Happy all the Time, by Laurie Colwin

Staff Pick

Laurie Colwin is perhaps best known to modern readers as a food writer, writing a column for Gourmet magazine and her genre-defining book of food essays, Homecooking. Fortunately for new audiences, her works are being republished this year, starting with her incredible 1978 novel, Happy All the Time. If you’ve felt depressed and anxious and stressed any time in the last year, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. And if you haven’t then you’re unfairly lucky and should still read it. Happy All the Time is a bubbly, hilarious, fiercely clever comedy of manners set in a version of New York that seems to exist only in old movies, where everyone is clever and complicated and always impeccably dressed. And where it seemed perfectly acceptable to take long lunches at upscale restaurants to mull over romantic tribulations with a whiskey soda in hand. This book is some amazing amalgam of Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Sex in the City, as written by Nora Ephron. Read it to become a Laurie Colwin evangelist and to soothe your pandemic-bruised soul.

Happy All the Time (Vintage Contemporaries) By Laurie Colwin Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307474407
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Vintage - March 23rd, 2010

Spying on the South by Tony Horwitz

Staff Pick

The death of Tony Horwitz earlier this year was a tragic loss to the literary community and his last book, Spying on the South (Penguin Press, $30), is an exceptional example of the kind of intrepid spirit that he was. Following the wanderings of Frederick Law Olmsted through the South on the eve of the Civil War, Horwitz’s own travels read as an homage to the restless curiosity that drove Olmsted to roam and the empathy for humanity that inspired him to create Central Park, aka the “people’s park.” Rather than attempting to explain the South here, Horwitz—as Olmsted did—opts for offering observations over analysis. He lets us hear the voices of the people he meets, and as we listen to them tell their own tales, the book offers an implicit hope that we as readers will be able to find common ground among the diversity of experiences. Conversational and often humorous, Horwitz’s journalistic style is ultimately more poignant that comic; his openness and genuine interest in dialogue feels as uncommon and incredibly important in our political climate as it did to Olmsted two centuries ago.

Spying on the South: An Odyssey Across the American Divide By Tony Horwitz Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101980286
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Penguin Press - May 14th, 2019

Firsts: 100 Years of Yale Younger Poets | edited by Carl Phillips

Staff Pick

Championing the most exciting new voices of poetry, the Yale Younger Poets Prize is the oldest annual literary award offered in the United States. Firsts: 100 Years of the Yale Younger Poets (Yale, $35), edited by  the current judge, poet Carl Phillips, is both a fascinating historical exploration of our literary landscape over the last century and an examination of the shifting concerns of what we value in our poetry. Masterfully curated, this anthology represents all the Award’s past winners, those who have changed our conception of poetry and also those who have been forgotten. It also moves beyond many of the obvious selections to include lesser known works by some of the greatest poets of our time; here is early work by Adrienne Rich, John Ashbery, and Robert Haas, for instance. Writing as both a judge and a poet Phillips situates the collection within the changing considerations of what we expect and desire of poetry and the ways evolving cultural attitudes towards race, gender, and sexuality are reflected through the kinds of poetry hailed as important. This book is a fascinating document and ultimately a rewarding testament to the sustaining importance of poetry as an art.

Firsts: 100 Years of Yale Younger Poets (Yale Series of Younger Poets) By Carl Phillips (Editor) Cover Image
By Carl Phillips (Editor)
ISBN: 9780300243161
Availability: Backordered
Published: Yale University Press - October 22nd, 2019