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"Finally I understand what it is I've been laughing at all these years."--Jimmy Kimmel From the best-selling author of Why Does the World Exist? comes this outrageous, uproarious compendium of absurdity, filth, racy paradox, and gratuitous offensiveness--just the kind of mature philosophical reflection readers have come to expect from the ever-entertaining Jim Holt. Indeed, Stop Me If You've Heard This is the first book to trace the evolution of the joke all the way from the standup comics of ancient Athens to the comedy-club Seinfelds of today. After exploring humor's history in Part One, Holt delves into philosophy in Part Two: Wall Street jokes; jokes about rednecks and atheists, bulimics and politicians; jokes you missed if you didn't go to a Catholic girls' school; jokes about logic and existence itself . . . all became fodder for the grand theories of Aristotle, Kant, Freud, and Wittgenstein in this heady mix of the high and low, of the ribald and profound, from America's most beloved philosophical pundit.
In the tragicomic mode of his best-selling Louisiana Power & Light, a hilarious and tenderhearted novel about a son's attempts to save his family. John Dufresne takes us to Requiem, Mass., heart of the Commonwealth, where Johnny's mom, Frances, is driving in the breakdown lane once again. She thinks Johnny and his little sister Audrey have been replaced by aliens; she's sure of it, and she's pretty certain that she herself is already dead, or she wouldn't need to cover the stink of her rotting flesh with Jean Naté Apres Bain. Dad, truck driver and pathological liar, is down South somewhere living his secret life. And Audrey, when she's not walking her cat Deluxe in a baby stroller, spends her time locked in a closet telling herself stories. Johnny, meanwhile, is hell-bent on saving the family from itself. In his "truly original voice" (Miami Herald) and with the "miraculous beauty of his tale-telling" (New York Times Book Review), Dufresne brings his unparalleled eye for the tragic and the absurd to the dysfunctions and joys of family in this powerful new novel.
"A work of tremendous originality and insight. ... Makes you see the world differently."--Washington Post Translated into twenty languages ?The Future of Freedom ?is a modern classic that uses historical analysis to shed light on the present, examining how democracy has changed our politics, economies, and social relations. Prescient in laying out the distinction between democracy and liberty, the book contains a new afterword on the United States's occupation of Iraq and a wide-ranging update of the book's themes.
A rich and surprising look at the robust European culture that thrived after the collapse of Rome. The barbarians who destroyed the glory that was Rome demolished civilization along with it, and for the next four centuries the peasants and artisans of Europe barely held on. Random violence, mass migration, disease, and starvation were the only ways of life. This is the picture of the Dark Ages that most historians promote. But archaeology tells a different story. Peter Wells, one of the world's leading archaeologists, surveys the archaeological record to demonstrate that the Dark Ages were not dark at all. The kingdoms of Christendom that emerged starting in the ninth century sprang from a robust, previously little-known European culture, albeit one that left behind few written texts.
The New York Times bestseller: a true story in which the keepers of the Warsaw Zoo saved hundreds of people from Nazi hands. After their zoo was bombed, Polish zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski managed to save over three hundred people from the Nazis by hiding refugees in the empty animal cages. With animal names for these "guests," and human names for the animals, it's no wonder that the zoo's code name became "The House Under a Crazy Star." Best-selling naturalist and acclaimed storyteller Diane Ackerman combines extensive research and an exuberant writing style to re-create this fascinating, true-life story--sharing Antonina's life as "the zookeeper's wife," while examining the disturbing obsessions at the core of Nazism. Winner of the 2008 Orion Award.
