Publicist Picks: Biblical Prophets, Hunger, and Other September Books

Jackson Adams and Anna Weir are publicists at UNP. Today they share their thoughts about a few upcoming titles they are particularly excited about as readers. The books in this discussion will be published in September.

Anna Weir: I’m a big fan of fiction, so I’ve been looking forward to reading Megan Cummins’ prize-winning collection If the Body Allows It: Stories (Nebraska) for a while now. This collection follows Maria, a Newark resident in her mid-thirties grappling with an autoimmune disease and guilt over her father’s passing. Exploring vulnerability, forging new relationships after tragedy, but with a hint of humor, If the Body Allows It grapples with the idea that life is always on the brink of never being the same again—something I think, after everything that’s happened in 2020, I should probably get better at grappling with for the future.

What’s in your TBR pile, Jackson?

Jackson Adams: I always look forward to September for the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry Series. This year’s book, Some Are Always Hungry (Nebraska) by Jihyun Yun is something truly special. The spotlight here is on desire and fulfillment all in the language of food. Yun communicates the pain and alienation of immigration, generational trauma, and struggling to find a sense of normalcy. I’m fascinated by how thoroughly Yun explores the many shades of consumption, how we’re sickened and satisfied, always looking back to past meals and wondering where and how the next will come.

What has you excited this month, Anna?

AW: Switching gears, I’m really excited for Kenneth Seekin’s new book, Thinking about the Prophets: A Philosopher Reads the Bible (Jewish Publication Society). Seekin brings his insight as a philosopher to tease out ethical and theological questions found in the biblical books of the prophets, such as the suffering of the innocent, divine providence, and the power of repentance in both the lives of the ancient Israelites and in our lives today.

What else are you looking forward to, Jackson?

JA: I’ve had the Iraq War on the mind lately, at least partially due to the release of the Blowback podcast, which traces the bureaucrats that pushed the US into a disastrous conflict. The Mysteries of Haditha (Potomac Books) by MC Armstrong takes a much more personal and on-the-ground approach to the war. Armstrong, who was embedded with the Navy SEALS as the war became something darker and more inhumane, is never better than when he’s examining the way Iraq crept into the national psychosis, how soldiers justified their actions and rationalized their mindset and how he was changed by witnessing the burn pits, mass graves, and up-close horrors of the American occupation.

Tune in next month for more reading recommendations from your friendly neighborhood publicists!

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