Wednesday, September 23rd 2020
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This week at Unabridged...
Allie Brosh, author of Hyperbole and a Half, is back with a new book, and its our Book of the Week! Next week we'll host a virtual event for United Queerdom, we've got some new signed editions in the store, plus a slew of new books. Scroll down for more!
United Queerdom Virtual Event
Wednesday, September 30th at 7pm
Throughout the 1970s the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) initiated an anarchic campaign that permanently changed the face of Britain. Inspired by the Stonewall uprisings in the US, the GLF demanded a 'Absolute Freedom For All' worldwide. Although many people believe queers are now free and should behave, assimilate and become palatable – author and activist Dan Glass shows that the fight is far from over.
Join us for a virtual event with Dan Glass, author of United Queerdom, and activists Ted Brown and Zita Holbourne in a discussion of the GLF, and how central protest is to queer history. Wednesday, September 30 at 7pm, RSVP here!
Open Daily from 10am - 7pm
for In-Store Shopping and Pickup!
A limited number of customers will be allowed in at a time, everyone must wear a mask, and remember social distancing! For our full list of guidelines, click here.
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please wait for your confirmation email &
read carefully before coming to the store for pickup!
To honor the Black Lives Matter movement, and as part of our yearlong commitment to promoting the work of activists & organizations engaged in the fight against systemic racism, social injustice, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia, we are contributing to NAACP and Lakeview Pantry this month. Click above to read more about each of these organizations and how they work to achieve meaningful and lasting change in our community, then make your own contribution! Click here to read our full statement.
Book of the Week:
Solutions and Other Problems
by Allie Brosh
“Anyway, I know it's hard to feel confident about the future right now, but I've been keeping an eye on things, and I think we're gonna make it. I really do. It might be weird for a while, or even get weirder, but do you want to know who can make it through weirdness better than anybody, probably?
That's right, weirdos — we've got this. Maybe we're good at it, even. We're figuring it out. We're discovering new methods. And I feel honored to be in this with you."
- Allie Brosh in an interview with Buzzfeed News
Need a laugh today? Author and illustrator Allie Brosh is back, and we've been giggling since we opened the box. Signed copies available now - while they last!
Just released, take a look at these new titles and click each for more info!
Hardcover Book(s) of the Month
Yaa Gyasi's stunning follow-up to her acclaimed national best seller Homegoing is a powerful, raw, intimate, deeply layered novel about a Ghanaian family in Alabama.
Gifty is a sixth-year PhD candidate in neuroscience at the Stanford University School of Medicine studying reward-seeking behavior in mice and the neural circuits of depression and addiction. Her brother, Nana, was a gifted high school athlete who died of a heroin overdose after an ankle injury left him hooked on OxyContin. Her suicidal mother is living in her bed. Gifty is determined to discover the scientific basis for the suffering she sees all around her. But even as she turns to the hard sciences to unlock the mystery of her family's loss, she finds herself hungering for her childhood faith and grappling with the evangelical church in which she was raised, whose promise of salvation remains as tantalizing as it is elusive. Transcendent Kingdom is a deeply moving portrait of a family of Ghanaian immigrants ravaged by depression and addiction and grief--a novel about faith, science, religion, love. Exquisitely written, emotionally searing, this is an exceptionally powerful follow-up to Gyasi's phenomenal debut.
This intense, powerful novel is a recreation of the real life of Joe Sanderson, from Urbana, Illinois (which features prominently in the novel—Roger Ebert was Joe’s high school class president!) using excerpts from his extensive diaries and 22 years of letters home. Part Jack Kerouac in On the Road, part Hemingway in For Whom the Bell Tolls, part Hunter S Thompson, The Last Great Road Bum is a novel of adventure that morphs into a first-person war diary that chronicles Joe’s involvement (and eventual death) in the guerilla insurgency against the right-wing dictatorship in El Salvador. Joe’s peripatetic, gonzo lifestyle was the stuff of legend; he was a true wanderer, hitchhiking thru the Americas, Asia, and the world, a global adventurer, a (failed) writer and solitary individualist. And what an exciting backstory--author Hector Tobar discovered Joe’s diaries and embarked on an 11 year project, with the help of Joe’s family, to tell Joe’s story in a novelized form, told quite interestingly in the third person, but with first-person footnotes at the bottom of the page where Joe directly addresses the reader and the “author,” Hector Tobar! Ed loved this inventive novel and highly recommends!
