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Narrative Nonfiction

Adrift

Adrift

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A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER: The riveting account of a harrowing month spent stranded at sea -- an incredible story of one man's struggle and bravery.



Steven Callahan shares his dramatic tale of survival at sea in this undeniable seafaring classic. His engrossing firsthand account reveals how he survived more than a month alone at sea, fighting for his life in an inflatable raft after his small sloop capsized only six days out. "Utterly absorbing" (Newsweek), Adrift is a must-have for any adventure library.
Adrift [Movie tie-in]

Adrift [Movie tie-in]

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New York Times Bestseller

The heart-stopping memoir, soon to be a major motion picture starring Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin, and directed by Baltasar Kormákur (Everest).

"An inspirational and empowering read."--Shailene Woodley

Young and in love, their lives ahead of them, Tami Oldham and her fiancé Richard Sharp set sail from Tahiti under brilliant blue skies, with Tami's hometown of San Diego as their ultimate destination. But the two free spirits and avid sailors couldn't anticipate that less than two weeks into their voyage, they would sail directly into one of the most catastrophic hurricanes in recorded history. They found themselves battling pounding rain, waves the size of skyscrapers, and 140 knot winds. Richard tethered himself to the boat and sent Tami below to safety, and then all went eerily quiet. Hours later, Tami awakened to find the boat in ruins, and Richard nowhere in sight.

Adrift is the story of Tami's miraculous forty-one-day journey to safety on a ravaged boat with no motor and no masts, and with little hope for rescue. It's a tale of love and survival on the high seas-- an unforgettable story about resilience of the human spirit, and the transcendent power of love.

Adventures in Africa

Adventures in Africa

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In the life of a tourist who travels a bit far, I think that at a certain point, a question necessarily arises: 'But what have I come here for?' A question that sets in motion a great cinema of justification to oneself, so that one doesn't have to seriously say to oneself: 'I'm here doing nothing.'
In 1997 the celebrated Italian novelist and essayist Gianni Celati accompanied his friend, filmmaker Jean Talon, on a journey to West Africa which took them from Mali to Senegal and Mauritania. The two had been hoping to research a documentary about Dogon priests, but frustrated by red tape, their voyage became instead a touristic adventure. The vulnerable, prickly, insightful Celati kept notebooks of the journey, now translated by Adria Bernardi as Adventures in Africa. Celati is the privileged traveler, overwhelmed by customs he doesn't understand, always at the mercy of others who are trying to sell him something he doesn't want to buy, and aware of himself as the Tourist who is always a little disoriented and at the center of the continual misadventures that are at the heart of travel.
Celati's book is both a travelogue in the European tradition and a trenchant meditation on what it means to be a tourist. Celati learns to surrender to the chaos of West Africa and in the process produces a work of touching and comic descriptions, in the lucid and ironic prose that is his hallmark. Hailed as one of the best travelogues on Africa ever written and awarded the first Zerilli-Marimó prize, Adventures in Africa is a modest yet profound account of the utter discombobulation of travel.
Adventures of Form and Content

Adventures of Form and Content

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An astounding work of doubles by Albert Goldbarth, "a dazzling virtuoso who can break your heart" (Joyce Carol Oates)

Albert Goldbarth's first book of essays in a decade, The Adventures of Form and Content is about the mysteries of dualities, the selves we all carry inside, the multiverses that we are. This collection takes its shape from the ACE Doubles format of the 1950s: turn this book one way, and read about the checkered history of those sci-fi and pulp fictions, or about the erotic poetry of Catullus and the gravelly songs of Springsteen, or about the high gods and the low-down blues, a city of the holy and of the sinful; turn this book the other way, and read about prehistoric cave artists and NASA astronauts, or about illness and health, or about the discovery of planets and the discovery of oneself inside an essay, or about soul ships and space ships, the dead and the living; or turn the book any way you want, and this book becomes an adventure of author and reader, form and content.

Goldbarth's essays have pioneered and inspired new forms of nonfiction writing for thirty years. Robert Atwan, the series editor for The Best American Essays, praises his work by stating, "These essays are a whole new breed . . . Goldbarth has spliced strands of the old genre with a powerful new genre--and the results are miraculous." The Adventures of Form and Content is a new, ingenious work of hilarity and humanity that reminds us of the capabilities and impossibilities of art.

Advice to Little Girls

Advice to Little Girls

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You should ever bear in mind that it is to your kind parents that you are indebted for your food, and for the privilege of staying home from school when you let on that you are sick. Therefore you ought to respect their little prejudices, and humor their little whims, and put up with their little foibles until they get to crowding you too much.

