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Narrative Nonfiction

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.

    All the Agents and Saints: Dispatches from the U.S. Borderlands

    All the Agents and Saints: Dispatches from the U.S. Borderlands

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    After a decade of chasing stories around the globe, intrepid travel writer Stephanie Elizondo Griest followed the magnetic pull home--only to discover that her native South Texas had been radically transformed in her absence. Ravaged by drug wars and barricaded by an eighteen-foot steel wall, her ancestral land had become the nation's foremost crossing ground for undocumented workers, many of whom perished along the way. The frequency of these tragedies seemed like a terrible coincidence, before Elizondo Griest moved to the New York / Canada borderlands. Once she began to meet Mohawks from the Akwesasne Nation, however, she recognized striking parallels to life on the southern border. Having lost their land through devious treaties, their mother tongues at English-only schools, and their traditional occupations through capitalist ventures, Tejanos and Mohawks alike struggle under the legacy of colonialism. Toxic industries surround their neighborhoods while the U.S. Border Patrol militarizes them. Combating these forces are legions of artists and activists devoted to preserving their indigenous cultures. Complex belief systems, meanwhile, conjure miracles. In All the Agents and Saints, Elizondo Griest weaves seven years of stories into a meditation on the existential impact of international borderlines by illuminating the spaces in between and the people who live there.

    All the Presidents Women

    All the Presidents Women

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    With groundbreaking interviews, behind-the-scenes reporting, and never-before-seen photos, All the President's Women records 43 new allegations of sexual misconduct against President Trump.

    During his 2016 presidential run, the revelation of the Access Hollywood tape and subsequent allegations of sexual misconduct lodged against Donald Trump looked like they might doom his candidacy. Trump survived, and the first two years of the real estate scion's presidency were marked not by controversy over his behavior around women but by the Mueller investigation.

    So far, Trump has dodged the #MeToo bullet that has taken down so many once-powerful men. But despite the decades of tabloid fascination with his personal life, the story of Trump's relationship with women has never been fully told. Considering his bully pulpit in the White House, the reckoning is overdue.

    All the President's Women offers the most detailed account yet of Trump's history with women, dating back to his childhood and high school days through his rise in real estate, reality TV, and politics. This book will show that Trump's behavior goes far beyond occasional locker-room talk and unwanted advances.

    Barry Levine and Monique El-Faizy detail more than a dozen new allegations against Trump, including a disturbing attack on a woman at Mar-a-Lago, an incident at a private Manhattan sex club involving a teenage girl, as well as Trump's behavior at fashion shows and beauty pageants--events that gave the future president a hunting ground to harass young women.

    Veteran journalists Levine and El-Faizy tell the story of Trump from the point of view of the women in his orbit--wives, mistresses, playmates, and those whom the president has dated, kissed, groped, or lusted after.

    All the Roads Are Open: The Afghan Journey

    All the Roads Are Open: The Afghan Journey

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    In June 1939 Annemarie Schwarzenbach and fellow writer Ella Maillart set out from Geneva in a Ford, heading for Afghanistan. The first women to travel Afghanistan's Northern Road, they fled the storm brewing in Europe to seek a place untouched by what they considered to be Western neuroses. The Afghan journey documented in All the Roads Are Open is one of the most important episodes of Schwarzenbach's turbulent life. Her incisive, lyrical essays offer a unique glimpse of an Afghanistan already touched by the "fateful laws known as progress," a remote yet "sensitive nerve centre of world politics" caught amid great powers in upheaval. In her writings, Schwarzenbach conjures up the desolate beauty of landscapes both internal and external, reflecting on the longings and loneliness of travel as well as its grace. Maillart's account of their trip, The Cruel Way, stands as a classic of travel literature, and, now available for the first time in English, Schwarzenbach's memoir rounds out the story of the adventure. Praise for the German Edition "Above all, [Schwarzenbach's] discovery of the Orient was a personal one. But the author never loses sight of the historical and social context. . . . She shows no trace of colonialist arrogance. In fact, the pieces also reflect the experience of crisis, the loss of confidence which, in that decade, seized the long-arrogant culture of the West."--Süddeutsche Zeitung

    All the Way Home: Building a Family in a Falling-Down House

    All the Way Home: Building a Family in a Falling-Down House

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    Finding the perfect house is never easy. Rebuilding one from a crumbling pile--to say nothing of making it into a home--is even harder.

