When Alexandra ("Bo") Fuller was home in Zambia a few years ago, visiting her parents for Christmas, she asked her father about a nearby banana farmer who was known for being a "tough bugger." Her father's response was a warning to steer clear of him; he told Bo: "Curiosity scribbled the cat." Nonetheless, Fuller began her strange friendship with the man she calls K, a white African and veteran of the Rhodesian war. With the same fiercely beautiful prose that won her acclaim for Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, Fuller here recounts her friendship with K. K is, seemingly, a man of contradictions: tattooed, battle scarred, and weathered by farm work, he is a lion of a man, feral and bulletproof. Yet he is also a born-again Christian, given to weeping when he recollects his failed romantic life, and more than anything else welling up inside with memories of battle. For his war, like all wars, was a brutal one, marked by racial strife, jungle battles, unimaginable tortures, and the murdering of innocent civilians—and K, like all the veterans of the war, has blood on his hands. Driven by K's memories, Fuller and K decide to enter the heart of darkness in the most literal way—by traveling from Zambia through Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) and Mozambique to visit the scenes of the war and to meet other veterans. It is a strange journey into the past, one marked at once by somber reflections and odd humor and featuring characters such as Mapenga, a fellow veteran who lives with his pet lion on a little island in the middle of a lake and is known to cope with his personal demons by refusing to speak for days on end. What results from Fuller's journey is a remarkably unbiased and unsentimental glimpse of men who have killed, mutilated, tortured, and scrambled to survive during wartime and who now must attempt to live with their past and live past their sins. In these men, too, we get a glimpse of life in Africa, a land that besets its creatures with pests, plagues, and natural disasters, making the people there at once more hardened and more vulnerable than elsewhere. Scribbling the Cat is an engrossing and haunting look at war, Africa, and the lines of sanity.
A heartrending story of the human spirit from the author of the bestselling Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight Alexandra Fuller returns with the unforgettable true story of Colton H. Bryant, a soulful boy with a mustang-taming heart who comes of age in the oil fields and open plains of Wyoming. After surviving a sometimes cruel adolescence with his own brand of optimistic goofiness, Colton goes to work on an oil rig-and there the biggest heart in the world can't save him from the new, unkind greed that has possessed his beloved Wyoming during the latest boom. Colton's story could not be told without telling of the land that grew him, where the great high plains meet the Rocky Mountains to create a vista of lonely beauty. It is here that the existence of one boy is a true story as deeply moving as the life that inspired it.
In this tour-de-force sequel to Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, Alexandra Fuller returns to Africa with the story of her unforgettable family. In Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness Alexandra Fuller braids a multi-layered narrative around the Happy Valley-era Africa of her mother's childhood; the grimness of her father's English childhood; and the darker, civil war-torn Africa of her own childhood. Born on the Scottish Isle of Skye and raised in Kenya, Nicola Fuller holds dear the kinds of values most likely to get you hurt or killed in Africa: loyalty to blood, passion for land and a holy belief in the restorative power of all animals. Fuller captures her mother's distinctive voice with remarkable precision, rendering a life story that is as funny, terrifying, exotic and unselfconscious as Nicola herself. We see Nicola and Tim Fuller in their honeymoon period, when East Africa lies before them with all the promise of its liquid equatorial light, even as the British Empire wanes. But in short order, an accumulation of mishaps and tragedies bump up against history until the couple find themselves in a world they hardly recognize. We follow the Fullers as they run from war and unspeakable heartbreak, from Kenya to Rhodesia to Zambia, even returning to England briefly. But just when it seems that Nicola has been broken entirely by Africa, it is the African earth itself that revives her. In the end we find Nicola and Tim at a coffee table under their Tree of Forgetfulness on the banana and fish farm where they plan to spend their final days. In local custom, the Tree is where villagers meet to resolve disputes--and it is here that the Fullers at last find an African kind of peace. Following the ghosts and dreams of memory, Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness is Alexandra Fuller at her very best. From the Hardcover edition.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A worthy heir to Isak Dinesen and Beryl Markham, Alexandra Fuller shares visceral memories of her childhood in Africa, and of her headstrong, unforgettable mother. “This is not a book you read just once, but a tale of terrible beauty to get lost in over and over.”—Newsweek “By turns mischievous and openhearted, earthy and soaring . . . hair-raising, horrific, and thrilling.”—The New Yorker Though it is a diary of an unruly life in an often inhospitable place, Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight is suffused with Fuller’s endearing ability to find laughter, even when there is little to celebrate. Fuller’s debut is unsentimental and unflinching but always captivating. In wry and sometimes hilarious prose, she stares down disaster and looks back with rage and love at the life of an extraordinary family in an extraordinary time. From 1972 to 1990, Alexandra Fuller—known to friends and family as Bobo—grew up on several farms in southern and central Africa. Her father joined up on the side of the white government in the Rhodesian civil war, and was often away fighting against the powerful black guerilla factions. Her mother, in turn, flung herself at their African life and its rugged farm work with the same passion and maniacal energy she brought to everything else. Though she loved her children, she was no hand-holder and had little tolerance for neediness. She nurtured her daughters in other ways: She taught them, by example, to be resilient and self-sufficient, to have strong wills and strong opinions, and to embrace life wholeheartedly, despite and because of difficult circumstances. And she instilled in Bobo, particularly, a love of reading and of storytelling that proved to be her salvation. Alexandra Fuller writes poignantly about a girl becoming a woman and a writer against a backdrop of unrest, not just in her country but in her home. But Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight is more than a survivor’s story. It is the story of one woman’s unbreakable bond with a continent and the people who inhabit it, a portrait lovingly realized and deeply felt. Praise for Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight “Riveting . . . [full of] humor and compassion.”—O: The Oprah Magazine “The incredible story of an incredible childhood.”—The Providence Journal
