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Narrative Nonfiction

Against Memoir

Against Memoir

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The PEN Award-winning essay collection about queer lives: "Gorgeously punk-rock rebellious."--The A.V. Club

The razor-sharp but damaged Valerie Solanas, a doomed lesbian biker gang, recovering alcoholics, and teenagers barely surviving at an ice creamery: these are some of the larger-than-life, yet all-too-human figures populating America's fringes. Rife with never-ending fights and failures, theirs are the stories we too often try to forget. But in the process of excavating and documenting these queer lives, Michelle Tea also reveals herself in unexpected and heartbreaking ways.

Delivered with her signature honesty and dark humor, this is Tea's first-ever collection of journalistic writing. As she blurs the line between telling other people's stories and her own, she turns an investigative eye to the genre that's nurtured her entire career--memoir--and considers the price that art demands be paid from life.

Winner of the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay

Eclectic and wide-ranging. . . . A palpable pain animates many of these essays, as well as a raucous joy and bright curiosity. --The New York Times

The best essay collection I've read in years. --The New Republic

Age of Kali

Age of Kali

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From the author of The Last Mughal and Nine Lives the classic stories he gathered during the ten years he spent journeying across the Indian subcontinent, from Sri Lanka and southern India to the North West Frontier of Pakistan. As he searched for evidence of Kali Yug, the "age of darkness" predicted by an ancient Hindu cosmology in a final epoch of strife and corruption, Dalrymple encountered a region that thrilled and surprised him. Venturing to places rarely visited by foreigners, he presents compelling portraits of a diverse range of figures--from a Hindi rap megastar through the Tamil Tigers to the drug lords of Pakistan. Dalrymple's love for the subcontinent comes across in every page, which makes its chronicles of political corruption, ethnic violence and social disintegration all the more poignant. The result is a dark yet vibrant travelogue, and a unique look at a region that continues to be marked by rapid change and unlimited possibilities as it struggles to reconcile the forces of modernity and tradition.
Age of Kali

Age of Kali

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Many guidebooks are place specific but this guide is packed with advice on travel in general to guide the reader through his journeys.
Age of the Warrior: Selected Essays

Age of the Warrior: Selected Essays

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Robert Fisk has amassed a massive and devoted global readership with his eloquent and far-ranging articles on international politics. Now, for the first time, his brave and incisive essays have been collected in a single volume that ranges in scope from the recent war in Lebanon to the rise of Hamas; from the invasion of Kuwait to the looting of Baghdad; from America's imperial ambitions to the inescapable influence of the Treaty of Versailles. Taken together, these articles form an unparalleled account of our war-torn recent history.

Ahabs Rolling Sea

Ahabs Rolling Sea

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Although Herman Melville's Moby-Dick is beloved as one of the most profound and enduring works of American fiction, we rarely consider it a work of nature writing--or even a novel of the sea. Yet Pulitzer Prize-winning author Annie Dillard avers Moby-Dick is the "best book ever written about nature," and nearly the entirety of the story is set on the waves, with scarcely a whiff of land. In fact, Ishmael's sea yarn is in conversation with the nature writing of Emerson and Thoreau, and Melville himself did much more than live for a year in a cabin beside a pond. He set sail: to the far remote Pacific Ocean, spending more than three years at sea before writing his masterpiece in 1851.

A revelation for Moby-Dick devotees and neophytes alike, Ahab's Rolling Sea is a chronological journey through the natural history of Melville's novel. From white whales to whale intelligence, giant squids, barnacles, albatross, and sharks, Richard J. King examines what Melville knew from his own experiences and the sources available to a reader in the mid-1800s, exploring how and why Melville might have twisted what was known to serve his fiction. King then climbs to the crow's nest, setting Melville in the context of the American perception of the ocean in 1851--at the very start of the Industrial Revolution and just before the publication of On the Origin of Species. King compares Ahab's and Ishmael's worldviews to how we see the ocean today: an expanse still immortal and sublime, but also in crisis. And although the concept of stewardship of the sea would have been entirely foreign, if not absurd, to Melville, King argues that Melville's narrator Ishmael reveals his own tendencies toward what we would now call environmentalism.

Featuring a coffer of illustrations and an array of interviews with contemporary scientists, fishers, and whale watch operators, Ahab's Rolling Sea offers new insight not only into a cherished masterwork and its author but also into our evolving relationship with the briny deep--from whale hunters to climate refugees.