    With their infant son in tow, David Giffels and his wife comb the environs of Akron, Ohio, in search of just the right house for their burgeoning family. Running through David's head the whole time are the lyrics of a Replacements song, . . . Look me in the eye, then tell me that I'm satisfied, and it gives all the more purpose to their quest. But nothing seems right . . . until they spot a beautiful, decaying Gilded Age mansion. A former rubber industry executive's domain, the once grand residence lacks functional plumbing and electricity, leaks rain like a cartoon shack, and is infested with all manner of wildlife. But for a young man at a coming-of-age crossroads--suspended between a perpetual youth and an inevitable adulthood--the challenge is exactly the allure.

    All the Way Home follows Giffels's funny, poignant, and confounding journey as he and his wife and a colorful collection of helpers turn a money pit into a house that will complete their family. Nothing could prepare them for a home restoration epic that includes evicting squatters (both four- and two-legged), battling an invading wisteria vine, hunting a ghost, and discovering thousands of dollars in hidden Depression-era cash. But the story's heart lies deeper, in an unexpected series of personal hardships that call into question what home really means, and what it means to grow up.

    Written with the humor and insight of Bill Bryson and John Grogan, All the Way Home is the engaging tale of a young father's struggle to restore a house and find his way . . . without losing himself.

    All There Is

    All There Is

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    "[A] collection of gems . . . All There Is made me verklempt a ridiculous amount of times." --Boston Globe

    "Heart-poundingly good . . . There's just one word for the book: lovely." --The Huffington Post

    A celebration of love from StoryCorps


    In All There Is, StoryCorps founder David Isay shares stories from the revolutionary oral history project, revealing the many remarkable journeys that relationships can take.

    In these pages we discover that love is found in unexpected places: a New York tollbooth, a military base in Iraq, an airport lounge. We encounter love that survives discrimination, illness, poverty, distance--even death. Carrying us from the excitement and anticipation of courtship to the deep connection of lifelong commitment, All There Is enriches our understanding of love and of the resilience of the human spirit.


    Dave Isay's latest book, Callings, published in 2016 from Penguin Press.

    All Things Are Too Small: Essays in Praise of Excess

    All Things Are Too Small: Essays in Praise of Excess

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    A glorious call to throw off restraint and balance in favor of excess, abandon, and disproportion, in essays ranging from such topics as mindfulness, decluttering, David Cronenberg, and consent.

    In her debut essay collection, "brilliant and stylish" (The Washington Post) critic Becca Rothfeld takes on one of the most sacred cows of our time: the demand that we apply the virtues of equality and democracy to culture and aesthetics. The result is a culture that is flattened and sanitized, purged of ugliness, excess, and provocation.

    Our embrace of minimalism has left us spiritually impoverished. We see it in our homes, where we bring in Marie Kondo to rid them of their idiosyncrasies and darknesses. We take up mindfulness to do the same thing to our heads, emptying them of the musings, thoughts, and obsessions that make us who we are. In the bedroom, a new wave of puritanism has drained sex of its unpredictability and therefore true eroticism. In our fictions, the quest for balance has given us protagonists who aspire only to excise their appetites. We have flipped our values, Rothfeld argues: while the gap between rich and poor yawns hideously wide, we strive to compensate with egalitarianism in art, erotics, and taste, where it does not belong and where it quashes wild experiments and exuberance.

    Lush, provocative, and bitingly funny, All Things Are Too Small is a subversive soul cry to restore imbalance, obsession, gluttony, and ravishment to all domains of our lives.

    All Things Edible Random & Odd Essays on Grief Love & Food

    All Things Edible Random & Odd Essays on Grief Love & Food

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    Through lyrical and intimate personal essays, All Things Edible, Random and Odd delivers a portrait not just of a father who died, but of a daughter who kept living. Sheila Squillante's heartfelt and humorous essays introduce us to a father-a 1980s businessman and early adopter of the term "foodie"--and a daughter's complicated grief. It also moves beyond that grief, to embrace the intricacies and delights of how life grows from it.
    Food remains central throughout the collection with essays that serve up a menu (and sometimes recipes!) of Hawaiian beach seaweed, turtle soup, and fermented Icelandic shark. Nostalgia clashes with reality, through stories connecting memories to taste.
    With poetic prose, Squillante expresses the complexities of unresolved relationships, the importance of shared experiences, and how family and food make us who we are.
    Almost French

    Almost French

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    The charming true story of a spirited young woman who finds adventure--and the love of her life--in Paris.

