Jonathan Franzen is smart and brash, the kind of person you want as your social critic but not as a brother-in-law. Many of the 14 essays in How to Be Alone, by the author of the critically acclaimed novel The Corrections, first appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, and elsewhere. A long, much-discussed rumination on the American novel, (newly) titled “Why Bother?,” is included, as well as essays on privacy obsession, the U.S. post office, New York City, big tobacco, and new prisons. At his best, as in “My Father’s Brain,” a piece on his father’s struggle with Alzheimer’s, Franzen can make the ordinary world utterly riveting. But at times, it can be difficult to discern where Franzen stands on any particular subject, as he often takes both sides of an argument. Valid attempts to reflect ambiguity s! ometimes lead to obfuscation, especially in his essays on privacy and tobacco, although his belief that small-town America of years gone by offered the individual little privacy certainly rings true. Franzen can write with panache, as in this comment after he watched, without headphones, a TV show during a flight: “(It) became an exposé of the hydraulics of insincere smiles.” A few of the shorter pieces appear to be filler. Franzen shines brightest when he gets edgy and a little angry, as in “The Reader in Exile”: “Instead of Manassas battlefield, a historical theme park. Instead of organizing narratives, a map of the world as complex as the world itself. Instead of a soul, membership in a crowd. Instead of wisdom, data.”
Jonathan Franzen - Freedom
From the National Book Award-winning author of The Corrections, a darkly comedic novel about family Patty and Walter Berglund were the new pioneers of old St. Paul - the gentrifiers, the hands-on parents, the avant-garde of the Whole Foods generation. Patty was the ideal sort of neighbor, who could tell you where to recycle your batteries and how to get the local cops to actually do their job. She was an enviably perfect mother and the wife of Walter's dreams. Together with Walter - environmental lawyer, commuter cyclist, total family man - she was doing her small part to build a better world. But now, in the new millennium, the Berglunds have become a mystery. Why has their teenage son moved in with the aggressively Republican family next door? Why has Walter taken a job working with Big Coal? What exactly is Richard Katz - outré rocker and Walter's college best friend and rival - still doing in the picture? Most of all, what has happened to Patty? Why has the bright star of Barrier Street become 'a very different kind of neighbor,' an implacable Fury coming unhinged before the street's attentive eyes? In his first novel since The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen has given us an epic of contemporary love and marriage. Freedom comically and tragically captures the temptations and burdens of liberty: the thrills of teenage lust, the shaken compromises of middle age, the wages of suburban sprawl, the heavy weight of empire. In charting the mistakes and joys of Freedom's intensely realized characters as they struggle to learn how to live in an ever more confusing world, Franzen has produced an indelible and deeply moving portrait of our time.
Jonathan Franzen - The Discomfort Zone
The excruciating dynamics of a Christian youth fellowship in the 1970's... the effects of Kafka's fiction on a young man protracted quest to lose his virginity... the web of connections between birdwatching, a collapsing marriage, and global warming: in this comic memoir of self-consciousness, the author of The Corrections tells the story of his life and of the strange country in which he's lived it.
Chuck Palahniuk - Fight Club
Every weekend, in basements and parking lots across the country, young men with good white-collar jobs and absent fathers take off their shoes and shirts and fight each other barehanded for as long as they have to. Then they go back to those jobs with blackened eyes and loosened teeth and the sense that they can handle anything. Fight Club is the invention of Tyler Durden, projectionist, waiter and dark, anarchic genius. And it's only the beginning of his plans for revenge on a world where cancer support groups have the corner on human warmth.
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
First in the ground-breaking HUNGER GAMES trilogy. Set in a dark vision of the near future, a terrifying reality TV show is taking place. Twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a lve event called The Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed. When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forwar to take her younger sister's place in the games, she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. Fo her, survival is second nature.
