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“I have a good poker face because I am half dead inside.”

Although a native New Yorker, when Colson Whitehead appears at Brazos on May 27, it will be a homecoming of sorts. Years ago, while lecturing at the University of Houston’s Creative Writing Program, Colson actually lived with Brazos founder Karl Kilian, and we couldn’t be more excited about his return!

Since then, of course he’s gone on to write several of the most unique novels of our time and won numerous prestigious awards, including a Guggenheim and a MacArthur Fellowship (the “genius grant”). And he has never failed to intrigue. Whether dealing with warring factions of elevator operators in THE INTUITIONIST, exploring the influence of American folklore in JOHN HENRY DAYS, or using the zombie apocalypse as an allegory for the gentrification of NYC in ZONE ONE, Colson’s fiction is always riveting, socially-engaged and best of all...weird.

Now, with THE NOBLE HUSTLE, he focuses his prodigious talents on nonfiction, with an incredibly funny and insightful look at American culture through the lens of one of its strangest sporting spectacles--the World Series of Poker. “I have a good poker face because I am half dead inside,” Colson begins, initiating the reader on an absurd journey into his own private Republic of Anhedonia (a kind of personal mythological realm founded on “the inability to experience pleasure”). And so, what begins as a reporting assignment for the sports quarterly Grantland, becomes an existential odyssey of unsparing, hilarious self-deprecation, piercing social commentary and delicious delicious beef jerky. Even if you have no interest in poker per se, there is plenty to love about THE NOBLE HUSTLE. Actually, it’s less about poker than the lengths Americans will go to find excitement, diversion and success--and what that search says about us as people. You will laugh out loud and awkwardly cringe while reading this book, quite often on the same page. It’s the perfect book for sports fans as well as fans of cultural criticism and just plain good writing. I can’t recommend it enough.

Ante up and take a chance on THE NOBLE HUSTLE!

The Noble Hustle: Poker, Beef Jerky, and Death Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9780385537056
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Doubleday Books - May 6th, 2014

Found in Translation

Salvador Novo (1904-1974) was a noted Mexican poet, playwright and intellectual known for his place amongst the modernist writers group Los Contemporáneos as well as his brave and unapologetic attitude towards his own homosexuality during an era where machismo was king. Written in 1945, but not published until 2008, Novo’s memoir, PILLAR OF SALT, describes, in unabashed detail, Novo’s coming of age during the brutal years of the Mexican Revolution. PILLAR OF SALT teems with vivid descriptions of Mexico on the verge of industrialization. It is a superb memoir, beautifully honest and brimming with Novo’s unique voice.

The most recent edition of PILLAR OF SALT, translated from the Spanish by Marguerite Feitlowitz, came to us directly with a written recommendation from the University of Texas Press’s Brian Contine. He said, "I know how much you guys love translations. You've never seen anything like this." In addition to the memoir, the book includes a brief but in-depth historical introduction by Carlos Monsiváis and and nineteen erotic sonnets written by Novo. When Brian heard about our enthusiasm for the book, he put us in touch with Marguerite to discuss the work involved in translating Novo.

We conducted this interview with Ms. Feitlowitz via email

BB: Your translation is very lucid and straightforward; was the source of your translation a manuscript of Salvador Novo’s or a Spanish-language edition of his memoir and poems?
MF: Estatua de Sal was originally published in 1945. However, I worked from the 2002 edition, which was prepared with great expertise by the late great Mexican publisher Guillermo Rousset Banda, and issued in 2002, with the Monsiváis introduction, by the Mexican Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes [National Consortium for Culture and the Arts). Rousset Banda had been very close to Novo, who brought him the pages for several of his major books, including the 18 Sonetos (1954) and the Poesia Completa (1955).

BB: Whenever we tell people about the subject matter of PILLAR OF SALT they always say that they know very little about that particular period of history and/or subject. What first drew your attention to Novo and his writings? Has this period of history been of interest to you for a long time?
MF: Actually, I was in the same boat, so I did a fair amount of background reading. I was invited to undertake the translation by Theresa May, who until just recently and for many years brilliantly directed the University of Texas Press. Novo’s writing immediately captivated me; the combination of elegance, humor, role-playing, and brave exposure was just extraordinary. The “feel” of his sentences as I worked was delicious; his prose is beautifully crafted, and yet feels natural.

