All posts by George Cooper

Introducing the B&BKW Virtual Book Club

One of the things we all enjoy most about being booksellers is talking to people about books. So now we’re starting the B&BKW Virtual Book Club to foster more engaging, smart, enjoyable conversations about books.

Our book club will be an online opportunity to interact with us and each other about interesting books. Sometimes we might pick a hot new book that everyone is buzzing about, but other times we hope we’ll surprise you, encouraging you to pick up a book you might not otherwise read.
Click for our December newsletter with the scoop on our first book club selection and enrollment info and more.

Women & Power: A Manifesto – Mary Beard

INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER

“A modern feminist classic.”—*The Guardian*

From the internationally acclaimed classicist and New York Times best-selling author comes this timely manifesto on women and power.

At long last, Mary Beard addresses in one brave book the misogynists and trolls who mercilessly attack and demean women the world over, including, very often, Mary herself. In Women & Power, she traces the origins of this misogyny to its ancient roots, examining the pitfalls of gender and the ways that history has mistreated strong women since time immemorial. As far back as Homer’s Odyssey, Beard shows, women have been prohibited from leadership roles in civic life, public speech being defined as inherently male. From Medusa to Philomela (whose tongue was cut out), from Hillary Clinton to Elizabeth Warren (who was told to sit down), Beard draws illuminating parallels between our cultural assumptions about women’s relationship to power—and how powerful women provide a necessary example for all women who must resist being vacuumed into a male template. With personal reflections on her own online experiences with sexism, Beard asks: If women aren’t perceived to be within the structure of power, isn’t it power itself we need to redefine? And how many more centuries should we be expected to wait?

Leaving the Wild – Gavin Ehringer

A thought-provoking and surprising book that explores the ever-evolving relationship between humans and domesticated animals.

The domestication of animals changed the course of human history. But what about the animals who abandoned their wild existence in exchange for our care and protection? Domestication has proven to be a wildly successful survival strategy. But this success has not been without its drawbacks. A modern dairy cow’s daily energy output equals that of a Tour de France rider. Feral cats overpopulate urban areas. And our methods of breeding horses and dogs have resulted in debilitating and sometimes lethal genetic diseases. But these problems and more can be addressed, if we have the will and the compassion.

Human values and choices determine an animal’s lot in life even before he or she is born. Just as a sculptor’s hands shape clay, so human values shape our animals—for good and or ill. The little-examined, yet omnipresent act of breeding lies at the core of Gavin Ehringer’s eye-opening book. You’ll meet cows cloned from steaks, a Quarter horse stallion valued at $7.5 million, Chinese dogs that glow in the dark, and visit a Denver cat show featuring naked cats and other cuddly mutants. Is this what the animals bargained for all those millennia ago, when they first joined us by the fire?

Cuba on the Verge – Leila Guerriero

Spanning politics and art, music and baseball, Cuba on the Verge is a timely look at a society’s profound transformation–from inside and out

Change looms in Cuba.

Just ninety miles from United States shores yet inaccessible to most Americans until recently, Cuba fascinates as much as it confounds. Images of the Buena Vista Social Club, wild nights at the Tropicana, classic cars, and bearded rebels clinching cigars only scrape the surface of Cuba’s complex history and legacy. As the US and Cuba move toward the normalization of diplomatic relations after an epic fifty-six-year standoff, we find ourselves face-to-face with one of the few places in the world that has been off limits to most Americans. We know that Cuba is changing, but from what and into what? And what does this change mean for the Cuban people as well as for the rest of the world?

Standing on both sides of the divide, twelve of our most celebrated writers investigate this period of momentous transition in Cuba on the Verge. These essays span the spectrum, from Carlos Manuel Alvarez’s story of being among the last generation of Cubans to be raised under Fidel Castro to Patricia Engel’s look at how Cuba’s capital has changed through her years of riding across it with her taxi driver friend; from The New Yorker‘s Jon Lee Anderson (who traveled with President Obama on the first trip to Cuba by an American president since the twenties) on being a foreigner in Cuba during the Special Period to Francisco Goldman on the Tropicana, then and now, to Leonardo Padura on the religion that is Cuban baseball.

