Book reviews

Check out the latest reviews of University of Minnesota Press books.
MPR News: The opioid reckoning in Minnesota
Last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released some heartbreaking statistics. Not about COVID-19, but about drug overdose deaths, which reached a new record high during the pandemic.
Los Angeles Review of Books: Courtiers and Sycophants: Catherine Liu’s Case Against the Professional Managerial Class
AMONG THE pleasures of the HBO series Succession, which satirizes a Murdoch-like media dynasty, is the unembarrassed spectacle used to portray the spiritually dead. Departing from television that fetishizes plutocrats, Succession transports us to their plausibly perverse reality. Virtue Hoarders, Catherine Liu’s polemic against the professional-managerial class (PMC), holds up the mirror to “PMC nature” that Succession doesn’t.
Star Tribune on Liv Arnesen's book: "Wonderfully perplexing."
Amid sundry accounts of other great polar achievements, overwhelmingly by men, Arnesen tells her story almost effortlessly, even chummily, sidestepping the usual tone of turmoil. It's as if she trusts a reader to grasp that, yes, skiing alone for 50 days in subzero cold is one of most difficult ventures on Earth. There, that's settled.
ROROTOKO: Discomfort Food
Marni Reva Kessler: Although I didn’t know it at the time, this book took root during a visit years ago to the National Gallery of Art when I happened upon Antoine Vollon’s Mound of Butter.
Reading in Translation: "A wonderful exercise of imagination for the lover of translation."
The ability of the novel to evoke an expansive world while remaining concise in its storytelling is one of its most compelling qualities.
The Tiny Activist: "A beautiful story."
Yang Warriors is a book that is rich with discussion points, not just about life in a camp, but also the importance of familial relationships, advocacy, and community support.
The Atlantic: The Logic of the Filing Cabinet Is Everywhere.
A captivating new history helps us see the humble appliance’s sweeping influence on modern life.
The New Yorker: Timothy Morton's Hyper-Pandemic.
For the philosopher of “hyperobjects”—vast, unknowable things that are bigger than ourselves—the coronavirus is further proof that we live in a dark ecology.
This is Hell! podcast: Hierarchy, division and filing cabinets at the dawn of the information age.
Media studies scholar Craig Robertson on the filing cabinet's work at the dawn of 20th century capitalism, the consequences of a logic centered around division and efficiency, and his book The Filing Cabinet: A Vertical History of Information from University of Minnesota Press.
Chicago Review of Books: "Antoine Volodine has been exploding the boundaries of fiction for decades."
Antoine Volodine has been exploding the boundaries of fiction for decades in his native France; now University of Minnesota Press brings one of his most fascinating experiments to U.S. readers with this new translation of Solo Viola. Its vision of performers and prisoners held under the sway of an authoritarian buffoon echoes eerily with our tumultuous present.
LitHub: This Wild and Crazy Summer, Give in to the Chaos of Balzac
Drew Johnson in Praise of a “Disorderly, Conflicted, Brilliant Clod”
New Books in Philosophy: Curiosity and Power
Is curiosity political? Does it have a philosophical lineage? In Curiosity and Power: The Politics of Inquiry (University of Minnesota Press, 2021), Perry Zurn shows, consequentially, yes. He further asks: Who can be curious? How? When? To what effect? What happens when we are curious together?
NBC News: Books that show Asian Americans have never been silent
These biographies, memoirs, novels and collections of poetry show the ways Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have long organized and fought back against oppression.
Robb Report: Inside the Rule-Breaking Movement to Make High-End Sushi More Sustainable
Decadent bluefin tuna is in a category all its own. “It’s like eating a cheetah,” says Jennifer Telesca.
New Books Network: Contingent Figure
Suffused with fastidious close readings, and girded by a remarkably complex understanding of phenomenal experience, Contingent Figure resides in the overlap between literary theory and lyric experiment. Snediker grounds his exploration of disability and chronic pain in dazzling close readings of Herman Melville, Emily Dickinson, Henry James, and many others. Its juxtaposition of these readings with candid autobiographical accounts makes Contingent Figure an exemplary instance of literary theory as a practice of lyric attention. Thoroughly rigorous and anything but predictable, this stirring inquiry leaves the reader with a rich critical vocabulary indebted to the likes of Maurice Blanchot, Gilles Deleuze, D. O. Winnicott, and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick. A master class in close reading’s inseparability from the urgency of lived experience, this book is essential for students and scholars of disability studies, queer theory, formalism, aesthetics, and the radical challenge of Emersonian poetics across the long American nineteenth century.
