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Biography / Autobiography

Whole Harmonium

Whole Harmonium

$30.00
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A perceptive, enlightening biography of one the most important American poets of the twentieth century--Wallace Stevens--as seen through his lifelong quest to find and describe the sublime in the human experience.

Wallace Stevens lived a richly imaginative life that found expression in his poetry. His philosophical questioning, spiritual depth, and brilliantly inventive use of language would be profound influences on poets as diverse as William Carlos Williams, Hart Crane, Elizabeth Bishop, and John Ashbery. The Whole Harmonium presents Stevens within the living context of his times, as well as the creator of a poetry which has had a profound and lasting impact on the modern imagination itself.

Stevens established his career as an executive even as he wrote his poetry, becoming a vice president with an insurance company in Hartford, Connecticut. His first and most influential book, Harmonium, was not published until he was forty-four years old. In these poems, Stevens drew on his interest in and understanding of modernism. Over time he became acquainted with the most accomplished of his contemporaries, Robert Frost and William Carlos Williams among them, but his personal style remained unique. He endured an increasingly unhappy marriage, losing himself by writing poetry in his study. Yet he had a witty, comic, and Dionysian side to his personality, including long fishing (and drinking) trips to Florida with his pals and a fascination with the sun-drenched tropics.

People generally know two things about Wallace Stevens: that he is a "difficult" poet and that he was an insurance executive for most of his life. Stevens may be challenging to understand, but he is also greatly rewarding to read. Now, sixty years after Stevens's death, biographer and poet Paul Mariani shows how over the course of his life, Stevens sought out the ineffable and spiritual in human existence in his search for the sublime.

Whole Language: The Power of Extravagant Tenderness

Whole Language: The Power of Extravagant Tenderness

$27.00
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Gregory Boyle, the beloved Jesuit priest and author of the inspirational bestsellers Tattoos on the Heart and Barking to the Choir, returns with a call to witness the transformative power of tenderness, rooted in his lifetime of experience counseling gang members in Los Angeles.

Over the past thirty years, Gregory Boyle has transformed thousands of lives through his work as the founder of Homeboy Industries, the largest and most successful gang-intervention program in the world. Boyle's new book, The Whole Language, follows the acclaimed bestsellers Tattoos on the Heart, hailed as an "astounding literary and spiritual feat" (Publishers Weekly) that is "destined to become a classic of both urban reportage and contemporary spirituality" (Los Angeles Times), and Barking to the Choir, deemed "a beautiful and important and soul-transporting book" by Elizabeth Gilbert and declared by Ann Patchett to be "a book that shows what the platitudes of faith look like when they're put into action."

In a community struggling to overcome systemic poverty and violence, The Whole Language shows how those at Homeboy Industries fight despair and remain generous, hopeful, and tender. When Saul was thirteen years old, he killed his abusive stepfather in self-defense; after spending twenty-three years in juvenile and adult jail, he enters the Homeboy Industries training and healing programs and embraces their mission. Declaring, "I've decided to grow up to be somebody I always needed as a child," Saul shows tenderness toward the young men in his former shoes, treating them all like his sons and helping them to find their way. Before coming to Homeboy Industries, a young man named Abel was shot thirty-three times, landing him in a coma for six months followed by a year and a half recuperating in the hospital. He now travels on speaking tours with Boyle and gives guided tours around the Homeboy offices. One day a new trainee joins Abel as a shadow, and Abel recognizes him as the young man who had put him in a coma. "You give good tours," the trainee tells Abel. They both have embarked on a path to wholeness.

Boyle's moving stories challenge our ideas about God and about people, providing a window into a world filled with fellowship, compassion, and fewer barriers. Bursting with encouragement, humor, and hope, The Whole Language invites us to treat others--and ourselves--with acceptance and tenderness.

