A Wild Promise

Allen Crawford

In 1973, the United States Congress came together with bipartisan support to create and pass a bold and visionary act—one of protection, preservation, and promise. For the past fifty years, this promise, the Endangered Species Act, has ensured that the most threatened and vulnerable species and their habitats are protected. From the stellar sea lion to the ivory-billed woodpecker, from the steelhead trout to the red wolf—this landmark act has worked to preserve the wild beauty that surrounds and sustains us.

In A Wild Promise, acclaimed artist Allen Crawford beautifully illustrates over 80 animals that embody the spirit, legacy, and commitment of the Endangered Species Act. In his trademark inventive style, Crawford’s full-color illustrations and illuminated text create a vibrant tapestry of our nation’s habitats—oceans, mountains, deserts, wetlands, prairies, forests—and the varied species that call these places home. With a powerful and moving introduction by award-winning writer and conservationist, Terry Tempest Williams, A Wild Promise brings critical urgency and inspiration, lending voice and spirit to all Endangered Species. A one-of-a-kind work that’s visually delightful and inspiring throughout, A Wild Promise is a celebration of conservation, commitment, and compassion—a clarion call to continue to embrace, engage, and act in ways that preserve and protect our living world.

Meet Me Tonight in Atlantic City

Jane Wong

In the late 1980s on the Jersey shore, Jane Wong watches her mother shake ants from an MSG bin behind the family’s Chinese restaurant. She is a hungry daughter frying crab rangoon for lunch, a child sneaking naps on bags of rice, a playful sister scheming to trap her brother in the freezer before he traps her first. She is part of a family staking their claim to the American dream, even as this dream crumbles. Beneath Atlantic City’s promise lies her father’s gambling addiction, an addiction that causes him to disappear for days and ultimately leads to the loss of the restaurant.

In her debut memoir, Wong tells a new story about Atlantic City, one that resists a single identity, a single story, as she writes about making do with what you have—and what you don’t. What does it mean, she asks, to be both tender and angry? What is strength without vulnerability—and humor? Filled with beauty found in unexpected places, Meet Me Tonight in Atlantic City is a resounding love song of the Asian American working class, a portrait of how we become who we are, and a story of lyric wisdom to hold and to share.

The Language of Trees

Katie Holten

Inspired by forests, trees, leaves, roots, and seeds, The Language of Trees: A Rewilding of Literature and Landscape invites readers to discover an unexpected and imaginative language to better read and write the natural world around us and reclaim our relationship with it. In this gorgeously illustrated and deeply thoughtful collection, Katie Holten gifts readers her tree alphabet and uses it to masterfully translate and illuminate beloved writing in praise of the natural world. With an introduction from Ross Gay, and featuring writings from over fifty contributors, including Ursula K. Le Guin, Ada Limón, Robert Macfarlane, Zadie Smith, Radiohead, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, James Gleick, Elizabeth Kolbert, Plato, and Robin Wall Kimmerer, Holten illustrates each selection with an abiding love and reverence for the magic of trees. She guides readers on a journey from “primeval atoms” and cave paintings to the death of a 3,500 year-old cypress tree, from Tree Clocks in Mongolia and forest fragments in the Amazon to the language of fossil poetry, unearthing a new way to see the natural beauty all around us and an urgent reminder of what could happen if we allow it to slip away.

The Language of Trees considers our relationship with literature and landscape, resulting in an astonishing fusion of storytelling and art and a deeply beautiful celebration of trees through the ages.

The Wise Hours

Miriam Darlington

 

Owls have existed for over sixty million years, and in the relatively short time we have shared the planet with these majestic birds they have ignited the human imagination. But even as owls continue to captivate our collective consciousness, celebrated British nature writer Miriam Darlington finds herself struck by all she doesn’t know about the true nature of these enigmatic creatures.

Darlington begins her fieldwork in the British Isles with her teenage son, Benji. As her avian fascination grows, she travels to France, Serbia, Spain, Finland, and the frosted Lapland borders of the Arctic for rare encounters with the Barn Owl, Tawny Owl, Long-eared Owl, Pygmy Owl, Snowy Owl, and more. But when her son develops a mysterious illness, her quest to understand the elusive nature of owls becomes entangled with her search for finding a cure.

In The Wise Hours, Darlington watches and listens to the natural world and to the rhythms of her home and family, inviting readers to discover the wonders of owls alongside her while rewilding our imagination with the mystery, fragility, and magnificence of all creatures.

 

A Pros and Cons List for Strong Feelings

Will Betke-Brunswick

 

During Will Betke-Brunswick’s sophomore year of college, their beloved mother, Elizabeth, is diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. They only have ten more months together, which Will documents in evocative two-color illustrations. But as we follow Will and their mom through chemo and hospital visits, their time together is buoyed by laughter, jigsaw puzzles, modern art, and vegan BLTs. In a delightful twist, Will portrays their family as penguins, and their friends are cast as a menagerie of birds. In between therapy and bedside chats, they navigate uniquely human challenges, as Will prepares for math exams, comes out as genderqueer, and negotiates familial tension.

