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Contemporary Literature: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
Poetry - a riddle wrapped in an enigma swathed...
Poetry is many things to many people. Homer, John Milton, Christopher Marlowe, and of course Shakespeare have each given us enough to fill textbooks. Poems from the Romantic period include Goethe's
Wondering What 'Dramatic Irony' Is? Here's the...
Dramatic irony is when the words and actions of the characters of a work of literature have a different meaning for the reader than they do for the characters. This is the result of the reader having a greater knowledge than the characters themselves.
What's the Definition of Poetry?
Poetry is an imaginative awareness of experience expressed through meaning, sound, and rhythmic language choices so as to evoke an emotional response. Poetry has been known to employ meter and rhyme, but this is by no means necessary. Poetry is an ancient form that has gone through numerous and drastic reinvention over time. The very nature of poetry as an authentic and individual mode of expression makes it nearly impossible to define.
10 Top Contemporary Authors to Put on Your...
While it is impossible to rank the most important authors in contemporary literature, here is a list of ten important (English language) authors with some biographical notes and links to more information about them and their work.
Meet Sherman Alexie: His Biography and Literary...
Sherman Alexie, the son a Spokane Indian mother and a Coeur d’Alene Indian father, grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, WA. Alexie is known not only for his novels and short stories, which debunk the notion of the nobly suffering Indian, he is also a songwriter and film-maker, and the recipient of numerous literary awards and honors.
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and the evolution of...
Tsukuru Tazaki must reconcile his differences with four former friends in order to grow out of an emotionally stunted malaise.
Narrative Arc - What is Narrative Arc in...
Learn more about narrative arcs, also called story arcs, and the four components that make up the chronological construction of the plot.
Resolution
Resolution is the part of the story's plot line in which the problem of the story is resolved or worked out. This occurs after the falling action and is typically where the story ends.
The Snow Whale
Atticus Books, July 2011 John Jacobs is bored with his life. He's bored with his pretty but vacuous wife,
Falling Action
The falling action in a work of literature is the sequence of events that follow the climax and end in the resolution. This is in contrast to the rising action which leads up to the plot's climax.
Serena
Set in Waynesville, North Carolina during the depression, Ron Rash's novel 'Serena' traces the story of a wealthy lumber baron and his ruthlessly ambitious wife. Think Lady Macbeth in Appalachia.
Unbroken is the powerful story of Olympian and...
When Louis Zamperini, a former Olympic runner and an American pilot in World War II, crashes his bomber in the Pacific Ocean, he had know idea that he was about to embark on one of the most extraordinary oddyseys ever recounted.
The Ghost Map
A thrilling historical account of the worst cholera outbreak in Victorian London-and a brilliant exploration of how Dr. John Snow's solution revolutionized the way we think about disease, cities, science, and the modern world.
The Alchemist
Paulo Coelho's 'The Alchemist' is a short and inspirational parable about the importance of pursuing one's dreams. Originally published in 1988 in the Brazillian author's native Portugese, it has since been translated in close to 70 languages and has become one of the best-selling books in history.
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
In 'Blink,' Malcolm Gladwell revolutionizes the way we understand the world within. '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.
The Leftovers
In Tom Perrotta's The Leftovers, it is distinctly Rapture-like when millions of people suddenly disappear from the Earth all at once, and those left behind must account for and deal with their disappearance.
"Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell
In <i>Blink</i>, Malcolm Gladwell revolutionizes the way we understand the world within. <i>Blink</i> 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. Why are some people brilliant decision makers, while others are consistently inept? Why do some people follow their instincts and win, while others end up stumbling into error? How do our brains really work? Page 3.
The Corrections
For a laugh, Franzen doesn't hesitate to conjure the most puerile images, such as the walking, taunting
Aleph
In books like The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho speaks of following one's own Personal Legend. In Aleph, Coelho - as the protagonist of this novel - takes his own advice, setting out for a journey on the Trans-Siberian Railroad. But the journey is much larger than even Coelho at first perceives.
Schott's Original Miscellany
Schott’s Original Miscellany is a small book, much smaller than you’d expect for what’s packed inside. It’s about the size of an average paperback, perhaps smaller. It’s the kind of book you should leave lying around on a coffee table or perhaps in the bathroom...
