Shannon D

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Women in Abstraction By Karolina Lewandowska, Christine Macel, Anne Monfort Cover Image
$65.00
ISBN: 9780500094372
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Thames & Hudson - August 24th, 2021

Abstraction gets at the heart of making art. This tome's ambitious scope covers many of the most well-known artists like O'Keeffe and Frankenthaler but also highlights lesser-known artists from around the world like Wook-Kyung Choi, Vanessa Bell, and Zilia Sánchez. The common thread is that they dedicated their lives to their craft. This book changed my life and made me want to make my mark on the world.


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The Wok: Recipes and Techniques By J. Kenji López-Alt Cover Image
$50.00
ISBN: 9780393541212
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - March 8th, 2022

I made his recipe for superior stock and it was absolutely divine. In this well-researched cookbook, Lopez-Alt has a lot to teach any cook, from those who have never cooked with a wok to people like me who can't imagine a kitchen without one. His focus on technique will make you a better cook, guaranteed. 加油!


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Mooncakes and Milk Bread: Sweet and Savory Recipes Inspired by Chinese Bakeries By Kristina Cho Cover Image
$29.95
ISBN: 9780785238997
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Horizon - October 12th, 2021

There is a reason this book was sold out for months. I was overjoyed when I found out that someone had finally written recipes for the pastries and dim sum I grew up eating in NYC's Chinatown. If you've never had a bite of pillowy milk bread, this is your cue to make some, stat. These recipes are well-tested and delicious, perfectly embodying the style of Cantonese baking: sweet but not TOO sweet. Left me missing home.


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Severance: A Novel By Ling Ma Cover Image
By Ling Ma
$18.00
ISBN: 9781250214997
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador - May 7th, 2019

Candace Chen works at an unfulfilling job in a publishing company in New York City selling gemstone-encrusted Bibles. She dreams of joining the glamorous higher-ups but doesn't quite fit in; she dreams of a future with her boyfriend, but their relationship is falling apart. Suddenly "Shen Fever" sweeps the world, causing the infected to repeat their daily motions in a fevered daze. (Eerily enough, this was written pre-Covid-19.) Candace watches the world collapse around her cubicle until she's the only one left -- and then she must escape. A capitalist critique, bildungsroman, thriller, and immigration story all at once -- I couldn't put it down!


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Rose (New Poets of America) By Li-Young Lee, Gerald Stern (Foreword by) Cover Image
By Li-Young Lee, Gerald Stern (Foreword by)
$17.00
ISBN: 9780918526533
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: BOA Editions - March 1st, 1993

A titan of Asian American poetry. I first discovered his writing in high school with the poem "Persimmons" (pg. 17) and fell in love immediately -- in his words: "some things never leave a person." I was a young Chinese American girl looking for my poetic heroes, and here I had finally found one. Here is somene who finds meaning in the search for wisdom, even when it's unfruitful, and clarity even in suffering. Here's someone asking earnest questions about love, nature, and mortality. I hope his words give you as much as they've given me.


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Crying in H Mart: A Memoir By Michelle Zauner Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9780525657743
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - April 20th, 2021

My favorite book from 2021. It destroyed me in the best way. Zauner uses the mouthwatering Korean food she grew up with to tell the story of her coming-of-age as a musician and her mother's battle with cancer with unflinching honesty. How do you pursue your dreams when the most important person in your life disapproves? How do you deal with losing a parent? How do you go on? This is a book to read when you miss your mom or one you might want to share with her. 


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On Beauty and Being Just By Elaine Scarry Cover Image
$19.95
ISBN: 9780691089591
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Princeton University Press - November 4th, 2001

In a slim book, Scarry ambitiously tackles what it feels like to encounter something beautiful -- a person, a garden, a work of art -- and makes a case for why we need to put beauty at the forefront of our lives. Reading her elegant prose feels like taking a walk with Matisse, Plato, Homer, and Simone Weil, among others, as they reveal the questions that a lifetime of thinking have brought them to. Perfect for anyone who thinks regularly about what it means to live a good life. 


