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The Perils of Normalcy

by Karel Plessini

A taboo-breaker and a great provocateur, George L. Mosse (1918-99) was one of the great historians of the twentieth century, forging a new historiography of culture that included brilliant insights about the roles of nationalism, fascism, racism, and sexuality. Jewish, gay, and a member of a culturally elite family in Germany, Mosse came of age as the Nazis came to power, before escaping as a teenager to England and America. Mosse was innovative and interdisciplinary as a scholar, and he shattered in his groundbreaking books prevalent assumptions about the nature of National Socialism and the Holocaust. He audaciously drew a link from bourgeois respectability and the ideology of the Enlightenment--the very core of modern Western civilization--to the extermination of the European Jews. In this intellectual biography of George Mosse, Karel Plessini draws on all of Mosse's published and unpublished work to illuminate the origins and development of his groundbreaking methods of historical analysis and the close link between his life and work. He redefined the understanding of modern mass society and politics, masterfully revealing the powerful influence of conformity and political liturgies on twentieth-century history. Mosse warned against the dangers inherent in acquiescence, showing how identity creation and ideological fervor can climax in intolerance and mass murder--a message of continuing relevance.

The Government of Mistrust

by Ken Maclean

Focusing on the creation and misuse of government documents in Vietnam since the 1920s, "The Government of Mistrust" reveals how profoundly the dynamics of bureaucracy have affected Vietnamese efforts to build a socialist society. In examining the flurries of paperwork and directives that moved back and forth between high- and low-level officials, Ken MacLean underscores a paradox: in trying to gather accurate information about the realities of life in rural areas, and thus better govern from Hanoi, the Vietnamese central government employed strategies that actually made the state increasingly illegible to itself. MacLean exposes a falsified world existing largely on paper. As high-level officials attempted to execute centralized planning via decrees, procedures, questionnaires, and audits, low-level officials and peasants used their own strategies to solve local problems. To obtain hoped-for aid from the central government, locals overstated their needs and underreported the resources they actually possessed. Higher-ups attempted to re-establish centralized control and legibility by creating yet more bureaucratic procedures. Amidst the resulting mistrust and ambiguity, many low-level officials were able to engage in strategic action and tactical maneuvering that have shaped socialism in Vietnam in surprising ways.

Innocence and Victimhood

by Elissa Helms

The 1992-95 war in Bosnia-Herzegovina following the dissolution of socialist Yugoslavia became notorious for "ethnic cleansing" and mass rapes targeting the Bosniac (Bosnian Muslim) population. Postwar social and political processes have continued to be dominated by competing nationalisms representing Bosniacs, Serbs, and Croats, as well as those supporting a multiethnic Bosnian state, in which narratives of victimhood take center stage, often in gendered form. Elissa Helms shows that in the aftermath of the war, initiatives by and for Bosnian women perpetuated and complicated dominant images of women as victims and peacemakers in a conflict and political system led by men. In a sober corrective to such accounts, she offers a critical look at the politics of women's activism and gendered nationalism in a postwar and postsocialist society. Drawing on ethnographic research spanning fifteen years, "Innocence and Victimhood" demonstrates how women's activists and NGOs responded to, challenged, and often reinforced essentialist images in affirmative ways, utilizing the moral purity associated with the position of victimhood to bolster social claims, shape political visions, pursue foreign funding, and wage campaigns for postwar justice. Deeply sensitive to the suffering at the heart of Bosnian women's (and men's) wartime experiences, this book also reveals the limitations to strategies that emphasize innocence and victimhood.