Cuba on the Verge is the definitive account of–and a unique glimpse at–a moment of upheaval and reinvention whose effects promise to reverberate across years and nations.

The Girl in the Tower – Katherine Arden

A remarkable young woman blazes her own trail, from the backwoods of Russia to the court of Moscow, in the exhilarating sequel to Katherine Arden’s bestselling debut novel, The Bear and the Nightingale.

Katherine Arden’s enchanting first novel introduced readers to an irresistible heroine. Vasilisa has grown up at the edge of a Russian wilderness, where snowdrifts reach the eaves of her family’s wooden house and there is truth in the fairy tales told around the fire. Vasilisa’s gift for seeing what others do not won her the attention of Morozko–Frost, the winter demon from the stories–and together they saved her people from destruction. But Frost’s aid comes at a cost, and her people have condemned her as a witch. Now Vasilisa faces an impossible choice. Driven from her home by frightened villagers, the only options left for her are marriage or the convent. She cannot bring herself to accept either fate and instead chooses adventure, dressing herself as a boy and setting off astride her magnificent stallion Solovey. But after Vasilisa prevails in a skirmish with bandits, everything changes. The Grand Prince of Moscow anoints her a hero for her exploits, and she is reunited with her beloved sister and brother, who are now part of the Grand Prince’s inner circle. She dares not reveal to the court that she is a girl, for if her deception were discovered it would have terrible consequences for herself and her family. Before she can untangle herself from Moscow’s intrigues–and as Frost provides counsel that may or may not be trustworthy–she will also confront an even graver threat lying in wait for all of Moscow itself.

Advance praise for The Girl in the Tower “Arden’s lush, lyrical writing cultivates an intoxicating, visceral atmosphere, and her marvelous sense of pacing carries the novel along at a propulsive clip. A masterfully told story of folklore, history, and magic with a spellbinding heroine at the heart of it all.”Booklist (starred review) ” A] sensual, beautifully written, and emotionally stirring fantasy . . . Fairy tales don’t get better than this.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)

The Ice House – Laura Lee Smith

 

From a writer who’s been praised for her “intelligence, heart, wit” (Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Empire Falls), The Ice House follows the beleaguered MacKinnons as they weather the possible loss of the family business, a serious medical diagnosis, and the slings and arrows of familial discord.

Johnny MacKinnon might be on the verge of losing it all. The ice factory he married into, which he’s run for decades, is facing devastating OSHA fines following a mysterious accident and may have to close. The only hope for Johnny’s livelihood is that someone in the community saw something, but no one seems to be coming forward. He hasn’t spoken to his son Corran back in Scotland since Corran’s heroin addiction finally drove Johnny to the breaking point. And now, after a collapse on the factory floor, it appears Johnny may have a brain tumor. Johnny’s been ordered to take it easy, but in some ways, he thinks, what’s left to lose? This may be his last chance to bridge the gap with Corran–and to have any sort of relationship with the baby granddaughter he’s never met.

Witty and heartbreaking by turns, The Ice House is a vibrant portrait of multifaceted, exquisitely human characters that readers will not soon forget. It firmly establishes Laura Lee Smith as a gifted voice in American fiction.

Critical Critters:

Following on from Extinct Boids and Nextinction, Critical Critters is the third in this epic trilogy of books dedicated to extinct and critically endangered animals from cartoonist Ralph Steadman and film-maker Ceri Levy–the GONZOVATIONISTS.

Expect plenty more of what made the first two books so successful–unpredictable nonsense beasts, irreverent jokes, a diary-style record of the creative mayhem, and around 100 spectacular illustrations by Ralph of critically endangered mammals, insects, fish, lizards, and trees–a stunning collection, with a serious conservation message.

Ceri’s humorous but meaningful message accompanied by Ralph’s sensational paintings will satisfy art-lovers and conservationists alike.