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Narrated by a fifteen-year-old autistic savant obsessed with Sherlock Holmes, Mark Haddon's dazzling novel weaves together an old-fashioned mystery, a contemporary coming-of-age story, and a fascinating excursion into a mind incapable of processing emotions. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is one of the freshest debut novels in years: a comedy, a tearjerker, a mystery story, a novel of exceptional literary merit that is great fun to read.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry...
In 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter 7) Voldemort's followers have been released from Azkaban as have the Dementors, who now serve the Dark Lord's purposes as well. The Ministry of Magic, now controlled by Death Eaters, has instituted a campaign against muggle-borns that smacks of Nazi Germany, and Harry Potter is dubbed
Man Booker Prize Winners
The Man Booker Prize is awarded to the best novel of the year written by a citizen of the British Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland. It is not only one of literature's highest honors but quite lucrative as the winner takes home £50,000. Here are the past ten years' Booker Prize Winners.
Things That Are
Things That Are is a slim collection of nonfiction essays in which Amy Leach turns a playful and poetic lens on the natural world. Leach's writing and Nate Christopherson's accompanying pen and ink drawings are delightful.
'The Last Lecture'
Hyperion, April 2008 Time is all you have. And you may find one day that you have less time than you
Giller Prize Winners
The Giller Prize is Canada's largest literary prize for fiction, awarding excellence in Candian fiction - long format or short stories - with a purse of $70,000 to the winner and $5,000 to each of the four finalists.
David Mitchell
British novelist David Mitchell is known for his non-linear, structurally experimental novels such as Cloud Atlas and number9dream , both shortlisted for the Booker Prize. His 2010 novel, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet is an historical novel set at a Dutch East Indies Company trading post in early nineteenth century Japan.
The Tipping Point
Malcolm Gladwell's bestseller, 'The Tipping Point,' has exhibited such enormous staying power on the bestseller lists that one supposes that Gladwell harnessed the very principles of social epidemics that he outlines therein. 'The Tipping Point' purports to answer two questions,
In Americanah, a young Nigerian woman finds...
In Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's fourth novel, a young Nigerian woman finds reinvention in America, where she learns what it means to be a Nigerian immigrant.
How to Write a Book Review
The book review falls somewhere between a critical analysis of literature, which tends toward the dry and academic, and the book report, which we associate with the simple book summaries we may have turned in in our younger years. The book review has elements of both of these but is neither. Here are some simple guidelines to crafting a book review.
Fall of Giants
Ken Follett has created another blockbuster in the vein of Pillars of the Earth and World Without End, both of which anchored the bestsellers lists in their time. Fall of Giants is the first book in what Follett has described as
Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life
In 'Born to Be Good,' Dacher Keltner marries Eastern notions of kindness and reverence with evolutionary science in order to get at the answer to three salient questions: How can we be happy? What are the origins of kindness? How can we be good? Read more.
Night
Night is Elie Wiesel’s candid, horrific, and poignant account of his survival as a teenager in the Nazi death camps. This new translation by Marion Wiesel, Elie’s wife and frequent translator, presents this seminal memoir in the language and spirit truest to the author’s original intent. And in a substantive new preface, Elie reflects on the enduring importance of Night and his lifelong, passionate dedication to ensuring that the world never forgets man’s capacity for inhumanity to man.
A Thousand Splendid Suns
The history of Afghanistan is marked by death, loss and unimaginable grief. And, yet, people find a way to survive, to go on. Ultimately, this is more than a story of survival in the face of what seem to be insurmountable odds. It is a story of the unconquerable spirit of a people seen through the eyes of two indomitable women. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner, is a must read for those who wish to understand the modern history (1964 - 2003) of Afghanistan.
Little Bee
'Little Bee' is the story of a tenuous friendship that emerges between a Nigerian refuge girl and a white British magazine editor.
Rising Action
Rising action is tha series of events that lead to the climax of the story, usually the conflicts or struggles of the protagonist.
Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?
