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Luncheon of the Boating Party

by Susan Vreeland

Bestselling author Susan Vreeland returns with a vivid exploration of one of the most beloved Renoir paintings in the worldInstantly recognizable, Auguste Renoir's masterpiece depicts a gathering of his real friends enjoying a summer Sunday on a café terrace along the Seine near Paris. A wealthy painter, an art collector, an Italian journalist, a war hero, a celebrated actress, and Renoir's future wife, among others, share this moment of la vie moderne, a time when social constraints were loosening and Paris was healing after the Franco-Prussian War. Parisians were bursting with a desire for pleasure and a yearning to create something extraordinary out of life. Renoir shared these urges and took on this most challenging project at a time of personal crises in art and love, all the while facing issues of loyalty and the diverging styles that were tearing apart the Impressionist group. Narrated by Renoir and seven of the models and using settings in Paris and on the Seine, Vreeland illuminates the gusto, hedonism, and art of the era. With a gorgeous palette of vibrant, captivating characters, she paints their lives, loves, losses, and triumphs in a brilliant portrait of her own.

God Is Dead

by Jr. Ron Currie

From a mind-blowing new talent, an audacious novel that imagines the world after God descends to Earth as a Dinka woman from the Sudan and subsequently dies in the Darfur desert. The result is a world both bizarrely new yet eerily familiar. In Currie's provocative, wise, and emotionally resonant novel we meet God himself; the Dinka woman whose mortality He must suffer when He inhabits her body; people all over the world coping with the devastating news of God's demise; a group of young men who, fearing the end of the world, take fate into their own hands; mental patients who insist that a god still exists; armies taking up the eternal war between fate and free will; and parents who, in the absence of a deity and the "lack of anything to do on Sundays," worship their children. On the surface, this world utterly transformed-yet certain things remain unchanged: protective parents clash with willful, idealistic teenagers; idols are exalted; small town rumor mills run unabated; and children often don't realize how to forgive their parents until it's too late. In God Is Dead, Currie brings together a prescient satirical gift worthy of Jonathan Swift, the raw appeal of Chuck Palahniuk's blackest comedy, and the thought-provoking ethical questions of Kurt Vonnegut, all with a light touch, empathy, and wisdom that make for an exhilarating reading experience. Off beat yet accessible, God Is Dead is an exciting debut from a fresh new voice in contemporary fiction.

Girls of Riyadh

by Rajaa Alsanea

Gamrah's faith in her new husband is not exactly returned . . . Sadeem is a little too willing to please her fiancé . . . Michelle is half-American and the wrong class for her boyfriend's family . . . While Lamees works hard with little time for love. The girls of Riyadh are young, attractive and living by Saudi Arabia's strict cultural traditions. Well, not quite. In-between sneaking out behind their parents' backs, dating, shopping, watching American TV and having fun, they're still trying to be good little Muslim girls. That is, pleasing their families and their men. But can you be a twenty-first century girl and a Saudi girl?

Five Skies

by Ron Carlson

Beloved story writer Ron Carlson's first novel in thirty years, Five Skies is the story of three men gathered high in the Rocky Mountains for a construction project that is to last the summer. Having participated in a spectacular betrayal in Los Angeles, the giant, silent Arthur Key drifts into work as a carpenter in southern Idaho. Here he is hired, along with the shiftless and charming Ronnie Panelli, to build a stunt ramp beside a cavernous void. The two will be led by Darwin Gallegos, the foreman of the local ranch who is filled with a primeval rage at God, at man, at life. As they endeavor upon this simple, grand project, the three reveal themselves in cautiously resonant, profound ways. And in a voice of striking intimacy and grace, Carlson's novel reveals itself as a story of biblical, almost spiritual force. A bellwether return from one of our greatest craftsmen, Five Skies is sure to be one of the most praised and cherished novels of the year. .

The Crime Writer

by Gregg Hurwitz

Drew Danner , an L. A. -based crime novelist, awakens in a hospital bed with a scar on his head, blood under his nails, and a cop by his side. Accused of murdering his ex-fiancée, Drew has no memory of the crime but reconstructs the story the only way he knows how--as a novel. As he searches the dark corridors of his life and the city he loves, another young woman is similarly murdered and Drew must confront the very real possibility of his own guilt. A thrilling piece of contemporary L. A. noir, The Crime Writer is sure to boost Hurwitz's profile as one of the coming masters of the genre. .

