Simple Simons Book Nook
Books by Our Contributing Authors
Pidgin Eye features thirty-five years of poetry by acclaimed author Joe Balaz. Writing in Pidgin (Hawaiʻi Creole English), he honors the beauty, strength, and complexity of Hawaiʻi and the voices of its peoples. Balaz’s philosophical lyricism tightly weaves history and humor, aloha ʻāina and protest, the spiritual and the everyday. Together, these poems envision a world in which—like Pidgin—“everyting deserves to fly.”Joe Balaz, born and raised in Wahiawa on the island of Oʻahu, is of Hawaiian, Slovakian, and Irish ancestry. He is the author of multiple books of poetry in Standard English and Pidgin (Hawaiʻi Creole English), as well as the editor of Hoʻomānoa: An Anthology of Contemporary Hawaiian Literature. His writing, visual poetry, and artwork have been published in national and international journals and anthologies. Throughout his career, he has passionately advocated for Hawaiian and Pidgin literature.
Refreshingly unconfessional, placed largely in a Europe between unspecified wars, this is a brave attempt to use poetry to describe the current epoch. Like a young John Ashbery, Hickey skirts from slogan to commonplace, from sound bite to cliché, always returning to the unpropitious conditions for authentic experience, be that hysterical, religious, or communal. - Prof. Graham Allen
In poetry, as in other forms of creative thinking one is always on the lookout for the original voice and occasionally one comes across one that is worth celebrating. Kenneth Hickey ploughs his own rich furrow with welcome assuredness. Here, in his first book, he presents us with work that has the feel of being around for a long time. - Gerry Murphy
The poems in Portals seek new connections between our inner and outer worlds. This vibrant collection is packed with poems about wild places, ancestors, quicksand, the microbiome, protests, yeast, consequential strangers, and the fierce persistence of hope.
This book of poetry is unapologetic in its challenge to self and to society. It calls for us, humans to get to know who we are and to like it, to appreciate our uniqueness and love ourselves. It takes us on a journey through struggle and triumph, from family issues, domestic violence, war, suicide, having children, poverty spirituality, love and more. Through the book you will see a tug-o-war between spirit and the mind. We often ask ourselves questions about ourselves and things or events that take place in life. The poems in this book allow us to step outside of ourselves and realize the connection we have with our neighbors next door and our neighbors miles away.
This book shows how someone can be vulnerable and victorious at the same time. The poems are written in a way that makes you focus on the bigger picture of life while still paying attention to the smallest details that we sometimes overlook. Overall, the poems connect life to life and show that if you use your voice to tell your story, people will connect because they understand that they are not alone in their journey.
Since losing her father when Jessica was 5 years old, words have soothed her soul. At 9, she began penning the words in her head onto paper as poetry and prose, and continued penning through college, work, and raising two children. Her writing has earned awards and been published in the newspaper and the award-winning Grief Diaries book series. Paired for the first time with her daughter’s illustrations, Crimson Sunshine is an introduction to Jessica’s poetry that stems from a life lived with great lows and ultimate highs as seen through the eyes of both a young 5-year-old girl and survivor of astounding loss and accomplished mother.
Through these pages, the broad swath of relationships that bind us to family, to lovers, to childhood memories, to the natural world, and to our wounded society are enacted through distinctive imagery and voice. The reader is invited to delve into a profound truth: "the world is just as beautiful as it's hurt" ("Crivelli's Madonna and Child," George Franklin). Taken together, the work highlights the vital role of poetry to affirm our shared, keenly lived experiences as we come together at a common table to share the "delicate bread" signified in Seth Jani's beautiful poem, "Repast."
South Shore Suite…POEMS offers a selection of narrative and lyric poems arranged in four sections. The eponymous “South Shore Suite” emerged from JC’s posting a line of poetry a day on her blog for a year. “Second Nature” focuses a wider lens on the natural world. “Cameo Appearances” draws poems from interviews JC conducted with people in different professions about life choices they made. The final section, “Cradle to Grave,” contains poems closest to JC’s personal experience.