BB: We imagine translating is a very intimate process, and Novo tells all but in such a way that you feel like you’re only getting a sip of the juiciest secret. What were some of the biggest challenges - if any - in translating Novo’s writing?
MF: Your intuition is absolutely right. Translation is an intimate activity; you need to get inside the text; and it’s as a writer in your own language that you find your way out, toward your readers. Now that I think of it, it’s a lovely combination of the personal and the public. As for challenges with Novo: as you point out, he can sometimes withhold as much as elsewhere he reveals. And yet there is never any murkiness in his writing; everything is limpid, every word feels right. One tries to live up to that! In some of the sonnets, for example, he writes down-and-dirty sex in rigorously formal verse. While I did not transfer his rhyme scheme line for line, I did work to achieve a high level of formality in which to enfold the “scandalous” content.

BB: What is your process for translating a book? How do you negotiate between an author’s intention and the direct, literal translation of their written words? Does this process change between translating his memoir and his poems? Did you try anything different or out of the box for this particular work?
MF: Every book is different. A great deal, at least for me, depends on the genre. I’ve translated many plays, and there the lines need obviously to be spoken, they need to feel right in the mouth, in an actor’s mouth; each line needs to move things forward. With prose works, I usually start by making a fast “sketch” or draft, and then I go back to correct, revise, and refine. You ask if for this book I needed to try out new things: the sonnets—for the reasons I mentioned above—presented a special challenge. Thank the gods for thesauri and rhyming dictionaries! I’ve lately been translating some wonderful stories by the Argentine writer Luisa Valenzuela; as I knew these texts would end in unexpected ways, I cast only a glance at the final pages before translating them; I wanted to have the experience of surprise as an integral part of my process.

BB: Some of the passages from PILLAR OF SALT read like an adventure story (the passage where Pancho Villa’s men murder Novo’s uncle is especially harrowing); was there anything that surprised you about Novo, Los Contemporáneos, or Mexican History during the translation?
MF: I am glad you mention that parts of PILLAR OF SALT are harrowing—not out of any perverse desire to attract readers through fear-mongering, but because it attests to Novo’s bravery in the face of brutality. The Revolution was fought, often guerrilla style, from house to house, including that of the Novo family. And, yes, there is, as you say, a great deal of adventure in these pages: his coming-of-age; his outright pluck and inventiveness; his hatred of hypocrisy, which often led to scenes that are as hilarious as they are unsettling.

BB: We loved some of the nicknames that Novo and his compatriots used to describe their friends…
MF: Novo was incredibly social, and as you point out, he had a genius for nicknames. These were sometimes tough, to be honest: the monikers hold several layers of satire, self-satire, and cleverness born of rage.

BB: How does your own imagination and interpretation play into translating a book into English?
MF: Translation is indeed an act of interpretation. That’s why it’s so instructive to read multiple translations of the same text. In my courses on The Art of Literary Translation, we always do this: I particularly like looking at translations, say, of Racine or Góngora, Dante or Cervantes, done over the course of centuries. One can see what each translator emphasized (rhyme? cadence? vocal texture? pacing?), saw or heard in each word and phrase. I couldn’t say exactly how my own imagination plays into my translations, and that’s probably a good thing. Translation is the meeting of two writers, with all the intuitive dynamics that implies; but one’s first allegiance is to the text in question, to its ways and habits of expression.

