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Absolutely American

by David Lipsky

Lipsky, a Rolling Stone writer and an award-winning novelist, chronicles daily life at the U.S. Military Academy during the most tumultuous period in its history.In 1998, West Point made David Lipsky an unprecedented offer: stay at the Academy as long as you like, go wherever you wish, talk to whomever you want, to discover why some of America's most promising young people sacrifice so much to become cadets. Lipsky followed one cadet class into mess halls, barracks, classrooms, bars, and training exercises, from arrival through graduation. By telling their stories, he also examines the Academy as a reflection of our society: Are its principles of equality, patriotism, and honor quaint anachronisms or is it still, as Theodore Roosevelt called it, the most "absolutely American" institution? During arguably the most eventful four years in West Point's history, Lipsky witnesses the arrival of TVs and phones in dorm rooms, the end of hazing, and innumerable other shifts in policy and practice known collectively as The Changes. He uncovers previously unreported scandals and poignantly evokes the aftermath of September 11, when cadets must prepare to become officers in wartime. Absolutely American spotlights a remarkable ensemble of characters: a former Eagle Scout who struggles with every facet of the program, from classwork to marching; a foul-mouthed party animal who hates the military and came to West Point to play football; a farm-raised kid who seems to be the perfect soldier, despite his affection for the early work of Georgia O'Keeffe; and an exquisitely turned-out female cadet who aspires to "a career in hair and nails" after the Army. These cadets and their classmates are transformed in fascinating, sometimes astonishing, ways by one of America's most mythologized and least understood challenges. Many of them thrive under the rigorous regimen; others battle endlessly just to survive it. A few give up the fight altogether. Lipsky's extensive experience covering college students for Rolling Stone helped him gain an exceptional degree of trust and candor from both cadets and administrators. They offer frank insights on drug use, cheating, romance, loyalty, duty, patriotism, and the Army's tortuous search for meaning as new threats loom.

Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself

by David Lipsky

SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE, STARRING JASON SEGAL AND JESSE EISENBERG, DIRECTED BY JAMES PONSOLDTAn indelible portrait of David Foster Wallace, by turns funny and inspiring, based on a five-day trip with award-winning writer David Lipsky during Wallace's Infinite Jest tour In David Lipsky's view, David Foster Wallace was the best young writer in America. Wallace's pieces for Harper's magazine in the '90s were, according to Lipsky, "like hearing for the first time the brain voice of everybody I knew: Here was how we all talked, experienced, thought. It was like smelling the damp in the air, seeing the first flash from a storm a mile away. You knew something gigantic was coming."Then Rolling Stone sent Lipsky to join Wallace on the last leg of his book tour for Infinite Jest, the novel that made him internationally famous. They lose to each other at chess. They get iced-in at an airport. They dash to Chicago to catch a make-up flight. They endure a terrible reader's escort in Minneapolis. Wallace does a reading, a signing, an NPR appearance. Wallace gives in and imbibes titanic amounts of hotel television (what he calls an "orgy of spectation"). They fly back to Illinois, drive home, walk Wallace's dogs. Amid these everyday events, Wallace tells Lipsky remarkable things--everything he can about his life, how he feels, what he thinks, what terrifies and fascinates and confounds him--in the writing voice Lipsky had come to love. Lipsky took notes, stopped envying him, and came to feel about him--that grateful, awake feeling--the same way he felt about Infinite Jest. Then Lipsky heads to the airport, and Wallace goes to a dance at a Baptist church.A biography in five days, Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself is David Foster Wallace as few experienced this great American writer. Told in his own words, here is Wallace's own story, and his astonishing, humane, alert way of looking at the world; here are stories of being a young writer--of being young generally--trying to knit together your ideas of who you should be and who other people expect you to be, and of being young in March of 1996. And of what it was like to be with and--as he tells it--what it was like to become David Foster Wallace."If you can think of times in your life that you've treated people with extraordinary decency and love, and pure uninterested concern, just because they were valuable as human beings. The ability to do that with ourselves. To treat ourselves the way we would treat a really good, precious friend. Or a tiny child of ours that we absolutely loved more than life itself. And I think it's probably possible to achieve that. I think part of the job we're here for is to learn how to do it. I know that sounds a little pious."--David Foster Wallace From the Trade Paperback edition.Lambert Fellowship, a Media Award from GLAAD, and a National Magazine Award. He's the author of the novel The Art Fair, a collection of stories, Three Thousand Dollars, and the bestselling nonfiction book Absolutely American, which was a Time magazine Best Book of the Year. From the Trade Paperback edition.

Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself

by David Lipsky

SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE, STARRING JASON SEGAL AND JESSE EISENBERG, DIRECTED BY JAMES PONSOLDTAn indelible portrait of David Foster Wallace, by turns funny and inspiring, based on a five-day trip with award-winning writer David Lipsky during Wallace's Infinite Jest tour In David Lipsky's view, David Foster Wallace was the best young writer in America. Wallace's pieces for Harper's magazine in the '90s were, according to Lipsky, "like hearing for the first time the brain voice of everybody I knew: Here was how we all talked, experienced, thought. It was like smelling the damp in the air, seeing the first flash from a storm a mile away. You knew something gigantic was coming."Then Rolling Stone sent Lipsky to join Wallace on the last leg of his book tour for Infinite Jest, the novel that made him internationally famous. They lose to each other at chess. They get iced-in at an airport. They dash to Chicago to catch a make-up flight. They endure a terrible reader's escort in Minneapolis. Wallace does a reading, a signing, an NPR appearance. Wallace gives in and imbibes titanic amounts of hotel television (what he calls an "orgy of spectation"). They fly back to Illinois, drive home, walk Wallace's dogs. Amid these everyday events, Wallace tells Lipsky remarkable things--everything he can about his life, how he feels, what he thinks, what terrifies and fascinates and confounds him--in the writing voice Lipsky had come to love. Lipsky took notes, stopped envying him, and came to feel about him--that grateful, awake feeling--the same way he felt about Infinite Jest. Then Lipsky heads to the airport, and Wallace goes to a dance at a Baptist church.A biography in five days, Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself is David Foster Wallace as few experienced this great American writer. Told in his own words, here is Wallace's own story, and his astonishing, humane, alert way of looking at the world; here are stories of being a young writer--of being young generally--trying to knit together your ideas of who you should be and who other people expect you to be, and of being young in March of 1996. And of what it was like to be with and--as he tells it--what it was like to become David Foster Wallace."If you can think of times in your life that you've treated people with extraordinary decency and love, and pure uninterested concern, just because they were valuable as human beings. The ability to do that with ourselves. To treat ourselves the way we would treat a really good, precious friend. Or a tiny child of ours that we absolutely loved more than life itself. And I think it's probably possible to achieve that. I think part of the job we're here for is to learn how to do it. I know that sounds a little pious."--David Foster Wallace From the Trade Paperback edition.Lambert Fellowship, a Media Award from GLAAD, and a National Magazine Award. He's the author of the novel The Art Fair, a collection of stories, Three Thousand Dollars, and the bestselling nonfiction book Absolutely American, which was a Time magazine Best Book of the Year. From the Trade Paperback edition.

Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip With David Foster Wallace

