Displaying articles for: June 2012

The Descent of Man

When he spots a pair of would-be thieves trying to hot-wire his car, mild-mannered wine steward Jim Sandusky gives in to impulse and takes off in -- and wrecks -- the thieves' van. But a moment's defiance sets off a chain of deadly consequences in Kevin Desinger's work of suspense.

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Fooling Houdini

In his quest to become a master magician, Alex Stone has met some unforgettable characters -- including a blind card shark -- and learned astonishing lessons about deception and perception. This blend of memoir and neuroscience reveals his hard-won knowledge of a fascinating, secretive world.

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The Kings of Cool

In Savages, Don Winslow spun a memorably hardboiled tale of love and loyalty among Southern California pot dealers. With the film adaptation of that arresting story about to hit theaters, his latest novel digs deeper into the events that brought Ben, Chon, and O together  -- and forced them to choose between their families and one another.

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The Bellwether Revivals

A young man in love with a quirky, upper-class British girl finds himself caught up in her troubled brother's obsessions with the healing power of music. Benjamin Wood's gripping novel of psychological suspense reminds us of Donna Tartt's The Secret History. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

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Mrs. Robinson's Disgrace

Isabella Robinson boldly recorded her inmost thoughts -- including her infatuation with a married man -- in a diary discovered by her husband on a fateful day in 1858. Kate Summerscale uses the diary itself, and the ensuing divorce trial, to render the world of Victorian women in revelatory detail.

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The Red House

Mark Haddon captivated readers worldwide with the haunting mystery The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. His playful new novel follows one family's weekend in the countryside with explosive results. A bittersweet, funny, and heartfelt performance from a storytelling wizard.

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Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt

Journeying to the "sacrifice zones" of global capitalism, places where the underclass has been foresaken in favor of profit margins, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Chris Hedges and American Book Award-winning cartoonist Joe Sacco capture a country in decline. When their narrative culminates in Zucotti Park, readers will feel just as outraged as the protestors portrayed on the page.

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Diary

Polish novelist Witold Gombrowicz wrote his first diary entry in 1952 while living abroad in Argentina and his last shortly before his death in 1969 in France. During the intervening seventeen years, the document grew from a chronicle of daily life into a vast collection of essays, short stories, confessions, and diatribes: one of the most brilliant and capacious works of the 20th century. Long out of print in English, it is collected here in a single, essential volume.

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Hotels, Hospitals, and Jails

Jarhead, Anthony Swofford's memoir of his Gulf War military service, launched the author on a promising literary career, but struggles with addiction and despair soon followed. Then a series of RV trips with his terminally ill father, himself a Vietnam vet, saved him from himself, a transformation he captures with courageous intensity in this moving work of nonfiction.

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What Dies in Summer

Tom Wrights's craftily seductive tale brings together two young people from broken homes -- quiet James and his feisty cousin L.A. -- in 1970s Texas, where they face a mysterious evil. A haunting coming-of-age story (and great beach read) with a tinge of the supernatural.

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Exit: The Endings That Set Us Free

Harvard sociologist Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot examines how small goodbyes -- as we finish a phone call, or leave for work in the morning -- echo our feelings about more significant departures, from the end of a career to the end of life itself. A book that will have you rethinking the little moments, and the big ones, too.

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Segregation

Carl H. Nightingale's eye-opening work of history examines how the use of urban division to reinforce economic disparity was transformed by colonialism and became race-based segregation. The author then imagines a model for the integrated cities of the future in a book that seeks to understand and ameliorate inequality.

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Van Halen: Exuberant California, Zen Rock 'n' Roll

Diamond Dave as a Zen master? Eddie Van Halen as musical monk? That's the case John Scanlan makes -- tongue only partly in cheek -- in this learned but lively take on Van Halen's rise to the pinnacle of rock stardom, improvising all the way. Philosophy you can dance to.

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Soul of a Whore and Purvis

The visionary language and resonant humor Denis Johnson has displayed in award-winning novels like Tree of Smoke and Train Dreams are showcased in these two verse plays about desperate characters on both sides of the law.

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The Lola Quartet

Disgraced journalist Gavin Sasaki returns home to coastal Florida in search of a former flame and a young girl who may be the daughter he never knew he had. A fan of dimestore detective novels, Gavin quickly finds himself in over his head as he chases answers in Emily St. John Mandel's gripping novel.

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Something Like the Gods

Stephen Amidon's lively work of history puts the spotlight on the athlete as cultural icon. From Roman gladiator to the modern savants of the court, the track and the gridiron, the body at play retains the power to inspire. An exploration of the athlete's evolving role through time and our fascination with the ultimate physical expressions of power and grace.

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Island Practice

For the past three decades, the health of the residents of Nantucket has been the charge of Dr. Timothy Lepore, a larger than life figure who carves scalpels from stone and hunts with a pet hawk. But it's in this dedicated surgeon's practice that Pam Belluck finds a microcosm of the struggles faced by the health care system back on the American mainland.

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The Lion Is In

Three women -- a runaway bride, a recovering alcoholic, and a minister's wife desperate to escape her marriage -- go on the lam together until their car breaks down on a rural highway in North Carolina. Which is where they meet Marcel, a retired circus lion. And that's when the adventure really begins in Delia Ephron's madcap novel.

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The Baker Who Pretended to Be King of Portugal

On August 4, 1578, King Sebastian of Portugal was slain on the field of battle. Sixteen years later, in one of the most audacious impostures of the last five hundred years, Gabriel de Espinosa appeared in a Spanish convent town passing himself off as the lost monarch. Ruth MacKay recalls the conspiracy, which took almost a year to unravel, in her engrossing historical account of scheming and absurdity.

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April 24: "[The HST] lifted a curtain from our view of the universe, changing it so profoundly that no human can look at the stars in the same way..."

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

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