Whole World Was Watching: Living in the light od Mathew Shepard

Whole World Was Watching: Living in the light od Mathew Shepard

$23.95
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Chronicles the life of Romaine Patterson, focusing on her work to fight discrimination against homosexuals, her friendship with Matthew Shepard, and her work combating the antigay demonstrators in Wyoming after Shepard's murder.
Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal

$15.00
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Magnificent . . . A tour de force of literature and love.--Vogue

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? is raucous. It hums with a dark refulgence from its first pages. . . . Singular and electric . . . [Winterson's] life with her adoptive parents was often appalling, but it made her the writer she is.--The New York Times

[Winterson is] one of the most daring and inventive writers of our time--searingly honest yet effortlessly lithe as she slides between forms, exuberant and unerring, demanding emotional and intellectual expansion of herself and of us. . . . In Why Be Happy, , [Winterson's] emotional life is laid bare . . . [in] a bravely frank narrative of truly coming undone. For someone in love with disguises, Winterson's openness is all the more moving; there's nothing left to hide, and nothing left to hide behind.--Elle

Jeanette Winterson's bold and revelatory novels have earned her widespread acclaim, establishing her as a major figure in world literature. She has written some of the most admired books of the past few decades, including her internationally best-selling first novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, the story of a young girl adopted by Pentecostal parents, that is now often required reading in contemporary fiction classes.

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? is a memoir about a life's work to find happiness. It is a book full of stories: about a girl locked out of her home, sitting on the doorstep all night; about a religious zealot disguised as a mother who has two sets of false teeth and a revolver in the dresser, waiting for Armageddon; about growing up in a north England industrial town now changed beyond recognition; about the universe as a cosmic dustbin. It is the story of how a painful past, which Winterson thought she had written over and repainted, rose to haunt her later in life, sending her on a journey into madness and out again, in search of her biological mother. It is also a book about other people's literature, one that shows how fiction and poetry can form a string of guiding lights, a life raft that supports us when we are sinking.

Witty, acute, fierce, and celebratory, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? is a tough-minded search for belonging--for love, identity, home, and a mother.

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

$25.00
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Jeanette Winterson's novels have established her as a major figure in world literature. She has written some of the most admired books of the past few decades, including her internationally bestselling first novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, the story of a young girl adopted by Pentecostal parents that is now often required reading in contemporary fiction.

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? is a memoir about a life's work to find happiness. It's a book full of stories: about a girl locked out of her home, sitting on the doorstep all night; about a religious zealot disguised as a mother who has two sets of false teeth and a revolver in the dresser, waiting for Armageddon; about growing up in an north England industrial town now changed beyond recognition; about the Universe as Cosmic Dustbin.

It is the story of how a painful past that Jeanette thought she'd written over and repainted rose to haunt her, sending her on a journey into madness and out again, in search of her biological mother.

Witty, acute, fierce, and celebratory, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? is a tough-minded search for belonging--for love, identity, home, and a mother.

Why England Slept by John F. Kennedy

Why England Slept by John F. Kennedy

$25.95
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In June 1938, Future British Prime Minister Winston Churchill published a book entitled "Arms and the Covenant". It was then published in the US in September 1938 as "While England Slept; a Survey of World Affairs, 1932-1938". It highlighted the United Kingdom's lack of military preparation.

At that time the war was looming but had not started yet. The majority in England wanted to stay out of the war and to rely in England's natural barriers. However, the views of Churchill ultimately prevailed and it was largely on the strength on this book that Churchill was elected Prime Minister.

In 1940, future President John F. Kennedy, then a student in his senior year at Harvard University, found he did not agree with the analysis by Churchill of the reasons for the war, so he wrote a book with almost the same title. Kennedy wrote this essentially as a critique and a rebuttal. In it, he in he examined the reasons for the UK's lack of preparation.

Why England Slept by John F. Kennedy was first published in 1940 and went through at least five reprintings. It has become a rare book, virtually impossible to get, because of the fame of the author, until this reprinting by Ishi Press.

Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life

Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life

$26.00
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A Best Book of 2020: The Washington Post * NPR * Chicago Tribune * Smithsonian

A "remarkable" (Los Angeles Times), "seductive" (The Wall Street Journal) debut from the new cohost of Radiolab, Why Fish Don't Exist is a dark and astonishing tale of love, chaos, scientific obsession, and--possibly--even murder.​

"At one point, Miller dives into the ocean into a school of fish...comes up for air, and realizes she's in love. That's how I felt: Her book took me to strange depths I never imagined, and I was smitten." --The New York Times Book Review

David Starr Jordan was a taxonomist, a man possessed with bringing order to the natural world. In time, he would be credited with discovering nearly a fifth of the fish known to humans in his day. But the more of the hidden blueprint of life he uncovered, the harder the universe seemed to try to thwart him. His specimen collections were demolished by lightning, by fire, and eventually by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake--which sent more than a thousand discoveries, housed in fragile glass jars, plummeting to the floor. In an instant, his life's work was shattered.

Many might have given up, given in to despair. But Jordan? He surveyed the wreckage at his feet, found the first fish that he recognized, and confidently began to rebuild his collection. And this time, he introduced one clever innovation that he believed would at last protect his work against the chaos of the world.

When NPR reporter Lulu Miller first heard this anecdote in passing, she took Jordan for a fool--a cautionary tale in hubris, or denial. But as her own life slowly unraveled, she began to wonder about him. Perhaps instead he was a model for how to go on when all seemed lost. What she would unearth about his life would transform her understanding of history, morality, and the world beneath her feet.

Part biography, part memoir, part scientific adventure, Why Fish Don't Exist is a wondrous fable about how to persevere in a world where chaos will always prevail.

Why Kerouac Matters: Lessons of On the Road (They're Not What You Think)

Why Kerouac Matters: Lessons of On the Road (They're Not What You Think)

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Legions of youthful Americans have taken On the Road as a manifesto for rebellion and an inspiration to hit the road. But there is much more to the book than that. In Why Kerouac Matters, John Leland embarks on a wry, insightful, and playful discussion of the novel, arguing that it still matters because it lays out an alternative road map to growing up. Along the way, Leland overturns many misconceptions about On the Road as he examines the lessons that Kerouac's alter ego, Sal Paradise, absorbs and dispenses on his novelistic journey to manhood, and how those lessons-about work and money, love and sex, art and holiness - still reverberate today.
Why Steve Jobs Matters

Why Steve Jobs Matters

$12.99
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A seasoned Silicon Valley watcher tells us why Steve Jobs remains one of our most important cultural icons

Steve Jobs changed our world. In "Why Steve Jobs Matters," Alan Deutschman explores the astonishing impact Jobs continues to have one year after his untimely death. From the creation of the earliest Apple computers to the latest iPhone, Jobs's creations forced seismic changes in the way we communicate, do business, seek out entertainment, and interact with others. His enduring influence as the patron saint of The Creative Class cuts even deeper: In his single-minded control of Apple, Jobs was an example of the successful entrepreneur tycoon who pushed many members of the Silicon Valley creative class to greater heights. Without his example, many people of his generation inside of and outside of Silicon Valley may not have been so driven. Alan Deutschman's thoughtful consideration of Jobs as a cultural and technological pioneer who, like others before him such as Thomas Edison, changed the way we live forever."

Why We Suck

Why We Suck

$16.00
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The New York Times bestseller

One of America's most original and biting comic satirists, Denis Leary takes on all the poseurs, politicians, and pop culture icons who have sucked in public for far too long. Sparing no one, Leary zeroes in on the ridiculous wherever he finds it--his Irish Catholic upbringing, the folly of celebrity, the pressures of family life, and the great hypocrisy of politics--with the same bright, savage, and profane insight he brought to his critically acclaimed one-man shows No Cure for CancerLock 'n Load.

Proudly Irish-American, defiantly working class, with a reserve of compassion for the underdog and the overlooked, Leary delivers blistering diatribes that are both penetrating social commentary with no holds barred and laugh-out-loud funny. As always, Leary's impassioned comic perspective in Why We Suck is right on target.

Leary is the star and co-creator of the Emmy-nominated television show Rescue Me.

Why Women Should Rule the World

$24.95
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What would happen if women ruled the world?