Looking to rebuild after a painful divorce, Alexandra Fuller turns to her African past for clues to living a life fully and without fear. A child of the Rhodesian wars and daughter of 2 deeply complicated parents, Alexandra Fuller is no stranger to pain. But the disintegration of Fuller's own marriage leaves her shattered. Looking to pick up the pieces of her life, she confronts the tough questions about her past, about the American man she married, and the family she left behind in Africa. A breathtaking achievement, Leaving Before the Rains Come is a memoir of such grace and intelligence, filled with such wit and courage, that it could only have been written by Alexandra Fuller. Leaving Before the Rains Come begins with the dreadful first years of the American financial crisis when Fuller's delicate balance--between American pragmatism and African fatalism, the linchpin of her unorthodox marriage--irrevocably fails. Recalling her unusual courtship in Zambia--elephant attacks on the first date, sick with malaria on the wedding day--Fuller struggles to understand her younger self as she overcomes her current misfortunes. Fuller soon realizes that what is missing from her life is something that was always there: the brash and uncompromising ways of her father, the man who warned his daughter that "the problem with most people is that they want to be alive for as long as possible without having any idea whatsoever how to live." Fuller's father--"Tim Fuller of No Fixed Abode" as he first introduced himself to his future wife--was a man who regretted nothing and wanted less, even after fighting harder and losing more than most men could bear. Leaving Before the Rains Come showcases Fuller at the peak of her abilities, threading panoramic vistas with her deepest revelations as a fully grown woman and mother. Fuller reveals how--after spending a lifetime fearfully waiting for someone to show up and save her--she discovered that, in the end, we all simply have to save ourselves. An unforgettable book, Leaving Before the Rains Come is a story of sorrow grounded in the tragic grandeur and rueful joy only to be found in Fuller's Africa.
After his father's heart attack in 1984, Peter Godwin began a series of pilgrimages back to Zimbabwe, the land of his birth, from Manhattan, where he now lives. On these frequent visits to check on his elderly parents, he bore witness to Zimbabwe's dramatic spiral downwards into the jaws of violent chaos, presided over by an increasingly enraged dictator. And yet long after their comfortable lifestyle had been shattered and millions were fleeing, his parents refuse to leave, steadfast in their allegiance to the failed state that has been their adopted home for 50 years. Then Godwin discovered a shocking family secret that helped explain their loyalty. Africa was his father's sanctuary from another identity, another world. WHEN A CROCODILE EATS THE SUN is a stirring memoir of the disintegration of a family set against the collapse of a country. But it is also a vivid portrait of the profound strength of the human spirit and the enduring power of love.
A New York Times Notable Book A Daily Beast Best Book of the Year A Huffington Post Best Book of the Year From elementary school on, Walter Kirn knew how to stay at the top of his class: He clapped erasers, memorized answer keys, and parroted his teachers’ pet theories. But when he launched himself eastward to an Ivy League university, Kirn discovered that the temple of higher learning he had expected was instead just another arena for more gamesmanship, snobbery, and social climbing. In this whip-smart memoir of kissing-up, cramming, and competition, Lost in the Meritocracy reckons the costs of an educational system where the point is simply to keep accumulating points and never to look back—or within. From the Trade Paperback edition.
"Frank, funny and helpful."—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution For the millions who loved A Year by the Sea comes a memoir of a woman who awakens at midlife to find wisdom in a most unlikely place In this beautifully written and frequently funny memoir, Catherine Goldhammer, newly separated, along with her twelve-year-old daughter, starts life anew in a cottage by the sea, in a rustic town where live bait is sold from vending machines. Partly to please her daughter and partly for reasons not clear to her at the time, she begins this year of transition by purchasing six baby chickens—whose job, she comes to suspect, is to pull her and her daughter forward out of one life and into another. An unforgettable story filled with hope and grace, Still Life with Chickens shows how transcendent wisdom can be found in the most unlikely of places.
The present volume contains general essays on: unequal African/Western academic exchange; the state and structure of postcolonial studies; representing male violence in Zimbabwe¿s wars; parihaka in the poetic imagination of Aotearoa New Zealand; Middle Eastern, Nigerian, Moroccan, and diasporic Indian women¿s writing; community in post-Independence Maltese poetry in English; key novels of the Portuguese colonies; the TV series The Kumars at No. 42; fictional representations of India; the North in western Canadian writing; and a pedagogy of African-Canadian literature. As well as these, there is a selection of poems from Malta by Daniel Massa, Adrian Grima, Norbert Bugeja, Immanuel Mifsud, and Maria Grech Ganado, and essays providing close readings of works by the following authors and filmmakers: Thea Astley, George Elliott Clarke, Alan Duff, Francis Ebejer, Lorena Gale, Romesh Gunesekera, Sahar Khalīfah, Anthony Minghella, Michael Ondaatje, Caryl Phillips, Edgar Allan Poe, Salman Rushdie, Ghādah al-Sammān, Meera Syal, Lee Tamahori. Contributors: Leila Abouzeid, Hoda Barakat, Amrit Biswas, Thomas Bonnici, Stella Borg Barthet, Ivan Callus, Devon Campbell¿Hall, Saviour Catania, George Elliott Clarke, Brian Crow, Pilar Cuder¿Domínguez, Bärbel Czennia, Hilary P. Dannenberg, Pauline Dodgson¿Katiyo, Bernadette Falzon, Daphne Grace, Adrian Grima, Kifah Hanna, Janne Korkka, T. Vijay Kumar, Chantal Kwast¿Greff, Maureen Lynch Pèrcopo, Kevin Stephen Magri, Isabel Moutinho, Melanie A. Murray, Taiwo Oloruntoba¿Oju, Gerhard Stilz, Jesús Varela Zapata, Christine Vogt¿William. Stella Borg Barthet is Senior Lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Malta. She is the author of papers and book chapters, mostly on Maltese, Australian, and African fiction. Her current research interests include North African and African-American writing.
