The Furious Fist and The Open Hand of Fate: The New & Noteworthy Book Club Weaves Through Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies

If you’re in Austin, you can come to my book club…


fates&furies“Tell me the difference between tragedy and comedy…There is no difference. It’s a question of perspective. Storytelling is a landscape, and tragedy is comedy is drama. It simply depends on how you frame what you’re seeing.” (High school literature substitute Denton Thrasher could be the authentic voice of Lauren Groff–or another unnamed goddess of circumstance.)

I have read reviews of Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies that mention that this is a realistic story about a marriage. And that’s true, but it’s mostly about the parts that make up a marriage: the partners. The story of a marriage has to be told by each part. Lancelot “Lotto” Satterwhite’s story is told in the first section called “The Fates.” His marriage, like himself, is complacent, naive, and even optimistic. He pegs his gorgeous wife Mathilde as “a pathological truth-teller,” but he really talks about himself, revealing his core value and virtue. Lotto…

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Graphic Novel Gift Guide from your Friendly Neighborhood Feminist

I’ll just leave this right here for the ladies.


This post comes from our children’s inventory manager, Demi.

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

She’s not a girl, she’s a shark! Nimona is a magical shapeshifter who has apprenticed herself to the malicious Ballister Blackheart against the do-good schemes of the knightly Ambrosius Goldenloin! Read on for a rollicking, charming adventure with several wonderful twists.

Bitch Planet Vol. 1 by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Val DeLandro

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Kelly Sue DeConnick’s work. Her revitalization of Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel was one of my gateway drugs into comic book enthusiasm, and her work on Bitch Planet is DeConnick at her best. Take on the Patriarchy with this stunning volume.

Step Aside, Pops! by Kate Beaton

If you’re at all familiar with Kate Beaton’s Hark! A Vagrant webcomic, you’ll know all about her quirky illustration style and fast-talking historical heroines. This is Beaton’s second…

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We’re Still Here: 10 Years After Hurricane Katrina

I always try to put a little of myself into the displays on my sales floor. I out a lot of myself into this one.


This post comes from Jan, our second floor inventory manager and a Louisiana native.


For me, it’s hard to imagine that it’s been ten years since Hurricane Katrina battered the shores of Louisiana and nearby states. My hometown is in southern Louisiana; all my family and oldest friends still live there. Although I now reside in dryest, land-lockiest Austin, Texas, I can still recall the anxiety and uncertainty I felt for my loved ones when Hurricane Katrina made landfall. I can still call up those emotions quite easily. Memories of not being able to reach my parents, brother, and grandparents by phone. Even when I could reach them, I wasn’t able to speak to my dad for nearly a six weeks because he was doing 60-80 hour a week unpaid work for FEMA. Of course, it was still not enough.

Katrina was paradigm-shifting because she reminded us what disaster really…

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Ghost in the Artifact: Object-Oriented Histories and the Archaeology of the Present

by Matt Spry

There’s a scene in the 1994 film Pulp Fiction where Captain Koons, played by Christopher Walken, explains the history behind a gold watch he’s delivering to the adolescent son of a fallen Vietnam War comrade. On its face, this scene is evidence that Walken is a great actor and Quentin Tarantino writes dialogue well. More important, though, it demonstrates that even seemingly mundane objects have interesting and sincere stories attached to them.


Since founding the Mobile Museum of American Artifacts (MMoAA) about two years ago, director Laurelin Kruse has explored the relationship between objects, the people who owned them, and the stories that bind them together. During a June 2015 event in Somerville, MA (co-sponsored by NEMMC), Kruse stood in front of the 1968 Cardinal travel trailer that houses the museum’s collection, and discussed its origins, objectives, and ongoing collection development.

The fuels that keep this traveling…

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The Unspoken in Louisa Hall’s SPEAK

My thoughts on Louisa Hall’s SPEAK for the New & Noteworthy book club at BookPeople.


What makes intelligence human? That is the unspoken question (branching off into a multitude of streams of related questions) throughout the cooperative narratives that span the course of over 300 years in Speak by Louisa Hall. First comes the diary of Mary Bradford, a young Puritan girl setting sail for the New World with her beloved dog as her companion and her unwanted husband in tow. Next are the letters of renowned inventor and mathematician Alan Turing, who dreamed of a “thinking” machine, to the mother of his schoolmate. Following are the letters of Karl Dettman, a German expat living in the US in the 1960s and programmer of a “speaking” machine, and his wife Ruth, a professor whose interests include the diaries of pioneer women and giving Karl’s machine “memory.” Stephen Chinn writes his memoirs from his prison cell, of how he found Dettman’s machine and gave it…

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It’s the End of the World…and We Love It!

My blog post and 2nd floor display for the End Of The World at BookPeople.


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Let’s face it: the world is going to end…and we’re obsessed with it. It’s all over our news, our movies, our television shows, even–especially–our belief systems. Whether it’s eschatology (a theology concerned with the final events of human history, or the “end times”), millenarianism (a belief in a coming transformation), the end of certain ancient civilizations’ calendars (as was predicted in English-language news media for December 21, 2012), Ragnarok (as was predicted in English-language news media outlets for February 22, 2014), Timewave Zero (having to do with calculating Novelty Time and reading the I Ching–I don’t understand it, but I sound smart mentioning it), mega-disasters, mass extinctions, global climate change, pandemics…you name it, we love it.

Well, we love to speculate on it. I’m sure once these come to pass, it will be quite unpleasant for all of us. And yet, we dwell on these unpleasantries to the…

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