"There are threads in our lives. You pull one, and everything else gets affected." When they were children, Sean Devine, Jimmy Marcus, and Dave Boyle were friends. But then a strange car pulled tip to their street. One boy got into the car, two did not, and something terrible happened -- something that ended their friendship and changed all three boys forever.Twenty-five years later, Sean Devine is a homicide detective. Jimmy Marcus is an ex-con who owns a corner store. And Dave Boyle is trying to hold his marriage together and keep his demons at bay -- demons that urge him to do terrible things.When Jimmy Marcus's daughter is found murdered, Sean Devine is assigned to the case. His personal life unraveling, he must go back into a world he thought he'd left behind to confront not only the violence, of the present but the nightmares of his past. His investigation brings him into conflict with Jimmy Marcus, who finds that his old criminal impulses tempt him to solve the crime with brutal justice. And then there is Dave Boyle, who came home the night Jimmy's daughter died covered with someone else's blood.While Sean Devine attempts to use the law to return peace and order to the neighborhood, Jimmy Marcus finds his need for vengeance pushing him ever closer to a moral abyss from which lie wont be able to return, and Dave's wife, Celeste, sleeps at night with a man she fears may very well be a monster. a monster who fathered her child and hides his true nature from everyone, possibly even himself.A tense and unnerving psychological thriller, Mystic River is also an epic novel of love and loyalty, faith and family, in which people irrevocably marked by the past find themselves on a collision course with the darkest truths of their own hidden selves.
Join the world of New York Times bestselling author Laura Lippman's Tess Monaghan in the Shamus and Anthony Award-winning fourth book in the acclaimed series In Big Trouble Tess Monaghan has learned the hard way how to survive on the streets of Baltimore-first as a fearless investigative reporter and lately as a PI. But a new case is about to take her way out of her element. What begins with a tantalizing shard of a newspaper headline-"In Big Trouble"-above a photograph of an old boyfriend will end far away in another world, where people dress and talk differently . . . and rich people's games can have lethal consequences. Here where the sun is merciless-and curiosity can kill faster than a rattler's bite-Tess is going to have to confront her past and, hopefully, live to tell about it. For the answers she seeks about a man she thought she knew may be somehow linked to a murderer who two-steps to a very deadly drummer.
After serving time for armed robbery, Ernest "Stick" Stickley is back on the outside and trying to stay legit. But it's tough staying straight in a crooked town -- and Miami is a pirate's paradise, where investment fat cats and lowlife drug dealers hold hands and dance. And when a crazed player chooses Stick at random to die for another man's sins, the struggling ex-con is left with no choice but to dive right back into the game. Besides, Stick knows a good thing when he sees it -- and a golden opportunity to run a very profitable sweet revenge scam seems much too tasty to pass up.
LOUISE PENNY calls Peter Robinson's new novel In the Dark Places a "thrilling, brilliantly plotted, beautifully paced" read. Available August 11, 2015--preorder your copy today!On a warm summer night, an attractive woman hurtles north in a blue Peugeot with a hastily scrawled address in her pocket, while, back in London, a desperate man leaves an urgent late-night phone message on his brother's answering machine. By sunrise the next morning, the woman is found inside her car along an otherwise peaceful country lane, shot, execution-style, through the head.Welcome to the idyllic Yorkshire Dales, where Detective Inspector Annie Cabbot arrives on the scene and discovers, to her surprise, a slip of paper in the dead woman's pocket that bears the name of her colleague and erstwhile lover, Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks. Banks, meanwhile--already haunted and withdrawn after nearly dying in the fire that destroyed his home--has gone missing just when he's needed most, and has left plenty of questions behind.As Annie struggles to determine whether or not Banks is safe--and what role he may have played in the woman's murder--Banks himself investigates the mysterious disappearance of his estranged brother, Roy, whose late-night call for help brings Banks back to London. Working from Roy's swank apartment, Banks makes the rounds to Roy's old haunts and slowly inhabits the life of his younger brother--the black sheep of the family, who always seemed to sail a little too close to the wind. As the trail of clues about Roy's life and associations draws Banks into a dark circle of conspiracy and corruption, mobsters and murder, Banks suddenly realizes he's running out of time to save Roy, and by digging too deep, he may be exposing himself and his family to the same--possibly deadly--danger.
