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How to Read a Book (Revised and Updated)
Adler, Mortimer J
How to Read a Book, originally published in 1940, has become a rare phenomenon, a living classic. It is the best and most successful guide to reading comprehension for the general reader. And now it has been completely rewritten and updated.
1,000 Books to Read Before You Die: A Life-Changing List
Celebrate the pleasure of reading and the thrill of discovering new titles in an extraordinary book that’s as compulsively readable, entertaining, surprising, and enlightening as the 1,000-plus titles it recommends.Covering fiction, poetry, science and science fiction, memoir, travel writing, biography, children’s books, history, and more, 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die ranges across cultures and through time to offer an eclectic collection of works that each deserve to come with the recommendation, You have to read this. But it’s not a proscriptive list of the “great works” - rather, it’s a celebration of the glorious mosaic that is our literary heritage.Flip it open to any page and be transfixed by a fresh take on a very favorite book. Or come across a title you always meant to read and never got around to. Or, like browsing in the best kind of bookshop, stumble on a completely unknown author and work, and feel that tingle of discovery. There are classics, of course, and unexpected treasures, too. Lists to help pick and choose, like Offbeat Escapes, or A Long Climb, but What a View. And its alphabetical arrangement by author assures that surprises await on almost every turn of the page, with Cormac McCarthy and The Road next to Robert McCloskey and Make Way for Ducklings, Alice Walker next to Izaac Walton. There are nuts and bolts, too - best editions to read, other books by the author, “if you like this, you’ll like that” recommendations , and an interesting endnote of adaptations where appropriate. Add it all up, and in fact there are more than six thousand titles by nearly four thousand authors mentioned - a life-changing list for a lifetime of reading.
A Little Book on Form: An Exploration into the Formal Imagination of Poetry
A Little Book on Form brilliantly synthesizes Hass’s formidable gifts as both a poet and essayist. In it he takes up the central tension between poetry as genre and the poetics of the imagination. A wealth of vocabulary exists with which to talk about poetry in traditional formal terms. But the more intuitive, creative parts of a poet’s work and processes are more elusive: if the most interesting aspect of form is the shaping power of the essential, expressive gestures inside it, how do we come to a language in which to speak about form as the search for the radiant shapes— the wholeness or brokenness—we experience inside powerful works of art?In suggestive, informal “notes,” Haas thinks through the idea of a poem from its barest building blocks—the one line haiku, the brief epigram or prayer—to the complex villanelle and sonnet, and beyond them, to the grand forms of elegy and ode through which poets across human cultures have investigated the shapes of grieving and desiring. His approach singularly employs postmodern perspectives on shape, thought, feeling, content, and movement, calling on Catullus and Allen Ginsberg, Kobayashi Issa and Czeslaw Milosz. Begunb as a project for students of poetry, A Little Book on Form is anything but—Hass investigates the ancient roots of the poetic impulse, taking a wide-ranging look at the most intense experience of human thought and feeling in language.
For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf
From its inception in California in 1974 to its highly acclaimed critical success at Joseph Papp's Public Theater and on Broadway, the Obie Award-winning for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf has excited, inspired, and transformed audiences all over the country. Passionate and fearless, Shange's words reveal what it is to be of color and female in the twentieth century. Here is the complete text, with stage directions, of a groundbreaking dramatic prose poem written in vivid and powerful language that resonates with unusual beauty in its fierce message to the world.
Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi
The renowned biblical scholar, author of The Misunderstood Jew, and general editor for The Jewish Annotated New Testament interweaves history and spiritual analysis to explore Jesus’ most popular teaching parables, exposing their misinterpretations and making them lively and relevant for modern readers.
Letters from the Earth
This exuberantly eclectic collection of Twain's writings includes parody, criticism, and commentary, all published after his death in 1910.
Shakespeare: The World as Stage (Eminent Lives Series)
William Shakespeare, the most celebrated poet in the English language, left behind nearly a million words of text, but his biography has long been a thicket of wild supposition arranged around scant facts. With a steady hand and his trademark wit, Bill Bryson sorts through this colorful muddle to reveal the man himself. His Shakespeare is like no one else's - the beneficiary of Bryson's genial nature, his engaging skepticism, and a gift for storytelling unrivaled in our time.