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Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations By Mira Jacob Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9780399589065
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: One World - March 24th, 2020

This graphic memoir is a collection of conversations about race that Jacob has had throughout her life, and it is framed by an ongoing conversation with her young, biracial son about what it means to be Indian American. Rather than simply instructing her son, they speak honestly about their fears, mistakes, and hopes about living in this country. I have never seen someone weave photography with digital drawings before, which expanded my understanding of what a graphic story can look like.


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Everything She Touched: The Life of Ruth Asawa By Marilyn Chase Cover Image
$29.95
ISBN: 9781452174402
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Chronicle Books - April 7th, 2020

The best artist you've never heard of. Asawa spent her adolescent and teenage years in a Japanese internment camp, where she learned to draw from the Disney animators who were detained with her. She asked herself: how far can a line go? She began "drawing" in the air with wire, and the rest is history. Though highly regarded by critics, she has yet to become a household name, which I hope changes. In her husband's words, her art gives me the feeling that "all is possible."


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The White Album: Essays (FSG Classics) By Joan Didion Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780374532079
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Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - November 10th, 2009

"We tell ourselves stories in order to live." So go the famous first words of Joan Didion's epic essay collection The White Album. What happens when the narratives of our lives are no longer intelligible or even cease to exist? She exposes the illusions of American life in the '60s and raises questions that left me thinking for a long time afterward. Does history have winners or losers? Can humanity change in any meaningful way? And if we lose faith in society, what's left to believe in? Many aspire to capture their generation, and Didion is one of the few who have done it so well, we can't see it without her. 


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When Breath Becomes Air By Paul Kalanithi, Abraham Verghese (Foreword by) Cover Image
By Paul Kalanithi, Abraham Verghese (Foreword by)
$26.00
ISBN: 9780812988406
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - January 12th, 2016

When Kalanithi was diagnosed with lung cancer early in his career as a neurosurgeon, he set out to write a memoir in the last months of his life. Not only is this the story of his battle with terminal illness, it also recounts his coming of age as a doctor -- how he fell in love with the scorpions and landscapes of Arizona as a child, discovered his twin loves of literature and biology at Stanford, and had a child with the love of his life, who wrote the final chapter after his death. I wish we had more of his thoughtful words.


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Poems By Elizabeth Bishop Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9780374532369
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - February 1st, 2011

Like a fool, I totally slept on Bishop’s incredible oeuvre. Now, I turn to her poetry in the hope of writing one truly great poem. She is a poet’s poet – an illuminating force whose masterful use of form has so much to teach beginners and longtime poets alike. Don’t be afraid to read poems that elude understanding – that’s part of what makes her so great. And I dare you to find someone who writes a better sestina. Start with “One Art” and “The Fish,” and as you read, you may feel moved to write down a memory.  


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If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho (Vintage Contemporaries) By Sappho, Anne Carson (Translated by) Cover Image
By Sappho, Anne Carson (Translated by)
$19.00
ISBN: 9780375724510
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - August 12th, 2003

"yes! radiant lyre speak to me

become a voice"

Dive into the dream-like writing of an ancient Greek poet who has lasted the test of time. Read about longing for past lovers, violets & hyacinths, "altars smoking with frankincense," and burning requests to the gods for living (and loving) to be a little easier. Not only is this one of the earliest texts we have of lesbian attraction, this translation by classicist Anne Carson is beautifully rendered with copious notes.


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To The Lighthouse By Virginia Woolf Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780156907392
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - December 27th, 1989

Have you ever asked yourself:

- Have I reached my full potential?

- How can I be happy in a world full of misery?

- How can I pickup a creative project or aspect of my life I have abandoned?

- Will I eventually be forgotten? Is it worth trying to be remembered?

If so, you must read this book, especially if you practice any kind of art. I read it over the course of many foggy Seattle mornings. Day by day, the clouds began to part and make way for a wide-open, silver sky.