Roommates Kelly and Chloe are enjoying their lives and their downtown Detroit loft just fine. Kelly is a Victoria's Secret catalog model. Chloe is an escort, until she decides to ditch her varied clientele in favor of a steady gig as girlfriend to eighty-four-year-old retired lawyer Tony Paradiso, a.k.a. Mr. Paradise. Evenings at Mr. Paradise's house, there's always an old Michigan football game on TV. And when Chloe's around, there's a cheerleader, too, complete with pleated skirt and blue-and-gold pompoms. One night Chloe convinces Kelly to join in the fun, along with Montez Taylor, Tony's smooth-talking right-hand man. But things go awry and before the end of the evening there will be two corpses, two angry hit men, one switch of identity, a safe-deposit box full of loot up for grabs, and, fast on the scene, detective Frank Delsa, who now has a double homicide -- and a beautiful, willful witness -- to add to his already heavy caseload. With a cool cast, snappy dialogue, and all the twists and turns fans crave, Mr. Paradise is Elmore Leonard at home in Detroit and sharper than ever.
Defense attorney Doug Weaver believes his client, Jacob Cohen, is innocent--but the forensic evidence proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that the meek, mentally ill homeless man killed and dismembered a woman . . . Hired to defend gangster Art Prochaska against charges that he murdered an informer, lawyer Amanda Jaffe and her father, Frank, have their work cut out for them--because, as improbable as it seems, the forensic clues scream that Prochaska is guilty . . . And now people are dying inexplicably--as Amanda and Doug join forces to find answers hidden somewhere in the darkest corners of crime scene investigation, where a god-playing madman holds the lethal power to alter the truth.
Jack Foley was busting out of Florida's Glades Prison when he ran head-on into Karen Sisco with a shotgun. Suddenly the world-class gentleman felon was sharing a cramped car trunk with a disarmed federal marshal-whose Chanel suit cost more than the take from Foley's last bank job-and the chemistry was working overtime. Here's a lady Jack could fall for in a big way, if she weren't a dedicated representative of the law that he breaks for a living. And as soon as she escapes, he's already missing her. But there are some seriously bad men and a major score waiting for Jack in Motown. And there's a good chance that when his path crosses Karen's again, she's going to be there for business, not pleasure.
Peter Drucker's classic book on innovation and entrepreneurship This is the first book to present innovation and entrepreneurship as a purposeful and systematic discipline that explains and analyzes the challenges and opportunities of America's new entrepreneurial economy. Superbly practical, Innovation and Entrepreneurship explains what established businesses, public service institutions, and new ventures need to know and do to succeed in today's economy.
Tess Monaghan has finally made the move and hung out her shingle as a p.i.-for-hire, complete with an office in Butchers Hill. Maybe it's not the best address in Baltimore, but you gotta start somewhere, and Tess's greyhound Esskay has no trouble taking marathon naps anywhere there's a roof. Then in walks Luther Beale, the notorious vigilante who five years ago shot a boy for vandalizing his car. Just out of prison, he says he wants to make reparations to the kids who witnessed his crime, so he needs Tess to find them. But once she starts snooping, the witnesses start dying. Is the "Butcher of Butchers Hill" at it again? Like it or not, Tess is embroiled in a case that encompasses the powers that-be, a heartless system that has destroyed the lives of children, and a nasty trail of money and lies leading all the way back to Butchers Hill.
Part love story, part murder mystery, set on the cusp of the Second World War, Russell Banks's sharp-witted and deeply engaging new novel raises dangerous questions about class, politics, art, love, and madness--and explores what happens when two powerful personalities, trapped at opposite ends of a social divide, begin to break the rules.Twenty-nine-year-old Vanessa Cole is a wild, stunningly beautiful heiress, the adopted only child of a highly regarded New York brain surgeon and his socialite wife. Twice married, Vanessa has been scandalously linked to any number of rich and famous men. But on the night of July 4, 1936, at her parents' country home in a remote Adirondack Mountain enclave known as The Reserve, two events coincide to permanently alter the course of Vanessa's callow life: her father dies suddenly of a heart attack, and a mysteriously seductive local artist, Jordan Groves, blithely lands his Waco biplane in the pristine waters of the forbidden Upper Lake. . . .Jordan's reputation has preceded him; he is internationally known as much for his exploits and conquests as for his paintings themselves, and, here in the midst of the Great Depression, his leftist loyalties seem suspiciously undercut by his wealth and elite clientele. But for all his worldly swagger, Jordan is as staggered by Vanessa's beauty and charm as she is by his defiant independence. He falls easy prey to her electrifying personality, but it is not long before he discovers that the heiress carries a dark, deeply scarring family secret. Emotionally unstable from the start, and further unhinged by her father's unexpected death, Vanessa begins to spin wildly out of control, manipulating and destroying the lives of all who cross her path.Moving from the secluded beauty of the Adirondack wilderness to the skies above war-torn Spain and Fascist Germany, The Reserve is a clever, incisive, and passionately romantic novel of suspense that adds a new dimension to this acclaimed author's extraordinary repertoire.