Shakespeare's Sonnets and Poems (Folger Shakespeare Library)
FOLGER SHAKESPEARE LIBRARY THE WORLD'S LEADING CENTER FORSHAKESPEARE STUDIES This edition includes: Full explanatory notes conveniently placed on the page facing each sonnet and poem A brief introduction to each sonnet and poem, providing insight and context Introductions to reading Shakespeare's language in the sonnets and in the poems Essays by leading Shakespeare scholars who provide modern perspectives on the sonnets and on the poems Illustrations from the Folger Shakespeare Library's vast holdings of rare books Essays byLynne Magnusson and Catherine Belsey The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., is home to the world's largest collection of Shakespeare's printed works, and a magnet for Shakespeare scholars from around the globe. In addition to exhibitions open to the public throughout the year, the Folger offers a full calendar of performances and programs. For more information, visitwww.folger.edu.
How to Read and Why
For more than forty years, Harold Bloom has transformed college students into lifelong readers with his unrivaled love for literature. Now, at a time when faster and easier electronic media threatens to eclipse the practice of reading, Bloom draws on his experience as critic, teacher, and prolific reader to plumb the great books for their sustaining wisdom. Shedding all polemic, Bloom addresses the solitary reader, who, he urges, should read for the purest of all reasons: to discover and augment the self. His ultimate faith in the restorative power of literature resonates on every page of this infinitely rewarding and important book.
Romeo and Juliet (Folger Shakespeare Library, Updated Edition)
FOLGER Shakespeare Library: the world’s leading center for Shakespeare studies. Each edition includes: • Freshly edited text based on the best early printed version of the play • Full explanatory notes conveniently placed on pages facing the text of the play • Scene-by-scene plot summaries • A key to famous lines and phrases • An introduction to reading Shakespeare’s language • An essay by a leading Shakespeare scholar providing a modern perspective on the play • Illustrations from the Folger Shakespeare
How to Read the Constitution--and Why
An insightful, urgent, and perennially relevant handbook that lays out in common sense language how the United States Constitution works, and how its protections are eroding before our eyes—essential reading for anyone who wants to understand and parse the constantly breaking news about the backbone of American government.The Constitution is the most significant document in America. But do you fully understand what this valuable document means to you? In How to Read the Constitution and Why, legal expert and educator Kimberly Wehle spells out in clear, simple, and common sense terms what is in the Constitution, and most importantly, what it means. In compelling terms, she describes how the Constitution’s protections are eroding—not only in express terms but by virtue of the many legal and social norms that no longer shore up its legitimacy—and why every American needs to heed to this “red flag” moment in our democracy.This invaluable—and timely—resource covers nearly every significant aspect of the Constitution, from the powers of the President and how the three branches of government are designed to hold each other accountable, to what it means to have individual rights—including free speech, the right to bear arms, the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, and the right to an abortion. Finally, the book explains why it has never been more important than now for all Americans to know how our Constitution works—and why, if we don’t step in to protect it now, we could lose its protections forever.How to Read the Constitution and Why is essential reading for anyone who cares about maintaining an accountable government and the individual freedoms that the Constitution enshrines for everyone in America—regardless of political party.
Proofs & Theories
Winner of the 1993 PEN/Martha Albrand Award for First Non-Fiction, Proofs and Theories is an illuminating collection of essays by Louise Gluck, whose most recent book of poems, The Wild Iris, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. Gluck brings to her prose the same precision of language, the same incisiveness and insight that distinguish her poetry. The force of her thought is evident everywhere in these essays, from her explorations of other poets' work to her skeptical contemplation of current literary critical notions such as "sincerity" and "courage." Here also are Gluck's revealing reflections on her own education and life as a poet, and a tribute to her teacher and mentor, Stanley Kunitz. Proofs and Theories is the testament of a major poet.
Thomas Hardy once said that America had two great attractions: the skyscraper and the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay. The most famous poet of the Jazz Age, Millay captivated the nation: She smoked in public, took many lovers (male and female, single and married), flouted convention sensationally, and became, for many, the embodiment of the New Woman. Thirty years after the triumphant success of Zelda, Nancy Milford returns with a strong second act. Hailed by critics as a landmark biography, chosen by USA Today as one of the top ten books of the year, Savage Beauty uncovers for the first time the dark side of Millay's life - her dependence on fame and her harrowing descent into morphine addiction. Millay was an American original - one of those rare characters, like Sylvia Plath or Ernest Hemingway, whose lives are even more dramatic than their art.
The Empty Space
What differentiates Brook's writing from so many other theatrical gurus is its extraordinary clarity. His gentle illumination of the four types of theater is conversational, even chatty, and though passionately felt, it's entirely lacking in the sort of didactic bombast that flaws many similar texts.
