The Garden in Which I Walk
Karen Brennan University of Alabama Press, 2004 Library of Congress PS3552.R378G37 2004 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
This extraordinarily polished and sophisticated story collection investigates the unaccountable ways in which literature and life entwine. In "Three Seaside Tales" a woman at a resort imagines herself in a Chekhov story only to succumb to banal everydayness, and in "Island Time" a young bride inexorably merges with Emma Bovary. Brennan's fictions position their readers at the edge of the known world, opening onto vistas of both erotic promise and ghastly beauty. The voices, youthful and aging, maniacal and restrained, represent our world's lost, scattering their words among surrealistic ruins, as though they have come to inhabit their own dreams. The lovely protagonist of "Saw" inexplicably maims herself with a chainsaw, literalizing in this violent impulse the self-destructive passion of all of Brennan's characters to actualize romance. These characters lead the reader through a charged, personal landscape of apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic complexity. Their voices will continue to echo long after the book has been closed.
It is in the Presidio of San Francisco, California, that Leslie Carol Roberts walks. The Presidio, America’s only residential national park tucked wholly into an urban setting, is a fading historic forest. Here is where Leslie’s memories of other places, people, and travels emerge. Here is where the author’s home has been for more than a decade, and here is the place she raised her two children as a single mother.
In layered stories of her life and travels, Leslie turns her daily walks into revelations of deeper meaning. From Maryland to Iowa to Tasmania, we follow a fierce and keenly observant walker through places of exquisite beauty and complexity. Her daily walks inspire Leslie to accept the invitation of the beckoning trees where she finds herself colliding with the urban coyote, the peculiar banana slug, and the manzanita. She also notes both ridiculous and poignant aspects of human ecosystems in pursuit of what it means to live a life of creativity and creation from scientist-activists battling to save environments to the tragic realities of ordinary life.
In this finely crafted eco-memoir, each place provides Leslie with exactly the scaffolding needed to survive, with nature serving as the tonic. Here is Where I Walk provides a vivid answer to how we can find our place, not only in nature but within ourselves and the world we walk.
“Chicago is a tale of two cities,” headlines declare. This narrative has been gaining steam alongside reports of growing economic divisions and diverging outlooks on the future of the city. Yet to keen observers of the Second City, this is nothing new. Those who truly know Chicago know that for decades—even centuries—the city has been defined by duality, possibly since the Great Fire scorched a visible line between the rubble and the saved. For writers like Alex Kotlowitz, the contradictions are what make Chicago. And it is these contradictions that form the heart of Never a City So Real.
The book is a tour of the people of Chicago, those who have been Kotlowitz’s guide into this city’s – and by inference, this country’s – heart. Chicago, after all, is America’s city. Kotlowitz introduces us to the owner of a West Side soul food restaurant who believes in second chances, a steelworker turned history teacher, the “Diego Rivera of the projects,” and the lawyers and defendants who populate Chicago’s Criminal Courts Building. These empathic, intimate stories chronicle the city’s soul, its lifeblood.
This new edition features a new afterword from the author, which examines the state of the city today as seen from the double-paned windows of a pawnshop. Ultimately, Never a City So Real is a love letter to Chicago, a place that Kotlowitz describes as “a place that can tie me up in knots but a place that has been my muse, my friend, my joy.”
From the team that created the Baby’s First Signs books come two new board books. A Book of Colors depicts the charming character with the favorite hat signing all of the primary and secondary colors—red, yellow, blue, orange, green, and purple—in interesting settings. The other pages display a wide variety of appealing colors, too, including pink, white, black, gray, brown, and tan, topped off with a richly rendered illustration of a rainbow.
Out for a Walk offers toddlers their first look at signs for the world around them. As they follow our distinctively hatted youngster on a stroll, they encounter familiar animals and insects, among them a dog, cat, butterfly, and squirrel, and learn which ones can be pets. They’ll enjoy imaginative images of the senses, too—sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch. Printed on robust cardboard stock, these delightful full-color books will engage toddlers in new topics as they discover more basic signs, proven to accelerate their grasp of language.
In the title story, in a Cape Town shantytown called District Six in the 1960s, Michael Adonis has lost his job at a metal sheet factory after an argument with a white supervisor. Illuminating the toxic effects of poverty, police brutality, and violence, the book paints a stark and unforgettable portrait of Adonis's emotional and physical destruction in apartheid South Africa. These works reveal the plight of non-whites in apartheid South Africa, laying bare the lives of the poor and the outcasts who filled the ghettoes and shantytowns.
Of French and Malagasy stock, involved in South African politics from an early age, Alex La Guma was arrested for treason with 155 others in 1956 and finally acquitted in 1960. During the State of Emergency following the Sharpeville massacre he was detained for five months. Continuing to write, he endured house arrest and solitary confinement. La Guma left South Africa as a refugee in 1966 and lived in exile in London and Havana. He died in 1986. A Walk in the Night and Other Stories reveals La Guma as one of the most important African writers of his time.
Effective peace agreements are rarely accomplished by idealists. The process of moving from situations of entrenched oppression, armed conflict, open warfare, and mass atrocities toward peace and reconciliation requires a series of small steps and compromises to open the way for the kind of dialogue and negotiation that make political stability, the beginning of democracy, and the rule of law a possibility.
For over forty years, Charles Villa-Vicencio has been on the front lines of Africa's battle for racial equality. In Walk with Us and Listen, he argues that reconciliation needs honest talk to promote trust building and enable former enemies and adversaries to explore joint solutions to the cause of their conflicts. He offers a critical assessment of the South African experiment in transitional justice as captured in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and considers the influence of ubuntu, in which individuals are defined by their relationships, and other traditional African models of reconciliation. Political reconciliation is offered as a cautious model against which transitional politics needs to be measured. Villa-Vicencio challenges those who stress the obligation to prosecute those allegedly guilty of gross violation of human rights, replacing this call with the need for more complementarity between the International Criminal Court and African mechanisms to achieve the greater goals of justice and peace building.