Marmee & Louisa

By Eve LaPlante

Louisa May Alcott was one of the most successful and bestselling authors of her day, earning more than any of her male contemporaries. Her classic Little Women “has been a mainstay of American literature since its release nearly 150 years ago, as Jo March and her calm, beloved Marmee have shaped and inspired generations of young women. Biographers have consistently attributed Louisa’s uncommon success to her father, Bronson Alcott, assuming that this outspoken idealist was the source of his daughter’s progressive thinking and remarkable independence.

But in this riveting dual biography, award-winning biographer Eve LaPlante explodes these myths, drawing from a trove of surprising new documents to show that it was Louisa’s actual Marmee, Abigail May Alcott, who formed the intellectual and emotional center of her world. Abigail, whose difficult life both inspired and served as a warning to her devoted daughters, pushed Louisa to excel at writing and to chase her unconventional dreams in a male-dominated world.

In Marmee & Louisa, LaPlante, Abigail’s great-niece and Louisa’s cousin, re-creates their shared story from diaries, letters, and personal papers, some recently discovered in a family attic and many others that were thought to have been destroyed. Here at last Abigail is revealed in her full complexity – long dismissed as a quiet, self-effacing background figure, she comes to life as a fascinating writer and thinker in her own right. A politically active feminist firebrand, she was a highly opinionated, passionate, ambitious woman who fought for universal civil rights, publicly advocating for abolition, women’s suffrage, and other defining moral struggles of her era.

In this groundbreaking work, LaPlante paints an exquisitely moving and utterly convincing portrait of a woman decades ahead of her time, and the fiercely independent daughter whose life was deeply entwined with her mother’s dreams of freedom. This gorgeously written story of two extraordinary women is guaranteed to transform our view of one of America’s most beloved authors.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

By Robin Sloan

A gleeful and exhilarating tale of global conspiracy, complex code-breaking, high-tech data visualization, young love, rollicking adventure, and the secret to eternal life – mostly set in a hole-in-the-wall San Francisco bookstore

The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco Web-design drone – and serendipity, sheer curiosity, and the ability to climb a ladder like a monkey has landed him a new gig working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after just a few days on the job, Clay begins to realize that this store is even more curious than the name suggests. There are only a few customers, but they come in repeatedly and never seem to actually buy anything, instead “checking out” impossibly obscure volumes from strange corners of the store, all according to some elaborate, long-standing arrangement with the gnomic Mr. Penumbra. The store must be a front for something larger, Clay concludes, and soon he’s embarked on a complex analysis of the customers’ behavior and roped his friends into helping to figure out just what’s going on. But once they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, it turns out the secrets extend far outside the walls of the bookstore.

With irresistible brio and dazzling intelligence, Robin Sloan has crafted a literary adventure story for the twenty-first century, evoking both the fairy-tale charm of Haruki Murakami and the enthusiastic novel-of-ideas wizardry of Neal Stephenson or a young Umberto Eco, but with a unique and feisty sensibility that’s rare to the world of literary fiction. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is exactly what it sounds like: an establishment you have to enter and will never want to leave, a modern-day cabinet of wonders ready to give a jolt of energy to every curious reader, no matter the time of day.

Recently named a 2013 recipient of the Alex Award, for fiction written with adults with special appeal to a teen audience!

An Introduction to the Prose Poem

Edited by Brian Clements and Jamey Dunham

An Introduction to the Prose Poem clears a new path for students, instructors, and general readers interested in exploring the “ramshackle and unexpected… thoroughfare” [Campbell McGrath] of a hard-to-define genre. For students and instructors, the anthology provides an implicit history of the genre, a wide array of models and strategies, and a map of the prose poem’s potential via dozens of poets, a useful introductory essay and headnotes, and an innovative structure. For readers, it provides what every poetry fan wants—a ton of great poems by over 100 renowned poets!

Brian Clements is the editor of Sentence: a Journal of Prose Poetics and the author of several collections of poetry, including Disappointed Psalms (Meritage Press) and And How to End It (Quale Press). He is a Professor of Writing, Linguistics, and Creative Process at Western Connecticut State University, where he coordinates the MFA in Creative and Professional Writing.

Jamey Dunham is the author of The Bible of Lost Pets (Salt Modern Poets). He is an Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio.

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