Ahmad's War, Ahmad's Peace

Ahmad's War, Ahmad's Peace

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From public radio journalist Michael Goldfarb comes the most stirring narrative to emerge from the Second Gulf War, from the frontlines of battle, to the home of an Iraqi Kurdish family, and into the hearts of two men from different cultures whose friendship and passion for freedom will inspire all. Ahmad's War, Ahmad's Peace is Goldfarb's moving tribute to Ahmad Shawkat, the Iraqi Kurd who served as his translator during "Major Combat Operations," whose life's work was to promote freedom, and who was ultimately murdered during the American occupation. Goldfarb recounts his powerful relationship with Ahmad and introduces readers to the life of a true Iraqi hero. Eighteen years old when the Ba'ath Party seized control of Iraq, Ahmad was imprisoned and tortured twice by Saddam Hussein's regime, was forced to fight in the Iraqi army against Iran, and was banished from his hometown of Mosul for his anti-Saddam political writings. Just as he began to taste freedom with the fall of Saddam and his large family's return to Mosul, Ahmad was murdered for publicly decrying Islamic terror. As Goldfarb investigates his friend's murder, he mourns this loss and contemplates what dangers await the Iraqi people in their uncertain future.
Aims of Education and Other Essays

Aims of Education and Other Essays

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Presents the texts of a series of lectures delivered between 1912 and 1928 on the purposes and practice of education.
Air-Conditioned Nightmare

Air-Conditioned Nightmare

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In 1939, after ten years as an expatriate, Henry Miller returned to the United States with a keen desire to see what his native land was really like--to get to the roots of the American nature and experience. He set out on a journey that was to last three years, visiting many sections of the country and making friends of all descriptions. The Air-Conditioned Nightmare is the result of that odyssey.
Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms

Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms

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An enthralling collection of short fiction and nonfiction that draw upon McLoughlin's three-decade career in the criminal justice system.

"A wistful Irish sensibility and memories from a 30-year career as a peace officer in the New York City criminal justice system haunt this solid collection...With spare prose, McLoughlin creates memorable vignettes of urban life. Fans of Kent Anderson's Liquor, Guns & Ammo will want to check this out."
--Publishers Weekly

"Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms couldn't be more New York. Tim McLoughlin drops a ton of big-city knowledge and wisdom, rich in lived-in detail, with humor that's hard as the sidewalk."
--John Strausbaugh, author of City of Sedition

In Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, Tim McLoughlin draws upon his three-decade career in the criminal justice system with his characteristic wit and his fascination with misfits and malfeasance. A lifetime immersed in New York City feeds short stories that evoke a landscape of characters rife with personal arrogance and misjudgment; and nonfiction essays about toeing the line when the line keeps disappearing.

An opioid-addicted catsitter electronically eavesdrops on his neighbors only to hear devastating truths. A degenerate gambler stakes his life on a long shot because he sees three lucky numbers on the license plate of a passing car.

In the nonfiction essays, we learn that the system plays a role in supporting vice, as long as it gets a cut. Altar boys compete to work weddings and funerals for tips in the shadow of predatory priests. Cops become robbers, and a mob boss just might be a civil rights icon. McLoughlin shines a light on worlds that few have access to.

A recurring theme in his urban, often New York-centric work is chronic displacement, people standing still in a city that is always changing. These are McLoughlin's ghosts, these casualties of progress, and he holds them dear and celebrates them.

Algerian Chronicles

Algerian Chronicles

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More than fifty years after Algerian independence, Albert Camus "Algerian Chronicles" appears here in English for the first time. Published in France in 1958, the same year the Algerian War brought about the collapse of the Fourth French Republic, it is one of Camus most political works an exploration of his commitments to Algeria. Dismissed or disdained at publication, today "Algerian Chronicles, " with its prescient analysis of the dead end of terrorism, enjoys a new life in Arthur Goldhammer s elegant translation.

Believe me when I tell you that Algeria is where I hurt at this moment, Camus, who was the most visible symbol of France s troubled relationship with Algeria, writes, as others feel pain in their lungs. Gathered here are Camus strongest statements on Algeria from the 1930s through the 1950s, revised and supplemented by the author for publication in book form.