In Linchpin, Seth Godin traces the evolution of the workplace, discusses how your own brain sometimes conspires against you, and enlightens us as to the nature of art and gifts.
Need a Laugh? See 10 of the Funniest Books on...
These ten funny books will have you laughing out loud, laughing the milk right through your nose.
Anne Lamott
Ann Lamott, the daughter of the writer Kenneth Lamott, wrote her first novel, Hard Laughter, when her father was diagnosed with brain cancer. Lamott's novels tend to be about love and loss and real life struggles that touch us all, and in her nonfiction, she has explored parenthood, faith, and the craft of writing.
Sue Monk Kidd
Sue Monk Kidd is the author of three spiritual memoirs and the modern classic bestseller, 'The Secret Life of Bees,' the coming-of-age spiritual story of a fourteen-year-old girl in the South in 1964 and her black housekeeper.
Excerpt: "The Five People You Meet in Heaven"
The Five People You Meet in Heaven - Excerpt
Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin
Mark Helprins Winter's Tale is the story of love, larceny and flying horses during New York’s Belle Epoque,a tale of criminal gangs, indigenous marsh-dwelling tribes and immortal architects delivered inimitably by one of the best storytellers of our time.
Point of View
: Point of view is the vantage point from which a story is told. In the first-person point of view, the
Margaret Atwood
Known for sharp social commentary delivered via science fiction or speculative fiction, Margaret Atwood's books have been published in over thirty-five countries. She is the author of more than thirty books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays.
Acclaimed book designer Peter Mendelsund on how...
The immensely talented book designed Peter Mendelsund has created a whimsical illustrated introduction to the philosophy of reading.
Manuscript Found in Accra
In Manuscript Found in Accra, Paulo Coelho once again approaches questions of spirit and living.
The Hot Kid
The jacket of my copy of Elmore Leonard's The Hot Kid quotes The Philadelphia Enquirer as follows: "The
Malcolm Gladwell
Malcolm Gladwell's phenomenal bestseller 'The Tipping Point' (2000) captured the world's attention with its theory that a curiously small change can have unforeseen effect; 'Blink' (2005) is about how we think without thinking; and 'Outliers' (2008) considers the role of environment and cultural heritage in the success of high achievers.
Antagonist
The antagonist is the main opponent of the main character in a work of literature. The main character is called the protagonist.
The Unknown University
The Unknown University, an 800-page omnibus of Roberto Bolano's poetry, is the latest in a string of posthumously translated works from the Chilean author.
Divine Justice
'Divine Justice' is the fourth in David Baldacci's Camel Club series of novels that have enjoyed immense popularity. Each novel has asked what secrets the federal government is keeping from citizens? It is not paranoia if there really are secrets, and any one of us who has served in certain governmental agencies is very well aware that secrets do exist, some benign, some malignant.
The Wind Up Bird Chronicle
After Toru Okada loses his cat, his job, and his wife, things go from bad to weird. Surreal visitations from beautiful women, gruesome stories from wartime Japan, and an entryway into a different world deep at the bottom of a well combine with the usual lost cats, jazz music and enigmatic characters in Haruki Murakami's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.
1Q84
A sexy assassin steps out of a traffic jam and into an alternative world which is seemingly being crafted by a young ghost writer in love with this shadowy heroine. Dual moons fille the sky, little people emerge from the mouth of a goat, and time and space bend altogether in Haruki Murakami's opus 1Q84.
The Da Vinci Code
In The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown combines a murder mystery with a religious historical thriller to create a record-breaking best-seller. While in Paris, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon receives an urgent phone call: the curator of the Louvre has been murdered inside the museum. While working to solve the enigmatic riddle, Langdon is stunned to discover it leads to a trail of clues hidden in the works of Da Vinci -- clues visible for all to see -- yet ingeniously disguised by the painter.
A Voyage Long and Strange: Rediscovering the...
A few years ago Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Tony Horwitz found himself at Plymouth Rock
Jonathan Lethem recreates Brooklyn during the...
A heartfelt vision of Brooklyn and childhood emerges in this story of two boys, one black and one white, coming of age during the 1970s.