Sisters, about the darkly riveting relationship between teenage siblings, exploring the complexities of sisterhood and the deep bonds formed in childhood, is a haunting, poetic, gothic-like tale from the Booker-Prize-nominated Daisy Johnson, author of Everything Under (an Unabridged Bookstore favorite!) How each of the sisters completes the other, like “unfinished doppelgangers,” which forms the crux of the novel, is disconcerting and unsettling! A pervasive sense of foreboding dread permeates the whole story, the plot disturbingly revealed in fragmentary, frightening, almost dream-like glimpses that add to the air of lurking trepidation. An eerie and absorbing page-turner, Ed loved and highly recommends!
This tense, wonderfully strange psychological drama is a chilling portrait of a family, specifically two sisters, who must relocate to a cottage by the sea for mysterious reasons. The relationship between the two sisters is explored here, but there is more than just the fraught dynamics of typical sibling rivalry. Theirs is a suffocating, symbiotic relationship detached from reality, filled with obsession, casual cruelty, and innocence coveted, exploited, lost. Daisy Johnson's taut, luminous prose and alternating narratives keeps the reader engaged and filled with dread, and once the revelations start coming to light there is no putting the book down. A tragic story of destructive familial love, both deeply unsettling and eerily hypnotic, Daisy Johnson has written a tale with nods to Shirley Jackson and Ingmar Bergman's Persona, but it is uniquely her own beast. Shane loves!
Paperback Book(s) of the Month
Centering on a young girl in a devout, Reformed Church farming family, whose brother dies in an ice-skating accident, The Discomfort of Evening takes the reader on a haunting journey. A bestseller in the Netherlands, the novel is a poignant and powerful evocation of a childhood caught between shame and salvation, where the boundless imagination of youth brings young Jas to the brink of ever darker and increasingly dangerous actions. Marieke Rijneveld is also an award-winning poet, which shows in their sensory language and tactile prose, weaving together visceral descriptions of death, decay, sex, sin, and rot into a scramble of beautifully wild images that linger in the mind. Winner of the 2020 International Booker Prize, the judges called it “a deeply deserving winner, a visceral and virtuosic debut that arrests your attention.” A devastating, unsettling novel, where the author’s creative vision roots you firmly in the truth of another life. Ed loved and highly recommends!
Traversing space and time, from the famous crosswalk at London’s Abbey Road to East Berlin to Cape Cod, from 1988 to 2016, The Man Who Saw Everything is the superbly crafted, ambitious, consistently surprising, tantalizing new novel by Deborah Levy, and her third novel in a row to be nominated for the Booker Prize. With its fascinating array of themes—the mixing of lust and politics, trying to escape the harsh realities of our lives, being haunted by various spectres—the book dazzles as it entertains. I loved the beguiling voice and narrative, the crisp dialogue and the novel’s intricate structure, which loops back on itself—historian Saul Adler’s viewpoint turns out to be something other than it seems, which makes for some revealing moments that make this book even more exciting and powerful, while blurring binaries along the way (man/woman, gay/straight, East/West, past/present, personal/political, space/time). Ed loved and highly recommends!
