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How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America

Author : Kiese Laymon
Publisher : Simon and Schuster
Release : 2020-11-10
Category : Social Science
ISBN : 9781982170837

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Book How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America Description/Summary:

A New York Times Notable Book A revised collection with thirteen essays, including six new to this edition and seven from the original edition, by the “star in the American literary firmament, with a voice that is courageous, honest, loving, and singularly beautiful” (NPR). Brilliant and uncompromising, piercing and funny, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America is essential reading. This new edition of award-winning author Kiese Laymon’s first work of nonfiction looks inward, drawing heavily on the author and his family’s experiences, while simultaneously examining the world—Mississippi, the South, the United States—that has shaped their lives. With subjects that range from an interview with his mother to reflections on Ole Miss football, Outkast, and the labor of Black women, these thirteen insightful essays highlight Laymon’s profound love of language and his artful rendering of experience, trumpeting why he is “simply one of the most talented writers in America” (New York magazine).

How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America

Author : Kiese Laymon
Publisher : Bloomsbury Publishing
Release : 2016-03-10
Category : Literary Collections
ISBN : 9781408868188

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Book How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America Description/Summary:

'I was stunned into stillness' Roxane Gay, author of Bad Feminist 'I've had guns pulled on me by four people under Central Mississippi skies – once by a white undercover cop, once by a young brother trying to rob me for the left-overs of a weak work-study check, once by my mother and twice by myself. Not sure how or if I've helped many folks say yes to life, but I've definitely aided in a few folks dying slowly in America, all without the aid of a gun' Kiese Laymon grew up in Jackson, Mississippi. That was where he started to write and where he began to seek to create an honest account of living in the US, a country striving to declare itself multi-cultural, post-racial and mostly innocent. This is that account. Drawing on his own personal experiences, these essays are Laymon's attempt to deal with many issues occupying America today, from race, identity and writing to music, celebrity and violence. Through letters between his own disparate family members, pleas to performers whose voices will never be heard again, recollections of his own failure to become a world-famous emcee, analysis of the growing culture of fear in the media and detailed accounts of his clashes with an education system that has both advanced and failed the generation he grew up in, Laymon gets closer not only to the truth behind himself, but to the promises behind the promised land. Searing and passionate, this timely collection of essays introduces a vibrant new voice in US literature and offers a unique insight into the forces that are tearing America apart today.

Long Division

Author : Kiese Laymon
Publisher : Simon and Schuster
Release : 2021-06-01
Category : Fiction
ISBN : 9781982174835

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Book Long Division Description/Summary:

From Kiese Laymon, author of the critically acclaimed memoir Heavy, comes a “funny, astute, searching” (The Wall Street Journal) debut novel about Black teenagers that is a satirical exploration of celebrity, authorship, violence, religion, and coming of age in post-Katrina Mississippi. Written in a voice that’s alternately humorous, lacerating, and wise, Long Division features two interwoven stories. In the first, it’s 2013: after an on-stage meltdown during a nationally televised quiz contest, fourteen-year-old Citoyen “City” Coldson becomes an overnight YouTube celebrity. The next day, he’s sent to stay with his grandmother in the small coastal community of Melahatchie, where a young girl named Baize Shephard has recently disappeared. Before leaving, City is given a strange book without an author called Long Division. He learns that one of the book’s main characters is also named City Coldson—but Long Division is set in 1985. This 1985-version of City, along with his friend and love interest, Shalaya Crump, discovers a way to travel into the future, and steals a laptop and cellphone from an orphaned teenage rapper called...Baize Shephard. They ultimately take these items with them all the way back to 1964, to help another time-traveler they meet to protect his family from the Ku Klux Klan. City’s two stories ultimately converge in the work shed behind his grandmother’s house, where he discovers the key to Baize’s disappearance. Brilliantly “skewering the disingenuous masquerade of institutional racism” (Publishers Weekly), this dreamlike “smart, funny, and sharp” (Jesmyn Ward), novel shows the work that young Black Americans must do, while living under the shadow of a history “that they only gropingly understand and must try to fill in for themselves” (The Wall Street Journal).