Cormac McCarthy - The Stonemason
The Stonemason is a profoundly moving drama set in Louisville, Kentucky in the 1970s, concerning several generations of a black family. McCarthy's narrator, Ben, reveals a painful episode in his family's history, grounding us at the same time in the beautiful dynamic between him and his grandfather, Papaw. Ben, Ben's father, and Papaw are all stonemasons, but in descriptions of "the trade" we learn as much about this family's capacity for love as we do about constructing sound foundations for houses, barns and bridges. Papaw's knowledge about stonemasonry is analogous to his deep spiritual wisdom, and Ben recognizes both as he looks back on his apprenticeship in the "trade at which I thoughtmyself a master and of which I stood in darkest ignorance. And as I came to know him ... As I came to know him ... Oh I could hardly believe my good fortune. I swore then I'dcleave to that old man like a bride. I swore he'd take nothing to his grave." Papaw's son Big Ben and great-grandson Soldier do not respond as whole-heartedly to the old man's wealth of knowledge and patient guidance and the tragedy of the story is largely rooted in this fact. Both of these characters have lost connection with the work of their hands and by association with the earth, their family, and themselves. They are profoundly dissatisfied. Of his father, Ben later wonders, "Why could he not see the worth of that which he had laid aside and the poverty of all he hungered for? Why could he not see that he too was blest?" The Stonemason reveals afresh the mastery of character, plot, pathos, and the poetic facility for language that distinguishes Cormac McCarthy's fiction, and which recently earned him the National Book Award for his bestselling novel, All The Pretty Horses.
Chuck Palahniuk - Diary
Diary takes the form of a 'coma diary' kept by one Misty Wilmot as her husband lies senseless in hospital after a suicide attempt. Once she was an art student dreaming of creativity and freedom; now, after marrying Peter at at school and being brought back to once quaint, now tourist-overrun Waytansea Island, she's been reduced to the condition of a resort hotel maid. Peter, it turns out, has been hiding rooms in houses he's refurbished and srawling vile messages all over the walls. Angry homeowners are suing, and Misty's dreams of artistic greatness are in ashes. But then, as if posessed by the spirit of Maura Kinkaid, a fabled Waytansea artist of the nineteenth century, Misty begins painting again, compulsively. The canvases are taken away by her mother in law and her doctor, who seem to have a plan for Misty - and for all those annoying tourists...
Alan Moore - Writing for Comics
Alan Moore, the creator of Watchmen, Miracleman, and more shares his thoughts on the craft of writing comics! The main essay was originally written in 1985 for an obscure British fanzine, just as Moore was reshaping the landscape of modern comics. Now Avatar brings it back in print, collected for the first time as one graphic novel, and heavily illustrated by Jacen Burrows. Alan Moore also provides a brand new essay on how his thoughts on writing have changed in the two decades since he first wrote it. For fans of Moore's work, new writers, or anyone interested in comics, this book is an indispensable and fascinating peak into the thoughts of one of the masters of comic book writing.
Cormac McCarthy - Child of God
Scuttling down the mountain with the thing on his back he looked like a man beset by some ghast succubus, the dead girl riding him with legs bowed akimbo like a monstrous frog." Child of God must be the most sympathetic portrayal of necrophilia in all of literature. The hero, Lester Ballard, is expelled from his human family and ends up living in underground caves, which he peoples with his trophies: giant stuffed animals won in carnival shooting galleries and the decomposing corpses of his victims. Cormac McCarthy's much-admired prose is suspenseful, rich with detail, and yet restrained, even delicate, in its images of Lester's activities. So tightly focused is the story on this one "child of God" that it resembles a myth, or parable. "You could say that he's sustained by his fellow men, like you.... A race that gives suck to the maimed and the crazed, that wants their wrong blood in its history and will have it
Cormac McCarthy - Outer Dark
Outer Dark is a novel at once fabular and starkly evocative, set is an unspecified place in Appalachia, sometime around the turn of the century. A woman bears her brother's child, a boy; he leaves the baby in the woods and tells her he died of natural causes. Discovering her brother's lie, she sets forth alone to find her son. Both brother and sister wander separately through a countryside being scourged by three terrifying and elusive strangers, headlong toward an eerie, apocalyptic resolution.
Jonathan Franzen - The Twenty-Seventh City
In the late 1980s, the city of St. Louis appoints as police chief an enigmatic young Indian woman named Jammu. Unbeknownst to her supporters, she is a dedicated terrorist. Standing alone against her is Martin Probst, builder of the famous Golden Arch of St. Louis. Jammu attempts first to isolate him, then seduce him to her side. This is a quirky novel, composed of wildly disparate elements. Franzen weaves graceful, affecting descriptions of the daily lives of the Probsts around a grotesque melodrama. The descriptive portions are almost lyrical, narrated in a minimalist prose, which contrasts well with the grand style of the melodramatic sections. The blend ultimately palls, however , and the murky plot grows murkier. Franzen takes many risks in his first novel; many, not all, work.
