The Goldilocks Enigma is Paul Davies's eagerly awaited return to cosmology, the successor to his critically acclaimed bestseller The Mind of God. Here he tackles all the "big questions," including the biggest of them all: Why does the universe seem so well adapted for life?
In his characteristically clear and elegant style, Davies shows how recent scientific discoveries point to a perplexing fact: many different aspects of the cosmos, from the properties of the humble carbon atom to the speed of light, seem tailor-made to produce life. A radical new theory says it's because our universe is just one of an infinite number of universes, each one slightly different. Our universe is bio-friendly by accident -- we just happened to win the cosmic jackpot.
While this "multiverse" theory is compelling, it has bizarre implications, such as the existence of infinite copies of each of us and Matrix-like simulated universes. And it still leaves a lot unexplained. Davies believes there's a more satisfying solution to the problem of existence: the observations we make today could help shape the nature of reality in the remote past. If this is true, then life -- and, ultimately, consciousness -- aren't just incidental byproducts of nature, but central players in the evolution of the universe.
Whether he's elucidating dark matter or dark energy, M-theory or the multiverse, Davies brings the leading edge of science into sharp focus, provoking us to think about the cosmos and our place within it in new and thrilling ways.
Set in Georgia on the eve of court-ordered integration, Clock Without Hands contains McCullers's most poignant statement on race, class, and justice. A small-town druggist dying of leukemia calls himself and his community to account in this tale of change and changelessness, of death and the death-in-life that is hate. It is a tale, as McCullers herself wrote, of "response and responsibility--of man toward his own livingness."
Open the gate to Fairacre, America's favorite English village.
The end of a school year often brings unmitigated rapture for schoolteachers, and so it should for Miss Read, schoolmistress in the charming English village of Fairacre. But on the very first day of the long summer holiday, she falls and breaks her arm. Just when her summer seems ruined, her old friend, Amy Garfield, comes to her aid with a diverting suggestion. They travel to Crete for two weeks, and the change of scene provides a welcome break for both of them. When Miss Read returns, refreshed, to her beloved village, she is ready to tackle the problems that await her.
Open the gate to Fairacre, America's favorite English village.
Having bid a last farewell to her pupils at Fairacre School, Miss Read settles down to what she hopes will be a relaxing retirement. It is not entirely so, of course. She finds herself as busy and in demand as ever: on holiday in Florence, helping with church and school affairs, and offering a kindly ear to her eccentric neighbors. With her teaching days behind her, Miss Read discovers her talent for writing, opening a new and exciting chapter in her life and bringing to a close her stories of life in Fairacre, the timeless English village beloved by millions of readers.
Beautiful Chiara is the last of the Ridolfi, a Florentine family of long lineage and eccentric habits. She is smitten with Salvatore, a brilliant but penniless doctor, a rational man who wants nothing to do with romance. This is the story of how these two--with the best intentions, the kindest of instincts, and the most meddlesome of friends--make each other wonderfully miserable inside.
A mesmerizing, unsettling memoir about the ever-echoing nature of identity--written in vivid, blooming detail. --Gillian Flynn, best-selling author of Gone Girl On October 17, 2002, David MacLean woke up on a train platform in India with no idea who he was or why he was there. No money. No passport. No identity. Taken to a mental hospital by the police, MacLean then started to hallucinate so severely he had to be tied down. He could remember song lyrics, but not his family, his friends, or the woman he was told he loved. His illness, it turned out, was the result of the commonly prescribed antimalarial medication he had been taking. Upon his return to the United States, he struggled to piece together the fragments of his former life in a harrowing, absurd, and unforgettable journey back to himself. [MacLean] is an exceedingly entertaining psychotic . . . [A] raw, honest and beautiful memoir.--New York Times A deeply moving account of amnesia that explores the quandary of the self . . . MacLean has written a memoir that combines the evocative power of William Styrons Darkness Visible, the lyric subtlety of Michael Ondaatjes Running in the Family and the narrative immediacy of a Hollywood action film. He reminds us how we are all always trying to find a version of ourselves that we can live with.--Los Angeles Times DAVID STUART MACLEAN is a PEN/American Awardwinning writer. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Ploughshares, and on the radio program This American Life. He has a PhD from the University of Houston and is a cofounder of the Poison Pen Reading Series.