BB: What was your first literary translation? Your favorite? What is your next project?
MF: I made my first literary translations in college (Colgate University), at the suggestion of a much-admired professor, Joseph P. Slater, who had edited Emerson’s letters. Professor Slater encouraged me to translate T.S. Eliot’s French poems during my time studying in France; I did this (the poems are slight, but the exercise got me hooked). My first published translation was a collection of plays by Liliane Atlan, a French Holocaust playwright, poet, and novelist. There too I was brought in to the project by chance: Elinor Fuchs, the esteemed theatre critic, was compiling the anthology Plays of the Holocaust, and James Leverett, the eminent dramaturg and my then-boss at Theatre Communications Group (TCG) suggested me. One of those plays, Mister Fugue, is found in Elinor’s anthology; and that play together with two others works comprise Theatre Pieces: An Anthology by Liliane Atlan. The late Bettina Knapp, who had written extensively on French literature and theatre, did the Introduction for that volume; and she was an essential support. I’d go to her gorgeous, art-filled apartment on West 86th St, in Manhattan, from my own fleabag a couple of blocks away, early in the morning; she’d feed me breakfast and we’d go over every word. I was very young and she was very learned; it was thrilling!

It is hard to say if I have a favorite project, I have loved them all. But the work I did on Griselda Gambaro, whose writing was banned by the last Argentine dictatorship (1976-83) led me to my first original book, A LEXICON OF TERROR: Argentina and the Legacies of Torture (Oxford University Press). My encounter with Griselda opened a new world for me as a writer, scholar, and translator. It marked a huge turning point in my life.

Among the translation projects I have in hand are a short novel by Luis Gusmán and short stories by Luisa Valenzuela, both Argentines.

BB: We’ve read that you speak (or understand) Ladino, a mixture of Hebrew and Spanish. That’s incredible! What inspired you to learn it? What kind of work, if any, have you done with the language?
MF: I fell in love with Ladino many years ago while living in Barcelona around the corner from an antiquarian bookseller who had some amazing volumes. I have not, or let me say, have not yet made any literary translations from Ladino. There are numerous Ladinos—in Spain, Italy, France, Portugal. I am Jewish, with a mother who was Italian, and so languages (English, Italian, French, some Yiddish) were just naturally a part of our family life, and I’ve always been grateful for it. But you asked about Ladino. A particularly beautiful contemporary Ladino work is by the late great Argentine poet Juan Gelman: it’s called Dibaixu, and is printed bilingually, in his Spanish and Ladino. Gelman had been inspired by the French-Bosnian poet Clarisse Nicoïdski, whose poems he’d read in her Ladino. So you see, one language leads to another and to another and before you know it, there’s a new work of literary genius!

Thank you, Mary and Mark, and to all of you who work and shop at Brazos Bookstore for your support of works in translation and for this opportunity to talk about PILLAR OF SALT.

Thank you, Marguerite! We have copies of PILLAR OF SALT in the store for anyone whose interest is piqued!

Pillar of Salt: An Autobiography, with 19 Erotic Sonnets Cover Image
By Salvador Novo, Marguerite Feitlowitz (Translator), Carlos Monsivais (Introduction by)
$35.00
ISBN: 9780292705418
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: University of Texas Press - April 1st, 2014

Tim Russert Is Dead. But the Room is Alive.

THIS TOWN (Two Parties and a Funeral--Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking!--in America's Gilded Capital), Mark Leibovich's fascinating expose of Washington D.C. and Capitol Hill's incestuous and limelight-obsessed culture, splashed onto the nonfiction scene last summer. It instantly captivated us with its mercilessly cutting anecdotes of the movers and shakers and hangers-on of our nation's capital. We're thrilled to welcome Mark Leibovich to Brazos Bookstore on Tuesday, May 6 at 7PM for THIS TOWN's paperback release.

As the chief national correspondent for The New York Times Magazine, Leibovich has been hailed by pundits nationwide for his clear-eyed political profiles of the players in America's political game. Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic hailed Leibovich for his "ability to make his profile subjects look like rock stars, on the one hand, and to make others look like complete idiots, on the other," an ability that Leibovich brings to bear on the entirety of THIS TOWN. THIS TOWN opens a Pandora's box of secrets and unspoken codes of Capitol Hill, bringing to light all the ritual, madness, and dysfunction that Washington outsiders never see. Beginning with Meet the Press host Tim Russert's funeral in October 2008 and proceeding from there, THIS TOWN never shies away from describing, in lurid detail, the decidedly unglamorous side of politics.

