Friday, October 6, 2017

New Books Coming Your Way, October 10, 2017

The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao
by Martha Batalha
272 p.; Fiction

Euridice is young, beautiful and ambitious, but when her rebellious sister Guida elopes, she sets her own aspirations aside and vows to settle down as a model wife and daughter. And yet as her husband's professional success grows, so does Euridice's feeling of restlessness. She embarks on a series of secret projects from creating recipe books to becoming the most sought-after seamstress in town — but each is doomed to failure. Her tradition-loving husband is not interested in an independent wife. And then one day Guida appears at the door with her young son and a terrible story of hardship and abandonment.

As Lie Is to Grin by Simeon Marsalis
160 p.; Fiction

David, the narrator of Simeon Marsalis’s singular first novel, is a freshman at the University of Vermont who is struggling to define himself against the white backdrop of his school. He is also mourning the loss of his New York girlfriend, whose grandfather’s alma mater he has chosen to attend. When David met Melody, he lied to her about who he was and where he lived, creating a more intriguing story than his own. This lie haunts and almost unhinges him as he attempts to find his true voice and identity.

On campus in Vermont, David imagines encounters with a student from the past who might represent either Melody’s grandfather or Jean Toomer, the author of the acclaimed Harlem Renaissance novel Cane (1923). He becomes obsessed with the varieties of American architecture “upon land that was stolen,” and with the university’s past and attitudes as recorded in its newspaper, The Cynic. And he is frustrated with the way the Internet and libraries are curated, making it difficult to find the information he needs to make connections between the university’s history, African American history, and his own life.

In New York, the previous year, Melody confides a shocking secret about her grandfather’s student days at the University of Vermont. When she and her father collude with the intent to meet David’s mother in Harlem—craving what they consider an authentic experience of the black world—their plan ends explosively. The title of this impressive and emotionally powerful novel is inspired by Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poem “We Wear the Mask” (1896): “We wear the mask that grins and lies . . .”

We Wear the Mask: 15 True Stories of Passing in America edited by Brando Skyhorse & Lisa Page
216 p.; Social Science

For some, “passing” means opportunity, access, or safety. Others don’t willingly pass but are “passed” in specific situations by someone else. We Wear the Mask, edited by Brando Skyhorse and Lisa Page, is an illuminating and timely anthology that examines the complex reality of passing in America.

Skyhorse, a Mexican American, writes about how his mother passed him as an American Indian before he learned who he really is. Page shares how her white mother didn’t tell friends about her black ex-husband or that her children were, in fact, biracial.

The anthology includes writing from Gabrielle Bellot, who shares the disquieting truths of passing as a woman after coming out as trans, and MG Lord, who, after the murder of her female lover, embraced heterosexuality. Patrick Rosal writes of how he “accidentally” passes as a waiter at the National Book Awards ceremony, and Rafia Zakaria agonizes over her Muslim American identity while traveling through domestic and international airports. Other writers include Trey Ellis, Marc Fitten, Susan Golomb, Margo Jefferson, Achy Obejas, Clarence Page, Sergio Troncoso, Dolen Perkins-Valdez, and Teresa Wiltz.

Run For It: Stories Of Slaves Who Fought For Their Freedom by Marcelo D'Salete
180 p.; Graphic novel

Run For It — a stunning graphic novel by internationally acclaimed illustrator Marcelo d’Salete — is one of the first literary and artistic efforts to face up to Brazil’s hidden history of slavery. Originally published in Brazil — where it was nominated for three of the country’s most prestigious comics awards — Run For It has received rave reviews worldwide, including, in the U.S., The Huffington Post. These intense tales offer a tragic and gripping portrait of one of history’s darkest corners. It’s hard to look away.

Chuck D Presents This Day in Rap and Hip-Hop History by Chuck D
352 p.; Music

Based on Chuck's long-running show on, this massive compendium details the most iconic moments and influential songs in the genre's recorded history, from Kurtis Blow's "Christmas Rappin'" to The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill to Kendrick Lamar's ground-breaking verse on "Control." Also included are key events in hip hop history, from Grandmaster Flash's first scratch through Tupac's holographic appearance at Coachella.

Throughout, Chuck offers his insider's perspective on the chart toppers and show stoppers as he lived it. Illustrating the pages are more than 100 portraits from the talented artists specializing in hip hop.

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