This riveting war story introduces us to the beautiful Kate Zweig, the English widow of a German surgeon, and Claus Murphy, an exiled American with German roots two lovers with complicated loyalties.In 1918, Kate and her husband, Horst, are taken for
America, meet the real John F. Kennedy. -- Washington Times John F. Kennedy is lionized by liberals. He inspired Lyndon Johnson to push Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act. His New Frontier promised increased spending on education and medical care for the elderly. He inspired Bill Clinton to go into politics. His champions insist he would have done great liberal things had he not been killed by Lee Harvey Oswald. But what if weve been looking at him all wrong? Indeed, JFK had more in common with Ronald Reagan than with LBJ. After all, JFKs two great causes were anticommunism and tax cuts. His tax cuts, domestic spending restraint, military buildup, pro-growth economic policy, emphasis on free trade and a strong dollar, and foreign policy driven by the idea that America had a God-given mission to defend freedom -- all make him, by the standards of both his time and our own, a conservative. This widely debated book is must reading for conservatives and liberals alike. Provocative and compelling . . . Ira Stoll has succeeded in changing our very perception of Kennedy as one of liberalisms heroes. -- Weekly Standard An informative analysis of the ways in which JFK did indeed evince his conservative side -- he was very religious, open to a free market unencumbered by governmental interference, and staunchly anti-Communist. -- Publishers Weekly
Huge boys, huge dreams, huge success--how one family from Buffalo put five boys on the track to realizing their athletic potential and making it big The beauty of Growing Up Gronk is that you never really have to grow up at all. A fascinating look inside a larger-than-life football family.-- Dan Shaughnessy, best-selling author of Francona: The Red Sox Years It is so statistically unlikely as to be almost unbelievable. Somehow, the Gronkowski family has produced three sons who play in the NFL (Rob, Chris, and Dan), one who was drafted into Major League Baseball (Gordie, Jr.), and another who is the starting fullback for Kansas State (Goose). Their father, Gordy, even played college football for Syracuse. How did it happen? From an early age, Gordy realized the potential his sons had and worked with them to make the most of it. Beyond their monstrous size, physicality, and raw talent, he instilled in them a commitment to fitness, health, drive, and determination that would give his boys a leg up in ways other families simply couldnt match. And the boys motivation certainly wasnt something solely triggered by a driven father. They were like a pack of adolescent wolves readying themselves for the recruiting hunt. Still, all were honor roll students; the three oldest earned college degrees. Each was motivated and inspired by his brothers. Competition and bragging rights were -- and continue to be -- a big part of what makes the Gronkowskis tick. Growing Up Gronk reveals the secrets to the Gronkowskis astonishing collective success while opening the door to a lively, entertaining, one-of-a-kind household.
A lively and cinematic twentieth-century epic, Red Poppies focuses on the extravagant and brutal reign of a clan of Tibetan warlords during the rise of Chinese Communism. The story is wryly narrated by the chieftain's son, a self-professed "idiot" who reveals the bloody feuds, seductions, secrets, and scheming behind his family's struggles for power. When the chieftain agrees to grow opium poppies with seeds supplied by the Chinese Nationalists in exchange for modern weapons, he draws Tibet into the opium trade -- and unwittingly plants the seeds for a downfall. A "swashbuckling novel" (New York Times Book Review), Red Poppies is at once a political parable and a moving elegy to the lost kingdom of Tibet in all its cruelty, beauty, and romance.
