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Survivor: A Novel

by Chuck Palahniuk

"A wild amphetamine ride through the vagaries of fame and the nature of belief."--San Francisco Chronicle Tender Branson--last surviving member of the Creedish Death Cult--is dictating his life story into Flight 2039's recorder. He is all alone in the airplane, which will crash shortly into the vast Australian outback. But before it does, he will unfold the tale of his journey from an obedient Creedish child to an ultra-buffed, steroid- and collagen-packed media messiah. Unpredictable and unforgettable, Survivor is Chuck Palahniuk at his deadpan peak: a mesmerizing, unnerving, and hilarious satire on the wages of fame and the bedrock lunacy of the modern world.

Invisible Monsters: A Novel

by Chuck Palahniuk

Love, betrayal, petty larceny, and high fashion fuel this deliciously comic novel from the author of Fight Club. She's a fashion model who has everything: a boyfriend, a career, a loyal best friend. But when a sudden freeway "accident" leaves her disfigured and incapable of speech, she goes from being the beautiful center of attention to being an invisible monster, so hideous that no one will acknowledge that she exists. Enter Brandy Alexander, Queen Supreme, one operation away from becoming a real woman, who will teach her that reinventing yourself means erasing your past and making up something better. And that salvation hides in the last places you'll ever want to look.

Down with the Old Canoe: A Cultural History of the Titanic Disaster (Updated Edition)

by Steven Biel

"Brimming over with wit and insight. . . . Fresh and fascinating."--Dan Rather Everyone from suffragists to their opponents; radicals, reformers, and capitalists; critics of technology and modern life; racists and xenophobes and champions of racial and ethnic equality; editorial writers and folk singers, preachers and poets found moral and cultural lessons in the sinking of the Titanic. In a new edition that both commemorates the one hundredth anniversary of the disaster and elaborates, in a revised afterword, on the ship's continued impact on the public imagination (evidenced by the Titanic mania evoked by James Cameron's 1997 film), Steven Biel explores the Titanic in all its complexity and contradictions.

A Pickpocket's Tale: The Underworld of Nineteenth-Century New York

by Timothy J. Gilfoyle

"A remarkable tale."--Chicago Tribune In George Appo's world, child pickpockets swarmed the crowded streets, addicts drifted in furtive opium dens, and expert swindlers worked the lucrative green-goods game. On a good night Appo made as much as a skilled laborer made in a year. Bad nights left him with more than a dozen scars and over a decade in prisons from the Tombs and Sing Sing to the Matteawan State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, where he reunited with another inmate, his father. The child of Irish and Chinese immigrants, Appo grew up in the notorious Five Points and Chinatown neighborhoods. He rose as an exemplar of the "good fellow," a criminal who relied on wile, who followed a code of loyalty even in his world of deception. Here is the underworld of the New York that gave us Edith Wharton, Boss Tweed, Central Park, and the Brooklyn Bridge.

Socrates in Love: Philosophy for a Passionate Heart

by Christopher Phillips

"[Phillips takes] philosophy out of the ivory tower and into the street."--Los Angeles Times Christopher Phillips goes to the heart of philosophy and Socratic discourse to discover what we're all looking for: the kind of love that makes life worthwhile. That is, love not defined only as eros, or erotic love, but in all its classical varieties. Love of neighbor, love of country, love of God, love of life, and love of wisdom--each is clarified and invigorated in Phillips's Socratic dialogues with people from all walks of life and from all over the world.

Six Questions of Socrates: A Modern-Day Journey of Discovery through World Philosophy

by Christopher Phillips

How people around the world grapple with the great questions posed by Socrates. What is virtue? What is moderation? What is justice? What is courage? What is good? What is piety? Socrates thought that understanding the perspectives of others on these six great questions would help him become a more excellent human being. Following in Socrates's footsteps, Christopher Phillips--"Johnny Appleseed with a master's degree" (Utne Reader)--investigates these same questions, beginning in the marketplace of modern-day Athens. He goes on to investigate the timely responses and outlooks of people from different cultures and backgrounds around the world: from Greece and Spain to Japan and Korea, Mexico City, and Chiapas, where the region's indigenous people struggle for fundamental human rights. Phillips also traveled throughout the United States, holding dialogues in diverse communities from New York City to the Navajo Nation. Introducing us to less familiar thinkers in non-Western traditions who were kindred spirits of Socrates, Phillips enlarges our perspectives on life's fundamental questions, creating an innovative world survey of philosophy.