After THIS TOWN's release, Leibovich found himself inundated with tweets and emails as readers shared their own politics-related quotes and anecdotes, all tagged #ThisTown, all remarking on the typical Washington-ness of each instance, whether it was skirting the issue at hand, partisan political punditry, or nigh-Orwellian levels of verbal gymnastics. Leibovich retells his experience of THIS TOWN's release and reception, including some of the responses he received from players mentioned in the book, in a completely new afterword for the paperback edition. If you feel like laughing until you cry--and then maybe actually crying about the state of our nation--join us Tuesday at 7PM for an evening with Mark Leibovich.

Why Generosity Trumps Genius

Austin Kleon’s STEAL LIKE AN ARTIST made him the mentor of the new generation of creative types everywhere. STEAL LIKE AN ARTIST offered a simple idea: let the creativity of others inspire your own. His follow-up, SHOW YOUR WORK, handles the next steps in the creative process: getting your work into the world so it can be discovered, and inspiring others in turn. Join us in-store April 30 at 7PM to hear Austin Kleon talk about SHOW YOUR WORK and his own adventures in stealing work, showing his own, and finding that most elusive thing for writers and artists: success.

Kleon, an Austin-based, self-described “writer who draws,” worked as a librarian, a web designer, and an advertising copywriter before becoming a published author. His first book, NEWSPAPER BLACKOUT, features poetry created by redacting words from newspaper articles in permanent marker. Kleon’s blackout poetry sparked a movement, and he regularly publishes his own blackout poetry and submissions from readers all over the world on NewspaperBlackout.com. STEAL LIKE AN ARTIST, Kleon’s second book, sprang from a talk he gave to students at a community college in New York. Kleon wrote down the ten things about creativity he wished someone had told him when he was starting out as a writer, and his slides and art from the talk went viral. Kleon expanded that talk into STEAL LIKE AN ARTIST, which became a New York Times bestseller and has now been translated into over a dozen languages.

SHOW YOUR WORK lays out a roadmap to building an audience and learning how to survive as an artist in the public eye. In ten pocket-size chapters, SHOW YOUR WORK offers concrete tips and tools for today’s Internet-obsessed and procrastinating society on ways to get your creative work out there, develop the thicker skin necessary to grow as an artist, and make your work worthy of being stolen in turn. Kleon follows his own advice, as well, showing his newest work and sharing his latest steps in his own creative process on his Tumblr and Pinterest sites. Kleon’s playful style and genuine insight make his workshops, readings, and speaking engagements unforgettable experiences (check out his talks at places like SXSW, Pixar, and Google). With Austin Kleon as your guide, the scary process of putting your work out into the world for people to see will be a lot less daunting, believe us. Join us for an evening with him and find out for yourself just how easy creativity can be!

Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered Cover Image
$12.95
ISBN: 9780761178972
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Workman Publishing - April 15th, 2014

An Appreciation of Gertrude Stein

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who love Gertrude Stein and those who fear her. Which category you fall into has less to do with how intelligent you are than with your ability to enjoy writing that doesn’t adhere to the narrative conventions we usually take for granted. Once you read her, Stein’s passionate patronage of modern visual art makes total sense. The subject of her writing is the experience of language, just as a Picasso painting is about the experience of looking at an image.

Stein wrote in a wide variety of modes, often irreverently toying with old, tired conventions until they became strange and fresh again. While some of her experiments are considered scarcely readable, like her 900+ page magnum opus THE MAKING OF AMERICANS, others, like THREE LIVES and her children’s book, THE WORLD IS ROUND, are just odd enough without inviting too much readerly frustration. At her best, Stein reads a bit like your favorite dotty old aunt who just so happens to be a cantankerous genius and one of the most fascinating individuals of the twentieth century.

The first thing worth noting about THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF ALICE B. TOKLAS is that it’s not actually an autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, Stein’s lifelong partner and muse. See what I mean about Stein’s tendency to play with form? Instead, Stein tells the story of her own life through Toklas’s eyes, melding their distinctive conversational styles into a brilliant hybrid voice that allows her to capture herself in action much more honestly than she perhaps could have in a more straightforward memoir.