In 1980, the McCloud family welcomes Trevor, their third child and the last to be born on Eilean Fìor, a small island off the west coast of Scotland. Life there, on the eve of Trevor's birth, is grim: the population, once in the hundreds, now hovers around thirty, as most of the island's inhabitants have left for the mainland. But the McClouds stubbornly maintain their guesthouse, despite their trouble turning a profit and their children's lack of interest in taking over the family business. As soon as he is of age Barry - the eldest son - flees the island, abandoning his siblings and rejecting the culture and traditions he was brought up with. After Flora, the only daughter, finishes art school, she returns to Eilean Fìor, resigned to her familial responsibilities. By the time Trevor is grown up, there is no place for ambivalence as the forces of time lock the McClouds into their way of life and out of any other.
It's April 1948 and war hangs over Jaffa. One minute seven-year-old Salim is dreaming of taking his first harvest from the family orange tree with his father; the next he is swept away by "the great catastrophe" into a life of exile. Meanwhile Jude is growing up in the north of England, a girl from a Jewish family that survived the Holocaust. When their paths collide in swinging-'60s London and they fall in love, they think they are aware of the many challenges ahead of them, but before long they face unexpected choices. Can they defy the lessons of their childhoods, or will old seeds ripen to bitter fruits? Ishmael's Oranges tells the story of two cultures clashing as the relentless tides of history wash over the many crossroads of the Middle East. Spanning three generations, it follows the journeys of those cast adrift by war - as well as by their own impulses - until at last they find themselves thrown headlong into it. Through Salim, Jude, and their twins, we explore the longest conflict of our era in universally human terms: the families we build, the loyalties we owe, and the stories we pass on to our children.
A troubled boy. A psychotherapist specializing in past life regression. An unsolved murder from 100 years ago that threatens to take another life. Twelve-year-old Ben believes he is a girl. When therapist Mary suggests hypnosis, he recalls a past life as herring girl Annie. The session ends abruptly and Mary begins to suspect that Annie might have been murdered. As the therapy continues, the events surrounding Annie's final days start to emerge: her secret affair with young fisherman Sam; the violent jealousy of his rival Tom; the illegitimate pregnancy of her best friend Flo; the emerging homosexuality of her brother Jimmy. Before long Mary and Ben discover that all of these people lived and died over a century earlier in the fishing port where they live. If reincarnation happens in clusters, perhaps Ben's friends and family were involved in the dramas of 1898, and the murderer is still among them. Can they solve the mystery before tragedy strikes again?
Gentle but highly strung, Janet must support her Afrikaner husband in his new job as a plain-clothes policeman and specialist interrogator. Hector-Jan heads off to work on New Year's Day, aware that he is unbearably close to a bloody drama about to unfold. As Janet's world tightens and threatens to fracture, she must look to her children and cling to the support of Alice, her black maid, and Solomon, her ever-faithful gardener. All too conscious of her own emotional fragility, Janet watches her mother slip into the folds of "Old Timers" disease, and next door, the lurking, unfathomable Doug is up to no good. As the crack in the swimming pool widens, can Janet bridge the gaps that threaten them all? Written with tenderness and disquieting power, The Crack exposes a brutal center that cannot hold, revealing how, in apartheid South Africa, things must crack and fall apart.