Long-listed for the 2014 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize A Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Spring 2014 selection A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice Sensitively wrought . . . For Today I Am a Boy is as much about the construction of self as the consequences of its unwitting destruction--and what happens when its acceptance seems as foreign as another country. --New York Times Book Review Subtle and controlled, with flashes of humor and warmth. --Slate At birth, Peter Huang is given the Chinese name Juan Chaun, powerful king. To his parents, newly settled in small-town Ontario, he is the exalted only son in a sea of daughters, the one who will finally fulfill his immigrant fathers dreams of Western masculinity. Peter and his sisters grow up in an airless house of order and obligation, though secrets and half-truths simmer beneath the surface. At the first opportunity, each of the girls lights out on her own. But for Peter, escape is not as simple as fleeing his parents home. Though his father crowned him powerful king, Peter knows otherwise. He knows he is really a girl. With the help of his far-flung sisters and the sympathetic souls he finds along the way, Peter inches ever closer to his own life, his own skin, in this darkly funny, emotionally acute, stunningly powerful debut. Keeps you reading. Told in snatches of memory that hurt so much they have the ring of truth. --Bust magazine
"So each night begins. One of us picks up the other and we drive into the Mississippi darkness, headed for a place where everything is different." This first nonfiction book by Frederick Barthelme, author of BOB THE GAMBLER, and his brother and colleague Steven is both a story of family feeling and a testimony to the risky allure of casinos. Within a year and a half, the authors had lost both of their parents, less than a decade after their brother Donald died. Their exacting father had been a prominent modernist architect in Houston; their mother, the architect of this family of seven, which she "invented, shaped, guided, and protected." "We were on our own in a remarkable new way," the Barthelmes write, "and we were not ready." What followed was a several-year escapade during which the two brothers lost close to a quarter million dollars in the gambling boats off the Mississippi coast. They played to enter that addictive land of possibility. Then, in a bizarre twist, they were charged with violating state gambling laws, fingerprinted, and thrown into the surreal world of felony prosecution. For two years these widely publicized charges hung over their heads, shadowing their every step, until, in August of 1999, the charges were finally dismissed. DOUBLE DOWN is the sometimes wryly told, often heartbreaking story of how Frederick and Steven Barthelme got into this predicament. It is also a reflection on the pull and power of illusions, the way they work on us when we are not careful.
An offbeat love story about the adventures and mutual rescue of a young woman out of place in her hometown and a mysterious stranger who calls himself Peter Parker (and begins to cast her in the role of Spider-Man's first sweetheart), The Night Gwen Stacy Died is about first loss, first love, and finding our real identities.
"A dreamy world where comic book characters and psychic visions are as real as teenage boredom and young love, Bruni's debut is a magical story, a white-knuckle thrill ride." --Diana Spechler, author of Who by Fire "The perspective shifts, slippery identities, and lurking weirdness in this book recall the peak moments of Kurosawa, Hitchcock, and Lynch. But to describe it in cinematic terms would risk slighting that bighearted, sneakily exhilarating voice that can finally be only the work of a masterful writer." --Sean Howe, author of Marvel Comics: The Untold Story"Bruni's fiercely smart and delectably unpredictable first novel delivers again and again that most sought-after shiver up the spine, the chill that comes when you realize the world you thought you knew and understood is newer and stranger than you ever dared imagine. A genuine page-turner." --Kathryn Davis, author of The Thin Place"Mixed into this novel's blustery atmosphere are gusts of contemporary masters, like Joy Williams, Lorrie Moore, Kelly Link, and Michael Chabon. This gave me the sort of reading experience I always hope for but almost never find: a world that somehow both resembles the one in which I live and is also unlike any other I've ever seen or read." --Stefan Merrill Block, author of The Story of Forgetting"A brave and bold new voice, Bruni takes us on an unexpected adventure of love and loss, of beginnings and ends, all the while showing us what it really means to be a hero." --Alison Espach, author of The Adults
"The events of a single episode of Howard Norman's superb memoir are both on the edge of chaos and gathered superbly into coherent meaning . . . A wise, riskily written, beautiful book." -- Michael OndaatjeHoward Norman's spellbinding memoir begins with a portrait, both harrowing and hilarious, of a Midwest boyhood summer working in a bookmobile, in the shadow of a grifter father and under the erotic tutelage of his brother's girlfriend. His life story continues in places as far-flung as the Arctic, where he spends part of a decade as a translator of Inuit tales--including the story of a soapstone carver turned into a goose whose migration-time lament is "I hate to leave this beautiful place"--and in his beloved Point Reyes, California, as a student of birds. Years later, in Washington, D.C., an act of deeply felt violence occurs in the form of a murder-suicide when Norman and his wife loan their home to a poet and her young son. In Norman's hands, life's arresting strangeness is made into a profound, creative, and redemptive story.