Letters to J. D. Salinger

by Chris Kubica Will Hochman

He published his only novel more than fifty years ago. He has hardly been seen or heard from since 1965. Most writers fitting such a description are long forgotten, but if the novel is The Catcher in the Rye and the writer is J. D. Salinger . . . well, he's the stuff of legends, the most famously reclusive writer of the twentieth century. If you could write to him, what would you say? Salinger continues to maintain his silence, but Holden Caulfield, Franny and Zooey, and Seymour Glass-the unforgettable characters of his novel and short stories-continue to speak to generations of readers and writers. Letters to Salinger includes more than 150 personal letters addressed to Salinger from well-known writers, editors, critics, journalists, and other luminaries, as well as from students, teachers, and readers around the world, some of whom have just discovered Salinger for the first time. Their voices testify to the lasting impressions Salinger's ideas and emotions have made on so many diverse lives. Contributors include Marvin Bell, Frederick Busch, Stephen Collins, Nicholas Delbanco, Warren French, Herbert Gold, W. P. Kinsella, Molly McQuade, Stewart O'Nan, Robert O'Connor, Ellis Paul, Molly Peacock, Sanford Pinsker, George Plimpton, Gerald Rosen, Sid Salinger, David Shields, Joseph Skibell, Melanie Rae Thon, Alma Luz Villanueva, Katharine Weber, and many others

The La Follettes of Wisconsin

by Bernard A. Weisberger

The La Follettes of Wisconsin--Robert, Belle, and their children, Bob Jr. , Phil, Fola, and Mary--are vividly brought to life in this collective biography of an American political family. As governor of Wisconsin (1901-06) and U. S. Senator (1906-25), "Fighting Bob" battled relentlessly for his Progressive vision of democracy--an idealistic mixture of informed citizenry and enlightened egalitarianism. By contrast, the private man suffered from intense, isolated periods of depression and relied heavily on his family for survival. Together, "Old Bob" and his beloved wife, Belle Case La Follette--a lawyer, journalist, and Progressive leader in her own right--raised their children in the distinctly uncompromising La Follette tradition of challenging social and political ills. Fola became a campaigner for women's suffrage, Phil was governor of Wisconsin, and "Young Bob" became a U. S. senator.

Sharing the Dance

by Cynthia J. Novack

In Sharing the Dance, Cynthia Novack considers the development of contact improvisation within its web of historical, social, and cultural contexts This book examines the ways contact improvisers (and their surrounding communities) encode sexuality, spontaneity, and gender roles, as well as concepts of the self and society in their dancing. While focusing on the changing practice of contact improvisation through two decades of social transformation, Novack's work incorporates the history of rock dancing and disco, the modern and experimental dance movements of Merce Cunningham, Anna Halprin, and Judson Church, among others, and a variety of other physical activities, such as martial arts, aerobics, and wrestling.

Pocahontas, Powhatan, Opechancanough: Three Indian Lives Changed by Jamestown

by Helen C. Rountree

Pocahontas may be the most famous Native American who ever lived, but during the settlement of Jamestown, and for two centuries afterward, the great chiefs Powhatan and Opechancanough were the subjects of considerably more interest and historical documentation than the young woman. It was Opechancanough who captured the foreign captain "Chawnzmit"--John Smith. Smith gave Opechancanough a compass, described to him a spherical earth that revolved around the sun, and wondered if his captor was a cannibal. Opechancanough, who was no cannibal and knew the world was flat, presented Smith to his elder brother, the paramount chief Powhatan. The chief, who took the name of his tribe as his throne name (his personal name was Wahunsenacawh), negotiated with Smith over a lavish feast and opened the town to him, leading Smith to meet, among others, Powhatan's daughter Pocahontas. Thinking he had made an ally, the chief finally released Smith. Within a few decades, and against their will, his people would be subjects of the British Crown.Despite their roles as senior politicians in these watershed events, no biography of either Powhatan or Opechancanough exists. And while there are other "biographies" of Pocahontas, they have for the most part elaborated on her legend more than they have addressed the known facts of her remarkable life. As the 400th anniversary of Jamestown's founding approaches, nationally renowned scholar of Native Americans, Helen Rountree, provides in a single book the definitive biographies of these three important figures. In their lives we see the whole arc of Indian experience with the English settlers - from the wary initial encounters presided over by Powhatan, to the uneasy diplomacy characterized by the marriage of Pocahontas and John Rolfe, to the warfare and eventual loss of native sovereignty that came during Opechancanough's reign.Writing from an ethnohistorical perspective that looks as much to anthropology as the written records, Rountree draws a rich portrait of Powhatan life in which the land and the seasons governed life and the English were seen not as heroes but as Tassantassas (strangers), as invaders, even as squatters. The Powhatans were a nonliterate people, so we have had to rely until now on the white settlers for our conceptions of the Jamestown experiment. This important book at last reconstructs the other side of the story.

