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Lincoln in the Bardo Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780812995343
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Published: Random House - February 14th, 2017

Sure, it’s only February, but let’s go ahead and call it: this is my favorite novel of 2017. I laughed a little, I cried a lot, I gasped and dog-eared and thought very, very much about the roles of love, loss, and parenthood in our particular American history and in our lives. Saunders is a singular genius, and this book reminded me only of Dante and Beckett — it’s that inventive, and will be that enduring. 


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Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America Cover Image
$24.99
ISBN: 9781250135995
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Published: St. Martin's Press - January 17th, 2017

In his most lyrical, most impassioned work yet, scholar and preacher Dyson delivers a sermon as compelling as it is discomfiting. From glances into his own experience to riffs on history and pop culture, he brings a forthright, knowledgeable, and deeply loving voice to the conversation about race in America and the role we all play in its reckoning. 


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Always Happy Hour: Stories Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9781631492181
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Published: Liveright Publishing Corporation - January 10th, 2017

In these wry, compulsively readable stories, Mary Miller delicately unwraps the dumb and love mechanisms of the human heart. This book is about mistakes, the ones we make and the ones we think we should be making, the ones we regret and the ones we don't. Miller's deft prose is staggered with insights so bracing and real they'll stop you in your tracks.


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Love and Other Ways of Dying: Essays Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780385337021
Availability: Special Order
Published: Dial Press - March 3rd, 2015

This is my favorite book of the year. Paterniti is a fearless journalist who relays his subjects -- the keeper of Einstein's brain, a survivor of the Khmer Rouge, a man living in an airport, Thurman Munson -- with incredible empathy and stunning prose. Fans of Leslie Jamison and John Jeremiah Sullivan will love this book.


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Notes from No Man's Land: American Essays Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555975180
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Published: Graywolf Press - February 3rd, 2009

Biss (the author of the equally stunning On Immunity) might be the best nonfiction writer of her generation, if we define the term (writer) as someone unfailing in thoughtfulness, questioning, and intellectual rigor without lessening her compassion for all encountered. She'll make you think harder, and happy to.


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On Immunity: An Inoculation Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555977207
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Published: Graywolf Press - September 15th, 2015

A gorgeous, thoughtful, and thought-provoking book on the history of immunization, from Achilles and that damn heel to vampires to the current cultural obsession. Inspired by the birth of her own son, Biss brings her singular brilliance to bear on why we fear what we do, and the relationship between motherhood and citizenship. 


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Battleborn Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781594631450
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Published: Riverhead Books - August 6th, 2013

These are some badass stories, man -- formally innovative, taut and shimmering sentences, bright and gutsy and compelling characters. All combine to paint an unforgettable picture of a too-often forgotten region.


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White Girls Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781940450254
Availability: Special Order
Published: McSweeney's - August 5th, 2014

Essays in the second person, essays in the fictionalized first, essays about Richard Pryor and Louise Brooks, essays about people we don't know, have never heard of -- but Als knows them, oh so well. He knows you too, trust me. 


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Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9781933517575
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Published: Wave Books - August 7th, 2012

"It's not what a poem says with its mouth, it's what a poem does with its eyes." Ruefle's short, weird, vibrant lectures on poetry (and art at large, and the world, and everything) are some of the most fun I've ever read, like chatting with your craziest and smartest friend.


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Loitering: New and Collected Essays Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781935639879
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Published: Tin House Books - November 11th, 2014

"Seeking faith with doubt, that's definition enough for me," says D'Ambrosio of the essa form, and he seeks beautifully, relentlessly, in this collection about family, home, writing, America, and all the other things wqe keep faith with, however doubtful at times.


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Thunderstruck & Other Stories Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780812987676
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Published: Dial Press - August 18th, 2015

Few writers can infuse such weird characters -- petulant ghosts, players of saws, little girls dressed up as Patrick Henry for the 4th of July -- with the incredible warmth that McCracken does, unfailingly. I love every word she writes.


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Pulphead Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780374532901
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Published: Farrar Straus Giroux - October 25th, 2011

Hop in the passenger seat for a fast, wise-assed (and ultimately wise, as well) journey across the country and the world, out as far as journalism can go. Sullivan's laser-sharp insight and sense of story make this collection compulsively readable.


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The Art of Cruelty: A Reckoning Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780393343144
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Published: W. W. Norton & Company - August 13th, 2012

In this "reckoning," Nelson asks a vital question: why make (or consume) violent art? What good -- if any -- can it do? From the theatre of Artaud and Sade to modern horror movies, the topics addressed and issues raised make a compelling case for Nelson's own incisive art.


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Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780143117957
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Published: Penguin Books - October 26th, 2010

Smith is rightly famous for her novels, but she's equally brilliant in this collection: witty, thoughful, warm, and endlessly engaging. She made me love anew what I already loved (Katherine Hepburn, Kafka, the 2008 election) and introduced me to a whole lot more. 


