Ganbare! Workshops on Dying, by Katarzyna Boni

Staff Pick

The Polish journalist takes her title from a Japanese word that means “Hang in there!”  and her form from the oral-history collage perfected by the Nobel writer Alexievich for a panoramic, yet detailed account of everything related to the March 11, 2011, Tōhoku earthquake. Her powerful narrative presents statistics as astounding as the tsunami was—5000 buildings, or 40% of Onagawa lost; 5800 dogs left in the evacuated zone; 22 million cubic tons of black plastic bags full of contaminated soil—but it’s the individual experiences that prove most moving. As post-Katrina, here are stories of lost families, homes, jobs, and even towns, along with protracted exile and the fear of radiation sickness from the disabled Daiichi nuclear plant. What sustains people through such horrors? The answer is both history and imagination. Japan is no stranger to earthquakes and tsunamis—nor to nuclear disasters—and the latest victims draw on a heritage ranging from the kataribe, “people who talk about disaster,” to the itaki, or shamanesses, who contact the dead on behalf of the living, to come up with practices including the disconnected land line where you can phone lost ones, cafes where you can recall the dead and cry, and workshops where you practice letting go of your five favorite places, things, activities, and, hardest of all, people.

Ganbare!: Workshops on Dying Cover Image
By Katarzyna Boni, Mark Ordon (Translator)
ISBN: 9781948830423
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Open Letter - November 23rd, 2021

Generations, by Lucille Clifton

Staff Pick

The prose of great poets resonates from a special, liminal place all its own, and Clifton’s lyrical memoir—first published in 1976 and reissued with an appreciation by former poet laureate Tracy K. Smith—sings with not just her own voice, but those of her family members as channeled through her “great storyteller” father. Richly cadenced with the rhythms of ordinary speech, these moving stories—punctuated by excerpts from Whitman—profile the generations descended from Mammy Ca’line—abducted from Africa, trafficked to the U.S., and forced to walk North from New Orleans to Virginia at “eight years old”; through her daughter, Lucille Sale, “the first Black woman legally hanged in the state of Virginia”; and on to Clifton’s father, Sam, that “rock” of a man who could barely write but was “an avid reader” and instilled in his daughter the pride of Dahomey women.



Generations: A Memoir Cover Image
By Lucille Clifton, Tracy K. Smith (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9781681375878
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Published: NYRB Classics - November 16th, 2021

Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet

Staff Pick

This is not your usual plant trees-don’t-eat-meat-manual to stopping the ravages of climate change. While many environmental activists and leaders—including the U.N.’s Christiana Figueres, a major architect of the 2015 Paris Agreement—have made Buddhist practices instrumental to their work, the book’s eponymous link is drawn mainly indirectly. But it is everywhere in this eloquent, reassuring meditation on awakening and compassion, and it is crucial. Crucial not just to “saving the planet” from fires and floods, but to lifting humankind from the divisiveness and exploitation that have mired us in the dire conditions we face. Everywhere demonstrating the peace, calm, and joy promised to us on (and as creatures of ) the path of mindfulness, this esteemed master shows us how concentrating on the breath and putting aside the self fosters awareness, keeps us open, and  lets us realize the connections between ourselves, others, and nature. With the communities built on this insight, we can see that we are all parts of one whole, and that only together do we have the necessary strength and energy to create lasting, meaningful change.

Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062954794
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: HarperOne - October 5th, 2021