An Arab and a Jew open a restaurant together across the street from the United Nations....
It sounds like the beginning of an ethnic joke, but it's the axis around which spins this gutsy, fun-loving, and alarmingly provocative novel, in which a bean can philosophizes, a dessert spoon mystifies, a young waitress takes on the New York art world, and a rowdy redneck welder discovers the lost god of Palestine--while the illusions that obscure humanity's view of the true universe fall away, one by one, like Salome's veils.
Skinny Legs and All deals with today's most sensitive issues: race, politics, marriage, art, religion, money, and lust. It weaves lyrically through what some call the "end days" of our planet. Refusing to avert its gaze from the horrors of the apocalypse, it also refuses to let the alleged end of the world spoil its mood. And its mood is defiantly upbeat.
In the gloriously inventive Tom Robbins style, here are characters, phrases, stories, and ideas that dance together on the page, wild and sexy, like Salome herself. Or was it Jezebel?
“He is more than popular. He is a Populist, determined to keep alive the Dickensian tradition that revels in colorful set pieces...and teaches moral lessons.”—The New York Times
The opening sentence of John Irving’s breakout novel The World According to Garp signals the start of sexual violence, which becomes increasingly political. “Garp’s mother, Jenny Fields, was arrested in Boston in 1942 for wounding a man in a movie theater.” Jenny is an unmarried nurse; she becomes a single mom and a feminist leader, beloved but polarizing. Her son, Garp, is less beloved, but no less polarizing.
From the tragicomic tone of its first sentence to its mordantly funny last line—“we are all terminal cases”—The World According to Garp maintains a breakneck pace. The subject of sexual hatred—of intolerance of sexual minorities and differences—runs the gamut of “lunacy and sorrow.” Winner of the National Book Award, Garp is a comedy with forebodings of doom. In more than thirty languages, in more than forty countries—with more than ten million copies in print—Garp is the precursor of John Irving’s later protest novels.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The beloved, award-winning The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, a Michael Chabon masterwork, is the American epic of two boy geniuses named Joe Kavalier and Sammy Clay. Now with special bonus material by Michael Chabon.
A “towering, swash-buckling thrill of a book” (Newsweek), hailed as Chabon’s “magnum opus” (The New York Review of Books), The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is a triumph of originality, imagination, and storytelling, an exuberant, irresistible novel that begins in New York City in 1939. A young escape artist and budding magician named Joe Kavalier arrives on the doorstep of his cousin, Sammy Clay. While the long shadow of Hitler falls across Europe, America is happily in thrall to the Golden Age of comic books, and in a distant corner of Brooklyn, Sammy is looking for a way to cash in on the craze. He finds the ideal partner in the aloof, artistically gifted Joe, and together they embark on an adventure that takes them deep into the heart of Manhattan, and the heart of old-fashioned American ambition. From the shared fears, dreams, and desires of two teenage boys, they spin comic book tales of the heroic, fascist-fighting Escapist and the beautiful, mysterious Luna Moth, otherworldly mistress of the night. Climbing from the streets of Brooklyn to the top of the Empire State Building, Joe and Sammy carve out lives, and careers, as vivid as cyan and magenta ink. Spanning continents and eras, this superb book by one of America’s finest writers remains one of the defining novels of our modern American age.
Finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, and Los Angeles Times Book Prize • Winner of the Bay Area Book Reviewers Award and the New York Society Library Book Award • Named one of the 10 Best Books of the Decade by Entertainment Weekly
From the Trade Paperback edition.
In Breakfast of Champions, one of Kurt Vonnegut’s most beloved characters, the aging writer Kilgore Trout, finds to his horror that a Midwest car dealer is taking his fiction as truth. What follows is murderously funny satire, as Vonnegut looks at war, sex, racism, success, politics, and pollution in America and reminds us how to see the truth.
“Free-wheeling, wild and great . . . uniquely Vonnegut.”—Publishers Weekly
Imagine that there is a family in which four generations of strong, alluring women have shared a mysterious connection to an outlandish figure from Japanese folklore.
Imagine just those things (don’t even try to imagine the love story) and you’ll have a foretaste of Tom Robbins’s eighth and perhaps most beautifully crafted novel--a work as timeless as myth yet as topical as the latest international threat.
On one level, this is a book about identity, masquerade and disguise--about “the false mustache of the world”--but neither the mists of Laos nor the smog of Bangkok, neither the overcast of Seattle nor the fog of San Francisco, neither the murk of the intelligence community nor the mummery of the circus can obscure the linguistic phosphor that illuminates the pages of Villa Incognito.
A female fan once wrote to Tom Robbins:
“Your books make me think, they make me laugh, they make me horny and they make me aware of the wonder of everything in life.”
