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The Best American Short Stories 2012

by Heidi Pitlor Tom Perrotta

The Best American Series®First, Best, and Best-SellingThe Best American series is the premier annual showcase for the country's finest short fiction and nonfiction. Each volume's series editor selects notable works from hundreds of magazines, journals, and websites. A special guest editor, a leading writer in the field, then chooses the best twenty or so pieces to publish. This unique system has made the Best American series the most respected -- and most popular -- of its kind.The Best American Short Stories 2012 includes Nathan Englander, Mary Gaitskill, Roxane Gay, Jennifer Haigh,Steven Millhauser, Alice Munro, Lawrence Osborne, Eric Puchner,George Saunders, Kate Walbert, and others

Joe College

by Tom Perrotta

For many college students, spring break means fun and sun in Florida. For Danny, a Yale junior, it means two weeks behind the wheel of the Roach Coach, his father's lunch truck, which plies the parking lots of office parks in central New Jersey. But Danny can use the time behind the coffee urn to try and make sense of a love life that's gotten a little complicated. There's loyal and patient hometown honey Cindy and her recently dropped bombshell to contend with. And there's also lissome Polly back in New Haven--with her shifting moods, perfect thrift store dresses, and inconvenient liaison with a dashing professor. If girl problems aren't enough, there's the constant menace of the Lunch Monsters, a group of thugs who think Danny has planted the Roach Coach in their territory. Joe College is Tom Perrotta's warmest and funniest fiction yet, a comic journey into the dark side of love, higher education, and food service.

The Leftovers

by Tom Perrotta

A startling, thought-provoking novel about love, connection and loss from the New York Times bestselling author of The Abstinence Teacher and Little Children.What if the Rapture happened and you got left behind? Or what if it wasn't the Rapture at all, but something murkier, a burst of mysterious, apparently random disappearances that shattered the world in a single moment, dividing history into Before and After, leaving no one unscathed? How would you rebuild your life in the wake of such a devastating event?This is the question confronting the bewildered citizens of Mapleton, a formerly comfortable suburban community that lost over a hundred people in the Sudden Departure. Kevin Garvey, the new mayor, wants to speed up the healing process, to bring a sense of renewed hope and purpose to his traumatized neighbours, even as his own family falls apart. His wife, Laurie, has left him to enlist in the Guilty Remnant, a homegrown cult whose members take a vow of silence but haunt the streets of town as "living reminders" of God's judgment. His son, Tom, is gone, too, dropping out of college to follow a sketchy prophet by the name of Holy Wayne. Only Kevin's teenaged daughter, Jill, remains, and she's definitely not the sweet "A" student she used to be. Kevin wants to help her, but he's distracted by his growing attraction to Nora Durst, a woman who lost her entire family in the tragedy, and is still reeling three years later, groping for a way to face the remainder of her life.Through the prism of a single family, Perrotta illuminates a familiar America made strange by grief and apocalyptic anxiety. The Leftovers is a powerful and deeply moving book about people struggling to hold on to a belief in their own futures.From the Hardcover edition.

Lit Riffs

by J. T. LeRoy Jonathan Lethem Amanda Davis Touré Aimee Bender Neal Pollack Matthew Miele Heidi Julavitz Tom Perrotta Lester Bangs

Following in the footsteps of the late great Lester Bangs -- the most revered and irreverent of rock 'n' roll critics -- twenty-four celebrated writers have penned stories inspired by great songs. Just as Bangs cast new light on a Rod Stewart classic with his story "Maggie May," about a wholly unexpected connection between an impressionable young man and an aging, alcoholic hooker, the diverse, electrifying stories here use songs as a springboard for a form dubbed the lit riff. Alongside Bangs's classic work, you'll find stories by J.T. LeRoy, who puts a recovering teenage drug abuser in a dentist's chair with nothing but the Foo Fighters's "Everlong" -- blaring through the P.A. -- to fight the pain; Jonathan Lethem, whose narrator looks back on his lost innocence just as an extramarital affair careens to an end -- this to the tune "Speeding Motorcycle" as recorded by Yo La Tengo; and Jennifer Belle, who envisions a prequel to Paul Simon's "Graceland" -- one that takes place at a children's birthday party replete with a real live kangaroo. With original contributions from Tom Perrotta, Nelson George, Amanda Davis, Lisa Tucker, Aimee Bender, Darin Strauss, and many more -- riffing on everyone from Tom Waits and Bruce Springsteen to the White Stripes, Cat Power, and Bob Marley -- this is both an astounding collection of short stories and an extraordinary experiment in words and music. Soundtrack available from Saturation Acres Music & Recording Co.

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