Cormac McCarthy - The Crossing
The opening section of The Crossing, book two of the Border Trilogy, features perhaps the most perfectly realized storytelling of Cormac McCarthy's celebrated career. Like All the Pretty Horses, this volume opens with a teenager's decision to slip away from his family's ranch into Mexico. In this case, the boy is Billy Parham, and the catalyst for his trip is a wolf he and his father have trapped, but that Billy finds himself unwilling to shoot. His plan is to set the animal loose down south instead. This is a McCarthy novel, not Old Yeller, and so Billy's trek inevitably becomes more ominous than sweet. It boasts some chilling meditations on the simple ferocity McCarthy sees as necessary for all creatures who aim to continue living. But Billy is McCarthy's most loving--and therefore damageable--character, and his story has its own haunted melancholy. Billy eventually returns to his ranch. Then, finding himself and his world changed, he returns to Mexico with his younger brother, and the book begins meandering. Though full of hypnotically barren landscapes and McCarthy's trademark western-gothic imagery (like the soldier who sucks eyes from sockets), these latter stages become tedious at times, thanks partly to the female characters, who exist solely as ghosts to haunt the men. But that opening is glorious, and the whole book finally transcends its shortcomings to achieve a grim and poignant grandeur. --Glen Hirshberg
Art Spiegelman - Maus: A Survivor's Tale - My Father Bleeds History
A story of a Jewish survivor of Hitler's Europe and his son, a cartoonist who tries to come to terms with his father's story and history itself.
Ismeretlen szerző - The Best American Essays 2001
Since its inception in 1915, the Best American series has become the premier annual showcase for the country's finest short fiction and nonfiction. For each volume, a series editor reads hundreds of pieces from dozens of periodicals, then selects between fifty and a hundred outstanding works. That selection is pared down to the twenty or so very best pieces by a guest editor who is widely recognized as a leading writer in his or her field. This unique system has helped make the Best American series the most respected -- and most popular -- of its kind. From The New Yorker to The Georgia Review, from Esquire to The American Scholar, the editors of THE BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS have scoured hundreds of the country's best periodicals in search of the most artful and powerful writing around. This thoughtful, provocative collection is the result of their search.
Cormac McCarthy - Suttree (angol)
By the author of Blood Meridian and All the Pretty Horses, Suttree is the story of Cornelius Suttree, who has forsaken a life of privilege with his prominent family to live in a dilapidated houseboat on the Tennessee River near Knoxville. Remaining on the margins of the outcast community there--a brilliantly imagined collection of eccentrics, criminals, and squatters--he rises above the physical and human squalor with detachment, humor, and dignity.
Jonathan Franzen - Javítások
Jonathan Franzen a kortárs amerikai irodalom egyik legnagyobb sztárja és fenegyereke, az író, aki kikosarazta Oprah Winfreyt, amikor az szerette volna meghívni országos nézettségű Könyvklubjába, és aki még képregényekben és a Simpson család egyik epizódjában is szerepel. Ellentmondásos, tőrőlmetszett értelmiségi figura – az a fajta, aki nem húzódik vissza elefántcsonttornyába, hanem érzékenyen reagál korának jelenségeire, és a nagy társadalmi, globális mozgásokat nemcsak elméleti összefüggéseikben látja, de regényíróként beépíti szereplőinek legapróbb rezdüléseibe is. 2001-ben megjelent regénye, a Javítások, Franzen eddigi legsikeresebb és a kritika által is legméltatottabb műve. Akárcsak az Európa Könyvkiadónál korábban megjelent Szabadság, ez is családregény – az amerikai módra szétszóródott, diszfunkcionális Lambert család regénye, amelynek tagjai különféle életstratégiákkal kísérleteznek és élethazugságokkal küszködnek; különféle módszerekkel próbálkoznak életük – és úgy általában a dolgok – megjavítására. A regény egyik középponti szála Enid Lambert küzdelme, hogy – csellel, könyörgéssel vagy zsarolással – elérje, hogy a család még egyszer, utoljára összegyűljön a szülői házban karácsonyozni. Még egyszer, utoljára, mielőtt férje, a Parkinson-kóros Alfred elveszíti kommunikációképessége maradékát. A gyerekek – a nős férfiakhoz és feleségeikhez vonzódó sztárszakács Denise, az előítéletekkel és depresszióval küzdő családapa, Gary és a család fekete báránya, a reménybeli forgatókönyvíró Chip – különféle viszontagságok után végül meg is jelennek a közép-nyugati kisvárosban, St. Jude-ban, hogy a sok hazudozás és menekülés után immár összezárva, egymás szemének tükrében egy-egy pillanatra felvillantsák igazi arcukat.
