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.
The tragedy of the Donner party constitutes one of the most amazing stories of the American West. In 1846 eighty-seven people -- men, women, and children -- set out for California, persuaded to attempt a new overland route. After struggling across the desert, losing many oxen, and nearly dying of thirst, they reached the very summit of the Sierras, only to be trapped by blinding snow and bitter storms. Many perished; some survived by resorting to cannibalism; all were subjected to unbearable suffering. Incorporating the diaries of the survivors and other contemporary documents, George Stewart wrote the definitive history of that ill-fated band of pioneers; an astonishing account of what human beings may endure and achieve in the final press of circumstance.
Are hurricanes increasing in ferocity and frequency because of global warming? In the wake of Katrina, leading science journalist Chris Mooney follows the careers of top meteorologists on either side of this red-hot question through the 2006 hurricane season, tracing how the media, special interests, politics, and the weather itself have skewed and amplified what was already an intense scientific debate.In this fascinating and urgently important book, Mooney a native of New Orleans delves into a compelling consequence of the great inconvenient truth of our day: Are we responsible for making hurricanes even bigger monsters than they already are?
November 1944: Their B-24 bomber shot down on what should have been an easy mission off the Borneo coast, a scattered crew of Army airmen cut themselves loose from their parachutes--only to be met by loincloth-wearing natives silently materializing out of the mountainous jungle. Would these Dayak tribesmen turn the starving airmen over to the hostile Japanese occupiers? Or would the Dayaks risk vicious reprisals to get the airmen safely home in a desperate game of hide-and-seek? A cinematic survival story featuring a bamboo airstrip built on a rice paddy, a mad British major, and a blowpipe-wielding army that helped destroy one of the last Japanese strongholds, The Airmen and the Headhunters is also a gripping tale of wartime heroism unlike any other you have read.
Hayley Jo Zimmerman is gone. Taken. And the people of small-town Twisted Tree must come to terms with this terrible event--their loss, their place in it, and the secrets they all carry. In this brilliantly written novel, one girls story unfolds through the stories of those who knew her. Among them, a supermarket clerk recalls an encounter with a disturbingly thin Hayley Jo. An ex-priest remembers baptizing Hayley Jo and seeing her with her best friend, Laura, whose mother the priest once loved. And Laura berates herself for all the running they did, how it fed her friends addiction, and how there were so many secrets she didnt see. And so, Hayley Jos absence recasts the lives of others and connects them, her death rooting itself into the community in astonishingly violent and tender ways. Solidly in the company of Aryn Kyle, Kent Haruf, and Peter Matthiessen, Kent Meyers is one of the best contemporary writers on the American West. Here he also takes us into the complexity of community regardless of landscape, and offers a tribute to the powerful effect one person's life can have on everyone she knew.
Welcome to Newport Beach, California--a community often found glittering in the spotlight, but one that isn't always as glamorous as we imagine. Through the lives of waiters and waitresses, divorced and single parents, and alienated teens, Victoria Patterson's Drift offers a rare and rewarding view into the real life of this nearly mythical place, all the while plumbing the depths of female friendship and what it means to be an outsider. Fresh, energetic, deceptively powerful and delightfully frank, hers is a voice you won't be able to stop reading.
In Stacey D'Erasmo's acclaimed second novel, a quintessentially modern family is ultimately transformed by the emerging breakdown of their teenaged son, Christopher. When he disappears from his San Francisco home, his extended family comes together in a frantic search. But Christopher is in much more trouble than they know, and their attempts to support him and to save him will challenge their assumptions about themselves and one another.
Exquisitely crafted, A Seahorse Year is an absorbing read that explores the ways in which love moves us to actions that have both redemptive and disastrous consequences, sometimes in the same heartbeat.
"A Seahorse Year compellingly explores love's connections and limits . . . [D'Erasmo] writes with a graceful, sometimes devastating directness, in clear, crisp phrases lined with subtle lyricism." -- Boston Globe"Beautiful, addictive . . . an elegant, glancing humor flecks the book . . . wonderfully observed ." -- Newsday"You could read Stacey D'Erasmo for the subtlety of her insights or the beauty of her language or for her tumbling, shifting arrangements of plot and characters . . . Or you could just open A Seahorse Year and be mesmerized." -- The AdvocateStacey D'Erasmo is the author of the novel Tea, which was selected as a New York Times Notable Book and a Book Sense 76 Pick. A Seahorse Year, her second novel, was a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller. She lives in New York City.
Night Navigation opens on a freezing-rain night in upstate New York: the kindling gone, the fire in the woodstove out. Dels thirty-seven-year-old manic-depressive son needs a ride, but shes afraid to make the long drive north to the only detox that has a bed. Through the four seasons, Night Navigation takes us into the deranged, darkly humorous world of the addict--from break-your-arm dealers, to boot-camp rehabs, to Rumi-quoting NA sponsors. Al-Anon tells Del to let go; NAMI tells her to hang on. Mark cannot find a way to live in this world. Del cannot stop trying to rescue him. And yet, during this long years night, through relapse and despair, they see flare-ups of hope as Mark and Del fitfully, painfully try to steer toward the light. Told in the alternating voices of an addict and his mother, this riveting novel adds new depths to our understanding and our literature of parents and their troubled children.