A spellbinding account of the rapacious pursuit of the most exquisite paintings in the world In the Gilded Age, newly wealthy and culturally ambitious Americans began to compete for Europe's extraordinary Old Master pictures, causing a major migration of art across the Atlantic. Old Masters, New World is a backstage look at the cutthroat competition, financial maneuvering, intrigue, and double-dealing often involved in these purchases, not to mention the seductive power of the ravishing paintings that drove these collectors-including financier J. Pierpont Morgan, sugar king H. O. Havemeyer, Boston aesthete Isabella Stewart Gardner, and industrialist Henry Clay Frick. Packed with stunning reproductions, this is an ideal gift book for art lovers and history buffs alike.
And every week, there was the unspoken question, the one I didn’t know enough to ask myself : Have you found her yet? The one who reminds you of you? Twenty years after she lived at a homeless shelter for teens, Janice Erlbaum went back to volunteer. Now thirty-four years old and a successful writer, she’d changed her life for the better; now she wanted to help someone else–someone like the girl she’d once been. Then she met Sam. A brilliant nineteen-year-old junkie savant, the product of a horrifically abusive home, Sam had been surviving alone on the streets since she was twelve and was now struggling for sobriety against the adverse health effects of long-term drug abuse. Soon Janice found herself caring deeply for Sam, following her through detoxes and psych wards, halfway houses and hospitals, becoming ever more manically driven to save her from the sickness and sadness leftover from Sam’s terrible past. But just as Janice was on the verge of becoming the girl’s legal guardian, she made a shocking discovery: Sam was sicker than anyone knew, in ways nobody could have imagined. Written with startling candor and immediacy, Have You Found Her is the story of one woman’s quest to save a girl’s life–and the hard truths she learns about herself along the way. “A rich and compelling account . . . Ultimately this is a book about the narrator’s journey and the dangers that attend the urge within us all to believe we can save another soul. A terrific read.” –Cammie McGovern, author of Eye Contact From the Trade Paperback edition.
Sarah Andersen's hugely popular, world-famous Sarah's Scribbles comics are for those of us who boast bookstore-ready bodies and Netflix-ready hair, who are always down for all-night reading-in-bed parties and extremely exclusive after-hour one-person music festivals. In addition to the most recent Sarah's Scribbles fan favorites and dozens of all-new comics, this volume contains illustrated personal essays on Sarah's real-life experiences with anxiety, career, relationships and other adulthood challenges that will remind readers of Allie Brosh's Hyperbole and a Half and Jenny Lawson's Let's Pretend This Never Happened. The same uniquely frank, real, yet humorous and uplifting tone that makes Sarah's Scribbles so relatable blooms beautifully in this new longer form.
Whether scribbling out a quick sketch with minimal detail, or making a finished portrait where every silky hair and polished whisker stands out, the best cat artists can capture the very essence of feline-ness. How do they do it? Firsthand observation of cats will tell you a lot about the way they sit, yawn, position their tails, and curl up to sleep, but it won't tell you how to get those things down on paper. Classic Sketchbook: Cats is the second in a series of instructional books that began with Classic Sketchbook: Botanicals. The series shows how it's done by looking at details of museum-quality works, then coaching readers through the techniques with the help an expert's suggestions. In this case the expert is Patricia Wynne, a noted illustrator with a specialty in animals. Wynne will guide you through fur, paws, and eyes, as well as cats sleeping, playing, or pouncing. Her unique instructions places a close-up of a drawing or painting by a noted artist like Gauguin, Chardin, Gwen John, and Theodore Steinlen on the left side of the page. And on the right side of the page Patricia Wynne coaches you with detailed, step-by-step drawings, that illuminate the process.
The incredible true account of General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck and his exploits in World War I Africa with the legendary "Schutztruppe." As World War I ravaged the European continent, a completely different theater of war was being contested in Africa. And from this very different kind of war, there emerged a very different kind of military leader... At the beginning of the twentieth century, the continent of Africa was a hotbed of international trade, colonialism, and political gamesmanship. So when World War I broke out, the European powers were forced to contend with each other not just in the bloody trenches—but in the treacherous jungle. And it was in that unforgiving land that General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck would make history. With the now legendary "Schutztruppe" (Defensive Force), von Lettow-Vorbeck and a small cadre of hardened German officers fought alongside their fanatically devoted native African allies as equals, creating the first truly integrated army of the modern age The Lion of Africa is the almost-forgotten true account of Wiemar Germany’s military escapades on the dark continent. A story of thousand-mile marches through the harshest landscapes; of German officers riding bicycles into battle through the bush; of battleships hidden in jungle rivers teeming with crocodiles; of improbable Zeppelin voyages; of desperate men living off hippo lard and facing dangers in both man and nature. But mostly it is the story of von Lettow-Vorbeck—the only undefeated German commmander in the field during World War I, and the last to surrender his arms in final defeat.