"Uses the tight focus of geography to describe five unsettling periods of his life, each separated by time and subtle shifts in his narrative voice . . . The originality of his telling here is as surprising as ever." -- Washington Post"These stories almost seem like tall tales themselves, but Norman renders them with a journalistic attention to detail. Amidst these bizarre experiences, he finds solace through the places he's lived and their quirky inhabitants, human and avian." -- The New Yorker
In this astute novel of Americans abroad, Ward Just turns his keen eye toward the dark underpinnings of nationalism, fame, and artistic integrity. When a famous Hollywood director travels to post-Wall Germany to rekindle his genius, he is unexpectedly reunited with an actress who mysteriously disappeared from the set of his movie thirty years before. Masterly and atmospheric, The Weather in Berlin explores the subtleties of artistic inspiration, the nature of memory, and the pull of the past.
A PAGAN PLACE is Edna O'Brien's true novel of Ireland. Here she returns to that uniquely wonderful, terrible, peculiar place she once called home and writes not only of a life there--of the child becoming a woman--but of the Irish experience out of which that life arises--perhaps more pointedly than in any of her other works. This is the Ireland of country villages and barley fields, of druids in the woods, of unknown babies in the womb, of mischievous girls and Tans with guns. Ireland has marked Edna O'Brien's life and work with unmistakable color and depth, and here she recreates her homeland with a singular grace and intensity.
The stories collected in Bear and His Daughter span nearly thirty years - 1969 to the present - and they explore, acutely and powerfully, the humanity that unites us. In "Miserere," a widowed librarian with an unspeakable secret undertakes an unusual and grisly role in the anti-abortion crusade. "Under the Pitons" is the harrowing story of a reluctant participant in a drug-running scheme and the grim and unexpected consequences of his involvement. The title story is a riveting account of the tangled lines that weave together the relationship of a father and his grown daughter.
"One comes away from Reisss book agreeing that dolphins are among the smartest creatures on the planet and that they merit not just our attention but our care and protection."--New York Times For centuries, humans and dolphins have enjoyed a special relationship, evident not just in mythology and folklore but in many documented encounters. Diana Reiss is one of the worlds leading experts on dolphin intelligence, and her decades of research and interactions with dolphins have made her a strong advocate for their global protection. In The Dolphin in the Mirror, Reiss combines her science and activism to show just how smart dolphins really are and why we must protect them. Dolphins are creative and self-aware, with distinct personalities and the ability to communicate with humans. They craft their own toys, use underwater keyboards, and live in complex societies in the seas. And yet some nations continue to slaughter them indiscriminately. This story of Reisss encounters and research with dolphins is both a scientific revelation and an emotional eye-opener, revealing one of the greatest intelligences on the planet and exposing our terrible mistreatment of the smartest creatures in the sea. "Reiss has managed no small feat--synthesizing personal experience, descriptive material, and scientific fact . . . No one reading this book could possibly remain untouched by the beauty and intelligence of these powerful mammals of the sea."--Irene Pepperberg, author of Alex & Me "Reiss fills the book with such intriguing tales and with the science behind them Reiss is passionate about her science, but she is passionate about her subjects as well."--The Tampa Bay Times
Gossip is no trivial matter; despite its reputation, Epstein argues, it is an eternal and necessary human enterprise. Proving that he himself is a master of the art, Epstein serves up delightful mini-biographies of the Great Gossips of the Western World, along with many choice bits from his own experience. He also makes a powerful case that gossip has morphed from its old-fashioned best--clever, mocking, a great private pleasure--to a corrosive new-school version, thanks to the reach of the mass media and the Internet.
Written in his trademark erudite and witty style, Gossip captures the complexity of this immensely entertaining subject.
Fans of Howard Norman, the internationally acclaimed author of The Hunting of L and The Bird Artist and a two-time National Book Award finalist, will find in his latest novel -- an intense and intriguingly unconventional love story -- all the hallmarks of this masterly writer: sparkling yet spare language, a totally compelling air of mystery spread over our workaday world, and ability to capture the metaphorical heartbeat at the center of our lives.
Like many of Howard Norman's celebrated novels, Devotion begins with an announcement of a crime: on August 19, 1985, David Kozol and his father-in-law engaged in «assault by mutual affray." Norman sets out to explore a great mystery: why seemingly quiet, contained people lose control. David and Maggie's story seemed straightforward enough; they met in a hotel lobby in London. For David, the simple fact was love at first sight. For Maggie, the attraction was similarly sudden and unprecedented in intensity. Their love affair, "A fugue state of amorous devotion," turned into a whirlwind romance and marriage. So what could possibly enrage David enough that he would strike at the father of his new bride? Why would William, a gentle man who looks after an estate -- and its flock of swans -- in Nova Scotia, be so angry at the man who has just married his beloved only child, Maggie? And what would lead Maggie to believe that David has been unfaithful to her? In his signature style -- haunting and evocative -- Norman lays bare the inventive stupidities people are capable of when wounded and confused.
