Jhumpa, Chimamanda, Téa, Toni: Contemporary Authors at PPL
Annotation:“Why did people ask 'What is it about?' as if a novel had to be about only one thing...” The latest from Orange Prize winning author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Sharp, thoughtful, funny, essential fiction.
Annotation:“Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.” Toni Morrison is a towering figure in literature- an incomparable writer with a searing voice. Among other awards, including the Pulitzer for Beloved in 1988, Morrison won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993.
Annotation:“We say of some things that they can't be forgiven, or that we will never forgive ourselves. But we do--we do it all the time.” A rich and compelling story collection from Alice Munro, one of our few female Nobel Laureates.
Annotation:“Come on, is your heart a sponge or a fist?” Téa Obreht was born in 1985 in the former Yugoslavia, and spent her childhood in Cyprus and Egypt before eventually immigrating to the United States in 1997. She has been named by The New Yorker as one of the twenty best American fiction writers under forty.
Annotation:“Beverly once read a science magazine article about bioluminescence, the natural glow emitted by organisms like fireflies and jellyfish, but she knows the dead also give off a strange illumination, a phosphor that can permanently damage the eyes of the living. Necroluminescence - the light of the vanished. A hindsight produced by the departed body. Your failings backlit by the death of your loved ones.” Known for her collection "St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves," as well as her novel "Swamplandia!", Russell continues to dazzle with both the weird and the wonderful.
Annotation:Miral al-Tahawy has been described by the Washington Post as "the first novelist to present Egyptian Bedouin life beyond stereotypes and to illustrate the crises of Bedouin women and their urge to break free." She is the author of The Tent (AUC Press, 1998) and Blue Aubergine (AUC Press,2002).
Annotation:“I strike the ground with the soles of my feet and life rises up my legs, spreads up my skeleton, takes possession of me, drives away distress and sweetens my memory. The world trembles.” Allende, an entrancing and astute storyteller cherished the world over, returns to historical fiction to portray another resilient woman whose life embodies the complex forces at work in the bloody forging of the New World.
Annotation:“It occurred to me that if I were a ghost, this ambiance was what I'd miss most: the ordinary, day-to-day bustle of the living. Ghosts long, I'm sure, for the stupidest, most unremarkable things.” The newest novel from one of Japan's most well-known female authors.
Annotation:Maryse Condé is a Guadeloupean French-language author of historical fiction, best known for her novel "Segu," as well as her excellent "I,Tituba, Black Witch of Salem." Condé's novels explore racial, gender, and cultural issues in a variety of historical eras and locales.
Annotation:Jesmyn Ward won the National Book Award in Fiction for her gripping and lyrical novel "Salvage the Bones" in 2011. Ward grew up in DeLisle, Mississippi. She has been a Stegner Fellow at Stanford and a Grisham Visiting Writer in Residence at the University of Mississippi. She is also the author of the 2013 nonfiction memoir "Men We Reaped."
Annotation:"How much more alive such people would be if they suffered! If they can't be happy, let them at least be unhappy - really, really unhappy for once, and then they might become truly human!” Canadian author Sheila Heti is a bold new voice in fiction.
Annotation:“We do not believe in heaven or hell...we do not believe in eternal damnation. We believe only in the unavoidable horror of hurting others and of likewise being hurt.” Alice Walker won the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award for her novel "The Color Purple." Her other bestselling novels include "Possessing the Secret of Joy," and "The Temple of My Familiar." Her books have been translated into more than two dozen languages.
Annotation:The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel gathers together the complete work of a writer whose voice is as singular and astonishing as any in American fiction. Hempel, fiercely admired by writers and reviewers, has a sterling reputation that is based on four very short collections of stories, roughly fifteen thousand stunning sentences, written over a period of nearly three decades. These are stories about people who make choices that seem inevitable, whose longings and misgivings evoke eternal human experience. With compassion, wit, and the acutest eye, Hempel observes the marriages, minor disasters, and moments of revelation in an uneasy America.
Annotation:"The more blessed she felt on earth, the more rarely she turned to heaven." Zadie Smith is a novelist, essayist and short story writer. As of 2014, she has published four novels, White Teeth (2000), The Autograph Man (2002), On Beauty (2005), and NW (2012), all of which have received critical praise. In 2003, she was included on Granta's list of 20 best young authors and Smith won the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2006. Her novel White Teeth was included in Time magazines TIME 100 Best English-language.