George R. R. Martin - A Game of Thrones
In a world where the approaching winter will last four decades, kings and queens, knights and renegades struggle for control of a throne. Some fight with sword and mace, others with magic and poison. Beyond the Wall to the north, meanwhile, the Others are preparing their army of the dead to march south as the warmth of summer drains from the land. After more than a decade devoted primarily to TV and screen work, Martin (The Armageddon Rag, 1983) makes a triumphant return to high fantasy with this extraordinarily rich new novel, the first of a trilogy. Although conventional in form, the book stands out from similar work by Eddings, Brooks and others by virtue of its superbly developed characters, accomplished prose and sheer bloody-mindedness. Although the romance of chivalry is central to the culture of the Seven Kingdoms, and tournaments, derring-do and handsome knights abound, these trappings merely give cover to dangerous men and women who will stop at nothing to achieve their goals. When Lord Stark of Winterfell, an honest man, comes south to act as the King's chief councilor, no amount of heroism or good intentions can keep the realm under control. It is fascinating to watch Martin's characters mature and grow, particularly Stark's children, who stand at the center of the book. Martin's trophy case is already stuffed with major prizes, including Hugos, Nebulas, Locus Awards and a Bram Stoker. He's probably going to have to add another shelf, at least. Major ad/promo.
Cormac McCarthy - Cities of the Plain
On a ranch in southeastern Texas, soon after World War II, a group of solitary, inarticulately lonely men gathers to work animals as the sun sets for good on the mythic American West. All of these men nurse losses both personal (siblings or wives) and collective (a shared lifestyle and philosophy). Among them is John Grady Cole, the adolescent hero of the first book in Cormac McCarthy's Border trilogy, All the Pretty Horses. John Grady remains the magnificent horseman he always was, and he still dreams too much. On the ranch, he meets Billy Parham, whose own tragic sojourn through Mexico in The Crossing, the second book of the set, continues to quietly suffocate him. The two form a friendship that will nurture both but save neither from the destiny that McCarthy's characters always sense lurching to meet them. Soaked in storm-heavy atmosphere but brightened by the ranch-hands' easy camaraderie and gentle humor, Cities of the Plain surprises with its sweetness. The awkward doomed-romance plot at the center of this tight, concise novel fails to convince, but, remarkably, does little to undercut the book's impact. What lingers here, and what matters, are the brooding, eerie portraits of the plains and the riders, glimpsed mostly alone but occasionally leaning together, who slip across them, over the horizon into memory. --Glen Hirshberg
Ed McBain - King's Ransom (Oxford Bookworms)
'Calling all cars, calling all cars. Here's the story on the Smoke Rise kidnapping. The missing boy is eight years old, fair hair, wearing a red sweater. His name is Jeffry Reynolds, son of Charles Reynolds, chauffeur to Douglas King.' The police at the 87th Precinct hate kidnappers. And these kidnappers are stupid, too. They took the wrong boy - the chauffeur's son instead of the son of the rich tycoon, Douglas King. And they want a ransom of $500,000. A lot of money. But it's not too much to pay for a little boy's life... is it? (Word count 24,3301)
Frank Miller - The Hard Goodbye
Sin City launched the long-running, critically acclaimed series of comics novels by Frank Miller. Having worked on some of the most important comic books in the 1980s, including Marvel Comics's Daredevil and the influential Batman graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns, Miller was already a heavy-weight cartoonist, but he hit his stride with Sin City. It gave him the freedom that doesn't come when working on someone else's characters. While the art isn't as polished as in later books, it is in many ways the quintessential Sin City story: tough-guy Marv finds the girl of his dreams, an incredible beauty named Goldie. But when Goldie is murdered on their first night together, Marv scours the bars and back alleys of Sin City to find her killer in hopes of avenging her death.
Frank Miller - Hell and Back
Can anything be darker than noir? Try Frank Miller's Sin City series. The tasty Hell and Back features Wallace, a brooding artist with a decided talent for hurting people, and Esther, a stunningly beautiful actress accidentally mixed up in a slavery ring that extends far and deep enough to transcend the word conspiracy. The tale twists, turns, and backtracks, teasing the reader with hints of terror to come--until the explosive climax. Miller's art is exactly right for his words; he uses more black than white, and color only when appropriate. The chapter dealing with Wallace's drug hallucinations is beautiful, heartbreaking, and terrifying in turn. Readers interested in the human dark side should find out what fans of Sin City already know: Frank Miller has seen it and wants to share.