Mary W's Picks
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Sourdough: Or, Lois and Her Adventures in the Underground Market: A Novel
Sourdough: Or, Lois and Her Adventures in the Underground Market
A Novel
Paperback      ISBN: 1250192757

From Robin Sloan, the New York Times bestselling author of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, comes Sourdough, a perfect parable for our times (San Francisco Magazine): a delicious and funny novel about an overworked and under-socialized software engineer discovering a calling and a community as a baker.

Named One of the Best Books of the Year by NPR, the San Francisco Chronicle, and Southern Living

Lois Clary is a software engineer at General Dexterity, a San Francisco robotics company with world-changing ambitions. She codes all day and collapses at night, her human contact limited to the two brothers who run the neighborhood hole-in-the-wall from which she orders dinner every evening. Then, disaster Visa issues. The brothers quickly close up shop. But they have one last delivery for Lois: their culture, the sourdough starter used to bake their bread. She must keep it alive, they tell her--feed it daily, play it music, and learn to bake with it.

Lois is no baker, but she could use a roommate, even if it is a needy colony of microorganisms. Soon, not only is she eating her own homemade bread, she's providing loaves to the General Dexterity cafeteria every day. Then the company chef urges her to take her product to the farmer's market--and a whole new world opens up.
Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl: A Memoir
Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl
A Memoir
Paperback      ISBN: 0399184767

From the guitarist of the pioneering band Sleater-Kinney, the book Kim Gordon says everyone has been waiting for and a New York Times Notable Book of 2015-- a candid, funny, and deeply personal look at making a life--and finding yourself--in music.

Before Carrie Brownstein became a music icon, she was a young girl growing up in the Pacific Northwest just as it was becoming the setting for one the most important movements in rock history. Seeking a sense of home and identity, she would discover both while moving from spectator to creator in experiencing the power and mystery of a live performance. With Sleater-Kinney, Brownstein and her bandmates rose to prominence in the burgeoning underground feminist punk-rock movement that would define music and pop culture in the 1990s. They would be cited as "America's best rock band" by legendary music critic Greil Marcus for their defiant, exuberant brand of punk that resisted labels and limitations, and redefined notions of gender in rock.

HUNGER MAKES ME A MODERN GIRL is an intimate and revealing narrative of her escape from a turbulent family life into a world where music was the means toward self-invention, community, and rescue. Along the way, Brownstein chronicles the excitement and contradictions within the era's flourishing and fiercely independent music subculture, including experiences that sowed the seeds for the observational satire of the popular television series Portlandia years later.

With deft, lucid prose Brownstein proves herself as formidable on the page as on the stage. Accessibly raw, honest and heartfelt, this book captures the experience of being a young woman, a born performer and an outsider, and ultimately finding one's true calling through hard work, courage and the intoxicating power of rock and roll.
Girls Burn Brighter
Girls Burn Brighter
Hardcover      ISBN: 1250074258

Best Book of the Year: The Washington Post, NPR, Shelf Awareness, Paste, LitHub, Real Simple
2018 Goodreads Choice Awards Finalist: Best Fiction
Longlisted for the 2018 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize

"Incandescent...A searing portrait of what feminism looks like in much of the world." --Vogue

"A treat for Ferrante fans, exploring the bonds of friendship and how female ambition beats against the strictures of poverty and patriarchal societies." --The Huffington Post

An electrifying debut novel about the extraordinary bond between two girls driven apart by circumstance but relentless in their search for one another.

Poornima and Savitha have three strikes against them: they are poor, they are ambitious, and they are girls. After her mother's death, Poornima has very little kindness in her life. She is left to care for her siblings until her father can find her a suitable match. So when Savitha enters their household, Poornima is intrigued by the joyful, independent-minded girl. Suddenly their Indian village doesn't feel quite so claustrophobic, and Poornima begins to imagine a life beyond arranged marriage. But when a devastating act of cruelty drives Savitha away, Poornima leaves behind everything she has ever known to find her friend.

Her journey takes her into the darkest corners of India's underworld, on a harrowing cross-continental journey, and eventually to an apartment complex in Seattle. Alternating between the girls' perspectives as they face ruthless obstacles, Shobha Rao's Girls Burn Brighter introduces two heroines who never lose the hope that burns within.

Mean
Mean
Paperback      ISBN: 1566894913

True crime, memoir, and ghost story, Mean is the bold and hilarious tale of Myriam Gurba's coming of age as a queer, mixed-race Chicana. Blending radical formal fluidity and caustic humor, Gurba takes on sexual violence, small towns, and race, turning what might be tragic into piercing, revealing comedy. This is a confident, intoxicating, brassy book that takes the cost of sexual assault, racism, misogyny, and homophobia deadly seriously.

We act mean to defend ourselves from boredom and from those who would cut off our breasts. We act mean to defend our clubs and institutions. We act mean because we like to laugh. Being mean to boys is fun and a second-wave feminist duty. Being mean to men who deserve it is a holy mission. Sisterhood is powerful, but being mean is more exhilarating.

Being mean isn't for everybody.

Being mean is best practiced by those who understand it as an art form.

These virtuosos live closer to the divine than the rest of humanity. They're queers.

Myriam Gurba is a queer spoken-word performer, visual artist, and writer from Santa Maria, California. She's the author of Dahlia Season (2007, Manic D) which was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, Wish You Were Me (2011, Future Tense Books), and Painting Their Portraits in Winter (2015, Manic D). She has toured with Sister Spit and her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach. She lives in Long Beach, where she teaches social studies to eighth-graders.

What to Eat
What to Eat
1st Edition    Paperback      ISBN: 0865477388

Since its publication in hardcover last year, Marion Nestle's What to Eat has become the definitive guide to making healthy and informed choices about food. Praised as "radiant with maxims to live by" in The New York Times Book Review and "accessible, reliable and comprehensive" in The Washington Post, What to Eat is an indispensable resource, packed with important information and useful advice from the acclaimed nutritionist who "has become to the food industry what . . . Ralph Nader was] to the automobile industry" (St. Louis Post-Dispatch).

How we choose which foods to eat is growing more complicated by the day, and the straightforward, practical approach of What to Eat has been praised as welcome relief. As Nestle takes us through each supermarket section--produce, dairy, meat, fish--she explains the issues, cutting through foodie jargon and complicated nutrition labels, and debunking the misleading health claims made by big food companies. With Nestle as our guide, we are shown how to make wise food choices--and are inspired to eat sensibly and nutritiously.

Now in paperback, What to Eat is already a classic--"the perfect guidebook to help navigate through the confusion of which foods are good for us" (USA Today).