You see, even after all these years, I wonder if you really loved me. Vanessa and Virginia are sisters, best friends, bitter rivals, and artistic collaborators. As children, they fight for the attention of their overextended mother, their brilliant but difficult father, and their adored brother, Thoby. As young women, they support each other through a series of devastating deaths, then emerge in bohemian Bloomsbury, bent on creating new lives and groundbreaking works of art. Through everything marriage, lovers, loss, madness, children, success and failure the sisters remain the closest of co-conspirators. But they also betray each other.In this lyrical, impressionistic account, written as a love letter and an elegy from Vanessa to Virginia, Sellers imagines her way into the heart of the lifelong relationship between the writer Virginia Woolf and the painter Vanessa Bell. With sensitivity and fidelity to what is known of both lives, Sellers has created a powerful portrait of sibling rivalry.
Adam Weller is a moderately successful novelist, past his prime, but squiring around a much younger woman and still longing for greater fame and glory. His former wife, Eleanor, is unhappily playing the role of the overweight, discarded woman. Their daughter Maud has just begun a frankly sexual affair that unexpectedly becomes life-changing. Into each of these lives the past intrudes in a way that will test them to their core. With perfect pitch and a rare empathy, Brian Morton is equally adept at portraying the life of the mind and how it plays out in the world, brilliantly tracing the border between honor and violation. Here Morton tells his strongest story yet a story about love, friendship, literary treachery, and what each of us owes to the past.
Isaac and Nora haven't seen each other in five years, yet when Nora phones Isaac late one night, he knows who it is before she's spoken a word. Isaac, a photographer, is relinquishing his artistic career, while Nora, a writer, is seeking to rededicate herself to hers.
Fueled by their rediscovered love, Nora is soon on fire with the best work she's ever done, until she realizes that the story she's writing has turned into a fictionalized portrait of Isaac, exposing his frailties and compromises and sure to be viewed by him as a betrayal. How do we remain faithful to our calling if it estranges us from the people we love? How do we remain in love after we have seen the very worst of our loved ones? These are some of the questions explored in a novel that critics are calling "an absolute pleasure" (The Seattle Times).
In 1965, after a notorious family feud, Robert Mondavi-then fifty-two years old-was thrown out of his family's winery. Far from defeated, Mondavi was dedicated to a vision of creating a superior wine. What has happened since that fateful day is one of the greatest success stories of American business. Today, the Robert Mondavi Winery is one of the most respected in the world, and Mondavi is the man who is most responsible for the worldwide recognition of American wine making, as well as changing America's palate for fine wine and fine food. In Harvests of Joy, Mondavi shares how, through his passion for excellence, he achieved this extraordinary position, one he reached not without pain and sacrifice. With invaluable insider tips on his approach to both wine making and to running a business, Mondavi's inspirational story is "a grand example of the fact that in America you can pretty much be, do, or accomplish, whatever you set out to." (Ventura County Star)
When fourteen-year-old Carson Fielding bought his first horse from Magnus Yarborough, it became clear that the teenager was a better judge of horses than the rich landowner was of humans. Years later, Carson, now a skilled and respected horse trainer, grudgingly agrees to train Magnus's horses and teach his wife to ride. But as Carson becomes disaffected with the power-hungry Magnus, he also grows more and more attracted to the rancher's wife, and their relationship sets off a violent chain of events that unsettles their quiet reservation border town in South Dakota. Thrown into the drama are Earl Walks Alone, an Indian trying to study his way out of the reservation and into college, and Willi, a German exchange student confronting his family's troubled history.
In this unforgettable story of horses, love, and life, Carson and the entire ensemble of characters learn, in very different ways, about the strong bonds that connect people to each other and to the land on which they live.
In France, on the eve of the Revolution, a young man named Claude Page sets out to become the most ingenious and daring inventor of his time. In the course of a career filled with violence and passion, Claude learns the arts of enameling and watchmaking from an irascible, defrocked abbé, apprentices himself to a pornographic bookseller, and applies his erotic erudition to the seduction of the wife of an impotent wigmaker. But it is Claude's greatest device-a talking mechanical head-that both crowns his career and leads to an execution as tragic as that of Marie Antoinette, and far more bizarre.
Hailed by critics for the shimmering brilliance of its inventions and its uncanny fidelity to the textures of the past, A Case of Curiosities places Allen Kurzweil securely in the ranks of the finest literary artists of our time.
Just out of college, Patricia Hampl was mesmerized by a Matisse painting in the Art Institute of Chicago: an aloof woman gazing at goldfish in a bowl, a Moroccan screen behind her. In Blue Arabesque, Hampl explores the allure of this lounging woman, immersed in leisure, so at odds with the rush of the modern era. Hampl's meditation takes us to the Cote d'Azur and to North Africa, from cloister to harem, pondering figures as diverse as Eugene Delacroix, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Katherine Mansfield. Returning always to Matisse's portraits of languid women, she discovers they were not decorative indulgences but something much more. Moving with the life force that Matisse sought in his work, Blue Arabesque is Hampl's dazzling and critically acclaimed tour de force.