Published under her pseudonym A. Garnett Weiss, Bricolage is JC Sulzenko’s first collection of centos. The 62 poems in Bricolage use lines or partial lines written by poets living or passed, international or Canadian, well or lesser known, to create a new work, independent in form and meaning from its sources. For each cento’s lines, keys provide full attribution to the source poem and poet, and bibliographical notes list the individual collections and anthologies Weiss consumed. Poetry writers and readers will enjoy the collage in words that this unique collection offers.
James Brown. John Brown's raid. Brown v. the Topeka Board of Ed. The prizewinning author of Blue Laws meditates on all things "brown" in this powerful new collection.
“Vital and sophisticated ... sinks hooks into you that cannot be easily removed.” —The New York Times
Divided into "Home Recordings" and "Field Recordings," Brown speaks to the way personal experience is shaped by culture, while culture is forever affected by the personal, recalling a black Kansas boyhood to comment on our times.
From "History"—a song of Kansas high-school fixture Mr. W., who gave his students "the Sixties / minus Malcolm X, or Watts, / barely a march on Washington"—to "Money Road," a sobering pilgrimage to the site of Emmett Till's lynching, the poems engage place and the past and their intertwined power.
These thirty-two taut poems and poetic sequences, including an oratorio based on Mississippi "barkeep, activist, waiter" Booker Wright that was performed at Carnegie Hall and the vibrant sonnet cycle "De La Soul Is Dead," about the days when hip-hop was growing up ("we were black then, not yet / African American"), remind us that blackness and brownness tell an ongoing story.
A testament to Young's own—and our collective—experience, Brown offers beautiful, sustained harmonies from a poet whose wisdom deepens with time.
Longlisted for the National Book Award
A rich and lively gathering of highlights from the first twenty years of an extraordinary career, interspersed with “B sides” and “bonus tracks” from this prolific and widely acclaimed poet.
Blue Laws gathers poems written over the past two decades, drawing from all nine of Kevin Young’s previously published books of poetry and including a number of uncollected, often unpublished, poems. From his stunning lyric debut (Most Way Home, 1995) and the amazing “double album” life of Jean-Michel Basquiat (2001, “remixed” for Knopf in 2005), through his brokenhearted Jelly Roll: A Blues (2003)and his recent forays into adult grief and the joys of birth in Dear Darkness (2008) and Book of Hours (2014), this collection provides a grand tour of a poet whose personal poems and political poems are equally riveting. Together with wonderful outtakes and previously unseen blues, the profoundly felt poems here of family, Southern food, and loss are of a piece with the depth of personal sensibility and humanity found in his Ardency: A Chronicle of the Amistad Rebels or bold sequences such as “The Ballad of Jim Crow” and a new “Homage to Phillis Wheatley.”
Winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for poetry and former U.S. Poet Laureate, Natasha Trethewey’s elegiac Native Guard is a deeply personal volume that brings together two legacies of the Deep South.
The title of the collection refers to the Mississippi Native Guards, a black regiment whose role in the Civil War has been largely overlooked by history. As a child in Gulfport, Mississippi, in the 1960s, Trethewey could gaze across the water to the fort on Ship Island where Confederate captives once were guarded by black soldiers serving the Union cause.
The racial legacy of the South touched Trethewey’s life on a much more immediate level, too. Many of the poems in Native Guard pay loving tribute to her mother, whose marriage to a white man was illegal in her native Mississippi in the 1960s. Years after her mother’s tragic death, Trethewey reclaims her memory, just as she reclaims the voices of the black soldiers whose service has been all but forgotten.
From the white boy who transforms himself into a full-fledged Chicano, to the self-assured woman who effortlessly terrorizes her Anglo boss, the author introduces a unique new viewpoint of the American literary landscape through a collection of poems and stories. Reissue.
A collection of poetry following the diagnosis of major depressive disorder, a death, a divorce, and the ending of another significant relationship. This book is a personal journey of one woman struggling to find her way through a dark time. Join the author on her journey from the depths of depression into acceptance and the next phase of her life. Through heartbreak, loss, and loneliness, Terrii juggles the lies her brain tells her to seek out the truth.