Villa Incognito will surely arouse a similar response in many readers, for in its lusty, amusing way it both celebrates existence and challenges our ideas about it.
To say much more about a novel as fresh and surprising as Villa Incognito would run the risk of diluting the sheer fun of reading it. As his dedicated readers worldwide know full well, it’s best to climb aboard the Tom Robbins tilt-a-whirl, kiss preconceptions and sacred cows goodbye and simply enjoy the ride.
is an epic.
Which is to say, it begins in the forests of ancient Bohemia and doesn’t conclude until nine o’clock tonight (Paris time).
It is a saga, as well. A saga must have a hero, and the hero of this one is a janitor with a missing bottle.
The bottle is blue, very, very old, and embossed with the image of a goat-horned god.
If the liquid in the bottle actually is the secret essence of the universe, as some folks seem to think, it had better be discovered soon because it is leaking and there is only a drop or two left.
New York Times Bestseller
What Is the What is the epic novel based on the life of Valentino Achak Deng who, along with thousands of other children —the so-called Lost Boys—was forced to leave his village in Sudan at the age of seven and trek hundreds of miles by foot, pursued by militias, government bombers, and wild animals, crossing the deserts of three countries to find freedom. When he finally is resettled in the United States, he finds a life full of promise, but also heartache and myriad new challenges. Moving, suspenseful, and unexpectedly funny, What Is the What is an astonishing novel that illuminates the lives of millions through one extraordinary man.
A bitter strike is raging in a small lumber town along the Oregon coast. Bucking that strike out of sheer cussedness are the Stampers: Henry, the fiercely vital and overpowering patriarch; Hank, the son who has spent his life trying to live up to his father; and Viv, who fell in love with Hank's exuberant machismo but now finds it wearing thin. And then there is Leland, Henry's bookish younger son, who returns to his family on a mission of vengeance - and finds himself fulfilling it in ways he never imagined. Out of the Stamper family's rivalries and betrayals, Ken Kesey crafted a novel with the mythic impact of Greek tragedy.
Cat’s Cradle is Kurt Vonnegut’s satirical commentary on modern man and his madness. An apocalyptic tale of this planet’s ultimate fate, it features a midget as the protagonist, a complete, original theology created by a calypso singer, and a vision of the future that is at once blackly fatalistic and hilariously funny. A book that left an indelible mark on an entire generation of readers, Cat’s Cradle is one of the twentieth century’s most important works—and Vonnegut at his very best.
“[Vonnegut is] an unimitative and inimitable social satirist.”—Harper’s Magazine
“Our finest black-humorist . . . We laugh in self-defense.”—Atlantic Monthly
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Confined to a wheelchair, retired historian Lyman Ward sets out to write his grandparents' remarkable story, chronicling their days spent carving civilization into the surface of America's western frontier. But his research reveals even more about his own life than he's willing to admit. What emerges is an enthralling portrait of four generations in the life of an American family.
"Cause for celebration . . . A superb novel with an amplitude of scale and richness of detail altogether uncommon in contemporary fiction." —The Atlantic Monthly
"Brilliant . . . Two stories, past and present, merge to produce what important fiction must: a sense of the enchantment of life." —Los Angeles Times
This Penguin Classics edition features an introduction by Jackson J. Benson.
For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Tom Robbins’ warm, wise, and wonderfully weird novels—including Still Life With Woodpecker, Jitterbug Perfume, and Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates—provide an entryway into the frontier of his singular imagination. Madcap but sincere, pulsating with strong social and philosophical undercurrents, his irreverent classics have introduced countless readers to natural born hitchhiking cowgirls, born-again monkeys, a philosophizing can of beans, exiled royalty, and problematic redheads.
In Tibetan Peach Pie, Robbins turns that unparalleled literary sensibility inward, stitching together stories of his unconventional life, from his Appalachian childhood to his globetrotting adventures —told in his unique voice that combines the sweet and sly, the spiritual and earthy. The grandchild of Baptist preachers, Robbins would become over the course of half a century a poet-interruptus, an air force weatherman, a radio dj, an art-critic-turned-psychedelic-journeyman, a world-famous novelist, and a counter-culture hero, leading a life as unlikely, magical, and bizarre as those of his quixotic characters.
Robbins offers intimate snapshots of Appalachia during the Great Depression, the West Coast during the Sixties psychedelic revolution, international roving before homeland security monitored our travels, and New York publishing when it still relied on trees. Written with the big-hearted comedy and mesmerizing linguistic invention for which he is known, Tibetan Peach Pie is an invitation into the private world of a literary legend.