Poet Anne Boyer delivers a twenty-first-century Illness as Metaphor that builds on and adds to the works of Audre Lorde, Kathy Acker, Susan Sontag and others who have written about having breast cancer. Her revelatory observations of bodies in pain, eviscerating sadness, profound loss, grueling treatments, raw suffering, loneliness, exhaustion, the capitalist medical universe and invasive procedures are (using the words of early reviewers) “harrowing, startling, urgent, passionate, eloquent, haunting, piercing, a fury-fueled elegy, a lyrical battle cry, a treatise on pain, a fresh-fierce-timely-meditation, the work of a woman who will not be denied”. And with brutal clarity, Boyer rails against the pharmaceutical industry, the bland hypocrisies of "pink ribbon culture," t-shirt slogans, false hopes, the theatrics of feel-good fundraising and “awareness campaigns” vs real research. This book is living proof of why we need poets; The Undying is a prodigious accomplishment, and it should not be missed. Ed loved and highly recommends!
An Inventory of Losses
by Judith Schlansky
Being alive means experiencing loss.... the demise of all life and endeavors is a condition of its existence. It is naturally only a matter of time before everything has disappeared, disintegrated and decayed, before everything is annihilated and destroyed.
In twelve illuminating and evocative essays, Schalansky explores the world's lost and forgotten things. Like a cabinet of oddities, An Inventory of Losses chronicles animals, places, objects, and buildings that are forever lost, creating a tangled web of memory, myth, and imagination. With a deep sense of wonder, Schalansky renders her often esoteric subject matter with warmth and intimacy, creating a dazzling portrait of the vanished and the unremembered. An Inventory of Losses is a book of meditation, mourning, and celebration of the ephemeral and the transitory, of the treasures that survive only in our collective imagination. Shane loves!
Surrender Your Sons
by Adam Sass
At the age of 17, Connor Major is a skinny 5’6 gay kid in rural Illinois, who just came out to his church-zombie single mom. His life is, as a result, not awesome. His phone has been confiscated, so he is isolated from his few friends. His two-towns-over boyfriend is unable to fully comprehend what he is dealing with at home. And his mom and the town preacher insist that he admit to the paternity of his ex-girlfriend’s newborn (he didn’t do it!). The best, however, is yet to come, as Connor finds himself literally kidnapped and carted off to a remote island off the coast of Costa Rica (no dinosaurs though). There, at Nightlight Ministries, boys and girls like him are sent by overzealous parents to get “fixed”. Except, everything is off, even by conversion therapy standards. And back home, Connor was warned about this place. By someone who is now dead.
Surrender Your Sons is a brilliantly written debut. The book exudes the kind of easy sass (pun forever intended) and colloquial flexibility that always make me ugly-jealous of other writers. Connor himself is beautifully portrayed as a neurotic kid who has the capacity for both courage, and complete emotional collapse. There is raw vulnerability and innocence coming out of the intimate first person narrative, even when the circumstances are anything but innocent.
As I said before, this is a thriller. The back cover suggests more of a mystery than the story actually ends up being. Surrender Your Sons is a story about tragedy, both past and present. About violence and the desolation that bigotry and self-loathing can heap upon the world. The book begins with a content warning. There are themes in there. Suicide, abuse, and surprisingly hot depictions of sex that must have barely passed the YA standard. Despite the effortless prose, Surrender Your Sons is certainly not an easy read on an emotional level. Sass ends up weaving a story both more mundane, and more personal than the blurb implies. And far stronger for it. In the end, Surrender Your Sons was an exciting adventure with a powerful emotional charge. Dealing with serious darkness, but ultimately hopeful. And I thoroughly loved it. - Simeon
Here are a few of this week's most popular books at Unabridged, click here to see the full list of this Week's Bestsellers, and keep an eye out for new suggestions each week!
Click through below to browse more of our favorite books!
We're updating our website with pages dedicated to some of our favorite sections of the store so you can browse from home! Bestsellers, award winners, bundles of books to keep you reading - click below to browse!
Wednesday, September 30th at 7pm
United Queerdom, Virtual Event with author Dan Glass, Ted Brown, and Zita Holbourne
Throughout the 1970s the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) initiated an anarchic campaign that permanently changed the face of Britain. Inspired by the Stonewall uprisings in the US, the GLF demanded a 'Absolute Freedom For All' worldwide. Yet half a century on, injustice is rife and LGBT+ inequality remains. Complete LGBT+ liberation means housing rights, universal healthcare, economic freedom and so much more. Although many people believe queers are now free and should behave, assimilate and become palatable – Dan Glass shows that the fight is far from over.