From the author of dozens of #1 New York Times bestsellers and the creator of many unforgettable movies comes a vivid, intelligent, and nostalgic journey through three decades of horror as experienced through the eyes of the most popular writer in the genre. In 1981, years before he sat down to tackle On Writing, Stephen King decided to address the topic of what makes horror horrifying and what makes terror terrifying. Here, in ten brilliantly written chapters, King delivers one colorful observation after another about the great stories, books, and films that comprise the horror genre - from Frankenstein and Dracula to The Exorcist, The Twilight Zone, and Earth vs. The Flying Saucers. With the insight and good humor his fans appreciated in On Writing, Danse Macabre is an enjoyably entertaining tour through Stephen King's beloved world of horror.
How to Read Novels Like a Professor: A Jaunty Exploration of the World's Favorite Literary Form
Foster, Thomas C.
A lively and entertaining guide to understanding and dissecting novels to make everyday reading more enriching, satisfying and fun.
The End of Your Life Book Club
"What are you reading?" That's the question Will Schwalbe asks his mother, Mary Anne, as they sit in the waiting room of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. In 2007, Mary Anne returned from a humanitarian trip to Pakistan and Afghanistan suffering from what her doctors believed was a rare type of hepatitis. Months later she was diagnosed with a form of advanced pancreatic cancer, which is almost always fatal, often in six months or less. This is the inspiring true story of a son and his mother, who start a "book club" that brings them together as her life comes to a close. Over the next two years, Will and Mary Anne carry on conversations that are both wide-ranging and deeply personal, prompted by an eclectic array of books and a shared passion for reading. Their list jumps from classic to popular, from poetry to mysteries, from fantastic to spiritual. The issues they discuss include questions of faith and courage as well as everyday topics such as expressing gratitude and learning to listen. Throughout, they are constantly reminded of the power of books to comfort us, astonish us, teach us, and tell us what we need to do with our lives and in the world. Reading isn't the opposite of doing; it's the opposite of dying. Will and Mary Anne share their hopes and concerns with each other - and rediscover their lives - through their favorite books. When they read, they aren't a sick person and a well person, but a mother and a son taking a journey together. The result is a profoundly moving tale of loss that is also a joyful, and often humorous, celebration of life: Will's love letter to his mother, and theirs to the printed page.
How to Read Poetry Like a Professor: A Quippy and Sonorous Guide to Verse
Foster, Thomas C.
From the bestselling author of How to Read Literature Like a Professor comes this essential primer to reading poetry like a professor that unlocks the keys to enjoying works from Lord Byron to the Beatles.No literary form is as admired and feared as poetry. Admired for its lengthy pedigree—a line of poets extending back to a time before recorded history—and a ubiquitous presence in virtually all cultures, poetry is also revered for its great beauty and the powerful emotions it evokes. But the form has also instilled trepidation in its many admirers mainly because of a lack of familiarity and knowledge. Poetry demands more from readers—intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually—than other literary forms. Most of us started out loving poetry because it filled our beloved children's books from Dr. Seuss to Robert Louis Stevenson. Eventually, our reading shifted to prose and later when we encountered poetry again, we had no recent experience to make it feel familiar. But reading poetry doesn’t need to be so overwhelming. In an entertaining and engaging voice, Thomas C. Foster shows readers how to overcome their fear of poetry and learn to enjoy it once more.From classic poets such as Shakespeare, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Edna St. Vincent Millay to later poets such as E.E. Cummings, Billy Collins, and Seamus Heaney, How to Read Poetry Like a Professor examines a wide array of poems and teaches readers:• How to read a poem to understand its primary meaning.• The different technical elements of poetry such as meter, diction, rhyme, line structures, length, order, regularity, and how to learn to see these elements as allies rather than adversaries.• How to listen for a poem’s secondary meaning by paying attention to the echoes that the language of poetry summons up.• How to hear the music in poems—and the poetry in songs!• With How to Read Poetry Like a Professor, readers can rediscover poetry and reap its many rewards.
The Practice of Poetry
Behn, Robin (Edt)
A distinctive collection of more than 90 effective poetry-writing exercises combined with corresponding essays to inspire writers of all levels.