Everything could change, according to former White House press secretary Dee Dee Myers. Politics would be more collegial. Businesses would be more productive. And communities would be healthier. Empowering women would make the world a better place--not because women are the same as men, but precisely because they are different.

Blending memoir, social history, and a call to action, Dee Dee Myers challenges us to imagine a not-too-distant future in which increasing numbers of women reach the top ranks of politics, business, science, and academia.

Reflecting on her own tenure in the Clinton administration and her work as a political analyst, media commentator, and former consultant to NBC's The West Wing, Myers assesses the crucial but long-ignored strengths that female leaders bring to the table. Women tend to be better communicators, better listeners, better at forming consensus, Myers argues. In a highly competitive and increasingly fractious world, women possess the kind of critical problem-solving skills that are urgently needed to break down barriers, build understanding, and create the best conditions for peace.

Myers knows firsthand the responsibilities and rewards of taking on leadership roles traditionally occupied by men. At thirty-one, she was appointed White House press secretary to President Bill Clinton--the first woman ever to hold the job. In a candid look at her years in Washington's political spotlight, she recalls the day-to-day challenge of confronting a press corps obsessed with more than just the president's policies. Virtually every story written about me included observations about my earrings, my makeup, my clothes, my shoes. And then there was my hair.

Recalling the pressures--both invited and imposed--of her West Wing years, Myers offers a hard-hitting look at the challenges women must overcome and the traps they must avoid as they travel the path toward success. From pioneering research in the laboratory, to innovations in business, entertainment, and media, to friendships that transcend partisanship in the U.S. Senate, she describes how female participation in public life has already transformed the world in which we live.

Why You Should Read Kafka Before You Waste Your Life

Why You Should Read Kafka Before You Waste Your Life

$23.95
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Everybody knows the face of Franz Kafka, whether they have read any of his works or not. And that brooding face carries instant images: bleak and threatening visions of an inescapable bureaucracy, nightmarish transformations, uncanny predictions of the Holocaust. But while Kafka's genius is beyond question, the image of a mysterious, sickly, shadowy figure who was scarcely known in his own lifetime bears no resemblance to the historical reality. Franz Kafka was a popular and well-connected millionaire's son who enjoyed good-time girls, brothels, and expensive porn, who landed a highly desirable state job that pulled in at least $90,000 a year in today's dollars for a six-hour day, who remained a loyal member of Prague's German-speaking Imperial elite right to the end, and whose work was backed by a powerful literary clique.

Here are some of the prevalent Kafka myths:

*Kafka was the archetypal genius neglected in his lifetime.

*Kafka was lonely.

*Kafka was stuck in a dead-end job, struggling to find time to write.

*Kafka was tormented by fear of sex.

*Kafka was unbendingly honest about himself to the women in his life - "too" honest.

*Kafka had a terrible, domineering father who had no understanding of his son's needs.

*Kafka's style is mysterious and opaque.

*Kafka takes us into bizarre worlds.

James Hawes wants to tear down the critical walls which generations of gatekeepers---scholars, biographers, and tourist guides---have built up around Franz Kafka, giving us back the real man and the real significance of his splendid works. And he'll take no prisoners in the process.

Wicked Wit of Queen Elizabeth II

Wicked Wit of Queen Elizabeth II

$12.00
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A charming collection of quotes and anecdotes celebrating England's Queen Elizabeth II, the incomparable British monarch.

When we think of the queen, we probably picture a serious, dignified personage complete with majestic hat and matching handbag. But The Wicked Wit of Queen Elizabeth II reveals a side of the monarch the public rarely sees, her healthy sense of humor: sometimes silly, sometimes sarcastic--and occasionally unintentional (to guitar legend Eric Clapton: "Have you been playing long?")!

This is a delightful celebration of the queen's humor revealed through her own words on topics from family and travel to pets and hobbies, as well as stories from the royal household of Britain's longest-serving monarch. In addition to the queen, other royals get in their two cents, including the famously filterless Prince Philip and the acerbic Princess Margaret, as well as Prince Charles and Princess Anne.