“A novel as good as one could hope to find from any author, anywhere, anytime. Engrossing, moving, thoroughly satisfying.” —Joseph Heller, author of Catch-22
music lyrics, Wild Ducks Flying Backward offers a rare sweeping overview of the eclectic
sensibility of an American original.
Whether he is rocking with the Doors, depoliticizing Picasso’s Guernica, lamenting the angst-ridden state of contemporary literature, or drooling over tomato sandwiches and a species of womanhood he calls “the genius waitress,” Robbins’s briefer writings often exhibit the same five traits that perhaps best characterize his novels: an imaginative wit, a cheerfully brash disregard for convention, a sweetly nasty eroticism, a
mystical but keenly observant eye, and an irrepressible love of language.
Embedded in this primarily journalistic compilation are a couple of short stories, a sheaf of largely unpublished poems, and an off-beat assessment of our divided nation. And wherever we open Wild Ducks Flying Backward, we’re apt to encounter examples of the intently serious playfulness that percolates from the mind of a self-described “romantic Zen hedonist” and “stray dog in the banquet halls of culture.”
“An essential novel” – The New Yorker
The publication of Dorothy Allison's Bastard Out of Carolina was a landmark event. The novel's profound portrait of family dynamics in the rural South won the author a National Book Award nomination and launched her into the literary spotlight. Critics have likened Allison to Harper Lee, naming her the first writer of her generation to dramatize the lives and language of poor whites in the South. Since its appearance, the novel has inspired an award-winning film and has been banned from libraries and classrooms, championed by fans, and defended by critics.
Greenville County, South Carolina, is a wild, lush place that is home to the Boatwright family-a tight-knit clan of rough-hewn, hard- drinking men who shoot up each other's trucks, and indomitable women who get married young and age too quickly. At the heart of this story is Ruth Anne Boatwright, known simply as Bone, a bastard child who observes the world around her with a mercilessly keen perspective. When her stepfather Daddy Glen, "cold as death, mean as a snake," becomes increasingly more vicious toward her, Bone finds herself caught in a family triangle that tests the loyalty of her mother, Anney-and leads to a final, harrowing encounter from which there can be no turning back.
Yes, believe it or not—but B Is for Beer is also a book for adults, and bear in mind that it's the work of maverick bestselling novelist Tom Robbins, inter-nationally known for his ability to both seriously illuminate and comically entertain.
nce upon a time (right about now) there was a planet (how about this one?) whose inhabitants consumed thirty-six billion gallons of beer each year (it's a fact, you can Google it). Among those affected, each in his or her own way, by all the bubbles, burps, and foam, was a smart, wide-eyed, adventurous kindergartner named Gracie; her distracted mommy; her insensitive dad; her non-conformist uncle; and a magical, butt-kicking intruder from a world within our world.
Populated by the aforementioned characters—and as charming as it may be subversive—B Is for Beer involves readers, young and old, in a surprising, far-reaching investigation into the limits of reality, the transformative powers of children, and, of course, the ultimate meaning of a tall, cold brewski.
Plagued with weird parents, an underdeveloped body, and a mind on the verge of self-deconstruction, Phoebe Fine feels ill-equipped for a journey through the hardening chambers of the late twentieth-century heart. But from fifth grade and Roger Mancuso, equal parts baby Brando and court jester, through her early adult life with New Media executive Neil Schmertz, a babytalker who prefers spooning to sex, Phoebe trudges defiantly through guyland, armed with a tart tongue, and propelled by an insatiable desire to be loved.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
First published in 1958, a year after On the Road put the Beat Generation on the map, The Dharma Bums stands as one of Jack Kerouac's most powerful and influential novels. The story focuses on two ebullient young Americans--mountaineer, poet, and Zen Buddhist Japhy Ryder, and Ray Smith, a zestful, innocent writer--whose quest for Truth leads them on a heroic odyssey, from marathon parties and poetry jam sessions in San Francisco's Bohemia to solitude and mountain climbing in the High Sierras.
Here are letters from the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korea, the Cold War, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf war, Somalia, and Bosnia -- dramatic eyewitness accounts from the front lines, poignant expressions of love for family and country, insightful reflections on the nature of warfare. Amid the voices of common soldiers, marines, airmen, sailors, nurses, journalists, spies, and chaplains are letters by such legendary figures as Gen. William T. Sherman, Clara Barton, Theodore Roosevelt, Ernie Pyle, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Julia Child, Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, and Gen. Benjamin O. Davis Sr. Collected in War Letters, they are an astonishing historical record, a powerful tribute to those who fought, and a celebration of the enduring power of letters.
Hailed by Thomas Pynchon as "graceful, dark, authentic, and funny," George Saunders gives us, in his inventive and beloved voice, this bestselling collection of stories set against a warped, hilarious, and terrifyingly recognizable American landscape.