The Inevitable: Contemporary Writers Confront Death

by Bradford Morrow David Shields

What is death and how does it touch upon life? Twenty writers look for answers. Birth is not inevitable. Life certainly isn't. The sole inevitability of existence, the only sure consequence of being alive, is death. In these eloquent and surprising essays, twenty writers face this fact, among them Geoff Dyer, who describes the ghost bikes memorializing those who die in biking accidents; Jonathan Safran Foer, proposing a new way of punctuating dialogue in the face of a family history of heart attacks and decimation by the Holocaust; Mark Doty, whose reflections on the art-porn movie Bijou lead to a meditation on the intersection of sex and death epitomized by the AIDS epidemic; and Joyce Carol Oates, who writes about the loss of her husband and faces her own mortality. Other contributors include Annie Dillard, Diane Ackerman, Peter Straub, and Brenda Hillman.

Edit Yourself: A Manual for Everyone Who Words with Words

by Bruce Ross-Larson

"A strong new entry for the reference shelf of anyone who writes to be understood--or would like to."--Pittsburgh Press In the first part of this useful book, the author shows how to solve common problems of writing. The reader will learn how to recognize common problems of writing. The reader will learn how to recognize words and phrases that should be cut; how to shorten cumbersome sentences; how to arrange the elements of pairs, series, and compound subjects and predicates; how to recognize and rectify mismanaged participles; and how to be on the lookout for the better word. The second part of the book consists of more than 1500 recommendations for cuts, changes, and comparisons that editors make to produce writing that is concise and effective.

The Heaven of Mercury: A Novel

by Brad Watson

Shortlisted for the 2002 National Book Award in Fiction: a dark, riotous Southern novel of sex, death, and transformation. Brad Watson's first novel has been eagerly awaited since his breathtaking, award-winning debut collection of short stories, Last Days of the Dog-Men. Here, he fulfills that literary promise with a humorous and jaundiced eye. Finus Bates has loved Birdie Wells since the day he saw her do a naked cartwheel in the woods in 1916. Later he won her at poker, lost her, then nearly won her again after the mysterious poisoning of her womanizing husband. Does Vish, the old medicine woman down in the ravine, hold the key to Birdie's elusive character? Or does Parnell, the town undertaker, whose unspeakable desires bring lust for life and death together? Or does the secret lie with some other colorful old-timer in Mercury, Mississippi, not such a small town anymore? With "graceful, patient, insightful and hilarious" prose (USA Today), Brad Watson chronicles Finus's steadfast devotion and Mercury's evolution from a sleepy backwater to a small city. With this "tragicomic story of missed opportunities and unjust necessities" (Fred Chappell), "Southern storytelling is alive and well in Watson's capable hands" (Kirkus Reviews starred review). "His work may remind readers of William Faulkner, Toni Morrison, or Flannery O'Connor, but has a power--and a charm--all its own, more pellucid than the first, gentler than the second, and kinder than the third" (Baltimore Sun).

Lavoisier in the Year One: The Birth of a New Science in an Age of Revolution (Great Discoveries)

by Madison Smartt Bell

"Fresh . . . solid . . . full of suspense and intrigue."--Publishers Weekly Antoine Lavoisier reinvented chemistry, overthrowing the long-established principles of alchemy and inventing an entirely new terminology, one still in use by chemists. Madison Smartt Bell's enthralling narrative reads like a race to the finish line, as the very circumstances that enabled Lavoisier to secure his reputation as the father of modern chemistry--a considerable fortune and social connections with the likes of Benjamin Franklin--also caused his glory to be cut short by the French Revolution.