Annotation:“In that house, you will find my heart. You must break in, Henri, and get it back for me.' Was she mad? We had been talking figuratively. Her heart was in her body like mine. I tried to explain this to her, but she took my hand and put it against her chest. Feel for yourself.”
Annotation:"I had on a beautiful red dress, but what I saw was even more valuable. I was strong. I was pure. I had genuine thoughts inside that no one could see, that no one could ever take away from me. I was like the wind." Writer Amy Tan was born on February 19, 1952 in Oakland, California. Her first book, "The Joy Luck Club," was nominated for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award and was a recipient of the Commonwealth Gold Award.
Annotation:Born November 18, 1939, in Ottawa, Canada, Margaret Atwood has won numerous awards for her poetry and fiction, including the Prince of Asturias award for Literature, the Booker Prize, the Governor General's Award in 1966 for "The Circle Game" and in 1986 for "The Handmaid's Tale," which also won the very first Arthur C. Clarke Award in 1987. Margaret Atwood is the author of more than twenty-five books, including fiction, poetry, and essays.
Annotation:“But what was there to say? Only that there were tears. Only that Quietness and Emptiness fitted together like stacked spoons. Only that there was a snuffling in the hollows at the base of a lovely throat. Only that a hard honey-colored shoulder had a semicircle of teethmarks on it. Only that they held each other close, long after it was over. Only that what they shared that night was not happiness, but hideous grief. Only that once again they broke the Love Laws. That lay down who should be loved. And how. And how much.” Arundhati Roy is an Indian writer who writes in English and an activist who focuses on issues related to social justice and economic inequality. She won the Booker Prize in 1997 for her novel, The God of Small Things, and has also written two screenplays and several collections of essays.
Annotation:"What would happen if you did just shut a door and stop speaking? Hour after hour after hour of no words. Would you speak to yourself? Would words just stop being useful? Would you lose language altogether? Or would words mean more, would they start to mean in every direction, all somersault and assault, like a thuggery of fireworks?" Scottish author Ali Smith has written eight previous works of fiction, including the novel Hotel World, which was short-listed for both The Orange Prize and the Booker Prize and won the Encore Award and the Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year Award, and The Accidental , which won the Whitbread Award and was short-listed for the Booker Prize and the Orange Prize.
Annotation:“Oh what a morning it was, that first morning of Mrs. Sweet awaking before the baby Heracles with his angry cries, declaring his hunger, the discomfort of his wet diaper, the very aggravation of being new and in the world; the rays of sun were falling on the just and unjust, the beautiful and the ugly, causing the innocent dew to evaporate; the sun, the dew, the little waterfall right next to the village's firehouse, making a roar, though really it was an imitation of the roar of a real waterfall; the smell of some flower, faint, as it unfurled its petals for the first time: oh what a morning!” Jamaica Kincaid is a novelist, gardener, and former reporter for The New Yorker Magazine. She is a Professor of Literature at Claremont-McKenna College.
Annotation:“We're all afraid of the same stuff. Mostly we're afraid that we're secretly not okay, that we're disgusting, or frauds, or about to be diagnosed with cancer. ... We want to teach you how to quiet the yammer ... how you can create comfort, inside and outside, how you can get warm, how you can feed yourself. And even learn to get through silence. ... There is a wilderness inside you, and a banquet. Both.” Lamott's other works include the creative-writing classic "Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life;" "Crooked Little Heart;" "Blue Shoe;" and "Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son's First Son." Her title "Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers" made The New York Times Best Seller List for 2012. Her title "Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair" made The New York Times Best Seller List for 2013.
Annotation:“While the astronauts, heroes forever, spent mere hours on the moon, I have remained in this new world for nearly thirty years. I know that my achievement is quite ordinary. I am not the only man to seek his fortune far from home, and certainly I am not the first. Still, there are times I am bewildered by each mile I have traveled, each meal I have eaten, each person I have known, each room in which I have slept. As ordinary as it all appears, there are times when it is beyond my imagination." Jhumpa Lahiri was born in London, England on July 11, 1967. Her debut work, Interpreter of Maladies, won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2000. She has also won the PEN/Hemmingway Award, an O. Henry Award, The New Yorker's best debut of the year award, and an Addison Metcalf award. Her other works include The Namesake, which was made into a movie in 2007, Unaccustomed Earth and The Lowland.