In Persuasion Nation
It is a unique sort of humor that will find as much appeal with me as it does with my mother-in-law,
At First Sight
At First Sight needs two grades. The first, 2.5 stars, is for its literary merit. The second, 4.0 for it's appeal to Sparks' legion of fans.
The Book Thief
Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak's new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can't resist-books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.
Top 10 Contemporary Classics
Ten books that have withstood the test of time, yet are recent enough to be called Contemporary Literature, these Contemporary Classics are a bare-bones reading list, essentials or must-reads. Any such list is purely subjective, of course, and one must soon choose for him or herself what makes the top ten, but this list would start you on your way to a solid background in Contemporary Literature.
Climax
Climax is the point of greatest tension in a work of literature and the turning point in the action. In a plot line, the climax occurs after the rising action and before the falling action.
The Game
In cities around the world, men meet in underground
The Historian
A woman finds an ancient book that take her down a path of inquiry trod by her father years before. It is a quest for the truth about Vlad the Impaler, the medieval ruler of Wallachia, present day Romania, whose gruesome reign Bram Stoker based his legend of Dracula upon. What lies at the heart of the connection between the historical Vlad and the mythical vampire?
Top 10 Contemporary Lit Must Reads (first 10)
Twenty contemporary literature must-reads, essentials! If you've read all of these, you are well on your way to an honorary contemporary literature degree. This contemporary literature reading list is comprised largely of titles published since 1970. Please visit my Contemporary Classics Reading List for older and more classic contemporary titles.
The Winner Stands Alone
Internationally bestselling author Paulo Coelho's latest novel, The Winner Stands Alone, is like his bestselling The Alchemist, but with a murderer on the loose. In this psychological thriller, the action takes place during twenty-four hours at the Cannes Film Festival, where supermodels, film producers, and fashionistas are all vying for their fifteen minutes of fame. And one man is there to thwart that moment in the spotlight. Read more.
Another Bullshit Night in Suck City
Nick Flynn met his father when he was twenty-seven years old, working as a caseworker in a homeless shelter in Boston. Nick, his own life unsettled, was living alternatively in a ramshackle boat and in a warehouse that was once a strip joint. Another Bullshit Night in Suck City tells the story of two lives, the story of Nick's boyhood in Scituate, Massachusetts, with his brother and young mother who struggled to keep the family together and that of his father who refused to play by the rules.
The Choice
A review of Nicholas Spark's novel of a life-long bachelor who fears falling in love with a woman who moves in next door.
Edward Abbey
Edward Abbey has been long revered as a leading writer of nature and ecology who Frequently challenged the system that destroys the wild he thrusts himself and his readers into. Among his work is 'Desert Solitaire,' a memoir of the time Abbey spent as a park ranger and fire lookout at Arches national Monument, and 'The Monkey Wrench Gang,' Abbey's famous novel about a gang of rebellious eco-warriors.
Top 10 Best Novels of The Century (so far)
Certainly "Best" is Subjective, but here they are - the best novels published in This Century! 1. The
Long Division
A fusion of magical realism, Southern literature and time-travel, Kiese Laymon's Long Division is a novel like no other and one of the best you'll read this year.
The Secret Life of Bees - excerpt
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Viking Press October
In Cloud Atlas David Mitchell has woven an epic...
From the Chatham Isles in 1850 to 1931 Belgium, from the West Coast in the 1970s to present-day England, and from a Korean superstate of the near future to a post-apocalyptic Iron Age Hawaii, David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas ricochets it's way through time, space, and literary genres.
Top 10 Young Adult Books
Young adult literature is usually characterized by having a young protagonist, a limited number of characters, few subplots, a compressed timespan, and a positive resolution. The YA audience is typically thought to be between the ages of 12 to 19 years, but much YA literature written today, including the Harry Potter books, and Philip Pullman's and Cornelia Funke's work has had crossover appeal to an adult audience.
Kafka on the Shore
In Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami delivers a tour de force of metaphysical reality, powered by two remarkable characters: a teenage boy, Kafka Tamura, who runs away from home either to escape a gruesome oedipal prophecy or to search for his long-missing mother and sister; and an aging simpleton called Nakata, who never recovered from a wartime affliction and now is drawn toward Kafka for reasons that, like the most basic activities of daily life, he cannot fathom.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Birth: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born September 15, 1977 in Enugu, Nigeria.