Consequences

by Penelope Lively

A chance meeting in St. Jamess Park begins young Lorna and Matts intense relationship. Wholly in love, they leave London for a cottage in a rural Somerset village. Their intimate life togetherMatts woodcarving, Lornas self-discovery, their new babyis shattered with the arrival of World War II. In 1960s London, Molly happens upon a forgotten newspapera seemingly small moment that leads to her first job and, eventually, a pregnancy by a wealthy man who wants to marry her, but whom she does not love. Thirty years later, Ruth, who has always considered her existence a peculiar accident, questions her own marriage and begins a journey that takes her back to 1941and a redefinition of herself, and of love. Told in Livelys incomparable prose, Consequences is a powerful story of growth, death, and rebirth and a study of the previous centuryits major and minor events, its shaping of public consciousness, and its changing of lives. Her greatest gift, though, is her ability to see beyond mere cultural ephemera and grasp the unchanging essence of life. The Wall Street Journal Her characters are beguiling, and her blend of romance and stinging social commentary is tonic. Booklist (starred review) A flawlessly constructed mini-epic. The Telegraph A beautifully written novel San Francisco Chronicle A fine novel: intricate, heartbreaking and redemptive. Publishers Weekly

Among other things, I've taken up smoking

by Aoibheann Sweeney

Critically acclaimed by reviewers across the country, Aoibheann Sweeney?s beautifully written debut novel is a story of the profound human need for intimacy. For Miranda, the adolescence spent in her fog-shrouded Maine home has been stark and isolated? alone with her troubled father, a man consumed with his work translating Ovid?s Metamorphoses, her mother mysteriously gone from their lives. Now, having graduated from high school, Miranda?s father arranges for her to stay with old friends in Manhattan, and she embarks on a journey that will open up her father?s past?and her own world?in ways she cannot begin to imagine. .

Pilgrims

by Elizabeth Gilbert

The cowboys, strippers, labourers and magicians of Pilgrimsare all on their way to being somewhere, or someone, else. Some are browbeaten and world-weary, others are deluded and naïve, yet all seek companionship as fiercely as they can. A tough East Coast girl dares a western cowboy to run off with her; a matronly bar owner falls in love with her nephew; an innocent teenager falls hopelessly for the local bully's sister. These are tough heroes and heroines, hardened by their experiences, who struggle for their epiphanies. Yet hope is never far away and though they may act blindly, they always act bravely. Sharply drawn and tenderly observed, Pilgrimsis filled with Gilbert's inimitable humour and warmth.

Wayfare

by Pattiann Rogers

A lively new collection from one of America's most celebrated contemporary poets Denise Levertov has called acclaimed poet Pattiann Rogers "a visionary of reality, perceiving the material world with such intensity of response that impulse, intention, meaning, interconnections beyond the skin of appearance are revealed. " In her new collection, Rogers takes the reader on an exploration of human endeavor. Full of color and action, wonder and fear, these poems investigate, reflect upon, and create experiences relative to music, art, and theater, as well as to the universe and its creatures, large and small. They are distinguished by the penetrating vision and avid imagination that have made Rogers one of today's most outstanding poets. .

The Mistress's Daughter

by A. M. Homes

The acclaimed writer A. M. Homes was given up for adoption before she was born. Her biological mother was a twenty-two-year-old single woman who was having an affair with a much older married man with a family of his own. The Mistress's Daughter is the ruthlessly honest account of what happened when, thirty years later, her birth parents came looking for her. Homes relates how they initially made contact and what happened afterwards, and digs through the family history of both sets of her parents in a twenty-first-century electronic search for self. Daring, heartbreaking, and startlingly funny, Homes's memoir is a brave and profoundly moving consideration of identity and family. .

Miss Julia Strikes Back

by Ann B. Ross

The irresistible, indefatigable Miss Julia is back, turning the tables on a thief who chose the wrong belle to burgle Having earned a devoted following for her rollicking antics and unshakable poise, Miss Julia's eighth outing begins with an unfortunate discovery. Her cherished engagement ring-an exact replica of Princess Di's-turns up missing after a party, making her the latest target of a Florida- based gang who, according to Sergeant Coleman Bates, has been denuding Dixie of its jewelry. Incensed, Miss Julia packs Little Lloyd into the car and heads south to claim what is rightfully hers-and to show the feds that there's more than one way to do reconnaissance: selling the Good Book! .

Four Queens

by Nancy Goldstone

The four beautiful, cultured and clever daughters of the Count and Countess of Provence made illustrious marriages and lived at the epicentre of political power and intrigue in 13th-century Europe. Marguerite accompanied her husband, King Louis IX of France, on his disastrous first crusade to the Holy Land, where straight from childbirth she ransomed him from the Mamluks. And with her sister Eleanor, queen of England, Marguerite engineered a sturdy peace between France and England. Ambitious Eleanor walked a narrow line while she struggled to build her own power base without alienating her cowardly husband, Henry III. Beatrice's coronation as queen of Sicily was the culmination of her long, hard-fought campaign to earn respect from her world-famous, mightily accomplished older siblings. Sanchia wed one of the richest men in Europe, but her reign as queen of Germany, brought her only misery. From Goldstone's rich, beautifully woven tapestry, medieval Europe springs to vivid life, from the lavish menus of the royal banquets and the sweet songs of the troubadours to the complex machinations of the Pope against the Holy Roman Emperor. This compelling work of history gives women their due as movers and shakers in tumultuous times.

