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These cautionary notes and hilarious stories pack the Rosenblatt punch. Anything Can Happen offers a class in "Tyranny for Beginners," warns about the snares and devices of dinner parties, explains the mind-set of barbarians, suggests the perfect gift for Mother--a wildebeest--and tells what happens when his dog's barking drives him to thoughts of murder. Roger Rosenblatt forces us to laugh at the silliness of the world we have created, refocuses our minds on what really matters, and alerts us to the injustice and cruelty that lie just below the skin.
Why is Professor Peace Porterfield trying to save Beet College? His own wife, Livi, hates the place. The Board of Trustees, led by developer Joel Bollovate, has squandered the endowment. Debutante-cum-self-styled-poet Matha Polite, an indis-criminate radical with a four-student following, wants to bring the institution down. Akim Ben Ladin (nÉ Arthur Horowitz), a sweet-tempered terrorist hopeful and the college's only Homeland Security major (who lives in an off-campus cave), wants to blow up the school. Faculty members, when not concocting useless, trendy courses, fly at one another's throats. Not to mention that American higher education is already going down the tubes. So why is Porterfield trying to save Beet? Beats us.
The Washington Post hailed Roger Rosenblatt's Making Toast as "a textbook on what constitutes perfect writing," and People lauded KayakMorning as "intimate, expansive and profoundly moving. " Classic tales of love and grief, the New York Times bestselling memoirs are also original literary works that carve out new territory at the intersection of poetry and prose. Now comes The Boy Detective, a story of the author's childhood in New York City, suffused with the same mixture of acute observation and bracing humor, lyricism and wit. Resisting the deadening silence of his family home in the elegant yet stiflingly safe neighborhood of Gramercy Park, nine-year-old Roger imagines himself a private eye in pursuit of criminals. With the dreamlike mystery of the city before him, he sets off alone, out into the streets of Manhattan, thrilling to a life of unsolved cases. Six decades later, Rosenblatt finds himself again patrolling the territory of his youth: The writing class he teaches has just wrapped up, releasing him into the winter night and the very neighborhood in which he grew up. A grown man now, he investigates his own life and the life of the city as he walks, exploring the New York of the 1950s; the lives of the writers who walked these streets before him, such as Poe and Melville; the great detectives of fiction and the essence of detective work; and the monuments of his childhood, such as the New York Public Library, once the site of an immense reservoir that nourished the city with water before it nourished it with books, and the Empire State Building, which, in Rosenblatt's imagination, vibrates sympathetically with the oversize loneliness of King Kong: "If you must fall, fall from me. "As he walks, he is returned to himself, the boy detective on the case. Just as Rosenblatt invented a world for himself as a child, he creates one on this night--the writer a detective still, the chief suspect in the case of his own life, a case that discloses the shared mysteries of all our lives. A masterly evocation of the city and a meditation on memory as an act of faith, The Boy Detective treads the line between a novel and a poem, displaying a world at once dangerous and beautiful.
From Roger Rosenblatt, author of the bestsellers Making Toast and Unless It Moves the Human Heart, comes a moving meditation on the passages of grief, the solace of solitude, and the redemptive power of love In Making Toast, Roger Rosenblatt shared the story of his family in the days and months after the death of his thirty-eight-year-old daughter, Amy. Now, in Kayak Morning, he offers a personal meditation on grief itself. "Everybody grieves," he writes. From that terse, melancholy observation emerges a work of art that addresses the universal experience of loss. On a quiet Sunday morning, two and a half years after Amy's death, Roger heads out in his kayak. He observes,"You can't always make your way in the world by moving up. Or down, for that matter. Boats move laterally on water, which levels everything. It is one of the two great levelers." Part elegy, part quest, Kayak Morning explores Roger's years as a journalist, the comforts of literature, and the value of solitude, poignantly reminding us that grief is not apart from life but encompasses it. In recalling to us what we have lost, grief by necessity resurrects what we have had.
Harry March is something of a wreck and more than half nuts. Up until now, he has lived peacefully on an island in the Hamptons with his talking dog, Hector, a born-again Evangelical and unapologetic capitalist. But March's life starts to completely unravel when Lapham--an ostentatious multimillionaire who made his fortune on asparagus tongs--begins construction of a gargantuan mansion just across the way. To Harry, Lapham's monstrosity-to-be represents the fetid and corrupt excess that has ruined modern civilization. Which means, quite simply, that this is war.
