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Winter Arts: Books 

Wednesday, Jan 7 2015

Ghost Box, by Emerson Whitney

Nov. 17, 2014, Timeless Infinite Light

Whitney's debut book is an oblique meditation on place, capitalism, and purpose that began when Kmart went bankrupt and, thanks to a neighborhood rezoning effort, Home Depot was stopped from moving in. When someone named Emily converts the abandoned lot into a bird sanctuary by tossing out cat food by the 45-pound bag, police and the lot's owner want her arrested. Whitney visited the site daily for three months, wanting something else. But no one can catch Emily in the act.

My Documents, by Alejandro Zambra

Feb. 3, McSweeney's

The first of Zambra's 11 new stories begins the first time he sees a computer, in 1980. It proceeds, as many of the stories do, with a casual and intimate account of growing up, and a sometimes direct, sometimes incidental account of the role computers played. One story, "Memories of a Personal Computer," is framed as the trajectory of the life of an early computer; in the process, we see how it affects the lives of its owners. Born in 1975 in Chile, Zambra mixes biographical fact with fiction in a unique style that feels so loose and personal one wonders if the stories were ever intended for the public, but so expertly crafted it's a marvel they feel so human. Literary critics and casual readers will relate to and appreciate the tethers Zambra ties between himself and the modern world. Whether you depend on your computer to keep in touch with the people in your life, or find yourself so cold that you fall asleep hugging it for warmth, as the author does (and as more than one of his characters do), My Documents will make you feel alive and of this time and no other.

Your Smallest Bones, by Sean Taylor

Feb. 1, Seven7h Tangent

Peculiar little things, like wanting to know how many teeth are in your zipper when you're a 9-year-old too afraid to jump, and surreal, impossible things, like pushing a grand piano into the center of a frozen lake, anchor the watching and waiting and wondering of introverts who often mistake random chance for omens as they reach out to touch the world to see if it is real.

Writing on the Wall: Selected Prison Writings of Mumia Abu-Jamal, edited by Johanna Fernandez

Feb. 1, City Lights

Hope and the seeds of revolution can come from the depths of isolation. Writing from his cell on death row, where he was held in solitary confinement for nearly 30 years, Abu-Jamal has long been a loud and clear voice for all who suffer injustice, racism, and poverty. Edited by Fernandez, this selection of 100 previously unpublished essays includes a foreword by Cornell West.

Particulars of Place, by Richard O. Moore

April, Omnidawn

This is the second book by the 94-year-old documentary filmmaker and co-founder of KPFA, edited by Garrett Caples, Paul Ebenkamp, and Brenda Hillman. As Cedar Sigo says in a beautiful introduction, in Moore's poems, "Dizzying views of history and mythology are uncovered, enshrined and as quickly shut down, crushed in rhyme and resurrected through wit." With aural precision, Sigo says, "He is possessed by one of the most spontaneous, joyful lines I have ever encountered."


About The Author

Evan Karp


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