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Reviews & Recommendations

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John Berger: Understanding a Photograph Cover Image
By John Berger, Geoff Dyer (Editor)
ISBN: 9781597112567
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Aperture - December 31st, 2013

Collects John Berger's essays on photography written between 1967 and 2007, with an insightful introductory essay by editor Geoff Dyer. Understanding a Photograph deserves to be read alongside those works on the medium by Walter Benjamin, Roland Barthes, and Susan Sontag.

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Walden: 150th Anniversary Edition Cover Image
By Henry David Thoreau, J. Lyndon Shanley (Editor), John Updike (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9780691169347
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Princeton University Press - March 22nd, 2016

If you haven't picked up Walden since you were in high school or in college, I urge you to do so. Walden is not merely a journal recording the two years, two months, and two days Thoreau lived beside Walden Pond, as is commonly taught. It is also a carefully considered response to Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay "The American Scholar." Thoreau demonstrates, in a manner Emerson never quite could, the ways in which the influence of both nature and books can be transformed into action.

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Absalom, Absalom! (Vintage International) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780679732181
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - January 30th, 1991

Although it's set on a "long still hot weary dead September afternoon" in Jefferson, Mississippi in 1909 (and, later, on a frozen night in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1910), Faulkner's novel provides an insightful history of nineteenth-century America. If one seeks to understand American culture today, a good place to begin is with Faulkner's novel.

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Operative Design: A Catalog of Spatial Verbs Cover Image
ISBN: 9789063692896
Availability: Ships in 2-10 Days
Published: BIS Publishers - July 1st, 2013

The most compelling aspect of Operative Design is that it successfully works on two levels at once: the visual and the verbal. If you're interested in the language of design, then take a look. This is the coolest book in the store. I mean it.

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Conditional Design: An introduction to elemental architecture Cover Image
ISBN: 9789063693657
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: BIS Publishers - November 17th, 2014

Di Mari's first book, Operative Design, introduced the use of spatial verbs as a way to think about the formation and manipulation of basic shapes. His new book, Conditional Design, extends the practice to fundamental architectural shapes. Di Mari describes his approach as "elemental architecture." As with his first book, Conditional Design will appeal to anyone interested in language and in design.

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Tell Me a Riddle, Requa I, and Other Works Cover Image
By Tillie Olsen, Laurie Olsen (Foreword by), Rebekah Edwards (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9780803245778
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bison Books - September 1st, 2013

"Sometimes the young — discouraged, overwhelmed — ask me incredulously: 'You mean you still have hope?' And I hear myself saying, yes, I still have hope: beleaguered, starved, battered, based hope. Through horrors, blood, betrayals, apathy, callousness, retreats, defeats — in every decade of my now 82-year-old life that hope has been tested, affirmed. And more than hope: an exhaustless store of certainty, vision, belief — which came to me first in the time of my youthhood, the Depression '30s." from "A Vision of Fear and Hope" (1994)

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Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches Cover Image
By Audre Lorde, Cheryl Clarke (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9781580911863
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Crossing Press - August 1st, 2007

The nonfiction prose works collected in Lorde's Sister Outsider are works of genius, of uncompromising insight and analysis, from which we will always have much to learn.

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Feminism Is for Everybody: Passionate Politics Cover Image
ISBN: 9781138821620
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Routledge - September 26th, 2014

An aspect of hooks' thought I find welcoming is her unswerving belief that an end to "sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression" — the goal of feminism as hooks defines it in Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center (1984) — only will come about through the combined efforts of both women and men. In the wake of Tarana Burke's "Me Too" movement — and its latest iteration as social media's #MeToo — Feminism Is for Everybody deserves to be read by anyone seeking to understand our current moment.

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The Poetry of William Carlos Williams of Rutherford Cover Image
ISBN: 9781619021532
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Counterpoint - March 26th, 2013

Reading Wendell Berry’s book on William Carlos Williams in the spring of 2020, following the death of George Floyd, I was struck by the many ways in which the practical, ethical, and aesthetic dimensions of a poet’s “local commitment” — Berry’s to his native, Kentucky farmland and Williams’s to his native, New Jersey industrial landscape — parallel those of a reader as she learns to interpret the works she reads. The tools poets use to place themselves imaginatively, and therefore effectively, in their lives are the tools readers use to do the same. If one is interested in the relation between art and politics, Berry’s book is the place to begin.

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Object Lessons: The Life of the Woman and the Poet in Our Time Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393314373
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - July 17th, 1996

Eavan Boland reflects upon her growth as both a poet and as a woman writing poems, providing insightful perspective into the historical boundedness of each category. This book is a brilliant example of an artist working at the peak of her career, bringing the imaginative resources of her medium to bear on the materials of her own life.

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The Nature Of Middle-Earth Cover Image
ISBN: 9780358454601
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow - September 2nd, 2021

Drawn from J.R.R. Tolkien’s unpublished manuscript and typescript materials, The Nature of Middle-earth, edited by Carl F. Hostetter, makes available to a general audience Tolkien’s reflections on the theological and metaphysical dimensions of his sub-created world, Arda. Readers of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion, as well as of the 12-volume History of Middle-earth, will find in this new book much to engage their attention.

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The River That Made Seattle: A Human and Natural History of the Duwamish Cover Image
ISBN: 9780295747439
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: University of Washington Press - July 15th, 2020

Written by the founder of the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition, The River That Made Seattle is an insightful, carefully researched history of the river, its watershed, and of the people—both Native and immigrant—who live beside it. If you are interested in the history of Seattle, this book pairs well with another University of Washington Press title, David B. Williams’s Too High and Too Steep: Reshaping Seattle's Topography.