The First Prejudice

by Chris Beneke Christopher S. Grenda

In many ways, religion was the United States' first prejudice--both an early source of bigotry and the object of the first sustained efforts to limit its effects. Spanning more than two centuries across colonial British America and the United States, The First Prejudice offers a groundbreaking exploration of the early history of persecution and toleration. The twelve essays in this volume were composed by leading historians with an eye to the larger significance of religious tolerance and intolerance. Individual chapters examine the prosecution of religious crimes, the biblical sources of tolerance and intolerance, the British imperial context of toleration, the bounds of Native American spiritual independence, the nuances of anti-Semitism and anti-Catholicism, the resilience of African American faiths, and the challenges confronted by skeptics and freethinkers.The First Prejudice presents a revealing portrait of the rhetoric, regulations, and customs that shaped the relationships between people of different faiths in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century America. It relates changes in law and language to the lived experience of religious conflict and religious cooperation, highlighting the crucial ways in which they molded U.S. culture and politics. By incorporating a broad range of groups and religious differences in its accounts of tolerance and intolerance, The First Prejudice opens a significant new vista on the understanding of America's long experience with diversity.

Wicked Company

by Ciji Ware

All of life's a wicked stage and love a dangerous drama. . . If Shakespeare had a sister. . . In 18th century London the glamorous Drury Lane and Covent Garden theatres were all the rage, beckoning every young actor, actress, playwright, and performer with the lure of the stage lights. But competition and back-biting between theatre owners, patrons, actors, and writers left aspiring playwrights with their work stolen, profits withheld, and reputations on the line. For a female, things were harder still, as the chances of a "petticoat playwright" getting past the government censor was slim. In this exciting and cutthroat world, a young woman with a skill for writing and an ambition to see her work performed could rise to glory, or could lose all in the blink of an eye. . . In Ciji Ware's signature style, real-life characters of the day create a backdrop for a portrait of a glittering era, a love story, and a compelling glimpse into what life was like for a strong and independent-minded woman in an emphatically man's world.

Cottage by the Sea

by Ciji Ware

A remote cottage on the wild coast of Cornwall sounded to Blythe Barton Stowe like the perfect escape from the pain and humiliation of recent events in her Hollywood life. But soon she seems to be reliving a centuries-old tragedy, and the handsome owner of the shabby manor house on the hill appears vitally entwined in her destiny. As they unearth one shocking family secret after another, Blythe is forced to conclude that her intriguing neighbor is more than just an impecunious British gentleman bent on saving his ancestral home. And the impeccably honorable Lucas Teague begins to see Blythe as a lifeline in an otherwise bleak existence. But is the unbridled attraction they're experiencing a dangerous distraction, or could it be strong enough to transcend the insurmountable complexities of time and place...?

The Liberation of Alice Love

by Abby Mcdonald

Clever and elegant, this novel forces you to think about how far you'd go to find the truth, and how many lies you'd tell to uncover it. Alice Love keeps her life (and boss, and family) running in perfect order, so when her bank card is declined, she thinks it's just a simple mistake. Sadly, someone has emptied her bank account, spending her savings on glamorous holidays, sexy lingerie, and a to-die-for wardrobe, and leaving Alice with lots of debt. But she soon wonders if perhaps her alter-ego's reckless, extravagant lifestyle is the one Alice should have been leading all along...