Widow Basquiat : A Love Story

Widow Basquiat : A Love Story

$16.00
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The beautifully written, deeply affecting story of Jean-Michel Basquiat's partner, her past, and their life together

New York City in the 1980s was a mesmerizing, wild place. A hotbed for hip hop, underground culture, and unmatched creative energy, it spawned some of the most significant art of the 20th century. It was where Jean-Michel Basquiat became an avant-garde street artist and painter, swiftly achieving worldwide fame. During the years before his death at the age of 27, he shared his life with his lover and muse, Suzanne Mallouk.

A runaway from an unhappy home in Canada, Suzanne first met Jean-Michel in a bar on the Lower East Side in 1980. Thus began a tumultuous and passionate relationship that deeply influenced one of the most exceptional artists of our time.

In emotionally resonant prose, award-winning author Jennifer Clement tells the story of the passion that swept Suzanne and Jean-Michel into a short-lived, unforgettable affair. A poetic interpretation like no other, Widow Basquiat is an expression of the unrelenting power of addiction, obsession and love.

Widow Clicquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It

Widow Clicquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It

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The Widow Clicquot is the New York Times bestselling business biography of the visionary young widow who built a champagne empire, became a legend in her tumultuous times, and showed the world how to live with style.

Tilar J. Mazzeo brings to life the woman behind the label, Barbe-Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin, in this utterly intoxicating book that is as much a fascinating journey through the process of making this temperamental wine as a biography of a uniquely tempered and fascinating woman.

Widow Clicquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It

Widow Clicquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It

$25.95
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The Widow Clicquot is the New York Times bestselling business biography of the visionary young widow who built a champagne empire, became a legend in her tumultuous times, and showed the world how to live with style. Tilar J. Mazzeo brings to life the woman behind the label, Barbe-Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin, in this utterly intoxicating book that is as much a fascinating journey through the process of making this temperamental wine as a biography of a uniquely tempered and fascinating woman.
Widow's Story

Widow's Story

$14.99
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Unlike anything Joyce Carol Oates has written before, A Widow's Story is the universally acclaimed author's poignant, intimate memoir about the unexpected death of Raymond Smith, her husband of forty-six years, and its wrenching, surprising aftermath. A recent recipient of National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, Oates, whose novels (Blonde, The Gravedigger's Daughter, Little Bird of Heaven, etc.) rank among the very finest in contemporary American fiction, offers an achingly personal story of love and loss. A Widow's Story is a literary memoir on a par with The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion and Calvin Trillin's About Alice.

Widow's Walk

Widow's Walk

$24.00
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"On September 11, I dropped my son off at his second full day of kindergarten. The sky was so blue it looked as if it had been ironed. I crossed the street, ordered coffee, and sat to wait for my husband to meet me. It was our eighth wedding anniversary and Dave and I were about to begin a new chapter in our seventeen years together. Sipping coffee, I watched as a line of thick black smoke crept across the sky from Manhattan, oblivious to the fact that my life was about to change forever."

On September 11, 2001, Marian Fontana lost her husband, Dave, a firefighter from the elite Squad 1 in Brooklyn, in the World Trade Center attack. "A Widow's Walk" begins that fateful morning, when Marian, a playwright and comedienne, became a widow, a single mother, and an unlikely activist.

Two weeks after 9/11, the city attempted to close Squad 1, which had suffered the loss of twelve men. Known for her feisty spirit and passionate loyalty, Marian, who was still reeling from her profound loss, began to mobilize the neighborhood to keep the firehouse open. From this unlikely platform the 9/11 Widows and Victims' Families Association grew. Over the next twelve months, Marian struggled with the tragedy's endless ripple effects, from the minute and deeply personal -- she wonders who will play Star Wars with her son, Aidan, and carry him on his shoulders -- to the political. She works to get families and widows necessary information about the recovery effort and attends private meetings with Governor Pataki, Mayor Giuliani, Senator Clinton, and Mayor Bloomberg.

Through it all, Marian's irrepressible humor is her best armor and evidence of her buoyant strength. Written with great heart and humanity, A Widow's Walk is a timely opportunity for remembrance and a timeless testament to love's loss and the resilience of the human spirit.