These are slippery tales — just as you're starting to get a grasp on where they're headed, they shift, they swell. Norse's writing is wonderfully unrestrained yet manages to capture our innermost fears and desires and hang-ups at record speed. A pointed, powerful read.


Here

In this magnificent expansion of a piece he did in 1989, McGuire fixes his lens on one patch of land spanning millions of years. Through vivid illustrations, we see life playing out — with appearances by dinosaurs, Native Americans, early settlers, modern families, futuristic creatures, and more — in a grand yet remarkably intimate display. The effect is astonishing and absolutely unforgettable.


The Best American Infographics 2014

A good infographic uses elegant visuals to convey compelling information. An exceptional infographic can also surprise, entertain, even inspire. From a whimsical map of one cat's secret life to an exquisite charting of unmanned space missions to the illuminating "How to Pick a Pope," this anthology shows the full range of what infographics are capable of.


Family Furnishings: Selected Stories, 1995-2014

A much-awaited volume from the winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature, Family Furnishings draws on the past two decades of Munro's short fiction and features some of her most emotionally packed, subtly revealing stories. Take it all in and enjoy the intimate, memorable worlds this masterful author creates.


Ancient Trees

In a tribute to old-growth forests, Moon's breathtaking photo book — comprised of nearly 70 full-page portraits — captures the dignified beauty of some of earth's most resilient life forms. Be it a gnarled 1,500-year-old yew in England, a contorted bristlecone pine in California, or a stately baobab in Madagascar, each featured tree displays a rich history that will leave you humbled.


The Luminaries

Set in 19th-century New Zealand amidst the frenzy of a gold rush, Catton's stunningly ambitious novel pays homage to Victorian masterpieces but is far from traditional. The characters and structure are ruled by the Zodiac, and as the chapters wane in size, powers shift and revelations multiply. A flawlessly executed literary achievement and winner of the 2013 Man Booker Prize.


Not That Kind of Girl

Lena Dunham has no filter, and it's hard not to love her for it. Here we get an entire book of her charming blend of unapologetic strangeness and deadpan humor. Fans will find out just how much of her past work is autobiographical, and if you're not a fan, Dunham may just win you over with this book.


Stone Mattress

Peopled by the bewildered, the belittled, the aging, the tales in Stone Mattress follow characters deposited in modern society but haunted by a palpable, insistent past. Atwood is a legend with fiercely devoted fans, but her works are so witty and absorbing that, even if you've never picked up one of her books, you'll immediately feel at home.


The Human Age

In her sweeping survey of the way humans have fundamentally altered the planet, Ackerman once again dazzles with her luminous prose and boundless curiosity. Far from a book weighed down by doom, The Human Age examines both our mistakes and our triumphs to demonstrate that, while we can't reverse course, we can forge a new path to sustainability.


Things Fall Apart

Before Things Fall Apart was published in 1958, few novels existed in English that depicted African life from the African perspective. And while the book has paved the way for countless authors since, Chinua Achebe's illuminating work remains a classic of modern African literature. Drawing on the history and customs passed down to him, Achebe tells the tale Okonkwo, a strong-willed member of a late-19th-century Nigerian village. As we follow Okonkwo's story, we get a glimpse of the intricacies of village life and the complex social structures that come into play. We then see the devastating effects of European colonization on the region and on Okonkwo himself, whose rise and fall become intertwined with the changing power dynamics. Things Fall Apart is essential reading for anyone who wants a more nuanced understanding of other ways of life, of culture clashes, of what being civilized really entails.


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