Narrative Non-fiction

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A Book of Common Prayer

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In this Conradian masterpiece of American innocence and evil set in the fictional Central American country of Boca Grande, two American women face the harsh realities, political and personal, of living on the edge in a land with an uncertain future. Writing with her signature telegraphic swiftness, the author creates a terrifying commentary on an age of conscienceless authority.
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Dead Wake

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#1 New York Times Bestseller

From the bestselling author and master of narrative nonfiction comes the enthralling story of the sinking of the Lusitania

On May 1, 1915, with WWI entering its tenth month, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were surprisingly at ease, even though Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone. For months, German U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era's great transatlantic "Greyhounds"--the fastest liner then in service--and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack.

Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger's U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the Lusitania made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small--hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more--all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history.

It is a story that many of us think we know but don't, and Erik Larson tells it thrillingly, switching between hunter and hunted while painting a larger portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era. Full of glamour and suspense, Dead Wake brings to life a cast of evocative characters, from famed Boston bookseller Charles Lauriat to pioneering female architect Theodate Pope to President Woodrow Wilson, a man lost to grief, dreading the widening war but also captivated by the prospect of new love.

Gripping and important, Dead Wake captures the sheer drama and emotional power of a disaster whose intimate details and true meaning have long been obscured by history.

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H Is for Hawk

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One of the New York Times Book Review's 10 Best Books of the Year

One of Slate's 50 Best Nonfiction Books of the Last 25 Years

ON MORE THAN 25 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR LISTS: including TIME (#1 Nonfiction Book), NPR, O, The Oprah Magazine (10 Favorite Books), Vogue (Top 10), Vanity Fair, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Seattle Times, San Francisco Chronicle (Top 10), Miami Herald, St. Louis Post Dispatch, Minneapolis Star Tribune (Top 10), Library Journal (Top 10), Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Slate, Shelf Awareness, Book Riot, Amazon (Top 20)

The instant New York Times bestseller and award-winning sensation, Helen Macdonald's story of adopting and raising one of nature's most vicious predators has soared into the hearts of millions of readers worldwide. Fierce and feral, her goshawk Mabel's temperament mirrors Helen's own state of grief after her father's death, and together raptor and human "discover the pain and beauty of being alive" (People). H Is for Hawk is a genre-defying debut from one of our most unique and transcendent voices.

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Hare With Amber Eyes : A Hidden Inheritance (USED)

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A New York Times Bestseller

An Economist Book of the Year

Costa Book Award Winner for Biography

Galaxy National Book Award Winner (New Writer of the Year Award)

Edmund de Waal is a world-famous ceramicist. Having spent thirty years making beautiful pots--which are then sold, collected, and handed on--he has a particular sense of the secret lives of objects. When he inherited a collection of 264 tiny Japanese wood and ivory carvings, called netsuke, he wanted to know who had touched and held them, and how the collection had managed to survive.

And so begins this extraordinarily moving memoir and detective story as de Waal discovers both the story of the netsuke and of his family, the Ephrussis, over five generations. A nineteenth-century banking dynasty in Paris and Vienna, the Ephrussis were as rich and respected as the Rothchilds. Yet by the end of the World War II, when the netsuke were hidden from the Nazis in Vienna, this collection of very small carvings was all that remained of their vast empire.

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INFINITE CITIES: A Trilogy

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"The maps themselves are things of beauty."
--The New York Times


Explore the hidden histories of San Francisco, New Orleans, and New York with this brilliant reinvention of the traditional atlas. From Rebecca Solnit, Rebecca Snedeker, and Joshua Jelly-Schapiro.

In the past decade, Rebecca Solnit--aided by local writers, artists, historians, urbanists, ethnographers, and cartographers--has compiled three stunning atlases that have radically changed the way we think about place. Each atlas provides a vivid, complex look at the multi-faceted nature of a city as experienced by its different inhabitants, replete with the celebrations and contradictions that make up urban life.

This three-volume paperback set contains:
  • The original, gorgeously designed atlases--Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas; Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas; and Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas
  • Three new and updated, full-color, fold-out posters for each city, including the popular "City of Women" map
  • A new and thoughtful essay by Rebecca Solnit reflecting on the project ten years after the publication of the first atlas

  • A stunning collection, this boxed set is a perfect treasury of imagination and insight, a rich people's history of these infinite cities.

    Just Mercy : A Story of Justice and Redemption

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    #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING MICHAEL B. JORDAN AND JAMIE FOXX - A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice--from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time.

    "[Bryan Stevenson's] dedication to fighting for justice and equality has inspired me and many others and made a lasting impact on our country."--John Legend

    NAMED ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL BOOKS OF THE DECADE BY CNN - Named One of the Best Books of the Year by The New York Times - The Washington Post - The Boston Globe - The Seattle Times - Esquire - Time



    Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn't commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship--and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.

    Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer's coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.

    Winner of the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction - Winner of the NAACP Image Award for Nonfiction - Winner of a Books for a Better Life Award - Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize - Finalist for the Kirkus Reviews Prize - An American Library Association Notable Book

    "Every bit as moving as To Kill a Mockingbird, and in some ways more so . . . a searing indictment of American criminal justice and a stirring testament to the salvation that fighting for the vulnerable sometimes yields."--David Cole, The New York Review of Books

    "Searing, moving . . . Bryan Stevenson may, indeed, be America's Mandela."--Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times

    "You don't have to read too long to start cheering for this man. . . . The message of this book . . . is that evil can be overcome, a difference can be made. Just Mercy will make you upset and it will make you hopeful."--Ted Conover, The New York Times Book Review

    "Inspiring . . . a work of style, substance and clarity . . . Stevenson is not only a great lawyer, he's also a gifted writer and storyteller."--The Washington Post

    "As deeply moving, poignant and powerful a book as has been, and maybe ever can be, written about the death penalty."--The Financial Times

    "Brilliant."--The Philadelphia Inquirer

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    Longitude : The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time (USED)

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    During the great ages of exploration "the longitude problem" was the greatest of scientific challenges. Lacking the ability to determine their longitude, sailors were literally lost at sea as soon as they lost sight of land. Ships ran aground on rocky shores; those traveling welt-known routes were easy prey to pirates.

    In 1714, England's Parliament offered a huge reward to anyone whose method of measuring longitude could be proven successful. The scientific establishment -- from Galileo to Sir Isaac Newton -- had mapped the heavens in its certainty of a celestial answer. In stark contrast, one man, John Harrison, dared to imagine a mechanical solution -- a clock that would keep precise time at sea, something no clock had been able to do on land. And the race was on.

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    Maid

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    NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

    Evicted meets Nickel and Dimed in Stephanie Land's memoir about working as a maid, a beautiful and gritty exploration of poverty in America. Includes a foreword by Barbara Ehrenreich.

    At 28, Stephanie Land's plans of breaking free from the roots of her hometown in the Pacific Northwest to chase her dreams of attending a university and becoming a writer, were cut short when a summer fling turned into an unexpected pregnancy. She turned to housekeeping to make ends meet, and with a tenacious grip on her dream to provide her daughter the very best life possible, Stephanie worked days and took classes online to earn a college degree, and began to write relentlessly.

    She wrote the true stories that weren't being told: the stories of overworked and underpaid Americans. Of living on food stamps and WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) coupons to eat. Of the government programs that provided her housing, but that doubled as halfway houses. The aloof government employees who called her lucky for receiving assistance while she didn't feel lucky at all. She wrote to remember the fight, to eventually cut through the deep-rooted stigmas of the working poor.

    Maid explores the underbelly of upper-middle class America and the reality of what it's like to be in service to them. "I'd become a nameless ghost," Stephanie writes about her relationship with her clients, many of whom do not know her from any other cleaner, but who she learns plenty about. As she begins to discover more about her clients' lives-their sadness and love, too-she begins to find hope in her own path.

    Her compassionate, unflinching writing as a journalist gives voice to the "servant" worker, and those pursuing the American Dream from below the poverty line. Maid is Stephanie's story, but it's not her alone. It is an inspiring testament to the strength, determination, and ultimate triumph of the human spirit.

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    Men Explain Things to Me

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    "This slim book--seven essays, punctuated by enigmatic, haunting paintings by Ana Teresa Fernandez--hums with power and wit."--Boston Globe

    "The antidote to mansplaining."--The Stranger

    "Feminist, frequently funny, unflinchingly honest and often scathing in its conclusions."--Salon

    "Solnit tackles big themes of gender and power in these accessible essays. Honest and full of wit, this is an integral read that furthers the conversation on feminism and contemporary society."--San Francisco Chronicle Top Shelf

    "Solnit [is] the perfect writer to tackle the subject: her prose style is so clear and cool."--The New Republic

    "The terrain has always felt familiar, but Men Explain Things To Me is a tool that we all need in order to find something that was almost lost."--National Post

    In her comic, scathing essay, "Men Explain Things to Me," Rebecca Solnit took on what often goes wrong in conversations between men and women. She wrote about men who wrongly assume they know things and wrongly assume women don't, about why this arises, and how this aspect of the gender wars works, airing some of her own hilariously awful encounters.

    This updated edition with two new essays of this national bestseller book features that now-classic essay as well as "#YesAllWomen," an essay written in response to 2014 Isla Vista killings and the grassroots movement that arose with it to end violence against women and misogyny, and the essay "Cassandra Syndrome." This book is also available in hardcover.

