We extend a hearty congratulations to Joe Holley and Evan Mintz of the Houston Chronicle, finalists for Editorial writing in Journalism, as well as the Houston Chronicle itself, finalist for Public Service in Journalism.
Welcome to Brazos By Night! As our cookbook section grows, what better way to highlight it than by pairing cookbooks with local, independent restaurants that serve those cuisines? In this iteration, our bookseller Molly explores the Vietnamese dish of pho.
It's said that truth is stranger than fiction. But, in the hands of skilled essayist, it can also be more critical, insightful, confrontational, and well...curious. From mirror-gazing to interesting animals, here's a selection of some of the innovative and genre-bending works of creative nonfiction to consider next time you're perusing our essays section.
Sarah Manguso is a master of the minimalist form. She can do more with a sentence than many authors can do with an entire book. In this collection of brief ruminations, she covers everything from sex and mortality, to ambition, mental illness, writing, desire, and motherhood. These "arguments" are aphoristic gems, in which a seemingly random thought is hardened into a bold, cutting, crystalline truth. There is no exposition. Manguso lets these minute statements stand on their own, and the reader is left with nowhere to hide from direct engagement with a most remarkable literary mind.
Maggie Nelson is a writer who knows no bounds. You can find her works all over Brazos--from essays to memoirs to art history to poetry and beyond. Yet it is this slight book, a lyrical ode to the color blue that doubles as her own bildungsroman, that made every single bookseller at Brazos fall in love with her writing. Unflinchingly candid and highly intelligent, you can't make a wrong step in choosing one of Nelson's titles. But there is perhaps no better introduction to this titan of criticism than is unforgettable little book.
Author, filmmaker, Zen Buddhist priest, and all around badass Ruth Ozeki kicks off the inaugural installment in Restless Books stunning essay series, THE FACE. Taking the basic concept of "the face" quite literally, she decides to stare into a mirror for three unbroken hours, writing whatever comes to her mind. It may seem slight, but in Ozeki's hands this simple act of mirror-gazing becomes a potent contemplation of the intersections between identity, race, time, and Japanese Noh Theatre. There are few writers as playful, insightful and inventive as Ruth Ozeki. And she only writes a book every five years or so. So, get it while you can!
Yeah, I've made no secret about my admiration for every word Elena Passarello commits to paper. She is quite simply one of the most enjoyable and original voices of contemporary nonfiction. This collection of unique animal-human interactions throughout history is not to be missed. If you need more convincing, Mr. Ed makes an appearance. And if you need even more, just revisit my video recommendation for it in last month's Buyer's Corner.
(End note: I did not notice until after compiling this list that I chose all women authors for this Buyer's Corner. It was not intended but maybe inevitable. What is to be said other than some of the most intriguing writing coming out these days is by women? Does that surprise you? Well, maybe just get over yourself and read more women.)
It’s always exciting when a small, independent press seems to emerge fully-realized. This, of course, is never the case; what may seem effortless is a ton of hard work, vision, critical thinking and organization. Transit Books is a perfect example of this. They seemed to suddenly grab our attention at Brazos late last year. We received a copy of Andrés Barba’s slim, haunting novel Such Small Hands and after I read it I implored the rest of the staff to do the same. It is our Brazos Best for April.
Springtime is here! With this time of year we start to see items ranging from bright pops of colors to softer pastels. This is also the time of year when everyone starts to head outside before the depths of summer kick in. Instead of focusing on a singular product line, I wanted to share my favorite things this month.
Snow & Graham’s Number NotePad is a simple and sophisticated 5 x 7 notepad that would look amazing on any table or desk. The pad is comprised of 70 pages of recycled paper. I first fell in love with this notepad in the catalog and was even more impressed once I saw it in person.
Designworks Ink has been one of my favorite companies since we found them at the Las Vegas Market. This year they have expanded their collection to include more wirebound journals with the same bullet journaling capability. Their Geo Pink design with copper foil accents with matching copper twin-wire binding has become one of my favorites this year. It pairs so nicely with their Rose Gold Hex pen.
I am obsessed with pretty much all things that can hold things from handbags to boxes. When Designworks Ink featured a new collection of pouches that were also printed with metallic ink and lined I knew that the store needed them as just as much as I wanted them.
As we wrap up Women's History Month, I sat down with two local women who shape our city to get a sense of the books that drive their practices. Though these texts aren't always classics, they add to a feminist oevre in ways that contextualize the next generation's changing representations of gender, sexuality, and community involvement. I am thrilled to see locals of Houston responding to city-wide and national concerns in new, creative ways. Here, two women who work directly to change labor rights and creative act booking practices through art and activism.
One of my favorite aspects of observing the world of publishing is this: oftentimes the most influential people—the individuals responsible for some of your favorite books—are the most unassuming. I missed Winter Institute this year, but a colleague of mine told me a story: at a shindig, folks drunk and dancing, he and another bookseller found themselves observing a thin, balding gentleman cutting loose. “Just think,” the bookseller said, “that’s the man who introduced Elena Ferrante to America.”
As much as we love selling books, we're all about cementing community with writers and artists in Houston. We're excited to have the opportunity to feature gift items from local vendors across the city. We will have a pop-up vendor station available at the front of the store. Here are a few vendors we're going to be showcasing: