• LIVES

The Owl Who Liked Sitting on Caesar

An ailing war historian seeking companionship buys a tawny owl named Mumble. So begins Martin Windrow's soaring memoir of fifteen years with his gentle, shoelace-chewing, touchingly loyal pet. Think "My Dog Tulip" or "Ring of Bright Water" (with feathers).

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  • LIVES

My Salinger Year

Call it Girls for grown women. Joanna Rakoff's memoir of '90s Brooklyn – and her surprising friendship with the hermetic J.D. Salinger – is a nimble, strong-willed look at her choice to "come of age" and write with an open heart.

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  • LIVES

The Good Spy

CIA operative Robert Ames was a true-life James Bond who died striving for peace in the Middle East. With cameos from Nixon, Kissinger, and Arafat, and nailbiter scenes from the Iranian hostage crisis and Beirut embassy bombing, Kai Bird's riveting biography is equal parts thriller and touching elegy.

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  • LIVES

Becoming Freud

Who's up to the task of diagnosing the father of modern psychology? None other than iconoclastic therapist Adam Phillips (Missing Out), whose revealing look at Sigmund's immigrant youth and rise to fame asks where we'd be (and what we'd be thinking) without him.

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  • LIVES

Nothing Holds Back the Night

With flair and compassion, Delphine de Vigan charts the chaotic, precious, tragic life of her own mother Lucile, whom fate left to raise Delphine and her sister without much help.

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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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  • LIVES

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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  • LIVES

Inside a Pearl

Edmund White's recollections of his Paris years is a madeleine's worth of rich memories, as the author shares his vivid experiences discovering his sexuality, favorite writers, and flaneur's walks through the City of Light.

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  • LIVES

The Double Life of Paul de Man

One of the renowned literary theorists of his time, Paul de Man's legacy was destroyed by revelations of his alligence to the Nazi Party.  Evelyn Barish deconstructs the deconstructionist, in this riveting story of a major philosopher's dark duplicity.

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  • lives

Becoming Americans

This profoundly moving collection of immigrants' stories spans the centuries from the first colonists in Virginia to present-day, with a foreward by Pete Hamill.

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  • LIVES

Empty Mansions

Discover why 104 year old reclusive heiress Huguette Clark -- at the center of a heated battle over a Gilded Age industrialist's estate and $300 million inheritance --was for decades a hermit entirely removed from the outside world. One of Barnes and Noble's Best New Nonfiction Books of 2013.

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  • LIVES

Thank You for Your Service

Embedding himself into the lives of demobbed soldiers and their families, David Finkel manages to convey all the excruciating trials and tribulations, glories and gratitudes of the modern military.

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  • LIVES

The Death of Santini

Few autobiographical novels have accrued as loyal and enthusiastic a following as Conroy's The Great Santini.  This follow-up memoir strips away the pseudonyms and recounts the full and final saga of the writer and his autocratic father.

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  • LIVES

Young Mr. Roosevelt

FDR's introduction to politics was one of turmoil and rude awakenings, yet his reformer spirit endured, as seen in this this enlightening biography of the playboy-turned-president's rise to fame during World War I. 

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Furious Cool

The uproarious life of Richard Pryor, who was raised in his grandmother's brothel, married seven times, kicked drug addiction, and became arguably history's greatest and most influential stand-up comedian.

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Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China

A stirring account of the life and legacy of China's renowned reform leader - dubbed a "needle in a ball of cotton" by Mao - illustrating his storied political alliances and ambitions. 

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  • LIVES

Bound in Venice

Bibliophiles will delight in this portrait of Aldo Manuzio, the fifteenth-century Italian who first brought the Koran, Talmud, and classics of Greek poetry to his fair city, thereby becoming history's first modern publisher.

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  • LIVES

The Keats Brothers

John and George Keats - "Man of Genius and Man of Power" as John himself put it - are profiled in this portrait of the English Romantic era and two of its icons.

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Kansas City Lightning

Revolutionary saxophonist Charlie Parker's tragic and iconic trajectory is chronicled in a stellar study of Jazz and one of its pioneers.

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  • LIVES

O My America!

Sara's Wheeler's winning history of six 1800s Englishwomen wrestles with a male-dominated culture and the trials of pilgrimage in America's infant plains states.

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  • lives

Henry Darger, Throw Away Boy

Reclusive janitor Henry Darger lived a wild, disturbing existence through his writings and paintings, which were only discovered after his death. Jim Elledge brings us an eye-opening portrait of a misunderstood and conflicted artist.

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  • LIVES

Looking for Strangers

A Holocaust survivor's amazing autobiography of growing up an orphan and building a life in San Francisco, while faced with the lingering influence of her departed mother.

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Jack London: An American Life

An insightful look into the life of a great American writer and how it shaped his classic wilderness novels White Fang and The Call of the Wild.

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  • LIVES

The Letters of Paul Cezanne (Oct 1, 2013)

In correspondence with penpals like Emile Zola and Claude Monet, a father of modern art reveals his politics, desires, and pursuit of canvassed perfection.

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  • LIVES

A House in the Sky

The complex and inspiring ordeal of journalist Amanda Lindhout, held captive in Somalia by terrorists for an nightmarish eighteen months.

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  • LIVES

Empty Mansions

Discover why 104 year old reclusive heiress Huguette Clark - at the center of a heated battle over a Gilded Age industrialist's estate and $300 million inheritance - was for decades a hermit entirely removed from the outside world.

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  • lives

A Mysterious Something in the Light

Drawing on British and American archives and previously unpublished letters, this definitive biography of Raymond Chandler sheds new light on the hard-boiled writer’s colorful, sometimes troubled existence.

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  • Lives

Mathew Brady: Portraits of a Nation

The Civil War was the first major conflict in history to be photographed, and Manhattan portrait artist Mathew Brady was the foremost man behind the camera, as recounted in this excellent history of the origins of photojournalism in America.

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My Lunches with Orson

A comprehensive and enlightening collection of recorded conversations between director Henry Jaglom and Orson Welles, filled with fascinating insights into the mind of one of America's all-time greatest actors and directors.

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  • Lives

Kafka: The Years of Insight

Reiner Stach presents an additional volume of his staggering biography of Franz Kafka, this time focusing on the writer’s final years during the malaise and cynicism of World War I that gave rise to his most influential masterpieces.

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July 23: Jessica Mitford died on this day in 1996.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

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