The Scarlet Lion

by Elizabeth Chadwick

The Legend of the Greatest Knight Lives On William Marshal's skill with a sword and loyalty to his word have earned him the company of kings, the lands of a magnate, and the hand of Isabelle de Clare, one of England's wealthiest heiresses. But he is thrust back into the chaos of court when King Richard dies. Vindictive King John clashes with William, claims the family lands for the Crown-and takes two of the Marshal sons hostage. The conflict between obeying his king and rebelling over the royal injustices threatens the very heart of William and Isabelle's family. Fiercely intelligent and courageous, fearing for the man and marriage that light her life, Isabelle plunges with her husband down a precarious path that will lead William to more power than he ever expected. "Everyone who has raved about Elizabeth Chadwick as an author of historical novels is right." -Devourer of Books on The Greatest Knight "Elizabeth Chadwick is a gifted novelist and a dedicated researcher; it doesn't get any better than that." -Sharon Kay Penman

For the King’s Favor

by Elizabeth Chadwick

"The best writer of medieval fiction currently around. " -Richard Lee, Historical Novel Society A Bittersweet Tale of Love, Loss, and the Power of Royalty When Roger Bigod arrives at King Henry II's court to settle a bitter inheritance dispute, he becomes enchanted with Ida de Tosney, young mistress to the powerful king. A victim of Henry's seduction and the mother of his son, Ida sees in Roger a chance to begin a new life. But Ida pays an agonizing price when she leaves the king, and as Roger's importance grows and he gains an earldom, their marriage comes under increasing strain. Based on the true story of a royal mistress and the young lord she chose to marry, For the King's Favor is Elizabeth Chadwick at her best. "An author who makes historical fiction come gloriously alive. " -Times of London "Everyone who has raved about Elizabeth Chadwick as an author of historical novels is right. " -Devourer of Books Blog "I rank Elizabeth Chadwick with such historical novelist stars as Dorothy Dunnett and Anya Seton. " -Sharon Kay Penman, New York Times bestselling author of Devil's Brood

Regulatory Assessment Toolkit

by Sebastián Sáez Martín Molinuevo

The services sector--ranging from telecommunications and banking to business processing and outsourcing--is increasingly recognized as part and parcel of any trade strategy, both as a source of export diversification in its own right as well as a key component of a country's competitiveness. Unlike trade in goods, which is governed by border measures that regulate the entry of foreign merchandise, international trade in services is subject to a wide range of domestic laws and regulations that govern access and operations by both domestic and foreign suppliers. While such regulations are essential where market failures or externalities exist and to ensure non-economic objectives, it is often difficult to differentiate between legitimate policy objectives and protectionist measures that introduce distortions and inefficiency in the market. An unnecessarily restrictive regulatory framework limits the potential of the services sector to develop, and undermines the export opportunities and competitiveness of domestic businesses. This toolkit offers a practical methodology to assess the impact of services regulations: the Regulatory Assessment on Services Trade and Investment (RASTI). The RASTI helps to evaluate whether a country's regulatory framework is promoting the development of an efficient domestic services market, and offers guidance on how to ensure that services regulation correctly addresses market failures and achieves public policy goals. The authors propose three steps towards a trade-related regulatory assessment: - mapping laws and regulations that affect trade and investment in services, and assessing the regulatory process and institutional arrangements; - wherever possible, providing a quantitative assessment of the impact of regulations on performance and market structure, including prices, quality and access; and - identifying alternative regulations and institutional set-ups that promote an enabling regulatory environment for services trade while achieving the desired policy goals. Performing a regulatory assessment can serve multiple purposes depending on the circumstances and the needs of the evaluators, including bridging information gaps; supporting regulatory reform; supporting trade negotiations; assessing regulatory performance; and promoting better regulatory practices. The Regulatory Assessment Toolkit will be of particular interest to policy makers and government officials from regulatory bodies, experts at development banks and donor agencies, and academics and researchers in the field of economic regulation.