“A screaming comes across the sky. . .” A few months after the Germans’ secret V-2 rocket bombs begin falling on London, British Intelligence discovers that a map of the city pinpointing the sexual conquests of one Lieutenant Tyrone Slothrop, U.S. Army, corresponds identically to a map showing the V-2 impact sites. The implications of this discovery will launch Slothrop on an amazing journey across war-torn Europe, fleeing an international cabal of military-industrial superpowers, in search of the mysterious Rocket 00000, through a wildly comic extravaganza that has been hailed in The New Republic as “the most profound and accomplished American novel since the end of World War II.”
I am doomed to remember a boy with a wrecked voice—not because of his voice, or because he was the smallest person I ever knew, or even because he was the instrument of my mother's death, but because he is the reason I believe in God; I am a Christian because of Owen Meany.
In the summer of 1953, two eleven-year-old boys—best friends—are playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire. One of the boys hits a foul ball that kills the other boy's mother. The boy who hits the ball doesn't believe in accidents; Owen Meany believes he is God's instrument. What happens to Owen after that 1953 foul ball is extraordinary.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
The Pulitzer Prize
The National Book Critics Circle Award
The Anisfield-Wolf Book Award
The Jon Sargent, Sr. First Novel Prize
A Time Magazine #1 Fiction Book of the Year
One of the best books of 2007 according to: The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, New York Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, The Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, People, The Village Voice, Time Out New York, Salon, Baltimore City Paper, The Christian Science Monitor, Booklist, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, New York Public Library, and many more...
Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read
Oscar is a sweet but disastrously overweight ghetto nerd who—from the New Jersey home he shares with his old world mother and rebellious sister—dreams of becoming the Dominican J.R.R. Tolkien and, most of all, finding love. But Oscar may never get what he wants. Blame the fukú—a curse that has haunted Oscar’s family for generations, following them on their epic journey from Santo Domingo to the USA. Encapsulating Dominican-American history, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao opens our eyes to an astonishing vision of the contemporary American experience and explores the endless human capacity to persevere—and risk it all—in the name of love.
Winner of the Lambda Literary Pioneer Award | Winner of the Lee Lynch Classic Book Award
A landmark coming-of-age novel that launched the career of one of this country’s most distinctive voices, Rubyfruit Jungle remains a transformative work more than forty years after its original publication. In bawdy, moving prose, Rita Mae Brown tells the story of Molly Bolt, the adoptive daughter of a dirt-poor Southern couple who boldly forges her own path in America. With her startling beauty and crackling wit, Molly finds that women are drawn to her wherever she goes—and she refuses to apologize for loving them back. This literary milestone continues to resonate with its message about being true to yourself and, against the odds, living happily ever after.
Praise for Rubyfruit Jungle
“Groundbreaking.”—The New York Times
“Powerful . . . a truly incredible book . . . I found myself laughing hysterically, then sobbing uncontrollably just moments later.”—The Boston Globe
“You can’t fully know—or enjoy—how much the world has changed without reading this truly wonderful book.”—Andrew Tobias, author of The Best Little Boy in the World
“A crass and hilarious slice of growing up ‘different,’ as fun to read today as it was in 1973.”—The Rumpus
“Molly Bolt is a genuine descendant—genuine female descendant—of Huckleberry Finn. And Rita Mae Brown is, like Mark Twain, a serious writer who gets her messages across through laughter.”—Donna E. Shalala
“A trailblazing literary coup at publication . . . It was the right book at the right time.”—Lee Lynch, author of Beggar of Love
Dennis Miller first gained national acclaim as the wise-guy anchor of "Weekend Update" on "Saturday Night Live." When HBO premiered his weekly talk show in April 1994, both critics and fans enthusiastically agreed: "Dennis Miller Live" was the most refreshing talk show on television.
The accolades have continued to pour in. In September 1994, Dennis and his staff won an Emmy Award for writing and have been regularly nominated since. When he takes the stage, the audience demands, "The rants, the rants, the rants," and once again, Dennis Miller delivers the goods. Fans of his smart, quirky, irreverent style of humor are in for another treat-this set of rants is even funnier than the last two rounds.
Dennis Miller keeps on ranting in I Rant, Therefore I Am, and speaks his mind on topics like:
MODELS-"How ironic that the most exquisite-looking people in the world should end up choosing the profession that requires them to spend all day by the phone waiting for the most hideous people to call them."
COLLEGE-"I don't think you should have to pay back college loans unless you get a job in your field. Put some pressure on the school. If I can't pay my bills, I'm not paying yours."
CONSUMERS-"You know how to tell when you've got a shopping problem? When the lights in the department store momentarily dim after they slide your credit card through the thing."