Why go to all that fuss? Well, friends of the couple reported that Stein usually engaged in serious, literary discussion with the mostly male artists who attended her famous salons, while Toklas, an expert cook and slightly more traditional hostess, was confined to polite conversation with the artists’ wives and mistresses. While it might seem that Stein got to have all the fun talking shop with luminaries like Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Braque and Picasso, Toklas was busy soaking up all the juicy gossip about everyone who was anyone in the American community in Paris. The result of this merging of their two perspectives is the single best group portrait we have of nearly every creative American living in the City of Light for more than a decade.

If you like your artists and writers towering and unapproachable, I suggest you settle in with some straight-ahead biographies of your favorites. However, if you’d rather learn about the sordid love affairs, dreadful financial mishaps, personal grooming issues, disturbing eating habits and stupid feuds of the Greats, you need look no farther than this book. If the syntax trips you up, try reading it out loud. You’ll soon realize that this is one of the funniest, most honest, and most modern of all autobiographies, even if it isn’t exactly an autobiography after all.

 

FOR THE TRUE GERTIE ENTHUSIAST, MAY WE ALSO RECOMMEND:

The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9780061995361
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Perennial - August 10th, 2010

Tender Buttons: Objects Cover Image
By Gertrude Stein, Lisa Congdon (Illustrator)
$18.95
ISBN: 9781452112091
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Chronicle Books (CA) - March 26th, 2013

To Do: A Book of Alphabets and Birthdays Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780300170979
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Yale University Press - May 31st, 2011

A True Tale from the Land of Fire and Ice

We can’t stop talking about Hannah Kent’s gripping debut novel BURIAL RITES, and we’re delighted to welcome her to Brazos Bookstore--all the way from Australia!--on April 14 to celebrate the novel’s paperback release. Set against the desolate fire-and-ice landscape of 19th century Iceland, BURIAL RITES is a brilliant, multifaceted novel that traverses dark psychological terrain while providing pitch-perfect historical detail. Kent is equally skilled at delving into the mind of Agnes Magnusdottir---a servant woman convicted of murder and condemned to beheading---as she is at rendering the domestic life of the poor farmers charged with sharing their tiny hovel with her, as there are no prisons in Iceland. At once a brooding morality tale and a ferocious page-turner, BURIAL RITES is the kind of novel that asks serious questions while always remaining superbly entertaining.

Hannah Kent first heard Agnes’ story on a student exchange trip to Iceland. Iceland’s darkly beautiful landscape and vital literary heritage inspired the then-teenage Kent, who struggled with parental expectations of choosing a “career” instead of pursuing her “hobby” of writing. One of Kent’s Icelandic teachers encouraged her to write, however, and after spending a year building a portfolio in Iceland, Kent returned home to Australia and submitted her portfolio to a creative writing program. She is now the co-founder and publishing director of KILL YOUR DARLINGS, one of Australia’s most vibrant literary magazines, and is completing her PhD in creative writing at Flinders University. BURIAL RITES won the 2011 Writing Australia Unpublished Manuscript Award, and was shortlisted for the 2013 Guardian First Book Award and the 2014 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award.

 

Staff Pick Logo
Burial Rites Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780316243926
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Back Bay Books - April 1st, 2014

"A little science, a little history, a little humor and something gross."

Mary Roach's humor and indefatigable spirit of adventure have crowned her as one of America's most popular science authors, despite not being an actual scientist herself. Her role as a scientific outsider makes her the perfect avatar for conversations with experts (conversations she admits needing to fake her way through sometimes), as she makes some of the most cutting-edge and fascinating research accessible to all readers.

When asked by NPR's Peter Sagal how she chooses her topics, Roach replied, "Well, it's got to have a little science, it's got to have a little history, a little humor--and something gross." And what's funnier--or grosser--than our bodies? All of Roach's books focus on the human body in some way, whether it's in death, in space, or in the intricate workings of our own physiology. Humans can be a little scared of the workings of our own bodies, but Roach takes our hand and leads us through sometimes taboo subjects with ease.

Roach's books come to life with laugh-out-loud funny and vivid writing about not only the history of her topics, but her experiences researching them: Roach is never afraid to put her body on the line (and memorably in BONK, her husband's, as well) for the sake of science. In case you're unfamiliar with Roach, we've put together a primer on her body of work to make you a Mary Roach expert by the end of April, just in time for her event at Brazos Bookstore on April 29.

