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The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2015

by Adam Johnson 826 National

For the past year, a group of high school students met at a publishing house in San Francisco every Monday night to read literary magazines, chapbooks, graphic novels, and countless articles. This committee was assisted by a group of students that met in the basement of a robot shop in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Together, and under the guidance of guest editor Adam Johnson, these high schoolers selected the contents of The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2015. The writing in this book is very essential, if not required, like visiting the Louvre if you're in Paris. In any case, nothing in this book takes place in Paris, as far as we can recall, but it does feature an elephant hunt, the fall of a reality-TV star, a walk through Ethiopia, and much more of what Johnson calls "the most important examinations in life." The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2015 includes LESLEY NNEKA ARIMAH, DANIEL ALARCÓN, BOX BROWN, REBECCA CURTIS, VICTOR LODATO, CLAUDIA RANKINE, PAUL SALOPEK, PAUL TOUGH, WELLS TOWER and others Adam Johnson, guest editor, teaches creative writing at Stanford University. He is the author of Fortune Smiles, Emporium, Parasites Likes Us, and The Orphan Master's Son, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in fiction. He has received a Whiting Writers' Award and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. His work has appeared in Esquire, Harper's Magazine, Playboy, GQ, the Paris Review, Granta, Tin House, the New York Times, and The Best American Short Stories.

Emporium

by Adam Johnson

The "remarkable" (The New Yorker) debut story collection by the author of The Orphan Master's Son (winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize) and the story collection Fortune Smiles (winner of the 2015 National Book Award) An ATF raid, a moonshot gone wrong, a busload of female cancer victims determined to live life to the fullest--these are the compelling terrains Adam Johnson explores in his electrifying debut collection. A lovesick teenage Cajun girl, a gay Canadian astrophysicist, a teenage sniper on the LAPD payroll, a post-apocalyptic bulletproof-vest salesman--each seeks connection and meaning in landscapes made uncertain by the voids that parents and lovers should fill. With imaginative grace and verbal acuity, Johnson is satirical without being cold, clever without being cloying, and heartbreaking without being sentimental. He shreds the veneer of our media-saturated, self-help society, revealing the lonely isolation that binds us all together.

Fortune Smiles

by Adam Johnson

NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER * Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his acclaimed novel about North Korea, The Orphan Master's Son, Adam Johnson is one of America's most provocative and powerful authors. Critics have compared him to Kurt Vonnegut, David Mitchell, and George Saunders, but Johnson's new book will only further his reputation as one of our most original writers. Subtly surreal, darkly comic, both hilarious and heartbreaking, Fortune Smiles is a major collection of stories that gives voice to the perspectives we don't often hear, while offering something rare in fiction: a new way of looking at the world. In six masterly stories, Johnson delves deep into love and loss, natural disasters, the influence of technology, and how the political shapes the personal. "Nirvana," which won the prestigious Sunday Times short story prize, portrays a programmer whose wife has a rare disease finding solace in a digital simulacrum of the president of the United States. In "Hurricanes Anonymous"--first included in the Best American Short Stories anthology--a young man searches for the mother of his son in a Louisiana devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. "George Orwell Was a Friend of Mine" follows a former warden of a Stasi prison in East Germany who vehemently denies his past, even as pieces of it are delivered in packages to his door. And in the unforgettable title story, Johnson returns to his signature subject, North Korea, depicting two defectors from Pyongyang who are trying to adapt to their new lives in Seoul, while one cannot forget the woman he left behind.Unnerving, riveting, and written with a timeless quality, these stories confirm Johnson as one of America's greatest writers and an indispensable guide to our new century.Praise for Fortune Smiles"Masterful . . . Each [story] is a miniature demonstration of why his remarkable novel The Orphan Master's Son won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for fiction."--The Washington Post "Entrancing."--O: The Oprah Magazine "Audacious . . . These six long, fearless stories explore dangerous territories, both personal and political."--San Francisco Chronicle"One of the most original and compelling voices in contemporary American fiction."--Entertainment Weekly "[Johnson] is always perceptive and brave; his lines always sing and strut and sizzle and hush and wash and blaze over the reader."--The New York Times Book Review (Editors' Choice) "Johnson packs more voice in his stories than most authors do in a novel."--Esquire"A highly literary writer willing to take risk after risk after risk."--The Boston Globe"[Johnson] serves up six sinewy stories that shock and surprise. . . . [They're] compulsively readable tales about characters whose lives are largely ignored, undervalued, or simply uncharted."--Elle"Remarkable . . . Fortune Smiles is the best short story collection since Tenth of December. . . . Johnson is one of America's greatest living writers."--The Huffington Post"Johnson's [stories] will burrow their way into your heart, leaving you shaken but also exhilarated and enriched. . . . Fortune Smiles [is] worth treasuring."--USA Today (four stars) "Superb . . . explosive."--The Wall Street Journal