FAITH-"I envy people who can just let go and totally commit. I, on the other hand, can't even hear the title of the show 'Touched by an Angel' without thinking that a professional baseball player is being sued for sexual harassment."
ASTRONAUTS-"Anybody who would strap themselves onto a giant deodorant spray can, set off a series of explosions under their ass until they've been blasted into the icy vacuum of deep space, and then step outside to take a walk must have more balls than a twenty-four-hour Tokyo driving range."
Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read.
Soon to be a Hulu limited series starring Christopher Abbott, George Clooney, Kyle Chandler, and Hugh Laurie.
Fifty years after its original publication, Catch-22 remains a cornerstone of American literature and one of the funniest—and most celebrated—books of all time. In recent years it has been named to “best novels” lists by Time, Newsweek, the Modern Library, and the London Observer.
Set in Italy during World War II, this is the story of the incomparable, malingering bombardier, Yossarian, a hero who is furious because thousands of people he has never met are trying to kill him. But his real problem is not the enemy—it is his own army, which keeps increasing the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. Yet if Yossarian makes any attempt to excuse himself from the perilous missions he’s assigned, he’ll be in violation of Catch-22, a hilariously sinister bureaucratic rule: a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but if he makes a formal request to be removed from duty, he is proven sane and therefore ineligible to be relieved.
This fiftieth-anniversary edition commemorates Joseph Heller’s masterpiece with a new introduction by Christopher Buckley; a wealth of critical essays and reviews by Norman Mailer, Alfred Kazin, Anthony Burgess, and others; rare papers and photos from Joseph Heller’s personal archive; and much more. Here, at last, is the definitive edition of a classic of world literature.
Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read
At the center of this invigorating novel are two unlikely friends, Archie Jones and Samad Iqbal. Hapless veterans of World War II, Archie and Samad and their families become agents of England’s irrevocable transformation. A second marriage to Clara Bowden, a beautiful, albeit tooth-challenged, Jamaican half his age, quite literally gives Archie a second lease on life, and produces Irie, a knowing child whose personality doesn’t quite match her name (Jamaican for “no problem”). Samad’s late-in-life arranged marriage (he had to wait for his bride to be born), produces twin sons whose separate paths confound Iqbal’s every effort to direct them, and a renewed, if selective, submission to his Islamic faith. Set against London’ s racial and cultural tapestry, venturing across the former empire and into the past as it barrels toward the future, White Teeth revels in the ecstatic hodgepodge of modern life, flirting with disaster, confounding expectations, and embracing the comedy of daily existence.
In this lively yarn, Thomas Pynchon, working in an unaccustomed genre that is at once exciting and accessible, provides a classic illustration of the principle that if you can remember the sixties, you weren't there.
It's been a while since Doc Sportello has seen his ex- girlfriend. Suddenly she shows up with a story about a plot to kidnap a billionaire land developer whom she just happens to be in love with. It's the tail end of the psychedelic sixties in L.A., and Doc knows that "love" is another of those words going around at the moment, like "trip" or "groovy," except that this one usually leads to trouble. Undeniably one of the most influential writers at work today, Pynchon has penned another unforgettable book.
After living in Britain for two decades, Bill Bryson recently moved back to the United States with his English wife and four children (he had read somewhere that nearly 3 million Americans believed they had been abducted by aliens—as he later put it, "it was clear my people needed me"). They were greeted by a new and improved America that boasts microwave pancakes, twenty-four-hour dental-floss hotlines, and the staunch conviction that ice is not a luxury item.
Delivering the brilliant comic musings that are a Bryson hallmark, I'm a Stranger Here Myself recounts his sometimes disconcerting reunion with the land of his birth. The result is a book filled with hysterical scenes of one man's attempt to reacquaint himself with his own country, but it is also an extended if at times bemused love letter to the homeland he has returned to after twenty years away.
Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read
The Sirens of Titan is an outrageous romp through space, time, and morality. The richest, most depraved man on Earth, Malachi Constant, is offered a chance to take a space journey to distant worlds with a beautiful woman at his side. Of course there’ s a catch to the invitation–and a prophetic vision about the purpose of human life that only Vonnegut has the courage to tell.
“Reading Vonnegut is addictive!”—Commonweal
As Nobel Prize winner Steinbeck chronicles their deeds—their multiple lovers, their wonderful brawls, their Rabelaisian wine-drinking—he spins a tale as compelling and ultimately as touched by sorrow as the famous legends of the Round Table, which inspired him.
Once in a great while a writer comes along who can truly capture the drama and passion of the life of a family. David James Duncan, author of the novel The River Why and the collection River Teeth, is just such a writer. And in The Brothers K he tells a story both striking and in its originality and poignant in its universality.