When Mark Twain wrote the sparky short story Advice to Little Girls in 1865, he probably didn't mean for it to be shown to them. Or maybe he did, since we all know Twain was a rascal. Now, author and illustrator Vladimir Radunsky has created a picture book based on Twain's text that adds all the right outlandish touches.

Born on November 30, 1835, in Florida, Missouri, Samuel L. Clemens wrote under the pen name Mark Twain. He wrote two major classics of American literature, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. He was also a riverboat pilot, journalist, lecturer, entrepreneur, and inventor. Whether or not it was Mark Twain's actual intention for little girls to read this humorous short story, it's clear that he did not talk down to children, but rather expected them to stretch themselves in order to grasp sophisticated, adult meaning.

Vladimir Radunsky has illustrated many books to great acclaim. Recently, Radunsky has been moving farther and farther away from the traditional picture book and into other more innovative forms. The most recent example is a work published by HarperCollins of hip-hop poetry for children, where the graffiti art has migrated from the walls into a printed book. Radunsky has published more than thirty books for children, mostly in the United States. Many of them were translated and published in France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, and Japan.

Afghanistan Picture Show: Or, How I Saved the World

Afghanistan Picture Show: Or, How I Saved the World

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Never before available in paperback and all but invisible for twenty years, a personal account of the origins of America's longest war.

In 1982, the young William Vollmann worked odd jobs, including as a secretary at an insurance company, until he'd saved up enough money to go to Afghanistan, where he wanted to join the mujahedeen to fight the Soviets. The resulting book wasn't published until 1992, and Library Journal rated it: "The wrong book written at the wrong time. . . . With the situation in Afghanistan rapidly heading toward resolution . . . libraries may safely skip this."

Thirty years later--and with the United States still mired in the longest war of its history--it's time for a reassessment of Vollmann's heartfelt tale of idealism and its terrifying betrayals.

An alloy of documentary and autobiographical elements characteristic of Vollmann's later nonfiction, An Afghanistan Picture Show is not a work of conventional reportage; instead, it's an account of a subtle and stubborn consciousness grappling with the limits of will and idealism imposed by violence and chaos.

African in Greenland (NYRB)

African in Greenland (NYRB)

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Tété-Michel Kpomassie was a teenager in Togo when he discovered a book about Greenland--and knew that he must go there. Working his way north over nearly a decade, Kpomassie finally arrived in the country of his dreams. This brilliantly observed and superbly entertaining record of his adventures among the Inuit is a testament both to the wonderful strangeness of the human species and to the surprising sympathies that bind us all.
After Henry

After Henry

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"We tell ourselves stories in order to live" was the opening line of Joan Didion's celebrated The White Album. In After Henry, her new collection of pieces, most of them reported and written for The New York Review of Books and The New Yorker, she examines, precisely and suggestively, the stories people tell themselves - about murders and earthquakes and wildfires, about presidential politics and Patricia Hearst and Central Park "wilding, " about boom years passing and hard times coming down - in Washington and in California and in New York. Joan Didion's two previous collections, Slouching Towards Bethlehem and The White Album, are now established as classics. Salvador and Miami stand as hallmarks of political reporting. After Henry is a major literary event.
After Normal

After Normal

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"A" is for Australia and "A" is for Arizona, over 9,000 miles apart but sharing the same Earth. In this eccentric, intimate compendium of short environmental and personal essays, David Carlin (in Melbourne) and Nicole Walker (in Flagstaff) engage in a long-distance dialogue between two writers, creating an improvisational subversion of the encyclopedia, a witty-yet-serious send-up of the concept of a survival guide. In this era of interconnected ecological, political, and human rights catastrophes, these two whimsical, elegiac, and intellectually questing voices contemplate the role of the individual in the midst of increasingly inescapable collective action crises that call the very concept of survival into question. Refusing equally to find solace in false hopes and to give in to murky despair, Carlin and Walker deftly use the flash nonfiction form to wonder and worry their way through the alphabet in search of a path forward. With meditations on topics ranging from bitumen to plasmodia, elephants to xeric, The After-Normal: Brief, Alphabetical Essays on a Changing Planet collects an A to Z of people, places, and phenomena to marvel at, to kick against, to let go, and to fight for.

