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First Chapters / Excerpts

Try before you buy! Read first chapters and excerpts from the latest contemporary literature offerings.

Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin - Quotations
Mark Helprin's epic story of time, love and justice is chock full of quote-worthy passages. Here are a few that I pulled out during my second reading of this masterpiece.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist - Excerpt
A young Pakistani's rise to success in America is violently interrupted after September 11.

Exile on Main St.: A Season in Hell with the Rolling Stones - EXCERPT
Exile on Main Street freezes forever in time a moment when the Rolling Stones and their counterculture audience found themselves at a crossroads. Robert Greenfield was there.

The Intellectual Devotional - Week 1
The Intellectual Devotional is a secular devotional — a collection of 365 short lessons that will inspire and invigorate the reader every day of the year. Check out Week 1!

All Aunt Hagar's Children by Edward P. Jones
Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Known World, Edward P. Jones has filled this collection of stories with people who call Washington, D.C., home.

The Memory Keeper's Daughter - Excerpt
At birth of his fraternal twins, a father recognizes that one has Down's syndrome and abandons her to his nurse, who secretly takes the child to another city to be raised as her own.

The Woman at the Washington Zoo - Excerpt
This collection digs into the psyche of the nation's capital, revealing not only the hidden selves of the people who run it, but the messy lives that the rest of us lead.

Come Back: A Mother and Daughter's Journey through Hell and Back
The unflinching true account of a teenage girl's descent into society's underbelly-and her mother's desperate and ultimately successful attempts to bring her back.

Heart Of A Hawk: One Family's Sacrifice and Journey Toward Healing
David and Deborah Tainsh were living the happiest years of their lives until the dark morning of February 12, 2004, when a six a.m. knock at the door brought the news that their son, Sergeant Patrick Tainsh, had been killed in Iraq.

The Messiah of Morris Avenue by Tony Hendra
When Christ returns as a young man named Jay, "driving about New Jersey in a beat-up van preaching radical notions like kindness and generosity—and even tossing off a few miracles," things are really going to get stirred up in theocratic America.

Secrets of the Code - Excerpt
"Secrets of the Code: The Unauthorized Guide to the Mysteries Behind The Da Vinci Code" is a comprehensive guide for interpreting the intellectual intricacies of Dan Brown's bestselling novel.

Indecision by Benjamin Kunkel - Excerpt
The narrator of Ben Kunkel's comic novel, Indecision, is encouraged by one of his roommates to try an experimental pharmaceutical meant to banish indecision and finds himself on the brink of a new life.

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell - First Chapter
"Blink" is a book about how we think without thinking, about choices that seem to be made in an instant - in the blink of an eye - that actually aren't as simple as they seem.

Chronicles, Volume One by Bob Dylan
By turns revealing, poetical, passionate and witty, Chronicles: Volume One is a mesmerizing window on Bob Dylan's thoughts and influences.

State of Fear by Michael Crichton - Excerpt
This time, Crichton’s demons are not minuscule computer-born organisms or gigantic dinosaurs. This time, the agents of destruction are human.

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Audrey Niffenegger's debut novel, "The Time Traveler's Wife," is one part science fiction and one part love story. It is the compelling tale of Henry DeTamble, a man afflicted with a genetic disorder which causes him to slip sporadically through time, without warning and naked. It is also the story of Clare Abshire, the woman who loves him.

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
In "The Secret Life of Bees," Sue Monk Kidd wraps a coming-of-age tale around a search for one's mother, plunks it down into the racially-charged South Carolina of the civil rights movement and sets it all alight with a dose of feminine spirituality.

The News From Paraguay by Lily Tuck
A historical epic that tells an unusual love story, "The News From Paraguay" offers a kaleidoscopic portrait of nineteenth-century Paraguay.

Cover the Butter by Carrie Kabak - Excerpt
Forty-something, Kate Cadogan, slips back in time to take stock of her life and where it has brought her. Carrie Kabak's debut novel.

The Distance Between Us by Masha Hamilton
A war correspondent, loses her photojournalist lover and her detachment in one tragic moment during an unexpected ambush in the war-torn Middle East.

Are You Afraid of the Dark? by Sidney Sheldon
In this work of suspense by internationally bestselling author and TV writer Sidney Sheldon, two women are pitted against a tycoon bent on world domination.

Ringworld's Children by Larry Niven
Blending awe-inspiring science with non-stop action and fun, "Ringworld's Children," is the fourth installment of Larry Niven's award-winning "Ringworld" saga.

My Life with Corpses by Wylene Dunbar
My Life with Corpses blends a sharply defined reality with a soaring leap of imagination in the story of an enigmatic narrator we know only as Oz, a Kansas girl raised by a family of dead people.

The Halo Effect by M.J. Rose
As one of New York's top sex therapists, Dr. Morgan Snow sees everything from the abused to the depraved, from couples grappling with sexual boredom to twisted sociopaths with dark, erotic fetishes. And the Butterfield Institute is the sanctuary where she helps soothe and heal these battered souls.

The Exception to the Rulers by Amy Goodman
In The Exception to the Rulers, award-winning journalist Amy Goodman, with the aid of her brother David, exposes the lies, corruption, and crimes of the power elite.

The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud by Ben Sherwood
Ben Sherwood's The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud is one of those books that reveals the mysteries of the unseen world around us, gently transforming the pain of loss into hope, healing and even laughter. Romantic and deeply moving, its startling climax reminds us that sometimes tragedies bring about miracles if we simply open our hearts.

Mr. Paradise by Elmore Leonard
Roommates Kelly and Chloe are enjoying their lives and their downtown Detroit loft just fine. Kelly is a Victoria's Secret catalog model. Chloe is an escort, until she decides to ditch her varied clientele in favor of a steady gig as girlfriend to eighty-four-year-old retired lawyer Tony Paradiso, a.k.a. Mr. Paradise... Mr. Paradise is Elmore Leonard at home in Detroit and sharper than ever.

Elizabeth Costello by J.M. Coetzee
South African writer, J.M. Coetzee's latest novel, "Elizabeth Costello," tells the tale of "a distinguished and aging Australian novelist whose life is revealed through an ingenious series of eight formal addresses." The author is a two-time winner of the Booker and 2003's Nobel Laureate for Literture.

Hegemony or Survival by Noam Chomsky
From Noam Chomsky, author of numerous bestselling works, from "American Power and the New Mandarins" in the 1960s to "9-11" in 2001, a full dissection of America's quest for global supremacy, tracking the US government's aggressive pursuit of policies intended to achieve "full spectrum dominance" at any cost.

The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
From the author of the number one New York Times bestseller "Tuesdays with Morrie" comes this long-awaited follow-up, an enchanting, beautifully crafted novel that explores a mystery only heaven can unfold.

The Salt Roads by Nalo Hopkinson
"Jeanne Duval, the ginger-colored entertainer, is descended from African slaves and white sailors. It is twilight, and she argues with her lover Charles Baudelaire in his Paris apartment. Ginger is hot in its roots with a beautiful, lush red flower above. And ginger has a bite as she does…"

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
"On the morning the last Lisbon daughter took her turn at suicide-it was Mary this time, and sleeping pills, like Therese-the two paramedics arrived at the house knowing exactly where the knife drawer was, and the gas oven, and the beam in the basement from which it was possible to tie a rope..."

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