"How long are you staying, Boppo?" "Forever." When his daughter, Amy-a gifted doctor, mother, and wife-collapses and dies from an asymptomatic heart condition, Roger Rosenblatt and his wife, Ginny, leave their home on the South Shore of Long Island to move in with their son-in-law, Harris, and their three young grandchildren: six-year-old Jessica, four-year-old Sammy, and one-year-old James, known as Bubbies. Long past the years of diapers, homework, and recitals, Roger and Ginny-Boppo and Mimi to the kids-quickly reaccustom themselves to the world of small children: bedtime stories, talking toys, playdates, nonstop questions, and nonsequential thought. Though reeling from Amy's death they carry on, reconstructing a family, sustaining one another, and guiding three lively, alert, and tender-hearted children through the pains and confusions of grief. As he marvels at the strength of his son-in-law, a surgeon, and the tenacity and skill of his wife, a former kindergarten teacher, Roger attends each day to "the one household duty I have mastered"-preparing the morning toast perfectly to each child's liking. With the wit, heart, precision, and depth of understanding that has characterized his work, Roger Rosenblatt peels back the layers on this most personal of losses to create both a tribute to his late daughter and a testament to familial love. The day Amy died, Harris told Ginny and Roger, "It's impossible." Roger's story tells how a family makes the possible of the impossible.
Acclaimed and beloved prize-winning essayist Roger Rosenblatt has commented on most of the trends and events of our time. His columns in Time magazine and his commentaries on PBS's News Hour with Jim Lehrer have made him a household word and a trusted friend of millions. With a wry sense of humor and inimitable wit, Rosenblatt offers here guidelines for aging that are both easy to understand and, more importantly, easy to implement. More and more in the news today, we are hearing about phenomenal advances in the "fight against aging." But what Rosenblatt suggests to combat age is far more valuable than any scientific breakthrough-he breaks down the hardest part of aging, the mental anguish of growing older with fifty-four gems of funny, brilliant, wise, indispensable advice.A book to savor, a book to keep, and a book for all ages.This little guide is intended for people who wish to age successfully, or at all. . . . One may think of this work as a how-to book, akin to many health guides published these days, whose purpose is to prolong our lives and make them richer. That is the aim of my book, too. -from the IntroductionAnd this is just the start of Roger Rosenblatt's charming and thought-provoking guide to surviving the episodes that shamelessly shave years off of our lives. With a wry sense of humor and peerless wit, Rules for Aging provides guidance that is, hands down, the most practical, pleasurable and, most importantly, painless advice you'll ever receive. As Rosenblatt writes, "When I urge you to refrain from a certain thought or course of action, I do not mean to suggest that you are in any way wrong if you do the opposite. I mean only to say that you will suffer."Rule #1: It doesn't matterWhatever you think matters-doesn't. Follow this rule, and it will add decades to your life. It does not matter if you are late, or early; if you are here, or if you are there; if you said it, or did not say it; if you were clever, or if you were stupid; if you are having a bad hair day, or a no hair day; if your boss looks at you cockeyed; if your girlfriend or boyfriend looks at you cockeyed; if you don't get that promotion, or prize, or house, or if you do. It doesn't matter.
For more than forty years, distinguished author Roger Rosenblatt has also been a teacher of writing, guiding students with the same intelligence and generosity he brings to the page, answering the difficult questions about what makes a story good, an essay shapely, a novel successful, and the most profound and essential question of them all-why write? Unless It Moves the Human Heart details one semester in Rosenblatt's "Writing Everything" class. In a series of funny, intimate conversations, a diverse group of students-from Inur, a young woman whose family is from Pakistan, to Sven, an ex-fighter pilot-grapples with the questions and subjects most important to narrative craft. Delving into their varied lives, Rosenblatt brings readers closer to them, emotionally investing us in their failures and triumphs. More than a how-to for writers and aspiring writers, more than a memoir of teaching, Unless It Moves the Human Heart is a deeply felt and impassioned plea for the necessity of writing in our lives. As Rosenblatt wisely reminds us, "Writing is the cure for the disease of living. Doing it may sometimes feel like an escape from the world, but at its best moments it is an act of rescue."
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