After the Tall Timber: Collected Nonfiction NYRB

After the Tall Timber: Collected Nonfiction NYRB

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What is really going on here? For decades Renata Adler has been asking and answering this question with unmatched urgency. In her essays and long-form journalism, she has captured the cultural zeitgeist, distrusted the accepted wisdom, and written stories that would otherwise go untold. As a staff writer at The New Yorker from 1963 to 2001, Adler reported on civil rights from Selma, Alabama; on the war in Biafra, the Six-Day War, and the Vietnam War; on the Nixon impeachment inquiry and Congress; on cultural life in Cuba. She has also written about cultural matters in the United States, films (as chief film critic for The New York Times), books, politics, television, and pop music. Like many journalists, she has put herself in harm's way in order to give us the news, not the "news" we have become accustomed to--celebrity journalism, conventional wisdom, received ideas--but the actual story, an account unfettered by ideology or consensus. She has been unafraid to speak up when too many other writers have joined the pack. In this sense, Adler is one of the few independent journalists writing in America today.

This collection of Adler's nonfiction draws on Toward a Radical Middle (a selection of her earliest New Yorker pieces), A Year in the Dark (her film reviews), and Canaries in the Mineshaft (a selection of essays on politics and media), and also includes uncollected work from the past two decades. The more recent pieces are concerned with, in her words, "misrepresentation, coercion, and abuse of public process, and, to a degree, the journalist's role in it." With a brilliant literary and legal mind, Adler parses power by analyzing language: the language of courts, of journalists, of political figures, of the man on the street. In doing so, she unravels the tangled narratives that pass for the resolution of scandal and finds the threads that others miss, the ones that explain what really is going on here--from the Watergate scandal, to the "preposterous" Kenneth Starr report submitted to the House during the Clinton impeachment inquiry, to the plagiarism and fabrication scandal of the former New York Times reporter Jayson Blair. And she writes extensively about the Supreme Court and the power of its rulings, including its fateful decision in Bush v. Gore.

After the Wall: Confessions from an East Germany Childhood and the Life That

After the Wall: Confessions from an East Germany Childhood and the Life That

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Jana Hensel was thirteen on November 9, 1989, the night the Berlin Wall fell. In all the euphoria over German reunification, no one stopped to think what it would mean for Jana and her generation of East Germans. These were the kids of the seventies, who had grown up in the shadow of Communism with all its hokey comforts: the Young Pioneer youth groups, the cheerful Communist propaganda, and the comforting knowledge that they lived in a Germany unblemished by an ugly Nazi past and a callous capitalist future.

Suddenly everything was gone. East Germany disappeared, swallowed up by the West, and in its place was everything Jana and her friends had coveted for so long: designer clothes, pop CDs, Hollywood movies, supermarkets, magazines. They snapped up every possible Western product and mannerism. They changed the way they talked, the way they walked, what they read, where they went. They cut off from their parents. They took English lessons, and opened bank accounts. Fifteen years later, they all have the right haircuts and drive the right cars, but who are they? Where are they going?

In After the Wall, Jana Hensel tells the story of her confused generation of East Germans, who were forced to abandon their past and feel their way through a foreign landscape to an uncertain future. Now as they look back, they wonder whether the oppressive, yet comforting life of their childhood wasn't so bad after all.

After the Wind

After the Wind

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May 10, 1996 is the date of the most historic tragedy in Mount Everest history. Eight climbers died. Lou Kasischke was there. He lived that story. The climbing events and the forces of nature were at the extreme, especially when things went wrong. The drama near the summit was high. But the crux of the story has much in common with everyday life. This was Lou's struggle with himself 400 feet from the summit, when he faced a tough decision and conflicting internal voices about what to do. The story is an example of how and where to go for the guidance and strength needed in such moments. Lou tells the story about what happened and what went wrong. But Lou's personal story is more than about being there. It's also about his long aftermath journey to understand his experience, to find meaning in it, and to find guidance from it for his future goals and challenges. The story is both sad and triumphant.
Afterlife: A Memoir

Afterlife: A Memoir

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A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice

In the winter of 2000, shortly after his mother's death, Donald Antrim began writing about his family. In pieces that appeared in The New Yorker and were anthologized in Best American Essays, Antrim explored his intense and complicated relationships with his mother, Louanne, an artist, teacher, and ferociously destabilizing alcoholic; his gentle grandfather, who lived in the mountains of North Carolina and who always hoped to save his daughter from herself; and his father, who married his mother twice.

The Afterlife is an elliptical, sometimes tender, sometimes blackly hilarious portrait of a family--faulty, cracked, enraging--and of a man struggling to learn the nature of his origins.