    "This isn't like me. I'm not the sort of girl who crosses continents to meet up with a man she hardly knows. Paris hadn't even been part of my travel plan..."

    A delightful, fresh twist on the travel memoir, Almost French takes us on a tour that is fraught with culture clashes but rife with deadpan humor. Sarah Turnbull's stint in Paris was only supposed to last a week. Chance had brought Sarah and Frédéric together in Bucharest, and on impulse she decided to take him up on his offer to visit him in the world's most romantic city. Sacrificing Vegemite for vichyssoise, the feisty Sydney journalist does her best to fit in, although her conversation, her laugh, and even her wardrobe advertise her foreigner status. But as she navigates the highs and lows of this strange new world, from life in a bustling quatier and surviving Parisian dinner parties to covering the haute couture fashion shows and discovering the hard way the paradoxes of France today, little by little Sarah falls under its spell: maddening, mysterious, and charged with that French specialty-séduction.

    An entertaining tale of being a fish out of water, Almost French is an enthralling read as Sarah Turnbull leads us on a magical tour of this seductive place-and culture-that has captured her heart

    Almost Nearly Perfect People

    Almost Nearly Perfect People

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    The Christian Science Monitor's #1 Best Book of the Year

    A witty, informative, and popular travelogue about the Scandinavian countries and how they may not be as happy or as perfect as we assume, "The Almost Nearly Perfect People offers up the ideal mixture of intriguing and revealing facts" (Laura Miller, Salon).

    Journalist Michael Booth has lived among the Scandinavians for more than ten years, and he has grown increasingly frustrated with the rose-tinted view of this part of the world offered up by the Western media. In this timely book he leaves his adopted home of Denmark and embarks on a journey through all five of the Nordic countries to discover who these curious tribes are, the secrets of their success, and, most intriguing of all, what they think of one another.

    Why are the Danes so happy, despite having the highest taxes? Do the Finns really have the best education system? Are the Icelanders as feral as they sometimes appear? How are the Norwegians spending their fantastic oil wealth? And why do all of them hate the Swedes? In The Almost Nearly Perfect People Michael Booth explains who the Scandinavians are, how they differ and why, and what their quirks and foibles are, and he explores why these societies have become so successful and models for the world. Along the way a more nuanced, often darker picture emerges of a region plagued by taboos, characterized by suffocating parochialism, and populated by extremists of various shades. They may very well be almost nearly perfect, but it isn't easy being Scandinavian.

    Aloft

    Aloft

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    More than a decade after the publication of Inside the Sky, Aloft is a completely revised, expanded, and updated edition of this classic text, which is widely regarded as the most lyrical and incisive book on flying.

    In these essays, William Langewiesche considers how flying has altered not only how we move about the earth, but also how we view our world and our place in it. With vivid descriptions of the aesthetics and excitement of flight, he also writes of the risks that go with this beauty: the perils of air traffic control, and the dangers of nervous passengers and bad weather. Full of spare and elegant prose, Aloft is a fascinating journey into the sky.

    Alone

    Alone

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    Solitude is terrifying and awe-inspiring in Alone. --The Wall Street Journal

    In April 2013, fifty-year-old Brett Archibald was on board a surf-charter boat, making a night-time crossing of the remote Mentawai Strait off Sumatra, Indonesia. In the middle of a storm, ill with severe food poisoning, he blacked out. When he came to, he found himself in the raging sea, sixty miles from shore. As Brett saw the lights of his boat disappearing into the darkness, it became clear that no one had seen him fall, and that no one would hear his shouts for help. He was alone in the ocean.

    It would be eight hours before his friends realized he was missing. At that point a frantic search began for a single man somewhere in thousands of square miles of heaving waves. The rough weather meant that no planes or helicopters could assist in the search. According to the experts, he should have died within ten to fourteen hours.