Fortune Smiles: Stories

by Adam Johnson

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his acclaimed novel about North Korea, The Orphan Master's Son, Adam Johnson is one of America's most provocative and powerful authors. Critics have compared him to Kurt Vonnegut, David Mitchell, and George Saunders, but Johnson's new book will only further his reputation as one of our most original writers. Subtly surreal, darkly comic, both hilarious and heartbreaking, Fortune Smiles is a major collection of stories that gives voice to the perspectives we don't often hear, while offering something rare in fiction: a new way of looking at the world.<P><P> In six masterly stories, Johnson delves deep into love and loss, natural disasters, the influence of technology, and how the political shapes the personal. "Nirvana," which won the prestigious Sunday Times short story prize, portrays a programmer whose wife has a rare disease finding solace in a digital simulacrum of the president of the United States. In "Hurricanes Anonymous"--first included in the Best American Short Stories anthology--a young man searches for the mother of his son in a Louisiana devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. "George Orwell Was a Friend of Mine" follows a former warden of a Stasi prison in East Germany who vehemently denies his past, even as pieces of it are delivered in packages to his door. And in the unforgettable title story, Johnson returns to his signature subject, North Korea, depicting two defectors from Pyongyang who are trying to adapt to their new lives in Seoul, while one cannot forget the woman he left behind.<P> Unnerving, riveting, and written with a timeless quality, these stories confirm Johnson as one of America's greatest writers and an indispensable guide to our new century.<P> Winner of the National Book Award

The Orphan Master's Son

by Adam Johnson

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZEIn this epic, critically acclaimed tour de force, Adam Johnson provides a riveting portrait of a world rife with hunger, corruption, and casual cruelty but also camaraderie, stolen moments of beauty, and love.NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST * DAYTON LITERARY PEACE PRIZE WINNER * LONGLISTED FOR THE AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION'S ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL * WINNER OF THE CALIFORNIA BOOK AWARD FOR FICTION * NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERNAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New Yorker * The Washington Post * Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly * The Wall Street Journal * Los Angeles Times * San Francisco Chronicle * Financial Times * Newsweek/The Daily Beast * The Plain Dealer * St. Louis Post-Dispatch * Milwaukee Journal Sentinel * Scott Turow, The Millions * Slate * Salon * BookPage * Shelf Awareness "The single best work of fiction published [this year] . . . The book's cunning, flair and pathos are testaments to the still-formidable power of the written word."--The Wall Street JournalPak Jun Do is the haunted son of a lost mother--a singer "stolen" to Pyongyang--and an influential father who runs a work camp for orphans. Superiors in the state soon recognize the boy's loyalty and keen instincts. Considering himself "a humble citizen of the greatest nation in the world," Jun Do rises in the ranks. He becomes a professional kidnapper who must navigate the shifting rules, arbitrary violence, and baffling demands of his Korean overlords in order to stay alive. Driven to the absolute limit of what any human being could endure, he boldly takes on the treacherous role of rival to Kim Jong Il in an attempt to save the woman he loves, Sun Moon, a legendary actress "so pure, she didn't know what starving people looked like."Praise for The Orphan Master's Son"An exquisitely crafted novel that carries the reader on an adventuresome journey into the depths of totalitarian North Korea and into the most intimate spaces of the human heart."--Pulitzer Prize citation"A daring and remarkable novel."--Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times"Gripping . . . Deftly blending adventure, surreal comedy and Casablanca-style romance, the novel takes readers on a jolting ride through an Orwellian landscape of dubious identity and dangerous doublespeak."--San Jose Mercury News"This is a novel worth getting excited about. . . . Adam Johnson has taken the papier-mâché creation that is North Korea and turned it into a real and riveting place that readers will find unforgettable."--The Washington Post"[A] brilliant and timely novel."--The Wall Street Journal"Remarkable and heartbreaking . . . To [the] very short list of exceptional novels that also serve a humanitarian purpose The Orphan Master's Son must now be added."--The New Republic"A triumph of imagination . . . [Grade:] A."--Entertainment Weekly"A spellbinding saga of subverted identity and an irrepressible love."--VogueLook for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader's Circle for author chats and more.From the Trade Paperback edition.

