Buzz Books 2017: Fall/Winter: Exclusive excerpts from forthcoming titles by Louise Erdrich, Bill McKibben, Celeste Ng, Robin Sloan, Amy Tan and 35 more

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Buzz Books gives you 40 chances to find your next great reads, providing exclusive early looks at the next big thing from favorite authors and hot new discoveries. From bestselling authors, we have samples of new work from Louise Erdrich and nonfiction from novelist Amy Tan in her memoir Where the Past Begins, as well as fiction from environmentalist Bill McKibben (Radio Free Vermont). A rich selection of highly anticipated follow-up books is inside, too: From author of Ten Thousand Saints Eleanor Henderson comes her new novel The Twelve Mile Straight; from the author of the quirky Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore Robin Sloan there is Sourdough; and Celeste Ng, author of Everything I Never Told You returns with Little Fires Everywhere. This edition is packed with 16 debut novels, including the highly-touted Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo and the big thriller The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn, along with first novels by Sarah Bailey, Phil Harrison, Ali Land, K Arsenault Rivera, Adrian Walker, Cherise Wolas and more. In nonfiction, Bryan Mealer's The Kings of Big Spring recounts his family's complicated history with the Texas oil industry; Jaime Lowe's Mental: Lithium, Love, and Losing My Mind is both memoir and an investigation into the history, uses, and controversies behind lithium; Heather Harpham's Happiness looks at an estranged couple drawn back together by their daughter's unexpected illness; and actor Gabrielle Union's collection of essays about gender, sexuality, race, beauty, Hollywood, and what it means to be a modern woman suggests that We're Going to Need More Wine. Regular readers know that each Buzz Books collection is filled with early looks at titles that will go on to top the bestseller lists and critics' "best of the year" lists. And our comprehensive seasonal preview starts the book off with a curated overview of hundreds of notable books on the way later this year. For still more great previews, check out our separate Buzz Books 2017: Young Adult Fall/Winter as well, available on all major ebookstores.
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May 16, 2017
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"All first-rate criticism first defines what we are confronting," the late, great jazz critic Whitney Balliett once wrote. By that measure, the essays of Christopher Hitchens are in the first tier. For nearly four decades, Hitchens has been telling us, in pitch-perfect prose, what we confront when we grapple with first principles-the principles of reason and tolerance and skepticism that define and inform the foundations of our civilization-principles that, to endure, must be defended anew by every generation.

"A short list of the greatest living conversationalists in English," said The Economist, "would probably have to include Christopher Hitchens, Sir Patrick Leigh-Fermor, and Sir Tom Stoppard. Great brilliance, fantastic powers of recall, and quick wit are clearly valuable in sustaining conversation at these cosmic levels. Charm may be helpful, too." Hitchens-who staunchly declines all offers of knighthood-hereby invites you to take a seat at a democratic conversation, to be engaged, and to be reasoned with. His knowledge is formidable, an encyclopedic treasure, and yet one has the feeling, reading him, of hearing a person thinking out loud, following the inexorable logic of his thought, wherever it might lead, unafraid to expose fraudulence, denounce injustice, and excoriate hypocrisy. Legions of readers, admirers and detractors alike, have learned to read Hitchens with something approaching awe at his felicity of language, the oxygen in every sentence, the enviable wit and his readiness, even eagerness, to fight a foe or mount the ramparts.

Here, he supplies fresh perceptions of such figures as varied as Charles Dickens, Karl Marx, Rebecca West, George Orwell, J.G. Ballard, and Philip Larkin are matched in brilliance by his pungent discussions and intrepid observations, gathered from a lifetime of traveling and reporting from such destinations as Iran, China, and Pakistan.

Hitchens's directness, elegance, lightly carried erudition, critical and psychological insight, humor, and sympathy-applied as they are here to a dazzling variety of subjects-all set a standard for the essayist that has rarely been matched in our time. What emerges from this indispensable volume is an intellectual self-portrait of a writer with an exemplary steadiness of purpose and a love affair with the delights and seductions of the English language, a man anchored in a profound and humane vision of the human longing for reason and justice.

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