A Pros and Cons List for Strong Feelings is an act of loving others and loving oneself, offering a story of coming-of-age, illness, death, and life that announces the arrival of a talented storyteller in Will Betke-Brunswick. At its heart, Will’s story is a celebration of a mother-child relationship filled with unconditional devotion, humor, care, and openness.

 

Wading in Waist-High Water

Robin Pecknold

Since the release of their breakout debut album in 2008, Fleet Foxes and their front man, singer-songwriter Robin Pecknold, have enjoyed international critical and commercial acclaim. Their music has helped reshape the American indie-folk sound through songs that are acoustically and melodically driven, steeped in gospel-like harmonies, and propelled by Pecknold’s resonant, earthy, and timeless lyrics.

Wading in Waist-High Water: The Lyrics of Fleet Foxes
contains Pecknold’s complete lyrics from fifty-five songs, capturing the poetic and inventive storytelling that is a hallmark of the band’s music. These richly layered lyrics explore the complexity, darkness, and beauty of physical and emotional landscapes, both pastoral and modern. Accompanying the lyrics, Pecknold includes notes on his creative processes, inspirations, and motivations.

With an introduction by celebrated novelist Brandon Taylor, and an afterword by Pecknold, Wading in Waist-High Water is a moving and intimate look at the art of songwriting, the joy of music-making, and what it means to produce meaningful and memorable sound.

When They Tell You To Be Good

Prince Shakur

 

After immigrating from Jamaica to the United States, Prince Shakur’s family is rocked by the murder of Prince’s biological father in 1995. Behind the murder is a sordid family truth, scripted in the lines of a diary by an outlawed uncle hell-bent on avenging the murder of Prince’s father. As Shakur begins to unravel his family’s secrets, he must navigate the strenuous terrain of coming to terms with one’s inner self while confronting the steeped complexities of the Afro-diaspora.

When They Tell You to Be Good charts Shakur’s political coming of age from closeted queer kid in a Jamaican family to radicalized adult traveler, writer, and anarchist in Obama and Trump’s America. Shakur journeys from France to the Philippines, South Korea, and elsewhere to discover the depths of the Black experience, and engages in deep political questions while participating in movements like Black Lives Matter and Standing Rock. By the end, Shakur reckons with his identity, his family’s immigration, and the intergenerational impacts of patriarchal and colonial violence.

Examining a tangled web of race, trauma, and memory, When They Tell You to Be Good shines a light on what we all must ask of ourselves—to be more than what America envisions for the oppressed—as Shakur compels readers to take a closer, deeper look at the political world of young, Black, queer, and radical millennials today.

 

We Did Porn

Zak Smith

Blending memoir with Smith’s own drawings and paintings, We Did Porn will do for alt porn what Hunter S. Thompson did for motorcycle gangs and Tom Wolfe for psychedelica.

Punk artist and icon Zak Smith made a name for himself by visually interpreting Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow and drawing pictures of girls in the “naked girl business.” His artistic pedigree and acute observation landed him in high-profile shows from the Whitney to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Somewhere along the line, Smith went from the observer to the observed, from the guy in the corner with a sketchpad to the guy on-screen doing the unnamable for anyone eighteen or older to see. We Did Porn follows Zak Smith (or Zak Sabbath) from the New York art scene to Los Angeles’s seedy, yet colorful, underbelly—the world of alt porn. Smith narrates his own foray into pornography and gives his readers a new understanding of the industry, its players, and its audience.

How to Do Nothing with Nobody All Alone by Yourself

Robert Paul Smith

Promoting free-range imagination, hands-on ingenuity, and independent play, Robert Smith’s timeless activity guide reminds parents and children alike that making one’s own fun is the best way to avoid boredom. With easy-to-follow, illustrated directions to hacking household objects into toys and using nature to invent mischievous contraptions, this is a handbook that inspires creative play. From indoor boomerangs, pin pianos, umbrella bow and arrows, peach pit turtles, and clamshell bracelets to quirky, prank-ready contraptions, the wide array of engaging activities provides a great alternative to screen time, fostering independent thinking and joyful curiosity, and a greater appreciation for the simple things in life—both indoor and outdoor. Charming, inspiring, and loads of fun, this spirited book will provide endless enjoyment for children and parents alike.

Mentor

Tom Grimes

A chance encounter between two writers, one young, one older, develops into a wonderful friendship neither expected. Frank Conroy, author of the classic memoir Stop-Time, meets Tom Grimes, an aspiring writer and an applicant to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, which Conroy directs. First as teacher and student–and gradually as friends—their lives become entwined, and through both successes and disappointments, their bond deepens.

Exquisitely written, Mentor is an honest and heartbreaking exploration of the writing life and the role of a very important teacher.

Ursula K. Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin

When the New York Times referred to Ursula K. Le Guin as America’s greatest writer of science fiction, they just might have undersold her legacy. It’s hard to look at her vast body of work?novels and stories across multiple genres, poems, translations, essays, speeches, and criticism?and see anything but one of our greatest writers, period.

