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Nonfiction

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.

Aftermath

Aftermath

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Stunning... poetic, urgent. [Taneja] turns a critical lens toward the way language shapes violence, suggesting that 'power tells a story to sustain itself, it has no empathy for those it harms.'--Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

Usman Khan was convicted of terrorism-related offenses at age 20, and sent to high-security prison. He was released eight years later, and allowed to travel to London for one day, to attend an event marking the fifth anniversary of a prison education program he participated in. On November 29, 2019, he sat with others at Fishmongers' Hall, some of whom he knew. Then he went to the restroom to retrieve the things he had hidden there: a fake bomb vest and two knives, which he taped to his wrists. That day, he killed two people: Saskia Jones and Jack Merritt.

Preti Taneja taught fiction writing in prison for three years. Merritt oversaw her program; Khan was one of her students. "It is the immediate aftermath," Taneja writes. "'I am living at the centre of a wound still fresh.' The I is not only mine. It belongs to many."

In this searching lament by the award-winning author of We That Are Young, Taneja interrogates the language of terror, trauma and grief; the fictions we believe and the voices we exclude. Contending with the pain of unspeakable loss set against public tragedy, she draws on history, memory, and powerful poetic predecessors to reckon with the systemic nature of atrocity. Blurring genre and form, Aftermath is a profound attempt to regain trust after violence and to recapture a politics of hope through a determined dream of abolition.

Aftermath is part of the Undelivered Lectures series from Transit Books.

Aftermath

Aftermath

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In 2003, Rachel Cusk published "A Life's Work," a provocative and often startlingly funny memoir about the cataclysm of motherhood. Widely acclaimed, the book started hundreds of arguments that continue to this day. Now, in her most personal and relevant book to date, Cusk explores divorce's tremendous impact on the lives of women.

An unflinching chronicle of Cusk's own recent separation and the upheaval that followed "a jigsaw dismantled" it is also a vivid study of divorce's complex place in our society. "Aftermath" originally signified a second harvest, and in this book, unlike any other written on the subject, Cusk discovers opportunity as well as pain. With candor as fearless as it is affecting, Rachel Cusk maps a transformative chapter of her life with an acuity and wit that will help us understand our own."

Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror

Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror

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THE EXPLOSIVE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER
With all-new excerpts from Richard Clarke's dramatic public testimony, and revealing corroboration from The 9/11 Commission Report
From the 9/11 Commission Report:
On the day of the meeting [September 4, 2001], Clarke sent Rice an impassioned personal note. He criticized U.S. counterterrorism efforts past and present. The 'real question' before the principals, he wrote, was 'are we serious about dealing with the al Qida threat?...Is al Qida a big deal?...Decision makers should imagine themselves on a future day when the CSG has not succeeded in stopping al Qida attacks and hundreds of Americans lay dead in several countries, including the US, ' Clarke wrote. 'What would those decision makers wish that they had done earlier? That future day could happen at any time
Against Architecture: The Writings of Georges Bataille

Against Architecture: The Writings of Georges Bataille

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Over the past 30 years the writings of Georges Bataille have had a profound influence on French intellectual thought, informing the work of Foucault, Derrida, and Barthes, among others. Against Architecture offers the first serious interpretation of this challenging thinker, spelling out the profoundly original and radical nature of Bataille's work.
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.

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

Against the Machine

Against the Machine

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From the author hailed by the New York Times Book Review for his "drive-by brilliance" and dubbed by the New York Times Magazine as "one of the country's most eloquent and acid-tongued critics" comes a ruthless challenge to the conventional wisdom about the most consequential cultural development of our time: the Internet.

Of course the Internet is not one thing or another; if anything, its boosters claim, the Web is everything at once. It's become not only our primary medium for communication and information but also the place we go to shop, to play, to debate, to find love. Lee Siegel argues that our ever-deepening immersion in life online doesn't just reshape the ordinary rhythms of our days; it also reshapes our minds and culture, in ways with which we haven't yet reckoned. The web and its cultural correlatives and by-products--such as the dominance of reality television and the rise of the "bourgeois bohemian"--have turned privacy into performance, play into commerce, and confused "self-expression" with art. And even as technology gurus ply their trade using the language of freedom and democracy, we cede more and more control of our freedom and individuality to the needs of the machine--that confluence of business and technology whose boundaries now stretch to encompass almost all human activity.

Siegel's argument isn't a Luddite intervention against the Internet itself but rather a bracing appeal for us to contend with how it is transforming us all. Dazzlingly erudite, full of startlingly original insights, and buoyed by sharp wit, Against the Machine will force you to see our culture--for better and worse--in an entirely new way.