The first African to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, as well as a political activist of prodigious energies, Wole Soyinka now follows his modern classic Ake: The Years of Childhood with an equally important chronicle of his turbulent life as an adult in (and in exile from) his beloved, beleaguered homeland. In the tough, humane, and lyrical language that has typified his plays and novels, Soyinka captures the indomitable spirit of Nigeria itself by bringing to life the friends and family who bolstered and inspired him, and by describing the pioneering theater works that defied censure and tradition. Soyinka not only recounts his exile and the terrible reign of General Sani Abacha, but shares vivid memories and playful anecdotes–including his improbable friendship with a prominent Nigerian businessman and the time he smuggled a frozen wildcat into America so that his students could experience a proper Nigerian barbecue. More than a major figure in the world of literature, Wole Soyinka is a courageous voice for human rights, democracy, and freedom. You Must Set Forth at Dawn is an intimate chronicle of his thrilling public life, a meditation on justice and tyranny, and a mesmerizing testament to a ravaged yet hopeful land. From the Hardcover edition.
John Kirk was the only companion of explorer David Livingstone to emerge untainted from the disastrous, tragic expedition up the Zambezi river between 1859 and 1863. Three years later, Kirk returned to Africa, to the notorious island of Zanzibar, ancient post of the slave trade between Africa and the Middle East. Half a century after the abolition of slavery in Britain, slave traffi cking persisted on Africa's east coast, apparently tolerated and even connived with by parts of the British Empire in the Indian Ocean. Kirk, appointed as medical officer to the British Consulate in Zanzibar, could do nothing. This extraordinary and controversial book brings Kirk's years in Zanzibar to life. The horrors of the overland passage from the interior, and the Zanzibar slave market itself, are vividly described, together with Kirk's final, bitter conflict with Livingstone, who blamed Kirk for his own failings. But it was Kirk's success in closing down the slave trade on the island which made him famous across the world. Using private diaries and papers, a long forgotten Victorian hero and an extraordinary chapter in British history are revived in detail.
WINNER, BEST TRAVEL BOOK 2010 - BRITISH GUILD OF TRAVEL WRITERS "A memoir that is both funny and deeply moving... Rogers' compassion, humour and frequent bemusement give this heart-stoppingly good book its life force." The Times In The Last Resort, journalist Douglas Rogers tells the eye-opening, harrowing and, at times, surprisingly funny story of his parents' struggle for survival in war-torn Zimbabwe. For many years, Lyn and Ros Rogers were the owners of Drifters, a famous game farm and backpacker lodge in the eastern mountains. But when President Robert Mugabe launched his violent land reclamation programme, everything changed. The Rogers found their home under siege, their friends and neighbours expelled, and their lives in danger. But instead of leaving, as their son pleaded with them to do, they hauled out a shotgun and stayed. Soon afterwards, Douglas returns to find the country of his birth in chaos, and his home transformed into something between a Marx Brothers romp and the Heart of Darkness: marijuana has supplanted maize in the fields; hookers have replaced gap-year kids as guests; soldiers, spies and teenage diamond dealers down beers at the bar. Beyond the farm gates, armed war veterans loyal to Mugabe circle like hungry lions. And yet, in spite of it all, the Rogers - with the help of friends and locals, black political dissidents among them - hold on. And Douglas begins to see his parents in a new light: unbowed, even heroic. In the process he learns that the "big story" he had pursued throughout his adult life was actually happening in his own backyard. The Last Resort is an inspiring, edgy roller-coaster adventure, but also a deeply moving testament to the love and loyalty inspired by Zimbabwe and her people.
Let It Blurt is the raucous and righteous biography of Lester Bangs (1949-82)--the gonzo journalist, gutter poet, and romantic visionary of rock criticism. No writer on rock 'n' roll ever lived harder or wrote better--more passionately, more compellingly, more penetratingly. He lived the rock 'n' roll lifestyle, guzzling booze and Romilar like water, matching its energy in prose that erupted from the pages of Rolling Stone, Creem, and The Village Voice. Bangs agitated in the seventies for sounds that were harsher, louder, more electric, and more alive, in the course of which he charted and defined the aesthetics of heavy metal and punk. He was treated as a peer by such brash visionaries as Lou Reed, Patti Smith, Richard Hell, Captain Beefheart, The Clash, Debbie Harry, and other luminaries. Let It Blurt is a scrupulously researched account of Lester Bangs's fascinating (if often tawdry and unappetizing) life story, as well as a window on rock criticism and rock culture in their most turbulent and creative years. It includes a never-before-published piece by Bangs, the hilarious "How to Be a Rock Critic," in which he reveals the secrets of his dubious, freeloading trade. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Winner of the Edgar Award The #1 New York Times Bestseller Publishers Weekly and USA Today Bestseller Millions of Copies Sold Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificent Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life—summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. When their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Margo has disappeared. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Embarking on an exhilarating adventure to find her, the closer Q gets, the less he sees the girl he thought he knew. #1 Bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars John Green crafts a brilliantly funny and moving coming-of-age journey about true friendship and true love. From the Hardcover edition.
