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Chevrolet Summers, Dairy Queen Nights
No writer in America has a better feel for the country's rhythms, richness, and rewards than bestselling author and syndicated columnist Bob Greene. With the color and depth of a novel, this treasury of best-loved columns captures America's small triumphs and all-too-human tragedies as Greene travels across the country to tell the stories that don't make the headlines. A small-town cop saves a child's life by double-checking, on a hunch, a closed case of suspected abuse. Frank Sinatra, on his last concert tour, shares off-the-cuff wisdom about fame, craft, and shifting fortunes. An impoverished father gives his son the best trip he can - on the free trains out to the Atlanta airport's boarding gates. Funny, gripping, heartrending, and exhilarating, these unforgettable stories are guaranteed to lift the spirit and stir the soul.
My Misspent Youth
Meghan Daum is one of the most celebrated nonfiction writers working today, widely recognized for the fresh, provocative approach with which she unearths 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. She speaks to questions at the root of the contemporary experience, from the search for authenticity and interpersonal connection in a society defined by consumerism and media; to the disenchantment of working in a "glamour profession"; to the catastrophic effects of living among New York City's terminal hipsters. With precision and well-balanced irony, Daum implicates herself as readily as she does the targets that fascinate and horrify her. In this stirring and surprising collection we see the emergence of a talented new voice in American writing.
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.
On the first morning of 1908, human flight remained, for most Americans, in the realm of myth and dream. By the end of that year, the Wright brothers would be worldwide celebrities, heralded as the first people to conquer the sky. Yet that miraculous achievement was but one of many in 1908: Teddy Roosevelt sent the Great White Fleet on a voyage around the globe, Robert Peary began his courageous dash to the North Pole, six automobiles left Times Square on an epic twenty-thousand-mile race to Paris, and Henry Ford introduced an oddly shaped new automobile called the Model T.
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