Few things provoke controversy in the modern world like the religion brought by Muhammad. Modern media are replete with alarm over jihad, underage marriage and the threat of amputation or stoning under Shariah law. Sometimes rumor, sometimes based in fact and often misunderstood, the tenets of Islamic law and dogma were not set in the religion's founding moments. They were developed over centuries by the clerical class of Muslim scholars.Misquoting Muhammad takes the reader back in time through Islamic civilization and traces how and why such controversies developed, offering an inside view into how key and controversial aspects of Islam took shape. From the protests of the Arab Spring to Istanbul at the fall of the Ottoman Empire, and from the ochre red walls of Delhi's great mosques to the trade routes of Islam's Indian Ocean world, Misquoting Muhammad lays out how Muslim intellectuals have sought to balance reason and revelation, weigh science and religion, and negotiate the eternal truths of scripture amid shifting values.
Shaped by invasion, occupation, and immigration, by upheavals as diverse as the Great Fire, the Blitz, and the Big Bang, London's history is unmatched for variety and drama. Choosing 100 places that best tell this incredible story, David Long shares his passion and expert knowledge of the city. From the early modern frost fairs, Victorian stations, and Saxon burial grounds to medieval plague pits, Roman barges, and modern business megaliths, each place gives a unique insight into a critical period of London's evolution. With this detailed guide, readers will discover little-known gems among the famous landmarks and the hidden stories locked within. Illustrated throughout with beautiful black and white drawings and maps, this is the perfect companion for the armchair explorer as well as anyone wanting to discover the history of London with their feet.
Growing up in a sleepy town with a beautiful mother and a father who seems to adore her, it's difficult to understand why Frances is the way she is. Strange, manipulating, and at times cruel, she is a mystery to Marienne, her bewildered mother. But, on closer inspection, hiding beyond the white picket fence and cherry-blossom tree that umbrellas their cozy life, something dark lies heavy on both Frances and her father. Following a disastrous 16th birthday party and a grandmother found dead in the bathtub, Frances is sent away to boarding school. The Academy is a place rife with teenage rivalry, secret rendezvous, and budding friendships. And it's here - alone for the first time - that Frances is forced to confront the true nature of her life. Intertwined with Frances' narrative is that of her father James. Between them we discover a story of a young girl entering adulthood under the smoky weight of a terrible secret, of a life stolen and rediscovered, and, above all, of a tainted love affair and the fluid, easily traversed boundary between perversity and normality.
After Indian Independence Arjun brings his family to London, but hopes of a better life rapidly dissipate. His wife Sunila spends all day longing for a nice tea service, his son suddenly hates anything Indian, and his daughter, well, that's a whole other problem. As he struggles to enforce the values he grew up with, his family eagerly embraces the new. But when Arjun's right leg suddenly fails him, his sense of imbalance is more than external. Diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, he is forced to question his youthful impatience and careless cruelty to his family, until he learns, ultimately, to love them despite - or because of - their flaws. In a series of tender and touching glimpses into the shared life of a married couple, Sandra Hunter creates strikingly sympathetic characters - ones that remind us of our own shortfalls, successes, hypocrisies, and humanity.
Simon Van Booy, winner of the prestigious Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, brings his gift for poetic dialogue and sumptuous imagery to thisdebut novel of longing and discovery amidst the ruins of Ancient Greece. Rebecca is young, lost and beautiful. A gifted artist, she seeks solace and inspiration in the Mediterranean heat of Athens - trying to understand who she is and how she can love without fear. George has come to Athens to learn ancient languages after growing up in New England boarding schools and Ivy League colleges. He has no close relationships with anyone and spends his days hunched over books or in a drunken stupor. And then there is Henry, an accomplished young Welsh archaeologist who spends his days devotedly uncovering the city's past as a way to escape his own - a past that holds a secret that not even his doting parents can talk about. As these three lost and lonely souls wander the city, a series of chance encounters sets off events that will forever define them, in this powerful portrait of friendship and young love.