This touching, uplifting novel spans decades of loyalty, anger, regret, and love in the lives of the Chance family. A father whose dreams of glory on a baseball field are shattered by a mill accident. A mother who clings obsessively to religion as a ward against the darkest hour of her past. Four brothers who come of age during the seismic upheavals of the sixties and who each choose their own way to deal with what the world has become. By turns uproariously funny and deeply moving, and beautifully written throughout, The Brothers K is one of the finest chronicles of our lives in many years.
Praise for The Brothers K
“The pages of The Brothers K sparkle.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Duncan is a wonderfully engaging writer.”—Los Angeles Times
“This ambitious book succeeds on almost every level and every page.”—USA Today
“Duncan’s prose is a blend of lyrical rhapsody, sassy hyperbole and all-American vernacular.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“The Brothers K affords the . . . deep pleasures of novels that exhaustively create, and alter, complex worlds. . . . One always senses an enthusiastic and abundantly talented and versatile writer at work.”—The Washington Post Book World
“Duncan . . . tells the larger story of an entire popular culture struggling to redefine itself—something he does with the comic excitement and depth of feeling one expects from Tom Robbins.”—Chicago Tribune
Across two parallel narratives, Murakami draws readers into a mind-bending universe in which Lauren Bacall, Bob Dylan, a split-brained data processor, a deranged scientist, his shockingly undemure granddaughter, and various thugs, librarians, and subterranean monsters collide to dazzling effect. What emerges is a novel that is at once hilariously funny and a deeply serious meditation on the nature and uses of the mind.
These are the thorny questions that Lewis Black, the bitingly funny comedian, social critic, and bestselling author, tackles in his new book, Me of Little Faith. And he's come up with some answers. Or at least his answers. In more than two dozen essays that investigate everything from the differences between how Christians and Jews celebrate their holidays, to the politics of faith, to people's individual search for transcendence, Black explores his unique odyssey through religion and belief.
Growing up as a nonpracticing Jewish kid near Washington, D.C., during the 1950s, Black survived Hebrew school and a bar mitzvah (barely), went to college in the South during the tumultuous 1960s, and witnessed firsthand the unsettling parallels between religious rapture and drug-induced visions (even if none of his friends did). He explored the self-actualization movements of the 1970s (and the self-indulgence that they produced), and since then has turned an increasingly skeptical eye toward the politicians and televangelists who don the cloak of religiouos rectitude to mask their own moral hypocrisy.
What he learned along the way about the inconsistencies and peculiarities of religion infuriated Black, and in Me of Little Faith he gives full vent to his comedic rage. Black explores how the rules and constraints of religion have affected his life and the lives of us all. Hilarious experiences with rabbis, Mormons, gurus, psychics, and even the joy of a perfect round of golf give Black the chance to expound upon what we believe and why—in the language of a shock jock and with the heart of an iconoclast.
"To put it as simply as I can," Black writes, "this is a book about my relationship with religion, where my—dare I say it?—spiritual journey has taken me...what it's meant and not meant to me, and why it makes me laugh." By the end of Me of Little Faith, you'll be a convert.
Orchestrating these and other diverse characters into his multilayered semiotic adventure, Eco has created a superb cerebral entertainment.
In I Know I Am, But What Are You? she shares her unique and irreverent viewpoint on subjects as wide-ranging as:
BARBIE’S DREAM HOUSE
There were six main players in my coterie: G.I. Joe (macho, good-looking), Wonder Woman (hot, carpet-munching neighbor, busy with athletics), Marie Osmond (career gal, smart), Ken (gay, obviously), regular Barbie (slutty, dumb, eternally single), and an old-timey Barbie from the sixties (smoker’s cough, swinger).
HER CHILDHOOD CRUSH
I had a notebook dedicated to ironing out the details of my postmarital name change. Samantha Christ. Mrs. Jesus H. Christ. In fact, Jesus and I were so tight that if at any moment He should materialize, I knew we would listen to my disco records and eat Tang straight from the package, just like lovers did.
My grandmother would send me in a navy-blue, puffy-sleeved, one-piece cashmere sweat suit with a patent-leather belt, and warn me not to sweat in it, since it was dry-clean only.
There’s really nothing creepier than going somewhere with one of your parents and having people think you are together, as a couple. Of lovers. Who do it. With each other.
Tom Wingo has lost his job, and is on the verge of losing his marriage, when he learns that his twin sister, Savannah, has attempted suicide again. At the behest of Savannah’s psychiatrist, Dr. Susan Lowenstein, Tom reluctantly leaves his home in South Carolina to travel to New York City and aid in his sister’s therapy.