by David Lipsky

"If you can think of times in your life that you've treated people with extraordinary decency and love, and pure uninterested concern, just because they were valuable as human beings. The ability to do that with ourselves. To treat ourselves the way we would treat a really good, precious friend. Or a tiny child of ours that we absolutely loved more than life itself. And I think it's probably possible to achieve that. I think part of the job we're here for is to learn how to do it. I know that sounds a little pious. " -- David Foster Wallace An indelible portrait of David Foster Wallace, by turns funny and inspiring, based on a five-day trip with award-winning writer David Lipsky during Wallace's Infinite Jest tour In David Lipsky's view, David Foster Wallace was the best young writer in America. Wallace's pieces forHarper'smagazine in the '90s were, according to Lipsky, "like hearing for the first time the brain voice of everybody I knew: Here was how we all talked, experienced, thought. It was like smelling the damp in the air, seeing the first flash from a storm a mile away. You knew something gigantic was coming. " Then Rolling Stone sent Lipsky to join Wallace on the last leg of his book tour for Infinite Jest, the novel that made him internationally famous. They lose to each other at chess. They get iced-in at an airport. They dash to Chicago to catch a make-up flight. They endure a terrible reader's escort in Minneapolis. Wallace does a reading, a signing, an NPR appearance. Wallace gives in and imbibes titanic amounts of hotel television (what he calls an "orgy of spectation"). They fly back to Illinois, drive home, walk Wallace's dogs. Amid these everyday events, Wallace tells Lipsky remarkable things-everything he can about his life, how he feels, what he thinks, what terrifies and fascinates and confounds him-in the writing voice Lipsky had come to love. Lipsky took notes, stopped envying him, and came to feel about him-that grateful, awake feeling-the same way he felt about Infinite Jest. Then Lipsky heads to the airport, and Wallace goes to a dance at a Baptist church. A biography in five days, Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself is David Foster Wallace as few experienced this great American writer. Told in his own words, here is Wallace's own story, and his astonishing, humane, alert way of looking at the world; here are stories of being a young writer-of being young generally-trying to knit together your ideas of who you should be and who other people expect you to be, and of being young in March of 1996. And of what it was like to be with and-as he tells it-what it was like to become David Foster Wallace. David Lipsky is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone magazine. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's Magazine, The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Magazine Writing, The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, and many other publications. He contributes as an essayist to NPR's All Things Considered, and is the recipient of a Lambert Fellowship, a Media Award from GLAAD, and a National Magazine Award. He's the author of the novelThe Art Fair, a collection of stories, Three Thousand Dollars, and the bestselling nonfiction book Absolutely American, which was a Time magazine Best Book of the Year.

The Art Fair

by David Lipsky

A poignant and painfully funny novel about the New York art world by the acclaimed author of Although of Course You End Up Becoming YourselfFor two first-class years, Joan Freeley had it all: the perfect family, the best art dealer in Manhattan, and the admiration of famous friends. Her adoring husband and two handsome sons attended her first gallery show in matching khakis and blue blazers. "An Interesting Talent Makes Its Debut," declared the New York Times. Then, as if her success were nothing more than a booking error, Joan's life got downgraded. A brutal divorce led to paintings too bitter to sell and a career stuck firmly in coach. Unable to see her suffer alone any longer, Joan's teenage son Richard leaves his father and older brother in Los Angeles and moves in to her one-bedroom apartment in SoHo. At the gallery openings where she used to be a star, Richard discovers just how much his mother's light has dimmed. She is an artist who is not showing--she might as well be invisible. To acknowledge her is to acknowledge the thin line between success and failure in a world as superficial as it is intoxicating. Richard immediately devotes himself to returning his mother to her former glory. Everything about him--the clothes he wears, the jokes he makes, the college he attends--is calculated to boost Joan's reputation. But as the years go by and the galleries keep sending back her slides, Richard has to ask: Who wants Joan Freeley's resurrection more--him or her? And when will his own life start?

Three Thousand Dollars

by David Lipsky

Eleven sparkling stories of family, love, and art from New York Times-bestselling author David LipskyMy mother doesn't know that I owe my father three thousand dollars. From the opening line of the acclaimed title story--a Best American Short Stories selection that first appeared in the New Yorker--to the tender last scene of "Springs, 1977," this pitch-perfect collection explores the unsteady terrain of early adulthood and the complex legacy of family. Self-aware, creatively ambitious, and just privileged enough to be acutely aware of all that they lack, Lipsky's characters are as real and unforgettable as the dilemmas they face--some of their own making, some that the world has thrust on them. In "Relativity," a college junior transfers to the Ivy League in order to please his mother and make new friends; he quickly realizes the fault in his logic. In "Colonists," a nervous young author searches for her muse at a New Hampshire writers' retreat attended by a priest who pens erotic poetry and a composer working on a comic opera about the Alger Hiss trial. " 'Shh,' " the genesis of Lipsky's highly praised novel The Art Fair, is the story of a dutiful son trying to shield his artist mother from the agony of her latest rejection. Witty, heartbreaking, and wise, the stories in Three Thousand Dollars are a testament to David Lipsky's exceptional talent and to the power of short fiction to transform the smallest of moments into the greatest of truths.

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