Bowie's Bookshelf: The Hundred Books that Changed David Bowie's Life
Three years before David Bowie died, he shared a list of 100 books that changed his life. His choices span fiction and nonfiction, literary and irreverent, and include timeless classics alongside eyebrow-raising obscurities.In 100 short essays, music journalist John O’Connell studies each book on Bowie’s list and contextualizes it in the artist’s life and work. How did the power imbued in a single suit of armor in The Iliad impact a man who loved costumes, shifting identity, and the siren song of the alter-ego? How did The Gnostic Gospels inform Bowie’s own hazy personal cosmology? How did the poems of T.S. Eliot and Frank O’Hara, the fiction of Vladimir Nabokov and Anthony Burgess, the comics of The Beano and The Viz, and the groundbreaking politics of James Baldwin influence Bowie’s lyrics, his sound, his artistic outlook? How did the 100 books on this list influence one of the most influential artists of a generation?Heartfelt, analytical, and totally original, Bowie’s Bookshelf is one part epic reading guide and one part biography of a music legend.
The Sackett Companion
An indispensable guide to the novels of Sackett family saga, written by the foremost author of the American frontier experience. Describes the plots, characters, and settings of the novels. Includes detailed glossaries & the Sackett family tree.
I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life
For so many people, reading isn't just a hobby or a way to pass the time--it's a lifestyle. Our books shape us, define us, enchant us, and even sometimes infuriate us. Our books are a part of who we are as people, and we can't imagine life without them.I'd Rather Be Reading is the perfect literary companion for everyone who feels that way. In this collection of charming and relatable reflections on the reading life, beloved blogger and author Anne Bogel leads readers to remember the book that first hooked them, the place where they first fell in love with reading, and all of the moments afterward that helped make them the reader they are today. Known as a reading tastemaker through her popular podcast What Should I Read Next?, Bogel invites book lovers into a community of like-minded people to discover new ways to approach literature, learn fascinating new things about books and publishing, and reflect on the role reading plays in their lives.The perfect gift for the bibliophile in everyone's life, I'd Rather Be Reading will command an honored place on the overstuffed bookshelves of any book lover.
The Novel Cure: From Abandonment to Zestlessness: 751 Books to Cure What Ails You
Whether you have a stubbed toe or a stubborn case of the blues, within these pages you ll find a cure in the form of a novel or a combination of novels to help ease your pain. You ll also find advice on how to tackle common reading ailments - such as what to do when you feel overwhelmed by the number of books in the world, or if you have a tendency to give up halfway through. When read at the right moment in your life, a novel can quite literally change it, and The Novel Cure is a reminder of that power. Written with authority, passion and wit, here is a fresh approach to finding new books to read, and an enchanting way to revisit the books on your shelves.
The Merchant of Venice (Folger Shakespeare Library, Updated Edition)
FOLGER Shakespeare Library: the world's leading center for Shakespeare studies. Each edition includes: • Freshly edited text based on the best early printed version of the play • Full explanatory notes conveniently placed on pages facing the text of the play • Scene-by-scene plot summaries • A key to famous lines and phrases • An introduction to reading Shakespeare’s language • An essay by a leading Shakespeare scholar providing a modern perspective on the play • Illustrations from the Folger Shakespeare
1961: For most black Americans, these were times of hope. For former P.I. Easy Rawlins, Los Angeles's mean streets were never meaner...or more deadly. Ordinarily, Easy would have thrown the two bills in the sleazy shamus' face -- the white man who wanted him to find the notorious Black Betty, an ebony siren whose talent for all things rich and male took her from Houston's Fifth Ward to Beverly Hills. There was too much Easy wasn't being told, but he couldn't resist the prospect of seeing Betty again, even if it killed him....
Cold Warriors: Writers Who Waged the Literary Cold War
In this brilliant account of the literary war within the Cold War, novelists and poets become embroiled in a dangerous game of betrayal, espionage, and conspiracy at the heart of the vicious conflict fought between the Soviet Union and the West.During the Cold War, literature was both sword and noose. Novels, essays, and poems could win the hearts and minds of those caught between the competing creeds of capitalism and communism. They could also lead to blacklisting, exile, imprisonment, or execution for their authors if they offended those in power. The clandestine intelligence services of the United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union recruited secret agents and established vast propaganda networks devoted to literary warfare. But the battles were personal, too: friends turned on one another, lovers were split by political fissures, artists were undermined by inadvertent complicities. And while literary battles were fought in print, sometimes the pen was exchanged for a gun, the bookstore for the battlefield.In Cold Warriors, Duncan White vividly chronicles how this ferocious intellectual struggle was waged on both sides of the Iron Curtain. Among those involved were George Orwell, Stephen Spender, Mary McCarthy, Graham Greene, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, John le Carré, Anna Akhmatova, Richard Wright, Ernest Hemingway, Boris Pasternak, Gioconda Belli, and Václav Havel. Here, too, are the spies, government officials, military officers, publishers, politicians, and critics who helped turn words into weapons at a time when the stakes could not have been higher.Drawing upon years of archival research and the latest declassified intelligence, Cold Warriors is both a gripping saga of prose and politics, and a welcome reminder that--at a moment when ignorance is all too frequently celebrated and reading is seen as increasingly irrelevant--writers and books can change the world.