International Debt Statistics 2014

by World Bank

International Debt Statistics (IDS) 2014 is a continuation of the World Bank's publications Global Development Finance, Volume II (1997 through 2009) and the earlier World Debt Tables (1973 through 1996). IDS 2014 provides statistical tables showing the external debt of 128 developing countries that report public and publicly guaranteed external debt to the World Bank's Debtor Reporting System (DRS). It also includes tables of key debt ratios for individual reporting countries and the composition of external debt stocks and flows for individual reporting countries and regional and income groups along with some graphical presentations. IDS 2014 draws on a database maintained by the World Bank External Debt (WBXD) system. Longer time series and more detailed data are available from the World Bank open databases, which contain more than 200 time series indicators, covering the years 1970 to 2012 for most reporting countries, and pipeline data for scheduled debt service payments on existing commitments to 2019. International Debt Statistics 2014 is unique in its coverage of the important trends and issues fundamental to the financing of the developing world. This report is an indispensable resource for governments, economists, investors, financial consultants, academics, bankers, and the entire development community. In addition, International Debt Statistics will showcase the broader spectrum of debt data collected and compiled by the World Bank. These include the high frequency, quarterly external debt database (QEDS) and the quarterly public sector database (QPSD) developed in partnership with the International Monetary Fund and launched by the World Bank.

World Development Report 2010

by World Bank

Today's enormous development challenges are complicated by the reality of climate change-the two are inextricably linked and together demand immediate attention. Climate change threatens all countries, but particularly developing ones. Understanding what climate change means for development policy is the central aim of the World Development Report 2010. Estimates are that developing countries would bear some 75 to 80 percent of the costs of anticipated damages caused by the changing climate. Developing countries simply cannot afford to ignore climate change, nor can they focus on adaptation alone. So action to reduce vulnerability and lay the groundwork for a transition to low-carbon growth paths is imperative. The 'World Development Report 2010' explores how public policy can change to better help people cope with new or worsened risks, how land and water management must adapt to better protect a threatened natural environment while feeding an expanding and more prosperous population, and how energy systems will need to be transformed. The authors examine how to integrate development realities into climate policy-in international agreements, in instruments to generate carbon finance, and in steps to promote innovation and the diffusion of new technologies. The 'World Development Report 2010' is an urgent call for action, both for developing countries who are striving to ensure policies are adapted to the realities and dangers of a hotter planet, and for high-income countries who need to undertake ambitious mitigation while supporting developing countries efforts. The authors argue that a climate-smart world is within reach if we act now to tackle the substantial inertia in the climate, in infrastructure, and in behaviors and institutions; if we act together to reconcile needed growth with prudent and affordable development choices; and if we act differently by investing in the needed energy revolution and taking the steps required to adapt to a rapidly changing planet.

The Inverting Pyramid

by Omar S. Arias Sebastian Eckardt Miglena Abels Johannes Koettl Asta Zviniene Anita M. Schwarz Herwig Immervoll Heinz P. Rudolph

Europe's pension systems -among the most celebrated features of its social welfare model-- face tremendous challenges. With only 11 percent of the world's population, Europe spends about 60 percent of global outlays on social protection, largely in pensions. In many countries, pension rules have encouraged people to retire sooner, while enjoying longer lives. Payroll taxes on a continuously expanding contributory base have financed these benefits. This model of pension provision is now being severely tested as pension systems reach maturity, while the population is aging and the labor force is starting to shrink. Measures to enable a continued tradition of providing old age security will include * raising retirement ages such that pensions are provided in the last 15 years of life, when work capacity traditionally diminishes * encouraging immigration to help fill the declining work force * rationalizing pension spending, putting priority on preventing old age poverty, and * encouraging savings to help provide the more comfortable retirement that individuals have come to expect. Some measures may be more appropriate in particular countries than others, yet undertaking all of them will likely require less drastic changes in any one of them. The specific choices will need to be discussed and agreed among each country's own population, and be accompanied by enabling changes in pension policy, tax policy, financial markets policy, and labor policy. The fundamental issue is that, with these changes, the important achievements of European social policy can withstand the demographic onslaught and continue to provide old age security for generations to come.