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780393324822
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - May 17th, 2004

Roach's first book, an offshoot of a column she wrote for Salon.com, describes the strange things that happen to human cadavers used for science, and the strange and hilarious things that happen to our bodies after we die. STIFF gives a comprehensive overview of cadaver uses, from the history of cadaver use, including body snatching and the first dissections, to current medical research, crash-test research, and one memorable chapter on "How to Know If You're Dead," about beating-heart cadavers and the search for scientific proof of the soul. STIFF can understandably be a little macabre, but ultimately, Roach demystifies death and the industry surrounding it. Funny, yet respectful, STIFF gives dignity to the sometimes inglorious fates of the bodies of our dearly departed.


Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780393329124
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - October 17th, 2006

Perhaps inspired by the latter chapters of STIFF, SPOOK follows the people using science to try and answer what happens after we die. Can we prove there's a soul? What about an afterlife? Roach's lively experiences include a sheep rancher who weighs his charges as they die, scientists who attempt to record near-death experiences in operating rooms, conrolled experiments with mediums, psychoacoustics experts, and many more. SPOOK begins with Roach announcing her own skepticism with questions of faith: when her mother read her biblical stories as a child, Roach's firmly scientific mind forever searched for the rational explanations behind them. Even from a skeptical point of view, however, Roach never mocks her subjects, even if their ideas are seen as more out-there than others. Roach has a huge empathy for even the most peculiar-seeming ideas and treats all her subjects with respect, giving her topic the full, fascinating treatment it deserves.


Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780393334791
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - April 6th, 2009

BONK brings light to the study of human sexual physiology. Roach, as usual, goes digging for answers for the questions no one else is asking, and does honor to the scientists who do. BONK unravels the history and mythology of sex studies, from Kinsey's attic to pig farms, quantifying the excruciatingly bizarre ways humans attempt to categorize and study sex. BONK is full of facts, and Roach takes the highlights of the dry science and gives us a fascinating insight into just how strange our reproductive methods are. With her usual verve, a totally fearless Roach even puts her own body on the line for her research, bringing her husband with her to London to participate in a "coital imaging study" (read: sex under an ultrasound machine). Told in Roach's trademark comic style, BONK is revealing and riveting, and sometimes cringeworthy. Roach knows her audience well, though, and spares us only the details we truly don't want to know.


Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780393339918
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - April 4th, 2011

Roach loves to take her research to extremes, and what could be more extreme than space? In PACKING FOR MARS, Roach examines the study of bodies in space, asking important questions like how much, exactly, can a body handle in space? What's space's effect on the body? To answer these questions, Roach interviews astronauts and visits to space agencies to investigate their simulators and research methods. PACKING FOR MARS gives us an unflinching look at the less glamorous and glorious aspects of space travel, including the questions of sex in space, body odor in space, and zero gravity everything, including using the bathroom, eating, and what happens if you throw up in a space suit. As always, Roach celebrates human ingenuity, the scientists making human ingenuity possible by inventing the perfect foods for space, and the people who make themselves guinea pigs for science by lying motionless in a bed for months on end.


Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780393348743
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - April 1st, 2014

Roach's most recent book takes us on a journey through the alimentary canal, or for lay people, the tube that spans our bodies from mouth to rear, encompassing the whole of the digestive system. Roach handles the slightly taboo topics of eating, digestion, and elimination with grace, tact, and the sense of humor needed when one is talking about the properties of saliva and the details of smuggling drugs in one's colon. For GULP, Roach again puts herself on the line in spectacular fashion, when she convinces one researcher to put drops of hydrochloric acid on her wrist so she can feel what stomach acid is really like. As we progress along the alimentary canal, GULP divulges such gems as the physics of perfect crunchiness (how many bubbles have to pop in our mouths per minute for something to seem really crunchy?) and exactly how researchers divine and design the taste of pet food. With GULP, Roach proves once again her commitment to the underappreciated and unsung history of body science, and her dedication to all the researchers who go to the greatest lengths to give us information about our bodies. Reserve your paperback copy of GULP and immerse yourself in Roach's energy and wit today!