The Orphan Master's Son

by Adam Johnson

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZEIn this epic, critically acclaimed tour de force, Adam Johnson provides a riveting portrait of a world rife with hunger, corruption, and casual cruelty but also camaraderie, stolen moments of beauty, and love.NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST * DAYTON LITERARY PEACE PRIZE WINNER * LONGLISTED FOR THE AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION'S ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL * WINNER OF THE CALIFORNIA BOOK AWARD FOR FICTION * NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERNAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New Yorker * The Washington Post * Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly * The Wall Street Journal * Los Angeles Times * San Francisco Chronicle * Financial Times * Newsweek/The Daily Beast * The Plain Dealer * St. Louis Post-Dispatch * Milwaukee Journal Sentinel * Scott Turow, The Millions * Slate * Salon * BookPage * Shelf Awareness "The single best work of fiction published [this year] . . . The book's cunning, flair and pathos are testaments to the still-formidable power of the written word."--The Wall Street JournalPak Jun Do is the haunted son of a lost mother--a singer "stolen" to Pyongyang--and an influential father who runs a work camp for orphans. Superiors in the state soon recognize the boy's loyalty and keen instincts. Considering himself "a humble citizen of the greatest nation in the world," Jun Do rises in the ranks. He becomes a professional kidnapper who must navigate the shifting rules, arbitrary violence, and baffling demands of his Korean overlords in order to stay alive. Driven to the absolute limit of what any human being could endure, he boldly takes on the treacherous role of rival to Kim Jong Il in an attempt to save the woman he loves, Sun Moon, a legendary actress "so pure, she didn't know what starving people looked like."Praise for The Orphan Master's Son"An exquisitely crafted novel that carries the reader on an adventuresome journey into the depths of totalitarian North Korea and into the most intimate spaces of the human heart."--Pulitzer Prize citation"A daring and remarkable novel."--Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times"Gripping . . . Deftly blending adventure, surreal comedy and Casablanca-style romance, the novel takes readers on a jolting ride through an Orwellian landscape of dubious identity and dangerous doublespeak."--San Jose Mercury News"This is a novel worth getting excited about. . . . Adam Johnson has taken the papier-mâché creation that is North Korea and turned it into a real and riveting place that readers will find unforgettable."--The Washington Post"[A] brilliant and timely novel."--The Wall Street Journal"Remarkable and heartbreaking . . . To [the] very short list of exceptional novels that also serve a humanitarian purpose The Orphan Master's Son must now be added."--The New Republic"A triumph of imagination . . . [Grade:] A."--Entertainment Weekly"A spellbinding saga of subverted identity and an irrepressible love."--VogueLook for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader's Circle for author chats and more.From the Trade Paperback edition.

The Orphan Master's Son

by Adam Johnson

"Mr. Johnson has written a daring and remarkable novel, a novel that not only opens a frightening window on the mysterious kingdom of North Korea, but one that also excavates the very meaning of love and sacrifice." - Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times"RIch with a sense of discovery...The year is young, but The Orphan Master's Son has an early lead on novel of 2012." - The Daily Beast"This is a novel worth getting excited about." - The Washington Post"[A] ripping piece of fiction that is also an astute commentary on the nature of freedom, sacrifice, and glory." - ElleAn epic novel and a thrilling literary discovery, The Orphan Master's Son follows a young man's journey through the icy waters, dark tunnels, and eerie spy chambers of the world's most mysterious dictatorship, North Korea.Pak Jun Do is the haunted son of a lost mother--a singer "stolen" to Pyongyang--and an influential father who runs Long Tomorrows, a work camp for orphans. There the boy is given his first taste of power, picking which orphans eat first and which will be lent out for manual labor. Recognized for his loyalty and keen instincts, Jun Do comes to the attention of superiors in the state, rises in the ranks, and starts on a road from which there will be no return.Considering himself "a humble citizen of the greatest nation in the world," Jun Do becomes a professional kidnapper who must navigate the shifting rules, arbitrary violence, and baffling demands of his Korean overlords in order to stay alive. Driven to the absolute limit of what any human being could endure, he boldly takes on the treacherous role of rival to Kim Jong Il in an attempt to save the woman he loves, Sun Moon, a legendary actress "so pure, she didn't know what starving people looked like."Part breathless thriller, part story of innocence lost, part story of romantic love, The Orphan Master's Son is also a riveting portrait of a world heretofore hidden from view: a North Korea rife with hunger, corruption, and casual cruelty but also camaraderie, stolen moments of beauty, and love. A towering literary achievement, The Orphan Master's Son ushers Adam Johnson into the small group of today's greatest writers.

Parasites Like Us

by Adam Johnson

The debut novel by the author of The Orphan Master's Son (winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize) and the story collection Fortune Smiles (winner of the 2015 National Book Award) Hailed as "remarkable" by the New Yorker, Emporium earned Adam Johnson comparisons to Kurt Vonnegut and T.C. Boyle. In his acclaimed first novel, Parasites Like Us, Johnson takes us on an enthralling journey through memory, time, and the cost of mankind's quest for its own past.Anthropologist Hank Hannah has just illegally exhumed an ancient American burial site and winds up in jail. But the law will soon be the least of his worries. For, buried beside the bones, a timeless menace awaits that will set the modern world back twelve thousand years and send Hannah on a quest to save that which is dearest to him. A brilliantly evocative apocalyptic adventure told with Adam Johnson's distinctive dark humor, Parasites Like Us is a thrilling tale of mankind on the brink of extinction.

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