At its core, Devotion is an elegantly constructed, never sentimental examination of love: romantic love (and its flip side, hate), filial love at its most tender, and, of course, love for the vast open spaces of Nova Scotia.
With captivating insight, realism, and humor, this stunning debut novel tells the parallel stories of two native villages, each facing cultural extinction. It's the end of the twentieth century, and in the towering mountains of post-Soviet Central Asia, Anarbek Tashtanaliev is single-handedly providing for his small village in the face of a collapsed economy. But the cheese factory he manages no longer produces any cheese, and his favorite daughter has been stolen in an ancient nomadic courting ritual. When he is ruthlessly blackmailed, Anarbek finds himself at a crossroads between the traditional past and the uncertain future. He stands to lose everything he loves.
Half a world away, in the high canyons of Arizona, Adam Dale is a young Apache basketball star and the future hope of his tribe. He struggles to keep his family together amid the pressures of reservation poverty and the corrupt rule of his increasingly bull-headed father, the tribal councilman.
Anarbek and Adam seek out the one person they think will be the solution to all their problems: a peripatetic American aid worker who'd once volunteered in both of their villages. Now working as a refugee resettlement officer in Istanbul, Jeff Hartig must suddenly play host to first one, then both of these men from his past. Soon, Anarbek's disgraced daughter joins them and the unlikely foursome find themselves sharing an apartment in the magical, sprawling city. Equally fascinated and perplexed by one another, they discover hope, then friendship, then love, unaware that they will soon face one of the most disastrous earthquakes of the century. Yet it is only in traveling so far, and surviving so much, that each person realizes his or her own capacity to endure.
Sweeping, compassionate, and deeply moving, this novel celebrates the power of human connection in a largely unsettled world. Robert Rosenberg is an original and important new voice in contemporary fiction.
With emotional precision and narrative subtlety, The Royal Ghosts features characters trying to reconcile their true desires with the forces at work in Nepali society. Against the backdrop of the violent Maoist insurgencies that have claimed thousands of lives, these characters struggle with their duties to their aging parents, an oppressive caste system, and the complexities of arranged marriage. In the end, they manage to find peace and connection, often where they least expect it with the people directly in front of them. These stories brilliantly examine not only Kathmandu during a time of political crisis and cultural transformation but also the effects of that city on the individual consciousness.
Samrat Upadhyay is the author of Arresting God in Kathmandu, which earned him a Whiting Award, and The Guru of Love, which was a New York Times Notable Book, a San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year, and a finalist for the Kiriyama Prize. He lives in Bloomington, Indiana.
This book will also appeal to readers intersted in the themes: Nepal, South Asian Literature, Nepali Society, Alienation, Democracy, Kathmandu.
In this, his twelfth novel, Ward Just penetrates more deeply into America's role in the world than he has ever done before. This beautifully constructed large-canvas novel of Saigon in 1965 can be justly compared to Joseph Conrad's NOSTROMO or Graham Greene's THE QUIET AMERICAN. A DANGEROUS FRIEND is a thrilling narrative roiling with intrigue, mayhem, and betrayal. Here is the story of conscience and its consequences among those for whom Vietnam was neither the right fight nor the wrong fight but the only fight. The exotic tropical surroundings, the coarsening and corrupting effects of a colonial regime, the visionary delusions of the American democratizers, all play their part. In A DANGEROUS FRIEND, a few civilians with bright minds and sunny intentions want to reform Vietnam -- but the Vietnam they see isn't the Vietnam that is. Sydney Parade, a political scientist, has left home and family in an effort to become part of something larger than himself, a foreign-aid operation in Saigon. Even before he arrives, he encounters French and Americans who reveal to him the unsettling depths of a conflict he thought he understood -- and in Saigon, the Vietnamese add yet another dimension. Before long, the rampant missteps and misplaced ideals trap Parade and others in a moral crossfire.