The 9/11 Commission Report: The Attack from Planning to Aftermath (Authorized Text, Shorter Edition)

by National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Philip D. Zelikow

"A document of historic sweep and almost unprecedented detail."--Washington Post Published for the tenth anniversary of 9/11, this new edition of the authorized report is limited to the Commission's riveting account--which was a finalist for the National Book Award--of the attack and its background, examining both the attackers and the U.S. government, the emergency response, and the immediate aftermath. It includes new material from Philip Zelikow, the Commission's executive director, on the Commission's work, the fate of its recommendations, and the way this struggle has evolved right up to the present day.

My Voice Will Go with You: The Teaching Tales of Milton H. Erickson

by Sidney Rosen

"A chalice of wisdom for our time."--Ernest L. Rossi, Ph.D., C.J. Jung Institute of Los Angeles Milton H. Erickson has been called the most influential hypnotherapist of our time. Part of his therapy was his use of teaching tales, which through shock, surprise, or confusion--with genius use of questions, puns, and playful humor--helped people to see their situations in a new way. In this book Sidney Rosen has collected over one hundred of the tales. Presented verbatim and accompanied by Dr. Rosen's commentary, they are grouped under such headings as Motivating Tales, Reframing, and Capturing the Innocent Eye.

World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse

by Lester R. Brown

In this urgent time, World on the Edge calls out the pivotal environmental issues and how to solve them now. We are in a race between political and natural tipping points. Can we close coal-fired power plants fast enough to save the Greenland ice sheet and avoid catastrophic sea level rise? Can we raise water productivity fast enough to halt the depletion of aquifers and avoid water-driven food shortages? Can we cope with peak water and peak oil at the same time? These are some of the issues Lester R. Brown skillfully distills in World on the Edge. Bringing decades of research and analysis into play, he provides the responses needed to reclaim our future.

Stolen Tomorrows: Understanding and Treating Women's Childhood Sexual Abuse

by Steven Levenkron Abby Levenkron

"The most practical, down to earth, thoughtful, and sensitive book written on women's childhood sexual abuse."--Samuel C. Klagsbrun, MD From the psychotherapist who offered groundbreaking work on self-mutilation (Cutting) comes a landmark examination of the psychology of sexual abuse. Stolen Tomorrows encourages the 20 percent of women who have been abused to think about, talk about, and seek help for what has been their secret shame. In addition to giving therapists and other helpers an empathic insight, Stolen Tomorrows will enable the survivor to recognize herself in both her personal history and her current struggle to overcome the legacy of abuse.

Night of Sorrows: A Novel

by Frances Sherwood

A tale of love and conquest, "full of page-turning situations...worthy of a García Lorca drama" (San Francisco Chronicle). A historical novel about the conquistador Cortés and the Aztec princess Malintzín, by a "stunning" (New York Times Book Review) writer. Night of Sorrows plunges readers into the conflicting New Worlds of the mysterious Malintzín, born as an Aztec princess and sold as a slave, and her dashing and ruthless lover-master, conquistador Hernán Cortés. As they march through the Empire of the Sun to the shimmering island metropolis, Tenochtítlan (Mexico City), Cortés advances his cause by winning friends through Machiavellian conniving and confronting enemies in merciless battle. We witness the volatile dynamics and multifarious intrigues of the commander and his temperamental compadres, and weather the heartbreaking inner odyssey of Malintzín. Set at the twilight of the Aztec empire--April 1519 through the night of sorrows, la noche triste, June 30, 1520--Night of Sorrows explores the nature of slavery and imperialism, prostitution, friendship, feminine identity, and the macho ideal. Combining historical and fictional characters, Frances Sherwood's new novel is the story of a spectacular clash of traditions, imbued with her characteristic humor and bringing to life the colors, smells, and sounds of Mexico. Reading group guide included.