Heavy

Author : Kiese Laymon
Publisher : Simon and Schuster
Release : 2018-10-16
Category : Biography & Autobiography
ISBN : 9781501125690

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Book Heavy Description/Summary:

*Named a Best Book of 2018 by the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, NPR, Broadly, Buzzfeed (Nonfiction), The Undefeated, Library Journal (Biography/Memoirs), The Washington Post (Nonfiction), Southern Living (Southern), Entertainment Weekly, and The New York Times Critics* In this powerful, provocative, and universally lauded memoir—winner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal and finalist for the Kirkus Prize—genre-bending essayist and novelist Kiese Laymon “provocatively meditates on his trauma growing up as a black man, and in turn crafts an essential polemic against American moral rot” (Entertainment Weekly). In Heavy, Laymon writes eloquently and honestly about growing up a hard-headed black son to a complicated and brilliant black mother in Jackson, Mississippi. From his early experiences of sexual violence, to his suspension from college, to time in New York as a college professor, Laymon charts his complex relationship with his mother, grandmother, anorexia, obesity, sex, writing, and ultimately gambling. Heavy is a “gorgeous, gutting…generous” (The New York Times) memoir that combines personal stories with piercing intellect to reflect both on the strife of American society and on Laymon’s experiences with abuse. By attempting to name secrets and lies he and his mother spent a lifetime avoiding, he asks us to confront the terrifying possibility that few in this nation actually know how to responsibly love, and even fewer want to live under the weight of actually becoming free. “A book for people who appreciated Roxane Gay’s memoir Hunger” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel), Heavy is defiant yet vulnerable, an insightful, often comical exploration of weight, identity, art, friendship, and family through years of haunting implosions and long reverberations. “You won’t be able to put [this memoir] down…It is packed with reminders of how black dreams get skewed and deferred, yet are also pregnant with the possibility that a kind of redemption may lie in intimate grappling with black realities” (The Atlantic).

How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America

Author : Kiese Laymon
Publisher : Scribner
Release : 2020-11-10
Category : Social Science
ISBN : 9781982170820

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Book How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America Description/Summary:

A revised collection with thirteen essays, including six new to this edition and seven from the original edition, by the “star in the American literary firmament, with a voice that is courageous, honest, loving, and singularly beautiful” (NPR). Brilliant and uncompromising, piercing and funny, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America is essential reading. This new edition of award-winning author Kiese Laymon’s first work of nonfiction looks inward, drawing heavily on the author and his family’s experiences, while simultaneously examining the world—Mississippi, the South, the United States—that has shaped their lives. With subjects that range from an interview with his mother to reflections on Ole Miss football, Outkast, and the labor of Black women, these thirteen insightful essays highlight Laymon’s profound love of language and his artful rendering of experience, trumpeting why he is “simply one of the most talented writers in America” (New York magazine).

America (the Book)

Author : Daily Show Writers,Daily Show Writers Staff,Rich Blomquist,Writers Of the Daily Show The
Publisher : Grand Central Pub
Release : 2004
Category : Humor
ISBN : 0446532681

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Book America (the Book) Description/Summary:

The host of the award-winning humorous news program offers tongue-in-cheek insight into American democracy with coverage of such topics as the republican qualities of ancient Rome, the antics of our nation's founders, and the ludicrous nature of today's media.

Thick

Author : Tressie McMillan Cottom
Publisher : The New Press
Release : 2018-01-08
Category : Social Science
ISBN : 9781620974377

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Book Thick Description/Summary:

One of Book Riot's “The Best Books We Read in October 2018” “To say this collection is transgressive, provocative, and brilliant is simply to tell you the truth.” —Roxane Gay, author of Hunger and Bad Feminist Smart, humorous, and strikingly original essays by one of “America’s most bracing thinkers on race, gender, and capitalism of our time” (Rebecca Traister) In these eight piercing explorations on beauty, media, money, and more, Tressie McMillan Cottom—award-winning professor and acclaimed author of Lower Ed—embraces her venerated role as a purveyor of wit, wisdom, and Black Twitter snark about all that is right and much that is wrong with this thing we call society. Ideas and identity fuse effortlessly in this vibrant collection that on bookshelves is just as at home alongside Rebecca Solnit and bell hooks as it is beside Jeff Chang and Janet Mock. It also fills an important void on those very shelves: a modern black American feminist voice waxing poetic on self and society, serving up a healthy portion of clever prose and southern aphorisms as she covers everything from Saturday Night Live, LinkedIn, and BBQ Becky to sexual violence, infant mortality, and Trump rallies. Thick speaks fearlessly to a range of topics and is far more genre-bending than a typical compendium of personal essays. An intrepid intellectual force hailed by the likes of Trevor Noah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Oprah, Tressie McMillan Cottom is “among America’s most bracing thinkers on race, gender, and capitalism of our time” (Rebecca Traister). This stunning debut collection—in all its intersectional glory—mines for meaning in places many of us miss, and reveals precisely how the political, the social, and the personal are almost always one and the same.

