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Narrative Nonfiction

At Home

At Home

$28.95
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From one of the most beloved authors of our time more than six million copies of his books have been sold in this country alone a fascinating excursion into the history behind the place we call home.
Houses aren t refuges from history. They are where history ends up.
Bill Bryson and his family live in a Victorian parsonage in a part of England where nothing of any great significance has happened since the Romans decamped. Yet one day, he began to consider how very little he knew about the ordinary things of life as he found it in that comfortable home. To remedy this, he formed the idea of journeying about his house from room to room to write a history of the world without leaving home. The bathroom provides the occasion for a history of hygiene; the bedroom, sex, death, and sleep; the kitchen, nutrition and the spice trade; and so on, as Bryson shows how each has figured in the evolution of private life. Whatever happens in the world, he demonstrates, ends up in our house, in the paint and the pipes and the pillows and every item of furniture.
Bill Bryson has one of the liveliest, most inquisitive minds on the planet, and he is a master at turning the seemingly isolated or mundane fact into an occasion for the most diverting exposition imaginable. His wit and sheer prose fluency make "At Home" one of the most entertaining books ever written about private life."
At Home Special Illustrated Edition

At Home Special Illustrated Edition

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From one of our most beloved authors, a fascinating excursion into the history behind the place we call home--now richly illustrated with more than three hundred images.

National bestseller At Home is Bill Bryson's epic chronicle of domestic history. In this handsome new edition, his riveting room-by-room journey of discovery around his house--a Victorian parsonage in southern England--is enhanced by more than three hundred carefully curated illustrations, the large majority
of them in full color. As he did in the hugely successful A Short History of Nearly Everything: Illustrated Edition, Bryson complements his sparkling prose with striking illustrations selected from a wide array of sources to create a feast for the eyes as well as the mind. He has one of the liveliest, most inquisitive brains on the planet, and he is a master at turning the seemingly mundane into an occasion for the most diverting exposition imaginable. When you've finished this book, you will see your house--and your daily life--in a new and revelatory light.
In Bill Bryson's hands, the bathroom provides the occasion for the history of hygiene; the bedroom for an account of sex, death, and sleep; the kitchen for a discussion of nutrition and the spice trade. From architecture to electricity, from food preservation to epidemics, from the telephone to the Eiffel Tower, from crinolines to toilets--and the brilliant, creative, and often eccentric minds behind them--Bryson demonstrates that whatever happens in the world ends up in our houses, in the paint and the pipes and the pillows and every item of furniture.

At the Existentialist Cafe

At the Existentialist Cafe

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Named one of the Ten Best Books of 2016 by the New York Times, a spirited account of a major intellectual movement of the twentieth century and the revolutionary thinkers who came to shape it, by the best-selling author of How to Live Sarah Bakewell.

Paris, 1933: three contemporaries meet over apricot cocktails at the Bec-de-Gaz bar on the rue Montparnasse. They are the young Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and longtime friend Raymond Aron, a fellow philosopher who raves to them about a new conceptual framework from Berlin called Phenomenology. You see, he says, if you are a phenomenologist you can talk about this cocktail and make philosophy out of it!
It was this simple phrase that would ignite a movement, inspiring Sartre to integrate Phenomenology into his own French, humanistic sensibility, thereby creating an entirely new philosophical approach inspired by themes of radical freedom, authentic being, and political activism. This movement would sweep through the jazz clubs and cafés of the Left Bank before making its way across the world as Existentialism.
Featuring not only philosophers, but also playwrights, anthropologists, convicts, and revolutionaries, At the Existentialist Café follows the existentialists' story, from the first rebellious spark through the Second World War, to its role in postwar liberation movements such as anti-colonialism, feminism, and gay rights. Interweaving biography and philosophy, it is the epic account of passionate encounters--fights, love affairs, mentorships, rebellions, and long partnerships--and a vital investigation into what the existentialists have to offer us today, at a moment when we are once again confronting the major questions of freedom, global responsibility, and human authenticity in a fractious and technology-driven world.

At the Existentialist Cafe

At the Existentialist Cafe

$25.00
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A New York Times "Ten Best Books of 2016"

From the best-selling author of How to Live, a spirited account of one of the twentieth century's major intellectual movements and the revolutionary thinkers who came to shape it

Paris, 1933: three contemporaries meet over apricot cocktails at the Bec-de-Gaz bar on the rue Montparnasse. They are the young Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and longtime friend Raymond Aron, a fellow philosopher who raves to them about a new conceptual framework from Berlin called Phenomenology. "You see," he says, "if you are a phenomenologist you can talk about this cocktail and make philosophy out of it!"