In 1960, Cathy McClure, age 12, is thrown out of Catholic school. Her father's drugstore, faced with a superhighway and encroaching chain stores, has fallen upon hard times. So the family decides to leave Lewiston, New York, for a fresh start in suburban Buffalo. But even as Cathy embraces the tumultuous sixties and throws herself into a new life as cheerleader, Hojo Hostess, and civil rights advocate, trouble - as usual - isn't far behind. Fiesty and resolute as ever, Cathy soldiers on, but the one thing she can't fight threatens to dissolve the family that, through her many ups and downs, has always been her solid ground. Told with the same wit, charm, and candour that made Too Close to the Falls a modern classic, After the Falls is an evocative portrait of a young woman, and a country, finding its way.
“A thrilling tale of abduction and escape in North Korea....highly entertaining." —The Washington Post A propulsive and ambitious thriller about a woman trying to rescue her twin sister from captivity in North Korea, and the North Korean citizens with whom she forms an unlikely alliance Star of the North opens in 1998, when a Korean American teenager is kidnapped from a South Korean beach by North Korean operatives. Twelve years later, her brilliant twin sister, Jenna, is still searching for her, and ends up on the radar of the CIA. When evidence that her sister may still be alive in North Korea comes to light, Jenna will do anything possible to rescue her--including undertaking a daring mission into the heart of the regime. Her story is masterfully braided together with two other narrative threads. In one, a North Korean peasant woman finds a forbidden international aid balloon and uses the valuables inside to launch a dangerously lucrative black-market business. In the other, a high-ranking North Korean official discovers, to his horror, that he may be descended from a traitor, a fact that could mean his death if it is revealed. As the novel progresses, these narrative strands converge and connect in surprising ways, ultimately building to an explosive and unforgettable climax.
For animal lovers, nature enthusiasts, and the vast readership for gripping true-life stories, this African saga is a must-read adventure. It chronicles the unique Harnas Wildlife Foundation in Namibia, where Marieta van der Merwe and her family, former wealthy cattle farmers, have sold land to buy and care for embattled wildlife. We meet Sam, the "AIDS" lion infected by mistake at a vet clinic. Boerjke, a baboon with epilepsy and Down syndrome. Savanna, the one-eyed lioness. And Marieta van der Merwe herself, the inspiring proprietor of Harnas who shares her home with needy wild animals. Survivor of an early life fraught with personal tragedy in the African Bush, she now devotes herself as care-giver and ambassador for wildlife and wildland. Told with insight, humor, and thrilling immediacy by author and Harnas volunteer Barbara Bennett, this story will captivate readers of all ages.
A beautifully crafted and inviting account of one woman’s life, Safekeeping offers a sublimely different kind of autobiography. Setting aside a straightforward narrative in favor of brief passages of vivid prose, Abigail Thomas revisits the pivotal moments and the tiny incidents that have shaped her life: pregnancy at 18; single motherhood (of three!) by the age of 26; the joys and frustrations of three marriages; and the death of her second husband, who was her best friend. The stories made of these incidents are startling in their clarity and reassuring in their wisdom. This is a book in which silence speaks as eloquently as what is revealed. Openhearted and effortlessly funny, these brilliantly selected glimpses of the arc of a life are, in an age of excessive confession and recrimination, a welcome tonic.
People Pick • O Magazine Title to Pick Up Now • Vanity Fair Hot Type • Glamour New Book You’re Guaranteed to Love This Summer • LitHub.com Best Book about Books • Buzzfeed Book You Need to Read This Summer • Seattle Times Book for Summer Reading • Warby Parker Blog Book Pick • Google Talks • Harper’s Bazaar • Vogue •The Washington Post • The Economist • The Christian Science Monitor • Salon • The Atlantic Imagine keeping a record of every book you’ve ever read. What would this reading trajectory say about you? With passion, humor, and insight, the editor of The New York Times Book Review shares the stories that have shaped her life. Pamela Paul has kept a single book by her side for twenty-eight years – carried throughout high school and college, hauled from Paris to London to Thailand, from job to job, safely packed away and then carefully removed from apartment to house to its current perch on a shelf over her desk – reliable if frayed, anonymous-looking yet deeply personal. This book has a name: Bob. Bob is Paul’s Book of Books, a journal that records every book she’s ever read, from Sweet Valley High to Anna Karenina, from Catch-22 to Swimming to Cambodia, a journey in reading that reflects her inner life – her fantasies and hopes, her mistakes and missteps, her dreams and her ideas, both half-baked and wholehearted. Her life, in turn, influences the books she chooses, whether for solace or escape, information or sheer entertainment. But My Life with Bob isn’t really about those books. It’s about the deep and powerful relationship between book and reader. It’s about the way books provide each of us the perspective, courage, companionship, and imperfect self-knowledge to forge our own path. It’s about why we read what we read and how those choices make us who we are. It’s about how we make our own stories.
Based on true events, a story of courage, forgiveness, love, and freedom in precolonial Ghana, told through the eyes of two women born to vastly different fates. Aminah lives an idyllic life until she is brutally separated from her home and forced on a journey that transforms her from a daydreamer into a resilient woman. Wurche, the willful daughter of a chief, is desperate to play an important role in her father's court. These two women's lives converge as infighting among Wurche's people threatens the region, during the height of the slave trade at the end of the nineteenth century. Through the experiences of Aminah and Wurche, The Hundred Wells of Salaga offers a remarkable view of slavery and how the scramble for Africa affected the lives of everyday people.