In her introduction, Alice Kaplan illuminates the dilemma faced by Camus: he was committed to the defense of those who suffered colonial injustices, yet was unable to support Algerian national sovereignty apart from France. An appendix of lesser-known texts that did not appear in the French edition complements the picture of a moralist who posed questions about violence and counter-violence, national identity, terrorism, and justice that continue to illuminate our contemporary world."

Algren at Sea: Notes from a Sea Diary

Algren at Sea: Notes from a Sea Diary

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Nelson Algren's two travel writing books describe his journeys through the seamier sides of great American cities and the international social and political landscapes of the mid-1960s. Algren at Sea brings them together in one volume.

Notes from a Sea Diary offers one of the most remarkable appraisals of Ernest Hemingway ever written. Aboard the freighter Malayasia Mail, Algren ponders his personal encounter with Hemingway in Cuba and the values inherent in Hemingway's stories as he visits the ports of Pusan, Kowloon, Bombay, and Calcutta.

Who Lost an American? is a whirlwind spin through Paris and Playboy clubs, New York publishing and Dublin pubs, Crete and Chicago, as Algren adventures with Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, Brendan Behan, and Juliette Gréco.

Alibis

Alibis

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From André Aciman, the New York Times bestselling author of Call Me By Your Name, comes an eclectic collection of essays on memory and exile inspired by the quiet moments of an introspective traveler

A Boston Globe Best Nonfiction Book of the Year

Celebrated as one of the most poignant stylists of his generation, André Aciman has written a luminous series of linked essays about time, place, identity, and art that show him at his very finest. From beautiful and moving pieces about the memory evoked by the scent of lavender; to meditations on cities like Barcelona, Rome, Paris, and New York; to his sheer ability to unearth life secrets from an ordinary street corner, Alibis reminds the reader that Aciman is a master of the personal essay.

A beautiful new book of essays . . . Aciman's deep fidelity to the world of the senses, and to the translation of those sensations into prose, makes Alibis a delight.--The New York Times Book Review

Alive: Sixteen Men, Seventy-Two days, and Insurmountable Odds

Alive: Sixteen Men, Seventy-Two days, and Insurmountable Odds

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#1 New York Times Bestseller

"No one will come away unmoved by the book, and no one will be able to put it down.... There is no way of reading Alive without a heightened sense of one's own life and its value." -- New Republic

Sixteen Men, Seventy-Two Days, and Insurmountable Odds--the Classic Adventure of Survival in the Andes

On October 12, 1972, an Uruguayan Air Force plane carrying a team of rugby players crashed in the remote snowy peaks of the Andes. Ten weeks later, only sixteen of the forty-five passengers were found alive. This is the story of those ten weeks spent in the shelter of the plane's fuselage without food and with scarcely any hope of a rescue. The survivors protected and helped one another, and came to the difficult conclusion that to live meant doing the unimaginable. Confronting nature at its most furious, two brave young men risked their lives to hike through the mountains looking for help. A tale of astonishing bravery and adventure, Alive is much more than a survival story, it is a breathtaking saga of human courage

The P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including interviews, recommended reading, and more.

Alix's Journal (Dalkey)

Alix's Journal (Dalkey)

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"Alix's Journal" is a collection of private notebooks kept by Canadian photographer Alix Cleo Roubaud during the last four years of her life, before her death at the age of 31. Written, in a sense, for her husband--acclaimed novelist, poet, and mathematician Jacques Roubaud--"Alix's Journal" straddles the gap between French and English, poetry and prose, the tragic and the comic, the profound and the quotidian. Alix's idiosyncratic and revealing work gives us access to a singular consciousness, one that was profoundly influential on her husband's subsequent works, in style as well as content. The notebooks center on themes of love, marriage, photography, addiction, and death, and include examples of Alix's photographic work, whose strangeness and poignancy is enhanced by its juxtaposition with her plans for and interpretations of it.

All Art Is Propaganda: Critical Essays

All Art Is Propaganda: Critical Essays

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As a critic, George Orwell cast a wide net. Equally at home discussing Charles Dickens and Charlie Chaplin, he moved back and forth across the porous borders between essay and journalism, high art and low. A frequent commentator on literature, language, film, and drama throughout his career, Orwell turned increasingly to the critical essay in the 1940s, when his most important experiences were behind him and some of his most incisive writing lay ahead.