Against Everything

Against Everything

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Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award

The essays in Against Everything are learned, original, highly entertaining, and, from start to finish, dead serious, reinventing and reinvigorating what intellectuals can be and say and do. Key topics are the tyranny of exercise, the folly of food snobbery, the sexualization of childhood (and everything else), the philosophical meaning of pop music, the rise and fall of the hipster, the uses of reality TV, the impact of protest movements, and the crisis of policing. Four of the selections address, directly and unironically, the meaning of life--how to find a philosophical stance to adopt toward one's self and the world. Mark Greif manages to revivify the thought and spirit of the greatest of American dissenters, Henry David Thoreau, for our time and historical situation.

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY:
The Guardian - The Atlantic - New York Magazine - San Francisco Chronicle - Paris Review - National Post (Canada)

Longlisted for the 2017 PEN Diamonson-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay

Against Everything

Against Everything

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A brilliant collection of essays by a young writer who is already a star in the intellectual firmament. As William Deresiewicz has written in Harper's Magazine, "[Mark Greif ] is an intellectual, full stop . . . There is much of [Lionel] Trilling in Greif . . . Much also of Susan Sontag . . . What he shares with both, and with the line they represent, is precisely a sense of intellect--of thought, of mind--as a conscious actor in the world."

Over the past eleven years, Greif has been publishing superb, and in some cases already famous, essays in n+1, the high-profile little magazine that he co-founded. These essays address such key topics in the cultural, political, and intellectual life of our time as the tyranny of exercise, the tyranny of nutrition and food snobbery, the sexualization of childhood (and everything else), the philosophical meaning of Radiohead, the rise and fall of the hipster, the impact of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and the crisis of policing. Four of the selections address, directly and unironically, the meaning of life--what might be the right philosophical stance to adopt toward one's self and the world.

Each essay in Against Everything is learned, original, highly entertaining, and, from start to finish, dead serious. They are the work of a young intellectual who, with his peers, is reinventing and reinvigorating what intellectuals can be and say and do. Mark Greif manages to reincarnate and revivify the thought and spirit of the greatest of American dissenters, Henry David Thoreau, for our time and historical situation.

Against Interpretation

Against Interpretation

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Includes the essay Notes on Camp, the inspiration for the 2019 exhibition Notes on Fashion: Camp at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Against Interpretation
was Susan Sontag's first collection of essays and is a modern classic. Originally published in 1966, it has never gone out of print and has influenced generations of readers all over the world. It includes the groundbreaking essays Notes on Camp and Against Interpretation, as well as her impassioned discussions of Sartre, Camus, Simone Weil, Godard, Beckett, Levi-Strauss, science-fiction movies, psychoanalysis, and contemporary religious thought.

This edition has a new afterword, Thirty Years Later, in which Sontag restates the terms of her battle against philistinism and against ethical shallowness and indifference.

Against Joie de Vivre: Personal Essays

Against Joie de Vivre: Personal Essays

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"Over the years I have developed a distaste for the spectacle of joie de vivre, the knack of knowing how to live," begins the title essay by Phillip Lopate. This rejoinder to the cult of hedonism and forced conviviality moves from a critique of the false sentimentalization of children and the elderly to a sardonic look at the social rite of the dinner party, on to a moving personal testament to the "hungry soul." Lopate's special gift is his ability to give us not only sophisticated cultural commentary in a dazzling collection of essays but also to bring to his subjects an engaging honesty and openness that invite us to experience the world along with him. Also included here are Lopate's inspiring account of his production of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya with a group of preadolescents, a look at the tradition of the personal essay, and a soul-searching piece on the suicide of a schoolteacher and its effect on his students and fellow teachers. By turns humorous, learned, celebratory, and elegiac, Lopate displays a keen intelligence and a flair for language that turn bits of common, everyday life into resonant narrative. This collection maintains a conversational charm while taking the contemporary personal essay to a new level of complexity and candor. Phillip Lopate is a professor of English at Hofstra University and teaches in the MFA graduate programs at Columbia, the New School, and Bennington. He is the editor of American Movie Critics: An Anthology from the Silents until Now and has published two novels and numerous nonfiction collections, including Portrait of My Body and Totally, Tenderly, Tragically.
Against Love

Against Love

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Who would dream of being against love? No one.

Love is, as everyone knows, a mysterious and all-controlling force, with vast power over our thoughts and life decisions.

But is there something a bit worrisome about all this uniformity of opinion? Is this the one subject about which no disagreement will be entertained, about which one truth alone is permissible? Consider that the most powerful organized religions produce the occasional heretic; every ideology has its apostates; even sacred cows find their butchers. Except for love.

Hence the necessity for a polemic against it. A polemic is designed to be the prose equivalent of a small explosive device placed under your E-Z-Boy lounger. It won't injure you (well not severely); it's just supposed to shake things up and rattle a few convictions.