Encourage creativity with this wildly entertaining picture book mash-up from the minds of Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett. Alex has been given a saccharine, sappy, silly-sweet picture book about Birthday Bunny that his grandma found at a garage sale. Alex isn’t interested—until he decides to make the book something he’d actually like to read. So he takes out his pencil, sharpens his creativity, and totally transforms the story! Birthday Bunny becomes Battle Bunny, and the rabbit’s innocent journey through the forest morphs into a supersecret mission to unleash an evil plan—a plan that only Alex can stop. Featuring layered, original artwork that emphasizes Alex’s additions, this dynamic exploration of creative storytelling is sure to engage and inspire.
In Chaucer's London, betrayal, murder, royal intrigue, mystery, and dangerous politics swirl around the existence of a prophetic book that foretells the deaths of England's kings. Bruce Holsinger's A Burnable Book is an irresistible historical thriller reminiscent of the classics An Instance of the Fingerpost, The Name of the Rose, and The Crimson Petal and the White. London, 1385. Surrounded by ruthless courtiers—including his powerful uncle, John of Gaunt, and Gaunt's artful mistress, Katherine Swynford—England's young, still untested king, Richard II, is in mortal peril, and the danger is only beginning. Songs are heard across London—catchy verses said to originate from an ancient book that prophesies the end of England's kings—and among the book's predictions is Richard's assassination. Only a few powerful men know that the cryptic lines derive from a "burnable book," a seditious work that threatens the stability of the realm. To find the manuscript, wily bureaucrat Geoffrey Chaucer turns to fellow poet John Gower, a professional trader in information with connections high and low. Gower discovers that the book and incriminating evidence about its author have fallen into the unwitting hands of innocents, who will be drawn into a labyrinthine conspiracy that reaches from the king's court to London's slums and stews—and potentially implicates his own son. As the intrigue deepens, it becomes clear that Gower, a man with secrets of his own, may be the last hope to save a king from a terrible fate. Medieval scholar Bruce Holsinger draws on his vast knowledge of the period to add colorful, authentic detail—on everything from poetry and bookbinding to court intrigues and brothels—to this highly entertaining and brilliantly constructed epic literary mystery that brings medieval England gloriously to life.
An epic story of family, love, and unavoidable tragedy from the two-time Man Booker Prize finalist. Now a major motion picture starring Rooney Mara. Sebastian Barry's latest novel, Days Without End, is now available. Sebastian Barry's novels have been hugely admired by readers and critics, and in 2005 his novel A Long Long Way was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. In The Secret Scripture, Barry revisits County Sligo, Ireland, the setting for his previous three books, to tell the unforgettable story of Roseanne McNulty. Once one of the most beguiling women in Sligo, she is now a resident of Roscommon Regional Mental Hospital and nearing her hundredth year. Set against an Ireland besieged by conflict, The Secret Scripture is an engrossing tale of one woman's life, and a vivid reminder of the stranglehold that the Catholic church had on individuals throughout much of the twentieth century. The Secret Scripture is now a film starring Rooney Mara, Eric Bana, and Vanessa Redgrave.
From the Pulitzer Prize–winning former poet laureate, a collection of elegiac, irreverent new poems—an American master at the height of his talent The latest volume of poetry from Charles Simic hums with the liveliness of the writer’s pen. Scribbled in the Dark brings the poet’s signature sardonic sense of humor, piercing social insight, and haunting lyricism to diverse and richly imagined landscapes. Peopled by policemen, presidents, kids in Halloween masks, a fortune-teller, and a fly on the wall of the poet’s kitchen; set on crowded New York streets, on park benches, and under darkened skies; the pages within toy with the end of the world and its infinity. Simic continues to be an inimitable voice in modern American poetry and one of its finest chroniclers of the human condition.
In 1855, Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote to his publisher, complaining about the irritating fad of “scribbling women.” Whether they were written by professionals, by women who simply wanted to connect with others, or by those who wanted to leave a record of their lives, those “scribbles” are fascinating, informative, and instructive. Margaret Catchpole was a transported prisoner whose eleven letters provide the earliest record of white settlement in Australia. Writing hundreds of years later, Aboriginal writer Doris Pilkington-Garimara wrote a novel about another kind of exile in Australia. Young Isabella Beeton, one of twenty-one children and herself the mother of four, managed to write a groundbreaking cookbook before she died at the age of twenty-eight. World traveler and journalist Nelly Bly used her writing to expose terrible injustices. Sei Shonagan has left us poetry and journal entries that provide a vivid look at the pampered life and intrigues in Japan’s imperial court. Ada Blackjack, sole survivor of a disastrous scientific expedition in the Arctic, fought isolation and fear with her precious Eversharp pencil. Dr. Dang Thuy Tram’s diary, written in a field hospital in the steaming North Vietnamese jungle while American bombs fell, is a heartbreaking record of fear and hope. Many of the women in “Scribbling Women” had eventful lives. They became friends with cannibals, delivered babies, stole horses, and sailed on whaling ships. Others lived quietly, close to home. But each of them has illuminated the world through her words. A note from the author: OOPS! On page 197, the credit for the Portrait of Harriet Jacobs on page 43 should read: courtesy of Library of Congress, not Jean Fagan Yellin. On page 197, the credit for the portrait of Isabella Beeton on page 61 should read: National Portrait Gallery, London. On page 198, the credit for page 147 should be Dang Kim Tram, not Kim Tram Dang. We are very sorry about the mix-up in the Photo Credits, they will be updated on any new editions or reprints. From the Hardcover edition.
