Unruled Paper

by Steve Mitchell

We are in the depths of winter and, though the ScuppernongFox did not see his shadow and promised a quicker end to the season, everyone’s a bit tired of the cold.Fortunately, there are fascinating fresh books available both in hardcover andpaperback to while away the hours.

So, grab a steaming cup of tea or a nice glass of wine andcurl up somewhere warm with a new book. Spring is in the air! Almost.

New in Hardcover

The Mare by Mary Gaitskill

A young underprivileged girl with a dicey family situationis introduced to horses and riding while involved in a program that takes herout of her inner city neighborhood. While this sounds like the story of many afeel-good film and afterschool special, we can expect something more subtlysubversive from Mary Gaitskill, author of the National Book Award-nominated Veronica.

The Slate review.

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

Elizabeth Strout (OliveKittredge) explores family relationships and the way those relationshipsshape our ongoing lives in this novel, told in the first person, by Lucy.During a nine-week stay in a hospital for an undisclosed illness, Lucy’s motherflies in to help care for her. What follows is an exploration of the stories offamily, the memory of family, and the depths of things always left unsaid.

Here’s what the New York Times says about the book.

The Past by Tessa Hadley

Isn’t every family reunion fraught with ‘hidden passions,devastating secrets and dangerous hostilities’, or is that just my family? In The Past three sisters, a brother, andtheir children come together at a house from their past to engage in theinternecine business of family. Moving back and forth between eras andgenerations as well as perspectives, Hadley creates a vivid and full picture ofa modern English family.

The Washington Post review here.

New in Paperback

The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson

This is a memoir, but a memoir laced with theory andintellectual rigor as well as personal experience and casual honesty. Taking her relationship with the artistHarry Dodge as a starting point, Nelson explores questions of desire, identityand gender. Nelson’s pregancy in a fluidly gendered relationship leads toquestions about the institutions of marriage and child rearing.

A review of The Argonauts from the L.A. Times.

The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins by Irvine Welsh

Irvine Welsh (Trainspotting)is a literary force of nature, creating his own niche genre of foul-speakinglayabouts and con men stumbling through the world often in a state of rage andinebriation. In this book, his protagonists are two women, fitness trainer LucyBrennan and overweight artist Lena Sorenson. What follows is an exploration ofbody image and the media which includes kidnapping and sadomasochistic sex. Youhave been warned.

Here’s The Guardian on Irvine Welsh.


Michelle Alexander at the Carolina Theatre

Wednesday, February 24, 7pm

Carolina Theatre, Greensboro

Highlyacclaimed civil rights lawyer, advocate, legal scholar and author of “TheNew Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” will speak onPolicing and Race.

Simran Sethi, “Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of theFoods We Love”

Friday, February 26, 7pm

Scuppernong Books, Greensboro

Award-winningjournalist Simran Sethi explores the history and cultural importance of ourmost beloved tastes, paying homage to the ingredients that give us dailypleasure, while providing a thoughtful wake-up call to the homogenization thatis threatening the diversity of our food supply.

Ask a Muslim Anything

Tuesday, March 1, 7pm

Scuppernong Books, Greensboro

Have you ever wanted to talk to a Muslim? Someone who could beyour co-worker or neighbor? “Ask A Muslim Anything” is an opportunityfor conversation on aspects of belief, identity, and practice — or whatevercomes up. In this three month program, diverse N.C. Muslims will beavailable for an informal chat about Muslimy things. The series is coordinatedby Deonna Kelli Sayed, editor of


I know it’s the depths of winter and we all lose a bit of ourmotivation around this time of year, so here’s Shia LaBeouf to get you excitedabout “Just Doing It” again.

Please send any announcements of writerly or bookish eventsin the Triad area or beyond to:

Steve Mitchell’s short story collection, The Naming ofGhosts, is published by Press 53. He has a deep belief in the primacy of doubtand an abiding conviction that great wisdom informs very bad movies. He’sco-owner of Scuppernong Books in Greensboro, NC.