The Lost Garden: A Novel

by Helen Humphreys

Leaving London to grow food for the war effort, Gwen discovers a mysterious lost garden and the story of a love that becomes her own. This word-perfect, heartbreaking novel is set in early 1941 in Britain when the war seems endless and, perhaps, hopeless. London is on fire from the Blitz, and a young woman gardener named Gwen Davis flees from the burning city for the Devon countryside. She has volunteered for the Land Army, and is to be in charge of a group of young girls who will be trained to plant food crops on an old country estate where the gardens have fallen into ruin. Also on the estate, waiting to be posted, is a regiment of Canadian soldiers. For three months, the young women and men will form attachments, living in a temporary rural escape. No one will be more changed by the stay than Gwen. She will inspire the girls to restore the estate gardens, fall in love with a soldier, find her first deep friendship, and bring a lost garden, created for a great love, back to life. While doing so, she will finally come to know herself and a life worth living. Reading group guide included.

Catholicism and American Freedom: A History

by John T. Mcgreevy

"[McGreevy] has written the best intellectual history of the Catholic Church in America."--Commonweal For two centuries, Catholicism has played a profound and largely unexamined role in America's political and intellectual life. Emphasizing the communal over the individual, protections for workers and the poor over market freedoms, and faith in eternal verities over pragmatic compromises, the Catholic worldview has been a constant foil to liberalism. Catholicism and American Freedom is a groundbreaking tale of strange bedfellows and bitter conflicts over issues such as slavery, public education, economic reform, the movies, contraception, and abortion. It is an international story, as both liberals and conservatives were influenced by ideas and events abroad, from the 1848 revolutions to the rise of Fascism and the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, to papal encyclicals and the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s; and by the people, from scholarly Jesuits to working class Catholics, who immigrated from Europe and Latin America. McGreevy reveals how the individualist, and often vehemently anti-Catholic, inclinations of Protestant intellectuals shaped the debates over slavery--and how Catholics, although they were the first to acknowledge the moral equality of black people and disavowed segregation of churches, even in the South, still had difficulty arguing against the hierarchy and tradition represented by slavery. He sheds light on the unsung heroes of American history like Orestes Browson, editor of Brownson's Quarterly Review, who suffered the disdain of abolitionists for being a Catholic, and the antagonism of conservative Catholics for being an abolitionist; and later heroes like Jacques Maritain and John Courtney Murray, who fought to modernize the Church, increased attention to human rights, and urged the Church "to adapt herself vitally . . . to what is valid in American democratic development." Putting recent scandals in the Church and the media's response in a much larger context, this stimulating history is a model of nuanced scholarship and provocative reading.

The Book of Splendor: A Novel

by Frances Sherwood

A historical novel about the most unlikely of lovers, interwoven with the mysticism of the Jewish occult. Frances Sherwood brings to life the experience of the Jewish community during a period of oppression and rebirth. Set in seventeenth-century Prague, The Book of Splendor is an adventure-filled romance stocked with court intrigue and political tension, including the machinations of the rival Ottoman Empire, the religious controversies of Protestantism, and the constant threat of violence to the Jewish community. At the heart of the novel is Rochel, a bastard seamstress who escapes poverty through an arranged marriage to the tailor Zev, but falls in love with Yossel, the Golem created by Rabbi Loew to protect the Jewish community. Meanwhile, Emperor Rudolph II puts the safety of all Prague at risk in his mad bid for an elixir of immortality. The Book of Splendor is an epic tale reminiscent of Anita Diamant's The Red Tent, and a love story as unlikely as Tracy Chevalier's Girl with a Pearl Earring. Reading group guide included.

An Urchin in the Storm: Essays about Books and Ideas

by Stephen Jay Gould

"What pleasure to see the dishonest, the inept, and the misguided deftly given their due, while praise is lavished on the deserving--for reasons well and truly stated."--Kirkus Reviews Ranging as far as the fox and as deep as the hedgehog (the urchin of his title), Stephen Jay Gould expands on geology, biological determinism, "cardboard Darwinism," and evolutionary theory in this sparkling collection.