One of our most influential anthropologists reevaluates her long and illustrious career by returning to her roots—and the roots of life as we know it When Elizabeth Marshall Thomas first arrived in Africa to live among the Kalahari San, or bushmen, it was 1950, she was nineteen years old, and these last surviving hunter-gatherers were living as humans had lived for 15,000 centuries. Thomas wound up writing about their world in a seminal work, The Harmless People (1959). It has never gone out of print. Back then, this was uncharted territory and little was known about our human origins. Today, our beginnings are better understood. And after a lifetime of interest in the bushmen, Thomas has come to see that their lifestyle reveals great, hidden truths about human evolution. As she displayed in her bestseller, The Hidden Life of Dogs, Thomas has a rare gift for giving voice to the voices we don't usually listen to, and helps us see the path that we have taken in our human journey. In The Old Way, she shows how the skills and customs of the hunter-gatherer share much in common with the survival tactics of our animal predecessors. And since it is "knowledge, not objects, that endure" over time, Thomas vividly brings us to see how linked we are to our origins in the animal kingdom. The Old Way is a rare and remarkable achievement, sure to stir up controversy, and worthy of celebration.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY PUBLISHERS WEEKLY In the tradition of Tobias Wolff, James Ellroy, and Mary Karr, a stunning memoir of a mother-son relationship that is also the searing, unflinching account of a murder and its aftermath Tombstone, Arizona, September 2001. Debbie St. Germain’s death, apparently at the hands of her fifth husband, is a passing curiosity. “A real-life old West murder mystery,” the local TV announcers intone, while barroom gossips snicker cruelly. But for her twenty-year-old son, Justin St. Germain, the tragedy marks the line that separates his world into before and after. Distancing himself from the legendary town of his childhood, Justin makes another life a world away in San Francisco and achieves all the surface successes that would have filled his mother with pride. Yet years later he’s still sleeping with a loaded rifle under his bed. Ultimately, he is pulled back to the desert landscape of his childhood on a search to make sense of the unfathomable. What made his mother, a onetime army paratrooper, the type of woman who would stand up to any man except the men she was in love with? What led her to move from place to place, man to man, job to job, until finally she found herself in a desperate and deteriorating situation, living on an isolated patch of desert with an unstable ex-cop? Justin’s journey takes him back to the ghost town of Wyatt Earp, to the trailers he and Debbie shared, to the string of stepfathers who were a constant, sometimes threatening presence in his life, to a harsh world on the margins full of men and women all struggling to define what family means. He decides to confront people from his past and delve into the police records in an attempt to make sense of his mother’s life and death. All the while he tries to be the type of man she would have wanted him to be. Praise for Son of a Gun “[A] spectacular memoir . . . calls to mind two others of the past decade: J. R. Moehringer’s Tender Bar and Nick Flynn’s Another Bull____ Night in Suck City. All three are about boys becoming men in a broken world. . . . [What] might have been . . . in the hands of a lesser writer, the book’s main point . . . [is] amplified from a tale of personal loss and grief into a parable for our time and our nation. . . . If the brilliance of Son of a Gun lies in its restraint, its importance lies in the generosity of the author’s insights.”—Alexandra Fuller, The New York Times Book Review “[A] gritty, enthralling new memoir . . . St. Germain has created a work of austere, luminous beauty. . . . In his understated, eloquent way, St. Germain makes you feel the heat, taste the dust, see those shimmering streets. By the end of the book, you know his mother, even though you never met her. And like the author, you will mourn her forever.”—NPR “If St. Germain had stopped at examining his mother’s psycho-social risk factors and how her murder affected him, this would still be a fine, moving memoir. But it’s his further probing—into the culture of guns, violence, and manhood that informed their lives in his hometown, Tombstone, Ariz.—that transforms the book, elevating the stakes from personal pain to larger, important questions of what ails our society.”—The Boston Globe “A visceral, compelling portrait of [St. Germain’s] mother and the violent culture that claimed her.”—Entertainment Weekly From the Hardcover edition.
How can literary forms fashion a nation? Though genres such as the novel and newspaper have been credited with shaping a national imagination and a sense of community, during the rapid modernization of the Meiji period, Japanese intellectuals took a striking—but often overlooked—interest in poetry’s ties to national character. In Idly Scribbling Rhymers, Robert Tuck offers a groundbreaking study of the connections among traditional poetic genres, print media, and visions of national community in late nineteenth-century Japan that reveals the fissures within the process of imagining the nation. Structured around the work of the poet and critic Masaoka Shiki, Idly Scribbling Rhymers considers how poetic genres were read, written, and discussed within the emergent worlds of the newspaper and literary periodical in Meiji Japan. Tuck details attempts to cast each of the three traditional poetic genres of haiku, kanshi, and waka as Japan’s national poetry. He analyzes the nature and boundaries of the concepts of national poetic community that were meant to accompany literary production, showing that Japan’s visions of community were defined by processes of hierarchy and exclusion and deeply divided along lines of social class, gender, and political affiliation. A comprehensive study of nineteenth-century Japanese poetics and print culture, Idly Scribbling Rhymers reveals poetry’s surprising yet fundamental role in emerging forms of media and national consciousness.
In this playful homage to Charles Dickens, unlikely allies learn the lessons of a great friendship. Skilley, an alley cat with an embarrassing secret, longs to escape his street-cat life. He hopes to trade London’s damp alleyways for the warmth of ye olde Cheshire Cheese Inn, so he strikes a bargain with Pip, an erudite mouse. Skilley will protect the mice who live at the inn, and in turn, the mice will provide Skilley with the thing he desires most. But when Skilley and Pip are drawn into a crisis of monumental proportions, their new friendship is pushed to its limits. The escalating crisis threatens the peace not only of the Cheshire Cheese Inn but also the British Monarchy! New York Times best-selling author Carmen Agra Deedy and author Randall Wright collaborate on this compelling story set in Victorian England. With the stunning artwork of award-winning illustrator Barry Moser, The Cheshire Cheese Cat is filled with charming characters and important themes of friendship and loyalty.