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Mythologies: The Complete Edition, in a New Translation Cover Image
By Roland Barthes, Annette Lavers (Translator), Richard Howard (Translator)
$15.00
ISBN: 9780809071944
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Published: Hill & Wang - March 12th, 2013

This collection of short pieces from postwar France is full of shining gems: critical, funny, and illuminating. My favorites include the gorgeous opening, about wrestling as spectacle, and the evisceration of an Elle spread on female writers.


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Letter to a Future Lover: Marginalia, Errata, Secrets, Inscriptions, and Other Ephemera Found in Libraries Cover Image
$22.00
ISBN: 9781555977061
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Published: Graywolf Press - February 3rd, 2015

If you like libraries, bookstores, old things, dusty shelves, serendipitious ephemera, and sentences like sudden gusts of wind (and you do, don't you?), then you'll love this lyric card catalogue of a book.


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Anatomies: A Cultural History of the Human Body Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780393348842
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Published: W. W. Norton & Company - May 19th, 2014

This odd, gorgeous tour through the human body is (to my mind) the perfect blend of science, history, art, and literature. Facts, fun and baffling and otherwise, abound -- I would read about a hundred more volumes exactly like it.


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Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780393334791
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Published: W. W. Norton & Company - April 6th, 2009

Mary Roach is the funniest science writer alive, and sex -- let's be real -- is the funniest topic. Kinsey and Masters and Johnson are here, but so are all the figures and experiments you've never heard of. Strap on! In. I mean in.


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Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780393324822
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Published: W. W. Norton & Company - May 17th, 2004

I love everything Mary Roach has written, from space to sex to the dubious wonders of the digestive tract, and this book on bodies after death is no exception. She manages to find the most interesting people in the strangest professions in places I've never heard of but immediately want to visit, corpses and all. 


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The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781439170915
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Published: Scribner Book Company - August 9th, 2011

This incredibly comprehensive look at the history of cancer (or, perhaps more accurately, humanity's recorded reckoning therewith) is lighter than it looks. While the topic is harrowing, Mukherjee's skillful prose, sense of story, and human connection carry the reader through. 


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The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781439170915
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner Book Company - August 9th, 2011

This incredibly comprehensive look at the history of cancer (or, perhaps more accurately, humanity's recorded reckoning therewith) is lighter than it looks. While the topic is harrowing, Mukherjee's skillful prose, sense of story, and human connection carry the reader through. 


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The Tsar of Love and Techno: Stories Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780770436452
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Published: Hogarth Press - July 19th, 2016

A gorgeous series of inerlocking stories that insists, against a Soviet backdrop, that each individual matters, and can affect each other in countless unforeseen ways. I haven't stopped thinking about the people who haunt these pages. My favorite book of the fall. 


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Gold Fame Citrus Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9781594634239
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - September 29th, 2015

The sheer exuberance of Watkins's language carries its lucky reader through a wildly inventive post-apocalytpic landscape, replete with mole people, reality TV, and one of the most convincing, heart-wrenching love stories I've read in a long time. 


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Mr. Splitfoot Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9780544811812
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Published: Mariner Books - January 24th, 2017

I've now read this book twice in two months - it's that good. Hunt's sentences are barb-sharp and stuffed with pleasures of wit, charm, and real, bracing revelations about storytelling, orphanhood, motherhood, con men, and everything else we're traveling toward, physically and otherwise. Read it!


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Negroland: A Memoir Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780307473431
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Published: Vintage - August 23rd, 2016

Jefferson's career as a critic has honed her prose: measured, deliberate, and white-hot as it cuts through her privileged Chicago-elite upbringing. There's a lot to think about in these pages, but particularly striking is her discussion of depression, suicide, and pain as elevated within the white female artistic tradition, but forbidden to black girls. 


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Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780143109396
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Published: Penguin Books - April 26th, 2016

I've only surfed once, but this book feels the way I imagine surfing must when you're really good at it: smooth and languorous, tinged with danger, occasionally bursting into exhiliration, and ultimately masterful. That is to say, I completely loved it.


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The Folded Clock: A Diary Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780804171441
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Published: Anchor Books - March 8th, 2016

It took me far too long to come around and read this book, but my wariness about the form - a fairly straightforward, if not chronological, account of two years in a novelist's life - was utterly unfounded. Daily life is hilarious, in Julavits's rendering, and full of opportunities for wit and insight and conversations about art, marriage, motherhood, and friendship. An utterly gorgeous, outward-looking memorir. 