Evie Malone- gamer girl, college senior and confirmed virgin- has it all figured out. Not only does she command a top-ranked guild in Warcraft with her online boyfriend, she also makes a little cash on the side writing love letters for people who've screwed up their relationships. Love is like Warcraft, after all. It's all about strategies, game plans, and not taking stupid risks. Well, that's what she thinks... until she actually falls for a guy. In Real Life. And no amount of gaming expertise.
"Parks has burst through every known convention to invent a new theatrical language, like a jive Samuel Beckett, while exploding American cultural myths and stereotypes along the way.... She's passionate and jokey and some kind of genius."--Vogue
A modern classic, this edition has been restored by Fitzgerald scholar James L.W. West III and features a personal foreword by Fitzgerald’s great-granddaughter Blake Hazard and a new introduction by bestselling Amor Towles.
Set in the south of France in the late 1920s, Tender Is the Night is the tragic tale of a young actress, Rosemary Hoyt, and her complicated relationship with the alluring American couple Dick and Nicole Diver. A brilliant psychiatrist at the time of his marriage, Dick is both husband and doctor to Nicole, whose wealth pushed him into a glamorous lifestyle, and whose growing strength highlights Dick’s decline.
Lyrical, expansive, and hauntingly evocative, Tender Is the Night was one of the most talked-about books of the year when it was originally published in 1934, and is even more beloved by readers today.
A deluxe trade paperback edition of The Great Gatsby, a true classic of 20th-century literature and one of America’s best-loved and iconic novels.
This edition of The Great Gatsby has been updated by F. Scott Fitzgerald scholar James L.W. West III to include the author’s final revisions and features a note on the composition and text, a personal foreword by Fitzgerald’s granddaughter, Eleanor Lanahan—and an introduction by two-time National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward. Featuring the iconic original cover art and French flaps, this is a must-have for all Gatsby fans.
The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald’s third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. First published in 1925, this quintessential novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the mysteriously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.
A wickedly funny novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Squeeze Me in which the greedy, the corrupt, and the degraders of what’s left of pristine Florida—now, of the Bahamas as well—get their comeuppance.
“[A] comedic marvel … [Hiaasen] hasn’t written a novel this funny since Skinny Dip.”—The New York Times
Andrew Yancy—late of the Miami Police and soon-to-be-late of the Monroe County sheriff’s office—has a human arm in his freezer. There’s a logical (Hiaasenian) explanation for that, but not for how and why it parted from its shadowy owner. Yancy thinks the boating-accident/shark-luncheon explanation is full of holes, and if he can prove murder, the sheriff might rescue him from his grisly Health Inspector gig (it’s not called the roach patrol for nothing). But first—this being Hiaasen country—Yancy must negotiate an obstacle course of wildly unpredictable events with a crew of even more wildly unpredictable characters, including his just-ex lover, a hot-blooded fugitive from Kansas; the twitchy widow of the frozen arm; two avariciously optimistic real-estate speculators; the Bahamian voodoo witch known as the Dragon Queen, whose suitors are blinded unto death by her peculiar charms; Yancy’s new true love, a kinky coroner; and the eponymous bad monkey, who with hilarious aplomb earns his place among Carl Hiaasen’s greatest characters.
The old neighborhood was the place Joe Mackall left. It was a place where everyone’s parents worked at the factory at the dead end of the street, where the Catholic church and school operated like a religious city hall, and where a boy like Joe grew up vowing to get out as soon as he could and to shed his blue-collar beginnings and failed, flawed religion. When the mysterious death of a childhood friend draws him back to the last street before Cleveland, however, he discovers that there is more to “old haunts” than mere words—and more to severing one’s roots than just getting away.
The Last Street Before Cleveland chronicles Mackall’s descent into his past: the story of how, looking for answers about his lost friend, he stumbles on larger questions about himself. With clear-eyed candor, Mackall describes the resurfacing of dormant demons, the opening of the old chasms of depression and addiction, and the discovery, at rock bottom, of a flickering faith that casts a surprising light over everything that has come before. Mackall’s is, finally, a story about life—lived and lost, given and earned.