I Don't Like the Blues

Author : B. Brian Foster
Publisher : UNC Press Books
Release : 2020-10-08
Category : Social Science
ISBN : 9781469660431

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Book I Don't Like the Blues Description/Summary:

How do you love and not like the same thing at the same time? This was the riddle that met Mississippi writer B. Brian Foster when he returned to his home state to learn about Black culture and found himself hearing about the blues. One moment, Black Mississippians would say they knew and appreciated the blues. The next, they would say they didn't like it. For five years, Foster listened and asked: "How?" "Why not?" "Will it ever change?" This is the story of the answers to his questions. In this illuminating work, Foster takes us where not many blues writers and scholars have gone: into the homes, memories, speculative visions, and lifeworlds of Black folks in contemporary Mississippi to hear what they have to say about the blues and all that has come about since their forebears first sang them. In so doing, Foster urges us to think differently about race, place, and community development and models a different way of hearing the sounds of Black life, a method that he calls listening for the backbeat.

Say It Loud!

Author : Randall Kennedy
Publisher : Pantheon
Release : 2021-09-07
Category : Social Science
ISBN : 9780593316054

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Book Say It Loud! Description/Summary:

A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR • A collection of provocative essays exploring the key social justice issues of our time—from George Floyd to antiracism to inequality and the Supreme Court. Kennedy is "among the most incisive American commentators on race" (The New York Times). Informed by sharpness of observation and often courting controversy, deep fellow feeling, decency, and wit, Say It Loud! includes: The George Floyd Moment: Promise and Peril • Isabel Wilkerson, the Election of 2020, and Racial Caste • The Princeton Ultimatum: Anti­racism Gone Awry • The Constitutional Roots of “Birtherism” • Inequality and the Supreme Court • “Nigger”: The Strange Career Contin­ues • Frederick Douglass: Everyone’s Hero • Remembering Thurgood Marshall • Why Clar­ence Thomas Ought to Be Ostracized • The Politics of Black Respectability • Policing Ra­cial Solidarity In each essay, Kennedy is mindful of com­plexity, ambivalence, and paradox, and he is always stirring and enlightening. Say It Loud! is a wide-ranging summa of Randall Kennedy’s thought on the realities and imaginaries of race in America.

Do Better

Author : Rachel Ricketts
Publisher : Simon and Schuster
Release : 2021-02-02
Category : Social Science
ISBN : 9781982151294

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Book Do Better Description/Summary:

INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER San Francisco Chronicle’s 10 Books to Pick * HelloGiggles’ 10 Books to Pick Up for a Better 2021 * PopSugar’s 23 Exciting New Books * Book Riot’s 12 Essential Books About Black Identity and History * Harper’s Bazaar’s 60+ Books You Need to Read in 2021 “A clear, powerful, direct, wise, and extremely helpful treatise on how to combat and heal from the ubiquitous violence of white supremacy” (Elizabeth Gilbert, New York Times bestselling author) from thought leader, racial justice educator, and acclaimed spiritual activist Rachel Ricketts. Do Better is a revolutionary offering that addresses racial justice from a comprehensive, intersectional, and spirit-based perspective. This actionable guidebook illustrates how to engage in the heart-centered and mindfulness-based practices that will help us all fight white supremacy from the inside out, in our personal lives and communities alike. It is a loving and assertive call to do the deep—and often uncomfortable—inner work that precipitates much-needed external and global change. Filled with carefully curated soulcare activities—such as guided meditations and transformative breathwork—“Do Better answers prayers that many have prayed. Do Better offers a bold possibility for change and healing. Do Better offers a deeply sacred choice that we must all make at such a time as this” (Iyanla Vanzant, New York Times bestselling author).