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The Empathy Exams: Essays Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555976712
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Published: Graywolf Press - April 1st, 2014

One of my favorite essay collections, and deserving of all the accolades it's received. Jamison's prose is as life-giving as her project: to chronicle and question the ways we see and hear and understand each other, the ways we experience our own and others' pain, and the good (and less-good) of making that pain into something (like a book). 


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A Natural History of the Senses Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780679735663
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage Books USA - September 10th, 1991

Wide-ranging, voracious, and lyrically composed, this book is a lovely meditation with as many facts, anecdotes, and impulses as we have nerve endings. Gorgeously written and packed to the brim. 


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Leaving Orbit: Notes from the Last Days of American Spaceflight Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555977092
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Published: Graywolf Press - May 19th, 2015

This beautifully written account of the last NASA shutle launches should enrapture as many people as its topics - space, and our explorations thereof - do. Dean is an avid, unapologetic fan, and her love for her subject is contagious. Plus, she goes deep on the time Buzz Aldrin punched a dude.


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Assassination Vacation Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780743260046
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Published: Simon & Schuster - January 2006

With biting wit, boundless snark, and still deeper reservoirs of sentiment, patriotism, and her signature warm intelligence, Vowell tours the counry via a study of the assassinations of Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley. Full of fun facts for parties! And a hell of a lot of fun to read.


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Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder: Pronged Ants, Horned Humans, Mice on Toast, and Other Marvels of Jurassic Techno Logy Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780679764892
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Published: Vintage - November 26th, 1996

"Part of the assigned task," says the subject of Weschler's weird, gloriously unique book, "is to reintegrate people to wonder." The Museum of Jurassic Technology at the heart of the book does just that, but so does the author's wonderful evocation of its oddities (museum owner foremost among them) and amazements.


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The Mad Feast: An Ecstatic Tour Through America's Food Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9781631490736
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Published: Liveright Publishing Corporation - November 9th, 2015

Each of these fifty essays tackles a different food and state, scratching the surface awa to get at "its inner holiness and inner horror." Wide-ranging, with sentences for days and plenty of insight to savor, this is a near-perfect book. 


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Heat and Light Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780061763298
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ecco Press - May 3rd, 2016

Heat & Light is a many-voiced and multi-faceted portrait of a place--small-town, fracking-bound Pennsylvania--and its people: pastors and farmers, environmentalists and drill rig workers, prison guards and their prisoners. The book is wildly ambitious--spanning more than thirty years, its many events seen through the eyes of a dozen different characters--and just as wildly successful. In prose that zips and smarts, taut and electric, Haigh renders every one of her many characters in all their moving and human complexity. The result is a fully realized world, and an unforgettable novel.


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Grief Is the Thing with Feathers Cover Image
$14.00
ISBN: 9781555977412
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Published: Graywolf Press - June 7th, 2016

I love a novel that's also an essay and a poem, a riddle and a trick -- lucky for me (and you), Max Porter's slim, striking debut is all of these things and more. The subject is grief; the structure is fractured; the characters are a recently widowed father, his young sons, and Crow, the bird and babysitter who has come to stay with them. As father, sons, and Crow learn to live with each other--and without their wife and mother--the pillars on which we build our lives are exposed for the flimsy supports they are. Will they topple? Will they stand? In the course of answering these questions, GRIEF IS THE THING WITH FEATHERS seeps into its reader's mind and heart and days, its emotional heft fully felt and lingering. This skinny book punches well above its weight. 


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The Nix Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9781101946619
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Published: Knopf Publishing Group - August 30th, 2016

Nathan Hill's The Nix brims with heart and wit in equal measure, these parts combining to create a brilliantly introspective, politically sly, cracklingly funny story of family, friendship, and the choices we make or avoid. Like all great novels, The Nix is about a thousand things--motherhood, mythologies, and video games among them--but its aim is nothing less than life itself, both the span of an individual's and the larger thing we're all in together. Hill has tricks for days (a ten-page sentence, a Choose Your Own Adventure story) but his most impressive trick lies in bringing all of these singular characters to full-blooded, interconnected life. The eleven-year-old warmonger Bishop Fall, the delusional and righteous undergrad Laura Pottsdam, the uni-nomered Pwnage--since finishing The Nix, I've missed them all.


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The Sport of Kings Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780374281083
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Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - May 3rd, 2016

"Is all this too purple, too florid? Is more too much--the world and the words? Do ou prefer your tales lean, muscular, and dry, leached of excess and honed to a single, digestible point? Have I exceeded the bounds of the form, commited a literary sin? I say there's no such thing." So says Morgan in a brilliant, winking defense of her epic, excessive masterpiece about race and blood in the American South.


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The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780812994827
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Published: Random House - July 5th, 2016

It's a remarkable book that can have me dogearing, underlining, looking up political history, and holding back tears within the span of a page, but Matar's memoir is beyond remarkable. Thoughtful, nuanced, wildly intelligent, and heartbreaking at every turn, Matar's reckoning with his father's arrest, imprisonment, torture, and probable but unknown death is nothing short of genius.