Zadie Smith
Zadie Smith, well known for her internationally-acclaimed debut, White Teeth, is the author of three novels and numerous essays and short stories. She lives part-time in New York and part-time in London with her husband, writer Nick Laird, and their daughter, Katherine.
Foil
A foil is a character who serves as a contrast to another perhaps more primary character, so as to point out specific traits of the primary character.
Brick Lane
Monica Ali is like a magician revealing all her secrets. In a time when every Western country is facing off with its Muslim populations, Brick Lane provides its readers a look at a community that, frankly, frightens them. It is, in short, an education.
On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft
Stephen King's On Writing is half memoir, half instruction to writers, and all love for the craft of writing. As good now in its 10th Anniversary edition as it was when King penned it in 2000, On Writing recounts King's childhood writing efforts and his initial successes, and within its pages, King lays open a toolbox full of advice for writers.
She Plays with the Darkness
In a remote mountain village, the beautiful Dikosha lives for dancing and for song. Her twin brother, Radisene, works in the lowland capital of Maseru, struggling amid political upheaval to find a life for himself away from the hills. As the years pass, Radisene's fortunes rise and fall in the city, while Dikosha remains in the village, never leaving and never aging. And through it all, the community watches, comments, and passes judgment.
The Time Traveler's Wife - Prologue
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. Read the prologue.
The Postmistress
Sarah Blake's debut novel is composed of intertwined stories of three woman during World War II - a Cape Cod postmistress, a radio gal in London, and a young bride who awaits her husband's return from the war.
Deus Ex Machina
: Literally "god in the machine" (or "ghost in the machine" as The Police put it), deus ex machina is
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.
Haruki Murakami's life and work
Haruki Murakami is known for his blending of the fantastic realism in his novels, and it's this magical realism, in combination with his flowing use of language, that gives Murakami's novels an ethereal, dreamlike quality.
Norwegian Wood
Norwegian Wood (Noruwei no Mori) stands out among Haruki Murakami’s novels not only because it was the novel that launched Murakami into the literary stratosphere, but because it is a straightforward love-story / bildungsroman devoid of the elements of magical realism typical of a Haruki Murakami novel.
Step On a Crack
In his bestselling novel, Step on a Crack, James Patterson introduces Detective Michael Bennett, an NYPD homicide detective thrust into the middle of a mass kidnapping. Patterson is the well-known author of 39 books(The Fifth Horseman and Mary, Mary are both reviewed on this site). Step on a Crack is James Patterson's first book with mystery-suspense author, Michael Ledwidge (The Narrowback, Bad Connection, and Before the Devil Knows You're Dead).
Naguib Mahfouz
Egyptian author, Naguib Mahfouz, was born in Cairo in 1911 and spent much of his life as an Egyptian civil servant. Mahfouz had a fatwa issued against him in 1959 by Omar Abdul Rahman (later the spiritual leader of the group that bombed the World Trade Center in 1993) for the alleged blasphemy of his novels. Naguib Mahfouz is the author of more than 30 novels and was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature in 1988.
Jennifer Government
Jennifer Government by Max Barry is electrifying with its fast-paced narrative of our consumer culture gone terribly wrong.. Once you pick it up, you won't put it down, and I guarantee you'll never look at your Nikes the same again.
Excerpt: "The Virgin Suicides"
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Time Warner Books
The Secret Life of Bees
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 1960s and sets it all alight with a dose of feminine spirituality. . It is an inspirational feminist tale with strong female characters.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry...
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter 2) - Trivia Quiz. How is your memory of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets? How well do you recall Harry Potter's second year at Hogwarts?
My Reading Life
About half way through this celebration of the power of reading, Pat Conroy devotes considerable space
The Carolina Way: Leadership Lessons From A...