Home Ground and Foreign Territory

by Janice Fiamengo

Home Ground and Foreign Territory is an original collection of essays on early Canadian literature in English. Aiming to be both provocative and scholarly, it encompasses a variety of (sometimes opposing) perspectives, subjects, and methods, with the aim of reassessing the field, unearthing neglected texts, and proposing new approaches to canonical authors. Renowned experts in early Canadian literary studies, including D.M.R. Bentley, Mary Jane Edwards, and Carole Gerson, join emerging scholars in a collection distinguished by its clarity of argument and breadth of reference. Together, the essays offer bold and informative contributions to the study of this dynamic literature. Home Ground and Foreign Territory reaches out far beyond the scope of early Canadian literature. Its multi-disciplinary approach innovates literal studies and appeals to literature specialists and general readership alike.

His Illegal Self

by Peter Carey

Two-time Booker Prize-winner Peter Carey's His Illegal Self crackles with passionate, electrifying prose and characters that leap off the page and into your psyche. Utterly captivating. It is 1972 and Ché, a precocious seven-almost-eight-year-old boy, leads a rather bourgeois life on Park Avenue with his eccentric grandmother. His parents are young radicals in hiding from the FBI - he has never even met his father and he last saw his mother at the age of two. Ché is ecstatic when a woman called Dial - who he believes is his mother - appears at his front door to take him out for lunch. They skip the meal and Dial whisks Ché off on a serpentine adventure, luring him with the promise of a big "surprise" and the idea that he has finally found someone to love. Eventually they find themselves stranded on a turbulent hippie commune in Australia, a lonely boy and a reluctant kidnapper with no one to rely on but each other.His Illegal Self is a love story like no other. Simultaneously sinister and endearing, the incomparable perspectives and vividness of the characters' voices are mesmerizing. It is impossible not to be moved by the openness and innocence of this young boy, and by his willingness and inherent need to love and to trust anyone and everyone as he seeks out his parents.From the Hardcover edition.

A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton

by Carl Bernstein

A Woman in Charge reveals the true trajectory of Hillary's astonishing life and career. From a staunchly Republican household and apparently idyllic Midwestern girlhood - her disciplinarian father here revealed as harsher than she has acknowledged - we see the shaping of a brilliant girl whose curiosity was fuelled by the ferment of the 1960s and a desire to change the world. During her student years, she was already perceived as a spokeswoman for her generation. Then, at Yale Law School, she met and fell in love with Bill Clinton, cancelling her own dreams to tie her fortunes to his. Bernstein clarifies the often amazing dynamic of their marriage, charting both her political acumen and her blind spots, and untangling her relationship to the great controversies of Whitewater, Troopergate and Travelgate. And then, in the emotional and political chaos of the Lewinsky affair we see Hillary standing by her husband - evoking a rising wave of sympathy from a public previously cool to her and in effect, Bernstein argues, saving his presidency. It helps carry her into the Senate: her time has come. As she decides to run for President, this self-described 'mind-conservative and heart liberal' has one more chance to fulfill her long-deferred ambitions. Bernstein has interviewed some 200 of her colleagues, friends and enemies and was given unique access to the candid record of the 1992 presidential campaign kept by Hillary's best friend, Diane Blair. Marshalling all the skills and energy that propelled his history-making Pulitzer prize-winning coverage of Watergate, he gives us a detailed, sophisticated, comprehensive and revealing account of the complex human being and political meteor who has already helped define one presidency and may well become the woman in charge of another.

Boeing Versus Airbus

by John Newhouse

The commercial airline industry is one of the most volatile, dog-eat-dog enterprises in the world, and in the late 1990s, Europe's Airbus overtook America's Boeing as the preeminent aircraft manufacturer. However, Airbus quickly succumbed to the same complacency it once challenged, and Boeing regained its precarious place on top. Now, after years of heated battle and mismanagement, both companies face the challenge of serving burgeoning Asian markets and stiff competition from China and Japan. Combining insider knowledge with vivid prose and insight, John Newhouse delivers a riveting story of these two titans of the sky and their struggles to stay in the air.From the Trade Paperback edition.examines the critical issues that Boeing has faced in recent years, including its difficult merger with McDonnell Douglas, its controversial move from Seattle to Chicago, and a series of corporate scandals that made front-page news. And he analyzes the troubles that have beset a once ascendant Airbus, notably an institutional structure aimed at satisfying the narrowly focused interests of its European stakeholders. Newhouse also explores the problems that now face Boeing and Airbus alike: potential competition from China and Japan, the challenge of serving burgeoning Asian markets, and the need to undo years of mismanagement. Boeing Versus Airbus is a fascinating, informed, and insightful tale of success, and failure, in the turbulent, do-or-die world of the aircraft industry.From the Hardcover edition.