Dan Glass will discuss his new book United Queerdom: From the Legends of the Gay Liberation Front to the Queers of Tomorrow on Wednesday, September 30th at 7pm Central Time. The author will be joined in conversation by Ted Brown and Zita Holbourne. Click here for more info, to order the book, and to RSVP for the virtual event!
Thursday, October 1st
Keir Graff, author of The Tiny Mansion,
at The Nettelhorst School!
A special appearance by Keir Graff, author of the new book The Tiny Mansion, just for students at the Nettelthorst School! Nettelhorst families, remember to get your orders in before the event, and we'll have your personalized books ready for pickup!
Monday, October 5th at 7pm
World of Wonders, Virtual Event with author Aimee Nezhukumatathil, and Ruben Quesada
From beloved, award-winning poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil comes a debut work of nonfiction--a collection of essays about the natural world, and the way its inhabitants can teach, support, and inspire us.
“[World of Wonders] walks. It sprints. It leaps. Most importantly, the book lingers in a world where power, people, and the literal outside wrestle painfully, beautifully.” - Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy
Aimee Nezhukumatathil will discuss her new book World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments on Monday, October 5th at 7 pm Central Time. The author will be joined in conversation by Ruben Quesada. Click here for more info, to order the book, and to RSVP for the virtual event!
Remember that there is no membership or sign up required to attend our meetings - just pick up your copy of the book in the shop, and come ready for friendly discussion!
Queer Book Club
Tuesday, September 29th, 2020
Patricia Highsmith's story of romantic obsession may be one of the most important, but still largely unrecognized, novels of the twentieth century. First published in 1952 and touted as "the novel of a love that society forbids," the book soon became a cult classic.
Join our Queer Book Club (on Zoom!) in a monthly discussion of literature through a queer lens. For more info, click here!
Fiction Book Club
Tuesday, October 13th, 2020
Get ready for spooky season!
Shirley Jackson's beloved gothic tale of a peculiar girl named Merricat and her family's dark secret. Taking readers deep into a labyrinth of dark neurosis, We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a deliciously unsettling novel about a perverse, isolated, and possibly murderous family and the struggle that ensues when a cousin arrives at their estate.
Join our Fiction Book Club (on Zoom!) in a monthly meeting to discuss a wide array of literary fiction. For more info, click here!
Winers Book Club
Tuesday, October 20th, 2020
*A club where no one takes themself too seriously*
Join us in reading fun and exciting YA and New Adult books every 3rd Tuesday of the month. Grab a glass of your favorite wine and be ready to laugh, chat, and discuss the new new! Email, or sign up for email updates!
The Winers Book Club will meet again on Tuesday, October 20th at 7:30 pm to chat about Supermarket by Bobby Hall!
Join our Winers Book Club (on Zoom!) in a monthly discussion. For more info, click here!
from the shop and around the literary world...
Signed Copies
Available now - while they last!
Illinois Votes 2020!
It is easy. It is safe. Do it, AND EARLY.
When in Doubt, Smile Like an Axolotl
Aimee Nezhukumatathil in Praise of the Mexican Walking Fish!
And don't forget about our virtual event with the author on Monday, October 5th! RSVP here!
To Make Light From Pain: Mourning Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Lynn Steger Strong on the Death of an Unlikely Icon
"That's right, weirdos — we've got this."
After Vanishing From The Internet For 7 Years, Allie Brosh Of Hyperbole And A Half Is Back With A New Book
Classic Queer Books You Might Have Missed
Let's expand the queer canon to include these books that don't always get their due
The Booker Prize 2020 Finalists!
The shortlist for the 2020 Booker Prize has been announced! Read more here.
Gift cards are available on our website! We can mail a gift card to you, to your friends or family, or we can hold it for you so it is ready when you come to shop. Click here to get a gift card!
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