The Carolina Way is an excellent, easily read examination of leadership based on the lessons Smith learned and taught in 36 years of coaching basketball at the University of Kansas (under the legendary Phog Allen), the Air Force Academy and the University of North Carolina. The format is deceptively simple. Coach Smith writes (with the able assistance of John Kilgo) about a particular aspect of leadership as it relates to his coaching philosophy.
Fragments: Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters
Marilyn Monroe, intellectual. Those three words would appear to be an oxymoron of the first magnitude.
Lost at Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries
Journalist, satirist, documentarian Jon Ronson takes readers with him in his gonzo exploration of the weirder side of life in Lost at Sea, a collection of previously published articles in which, with signature wit, he explores the fringes of culture.
Outliers
In 'The Tipping Point,' Malcolm Gladwell dissected the phenomena of social epidemics; and in 'Blink,' he discussed the nature of split-second decision-making. In 'Outliers,' Gladwell, the founding father of pop-sociology, examines high-achieving individuals and questions what makes them different from everyone else.
Everyman
Philip Roth turns his attention to one man's confrontation with mortality. Roth's Everyman is a hero whose youthful sense of independence and confidence begins to be challenged when illness commences its attack in middle age. A successful commercial advertising artist, he is the father of two sons who despise him and a daughter who adores him. He is the lonely ex-husband of three very different women. Inevitably, he discovers that he has become what he does not want to be.
World without End
Ken Follett is a master of the engaging tale, and in 'World Without End' there is plenty going on. If you liked 'The Pillars of the Earth,' you'll love this sequel. Follett is terrific at drawing characters who are compelling, funny, sexy, dramatic, and very human. Although the book is set in the fourteenth century, modern readers will immediately identify with the emotions and goals of its characters.
Unaccustomed Earth
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" > Alfred A Knopf,
Poetic Justice
Poetic justice is a literary outcome in which bad characters are punished and good characters are rewarded. In its purest form, poetic justice is when one character plots to undermine another and then ends up caught in his own trap.
Roberto Bolano
Chilean novelist Roberto Bolano, widely known for novels such as 2666 and The Savage Detectives, is one of the most highly regarded Spanish language writers of the twentieth century.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry...
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter 6) - Trivia Quiz. Test your memory of Harry Potter's sixth year at Hogwarts - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
Picking Up
In Picking Up, Robin Nagle has created a compelling account that will not allow any of us to overlook those who pick up our garbage.
Conflict
Conflict is the struggle between the opposing forces on which the action in a work of literature depends. There are five basic forms of conflict: person versus person, person versus self, person versus nature, person versus society, and person versus God.
Marco Polo: From Venice to Xanadu
As the most celebrated European to explore Asia, Marco Polo was the original global traveler and the earliest bridge between East and West. A universal icon of adventure and discovery, he has inspired six centuries of popular fascination and spurious mythology. Here is the first fully authoritative biography of one of the most enchanting figures in world history.
Dave Eggers
Dave Eggers is the author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction including A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, You Shall Know Our Velocity, and What is the What. He is the founder of McSweeney's independent publishing house and the 826 Valencia writing lab, which has since expanded to 826 National, writing workshops for teens around the U.S.
The Angel Esmeralda
In The Angel Esmeralda, Don DeLillo collects nine stories that he wrote between 1979 and 2011. Individually taken, these nine narratives are tightly-woven masterpieces, but ordered chronologically, they tell a global tale that is simultaneously about how far we've come and how bad it's gotten.
Jonathan Franzen
Jonathan Franzen's recent novels have been hailed as literary masterpieces. Both The Corrections and Freedom are sprawling, realist novels about the deterioration of the family in suburban, middle class America, as was his 1988 debut novel, The Twenty-Seventh City.
Black Hole
Black Hole , the epic graphic novel by Charles Burns, orbits around the twin teenage mysteries of sex
Vanishing Point: Not a Memoir
Graywolf Press, March 2010 I read the majority of Ander Monson's Vanishing Point on my feet, leaning
The Marriage Plot
Jeffrey Eugenides (Middlesex) emerges with his long-awaited third novel exploring the realities of love and marriage.
Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 1
The wait for Mark Twain's autobiography has been longer than the interval between the appearances of Haley's Comet that conveniently book-ended the life of Samuel Clemens. This first installment of three is well-worth the long wait. There are nuggets here that show the full force of Clemens's rapier like wit and acerbity. There are nuggets of great hilarity and moments of deep introspection.