Goddess of the Americas
This book contains essays and stories about the Virgin of Guadalupe.
Why Read Moby-Dick?
One of the greatest American novels finds its perfect contemporary champion in Why Read Moby-Dick?, Nathaniel Philbrick’s enlightening and entertaining tour through Melville’s classic. As he did in his National Book Award–winning bestseller In the Heart of the Sea, Philbrick brings a sailor’s eye and an adventurer’s passion to unfolding the story behind an epic American journey. He skillfully navigates Melville’s world and illuminates the book’s humor and unforgettable characters - finding the thread that binds Ishmael and Ahab to our own time and, indeed, to all times. An ideal match between author and subject, Why Read Moby-Dick? will start conversations, inspire arguments, and make a powerful case that this classic tale waits to be discovered anew.
In this absorbing and atmospheric historical narrative, journalist Aaron Shulman takes us deeply into the circumstances surrounding the Spanish Civil War through the lives, loves, and poetry of the Paneros, Spain’s most compelling and eccentric family, whose lives intersected memorably with many of the most storied figures in the art, literature, and politics of the time—from Neruda to Salvador Dalí, from Ava Gardner to Pablo Picasso to Roberto Bolaño.Weaving memoir with cultural history and biography, and brought together with vivid storytelling and striking images, The Age of Disenchantments sheds new light on the romance and intellectual ferment of the era while revealing the profound and enduring devastation of the war, the Franco dictatorship, and the country’s transition to democracy.A searing tale of love and hatred, art and ambition, and freedom and oppression, The Age of Disenchantments is a chronicle of a family who modeled their lives (and deaths) on the works of art that most inspired and obsessed them and who, in turn, profoundly affected the culture and society around them.
The Partly Cloudy Patriot
Sarah Vowell travels through the American past and, in doing so, investigates the dusty, bumpy roads of her own life. Her essays confront a wide range of subjects, themes, icons, and historical moments: Ike, Teddy Roosevelt, and Bill Clinton; Canadian Mounties and German filmmakers; Tom Cruise and Buffy the Vampire Slayer; twins and nerds; the Gettysburg Address, the State of the Union, and George W. Bush's inauguration. The result is a teeming and engrossing book, capturing Vowell's memorable wit and her keen social commentary.
Amelia Peabody's: Egypt
The Egypt that so enticed and enchanted intrepid archaeologist-sleuth Amelia Peabody in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries was a place of wonder, mystery, danger, and the lure of antiquity. Now, with this monumental volume of Egyptian culture, history, and arcania, readers will be able to immerse themselves in the great lady's world more completely than ever before.
Cinderella and the Glass Ceiling: And Other Feminist Fairy Tales
This wickedly wise (and wisecracking) parody of classic fairy tales redefines happily ever after for the modern feminist era.You know what? It's super creepy to kiss a woman who is unconscious. And you know what else? The way out of poverty isn't by marrying a rich dude -- or by wearing fragile footwear, for that matter. And while we're at it, why is the only woman who lives with seven men expected to do the cooking, cleaning, and laundry?Fairytales need a reboot, and comedy queens Laura Lane and Ellen Haun are the women to do it. In Cinderella and the Glass Ceiling, they offer a rollicking parody of classic (read: patriarchal) tales that turns sweet, submissive princesses into women who are perfectly capable of being the heroes of their own stories. Mulan climbs the ranks in the army but wages a different war when she finds out she's getting paid less than her fellow male captains, Wendy learns never to trust a man-boy stalking her window, Sleeping Beauty's prince gets a lesson in consent, and more.Busting with laugh-out-loud, razor-sharp twists to these outdated tales, Cinderella and the Glass Ceiling is fun, magical, necessary, and totally woke.
All That Is Solid Melts into Air
The political and social revolutions of the nineteenth century, the pivotal writings of Goethe, Marx, Dostoevsky, and others, and the creation of new environments to replace the old - all have thrust us into a modern world of contradictions and ambiguities. In this fascinating book, Marshall Berman examines the clash of classes, histories, and cultures, and ponders our prospects for coming to terms with the relationship between a liberating social and philosophical idealism and a complex, bureaucratic materialism.