All Art Is Propaganda follows Orwell as he demonstrates in piece after piece how intent analysis of a work or body of work gives rise to trenchant aesthetic and philosophical commentary. With masterpieces such as Politics and the English Language and Rudyard Kipling and gems such as Good Bad Books, here is an unrivaled education in, as George Packer puts it, how to be interesting, line after line.

All Good Things

All Good Things

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In this lushly written follow-up to Almost French, Sarah Turnbull explores a new paradise: Tahiti.

Having shared her story in her bestselling memoir, Almost French, Australian writer Sarah Turnbull seemed to have had more than her fair share of dreams come true. While Sarah went on to carve out an idyllic life in Paris with her husband, Frédéric, there was still one dream she was beginning to fear might be impossible--starting a family. Then out of the blue an opportunity to embark on another adventure offered a new beginning--and new hope. Leaving behind life in the world's most romantic and beautiful city was never going to be easy. But it helps when your destination is another paradise on earth: Tahiti.

All I Did Was Ask

All I Did Was Ask

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A fascinating collection of revealing and entertaining interviews by the award-winning host of National Public Radio's premier interview program Fresh Air.

Over the last twenty years, Terry Gross has interviewed many of our most celebrated writers, actors, musicians, comics, and visual artists. Her show, Fresh Air with Terry Gross, a weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues produced by WHYY in Philadelphia, is one of National Public Radio's most popular programs. More than four million people tune in to the show, which is broadcast on over 400 NPR stations across the country.

Gross is known for her thoughtful, probing interviewing style. In her trusted company, even the most reticent guest relaxes and opens up. But Gross doesn't shy away from controversy, and her questions can be tough--too tough, apparently, for Bill O'Reilly, who abruptly terminated his conversation with her. Her interview with Gene Simmons of Kiss, which is included in the book, prompted Entertainment Weekly to name Simmons its male "Crackpot of the Year."

For All I Did Was Ask, Gross has selected more than three dozen of her best interviews--ones of lasting relevance that are as lively on the page as they were on the air. Each is preceded by a personal introduction in which she reveals why a particular guest was on the show and the thinking behind some of her questions. And in an introductory chapter, the normally self-effacing Gross does something you're unlikely ever to hear her do on Fresh Air--she discusses her approach to interviewing, revealing a thing or two about herself in the bargain.

The collection focuses on luminaries from the art and entertainment world, including actors, comedians, writers, visual artists, and musicians, such as:

  • Conan O'Brien
  • Chris Rock
  • Michael Caine
  • Dennis Hopper
  • Dustin Hoffman
  • Jodie Foster
  • John Updike
  • Mary Karr
  • Mario Puzo
  • Nick Hornby
  • Chuck Close
  • Eric Clapton
  • George Clinton
  • Sonny Rollins
  • Samuel L. Jackson
  • Johnny Cash
  • Isabella Rossellini
  • Divine
  • Uta Hagen
  • Carol Shields
  • All Strangers Are Kin

    All Strangers Are Kin

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    "The shaddais the key difference between a pigeon (hamam) and a bathroom (hammam). Be careful, our professor advised, in the first moment of outright humor in class, that you don't ask a waiter, 'Excuse me, where is the pigeon?' -- or, conversely, order a roasted toilet."

    If you've ever studied a foreign language, you know what happens when you first truly and clearly communicate with another person. As Zora O'Neill recalls, you feel like a magician. If that foreign language is Arabic, you just might feel like a wizard.

    They say that Arabic takes seven years to learn and a lifetime to master. O'Neill had put in her time. Steeped in grammar tomes and outdated textbooks, she faced an increasing certainty that she was not only failing to master Arabic, but also driving herself crazy. She took a decade-long hiatus, but couldn't shake her fascination with the language or the cultures it had opened up to her. So she decided to jump back in--this time with a new approach.

    Join O'Neill for a grand tour through the Middle East. You will laugh with her in Egypt, delight in the stories she passes on from the United Arab Emirates, and find yourself transformed by her experiences in Lebanon and Morocco. She's packed her dictionaries, her unsinkable sense of humor, and her talent for making fast friends of strangers. From quiet, bougainvillea-lined streets to the lively buzz of crowded medinas, from families' homes to local hotspots, she brings a part of the world that is thousands of miles away right to your door.

    A natural storyteller with an eye for the deeply absurd and the deeply human, O'Neill explores the indelible links between culture and communication. A powerful testament to the dynamism of language, All Strangers Are Kin reminds us that learning another tongue leaves you rich with so much more than words.