    Instead, Brett battled Portuguese man o' war and jellyfish, sharks, seagulls, and the stormy seas for more than 28 hours. Alone is the remarkable tale of his miraculous survival and rescue. It is also the story of what it takes to defy extraordinary odds and the incredible power of the human spirit.

    Alone in Antarctica

    Alone in Antarctica

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    In the whirling noise of our advancing technological age, we are seemingly never alone, never out-of-touch with the barrage of electronic data and information.

    Felicity Aston, physicist and meteorologist, took two months off from all human contact as she became the first woman -- and only the third person in history - to ski across the entire continent of Antarctica alone. She did it, too, with the simple apparatus of cross-country, without the aids used by her prededecessors - two Norwegian men - each of whom employed either parasails or kites.

    Aston's journey across the ice at the bottom of the world asked of her the extremes in terms of mental and physical bravery, as she faced the risks of unseen cracks buried in the snow so large they might engulf her and hypothermia due to brutalizing weather. She had to deal, too, with her emotional vulnerability in face of the constant bombardment of hallucinations brought on by the vast sea of whiteness, the lack of stimulation to her senses as she faced what is tantamount to a form of solitary confinement.

    Like Cheryl Strayed's Wild, Felicity Aston's Alone in Antarctica becomes an inspirational saga of one woman's battle through fear and loneliness as she honestly confronts both the physical challenges of her adventure, as well as her own human vulnerabilities.

    Alone on the Ice

    Alone on the Ice

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    On January 17, 1913, alone and near starvation, Douglas Mawson, leader of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, was hauling a sledge to get back to base camp. The dogs were gone. Now Mawson himself plunged through a snow bridge, dangling over an abyss by the sledge harness. A line of poetry gave him the will to haul himself back to the surface.

    Mawson was sometimes reduced to crawling, and one night he discovered that the soles of his feet had completely detached from the flesh beneath. On February 8, when he staggered back to base, his features unrecognizably skeletal, the first teammate to reach him blurted out, Which one are you?

    This thrilling and almost unbelievable account establishes Mawson in his rightful place as one of the greatest polar explorers and expedition leaders. It is illustrated by a trove of Frank Hurley's famous Antarctic photographs, many never before published in the United States.

    Alone on the Wall

    Alone on the Wall

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    Only a few years ago, Alex Honnold was little known beyond a small circle of hardcore climbers. Today, at the age of thirty, he is probably the most famous adventure athlete in the world. In that short time, he has proven his expertise in many styles of climbing and has shattered speed records, pioneered routes, and won awards within each discipline. More spectacularly still, he has pushed the most extreme and dangerous form of climbing far beyond the limits of what anyone thought was possible.

    Free soloing, Honnold's specialty, is a type of climbing performed without a rope, a partner, or hardware--such as pitons, nuts, or cams--for aid or protection. The results of climbing this way are breathtaking, but the stakes are ultimate: if you fall, you die.

    In Alone on the Wall, Honnold recounts the seven most astonishing climbing achievements so far in his meteoric and still-evolving career. He narrates the drama of each climb, along with reflective passages that illuminate the inner workings of his highly perceptive and discerning mind. We share in the jitters and excitements he feels waking in his van (where he lives full time) before a climb; we see him self-criticize in his climbing journal (a veritable bible for students of the sport); and we learn his secrets to managing fear--his most enviable talent. Veteran climber and award-winning author David Roberts writes part of each chapter in his own voice, and he calls on other climbers and the sport's storied past to put Alex's tremendous accomplishments in perspective.

    Whenever Honnold speaks in public, he is asked the same two questions: Aren't you afraid you're going to die? and Why do you do this? Alone on the Wall takes us around the world and through the highs and lows in the life of a climbing superstar to answer those fascinating questions. Honnold's extraordinary life, and his idiosyncratic worldview, have much to teach us about risk, reward, and the ability to maintain a singular focus, even in the face of extreme danger.

    Alone: The Man Who Braved The Vast Pacific and Won

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    The incredible story of one man's heroic battle against almost impossible odds, Alone tells of d'Aboville's mission to row across the Pacific Ocean. A gripping story not just of physical endurance but of mental and spiritual fortitude.--Publishers Weekly. Introduction by Paul Theroux. 24 photos, 22 in color. Map.