New York Times Explorer: Beaches, Islands & Coasts

At the Shore
Journeys of discovery from coast to cove
Including Key West!

Whether it’s a languid day on the postcard-perfect bays of the Maldives, a swim to the tiny monastery island in Italy’s Lago d’Orta, or a chocolate tour of the Caribbean, dive in and share the discoveries of Beaches, Islands, & Coasts.Part of TASCHEN’s Explorer series with The New York Times, this book tells the stories of 25 dream trips for curious minds, where the water is always only a pebble’s throw away.

Motor past pink sands and bougainvillea in Bermuda with Andrew McCarthy, walk the rugged trail where Wales meets the sea with Dominique Browning, or skip Tuscany’s countryside in favor of its inviting coastline with Frank Bruni. The Times writers are your guides, and the wealth of color photographs that accompany their writing capture the soul-nourishing magic of places where the water rolls up to meet the land.

The Explorer series takes travel beyond the obvious with adventures in exotic places and new perspectives in familiar ones, all based on the distinguished travel journalism in The New York Times. Each journey features a first-person narrative and documentary photography that capture the unique personality of the destination–as well as practical information to help get you on your way. Edited by Barbara Ireland, whose 36 Hours travel series has been a TASCHEN best seller, the Explorer series launches with Beaches, Islands, & Coasts and Mountains, Deserts, & Plains. Upcoming volumes include Urban Adventures and Road, Rail, & Trail.

Peter Lindbergh: A Different Vision on Fashion Photography

The Lindbergh lens
Unique fashion storytelling that first launched the supermodels

When German photographer Peter Lindbergh shot five young models in downtown New York City in 1989, he produced not only the iconic British Vogue January 1990 cover but also the birth certificate of the supermodels. The image didn t just bring revered faces together for the first time; it marked the beginning of a new fashion era and a new understanding of female beauty.

Coinciding with his major retrospective at the Kunsthal in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, this book gathers more than 400 images from four decades of Lindbergh’s photography to celebrate his unique and game-changing storytelling and the new romantic and narrative vision it brought to art and fashion.

Whether in striking single portraits or dramatic situations of figure and setting, we trace the photographer’s cinematic inflections and his provocative play with female archetypes as subjects adopt the guise of dancers, actresses, heroines, and femmes fatales. Raw and seductive at once, we see how Lindbergh’s trademark monochrome pictures also redefined standards of beauty by emphasizing spirit and personality as much as looks, celebrating the elegance and sensuality of older women, and privileging natural and authentic beauty in an era of pervasive retouching.

In a testimony to Lindbergh’s illustrious status in the fashion world, his images are contextualized by commentaries from collaborators such as Jean Paul Gaultier, Nicole Kidman, Grace Coddington, Cindy Crawford, and Anna Wintour, who chose Lindbergh to shoot her first US Vogue cover. Their tributes explain what makes Lindbergh’s images so unique and powerful.

Exhibition Peter Lindbergh. A Different History of Fashion at Kunsthal, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, September 10, 2016 February 12, 2017

Annie Leibovitz: Portraits 2005-2016

Annie Leibovitz is one of the most influential photographers of our time. Her career spans nearly five decades, starting in the 1970s when she was a widely acclaimed photographer at Rolling Stone. At Vanity Fair and Vogue and in independent projects, Leibovitz expanded her repertoire as a portraitist with a distinctive style.In this new collection from Annie Leibovitz, one of the most influential photographers of our time, iconic portraits sit side by side never-before-published photographs. Afterword by Annie Leibovitz.

Annie Leibovitz: Portraits 2005-2016 is the photographer’s follow-up to her two landmark books, Annie Leibovitz: Photographs, 1970-1990 and A Photographer’s Life, 1990-2005. In this new collection, Leibovitz has captured the most influential and compelling figures of the last decade in the style that has made her one of the most beloved talents of our time. Each of the photographs documents contemporary culture with an artist’s eye, wit, and an uncanny ability to personalize even the most recognizable and distinguished figures.