It was this simple phrase that would ignite a movement, inspiring Sartre to integrate Phenomenology into his own French, humanistic sensibility, thereby creating an entirely new philosophical approach inspired by themes of radical freedom, authentic being, and political activism. This movement would sweep through the jazz clubs and cafés of the Left Bank before making its way across the world as Existentialism.

Featuring not only philosophers, but also playwrights, anthropologists, convicts, and revolutionaries, At the Existentialist Café follows the existentialists' story, from the first rebellious spark through the Second World War, to its role in postwar liberation movements such as anticolonialism, feminism, and gay rights. Interweaving biography and philosophy, it is the epic account of passionate encounters--fights, love affairs, mentorships, rebellions, and long partnerships--and a vital investigation into what the existentialists have to offer us today, at a moment when we are once again confronting the major questions of freedom, global responsibility, and human authenticity in a fractious and technology-driven world.

At the Mercy of the River

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At the tomb of the inflatable pig travels through paraguay

At the tomb of the inflatable pig travels through paraguay

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Haven to Nazis, smugglers' paradise, home to some of the earth's oddest wildlife and most baroquely awful dictatorships, Paraguay is a nation waiting for the right chronicler. In John Gimlette, at last it has one. With an adventurer's sang-froid, a historian's erudition, and a sense of irony so keen you could cut a finger on it, Gimlette celebrates the beauty, horror and-yes-charm of South America's obscure and remote "island surrounded by land."

He takes readers from genteel drawing rooms in Asuncion-where ladies still gossip about the nineteenth-century Irish adventuress who became Paraguay's Empress to the "Green Hell" of the Chaco, a vast, inhospitable tract populated by aging Mennonites and discouraged Indians. Replete with eccentrics and scoundrels, ecologically minded cannibals and utopians from every corner of the earth, At the Tomb of the Inflatable Pig is a madly entertaining book.

Athwart History: Half a Century of Polemics, Animadversions, and Illuminations

Athwart History: Half a Century of Polemics, Animadversions, and Illuminations

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For most of the last century, William F. Buckley Jr. was the leading figure in the conservative movement in America. The magazine he founded in 1955, National Review, brought together writers representing every strand of conservative thought, and refined those ideas over the decades that followed. Buckley's own writings were a significant part of this development. He was not a theoretician but a popularizer, someone who could bring conservative ideas to a vast audience through dazzling writing and lively wit.

Culled from millions of published words spanning nearly sixty years, Athwart History: Half a Century of Polemics, Animadversions, and Illuminations offers Buckley's commentary on the American and international scenes, in areas ranging from Kremlinology to rock music. The subjects are widely varied, but there are common threads linking them all: a love for the Western tradition and its American manifestation; the belief that human beings thrive best in a free society; the conviction that such a society is worth defending at all costs; and an appreciation for the quirky individuality that free people inevitably develop.

ATTENTION

ATTENTION

$20.00
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A wide-ranging, rule-bending collection of nonfiction from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Netanyahus

"Attention reveals a fresh, vital literary voice as it covers seemingly every imaginable topic relating to modern life."--Entertainment Weekly

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY WIRED

One of Granta's Best of Young American Novelists, Joshua Cohen arrives with his first collection of nonfiction, the culmination of two decades of writing and thought about life in the digital age. In essays, memoir, criticism, diary entries, and letters--many appearing here for the first time--Cohen covers the full depth and breadth of modern life: politics, literature, art, music, travel, the media, and psychology, and subjects as diverse as Google, Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, fictional animals, Gustav Mahler, Aretha Franklin, John Zorn, landscape photography, fake Caravaggios, Wikipedia, Gertrude Stein, Edward Snowden, Jonathan Franzen, Olympic women's fencing, Atlantic City casinos, the closing of the Ringling Bros. circus, and Azerbaijan.

Throughout ATTENTION, Cohen directs his sharp gaze at home and abroad, calling upon his extraordinary erudition and unrivaled ability to draw connections between seemingly unlike things to show us how to live without fear in a world overflowing with information. In each piece, he projects a quality of thought that is uniquely his, and a voice as witty, profound, and distinct as any in American letters.

At this crucial juncture in history, ATTENTION is a guide for the perplexed--a handbook for anyone hoping to bring the wisdom of the past into the culture of the future.

