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Conversations with Kafka (Second Edition)

by Francine Prose Maira Kalman Gustav Janouch Goronwy Rees

A literary gem - a portrait from life of Franz Kafka - now with an ardent preface by Francine Prose, avowed "fan of Janouch's odd and beautiful book." Gustav Janouch met Franz Kafka, the celebrated author of The Metamorphosis, as a seventeen-year-old fledgling poet. As Francine Prose notes in her wonderful preface, "they fell into the habit of taking long strolls through the city, strolls on which Kafka seems to have said many amazing, incisive, literary, and per- things to his companion and interlocutor, the teenage Boswell of Prague. Crossing a windswept square, apropos of something or other, Kafka tells Janouch, 'Life is infinitely great and profound as the immensity of the stars above us. One can only look at it through the narrow keyhole of one's personal experience. But through it one perceives more than one can see. So above all one must keep the keyhole clean.'" They talk about writing (Kafka's own, but also that of his favorite writers: Poe, Kleist, and Rimbaud, who "transforms vowels into colors") as well as technology, film, crime, Darwinism, Chinese philosophy, carpentry, insomnia, street fights, Hindu scripture, art, suicide, and prayer. "Prayer," Kafka notes, brings "its infinite radiance to bed in the frail little cradle of one's own existence."

Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey

by Maira Kalman

The Snicker candy bar appeared, and Babe Ruth hit his 611th home run. That was also the year the John J. Harvey fireboat was first launched. It had levers, buttons, buckets, brass trim, and five engines, and it fought fires on the piers. But by 1995, the city had little use for a fireboat, and it sold the Harvey to group of people who restored and used it for fun. Then came 9/11, "something so huge and horrible happened that the whole world shook." The Harvey was called back into service. Firefighters attached their hoses to the boat and fought fires for four days and nights. Kalman does some extraordinary things in this beautiful picture book. She takes the fireboat's history and puts it within the context of a city that has endured, framing the enormity of 9/11 so young readers, and even small children, can begin to grasp what happened. At the same time, she makes the event part of life's continuum of loss and endurance.

Looking At Lincoln

by Maira Kalman

Abraham Lincoln is one of the first giants of history children are introduced to, and now Maira Kalman brings him to life with her trademark style and enthusiasm. Lincoln's legacy is everywhere - there he is on your penny and five-dollar bill. And we are still the United States because Lincoln helped hold them together. But who was he, really? The little girl in this book wants to find out. Among the many other things, she discovers our sixteenth president was a man who believed in freedom for all, had a dog named Fido, loved Mozart, apples, and his wife's vanilla cake, and kept his notes in his hat. From his boyhood in a log cabin to his famous presidency and untimely death, Kalman shares Lincoln's remarkable life with young readers in a fresh and exciting way. .

The Principles of Uncertainty

by Maira Kalman

The Principles of Uncertainty is an irresistible invitation to experience life through the psyche of Maira Kalman, one of this country's most beloved artists.

Why We Broke Up

by Maira Kalman Daniel Handler

I'm telling you why we broke up, Ed. I'm writing it in this letter, the whole truth of why it happened.Min Green and Ed Slaterton are breaking up, so Min is writing Ed a letter and giving him a box. Inside the box is why they broke up. Two bottle caps, a movie ticket, a folded note, a box of matches, a protractor, books, a toy truck, a pair of ugly earrings, a comb from a motel room, and every other item collected over the course of a giddy, intimate, heartbreaking relationship. Item after item is illustrated and accounted for, and then the box, like a girlfriend, will be dumped.

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