Annotation:“I had tried to teach her that nobody should be able to see when you were scared. That nobody should be able to tell when you were uncertain. That you shouldn't show it when you loved someone. And that you smiled with particular affection at someone you hated.” Broken Glass Park made a remarkable debut when it was published in Germany in 2008. Its author, the twenty-nine-year old Russian-born Alina Bronksy has since been hailed as a wunderkind, an immense talent who has been the subject of constant praise and debate.
Annotation:“And in it all, the sensation of shaking my fists at the sky, shaking my fists high up to the sky, because that is what we do when someone dies too early, too beautiful, too undervalued by the world, or sometimes just at all -- we shake our fists at the big, beautiful, indifferent sky, and the anger is righteous and strong and helpless and huge. I shook and I shook, and I put all of it into the dress.” Written with both humor and gravity, Bender's work is intended for adults rather than children, but many of her short stories could be described as contemporary fairy tales. Bender's stories often include some of the same elements that she enjoyed encountering in fairy tales, such as of magic, fantasy, surprise, humor, and absurdity.
Annotation: “Madame Michel has the elegance of the hedgehog: on the outside she is covered in quills, a real fortress, but my gut feeling is that on the inside, she has the same simple refinement as the hedgehog: a deceptively indolent little creature, fiercely solitary--and terribly elegant. ” Writer and philosophy professor Muriel Barbery was born in Casablanca, Morocco on May 28, 1969 and raised in France.
Annotation:“Fox is a television character, and she isn’t dead yet. But she will be, soon. She’s a character on a television show called The Library. You’ve never seen the Library on TV, but I bet you wish you had.” Author of "Pretty Monsters," "Stranger Things Happen," and co-editor of "Steampunk! An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories," Link continues to be a fascinating advocate for tales of the uncanny. Funny, frank, rich and rewarding fantastical fiction.
Annotation:“You don’t return people’s smiles—it’s perfectly clear to you that people can smile and smile and still be villains.” Helen Oyeyemi is the author of five novels, most recently "White Is for Witching," which won a 2010 Somerset Maugham Award, and "Mr. Fox," which won a 2012 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. In 2013, she was named one of Granta's Best Young British Novelists.
Annotation:“Now that I knew fear, I also knew it was not permanent. As powerful as it was, its grip on me would loosen. It would pass.” Karen Louise Erdrich is a American author of novels, poetry, and children's books. Her father is German American and mother is half Ojibwe and half French American. She is an enrolled member of the Anishinaabe nation (also known as Chippewa). She has won numerous awards for her writing, including the National Book Award for "The Round House."
Annotation:“You have time. Meaning don't use it, but pass through time in patience, waiting for something to come. Prepare for its arrival. Don't rush to meet it. Be a conduit.” Rachel Kushner's debut novel, Telex from Cuba, was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. Her second novel, The Flamethrowers, was a finalist for the 2013 National Book Award. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2013.
Annotation:""A time being is someone who lives in time, and that means you, and me, and every one of us who is, or was, or ever will be." Ruth Ozeki is a novelist, filmmaker, and Zen Buddhist priest. Her first novel, My Year of Meats, was published in 1998. Her other novels include All Over Creation and A Tale for the Time-Being, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Her documentary and dramatic independent films, including Body of Correspondence and Halving the Bones, have been shown on PBS and at the Sundance Film Festival.
Annotation:“Denial, when one was accused, was a life force, and would trump any desire to confess. Perhaps this was the animal strength of the psychopathic brain. Or the psychopathy of the animal brain. An admission of guilt would knock the strength right out of you—making it easier for them to twist your arms behind you and put the handcuffs on.” For over two decades Moore's stories and writing have won readers with a prose style of particularly delightful and cutting thoughtfulness.
Annotation:“Their lives spun off the tilting world like thread off a spindle, breakfast time, suppertime, lilac time, apple time.” Robinson is also the author of nonfiction, "Home," and the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Gilead."