Laxness, Halldor Kiljan
In an epic set in Iceland in the early twentieth century, Gudbjartur Jonsson buys his own croft after eighteen years of service to the local bailiff, and brings his wife and his small flock of sheep there to build a new, independent life for himself.
The New York Times bestselling author of How to Read Literature Like a Professor uses the same skills to teach how to access accurate information in a rapidly changing 24/7 news cycle and become better readers, thinkers, and consumers of media.We live in an information age, but it is increasingly difficult to know which information to trust. Fake news is rampant in mass media, stoked by foreign powers wishing to disrupt a democratic society. We need to be more perceptive, more critical, and more judicious readers. The future of our republic may depend on it.How to Read Nonfiction Like a Professor is more careful, more attentive, more aware reading. On bookstore shelves, one book looks as authoritative as the next. Online, posts and memes don’t announce their relative veracity. It is up to readers to establish how accurate, how thorough, how fair material may be.After laying out general principles of reading nonfiction, How to Read Nonfiction Like a Professor offers advice for specific reading strategies in various genres from histories and biographies to science and technology to social media. Throughout, the emphasis will be on understanding writers’ biases, interrogating claims, analyzing arguments, remaining wary of broad assertions and easy answers, and thinking critically about the written and spoken materials readers encounter. We can become better citizens through better reading, and the time for that is now.
Dictionary of the Undoing
For John Freeman - literary critic, essayist, editor, poet, “one of the preeminent book people of our time” (Dave Eggers) - it is the rare moment when words are not enough. But in the wake of the election of 2016, words felt useless, even indulgent. Action was the only reasonable response. He took to the streets in protest, and the sense of community and collective conviction felt right. But the assaults continued - on citizens’ rights and long-held compacts, on the core principles of our culture and civilization, and on our language itself. Words seemed to be losing the meanings they once had and Freeman was compelled to return to their defense. The result is his Dictionary of the Undoing.From A to Z, “Agitate” to “Zygote,” Freeman assembled the words that felt most essential, most potent, and began to build a case for their renewed power and authority, each word building on the last. The message that emerged was not to retreat behind books, but to emphatically engage in the public sphere, to redefine what it means to be a literary citizen.With an afterword by Valeria Luiselli, Dictionary of the Undoing is a necessary, resounding cri de coeur in defense of language, meaning, and our ability to imagine, describe, and build a better world.
A Summer of Hummingbirds
At the close of the Civil War, the lives of Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Martin Johnson Heade intersected in an intricate map of friendship, family, and romance that marked a milestone in the development of American art and literature. Using the image of a flitting hummingbird as a metaphor for the gossamer strands that connect these larger-than-life personalities, Christopher Benfey re-creates the summer of 1882, the summer when Mabel Louise Todd - the protégé to the painter Heade - confesses her love for Emily Dickinson's brother, Austin, and the players suddenly find themselves caught in the crossfire between the Calvinist world of decorum, restraint, and judgment and a new, unconventional world in which nature prevails and freedom is all.
Lear: The Great Image of Authority (Shakespeare's Personalities, Bk. 3)
King Lear is one of the most famous and compelling characters in literature. The aged, abused monarch - a man in his eighties, like Bloom himself - is at once the consummate figure of authority and the classic example of the fall from grace and widely agreed to be Shakespeare’s most moving, tragic hero.Award-winning writer and beloved professor Harold Bloom writes about Lear with wisdom, joy, exuberance, and compassion. He also explores his own personal relationship to the character: Just as we encounter one Anna Karenina or Jay Gatsby when we are seventeen and another when we are forty, Bloom writes about his shifting understanding - over the course of his own lifetime - of this endlessly compelling figure, so that the book also becomes an extraordinarily moving argument for literature as a path to and a measure of our humanity.
The Art of Fiction
From Jane Austen to Paul Auster, irony to magical realism, the novelist's art is revealed in an entertaining and enlightening book for readers and writers - from the author of Nice Work. Here are 50 of David Lodge's articles from the acclaimed series that engaged and delighted readers of The Washington Post and the London Independent.
Journal of a Novel
Each working day from January 29 to November 1, 1951, John Steinbeck warmed up to the work of writing East of Eden with a letter to the late Pascal Covici, his friend and editor at The Viking Press. It was his way, he said, of "getting my mental arm in shape to pitch a good game." Steinbeck's letters were written on the left-hand pages of a notebook in which the facing pages would be filled with the text of East of Eden. They touched on many subjects - story arguments, trial flights of workmanship, concern for his sons. Part autobiography, part writer's workshop, these letters offer an illuminating perspective on Steinbeck's creative process, and a fascinating glimpse of Steinbeck, the private man.