Triumph and Tragedy in Mudville: A Lifelong Passion for Baseball

by David Halberstam Stephen Jay Gould

"Scientific analysis intersects with flat-out fandom. [Gould] could write, he was funny, and he loved, loved baseball."--Booklist Science meets sport in this vibrant collection of baseball essays by the late evolutionary biologist.Among Stephen Jay Gould's many gifts was his ability to write eloquently about baseball, his great passion. Through the years, the renowned paleontologist published numerous essays on the sport; these have now been collected in a volume alive with the candor and insight that characterized all of Gould's writing. Here are his thoughts on the complexities of childhood streetball and the joys of opening day; tributes to Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, and lesser-knowns such as deaf-mute centerfielder "Dummy" Hoy; and a frank admission of the contradictions inherent in being a lifelong Yankees fan with Red Sox season tickets. Gould also deftly applies the tools of evolutionary theory to the demise of the .400 hitter, the Abner Doubleday creation myth, and the improbability of Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak. This book is a delight, an essential addition to Gould's remarkable legacy, and a fitting tribute to his love for the game.

The Poet's Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry

by Kim Addonizio Dorianne Laux

From the nuts and bolts of craft to the sources of inspiration, this book is for anyone who wants to write poetry-and do it well. ?The Poet's Companion ?presents brief essays on the elements of poetry, technique, and suggested subjects for writing, each followed by distinctive writing exercises. The ups and downs of writing life--including self-doubt and writer's block--are here, along with tips about getting published and writing in the electronic age. On your own, this book can be your "teacher," while groups, in or out of the classroom, can profit from sharing weekly assignments.

The Leafcutter Ants: Civilization by Instinct

by Edward O. Wilson Bert Hölldobler

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning authors of The Ants comes this dynamic and visually spectacular portrait of Earth's ultimate superorganism. The Leafcutter Ants is the most detailed and authoritative description of any ant species ever produced. With a text suitable for both a lay and a scientific audience, the book provides an unforgettable tour of Earth's most evolved animal societies. Each colony of leafcutters contains as many as five million workers, all the daughters of a single queen that can live over a decade. A gigantic nest can stretch thirty feet across, rise five feet or more above the ground, and consist of hundreds of chambers that reach twenty-five feet below the ground surface. Indeed, the leafcutters have parlayed their instinctive civilization into a virtual domination of forest, grassland, and cropland--from Louisiana to Patagonia. Inspired by a section of the authors' acclaimed The Superorganism, this brilliantly illustrated work provides the ultimate explanation of what a social order with a half-billion years of animal evolution has achieved.

Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes: Further Reflections in Natural History

by Stephen Jay Gould

"Lively and fascinating. . . . [Gould] writes beautifully about science and the wonders of nature."--Tracy Kidder Over a century after Darwin published the Origin of Species, Darwinian theory is in a "vibrantly healthy state," writes Stephen Jay Gould, its most engaging and illuminating exponent. Exploring the "peculiar and mysterious particulars of nature," Gould introduces the reader to some of the many and wonderful manifestations of evolutionary biology.

The Flamingo's Smile: Reflections in Natural History

by Stephen Jay Gould

"Gould himself is a rare and wonderful animal--a member of the endangered species known as the ruby-throated polymath. . . . [He] is a leading theorist on large-scale patterns in evolution . . . [and] one of the sharpest and most humane thinkers in the sciences." --David Quammen, New York Times Book Review

Eight Little Piggies: Reflections in Natural History

by Stephen Jay Gould

"There is no scientist today whose books I look forward to reading with greater anticipation of enjoyment and enlightenment than Stephen Jay Gould."--Martin Gardner Among scientists who write, no one illuminates as well as Stephen Jay Gould doesthe wonderful workings of the natural world. Now in a new volume of collected essays--his sixth since Ever Since Darwin--Gould speaks of the importance of unbroken connections within our own lives and to our ancestralgenerations. Along with way, he opens to us the mysteries of fish tails, frog calls, and other matters, and shows once and for all why we must take notice when a seemingly insignificant creature is threatened, like the land snail Partula from Moorea, whose extinction he movingly relates.

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