A Far Country

by Daniel Mason

The book is about an unknown country, full of drought, poverty, and people looking for work. Against this background, Isabella searches for her brother.

The Lay of the Land

by Richard Ford

With The Sportswriter, in 1985, Richard Ford began a cycle of novels that ten years later - after Independence Day won both the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award - was hailed by The Times of London as "an extraordinary epic [that] is nothing less than the story of the twentieth century itself."Frank Bascombe's story resumes, in the fall of 2000, with the presidential election still hanging in the balance and Thanksgiving looming before him with all the perils of a post-nuclear family get-together. He's now plying his trade as a realtor on the Jersey shore and contending with health, marital and familial issues that have his full attention: "all the ways that life seems like life at age fifty-five strewn around me like poppies."Richard Ford's first novel in over a decade: the funniest, most engaging (and explosive) book he's written, and a major literary event.From the Hardcover edition.

After Dark

by Haruki Murakami

A short, sleek novel of encounters set in the witching hours of Tokyo between midnight and dawn, and every bit as gripping as Haruki Murakami's masterworksThe Wind-Up Bird ChronicleandKafka on the Shore. At its center are two sisters: Yuri, a fashion model sleeping her way into oblivion; and Mari, a young student soon led from solitary reading at an anonymous Denny's into lives radically alien to her own: those of a jazz trombonist who claims they've met before; a burly female "love hotel" manager and her maidstaff; and a Chinese prostitute savagely brutalized by a businessman. These "night people" are haunted by secrets and needs that draw them together more powerfully than the differing circumstances that might keep them apart, and it soon becomes clear that Yuri's slumber-mysteriously tied to the businessman plagued by the mark of his crime - will either restore or annihilate her. After Darkmoves from mesmerizing drama to metaphysical speculation, interweaving time and space as well as memory and perspective into a seamless exploration of human agency - the interplay between self-expression and understanding, between the power of observation and the scope of compassion and love. Murakami's trademark humor, psychological insight, and grasp of spirit and morality are here distilled with an extraordinary, harmonious mastery. "Eyes mark the shape of the city. Through the eyes of a high-flying night bird, we take in the scene from midair. In our broad sweep, the city looks like a single gigantic creature-or more, like a single collective entity created by many intertwining organisms. Countless arteries stretch to the ends of its elusive body, circulating a continuous supply of fresh blood cells, sending out new data and collecting the old, sending out new consumables and collecting the old, sending out new contradictions and collecting the old. To the rhythm of its pulsing, all parts of the body flicker and flare up and squirm. Midnight is approaching, and while the peak of activity has indeed passed, the basal metabolism that maintains life continues undiminished, producing the basso continuo of the city's moan, a monotonous sound that neither rises nor falls but is pregnant with foreboding. " --fromAfter Dark From the Hardcover edition.

A Mirror Garden

by Zara Houshmand Monir Farmanfarmaian

In Persia in 1924, when a child still had to worry about hostile camels in the bazaar and a nanny might spin stories at her pillow until her eyes fell shut, the extraordinary and irresistible Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian was born. From the enchanted basement storeroom where she played as a girl to the penthouse high above New York City where she would someday live, this is the delightful and inspiring story of her life as an artist, a wife and mother, a collector, and an Iranian. Here we see a mischievous girl become a spirited woman who defies tradition. Both a love story and a celebration of the warmth and elegance of Iranian culture, A Mirror Garden is a genuine fairy tale of an exuberant heroine who has never needed rescuing.From the Trade Paperback edition.

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