Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

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The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

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The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.

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Dispute Over a Very Italian Piglet

Amara Lakhous delivers a mystery novel with its finger on the hot-button issues of today's Europe.  Immigration and multicultural conflicts erupt in the Italian city of Turin, as journalist Enzo Laganà looks to restore peace to his native burg.

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Papers in the Wind

In this insightful novel by Eduardo Sacheri, a young girl left destitute by the death of her soccer-playing father is uplifted by the bold schemes of her uncle, his pals, and one newbie player to the professional leagues.

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The Brunist Day of Wrath

Forty-eight years after the release of his eerie debut The Origin of the Brunists, iconoclast Robert Coover delivers a sequel of an ominous cult that forms in the wake of a mining disaster, spooking their pious township as they prepare for a worldwide reckoning.

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A Man Called Destruction

The fate of the "cult" musician is to be rediscovered early and often.  Such was the journey of rambling man Alex Chilton, singer of the influential bands Big Star and the Box Tops.  Holly George-Warren's thorough interviews and crisp prose dig deep into the hero behind the myths.

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Updike

Adam Begley delivers a finely wrought portrait of the literary magician whose novels and short stories spun the raw stuff of suburban "middleness" into a hoard of glittering treasure.

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Mother of God

At just 18, Paul Rosolie left behind his suburban New Jersey life for the remote region of Peru where the Amazon begins. His education included giant snakes, tribespeople hostile and friendly, and the incalculable, threatend beauty of the rainforest. This is nature -- and adventure --  unfettered and wild.

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Machine Made

"Tammany Hall" has become iconic shorthand for a style of governance and politicking that seemingly long ago vanished from the Earth.  Journalist and historian Terry Golway finds the resonance of the famed organization.

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More Powerful Than Dynamite

Thai Jones's eye-opening study of the USA in 1914 captures an unwritten history of a nation on the brink of anarchist bombings and political bedlam akin to that which scrambled Europe at the outset of WWI. 

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Portrait Inside My Head

A true man of letters in poetry, novels, and memoirs, Phillip Lopate turns his hand now to another collection of essays, a volume that sprawls engagingly over such varied terrain as "My Brother the Radio Host" to "Why I Remain a Baseball Fan."

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Capital in the Twenty-First Century

How does a rigorous, seven-hundred page economic history become a lionized hit? Through the canny voice of professor Thomas Piketty, and his demystification of inherited wealth, Karl Marx's true legacy, and what we mean when we talk about monetary "growth" and "inequality".

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MFA vs. NYC

Chad Harbach (The Art of Fielding) assembles a stellar cast of contributors to spell out two camps of contemporary literature - academia and the publishers track - finding fun, intelligent arguments in favor of each mode.

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The Resistance Man

Few mystery novels feature as enticing a venue as Périgord, the scene of Martin Walker's popular series about French flic Bruno Courrèges.  In his sixth outing, the police chief must investigate the hidden life of a WWII veteran, and outwit incoming British spies.

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Demon Camp

Pulitzer Prize winner Jennifer Percy probes the outer limits of PTSD within true-life veteran Caleb Daniels. Haunted by spectral visages of his comrades in Afghanistan, Daniels sought relief among exorcists and evangelicals, with Percy as our guide into the search for one soldier's soul.  A Discover Great New Writers selection.

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On Earth as It Is in Heaven

Say "Italian prize fighter" and one thinks Jake La Motta or Rocky Graziano.  But Davide Enia's bold and colorful novel featuring a Sicilian lad who embarks on a pugilistic career swings big, with a brawling cast of larger-than-life men and women learned in low crime and hard knocks.

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Rock She Wrote

Where is the female Lester Bangs or Greil Marcus?  Right here, in the pages of an electric collection assembled by editors Evelyn McDonnell and Ann Powers, who've pillaged the pages of pop music journals from the 1960s to the present in search of the best writing by women on the people's music.

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William Wells Brown: Clotel & Other Writings

Born into slavery and freed to become a force for justice, William Wells Brown (1814-1884) conjured up Clotel, the first novel attributed to an African-American writer.  Alongside his nonfiction, the book speaks to questions about race and equality that still resonate today.

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The Long Voyage

Malcolm Cowley (1898-1989) may be one of the most important (and unheralded) literary figures of the twentieth century.  His critical track record for fostering genius and capturing the sensibility of the Lost Generation now receive a spotlight, thanks to savvy editor Hans Bak.

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The Roving Party

Set in Tasmania during the early nineteenth century, Rohan Wilson's novel chronicles a despicable era of anti-aboriginal violence, with shades of Cormac McCarthy and Homeric tragedy for good measure.

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The Splendid Things We Planned

Blake Bailey -- acclaimed biographer of John Cheever and other giants -- reveals his affinity for the troubled lives of his subjects, in an aching memoir of brotherhood, addiction, and love.

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The Red Road

How could a man in prison have left his fingerprints on a gun at a murder scene outside its walls? Detective Inspector Alex Morrow connects cases cold and hot, but all roads lead her back corruption in her own force.  Another Glasgow-set crackler from the masterful Denise Mina.

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The Poisoned Pawn

In Peggy Blair's latest crackerjack thriller, ghost-haunted Cuban cop Ricardo Ramirez hits Canada, where he must clear the name of a colleague who stands accused of murdering his own wife.

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A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain

Adrianne Harun plumbs the depths of rural despair with an eclectic cast of characters who face not only the traditional pitfalls of drugs and poverty, but also the malign supernatural attentions of an itinerant musician who might be Old Scratch himself.

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The Martian

Andy Weir's stirring paean to the will to survive finds a castaway on the Red Planet, as astronaut Mark Watney outdoes Jules Verne, Tom Swift and George Clooney in his quest to live and even flourish in this forbidding environment.

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The Big Both Ways

From its Chandleresque title right through its knockout climax, John Straley's Depression-era noir provides hot and heavy, morally complicated thrills as it tosses a male drifter and female murderer together on a bumpy ride across the American Northwest.

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I Am Abraham

Jerome Charyn's fiftieth book may be his best. Abraham Lincoln, known to his contemporaries as a man who loved to tell a good story, steps down from history's pedestal to narrate his improbable career with wit and charm. A bravura act of literary ventriloquism.

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Eliot Ness: The Rise and Fall of an American Hero

The name Eliot Ness and his struggles to bring down Al Capone have passed into the annals of pop heroism via "The Untouchables." But Douglas Perry's biography reveals the less glamorous -- yet no less thrilling -- truth behind the crimefighting myth.

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The Corpse Exhibition

Hassan Blasim offers his first-hand account of contemporary Iraq, in surreal short stories alive with awe, empathy, and a native son's vantage point.

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April 18: "[W]ould it be too bold to imagine that all warm-blooded animals have arisen from one living filament…?"

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

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