In a series of interviews with David Naimon (Between the Covers), Le Guin discusses craft, aesthetics, and philosophy in her fiction, poetry, and nonfiction respectively. The discussions provide ample advice and guidance for writers of every level, but also give Le Guin a chance to to sound off on some of her favorite subjects: the genre wars, the patriarchy, the natural world, and what, in her opinion, makes for great writing. With excerpts from her own books and those that she looked to for inspiration, this volume is a treat for Le Guin’s longtime readers, a perfect introduction for those first approaching her writing, and a tribute to her incredible life and work.

Girls Write Now

stevepilon

Girls Write Now: Two Decades of True Stories from Young Female Voices offers a brave and timely portrait of teenage-girl life in the United States over the past twenty years. They’re working part-time jobs to make ends meet, deciding to wear a hijab to school, sharing a first kiss, coming out to their parents, confronting violence and bullying, and immigrating to a new country while holding onto their heritage. Through it all, these young writers tackle issues of race, gender, poverty, sex, education, politics, family, and friendship. Together their narratives capture indelible snapshots of the past and lay bare hopes, insecurities, and wisdom for the future.

Interwoven is advice from great women writers—Roxane Gay, Francine Prose, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Zadie Smith, Quiara Alegria Hudes, Janet Mock, Gloria Steinem, Lena Dunham, Mia Alvar, and Alice Walker—offering guidance to a young reader about where she’s been and where she might go. Inspiring and informative, Girls Write Now belongs in every school, library and home, adding much-needed and long-overdue perspectives on what it is to be young in America.

Possum Living

John Franc

In the late seventies, at the age of eighteen and with a seventh-grade education, Dolly Freed wrote Possum Living about the five years she and her father lived off the land on a half-acre lot outside of Philadelphia. At the time of its publication in 1978, Possum Living became an instant classic, known for its plucky narration and no-nonsense practical advice on how to quit the rat race and live frugally. In her delightful, straightforward, and irreverent style, Freed guides readers on how to buy and maintain a home, raise and grow their own food, cope with the law, stay healthy, save money, and more, all in the name of self-reliant, independent living. 

Forty years later, Possum Living remains an essential guide to going off the grid. This updated edition includes an introduction by Novella Carpenter, and new wisdom from Freed on aging, used cars, emergency funds, and how to get back in touch with yourself. Possum Living, says Freed, is about how to cook; to go fishing; to be with family, friends, and neighbors; to forage for wild berries; to enjoy a hobby; to relax; or, even better, to do nothing at all. Some of the best living, she reminds us, happens in possum time.

Dying

Cory Taylor

At the age of sixty, Cory Taylor is dying of melanoma-related brain cancer. Her illness is no longer treatable: she now weighs less than her neighbor’s retriever. As her body weakens, she describes the experience—the vulnerability and strength, the courage and humility, the anger and acceptance—of knowing she will soon die.

Written in the space of a few weeks, in a tremendous creative surge, this powerful and beautiful memoir is a clear-eyed account of what dying teaches: Taylor describes the tangle of her feelings, remembers the lives and deaths of her parents, and examines why she would like to be able to choose the circumstances of her death.

Taylor’s last words offer a vocabulary for readers to speak about the most difficult thing any of us will face. And while Dying: A Memoir is a deeply affecting meditation on death, it is also a funny and wise tribute to life.

The Writer’s Notebook II

Christopher Beha

The Writer’s Notebook II continues in the tradition of The Writer’s Notebook, featuring essays based on craft seminars from the Tin House Summer Writer’s Workshop, as well as a variety of craft essays from Tin House magazine contributors and Tin House Books authors. The collection includes essays that not only examine important craft aspects such as humor, suspense, and research but that also explore creating fractured and nonrealist narratives and the role of dream in fiction. An engaging and enlightening read, The Writer’s Notebook II is both a toolkit and an inspiration for any writer.

The Writer’s Notebook II offers aspiring authors sixteen insightful essays about the craft of writing by Tin House authors and summer workshop faculty members, including Aimee Bender, Steve Almond, Maggie Nelson, Karen Russell, Benjamin Percy, and others.

Shake ‘Em Up!

Virginia Elliott

As the authors say: Shake ’Em Up! is “for People Who Fling Parties, People Who Go to Parties . . . People Who Don’t Really Drink but Feel That a Cocktail or Two Enlivens Conversation?in short, for the American People,” and that’s as true today as it was upon the book’s original publication in 1930. Virginia Elliott and Phil D. Stong created a handbook for polite?if not entirely legal?drinking during the height of Prohibition, and the advice remains sound, the voice charming, and the cocktails strong. Need ideas as to how to catch up with your already inebriated guests, or guidance on what to do when said guests end up a little too inebriated? Shake ’Em Up! will point you in the right direction. Whether you’re looking for the proper way to mix a Brandy Punch, what you ought to serve alongside a Bijou Cocktail, or a dependable hangover cure, Elliott and Stong have you covered. With a lively introduction from bestselling author Amy Stewart (The Drunken Botanist), this fully illustrated time capsule will inspire with buzzy cocktails and recipes from another era, making it the perfect gift for the hosts and entertainers of today.