Star Tribune: Think "The Great Gatsby" comes to the Boundary Waters.
FICTION: A young woman breaks free from societal norms and expectations.
Somatosphere: "A wonderfully crafted ethnography."
Immortality, a concern more readily identified with religion is explored here as a growing interest in secular scientific circles[3]. Inspired by Talal Asad’s formulation of the secular as a “social formation” and approaching secular immortality as a historical and a distinctly American project Farman inquires “what […this project] can tell us about secular assumptions and how…death and not dying [are] related to secular notions and ways of being human and of moving beyond the human” (p.6). By locating this project within a larger historical formation of secularism Farman gestures at the tensions in its folds which makes the project—its impulse, the unease it generates and its shaky status as science—better appraisable.
David Wills on New Books in Science, Technology, and Society
A landmark work in posthuman thought that analyzes and explores the human body as a technology, the book promotes the idea that the human body is open to supplementation by artificial addenda that operate both internally or externally and engage it in an unceasing arbitration with the environment.
PoLAR: Writing Planetary Ethnographies
Jennifer Telesca, in her first ethnographic monograph, writes with exuberance and determination as she examines the geoeconomics of Atlantic Bluefin tuna capture fisheries management.
Relish: Hazelnut Salad and Crisps recipe
Discover three ways to use American hazelnuts in one recipe by cookbook writer Beth Dooley
The Nation: How ‘Things’ In Fiction Shape the Way We Read
Sarah Wasserman’s recent book looks at how the objects we take for granted in stories can reveal even deeper meaning.
Stuart McLean on Against Everyone with Conner Habib
When we talk about reality, we are, of course talking about the world of objects, of planets, of material and motion. Maybe of time, of the microscopic and macroscopic. But we know that isn’t everything. What about the theory of everything that includes myth, stories, fiction, thoughts, feelings, the imagined world, the spiritual intensities of our lives, narratives, characters these - are all part of the picture of reality.
NPR: Can America's 'Civil Religion' Still Unite The Country?
"Because of the xenophobia Asian Americans are facing, because of the backlash against African American civil rights, we're seeing that this kind of citizenship, this intrinsic right to be in the U.S., to enjoy its freedoms, is not really for everyone," says Lynn Itagaki, a professor of women's and gender studies at the University of Missouri.
The Reading Tub: "Hope, courage, and perseverance for readers of all ages."
A story of hope, courage, and perseverance for readers of all ages. Yang's story will open windows into cultures and history that is beautiful and inspiring.
Reader's Digest: Life with an icon
Prince's longtime bassist, Mark Brown, on what it was like to play, laugh and work with The Purple One. Mark Brown went from playing bass to 50 people in the local bars and clubs of Minneapolis, to being renamed “BrownMark” by Prince, and supporting The Rolling Stones on his debut.
How can U just leave me standing? ...in search of Prince Rogers Nelson.
Podcast interview with BrownMark, author of My Life in the Purple Kingdom, with Sam Bleazard.
New Books in European Studies: Conversation with Alison Mountz
The Death of Asylum: Hidden Geographies of the Enforcement Archipelago (University of Minnesota Press, 2020) arrives at an extraordinarily consequential moment for the future of asylum protections.
Public Seminar: The PMC Has Children
From the very moment of conception, which for professional managerial class (PMC) parents is always a “choice,” the future child and infant possesses “potential” that has to be both optimized and maximized.
Fox 9: New picture book tells inspiring tale of brave kids in refugee camp.
Award-winning Minnesota author Kao Kalia Yang is out with a brand new picture book with illustrator Billy Thao. "Yang Warriors" tells the real-life story of a group of young cousins in a refugee camp. The Buzz got a chance to chat with Yang and Thao about their beautiful and inspiring new work.
KPFA Against the Grain: Community-Level Counterterrorism
“Countering violent extremism” is a U.S. government program aimed at combatting homegrown terrorism. It enlists teachers, service providers, and religious leaders to monitor and report on young people deemed vulnerable to terrorist radicalization. But according to Nicole Nguyen, CVE asks teachers and others to take on policing functions and criminalizes Muslim youth.

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