Augury

Augury

$18.95
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Set primarily in Mexico and the American Northwest, yet equally at home with Achilleus on the Trojan plains or with Walt Whitman in his New Jersey home, these fifteen essays pass back and forth across international boundaries as easily as they cross the more fluid lines separating past and present. Part biography, part history, Augury is also something of a writer's journal, a guide to Garrison's imaginative journeys.
Autumn Light

Autumn Light

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Returning to his longtime home in Japan after his father-in-law's sudden death, Pico Iyer picks up the steadying patterns of his everyday rites: going to the post office and engaging in furious games of ping-pong every evening. But in a country whose calendar is marked with occasions honoring the dead, he comes to reflect on changelessness in ways that anyone can relate to: parents age, children scatter, and Iyer and his wife turn to whatever can sustain them as everything falls away. As the maple leaves begin to turn and the heat begins to soften, Iyer shows us a Japan we have seldom seen before, where the transparent and the mysterious are held in a delicate balance, and where autumn reminds us to take nothing for granted.

Avoiding Prison And Other Noble Vacation Goals

$13.00
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B & Me

B & Me

$16.00
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"A love letter to the book as a physical object, a source of intellectual ardor, and a form of emotional salvation" (Salon)--and a nod to U and I, Nicholson Baker's classic memoir about John Updike--from an award-winning author called "wonderfully bright" by The New York Times Book Review.

Nearly twenty-five years ago, Nicholson Baker wrote U and I, the fretful and handwringing--but also groundbreaking--tale of his literary relationship with John Updike. U and I inspired a whole sub-genre of engaging writing about reading, but what no story of this type has ever done is tell its tale from the moment of conception, that moment when you realize that there is writer out there in the world that you must read. B & Me is that story, the story of J.C. Hallman discovering and reading Nicholson Baker...and discovering himself in the process.

Our relationship to books in the digital age, the role of art in an increasingly commodified world, the power great writing has to change us, these are at the core of Hallman's investigation of Baker--questions he's grappled with, values he's come to doubt. But in reading Baker's work, Hallman discovers the key to overcoming the malaise that had been plaguing him, through the books themselves and what he finds and contemplates in his attempts to understand them and their enigmatic author.

B & Me is literary self-archaeology: an irreverent, incisive story of one reader's desperate quest to restore passion to literature, and all the things he learns along the way. "A wide-ranging and idiosyncratic career survey for Nicholson Baker's work, a love letter to the act of reading, and a commentary on the modern novel, this is a book that readers will absolutely adore" (Publishers Weekly, starred review).

B & Me

B & Me

$26.00
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A funny, frisky, often outrageous book about love, literature, and modern life--and a wink of the eye toU and I, Nicholson Baker's classic book about John Updike--by an award-winning author called "wonderfully bright" by The New York Times Book Review.

Nearly twenty-five years ago, Nicholson Baker published U and I, the fretful and handwringing--but also groundbreaking--tale of his literary relationship with John Updike. U and I inspired a whole sub-genre of engaging, entertaining writing about reading, but what no story of this type has ever done is tell its tale from the moment of conception, that moment when you realize that there is a writer out there in the world that you must read--so you read them. B & Me is that story, the story of J.C. Hallman discovering and reading Nicholson Baker, and discovering himself in the process.

Our relationship to books in the digital age, the role of art in an increasingly commodified world, the power great writing has to change us, these are at the core of Hallman's investigation of Baker--questions he's grappled with, values he's come to doubt. But in reading Baker's work, Hallman discovers the key to overcoming the malaise that has been plaguing him, through the books themselves and what he finds and contemplates in his attempts to understand them and their enigmatic author: sex, book jackets, an old bed and breakfast, love, Monica Lewinsky, Paris, marriage, more sex, the logistics of libraries.

In the spirit of Geoff Dyer's Out of Sheer Rage and Elif Batuman's The Possessed, B & Me is literary self-archaeology: a funny, irreverent, incisive story of one reader's desperate quest to restore passion to literature, and all the things he learns along the way.

Babel

Babel

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English is the world language, except that most of the world doesn't speak it--only one in five people does. Dorren calculates that to speak fluently with half of the world's 7.4 billion people in their mother tongues, you would need to know no fewer than twenty languages. He sets out to explore these top twenty world languages, which range from the familiar (French, Spanish) to the surprising (Malay, Javanese, Bengali). Babel whisks the reader on a delightful journey to every continent of the world, tracing how these world languages rose to greatness while others fell away and showing how speakers today handle the foibles of their mother tongues. Whether showcasing tongue-tying phonetics or elegant but complicated writing scripts, and mind-bending quirks of grammar, Babel vividly illustrates that mother tongues are like nations: each has its own customs and beliefs that seem as self-evident to those born into it as they are surprising to the outside world.

