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Tag: powell’s

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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Kai Bird in Conversation With T. J. Stiles

The Outlier: The Unfinished Presidency of Jimmy Carter (Crown) is an essential reevaluation of the complex triumphs and tragedies of Jimmy Carter’s presidential legacy — from the expert biographer and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of American Prometheus. Four decades after Ronald Reagan’s landslide win in 1980, Jimmy Carter’s one-term presidency is often labeled a failure; indeed, many Americans view Carter as the only ex-president to have used the White House as a stepping-stone to greater achievements. But in retrospect the Carter political odyssey is a rich and human story, marked by both formidable accomplishments and painful political adversity. Forty years before today’s broad public reckoning with the vast gulf between America’s creed and its actions, Carter looked out over a nation torn by race, crippled by…

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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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Jonathan Evison in Conversation With Thomas Kohnstamm

Dave Cartwright used to be good at a lot of things: good with his hands, good at solving problems, good at staying calm in a crisis. But on the heels of his third tour in Iraq, the fabric of Dave’s life has begun to unravel. Gripped by PTSD, he finds himself losing his home, his wife, his direction. Most days, his love for his seven-year-old daughter, Bella, is the only thing keeping him going. When tragedy strikes, Dave makes a dramatic decision: the two of them will flee their damaged lives, heading off the grid to live in the wilderness of the Pacific Northwest. As they carve out a home in a cave in that harsh, breathtaking landscape, echoes of its past begin to reach…

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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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Bethany C. Morrow in Conversation With L. L. McKinney

Meet Naema Bradshaw: a beautiful Eloko, once Portland-famous, now infamous, as she navigates a personal and public reckoning where confronting the limits of her privilege will show Naema what her magic really is, and who it makes her. Teen influencer Naema Bradshaw has it all: she’s famous, stylish, gorgeous, and she’s an Eloko, a charismatic person gifted with a melody that people adore. Everyone loves her until she’s cast as the villain who exposed a Siren to the whole world. Dragged by the media, and canceled by her fans, no one understands her side: not her boyfriend, not her friends, not even her fellow Eloko. Vilified by those closest to her, Naema heads to the Southwest where she is determined to stage a comeback… to…

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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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