As Tom’s relationship with Susan deepens, he reveals to her the turbulent history of the Wingo family, and exposes the truth behind the fateful day that changed their lives forever.
Drawing richly from the author’s own troubled upbringing, The Prince of Tides is a sweeping, powerful novel of unlocking the past to overcome the darkest of personal demons—it’s Pat Conroy at his very best.
Begun in 1959 by a twenty-two-year-old Hunter S. Thompson, The Rum Diary is a brilliantly tangled love story of jealousy, treachery, and violent alcoholic lust in the Caribbean boomtown that was San Juan, Puerto Rico, in the late 1950s. The narrator, freelance journalist Paul Kemp, irresistibly drawn to a sexy, mysterious woman, is soon thrust into a world where corruption and get-rich-quick schemes rule and anything (including murder) is permissible. Exuberant and mad, youthful and energetic, this dazzling comedic romp provides a fictional excursion as riveting and outrageous as Thompson’s Fear and Loathing books.
“Russo writes with a warm, vibrant humanity.... A stirring mix of poignancy, drama and comedy.” —The Washington Post
Welcome to Empire Falls, a blue-collar town full of abandoned mills whose citizens surround themselves with the comforts and feuds provided by lifelong friends and neighbors and who find humor and hope in the most unlikely places, in this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Richard Russo.
Miles Roby has been slinging burgers at the Empire Grill for 20 years, a job that cost him his college education and much of his self-respect. What keeps him there? It could be his bright, sensitive daughter Tick, who needs all his help surviving the local high school. Or maybe it’s Janine, Miles’ soon-to-be ex-wife, who’s taken up with a noxiously vain health-club proprietor. Or perhaps it’s the imperious Francine Whiting, who owns everything in town–and seems to believe that “everything” includes Miles himself. In Empire Falls Richard Russo delves deep into the blue-collar heart of America in a work that overflows with hilarity, heartache, and grace.
Mother Night is a daring challenge to our moral sense. American Howard W. Campbell, Jr., a spy during World War II, is now on trial in Israel as a Nazi war criminal. But is he really guilty? In this brilliant book rife with true gallows humor, Vonnegut turns black and white into a chilling shade of gray with a verdict that will haunt us all.
“A great artist.”—Cincinnati Enquirer
“A shaking up in the kaleidoscope of laughter . . . Reading Vonnegut is addictive!”—Commonweal
An essayist in the tradition of Joan Didion, Meghan Daum is one of the most celebrated nonfiction writers of her generation, widely recognized for her fresh, provocative approach with which she unearths the hidden fault lines in the American landscape.
From her well remembered New Yorker essays about the financial demands of big-city ambition and the ethereal, strangely old-fashioned allure of cyber-relationships to her dazzlingly hilarious riff in Harper's about musical passions that give way to middle-brow paraphernalia, Daum delves into the center of things while closely examining the detritus that spills out along the way. With precision and well-balanced irony, Daum implicates herself as readily as she does the targets that fascinate and horrify her.
In a Tokyo suburb, a young man named Toru Okada searches for his wife’s missing cat—and then for his wife as well—in a netherworld beneath the city’s placid surface. As these searches intersect, he encounters a bizarre group of allies and antagonists. Gripping, prophetic, and suffused with comedy and menace, this is an astonishingly imaginative detective story, an account of a disintegrating marriage, and an excavation of the buried secrets from Japan’s forgotten campaign in Manchuria during World War II.
In 2005, John Hodgman published his first compendium of Complete World Knowledge, The Areas of My Expertise, a handy volume of fake trivia and made-up facts. Hodgmania was born. Virtually overnight, John Hodgman was whisked from tweedy obscurity to the high ether of minor celebrity. And from his strange new vantage point as a Famous Minor Television Personality, Hodgman realized that there is some world knowledge yet to be documented. And so he returned to exactly where he had left off—namely, page 256 of the paperback edition of The Areas of My Expertise. And he brought with him: MORE INFORMATION THAN YOU REQUIRE. Which, naturally, begins on page 257. Like its predecessor, More Information Than You Require consists of brief articles, overlong lists, frighteningly complex charts, and beguiling narratives on new and familiar themes such as:
THE PAST (because there is always more of it)
THE FUTURE (because they say there is still some left)
MOLE-MEN (including a list of 700 Mole-man names)
GAMBLING, THE SPORT OF THE ATHSMATIC MAN (including hermit crab racing)
CRYPTOGEOGRAPHY (including Canada)
HOW TO BE A FAMOUS MINOR TELEVISION PERSONALITY (Hint: Go on television)
AND NOW, the relatively pocket-sized and inexpensive paperback edition includes even more.