Cat Campbell is a late-blooming witch whose magical abilities have yet to be mastered in this charming coming-of-age story set in the world of The Power of Poppy Pendle. Cat Campbell has had magical powers since the day she was born, but she didn’t always know that. Cat’s mother believes magic ruins lives, and even as Cat’s passion for magic grows over the years, no one suspects she has the gift. But she has indeed inherited the coveted magic gene of her famed great-great-grandmother Mabel, a discovery she makes in a most surprising way. And when she comes across a book called The Late Bloomer’s Guide to Magic, she finds the encouragement she needs and spells that actually work. Then the town of Potts Bottom is threatened by a notoriously feared witch, and Cat has the chance to help her family and town—and to prove herself in the process. Because, as The Late Bloomer’s Guide to Magic proclaims, “believing in your magic and yourself is half the battle.”
The richly textured, panoramic story of an American mother and daughter stuck in the expatriate community of Ankara, Turkey, in 1975--each of them trying to discover a life in the larger world, each in way over her head When she is twelve years old, Canada moves with her mother and father to Ankara, Turkey, where her father has been stationed by the government. It is 1975--the Cold War is in full swing and tensions in the Middle East are escalating. But in Ankara's diplomatic community, the days are lazy and indulgent--one long cocktail party. While her father routinely disappears on official business, Canada and her mother, Grace, find themselves in the company of gossipy embassy wives and wealthy Turkish women, immersed in a routine of card games and afternoons at the baths. By the time summer comes, and the city's electricity shuts down from dawn to dusk, mother and daughter can no longer tolerate the insular society--or each other. Alternating between their perspectives, Dervishes follows Canada and Grace as they set out into the larger city: Grace is drawn to the lover of her wealthy, manipulative Turkish friend; Canada competes with another girl for the attentions of an arrogant Turkish houseboy, one who knows all their mothers' secrets. Before long, both are in over their heads, and their transgressions threaten to strand them between the safe island of westerners and a strange city that guards its secrets fiercely. Written with sensuousness and empathy, Beth Helms's debut is the story of a mother and daughter cut loose from their foundations, hungry for independence but dangerously naive.
New in the national bestselling Sons of Destiny series, hailed by Jayne Ann Krentz as ?wildly entertaining.? Amara is wary of mages??they chased her out of her homeland. Yet there is something about the mage Trevan of Nightfall that Amara can?t resist. But can he be trusted with her most fiercely guarded secret? Courting such a pretty yet prickly outlander won?t be easy, but Trevan is determined to try. She may be fierce, proud, and from a different culture, but after all, he is the Cat, and none but the most fascinating and challenging of women could satisfy him?
"More than forty years of scribble, scribble, scribble, and I have been sued only once..." But this collection of essays is no less a pleasure to read for all that. Mordecai Richler is an exuberant essayist, with a combative wit and sharp eye, regularly offending some, endearing himself mightily to others, and always hugely entertaining. Like all great satirists, he is passionate about the world in which we live; it's that appetite for life and friendship, his love of sanity and common sense as much as his hatred for sacred cows, that lies at the heart of this irresistible book. From the Trade Paperback edition.
"A nonchalant string of anecdotes and wisecracks, told by a fellow who doesn't have a name, and has never caught a mouse, and isn't much good for anything except watching human beings in action…" —The New Yorker Written over the course of 1904-1906, Soseki Natsume's comic masterpiece, I Am a Cat, satirizes the foolishness of upper-middle-class Japanese society during the Meiji era. With acerbic wit and sardonic perspective, it follows the whimsical adventures of a world-weary stray kitten who comments on the follies and foibles of the people around him. A classic of Japanese literature, I Am a Cat is one of Soseki's best-known novels. Considered by many as the greatest writer in modern Japanese history, Soseki's I Am a Cat is a classic novel sure to be enjoyed for years to come.
Blaize Clement won fans all over the world with the charm and wit of her pet-sitting mysteries. Now, with the help of her son, author John Clement, Blaize's beloved heroine Dixie Hemingway is back for yet another thrilling adventure in this critically-acclaimed series. Dixie has built a nice, quiet life for herself in the sleepy town of Siesta Key, a sandy resort island off the coast of Florida. In fact, her pet-sitting business is going so well she's even taken on part-time help: Kenny, a handsome young surfer who lives alone in a rickety old houseboat. But things get a little messy when, on an early morning walk in the park with a client's schnauzer, Dixie makes a shocking discovery. Hidden among the leafy brambles is a homeless girl, alone and afraid, cradling a newborn baby in her arms. Dixie takes the young girl under her wing, even though she's just been hired by Roy Harwick, the snarky executive of a multi-national oil company, to care for his equally snarky Siamese cat, Charlotte, along with his wife's priceless collection of rare, tropical fish. It's not long before Dixie stumbles upon a dead body in the unlikeliest of places, and soon she's set adrift in a murky and dangerous world in which no one is who they appear to be. Smart, fast-paced and entertaining, The Cat Sitter's Cradle is a perfect illustration of why Dixie's loyal fans have come to know and love her and eagerly await the next installment of her adventures.