Mr. Paradise
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.
He's Just Not That Into You
'He's Just Not That Into You' is not a guide to dating. Aimed at women of a certain class and lifestyle and filling a slim 165 pages, the book serves merely as a calling card for its authors, five-years-out-of-the-dating-pool Sex and the City consultant Greg Behrendt and 41-years-old-and-single SatC] executive story editor Liz Tuccillo.
Salman Rushdie
Born in Bombay in 1947, Salman Rushdie is the author of numerous novels, including 'Midnight's Children,' 'The Satanic Verses,' 'The Moor's Last Sigh,' and 'The Enchantress of Florence.' His numerous literary prizes include the Booker Prize for 'Midnight's Children' and the Whitbread Prize for 'The Satanic Verses.'
Infinite Jest is a labyrinthine masterpiece...
Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace's 1996 novel of addiction and recovery, popular entertainment, and tennis has been hailed as a work of genius, one of the greatest novels of the 20th century. It is a long and complex work bearing the labyrinthine threads of plot and stylistic intricacies for which Wallace was famous, and certainly one of the most engrossing novel I have ever read.
Where Good Ideas Come From
The connection between an abundant coral reef that Charles Darwin explores on his Beagle voyage and recent technological developments such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube might not be immediately apparent. But in his latest book, Where Good Ideas Come From, Steven Johnson builds the compelling case that these disparate aspects of history are more closely related than we might think.
Inkheart
One night Meggie's father, Mo, reads aloud from a book called 'Inkheart,' and an evil ruler named Capricorn escapes the boundaries of fiction and lands in their living room. Suddenly, Meggie is smack in the middle of the kind of adventure she has only read about in books.
Malarky
Malarky, Anakana Schofield's story of an Irish farmwife's attempt to make the most out of her life was the winner of the 2012 Amazon.ca First Novel Award.
The Almost Moon
In The Almost Moon , Alice Sebold has created a memorable but wholly unlikable character. Helen Knightly
Bio of author Anthony Doerr
Anthony Doerr is an award-winning American writer whose short stories and essays have appeared in numerous publications and anthologies. His second story collection, Memory Wall, was selected as a finalist for the 2010 Story Prize.
The Camel Club
David Baldacci is the author of ten previous consecutive New York Times bestsellers and #1 international bestsellers: Absolute Power, Total Control, The Winner, The Simple Truth, Saving Faith, Wish You Well, Last Man Standing, The Christmas Train, Split Second, and Hour Game, as well as his Freddy and the French Fries children's series. In The Camel Club, David Baldacci paints a frightening portrait of a world that could be our own soon.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
In The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky tells the story of a single year in the life of Charlie, a 15-year-old boy, through the poignant letters that he writes to an anonymous friend.
Travel Books
Travel books guaranteed to satisfy the wandering minds of wayfaring readers.
The Blue Notebook
James A. Levine's standout debut novel, 'The Blue Notebook,' is a difficult kind of fiction. It's the kind of fiction that reveals a truth so painful you hope it remains within the book's pages. It's the kind of fiction that convinces you of a disturbing reality that exists beyond the story itself, even though you wish it didn't.
Bringing Down the House
Backed by anonymous investors and armed only with their audacity and their intellect, a team of MIT math students cleaned Vegas out of more than $3 million in a couple of years. They used published card-counting techniques and worked in teams like secret agents. They ate statistics for breakfast, and they raked in millions of dollars before getting caught. They were a dream team. So why did they get caught?
Joan Didion
Joan Didion, born in California in 1934 and a graduate from Berkeley in 1956, wrote her first novel in the early 1960's and has written four since then. Her most highly esteemed work - that which made her famous as a chronicler of American culture and politics - is her narrative nonfiction.
The Year of the Flood
Margaret Atwood is famous for dystopic novels, including the Booker Prize-Winning 'The Handmaid's Tale.' Fans of Atwood's won't be disappointed by 'The Year of the Flood,' which explores environmental and Biblical themes. The plot follows a religious group called the Gardeners who are waiting for what their scripture calls the Waterless Flood.