MORE INFORMATION THAN YOU REQUIRE, updated to include the very latest in implausibility.
PLUS!: This paperback edition includes a special self-expanding fold-out edition of THE TAXONOMY OF COMPLETE WORLD KNOWLEDGE, which you have probably never seen before because it has been carefully hidden. UNTIL NOW.
Look out for John Hodgman's latest book, Vacationland, available from Viking in Fall 2017.
Twelve-year-old Douglas Spaulding knows Green Town, Illinois, is as vast and deep as the whole wide world that lies beyond the city limits. It is a pair of brand-new tennis shoes, the first harvest of dandelions for Grandfather's renowned intoxicant, the distant clang of the trolley's bell on a hazy afternoon. It is yesteryear and tomorrow blended into an unforgettable always. But as young Douglas is about to discover, summer can be more than the repetition of established rituals whose mystical power holds time at bay. It can be a best friend moving away, a human time machine who can transport you back to the Civil War, or a sideshow automaton able to glimpse the bittersweet future.
Come and savor Ray Bradbury's priceless distillation of all that is eternal about boyhood and summer.
In the spring of 1974, Calliope Stephanides, a student at a girls' school in Grosse Pointe, finds herself drawn to a chain-smoking, strawberry blond clasmate with a gift for acting. The passion that furtively develops between them--along with Callie's failure to develop--leads Callie to suspect that she is not like other girls. In fact, she is not really a girl at all.
The explanation for this shocking state of affairs takes us out of suburbia- back before the Detroit race riots of 1967, before the rise of the Motor City and Prohibition, to 1922, when the Turks sacked Smyrna and Callie's grandparents fled for their lives. Back to a tiny village in Asia Minor where two lovers, and one rare genetic mutation, set in motion the metamorphosis that will turn Callie into a being both mythical and perfectly real: a hermaphrodite.
Spanning eight decades--and one unusually awkward adolescence- Jeffrey Eugenides's long-awaited second novel is a grand, utterly original fable of crossed bloodlines, the intricacies of gender, and the deep, untidy promptings of desire. It marks the fulfillment of a huge talent, named one of America's best young novelists by both Granta and The New Yorker.
Middlesex is the winner of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
The novel is set against one of the most dramatic political chronicles of the twentieth century: the Congo's fight for independence from Belgium, the murder of its first elected prime minister, the CIA coup to install his replacement, and the insidious progress of a world economic order that robs the fledgling African nation of its autonomy. Against this backdrop, Orleanna Price reconstructs the story of her evangelist husband's part in the Western assault on Africa, a tale indelibly darkened by her own losses and unanswerable questions about her own culpability. Also narrating the story, by turns, are her four daughters—the self-centered, teenaged Rachel; shrewd adolescent twins Leah and Adah; and Ruth May, a prescient five-year-old. These sharply observant girls, who arrive in the Congo with racial preconceptions forged in 1950s Georgia, will be marked in surprisingly different ways by their father's intractable mission, and by Africa itself. Ultimately each must strike her own separate path to salvation. Their passionately intertwined stories become a compelling exploration of moral risk and personal responsibility.
Dancing between the dark comedy of human failings and the breathtaking possibilities of human hope, The Poisonwood Bible possesses all that has distinguished Barbara Kingsolver's previous work, and extends this beloved writer's vision to an entirely new level. Taking its place alongside the classic works of postcolonial literature, this ambitious novel establishes Kingsolver as one of the most thoughtful and daring of modern writers.
September 5th, 2017 marks the 60th anniversary of the publication of On the Road
Inspired by Jack Kerouac's adventures with Neal Cassady, On the Road tells the story of two friends whose cross-country road trips are a quest for meaning and true experience. Written with a mixture of sad-eyed naiveté and wild ambition and imbued with Kerouac's love of America, his compassion for humanity, and his sense of language as jazz, On the Road is the quintessential American vision of freedom and hope, a book that changed American literature and changed anyone who has ever picked it up.
Now, for the first time, Cross is weaving his media mockery, celebrity denunciation, religious commentary and sheer madness into book form, revealing the true story behind his almost existential distaste of Jim Belushi ("The Belush"), disclosing the up-to-now unpublished minutes to a meeting of Fox television network executives, and offering up a brutally grotesque run-in with Bill O'Reilly. And as if this wasn't enough for your laughing pleasure in these troubled times, some of the pieces splinter off with additional material being created online in exclusive video and animated web content created solely for the book-a historical first (presumably)!
With a mix of personal essays, satirical fiction posing as truth, advice for rich people, information from America's least favorite Rabbi and a top-ten list of top-ten lists, I DRINK FOR A REASON is as unique as the comedian himself, and cannot be missed.