In Dear Fahrenheit 451, librarian Annie Spence has crafted love letters and breakup notes to the iconic and eclectic books she has encountered over the years. From breaking up with The Giving Tree (a dysfunctional relationship book if ever there was one), to her love letter to The Time Traveler’s Wife (a novel less about time travel and more about the life of a marriage, with all of its ups and downs), Spence will make you think of old favorites in a new way. Filled with suggested reading lists, Spence’s take on classic and contemporary books is very much like the best of literature - sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, sometimes surprisingly poignant, and filled with universal truths.A celebration of reading, Dear Fahrenheit 451 is for anyone who loves nothing more than curling up with a good book . . . and another, and another, and another!
Unfinished Business: Notes of a Chronic Re-reader
One of our most beloved writers reassess the electrifying works of literature that have shaped her lifeI sometimes think I was born reading . . . I can’t remember the time when I didn’t have a book in my hands, my head lost to the world around me.Unfinished Business: Notes of a Chronic Re-reader is Vivian Gornick’s celebration of passionate reading, of returning again and again to the books that have shaped her at crucial points in her life. In nine essays that traverse literary criticism, memoir, and biography, one of our most celebrated critics writes about the importance of reading - and re-reading - as life progresses. Gornick finds herself in contradictory characters within D. H. Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers, assesses womanhood in Colette’s The Vagabond and The Shackle, and considers the veracity of memory in Marguerite Duras’s The Lover. She revisits Great War novels by J. L. Carr and Pat Barker, uncovers the psychological complexity of Elizabeth Bowen’s prose, and soaks in Natalia Ginzburg, “a writer whose work has often made me love life more.” After adopting two cats, whose erratic behavior she finds vexing, she discovers Doris Lessing’s Particularly Cats.Guided by Gornick’s trademark verve and insight, Unfinished Business is a masterful appreciation of literature’s power to illuminate our lives from a peerless writer and thinker who “still read[s] to feel the power of Life with a capital L.”
The Edge of Memory: Ancient Stories, Oral Tradition and the Post-Glacial World (Bloomsbury Sigma)
In The Edge of Memory, Patrick Nunn explores the science in folk history. He looks at ancient tales and traditions that may be rooted in scientifically verifiable fact, and can be explored via geological evidence, such as the Biblical Flood.We all know those stories that have been told in our families for generations. The ones that start "Have I ever told you about your great, great Uncle ...?" In some cultures these stories have been passed down for thousands of years, and often reveal significant information about how the surrounding environment has changed and the effect it has had on societies--from stories referring to coastal drowning to the devastation caused by meteorite falls.Take Australian folklore, for instance. People arrived in Australia more than 60,000 years ago, and the need to survive led to the development of knowledge that was captured orally in stories passed down through the generations. These stories conveyed both practical information and recorded history, and they frequently made reference to a coastline that was very different to the one we recognize today. In at least 21 different communities along the fringe of Australia, flood stories were recorded by European anthropologists, missionaries, and others. They described a lost landscape that is now under as much as 100 feet of ocean. And these folk traditions are backed up by hard science. Geologists are now starting to corroborate the tales through study of climatic data, sediments and land forms; the evidence was there in the stories, but until recently, nobody was listening.The Edge of Memory is an important book that explores the wider implications for our knowledge of how human society has developed through the millennia.
The Steampunk User's Manual: An Illustrated Practical and Whimsical Guide to Creating Retro-Futurist Dreams
Steampunk, the retro-futuristic cultural movement, has become a substantial and permanent genre in the worlds of fantasy and science fiction. A large part of its appeal is that, at its core, Steampunk is about doing it yourself: building on the past while also innovating and creating something original. VanderMeer's latest book offers practical and inspirational guidance for readers to find their individual path into this realm. Including sections on art, fashion, architecture, crafts, music, performance, and storytelling, The Steampunk User's Manual provides a conceptual how-to guide that motivates and awes both the armchair enthusiast and the committed creator. Examples range from the utterly doable to the completely over-the-top, encouraging participation and imagination at all levels.
On Stories: And Other Essays on Literature
Lewis, C. S.
While C. S. Lewis was a professor of literature at Oxford University, he was renowned for his insightful and often witty presentations on the nature of stories. This collection assembles nine essays that encapsulate his ideas about fiction, including: On Stories; The Death of Words; On Three Ways of Writing for Children; as well as eleven pieces that were unpublished during his lifetime.