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Pond Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780399575891
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Published: Riverhead Books - July 12th, 2016

This is a book to be devoured over a long weekend alone or in the night's wee hours: Bennett's verdant, unrelenting prose will send you spiraling into your own mind. A fragmented novel-in-stories set in rural Ireland and told by an unnamed, slightly unstable narrator, this book is like the strange, unholy love child of Jenny Offill and Amy Leach.


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The Fortunes Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780544263703
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Published: Houghton Mifflin - September 6th, 2016

Four perfectly crafted, effortlessly compelling novellas come together to form a deeply resonant whole, as definitive a look at immigration, family, identity, and ambition as a single book can be. The Fortunes is essayistic in the best possible way: searching, voracious, intelligent, and finely honed. A brilliant, impeccable book.


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The Midnight Cool Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062475466
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Published: Harper - January 10th, 2017

I've been waiting for this novel ever since reading Lydia Peelle's searingly beautiful story collection, REASONS FOR AND ADVANTAGES OF BREATHING, in 2009. It was well worth the wait. The journey of middle-aged swindler Billy and his young, idealistic partner Charles is a journey into the history and heart of the oft-maligned American dream. As the nation considers whether it will join World War I, Billy and Charles must weigh the merits of freedom against patriotic obligation, their life on the road against the temptation of putting down roots, and their diverging desires against the love and loyalty they bear for each other. A life is made up of such decisions, and we only get one such life. As Billy says, "I reckon that's the beauty and the shame of it, all at once." Peelle's exploration of this beauty and shame is exquisitely wrought, richly populated, and ultimately devastating: I finished the novel in tears.


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Am I Alone Here?: Notes on Living to Read and Reading to Live Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781936787258
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Published: Catapult - October 25th, 2016

From the beloved novelist and short-story writer comes a collection of essays on the reading life: Orner considers Chekhov in a hospital cafeteria, Welty on a remote island. (He also throws Julian Barnes out the window of a moving car--who would trust a man, after all, who only talked about what he loved?) Behind and around and between these meditations flit the ghosts of the author's life: his late father, his lost marriage, his self-deprecating take on his own career. The result is a book overflowing with charm, wry and delectable and laugh-out-loud funny. Orner is a writer's writer, but he's also a reader's reader--often curmudgeonly, always delightful--and Am I Alone Here? (You aren't! these pages assure us) is an absolute treasure.


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The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780812989885
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Published: Dial Press - March 28th, 2017

Cross a criminal Hercules with a young Clint Eastwood, give him a steely teenage daughter and a heart of gold, and you'll come as close as can be to the enigmatic hero of Hannah Tinti's exquisite novel. Samuel Hawley and his daughter Loo are characters for the ages, alternately awkward and surefooted, lonesome and loving, figures out of legend and yet so fully embodied you can feel their skin and scars against your own. As tightly wound and intricately structured as the watches Hawley steals, The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley ticks brilliantly toward a conclusion more thrilling and expansive than any Western or myth. Not a page is wasted, and not a reader will be left unmoved.


A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women: Essays on Art, Sex, and the Mind Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9781501141096
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Published: Simon & Schuster - December 6th, 2016

Do you, as I do, occasionally think you should get a PhD? Do you, as I do, always think better of it? Siri Hustvedt will tide you over--in this rangy, erudite collection, you'll find thoughts on art, psychoanalysis, literature, and more to prod your mind awake.


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The Correspondence: Essays Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9780374535940
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Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - January 3rd, 2017

In this little gift from the reading gods, six "letters" (mostly nonfictional, a couple not) and countless perfectly punchy paragraphs form an investigation of family, masculinity, our infernal bodies with their constant wants and failures, art, books, etc. A one-sitting read, but built to savor, especially for fans of John Jeremiah Sullivan or Geoff Dyer. 


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White Tears Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9780451493699
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Published: Knopf Publishing Group - March 14th, 2017

This hot-blooded novel about music and madness is an incredible work, a magic trick, a good old-fashioned narrative giving way to reveal the fever dream hidden behind. Past and future alike are slippery and yet unforgiving; the sins of the father mug the son on a street corner. I tore through these propulsive pages in two days, but the questions within them--about race and guilt and what is owed--linger still, as haunting as history itself.


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Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea and of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists, and Fools, Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780143120506
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Published: Penguin Books - February 28th, 2012

This book is 100% delightful: smart and crackling prose, wild characters, and a refreshingly nuanced view of our world and ourselves. Part travelogue, part environmental lit, part meditation on fatherhood, and part love letter to Melville, Moby-Duck is all heart. (You'll learn a lot, too!)