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Pedagogy, Refuge, and Writing: Sara Interviews Ana Emilia Felker

We are so excited to be able to host Ana Emilia Felker, student of University of Houston's new Ph.D. program in Spanish with a Concentration in Creative Writing (Concentración en Escritura Creativa en Español-PhD/ECE). She is also the author of the new Aunque la casa se derrumbe, a series of genre-blurring essays about Mexico City. Before we host her for a presentation on May 5, I was able to ask a few questions and get a sense of what to expect from the lovely new book.

Yoko Tawada and the Strange Hopefulness of Disaster

Yoko Tawada is a spectacular writer of both Japanese and German, and has received iconic literary prizes in both places (Akutagawa Prize, Goethe Medal, and more). She writes across genres and geographies in a way that manages to pick playfully from each; for example, in THE NAKED EYE, her protagonist is a young Vietnamese woman who ends up, kidnapped, in cold war-era Europe, obsessed with a film star.

The Emissary By Yoko Tawada, Margaret Mitsutani (Translated by) Cover Image
By Yoko Tawada, Margaret Mitsutani (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780811227629
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: New Directions - April 24th, 2018

Announcing Summer of Moby Dick

Every year at Brazos Bookstore, we host a new literary theme, complete with programming, parties, a window mural, and more! Take a look at our full schedule below. Be sure to swing by the store to pick up bookmarks and postcards by Jade Young, as well as custom Moby Dick-themed activity books by our staff.

Moby Dick Kickoff Party

June 8, 7pm

Join us for treats, crafts, costumes, and sea shanties with actor Philip Hays

Moby Dick Book Club

June 20, July 18, & August 8 at 7pm

An Independent Bookstore Day Note from Ben

Phew, y’all. It has been a crazy spring for events at Brazos Bookstore. We’ve had major offsite events with Mohsin Hamid, Steven Pinker, Sean Penn, Cecile Richards, and others.

Men and Their Mothers: Mark Talks Two New Releases

Often when reading I’ll conflate the books I’ve recently read with the ones I’m currently reading, making connections, finding similarities and resemblances that may (or may not) be there. This could be the consequence of being a voracious reader, having an active imagination or, put quite simply, sometimes the similarities are just there, undeniably present and impossible to avoid, books like distant cousins or siblings.

Staff Chat: Tradition is Not An Excuse

Joy: We’re going to be talking about TRADITION today, the new YA coming out by Brendan Kiely. We’re all excited about it here in store! Basically, the setting is Fullbrook Academy, which is an elite private boarding school with (as the title indicates) lots of traditions.

James Baxter, a hockey star and former football star, has had something tragic happen while playing sports at his public school and he’s gotten a second chance. He comes to Fullbrook, where he definitely feels like a fish out of water.

Tradition By Brendan Kiely Cover Image
ISBN: 9781481480345
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
Published: Margaret K. McElderry Books - May 1st, 2018

“More and More Desert”: An Interview with Joshua Wheeler

Acid West, the debut book of essays from Joshua Wheeler, is, to put it in the simplest terms, one of the most incredible collections I’ve ever read. Rooted in the landscape of Southern New Mexico, a land his family has called home for over seven generations, Wheeler tells the story not just of his home state but the story of America, charted from Old West myths to 20th- and 21st-century innovations that transformed our understanding of ourselves and literally reshaped the desert landscape.

Book List: National Poetry Month

Extra Hidden Life, Among the Days (Wesleyan Poetry) By Brenda Hillman Cover Image
ISBN: 9780819578051
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
Published: Wesleyan University Press - January 16th, 2018

Brenda Hillman’s first book after completing her quartet of collections on the elements continues its focus on the natural world, turning to woods and waters as a means of navigating grief. A number of series poems drive the collection, and modes oscillate from elegy to ode as Hillman fiercely holds on to a world that is rapidly disappearing. The book also serves a secondary function as a sort of guidebook for resistance, as many of the poems are active protests against climate destruction inspired by the poet’s ecocentric views. Hillman’s writing remains as lyric and experimental as ever, and several times the poems moved me to tears. Arguably the most important and necessary poetry collection of 2018 so far.

