Blog

June 24th, 2021


On this episode of Open Stacks, we celebrate the Co-op reopening its doors for in-person browsing – the first time since we closed 15 months ago. Browsers, booksellers, authors, and our own Clancey D'Isa and Bryce Lucas discuss the transfiguration of space, absence and presence, the "invisible" work of bookselling, and how reading needn't be a solo activity.


Thanks to bookseller Michelle for sharing a few thoughts on A Portrait of the Artist as a Young ManHave you read something recently (or over the last year) that moved you, that made you laugh, that you...

Posted in: Open Stacks Podcast
June 18th, 2021

On our Front Table this week, find fiction exploring themes of diaspora: a woman displaced by colonialism must retrace her past to help her son; a Soviet immigrant in Milwaukee finds herself entangled in dangerous mysteries; and a series of intersecting stories range from Thailand to Queens in exploration of one family's recently uncovered secret. Find the following titles and more at semcoop.com.


Book of the Little Axe (Grove Atlantic Press)
Lauren Francis-Sharma

In 1796 Trinidad, young Rosa Rendón quietly but...

Posted in: Front Table
June 9th, 2021

On our Front Table this week, explore new interpretations of antique works: a graphic novel retelling of a classic by Euripides; an argument that the Babylonian Talmud should be understood in the context of the non-Jewish literature of late Roman antiquity; a guide to classical Stoicism's applications in the modern age; and more. Find the following titles and more at semcoop.com.


The Allure of Matter: Materiality Across Chinese Art
(The University of Chicago Press)
Edited by Orianna Cacchione and Wei-Cheng Lin

Since the inventions of porcelain and gunpowder, Chinese artists have experimented with unconventional artistic materials and used conventional...

Posted in: Front Table
June 8th, 2021


In this episode, Alena takes a tour around the Front Table, guided by Bryce Lucas, manager of 57th Street Books. Circling the table, they move from bald philosophy to the physics of crumpled paper, from an Icelandic fisheries museum to the shifting nature of observation itself.


Thanks to Sonja for sharing a memory of Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island. Have a perspective to share? We'll be featuring listeners' voices throughout the season. This time: tell us about a book you loved on first reading, but hated the second time around – or vice versa. Share the story of your change in perspective, and your favorite (or least...

Posted in: Open Stacks Podcast
June 4th, 2021

On our Front Table this week, explore new approaches to economics as a humanistic social science: an argument for an economics that analyzes human action beyond behaviorism; an exploration of the singular and its relation to the individual in economics, politics, and more; and an empathetic account of the ways in which unemployment creates new inequalities and shapes people's relationship to work. Find the following titles and more at semcoop.com.


The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book (Harper Collins Publishers)
Alice B. Toklas

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Posted in: Front Table
May 27th, 2021

On our Front Table this week, explore reinvigorations of the classical, from a new reading of Job using classical Jewish exegesis, to an account of the ways that the Western classical music tradition continues to foster solidarity in times of crisis. Find the following titles and more at semcoop.com.


America on Fire: The Untold History of Police Violence and Black...

Posted in: Front Table
May 27th, 2021

From award-winning author Yang Huang comes My Good Son. A tailor in post-Tiananmen China, Mr. Cai has one ambition: for his son, Feng, to make something of himself. With harsh discipline and relentless pressure, Mr. Cai succeeds in getting Feng ready to attend a U.S. college, but Feng needs a sponsor. When Mr. Cai meets a closeted American art student named Jude, they hatch a plan to benefit them both: get Feng to the US and help Jude come out to his conservative father. Their scheme will expose the fault lines in both Chinese and American cultures-father-son relationships, familial expectations, gender and sexuality, social status and mobility. Huang's writing abounds with sharp insights and a quiet humor,...

Posted in: Bibliographies
May 25th, 2021


In this first episode of the fourth season, we sit down with Elizabeth Branch Dyson, assistant editorial director and executive editor at the University of Chicago Press, to hear how she approaches acquiring widely accessible books for an academic press. Bryce (manager of 57th Street Books) takes us on a tour around the Co-op's Front Table, checking out a few recent releases. We're then joined by poet, author, and publisher Haki Madhubuti, who talks to us about his journey through books, the founding of Third World Press, and the draw of the Front Table. Throughout, we...

Posted in: Open Stacks Podcast
May 21st, 2021

On our Front Table this week, explore methodologies of social change: a philosophical account of the roots of political obedience which uncovers new forms of civic disobedience; a comprehensive overview of a filmmaker's use of documentary for socio-political ends; an analysis of the role of the body in emancipatory movements; and a history of the deployment of scientific ideas by American abolitionists. Find the following titles and more at semcoop.com.


The Chiefs Now in This City: Indians and the Urban Frontier in Early America
(Oxford University Press)

Colin Calloway

During the years of the Early Republic, prominent Native leaders regularly traveled to...

Posted in: Front Table
May 14th, 2021

On our Front Table this week, explore reexaminations of the quotidian: a new look at the surprisingly puzzling behaviors of birds; a history of a wildly popular mass-produced game; a biography of a modernist author preoccupied with all things inconspicuous and modest; and an exploration of an artist's use of found objects to create a sense of enchantment. Find the following titles and more at semcoop.com.


Assembling a Black Counterculture (Primary Information)
DeForrest Brown, Jr.

In Assembling a Black Counter Culture, writer and musician DeForrest Brown, Jr, provides a history and critical analysis of techno and adjacent electronic music such as...

Posted in: Front Table