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Tag: powell’s books

Lisa Wells in Conversation With Lydia Millet

Like many of us, Lisa Wells has spent years overwhelmed by news of apocalyptic-scale climate change and a coming sixth extinction. She did not need to be convinced of the stakes. But what can be done? Wells embarked on a pilgrimage, seeking answers in dedicated communities — outcasts and visionaries — on the margins of society. Wells meets Finisia Medrano, an itinerant planter and misanthrope leading a group of nomadic activists to rewild the American desert. She finds a group of environmentalist Christians practicing “watershed discipleship” in New Mexico; another group in Philadelphia turning the tools of violence into tools of farming — guns into plowshares. She watches the world’s greatest tracker teach how to read a trail, and visits botanists who are restoring land…

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Chris Stuck in Conversation With Kimberly King Parsons

A Black man’s life, told in scenes — through every time he’s been called nigger. A Black son who visits his estranged white father in Los Angeles just as the ’92 riots begin. A Black Republican, coping with a skin disease that has turned him white, is forced to reconsider his life. A young Black man, fetishized by a married white woman he’s just met, is offered a strange and tempting proposal. The nine tales in Chris Stuck’s Give My Love to the Savages (Amistad) illuminate the multifaceted Black experience, exploring the thorny intersections of race, identity, and Black life through an extraordinary cast of characters. From the absurd to the starkly realistic, these stories take aim at the ironies and contradictions of the American…

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Matthew Clark Davison in Conversation With T Kira Mahealani Madden

Matthew Clark Davison’s Doubting Thomas (Amble Press) chronicles a challenging and disruptive year in the life of a young, gay teacher in the waning years of Obama’s America. Thomas McGurrin is a fourth-grade teacher and openly gay man at a private primary school serving Portland, Oregon’s wealthy progressive elite when he is falsely accused of inappropriately touching a male student. The accusation comes just as Thomas is thrust back into the center of his unusual family by his younger brother’s battle with cancer. Although cleared of the accusation, Thomas is forced to resign from a job he loves during a potentially life-changing family drama. Davison’s novel explores the discrepancy between the progressive ideals and persistent negative stereotypes among the privileged regarding social status, race, and…

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Daisy Hernández in Conversation With Amy Stewart

Growing up in a New Jersey factory town in the 1980s, Daisy Hernández believed that her aunt had become deathly ill from eating an apple. No one in her family, in either the United States or Colombia, spoke of infectious diseases, and even into her thirties, she only knew that her aunt had died of a rare illness called Chagas. But as Hernández dug deeper, she discovered that Chagas — or the kissing bug disease — is more prevalent in the United States than the Zika virus. Today, more than 300,000 Americans have Chagas. Why do some infectious diseases make headlines and others fall by the wayside? After her aunt’s death, Hernández begins searching for answers about who our nation chooses to take care of…

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Trystan Reese in Conversation With Andrew Solomon

When Trystan Reese was just a year into his relationship with Biff (now his husband), the couple learned that Biff’s niece and nephew were about to be removed from their home by Child Protective Services. Immediately, Trystan and Biff took in one-year-old Hailey and three-year-old Lucas, becoming caregivers overnight to two tiny survivors of abuse and neglect. From this surprising start, Trystan and Biff built a loving marriage and happy home — learning to parent on the job. They adopted Hailey and Lucas, and soon decided to grow their family biologically with a child that Trystan, who is transgender, would carry. Trystan’s groundbreaking pregnancy attracted media fanfare, and the family welcomed baby Leo in 2017. In How We Do Family: From Adoption to Trans Pregnancy,…

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Benjamin Percy in Conversation With Victor LaValle

It began with a comet… At first, people gazed in wonder at the radiant tear in the sky. A year later, the celestial marvel became a planetary crisis when Earth spun through the comet’s debris field and the sky rained fire. The town of Northfall, Minnesota, will never be the same. Meteors cratered hardwood forests and annihilated homes, and among the wreckage a new metal was discovered. This “omnimetal” has properties that make it world-changing as an energy source… and a weapon. John Frontier — the troubled scion of an iron-ore dynasty in Northfall — returns for his sister’s wedding to find his family embroiled in a cutthroat war to control mineral rights and mining operations. His father rightly suspects foreign leaders and competing corporations…

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Daniel Barbarisi in Conversation With Jason Gay

Daniel Barbarisi’s Chasing the Thrill (Knopf) is a full-throttle, first-person account of the treasure hunt created by eccentric millionaire art dealer — and, some would say, robber baron — Forrest Fenn that became the stuff of contemporary legend. When Fenn was given a fatal cancer diagnosis, he came up with a bold plan: He would hide a chest full of jewels and gold in the wilderness, and publish a poem that would serve as a map leading to the treasure’s secret location. But he didn’t die, and after hiding the treasure in 2010, Fenn instead presided over a decade-long gold rush that saw many thousands of treasure hunters scrambling across the Rocky Mountains in pursuit of his fortune. Barbarisi first learned of Fenn’s hunt in…

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Jonathan Taplin in Conversation With Robbie Robertson

Jonathan Taplin’s extraordinary journey has put him at the crest of every major cultural wave in the past half century: he was tour manager for Bob Dylan and the Band in the ’60s, producer of major films in the ’70s, an executive at Merrill Lynch in the ’80s, creator of the Internet’s first video-on-demand service in the ’90s, and a cultural critic and author writing about technology in the new millennium. His is a lifetime marked not only by good timing but by impeccable instincts — from the folk scene to Woodstock, Hollywood’s rebellious film movement, and beyond. Taplin is not just a witness but a lifelong producer, the right-hand man to some of the greatest talents of both pop culture and the underground. With…

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Claire Fuller in Conversation With Ron Rash

At 51 years old, twins Jeanie and Julius still live with their mother, Dot, in rural isolation in the English countryside. The cottage they have shared their entire lives is their only protection against the modernizing world around them. Inside its walls, they make music, and in its garden, they grow everything they need to survive. To an outsider, it looks like poverty; to them, it is home. But when Dot dies unexpectedly, the world they’ve so carefully created begins to fall apart. The cottage they love, and the security it offered, is taken back by their landlord, exposing the twins to harsh truths and even harsher realities. Seeing a new future, Julius becomes torn between the loyalty he feels towards his sister and his…

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Suyi Davies Okungbowa in Conversation With S. A. Chakraborty

From Suyi Davies Okungbowa, one of the most exciting new storytellers in epic fantasy, comes Son of the Storm (Orbit), a sweeping tale of violent conquest and forgotten magic set in a world inspired by the precolonial empires of West Africa. In the ancient city of Bassa, Danso is a clever scholar on the cusp of achieving greatness — only he doesn’t want it. Instead, he prefers to chase forbidden stories about what lies outside the city walls. The Bassai elite claim there is nothing of interest. The city’s immigrants are sworn to secrecy. But when Danso stumbles across a warrior wielding magic that shouldn’t exist, he’s put on a collision course with Bassa’s darkest secrets. Drawn into the city’s hidden history, he sets out…

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