Blue Grit

by Laura Flanders

Noted political commentator Laura Flanders investigates the state of American politics from the bottom upWith her trademark wit and indefatigable reporting, Laura Flanders, host of RadioNation and bestselling author of Bushwomen: Tales of a Cynical Species, reveals as only she can the state of progressive America today. All over the country, grassroots organizations are making a difference, and democrats of all stripes are doing what the national party has failed to do: engage new voters, advance progressive issues, and even run their own candidates for office-and win-in some of the most unlikely places. With a fiery polemic, assured narrative, and acute political commentary, Blue Grit is crucial reading for anyone interested in the future of the Democrats-and this country.

Wolves of the Crescent Moon

by Yousef Al-Mohaimeed

Banned in Saudi Arabia, this provocative, fast-paced debut novel confirms what The Washington Post reported about its award-winning author: "Yousef Al- Mohaimeed is taking on some of the most divisive subjects in the Arab world . . . in a lush style that evokes Gabriel García Márquez. " In a Riyadh bus station, a man comes across a file containing official reports about an abandoned baby. As he pieces together the shattered life documented within, a larger picture emerges of three outsiders-a Bedouin, an orphan, and a eunuch-linked by fate and trying to make lives for themselves in a predatory city. Unfolding with the intensity of a fever dream over the course of one night, Wolves of the Crescent Moon is a novel of astonishing power and great moral consequence about a deeply traditional society confronting the modern world. .

Speaking of Faith

by Krista Tippett

An intimate, thought-provoking, and original appraisal of the meaning of religion in our time- from the creator and host of public radio's Speaking of Faith Krista Tippett, widely becoming known as the Bill Moyers of radio, is one of the country's most intelligent and insightful commentators on religion, ethics, and the human spirit. With this book, she draws on her own life story and her intimate conversations with both ordinary and famous figures, including Elie Wiesel, Karen Armstrong, and Thich Nhat Hanh, to explore complex subjects like science, love, virtue, and violence within the context of spirituality and everyday life. Her way of speaking about the mysteries of life-and of listening with care to those who endeavor to understand those mysteries-is nothing short of revolutionary. .

Reading Judas

by Elaine Pagels Karen L. King

Discover the true meaning of the infamous lost Gospel of Judas . . . Lost for 1,600 years, the Gospel of Judas has only now had its meaning unlocked for readers today, causing worldwide controversy with its startling claim that not only did Jesus ask Judas to betray him, but also that Judas was killed by the other disciples. Was Judas a betrayer or a loyal disciple? Did he write this shocking document? And what does it mean for us today? In Reading Judas Elaine Pagels and Karen L. King, world-renowned experts in religious texts, explore the meanings of this contentious gospel in detail, separating myth from fact. Here they reveal a gospel that, far from seeing Jesus' death as a sacrifice for humanity's sins, opposes the idea of martyrdom and instead points towards a faith that is free from authority. Containing the first translation of the Gospel of Judas from the original Coptic, Reading Judas radically overthrows our notions of the Christian faith.

Muses, Madmen, and Prophets

by Daniel B. Smith

An inquiry into hearing voices-one of humanity's most profound phenomena Auditory hallucination is one of the most awe-inspiring, terrifying, and ill- understood tricks of which the human psyche is capable. In the age of modern medical science, we have relegated this experience to nothing more than a biological glitch. Yet as Daniel B. Smith puts forth in Muses, Madmen, and Prophets, some of the greatest thinkers, leaders, and prophets in history heard, listened to, and had dialogues with voices inside their heads. In a fascinating quest for understanding, Smith examines the history of this powerful phenomenon, and delivers a ringing defense of the validity of unusual human experiences. .

Kindness Goes Unpunished

by Craig Johnson

Walt brings Western-style justice to Philadelphia in this action-packed thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of The Cold Dish and As the Crow Flies, the third in the Longmire Mystery Series, the basis for LONGMIRE, the hit A&E original drama series Fans of Ace Atkins, Nevada Barr and Robert B. Parker will love New York Times bestselling author Craig Johnson's mystery series--starring Walt Longmire, the straight-shooting sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming, and the basis for LONGMIRE, the hit A&E original drama series---is attracting more and more fans with its distinctive blend of humor and action. In Kindness Goes Unpunished, Walt's pleasure trip to Philadelphia to visit his daughter, Cady, turns into a nightmare when she is the victim of a vicious attack that leaves her near death. Walt is forced to unpack his saddlebag of tricks to mete out some Western-style justice, and the result is another action-packed thriller from this star of crime fiction. Philadelphia gets a taste of Western justice in "a series that should become a 'must' read" (The Denver Post)

