Sarahann's Picks

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You Exist Too Much: A Novel By Zaina Arafat Cover Image
ISBN: 9781646220595
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Catapult - June 8th, 2021

This book was published in 2020 and written by a Palestinian-American woman who went to the Iowa Writer's Workshop's non-fiction program. I picked it up for the Palestinian perspective in novel form, and I finished it feeling more sure that other people can relate to the rarely articulated emotions and social dynamics that I've experienced - what all readers can expect to find in good storytelling. Set in a small-town-America addiction treatment center, New York City, Iowa City, and recalling time spent in Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, our protagonist speaks mostly conversationally, with complicated self-awareness, about having a challenging mother-daughter relationship, being preoccupied with the pursuit of love and romance, and what it's like having mixed national identities and cultural backgrounds. For a nice preview, flip to page 172.

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The Shamshine Blind: A Novel By Paz Pardo Cover Image
ISBN: 9781982185336
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atria Books - November 14th, 2023

It's 2009 and Argentina has replaced the U.S. as global superpower by using chemical-emotional warfare, bombs of "psychopigment," leaving uninhabitable most major cities, leaving Boise, Miami, and Iowa City as the nation's primary hubs. An extremely popular positivity-promoting Hindu-Christian spirituality cult is poised to replace the ruins of American democracy with theocracy. Police forces are divided into neurotypicals and "pigment enforcement officers," ie. people predisposed to mental abnormality and the now-sought after ability of dissacoiating how they feel from how they perform. If speculative fiction about psychotropic drugs interests you, check this out. There's romance, humor, grief processing, car chases, institutional corruption, absurd fashion, inflation, burgers, murder...