Among many other things, Babel will teach you why modern Turks can't read books that are a mere 75 years old, what it means in practice for Russian and English to be relatives, and how Japanese developed separate "dialects" for men and women. Dorren lets you in on his personal trials and triumphs while studying Vietnamese in Hanoi, debunks ten widespread myths about Chinese characters, and discovers that Swahili became the lingua franca in a part of the world where people routinely speak three or more languages. Witty, fascinating and utterly compelling, Babel will change the way you look at and listen to the world and how it speaks.

Baby Bumps

Baby Bumps

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From the author of the award-winning blog Snarky Mommy comes a book that will make every woman who has ever been pregnant pee with laughter (not that that's hard). Wearing her highest heels and hottest pregnancy jeans, Amy Sprenger marched into her doctor's office, latte in hand, ready to finally see whether her baby was a boy or a girl. Sure, sure, this appointment was supposed to be about checking the health of the baby, but everyone who's ever been there knows it's really about looking for what lays, or doesn't lay, between the legs. So when the doctor tells her she has an incompetent cervix, Amy does what any woman would do. She becomes immediately offended. Is that a politically correct way of saying her cervix sucks? Unfortunately, as she's soon to learn, it's a lot more than that. The only way to keep that baby from falling out on the sidewalk (probably in front of Starbucks) is for her doctor to stitch her cervix closed and for Amy to stay in bed for the next four months. Four months that are carefully detailed in this "memoir." A memoir that, while basically true, has been embellished with Amy's signature brand of humor and hilarity. With more time off than a castoff contestant on "The Bachelor," Amy took pen to paper and settled in for the ride. But instead of sitting around eating bonbons, she's popping hypertension drugs to stave off preterm labor. And complications? Oh, she's got your complications. She's gut-rehabbing her house. Her mother moves in to care for her. Her husband takes a "mancation" while she's stuck in the hospital. And every time she has a contraction, she's convinced it's The Big One. Living by the adage that laughter is the best medicine, Amy fumbles her way through a series of sometimes serious and usually embarrassing situations. And just to be clear, using a bedpan qualifies as both serious and embarrassing. "Amy Sprenger's foray into factual fiction is a hilarious (and sometimes poignant) look at high-risk pregnancy from her view at the end of the bed. Sprenger offers a fresh and funny voice that readers will love!" --New York Times bestselling author Jen Lancaster
Babylon By Bus

Babylon By Bus

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This all-access, inside-out view of what the American occupation of Iraq really looks like on the ground is the story of two young Americans who went to Baghdad without any real plan and discovered they weren't the only ones. Underqualified but ingenious, Ray and Jeff found work with the Coalition Provisional Authority providing humanitarian aid to the Iraqi people amid an appalling atmosphere of corruption, incompetence, and horror. Gritty and irreverent, this is a wild ride inside the Red Zone and a strikingly original portrait of the real Iraq.
Babylon by Bus

Babylon by Bus

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Jeff and Ray had la vida: selling YANKEES SUCK T-shirts five months of the year in front of Fenway Park and spending the rest of the year traveling the world. Sure, they'd go back to college at some point, but for now, the future was comfortably on hold. But the play button got pushed for them after the Sox broke their hearts in the 2003 Series. In the painfully clear light of the morning after, they looked at each other and faced up to the fact that they were in danger of becoming losers. Sad cases. What to do, where to go if you're a young American man craving experience and wisdom in late 2003? If you're Jeff Neumann and Ray LeMoine, you go to Baghdad. And so they did.
You might not think these two scruffy, lovably clueless characters would have made attractive candidates for the U.S. government to run the desk in Baghdad's Coalition Provisional Authority that served as the interface between the CPA and the Iraqi people, fielding complaints and requests for aid from all over for a city of more than five million people. You might be na?ve. But Ray and Jeff would prove to be dedicated and ingenious public servants, and they managed to do a great deal of good during their tenure in the face of staggering frauds and feuds. They also had their full share of the wild times that young people under immense stress in war zones have had from time immemorial, especially young people who return each night to a hermetically sealed safe zone flush with money and all the temptations, legal and illegal, that money attracts.
Hard-core smart, hard-core scathing, hard-core funny, this is Apocalypse Right Now-explosive and appalling. 'Roid rage fueling gang wars between rival private-security contractors; staggering fraud involving phantom construction projects; na?ve young Americans given responsibilities for which their lack of qualification would be laughable if the consequences weren't so dire-this is the inside-out view of an occupation gone wildly wrong, from the point of view of two radically unaffiliated authors, members of no tribe, beholden to no one, and afraid of nothing.
Back on the Fire: Essays

Back on the Fire: Essays

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