Hunk City

by James Wilcox

An astute and comical dissection of the culture wars-by the author of the much-loved Modern Baptists For More Than twenty years, James Wilcox has been cherished by reviewers and readers alike as one of the most talented American humorists. Since his classic Modern Baptists (picked by Harold Bloom as one of the few contemporary novels in his Western Canon), Wilcox has been charting the intricate spiritual topography of the South with inimitable wit and empathy. His "real comic genius" (Anne Tyler, The New York Times Book Review) has never been so brilliantly deployed as in this hilarious look at the peculiarly American cultural divisions of our times. .

Brother One Cell

by Cullen Thomas

Cullen Thomas was just like the thousands of other American kids who travel abroad after college. He was hungry for meaning and excitement beyond a nine-to-five routine, so he set off for Seoul, South Korea, to teach English and look for adventure. What he got was a three-and-a- half-year drug-crime sentence in South Korea's prisons, where the physical toll of life in a cell was coupled with the mental anguish of maintaining sanity in a world that couldn't have been more foreign. This is Thomas's unvarnished account of his eye-opening, ultimately life-affirming experience. Brother One Cellis part cautionary tale, part prison memoir, and part insightful travelogue that will appeal to a wide readership, from concerned parents to armchair adventurers.

Alice Waters & Chez Panisse

by Thomas Mcnamee

The first authorized biography of "the mother of American cooking" (The New York Times) This adventurous book charts the origins of the local "market cooking" culture that we all savor today. When Francophile Alice Waters opened Chez Panisse in Berkeley in 1971, few Americans were familiar with goat cheese, cappuccino, or mesclun. But it wasn't long before Waters and her motley coterie of dreamers inspired a new culinary standard incorporating ethics, politics, and the conviction that the best-grown food is also the tastiest. Based on unprecedented access to Waters and her inner circle, this is a truly delicious rags-to-riches saga.

Wish I Could Be There

by Allen Shawn

In addition to being the son of famous New Yorker editor William Shawn and brother of the distinguished playwright and actor Wallace Shawn, Allen Shawn is agoraphobic-he is afraid of both public spaces and isolation. Wish I Could Be There gracefully captures both of these extraordinary realities, blending memoir and scientific inquiry in an utterly engrossing quest to understand the mysteries of the human mind. Droll, probing, and honest, Shawn explores the many ways we all become who we are, whether through upbringing, genes, or our own choices, creating "an eloquent meditation upon the mysteries of personality and family"* and the struggle to face one's demons. .

A Treasury of Foolishly Forgotten Americans

by Michael Farquhar

A lively, compulsively browsable collection of neglected notables-from the bestselling author of A Treasury of Royal Scandals "History," wrote Thomas Carlyle, "is the essence of innumerable biographies. " Yet countless fascinating characters are relegated to a historical limbo. In A Treasury of Foolishly Forgotten Americans, Michael Farquhar has scoured the annals and rescued thirty of the most intriguing, unusual, and yes, memorable Americans from obscurity. From the mother of Mother's Day to Paul Revere's rival rider, the Mayflower murderer to "America's Sherlock Holmes," these figures are more than historical runners-up-they're the spies, explorers, patriots, and martyrs without whom history as we know it would be very different indeed. .

Supreme Conflict

by Jan Crawford Greenburg

Drawing on unprecedented access to the Supreme Court justices themselves and their inner circles, acclaimed ABC News legal correspondent Jan Crawford Greenburg offers an explosive newsbreaking account of one of the most momentous political watersheds in American history. From the series of Republican nominations that proved deeply frustrating to conservatives to the decades of bruising battles that led to the rise of Justices Roberts and Alito, this is the authoritative story of the conservative effort to shift the direction of the high court--a revelatory look at one of the central fronts of America's culture wars by one of the most widely respected experts on the subject. .

Pope John XXIII

by Thomas Cahill

Angelo Guiseppe Roncalli was an unexpected choice to follow the ultra conservative Pope Pius XII in 1958. At seventy-six years old, 'a fat old man with twinkling eyes and a seductively resonant voice', neither a well-known public figure nor a highly trained theologian, he was at first regarded as a transitional pope. During his brief but unforgettable reign as Pope John XXIII, however, he astonished the world with the seminal and unprecedented change he brought about in the Catholic Church. He was a deeply political man and played an important part on the world stage, helping to defuse the Cuban missile crisis of 1963. He also rewrote litury to avoid any crude condemnation of the Jews, tens of thousands of whom he had saved from the Holocaust when he was an apostolic administrator in Turkey.

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