    Writer, historian, and activist Rebecca Solnit is the author of eighteen or so books on feminism, western and indigenous history, popular power, social change and insurrection, wandering and walking, hope and disaster, including the books Men Explain Things to Me and Hope in the Dark, both also with Haymarket; a trilogy of atlases of American cities; The Faraway Nearby; A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster; A Field Guide to Getting Lost; Wanderlust: A History of Walking; and River of Shadows, Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West (for which she received a Guggenheim, the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism, and the Lannan Literary Award). A product of the California public education system from kindergarten to graduate school, she is a columnist at Harper's and a regular contributor to the Guardian.

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    Orchid Thief

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    NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK

    A modern classic of personal journalism, The Orchid Thief is Susan Orlean's wickedly funny, elegant, and captivating tale of an amazing obsession. Determined to clone an endangered flower--the rare ghost orchid Polyrrhiza lindenii--a deeply eccentric and oddly attractive man named John Laroche leads Orlean on an unforgettable tour of America's strange flower-selling subculture, through Florida's swamps and beyond, along with the Seminoles who help him and the forces of justice who fight him. In the end, Orlean--and the reader--will have more respect for underdog determination and a powerful new definition of passion.

    In this new edition, coming fifteen years after its initial publication and twenty years after she first met the "orchid thief," Orlean revisits this unforgettable world, and the route by which it was brought to the screen in the film Adaptation, in a new retrospective essay.

    Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader's Circle for author chats and more.

    Praise for The Orchid Thief

    "Stylishly written, whimsical yet sophisticated, quirkily detailed and full of empathy . . . The Orchid Thief shows [Orlean's] gifts in full bloom."--The New York Times Book Review

    "Fascinating . . . an engrossing journey [full] of theft, hatred, greed, jealousy, madness, and backstabbing."--Los Angeles Times

    "Orlean's snapshot-vivid, pitch-perfect prose . . . is fast becoming one of our national treasures."--The Washington Post Book World

    "Orlean's gifts [are] her ear for the self-skewing dialogue, her eye for the incongruous, convincing detail, and her Didion-like deftness in description."--Boston Sunday Globe

    "A swashbuckling piece of reporting that celebrates some virtues that made America great."--The Wall Street Journal

    The Body

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    AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
    NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST
    LONGLISTED FOR THE PEN E.O. WILSON LITERARY SCIENCE WRITING AWARD

    "Glorious. . .You will marvel at the brilliance and vast weirdness of your design." --The Washington Post

    Bill Bryson, bestselling author of A Short History of Nearly Everything, takes us on a head-to-toe tour of the marvel that is the human body. As addictive as it is comprehensive, this is Bryson at his very best, a must-read owner's manual for everybody.

    Bill Bryson once again proves himself to be an incomparable companion as he guides us through the human body--how it functions, its remarkable ability to heal itself, and (unfortunately) the ways it can fail. Full of extraordinary facts (your body made a million red blood cells since you started reading this) and irresistible Bryson-esque anecdotes, The Body will lead you to a deeper understanding of the miracle that is life in general and you in particular. As Bill Bryson writes, "We pass our existence within this wobble of flesh and yet take it almost entirely for granted." The Body will cure that indifference with generous doses of wondrous, compulsively readable facts and information.

    The Book of Delights

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    A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

    As Heard on NPR's This American Life

    "Ross Gay's eye lands upon wonder at every turn, bolstering my belief in the countless small miracles that surround us." --Tracy K. Smith, Pulitzer Prize winner and U.S. Poet Laureate

    The winner of the NBCC Award for Poetry offers up a spirited collection of short lyric essays, written daily over a tumultuous year, reminding us of the purpose and pleasure of praising, extolling, and celebrating ordinary wonders.

    In The Book of Delights, one of today's most original literary voices offers up a genre-defying volume of lyric essays written over one tumultuous year. The first nonfiction book from award-winning poet Ross Gay is a record of the small joys we often overlook in our busy lives. Among Gay's funny, poetic, philosophical delights: a friend's unabashed use of air quotes, cradling a tomato seedling aboard an airplane, the silent nod of acknowledgment between the only two black people in a room. But Gay never dismisses the complexities, even the terrors, of living in America as a black man or the ecological and psychic violence of our consumer culture or the loss of those he loves. More than anything other subject, though, Gay celebrates the beauty of the natural world--his garden, the flowers peeking out of the sidewalk, the hypnotic movements of a praying mantis.

    The Book of Delights is about our shared bonds, and the rewards that come from a life closely observed. These remarkable pieces serve as a powerful and necessary reminder that we can, and should, stake out a space in our lives for delight.

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    The Cross of Redemption

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    The Cross of Redemption is a revelation by an American literary master: a gathering of essays, articles, polemics, reviews, and interviews that have never before appeared in book form.