Tony and Me
Act One , perhaps the premiere theatre biography, and one of the very best biographies period. Nor is
A Complicated Kindness
Miriam Toews' darkly funny novel, A Complicated Kindness, is the world according to Nomi Nickel, a bewildered and wry sixteen-year-old trapped in a town governed by fundamentalist religion. In Nomi's droll, refreshing voice, we're told the story of her eccentric family as it falls apart, each member on a collision course with the only community they have ever known. It is a work of fierce humor and tragedy by a Canadian writer poised to take the American market by storm.
A New Earth
Plume, 2005 In A New Earth , spiritual teacher and author Eckhart Tolle ( The Power of Now ) advocates
The Art of Fielding
Chad Harbach's The Art of Fielding wraps a coming-of-age story within a baseball novel that you don't have to be a sports fan to love.
Pinstripe Empire by Marty Appel
Pinstripe Empire by Marty Appel
Love Is A Mix Tape: Life And Loss, One Song At...
Love, love, love. All together now. "All you need is love." "Love hurts." "Love is a many splendored
Habibi
Craig Thompson (Blankets) weaves both a narrative and graphical tapestry in Habibi, a 700 page epic story of two slave children that incorporates mysticism, numerology, sexuality, and the narrative union of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.
National Book Award Winners in Fiction
The National Book Awards are presented each year to American authors for work published the previous year in the categories of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and young people's literature. These are the past ten years' winners in the fiction category.
John Updike
John Updike wrote and published over 60 books, including novels and collections of short stories, poetry, and essays. Throughout his career, he won nearly every literary award available. The Early Stories 1953-1975, a large anthology of the author's short stories published in 2003, won him the 2004 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, and in 2006 he was awarded the Rea Award for the Short Story. John Updike died of lung cancer in January 2009. He was 76
The Kite Runner
The Kite Runner is Afghanistani-American novelist, Khaled Hosseini's best-selling debut novel, a tale of betrayal and redemption that rises above time and place while simultaneously remaining firmly anchored against the tumultuous backdrop of modern Afghanistan.
Anthony Doerr's second novel is a compelling,...
Anthony Doerr's language and characters are gripping and pull you quickly into their world as the build-up to World War II looms on the horizon.
Plot
The sequence of events told in a story, plot is also known as narrative structure. There are usually considered to be five elements in a plot line: exposition or background information, rising action (that which complicates the story), climax or crisis, falling action, and resolution.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry...
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter 3) - Trivia Quiz. How is your memory of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban? Prepare to test your wits against the Dementors, the boggart, and Sirius Black.
The Accidental
Ali Smith's Booker-nominated novel, The Accidental, is in fact about a girl. The seemingly harmless stranger named Amber turns up at the door of an English country house and turns out, to crib a line from a Hollywood film, to be the rock that they broke themselves against. The book, about how people break down and the terrifying possibilities of who they might become, is inevitably fractured by the astonishing, dizzying talent of its writing.
The Collected Works of Billy the Kid
Vintage, 2009 The Collected Works of Billy the Kid was Michael Ondaatje's first novel, originally published
Safe Haven is darker and more complex than...
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On Bullshit
With his characteristic combination of philosophical acuity, psychological insight, and wry humor, Frankfurt proceeds by exploring how bullshit and the related concept of humbug are distinct from lying. He argues that bullshitters misrepresent themselves to their audience not as liars do, that is, by deliberately making false claims about what is true. In fact, bullshit need not be untrue at all.
Swamplandia!
Hilola Bigtree, matriarch of the Bigtree Clan and star of the alligator wrestling show at the family-operated
Paul Auster
American author Paul Auster was born and raised in Newark, NJ. He graduated from Columbia University in 1970 and moved to Paris, where he made his living translating the works of French authors. He returned to the states in 1974 to begin writing essays, poems, and novels of his own.
Jonathan Kellerman joins forces with son Jesse...
Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman meld folklore with suspense in layered stories of murder and Jewish mysticism which, unfortunately, fall short of the sum of their parts
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