“If I could give each of you a graduation present, it would be this—the most inspiring book I've ever read."
—Bill Gates (May, 2017)
Selected by The New York Times Book Review as a Notable Book of the Year
The author of Rationality and Enlightenment Now offers a provocative and surprising history of violence.
Faced with the ceaseless stream of news about war, crime, and terrorism, one could easily think we live in the most violent age ever seen. Yet as New York Times bestselling author Steven Pinker shows in this startling and engaging new work, just the opposite is true: violence has been diminishing for millenia and we may be living in the most peaceful time in our species's existence. For most of history, war, slavery, infanticide, child abuse, assassinations, programs, gruesom punishments, deadly quarrels, and genocide were ordinary features of life. But today, Pinker shows (with the help of more than a hundred graphs and maps) all these forms of violence have dwindled and are widely condemned. How has this happened?
This groundbreaking book continues Pinker's exploration of the esesnce of human nature, mixing psychology and history to provide a remarkable picture of an increasingly nonviolent world. The key, he explains, is to understand our intrinsic motives--the inner demons that incline us toward violence and the better angels that steer us away--and how changing circumstances have allowed our better angels to prevail. Exploding fatalist myths about humankind's inherent violence and the curse of modernity, this ambitious and provocative book is sure to be hotly debated in living rooms and the Pentagon alike, and will challenge and change the way we think about our society.
Freedom to Read All Year Long
"When books are run out of school classrooms and even out of school libraries . . . I'm never much disturbed . . . What I tell kids is, Don't get mad, get even. Don't spend time waving signs or carrying petitions around the neighborhood. Instead, run, don't walk, to the nearest nonschool library or to the local bookstore and get whatever it was that they banned. Read whatever they're trying to keep out of your eyes and your brain, because that's exactly what you need to know." - Stephen King
Banned books available and recommended here at Simple Simons Book Nook.
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the National Book Award–winning author of Stamped from the Beginning comes a “groundbreaking” (Time) approach to understanding and uprooting racism and inequality in our society and in ourselves—now updated, with a new preface.
“The most courageous book to date on the problem of race in the Western mind.”—The New York Times
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR—The New York Times Book Review, Time, NPR, The Washington Post, Shelf Awareness, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews
Antiracism is a transformative concept that reorients and reenergizes the conversation about racism—and, even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. At its core, racism is a powerful system that creates false hierarchies of human value; its warped logic extends beyond race, from the way we regard people of different ethnicities or skin colors to the way we treat people of different sexes, gender identities, and body types. Racism intersects with class and culture and geography and even changes the way we see and value ourselves. In How to Be an Antiracist, Kendi takes readers through a widening circle of antiracist ideas—from the most basic concepts to visionary possibilities—that will help readers see all forms of racism clearly, understand their poisonous consequences, and work to oppose them in our systems and in ourselves.
Kendi weaves an electrifying combination of ethics, history, law, and science with his own personal story of awakening to antiracism. This is an essential work for anyone who wants to go beyond the awareness of racism to the next step: contributing to the formation of a just and equitable society.
It was on school ban lists five times over the previous school year.
The #1 New York Times bestselling novel beloved by millions of readers the world over.
“A vivid and engaging story that reminds us how long his people [of Afghanistan] have been struggling to triumph over the forces of violence—forces that continue to threaten them even today." –New York Times Book Review
The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, caught in the tragic sweep of history, The Kite Runner transports readers to Afghanistan at a tense and crucial moment of change and destruction. A powerful story of friendship, it is also about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies.
Since its publication in 2003 Kite Runner has become a beloved, one-of-a-kind classic of contemporary literature, touching millions of readers, and launching the career of one of America's most treasured writers.
It is a controversial novel in Afghanistan, but is also the subject of many book challenges in American school districts. There is a particularly brutal rape scene in the book. It was subjected to 12 separate book bans in schools since 2021.