Cuz

Author : Danielle Allen
Publisher : Thorndike Press Large Print
Release : 2018
Category : Social Science
ISBN : 1432847767

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Book Cuz Description/Summary:

In a shattering work that shifts between a woman's private anguish over the loss of her beloved cousin and a scholar's fierce critique of the American prison system, Danielle Allen seeks answers to what, for many years, felt unanswerable. Why did a precocious young man who dreamed of being a firefighter and a writer end up dead?

My Name Is City

Author : Kiese Laymon
Publisher : Dafina Books
Release : 1955-11-18
Category : Uncategorized
ISBN : 075821944X

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Book My Name Is City Description/Summary:

Grenade

Author : Alan Gratz
Publisher : Scholastic UK
Release : 2019-01-03
Category : Juvenile Fiction
ISBN : 9781407194882

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Book Grenade Description/Summary:

It's 1945, and the world is in the grip of war. Hideki lives with his family on the island of Okinawa, near Japan. When the Second World War crashes onto his shores, Hideki is drafted to fight for the Japanese army. He is handed a grenade and a set of instructions: Don't come back until you've killed an American soldier. Ray, a young American Marine, has just landed on Okinawa. This is Ray's first-ever battle, and he doesn't know what to expect -- or if he'll make it out alive. All he knows that the enemy is everywhere. Hideki and Ray each fight their way across the island, surviving heart-pounding ambushes and dangerous traps. But then the two of them collide in the middle of the battle... And choices they make in that single instant will change everything. Alan Gratz, New York Times bestselling author of Refugee, returns with this high-octane story of how fear and war tear us apart, but how hope and redemption tie us together. Reviews for Refugee: "An absolute must read for people of all ages" - Hannah Greendale, Goodreads "Like RJ Palacio's Wonder, this book should be mandatory reading..." - Skip, Goodreads "I liked how the book linked history with adventure, and combined to make a realistic storyline for all three characters" - AJH, aged 11, Toppsta

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker

Author : Damon Young
Publisher : HarperCollins
Release : 2019-03-26
Category : Biography & Autobiography
ISBN : 9780062684332

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Book What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker Description/Summary:

A Finalist for the NAACP Image Award A Finalist for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Nonfiction A Finalist for the Thurber Prize for American Humor Longlisted for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay An NPR Best Book of the Year A Washington Independent Review of Books Favorite of the Year From the host of podcast "Stuck with Damon Young," cofounder of VerySmartBrothas.com, and one of the most read writers on race and culture at work today, a provocative and humorous memoir-in-essays that explores the ever-shifting definitions of what it means to be Black (and male) in America For Damon Young, existing while Black is an extreme sport. The act of possessing black skin while searching for space to breathe in America is enough to induce a ceaseless state of angst where questions such as “How should I react here, as a professional black person?” and “Will this white person’s potato salad kill me?” are forever relevant. What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker chronicles Young’s efforts to survive while battling and making sense of the various neuroses his country has given him. It’s a condition that’s sometimes stretched to absurd limits, provoking the angst that made him question if he was any good at the “being straight” thing, as if his sexual orientation was something he could practice and get better at, like a crossover dribble move or knitting; creating the farce where, as a teen, he wished for a white person to call him a racial slur just so he could fight him and have a great story about it; and generating the surreality of watching gentrification transform his Pittsburgh neighborhood from predominantly Black to “Portlandia . . . but with Pierogies.” And, at its most devastating, it provides him reason to believe that his mother would be alive today if she were white. From one of our most respected cultural observers, What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker is a hilarious and honest debut that is both a celebration of the idiosyncrasies and distinctions of Blackness and a critique of white supremacy and how we define masculinity.