Against Us

Against Us

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A senior foreign correspondent for ABC News goes beyond the headlines to uncover what America looks like in the eyes of the Muslim world. Against Us is a troubling, yet fascinating, glimpse into the complex Muslim mind-set as well as an early look at ways America can turn the tide of hate.
Against White Feminism

Against White Feminism

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Upper-middle-class white women have long been heralded as "experts" on feminism. They have presided over multinational feminist organizations and written much of what we consider the feminist canon, espousing sexual liberation and satisfaction, LGBTQ inclusion, and racial solidarity, all while branding the language of the movement itself in whiteness and speaking over Black and Brown women in an effort to uphold privilege and perceived cultural superiority. An American Muslim woman, attorney, and political philosopher, Rafia Zakaria champions a reconstruction of feminism in Against White Feminism, centering women of color in this transformative overview and counter-manifesto to white feminism's global, long-standing affinity with colonial, patriarchal, and white supremacist ideals.

Covering such ground as the legacy of the British feminist imperialist savior complex and "the colonial thesis that all reform comes from the West" to the condescension of the white feminist-led "aid industrial complex" and the conflation of sexual liberation as the "sum total of empowerment," Zakaria follows in the tradition of intersectional feminist forebears Kimberlé Crenshaw, Adrienne Rich, and Audre Lorde. Zakaria ultimately refutes and reimagines the apolitical aspirations of white feminist empowerment in this staggering, radical critique, with Black and Brown feminist thought at the forefront.

Age of Acquiescence

Age of Acquiescence

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A groundbreaking investigation of how and why, from the 18th century to the present day, American resistance to our ruling elites has vanished.

From the American Revolution through the Civil Rights movement, Americans have long mobilized against political, social, and economic privilege. Hierarchies based on inheritance, wealth, and political preferment were treated as obnoxious and a threat to democracy. Mass movements envisioned a new world supplanting dog-eat-dog capitalism. But over the last half-century that political will and cultural imagination have vanished. Why?

The Age of Acquiescence seeks to solve that mystery. Steve Fraser's account of national transformation brilliantly examines the rise of American capitalism, the visionary attempts to protect the democratic commonwealth, and the great surrender to today's delusional fables of freedom and the politics of fear. Effervescent and razorsharp, The Age of Acquiescence is provocative and fascinating.

Age of American Unreason

Age of American Unreason

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A cultural history of the last forty years, The Age of American Unreason focuses on the convergence of social forces--usually treated as separate entities--that has created a perfect storm of anti-rationalism. These include the upsurge of religious fundamentalism, with more political power today than ever before; the failure of public education to create an informed citizenry; and the triumph of video over print culture. Sparing neither the right nor the left, Jacoby asserts that Americans today have embraced a universe of "junk thought" that makes almost no effort to separate fact from opinion.

Age of American Unreason

Age of American Unreason

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Combining historical analysis with contemporary observation, Susan Jacoby dissects a new American cultural phenomenon--one that is at odds with our heritage of Enlightenment reason and with modern, secular knowledge and science. With mordant wit, she surveys an anti-rationalist landscape extending from pop culture to a pseudo-intellectual universe of "junk thought." Disdain for logic and evidence defines a pervasive malaise fostered by the mass media, triumphalist religious fundamentalism, mediocre public education, a dearth of fair-minded public intellectuals on the right and the left, and, above all, a lazy and credulous public.
Jacoby offers an unsparing indictment of the American addiction to infotainment--from television to the Web--and cites this toxic dependency as the major element distinguishing our current age of unreason from earlier outbreaks of American anti-intellectualism and anti-rationalism. With reading on the decline and scientific and historical illiteracy on the rise, an increasingly ignorant public square is dominated by debased media-driven language and received opinion.
At this critical political juncture, nothing could be more important than recognizing the "overarching crisis of memory and knowledge" described in this impassioned, tough-minded book, which challenges Americans to face the painful truth about what the flights from reason has cost us as individuals and as a nation.
Age of American Unreason in a Culture of Lies

Age of American Unreason in a Culture of Lies

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NATIONAL BESTSELLER

The prescient and now-classic analysis of the forces of anti-intellectualism in contemporary American life--updated for the era of Trump, Twitter, Breitbart and fake news controversies.

The searing cultural history of the last half-century, The Age of American Unreason In A Culture of Lies focuses on the convergence of social forces--usually treated as separate entities--that has created a perfect storm of anti-rationalism. These include the upsurge of religious fundamentalism, with more political power today than ever before; the failure of public education to create an informed citizenry; the triumph of internet over print culture; and America's toxic addition to infotainment. Combining historical analysis with contemporary observation and sparing neither the right nor the left, Susan Jacoby asserts that Americans today have embraced junk thought that makes almost no effort to separate fact from opinion.

At today's critical political juncture, nothing could be more important than recognizing the crisis described in this impassioned, tough-minded book, which challenges Americans to face the painful truth about what the flights from reason has cost us as individuals and as a nation.