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Garden Time By W. S. Merwin Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781556595943
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Copper Canyon Press - April 7th, 2020

Every now and then, on walks through the arboretum or while eating a sunlit breakfast, I'm reminded that I won't be able to keep any of this. Even the trees around me, which may outlast me, cannot live forever. I'm reminded of how little I know and how much life I still yearn to live. A certain kind of anxious joy emerges. Merwin captures these revelatory flashes in his final poems, which he dictated to his wife in near-total blindness. He reminds us that life is a gift that we must one day give back.


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Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist By Judith Heumann, Kristen Joiner Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780807002803
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Beacon Press - February 23rd, 2021

Did you know that in 1977, over 100 protestors, many of whom were disabled, occupied a San Francisco federal office for nearly a month? They didn't leave until their right to an equitable and accessible country was enshrined in the law. It was the longest non-violent sit-in of a federal building in U.S. history. Read Heumann's story as one of the protest's leaders for a gripping first-person account of this oft-forgotten chapter of the civil rights movement. 


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Creation By Sylvia Nickerson Cover Image
$21.95
ISBN: 9781770463776
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Drawn and Quarterly - September 17th, 2019

How do you leave a place better than you found it without destroying it, transforming it into something no longer recognizable?

The narrator, an artist and new mother, has just moved back to the rapidly gentrifying city where she grew up. She meditates on artistic creation, motherhood, and the destruction and recreation of entire neighborhoods. Above her bleak but beautiful cityscapes, the sky opens up to reveal a heavenly dream world of her memories. This book will feel real to anyone who has felt that a city has made them who they are. 


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Wandering Hong Kong with Spirits (Hong Kong Atlas) By Waitong Liu, Desmond Sham (Translator), Enoch Tam (Translator) Cover Image
By Waitong Liu, Desmond Sham (Translator), Enoch Tam (Translator)
$15.00
ISBN: 9781938890031
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Zephyr Press - March 8th, 2016

Is it possible to miss a city you've never visited? I've felt this way about Hong Kong for a long time and felt it especially after reading Wandering Hong Kong with Spirits by Liu Waitong. I'm impressed with his photographic eye, which manages to capture the city's constant state of construction and destruction. His poems range from political elegies for the city he once knew to imagist homages to Du Fu and W. H. Auden. I can't tell you how rare it is to find English translations of Hong Kong literature, which makes me treasure this book even more.


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Dictee By Theresa Hak Kyung Cha Cover Image
$18.95
ISBN: 9780520390485
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: University of California Press - September 13th, 2022

Cha proved to me that the best books are those you may never fully understand. She presents us with a multi-genre classic that is incredibly moving despite (and maybe even because) of its incomprehensibility. Cathy Park Hong advised her students "to approach the book as if they're learning a new language." Intertwining the stories of the Greek muses, women martyrs, and Korean exiles and immigrants, Cha asks whether it is possible to transcend suffering -- and language itself -- in one of the most important works of American literature.


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Kibogo By Scholastique Mukasonga, Mark Polizzotti (Translated by) Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781953861368
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Archipelago - September 13th, 2022

Imagine a history written like a fable. A drought-stricken Rwandan town encroached by Belgian missionaries must decide whether to ask the deities of their ancestors for help or assimilate and pray to the Christian God. A woman on a nearby hilltop who has been denounced as a pagan witch is one of the few who believe that they can conjure a legendary force to help them. But can she bring back the rain? Will her people defy the missionaries who seek to destroy their culture?


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The Lord Of The Rings By J.R.R. Tolkien Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780618640157
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - October 12th, 2005

During the pandemic, I began The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien for the first time. My boyfriend and I read it out loud to each other (funny voices included), and it was one of the best reading experiences I've ever had. When we finally finished one night at 3 AM, I burst into tears. The next day I felt a surging, beautiful book-hangover. I haven't stopped asking myself: How can someone seek to do good, or anything worthwhile, without seeking power? "How do you pick up the threads of an old life?" This is an adventure story to fall into again and again.