The Black Maria

Author : Aracelis Girmay
Publisher : BOA Editions, Ltd.
Release : 2016-04-18
Category : Poetry
ISBN : 9781942683032

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Book The Black Maria Description/Summary:

Taking its name from the moon's dark plains, misidentified as seas by early astronomers, The Black Maria investigates African diasporic histories, the consequences of racism within American culture, and the question of human identity. Central to this project is a desire to recognize the lives of Eritrean refugees who have been made invisible by years of immigration crisis, refugee status, exile, and resulting statelessness. The recipient of a 2015 Whiting Award for Poetry, Girmay's newest collection elegizes and celebrates life, while wrestling with the humanistic notion of seeing beyond: seeing violence, seeing grace, and seeing each other better. "to the sea" great storage house, history on which we rode, we touched the brief pulse of your fluttering pages, spelled with salt & life, your rage, your indifference your gentleness washing our feet, all of you going on whether or not we live, to you we bring our carnations yellow & pink, how they float like bright sentences atop your memory's dark hair Aracelis Girmay is the author of two poetry collections, Teeth and Kingdom Animalia, which won the Isabella Gardner Award and was a finalist for the NBCC Award. The recipient of a 2015 Whiting Award, she has received grants and fellowships from the Jerome, Cave Canem, and Watson foundations, as well as Civitella Ranieri and the NEA. She currently teaches at Hampshire College's School for Interdisciplinary Arts and in Drew University's low residency MFA program. Originally from Santa Ana, California, she splits her time between New York and Amherst, Massachusetts.

The Silver Star

Author : Jeannette Walls
Publisher : Simon and Schuster
Release : 2013-06-06
Category : Fiction
ISBN : 9781471129100

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Book The Silver Star Description/Summary:

A stunning, heartbreaking novel about an intrepid girl who challenges the injustice of the adult world - a triumph of imagination and storytelling. It is 1970. 'Bean' Holladay is twelve and her sister Liz fifteen when their artistic mother Charlotte, a woman who 'flees every place she's ever lived at the first sign of trouble', takes off to 'find herself'. She leaves the girls enough money for food to last a month or two. But when Bean gets home from school one day and sees a police car outside the house, she and Liz board a bus from California to Virginia, where their widowed Uncle Tinsley lives in the decaying antebellum mansion that has been in the family for generations. An impetuous optimist, Bean discovers who her father was and learns many stories about why their mother left Virginia in the first place. Money is tight, so Liz and Bean start babysitting and doing office work for Jerry Madox, foreman of the mill in town, a big man who bullies workers, tenants and his wife. Bean adores her whip-smart older sister, inventor of word games, reader of Edgar Allan Poe, non-conformist. But when school starts in the autumn, it is Bean who easily adjusts and makes friends, and Liz who becomes increasingly withdrawn. And then something happens between Liz and Maddox... 'Tragic and comic at the same time... an outrageous story, one that will break your heart' Sunday Independent 'There isn't a shred of self-pity in this deeply compassionate book' Marie Claire ***Half Broke Horses (S&S, 2009) 'Has immense power and readibility... What it does with aplomb is to track the birth of a nation: the conjuring of modern America from a scorched, dusty wasteland' The Times

Revival Season

Author : Monica West
Publisher : Simon and Schuster
Release : 2021-05-25
Category : Fiction
ISBN : 9781982133320

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Book Revival Season Description/Summary:

The daughter of one of the South’s most famous Baptist preachers discovers a shocking secret about her father that puts her at odds with both her faith and her family in this debut novel. “Spellbinding…Revival Season should be read alongside Alice Walker’s The Color Purple and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus.” —The Washington Post A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice Every summer, fifteen-year-old Miriam Horton and her family pack themselves tight in their old minivan and travel through small southern towns for revival season: the time when Miriam’s father—one of the South’s most famous preachers—holds massive healing services for people desperate to be cured of ailments and disease. But, this summer, the revival season doesn’t go as planned, and after one service in which Reverend Horton’s healing powers are tested like never before, Miriam witnesses a shocking act of violence that shakes her belief in her father—and her faith. When the Hortons return home, Miriam’s confusion only grows as she discovers she might have the power to heal—even though her father and the church have always made it clear that such power is denied to women. Over the course of the following year, Miriam must decide between her faith, her family, and her newfound power that might be able to save others, but if discovered by her father, could destroy Miriam. Celebrating both feminism and faith, Revival Season is a “tender and wise” (Ann Patchett) story of spiritual awakening and disillusionment in a Southern, Black, Evangelical community.

