New Books: Thursday, December 10

The library has moved to “Grab and Go” service in light of the recent spike of pandemic cases in Wayne County. What does that mean? Basically, the only ones allowed in the library at this time are staff members. To check out books, you’ll go to the online catalog and place holds on the books or other materials you want. Staff members will pull them and leave them in the cabinet outside the library doors. You can find more detailed instructions here.

Here are a few of the new books that have come in to the library recently. We invite you to check them out!

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In the Land of Men

At twenty-two, a naïve Midwesterner, Adrienne Miller got a lucky break when she was hired as an editorial assistant at GQ. The mid-nineties were still the golden age of print journalism, and a publication like GQ then seemed the red-hot center of the literary world, even if their sensibilities were manifestly mid-century — the martinis, the male egos, and the unquestioned authority of kings. Still, Adrienne learned to hold her own in a man’s world, and three years later she forged her own path, becoming the first woman to hold the role of literary editor at Esquire. She was at Esquire during a unique moment in history that simultaneously saw the last days of the old guard of literary titans, and the rise of a new movement, as exemplified by David Foster Wallace, who would become her closest friend, confidant — and antagonist. Here is the untold story of an intellectual and artistic exchange that grew into a highly charged relationship. It is also an account of the guarded literary world, which asks the question: How does a young woman fit into this culture and at what cost? With wit and deep intelligence, Miller presents a moving portrayal of a young woman’s education in a land of men.

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Even As We Breathe

Nineteen-year-old Cowney Sequoyah yearns to escape his hometown of Cherokee, North Carolina, in the heart of the Smoky Mountains. When a summer job at Asheville’s luxurious Grove Park Inn and Resort brings him one step closer to escaping the hills that both cradle and suffocate him, he sees it as an opportunity. With World War II raging in Europe, the inn is the temporary home of Axis diplomats and their families, who are being held as prisoners of war. Soon, Cowney’s refuge becomes a cage when the daughter of one of the residents goes missing and he finds himself accused of abduction and murder. After leaving the seclusion of the Cherokee reservation, he is able to explore a future free from the consequences of his family’s choices and to construct a new worldview, for a time. However, prejudice and persecution in the white world of the resort eventually compel Cowney to free himself from larger forces that hold him back as he struggles to unearth evidence of his innocence and clear his name.

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Sansei and Sensibility

The protagonists of these skillful and inventive stories have traveled various paths — from Japan to Brazil, L.A. to Gardena, San Francisco to Tokyo — but along the way, they have all become archivists, whether they know it or not. They examine the contents of deceased relatives’ freezers, tape-record high-school locker-room chatter, cart the contents of a household cross-country, or collect a community’s gossip while cleaning the teeth of its inhabitants. How does what we collect along the way define or negate our experiences? Can we ever really be free of it? Should we want to? In second half of the book, Yamashita imagines how Jane Austen’s seven novels might look ‘in a small provincial armpit of postwar sunshine’ in sixties and seventies Japanese America. Mr. Darcy is the captain of the football team, Mansfield Park has materialized in a suburb of L.A., bake sales have replaced balls, and station wagons, not horse-drawn carriages, are the preferred mode of transit. In these buoyant and inventive stories, Yamashita asks what the act of transferring a ‘classic’ tale across boundaries — of space, time, race, genre — can tell us about the tropes that ungird our experiences.

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