How He Loved Them By Kevin Prufer Cover Image
ISBN: 9781945588099
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
Published: Four Way Books - March 6th, 2018

A local Houston poet! Kevin Prufer’s newest book continues his clear-eyed gaze on an America full of paradox and always teetering on the brink of violence. Subjects of fathers and sons, soldiers and war, and modern empire populate the poems, and even a few vampires and characters from the distant future make appearances. Formally Prufer is more playful with his lines and spacing, engaging with the inherent white space on the page. As with much of his writing, the poems are straightforward yet musical in their storytelling, the tensions driving them simmering just under the surface. Don’t miss Kevin Prufer reading for Inprint on April 23!

The Undressing: Poems By Li-Young Lee Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393065435
Availability: BACKORDERED
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - February 20th, 2018

Lee’s first collection in nearly a decade returns to his tender voice and plainspoken emotion, crafting poems focused on love and desire. The scope is bigger here than ever before: poems span pages rather than stanzas, as in his previous books. While he’s often pontificating on the nature of love or the essence of the soul Lee makes room for the contemporary world as well, slipping in the occasional Wu-Tang Clan reference or other allusion. Travel and motion play a big role in many of these poems, but somehow the book maintains a sense of quiet and stillness, a sort of haven or harbor from the hardships beyond the pages of the book. An excellent collection to turn to when you’re feeling like you need a pick-me-up or a good hug.

Wade in the Water: Poems By Tracy K. Smith Cover Image
ISBN: 9781555978136
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
Published: Graywolf Press - April 3rd, 2018

A new collection of poems from our Poet Laureate! WADE IN THE WATER captures Smith’s unique inquisitive voice as the poems blend both the personal and the public, shifting from private lyric to the openly available (the Declaration of Independence, testimonies, reports, etc.). Smith adopts a multitude of voices, from African American Civil War soldiers and their families to the collective contemporary “America.” As its title evokes, WADE IN THE WATER has a quiet ferocity and wonder to it, and evokes a prayerful demeanor throughout. Like any baptism this collection will leave you renewed even in the face of the world’s most difficult horrors to confront.

Not Here By Hieu Minh Nguyen Cover Image
ISBN: 9781566895095
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Coffee House Press - April 10th, 2018

This book will break your heart over and over. Intensely lyric, Nguyen’s poems grapple with identity as a queer Vietnamese American, tumultuous family dynamics, and the psychological effects of abuse. NOT HERE aches with beauty in the face of and in spite of the world’s brutality. Emotionally exhausting in the best way possible, very much centered in the body, and musically inventive. Don’t be surprised if your reading experience oscillates from not being able to put the book down to needing emotional breaks where you may need to reach for a tissue. Vulnerable, triumphant, and fierce. 

Brown: Poems By Kevin Young Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524732547
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Knopf - April 17th, 2018

Kevin Young follows up his landmark cultural history BUNK with a fresh collection of poems on all things brown. The book is divided into two sections, “Home Recordings” and “Field Recordings,” and studies the interplay between private and public experiences of culture, and the title color makes appearances in some relevant ways, from James Brown to Brown vs. Board of Education. The poems capture all of Young’s masterful voice, with near- and slant-rhymes and lyrical rhythms that roll off your tongue. BROWN also takes a chronological approach, beginning with poems reminiscing on childhood pick-up games of baseball in the neighborhood streets to the current moment, in which the streets are filled with Neo Nazis marching on Charlottesville, Virginia and the black bodies of victims of police brutality.

Staff Chat: Ben and Keaton talk Leslie Jamison's THE RECOVERING

Keaton: We’re here today to talk about Leslie Jamison’s masterful new memoir, THE RECOVERING: INTOXICATION AND ITS AFTERMATH.

Ben: Ooh!

KP: Jamison…She’s a very, very talented writer. She started in fiction but now mainly writes nonfiction. She had an excellent collection of essays, THE EMPATHY EXAMS, a few years back. This is her latest release.

The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath By Leslie Jamison Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316259613
Availability: UNAVAILABLE
Published: Little, Brown and Company - April 3rd, 2018

A Short Take on Long Books: Ben Talks William T. Vollmann

William T. Vollmann called me on the phone the other day. Before you think I’m self-aggrandizing—look at the important writers who call me!—know the following two things: a) he was calling to check the details of our event with him on 4/14, and b) almost no authors do that—and certainly not authors of his stature. I also confess, I was absolutely terrified to hear his voice—not because he wasn’t totally pleasant (he was) but because, more than nearly any other living writer, he seems almost supernatural to me.