Too Many Times

Author : MELVILLE HOUSE
Publisher : Melville House
Release : 2020-10-13
Category : Political Science
ISBN : 9781612198798

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Book Too Many Times Description/Summary:

A complete guide to the origins and everday experience of gun violence in America—and a series of solutions to put a stop to its destruction once and for all. Gun violence is a problem with many faces, but seemingly no solution. From mass shootings to deadly domestic abuse to police officers opening fire, it permeates American life. And yet it feels impossible to address. The lines are firmly drawn and the federal government has not passed any legislation to reduce gun ownership in over twenty-five years. That's why it's time to look at the issue differently. In this revelatory collection, gun violence in America is addressed from three angles: how gun violence affects us today, how we have gotten to this juncture legally and socially, and finally, what we can do to reduce and end gun violence in America. Too many lives are lost by gun fire--around 15,000 a year--but we do have the tools to address this crisis. Top journalists, organizations, and anti-gun-violence advocacy groups are represented here--from Pamela Coloff to Ibram X. Kendi to Everytown for Gun Safety and the Giffords Organization--to collect the most comprehensive, thoughtful and practical guide on gun violence in America. There are no deadlocks and no excuses--we have the tools to stop gun violence now.

Abandon Me

Author : Melissa Febos
Publisher : Bloomsbury Publishing USA
Release : 2017-02-28
Category : Biography & Autobiography
ISBN : 9781632866592

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Book Abandon Me Description/Summary:

Named One of the Best Books of the year by: Esquire, Refinery29, BookRiot, Medium, Electric Literature, The Brooklyn Rail, Largehearted Boy, The Coil and The Cut. Winner of the Lambda Literary Jeanne Cordova Prize for Lesbian/Queer Nonfiction Finalist, Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Memoir/Biography Finalist, Publishing Triangle's Judy Grahn Award for Lesbian Nonfiction An Indie Next Pick For readers of Maggie Nelson and Leslie Jamison, a fierce and dazzling personal narrative that explores the many ways identity and art are shaped by love and loss. In her critically acclaimed memoir, Whip Smart, Melissa Febos laid bare the intimate world of the professional dominatrix, turning an honest examination of her life into a lyrical study of power, desire, and fulfillment. In her dazzling Abandon Me, Febos captures the intense bonds of love and the need for connection -- with family, lovers, and oneself. First, her birth father, who left her with only an inheritance of addiction and Native American blood, its meaning a mystery. As Febos tentatively reconnects, she sees how both these lineages manifest in her own life, marked by compulsion and an instinct for self-erasure. Meanwhile, she remains closely tied to the sea captain who raised her, his parenting ardent but intermittent as his work took him away for months at a time. Woven throughout is the hypnotic story of an all-consuming, long-distance love affair with a woman, marked equally by worship and withdrawal. In visceral, erotic prose, Febos captures their mutual abandonment to passion and obsession -- and the terror and exhilaration of losing herself in another. At once a fearlessly vulnerable memoir and an incisive investigation of art, love, and identity, Abandon Me draws on childhood stories, religion, psychology, mythology, popular culture, and the intimacies of one writer's life to reveal intellectual and emotional truths that feel startlingly universal.

Coming Home to Mississippi

Author : Charline R. McCord,Judy H. Tucker
Publisher : Univ. Press of Mississippi
Release : 2013-03-21
Category : Biography & Autobiography
ISBN : 9781617037665

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Book Coming Home to Mississippi Description/Summary:

In this collection, essayists examine their lives, their memories of Mississippi, the reasons they left the state, and what drew them back. They talk about how life differs and wears on you in the far-flung parts of our nation, and the qualities that make Mississippi unique. The writers from all corners of the state are as diverse as the regions from which they come. They are of different races, different life experiences, different talents, and different temperaments. Yet in acceding to the magical lure of Mississippi they are in many ways alike. Their roots are deep in the rich soil of this state, and they come from strong families that valued education and promoted an indomitable optimism. Successes stem from a passion, usually emerging early in life, that burns within them. But that passion is tempered, disciplined, encouraged, and influenced by the people around them, as well as the landscape and the history of their times. These essays give us a glimpse of the people and places that nurtured the young lives of the essayists and offered the values that directed them as they sought their dreams elsewhere. Often they found that opportunity was within their grasp in their home state and came back to realize their full potential. They came back, in some cases, to retire to a familiar place of pleasant memories, to family and to friends. They all have a love and respect for Mississippi and continue, back home, to use their talents to help make the state an even better place to live.