One of my favorite parts of working at Curious Iguana is unpacking the books we receive via FedEx and UPS. I get to flip through new releases, our customers’ wide-ranging special orders, and the indie bookstore staples we sell out of over and over. It’s especially exciting when I spy the books I’ll feature during Sneak Peek Sunday. Here are three of the books I unpacked in the last week. They’ll be ready for you to buy on Tuesday, Feb. 21.
With a title like Why I Am Not a Feminist, Jessa Crispin’s polemic is sure to raise a few eyebrows. Crispin—who is an author, critic, and the founder of Bookslut—is no complementarian, though. Rather than rally against equality, Crispin presents a scathing takedown of mainstream feminism, with its celebrity icons and cheerful packaging. Feminism, Crispin explains, has been watered down in our attempt to make it accessible for reluctant adopters. In a May 2016 interview with The Rumpus, Crispin said, “The popular feminist movement has gotten so off track with such terrible things done in its name that I don’t want to associate myself with it. Feminism now seems to be defined as success is defined: as being as good at capitalism as men are. I feel very estranged from it.” Instead, the author, critic, and founder of Bookslut calls for something far more radical. As Kirkus’ starred review put it, “Forget busting glass ceilings. Crispin has taken a wrecking ball to the whole structure.”
One of the Read Broader selections I’m most excited for is the English-language debut of Ernesto by poet Umberto Saba, translated by Estelle Gilson. It’s a classic in the canon of gay literature. Ernesto is an autobiographical novel, a coming-of-age story set in Trieste, Italy, Saba’s hometown. Our titular character, a 16-year-old boy, begins a relationship with a male colleague at his new job. Eventually, their love affair ends, but Ernesto carries the lessons he’s learned and his self-assuredness with him into the future. Ernesto is full of honest emotion and the tender yet ironic hindsight of its author.
Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari is the follow-up to Harari’s bestseller, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. Sapiens was translated into 40 languages and enjoyed great success. The Guardian says Harari has “an ethicist’s sense of rough justice,” and his writing style is engaging and compelling. In Homo Deus, Harari elaborates upon the apocalyptic final chapter of his previous book. He posits that humanity is successfully managing the damages wrought by famine, plague and war, but different, potentially deadly challenges will arise to take their place. In our eternal quest for godlike power, advances in artificial intelligence, specifically, could wreak havoc on our philosophies of class, labor, information, life, and death.