Character: The History of a Cultural Obsession
A spirited, engaging investigation into the concept of character, an enduring human obsession in literature, psychology, politics, and everyday lifeWhat is “character”? How can it be measured, improved, or built? Are character traits fixed or changeable? Is character innate, or can it be taught?Since at least the time of Aristotle, philosophers, theologians, moralists, artists, and scientists have engaged with the enigma of human character. In its oldest usage, “character” derives from a word for engraving or stamping, yet over time, it has come to mean a moral idea, a type, a literary persona, and a physical or physiological manifestation, observable in works of art and scientific experiments. It is an essential term in drama and the focus of self-help books.In Character: The History of a Cultural Obsession, Marjorie Garber points out that character seems more relevant than ever today - the term is omnipresent in discussions of politics, ethics, gender, morality, and the psyche. References to character flaws, character issues, character assassination, and allegations of “bad” and “good” character are inescapable in the media and in contemporary political debates.What connection does “character,” in this moral or ethical sense, have with the concept of a character in a novel or a play? Do our notions about fictional characters help to produce our ideas about moral character? Can character be formed, or taught, in schools, in scouting, in the home? From Plutarch to John Stuart Mill, from Shakespeare to Darwin, from Theophrastus to Freud, from nineteenth-century phrenology to twenty-first-century brain scans, the search for the sources and components of human character still preoccupies us.The question of character arises in virtually every area of modern life. And in each case, there is the same fundamental tension: is it innate or intrinsic to the individual, or something that can be learned or modeled? At a time when both the meaning and the value of this term are put in question, no issue is more important, and no topic more vital, surprising, and fascinating.With her distinctive verve, humor, and vast erudition, Marjorie Garber explores the stakes of these conflations, confusions, and heritages, from ancient Greece to the present day.
The Traveling Feast: On the Road and at the Table with My Heroes
From his bid to become Eudora Welty's lawn boy to the time George Plimpton offered to punch him in the nose, lineage has always been important to Rick Bass. Now at a turning point--in his midfifties, with his long marriage dissolved and his grown daughters out of the house--Bass strikes out on a journey of thanksgiving. His aim: to make a memorable meal for each of his mentors, to express his gratitude for the way they have shaped not only his writing but his life. The result, an odyssey to some of America's most iconic writers, is also a record of self-transformation as Bass seeks to recapture the fire that drove him as a young man. Along the way we join in escapades involving smuggled contraband, an exploding grill, a trail of blood through Heathrow airport, an episode of dog-watching with Amy Hempel in Central Park, and a near run-in with plague-ridden prairie dogs on the way to see Lorrie Moore, as well as heartwarming and bittersweet final meals with the late Peter Matthiessen, John Berger, and Denis Johnson. Poignant, funny, and wistful, The Traveling Feast is a guide to living well and an unforgettable adventure that nourishes and renews the spirit.
What to Read and Why
In this brilliant collection, the follow-up to her New York Times bestseller Reading Like a Writer, the distinguished novelist, literary critic, and essayist celebrates the pleasures of reading and pays homage to the works and writers she admires above all others, from Jane Austen and Charles Dickens to Jennifer Egan and Roberto Bolaño.In an age defined by hyper-connectivity and constant stimulation, Francine Prose makes a compelling case for the solitary act of reading and the great enjoyment it brings. Inspiring and illuminating, What to Read and Why includes selections culled from Prose’s previous essays, reviews, and introductions, combined with new, never-before-published pieces that focus on her favorite works of fiction and nonfiction, on works by masters of the short story, and even on books by photographers like Diane Arbus.Prose considers why the works of literary masters such as Mary Shelley, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, and Jane Austen have endured, and shares intriguing insights about modern authors whose words stimulate our minds and enlarge our lives, including Roberto Bolaño, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Jennifer Egan, and Mohsin Hamid. Prose implores us to read Mavis Gallant for her marvelously rich and compact sentences, and her meticulously rendered characters who reveal our flawed and complex human nature; Edward St. Aubyn for his elegance and sophisticated humor; and Mark Strand for his gift for depicting unlikely transformations. Here, too, are original pieces in which Prose explores the craft of writing: "On Clarity" and "What Makes a Short Story."Written with her sharp critical analysis, wit, and enthusiasm, What to Read and Why is a celebration of literature that will give readers a new appreciation for the power and beauty of the written word.
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