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Top Summer Sale Picks from a Notre Dame Student

Once again, it’s time for the Notre Dame Press Summer Sale! Now through August 15th, save 40% on all print and ebooks available on our site and receive free shipping on orders over $50. To redeem these special sale prices, enter the promotional code 14SUM22 at checkout.

Claire Kirner, one of Notre Dame Press’s Marketing and Sales interns, has helped make your shopping easier by providing her top picks this summer.

Felicia Zamora’s Of Form and Gather includes dazzling poems that concern themselves with probing questions, not facile answers. Where does the self reside? What forms do we, as human beings, inhabit as we experience the world around us? Privileging journey over destination, Zamora’s poems spur the reader to immerse herself in linguistic soundscapes where the physicality of the poems themselves is, in no small part, the point: poems that challenge us to navigate the word/world as both humans and things. As an English major, I deeply appreciate hearing the distinct poetic voice of Zamora, whose work is dually attentive and artistic.

“Winner of the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize for a first book of poetry, Zamora’s arresting book of prose poems thrives at the intersection of the ethereal and the ephemeral, the beautiful center of space and light. Wonder and music guide the speaker as she makes startling connections between the natural landscape, the human body and the languages that embrace their vulnerability and surprising strength. . . . There is much that our curiosity hungers to consider about our tiny selves on this vast planet, Zamora posits, if we allow it to explore.”

NBC News

Lessons From Walden: Thoreau and the Crisis of American Democracy by Bob Pepperman Taylor presents a wide-ranging inquiry into the nature and implications of Henry David Thoreau’s thought in Walden and Civil Disobedience. Taylor’s exploration of Thoreaus’s cultivation of “voluntary poverty,” following of moral intuition, and learning from the natural world, breathes new life into Walden for the current reader. As a lover of nature, I appreciate Taylor’s exploration of whether we can truly “learn from nature,” and his explanation of what Thoreau’s ideas demand of us today.

Lessons from Walden allows Thoreau to enter today’s conversation in a way that seldom happens: Bob Taylor’s measured and fair-minded mediation allows the fullness of Thoreau’s stance to appear to the reader with all his contradictions intact. The result is a true conversation in which Thoreau becomes the springboard to further deliberation. Time and again, Taylor returns to Thoreau as to a moral lodestone, bringing the discussion to a reasoned conclusion that still leaves one thinking.”

—Laura Dassow Walls, author of Henry David Thoreau: A Life

C. Stephen Layman’s clear and logical guide God: Eight Enduring Questions explores a wide range of philosophical issues in their connection with theism, including views of free will, ethical theories, theories of mind, naturalism, and karma-plus-reincarnation. Layman’s work is an excellent source of guidance to those curious about the existence of God, relation to ethics, goodness, and hidden nature of God. I particularly enjoy Layman’s ability to explain these concepts effectively without oversimplifying these issues, allowing any reader to gain a clearer understanding of theism and naturalism.

“C. Stephen Layman’s gift for explaining complicated things is on display in this wonderful introduction to eight well-chosen questions about God. The questions range from traditional to novel, and the answers to them include key extant replies along with some new gems from Layman himself. A great companion for your next philosophy of religion unit or course!” 

—Jeanine Diller, co-editor of Models of God and Other Alternative Ultimate Realities

Greg Bourke’s compelling memoir Gay, Catholic, and American: My Legal Battle for Marriage Equality and Inclusion is a profoundly moving account of growing up gay and overcoming discrimination in the battle for same-sex marriage in the US. The book describes Bourke’s early struggles for acceptance as an out gay man living in the South during the 1980s and ’90s, his unplanned transformation into an outspoken gay rights activist after being dismissed as a troop leader from the Boy Scouts of America in 2012, and his historic role as one of the named plaintiffs in the landmark United States Supreme Court decision Obergefell vs. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage nationwide in 2015. This is a must-read for anyone interested in civil rights, Catholic social justice, and LGBTQ inclusion.

“Greg Bourke’s remarkable memoir Gay, Catholic, and American is about how he and his husband became plaintiffs in one of the most pivotal Supreme Court cases in LGBTQ+ history. . . . Bourke’s story is directed by perseverance, grit, and faith. Throughout, he refuses to accept that his sexual orientation and his religion cannot coexist. His text is inspirational, humble, and engaging.” 

Foreword Reviews

William Still: The Underground Railroad and the Angel at Philadelphia is the first full-length biography of William Still, one of the most important leaders of the Underground Railroad, by William C. Kashatus. Based in Philadelphia, Still built a reputation as a courageous leader, writer, philanthropist, and guide for fugitive enslaved people. This monumental work details Still’s life story beginning with his parents’ escape from bondage in the early nineteenth century and continuing through his youth and adulthood as one of the nation’s most important Underground Railroad agents and, later, as an early civil rights pioneer. This valuable addition to literature on the Underground Railroad opened my eyes to the previously untold history of Still’s courage and resourcefulness.

“In the first scholarly biography of [William] Still, Kashatus highlights the critical roles Still and other Black Americans played along the entire Underground Railroad, and the risks they took to aid enslaved people. A penetrating analysis of Still’s interviews reveals new and important insights into the enslaved people who made the journey into freedom. . . . An essential work that is a must-read for those interested in the Underground Railroad and Black history in the U.S.” 

Library Journal (Starred Review)

Norman Wirzba’s Agrarian Spirit: Cultivating Faith, Community, and the Land is a refreshing work that offers a distinctly agrarian reframing of spiritual practices to address today’s most pressing social and ecological concerns. The book explores how agrarian sensibilities and responsibilities transform the practices of prayer, perception, mystical union, humility, gratitude, and hope. Wirzba provides an elegant and compelling account of spiritual life that is both attuned to ancient scriptural sources and keyed to addressing the pressing social and ecological concerns of today. As someone interested in theology and environmental studies, this work is a beautiful celebration of nature and faith.

“With uncommon depth and breadth, Norman Wirzba’s Agrarian Spirit urges us to embrace and celebrate human and non-human creatures as co-becoming, embodied expressions of God’s creating and sustaining love. He urges us to acknowledge our self-insufficiency and our dependence on others as a gift and as a challenge to develop the nurturing relationships that can heal our world and inspire our hope.” 

—Steve Bell, author of the Pilgrim Year book series

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