A Defense of Jane Austen, Master Clockmaker

A Jane Austen novel is like a Swiss clock: the product of exquisite workmanship set into motion by intricate, hidden parts. Like a fine timepiece, her plots--and heroines--must also be extraordinarily accurate. Her characters are rewarded not only for their depth of feeling but for their ability to balance a ledger, and indeed most of her plots end with a marriage that puts the heroine solidly in the black. As the author once wrote to her niece, “Single women have a dreadful propensity for being poor, which is one very strong argument in favour of matrimony."

For those who are not already devoted to Austen, it might seem that nothing much of note happens in her novels. When non-believers trot out this argument, I’m always reminded of William Least Heat-Moon’s road classic BLUE HIGHWAYS. In a tiny Texas town called Dime Box, a woman tells Least Heat-Moon that “people don't think anything important happens in a place like Dime Box. And usually it doesn't, unless you call conflict important. Or love or babies or dying.” Though Austen’s novels may feel myopic to a contemporary reader, their concerns were of the utmost importance to women of Austen’s time and station. Elaborate social cues dictating when and how to sit, stand, and curtsy can throw a veil up between Austen’s novels and the modern reader. Almost every scene in PRIDE AND PREJUDICE or EMMA takes place inside a drawing room. However, although they may do it perched on the edge of a sofa, Austen’s heroines navigate a perilous landscape that is as complex, mysterious and variable as the human heart.

Book List: Texas Independents

The relationship between local presses and local bookstores is no doubt a powerful one. In honor of our event March 31 with the Writer's League of Texas, here are a few highlights from small presses in Texas.


A Strange Object (Austin) 

Man and Wife Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9780989275989
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Strange Object - May 10th, 2016


Deep Vellum (Dallas)


Sphinx Cover Image
By Anne Garreta, Emma Ramadan (Translator), Daniel Levin Becker (Introduction by)
$14.95
ISBN: 9781941920091
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Deep Vellum Publishing - April 21st, 2015

Seeing Red Cover Image
By Lina Meruane, Megan McDowell (Translator)
$14.95
ISBN: 9781941920244
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Deep Vellum Publishing - February 23rd, 2016

The Art of Flight Cover Image
By Sergio Pitol, George Henson (Translator), Enrique Vila-Matas (Introduction by)
$15.95
ISBN: 9781941920060
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Deep Vellum Publishing - March 17th, 2015


University of Texas Press (Austin)


A Love Letter to Texas Women Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781477309490
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: University of Texas Press - April 5th, 2016

The Plain in Flames Cover Image
By Juan Rulfo, Ilan Stavans (Translator), Harold Augenbraum (Other)
$19.95
ISBN: 9780292743854
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: University of Texas Press - September 1st, 2012


Texas A&M University Press (College Station)


Ten Dollars to Hate: The Texas Man Who Fought the Klan Cover Image
$34.95
ISBN: 9781623495299
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Texas A&M University Press - January 20th, 2017


Arte Publico Press (Houston)


Diaspora: Selected and New Poems Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781558858367
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Arte Paublico Press - September 30th, 2016

The Wetback: And Other Stories Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781558858343
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Arte Publico Press - September 30th, 2016


Cinco Puntos Press (El Paso)


Rani Patel in Full Effect Cover Image
$11.95
ISBN: 9781941026502
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Cinco Puntos Press - October 11th, 2016

Don't Say a Word, Mama/No Digas Nada, Mama Cover Image
$8.95
ISBN: 9781935955450
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Cinco Puntos Press - September 24th, 2013

Bailarines Como Gladiadores - Una Entrevista con Leila Guerriero

Brazos Bookstore: Tu punto de vista es muy importante ya que tu no sabías bien lo que era el Malambo antes de comenzar el libro. Creo que esto es importante ya que el lector probablemente parte del mismo lugar que tu. ¿Creíste que tu punto de vista era importante para contar la historia?

A Simple Story: The Last Malambo Cover Image
By Leila Guerriero, Frances Riddle (Translator)
$14.95
ISBN: 9780811226004
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - February 7th, 2017

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