    James Baldwin was one of the most brilliant and provocative literary figures of the past century, renowned for his fierce engagement with issues haunting our common history. In The Cross of Redemption we have Baldwin discoursing on, among other subjects, the possibility of an African-American president and what it might mean; the hypocrisy of American religious fundamentalism; the black church in America; the trials and tribulations of black nationalism; anti-Semitism; the blues and boxing; Russian literary masters; and the role of the writer in our society.

    Prophetic and bracing, The Cross of Redemption is a welcome and important addition to the works of a cosmopolitan and canonical American writer who still has much to teach us about race, democracy, and personal and national identity. As Michael Ondaatje has remarked, "If van Gogh was our nineteenth-century artist-saint, Baldwin [was] our twentieth-century one."

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    The Paper Garden

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    In 1772, upon the death of her second husband, Mary Delany arose from her grief, picked up a pair of scissors, and, at the age of seventy-two, created a new art form: mixed-media collage. Over the next decade, Mrs. Delany produced an astonishing 985 botanically correct, breathtaking cut-paper flowers, now housed in the British Museum and referred to as the Flora Delanica. As she tracks the extraordinary life of Delany-friend of George Frideric Handel and Jonathan Swift-internationally acclaimed poet Molly Peacock weaves in delicate parallels in her own life and, in doing so, creates a profound and beautiful examination of the nature of creativity and art. This gorgeously designed book, featuring thirty-five full-color illustrations, is to be devoured as voraciously as one of the court dinners it describes.

    The Source of Self-Regard

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    Here is Toni Morrison in her own words: a rich gathering of her most important essays and speeches, spanning four decades. These pages give us her searing prayer for the dead of 9/11, her Nobel lecture on the power of language, her searching meditation on Martin Luther King Jr., her heart-wrenching eulogy for James Baldwin. She looks deeply into the fault lines of culture and freedom: the foreigner, female empowerment, the press, money, "black matter(s)," human rights, the artist in society, the Afro-American presence in American literature. And she turns her incisive critical eye to her own work (The Bluest Eye, Sula, Tar Baby, Jazz, Beloved, Paradise) and that of others. An essential collection from an essential writer, The Source of Self-Regard shines with the literary elegance, intellectual prowess, spiritual depth, and moral compass that have made Toni Morrison our most cherished and enduring voice.
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    The Unwinding of the Miracle

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    NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - As a young mother facing a terminal diagnosis, Julie Yip-Williams began to write her story, a story like no other. What began as the chronicle of an imminent and early death became something much more--a powerful exhortation to the living.

    "An exquisitely moving portrait of the daily stuff of life."--The New York Times Book Review (Editors' Choice)

    NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review - Time - Real Simple - Good Housekeeping

    That Julie Yip-Williams survived infancy was a miracle. Born blind in Vietnam, she narrowly escaped euthanasia at the hands of her grandmother, only to flee with her family the political upheaval of her country in the late 1970s. Loaded into a rickety boat with three hundred other refugees, Julie made it to Hong Kong and, ultimately, America, where a surgeon at UCLA gave her partial sight. She would go on to become a Harvard-educated lawyer, with a husband, a family, and a life she had once assumed would be impossible. Then, at age thirty-seven, with two little girls at home, Julie was diagnosed with terminal metastatic colon cancer, and a different journey began.

    The Unwinding of the Miracle is the story of a vigorous life refracted through the prism of imminent death. When she was first diagnosed, Julie Yip-Williams sought clarity and guidance through the experience and, finding none, began to write her way through it--a chronicle that grew beyond her imagining. Motherhood, marriage, the immigrant experience, ambition, love, wanderlust, tennis, fortune-tellers, grief, reincarnation, jealousy, comfort, pain, the marvel of the body in full rebellion--this book is as sprawling and majestic as the life it records. It is inspiring and instructive, delightful and shattering. It is a book of indelible moments, seared deep--an incomparable guide to living vividly by facing hard truths consciously.

    With humor, bracing honesty, and the cleansing power of well-deployed anger, Julie Yip-Williams set the stage for her lasting legacy and one final miracle: the story of her life.

    Praise for The Unwinding of the Miracle

    "Everything worth understanding and holding on to is in this book. . . . A miracle indeed."--Kelly Corrigan, New York Times bestselling author

    "A beautifully written, moving, and compassionate chronicle that deserves to be read and absorbed widely."--Siddhartha Mukherjee, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies

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    Under the Banner of Heaven : A Story of Violent Faith

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    This extraordinary work of investigative journalism takes readers inside America's isolated Mormon Fundamentalist communities, where some 40,000 people still practice polygamy. Defying both civil authorities and the Mormon establishment in Salt Lake City, the renegade leaders of these Taliban-like theocracies are zealots who answer only to God.

    At the core of Krakauer's book are brothers Ron and Dan Lafferty, who insist they received a commandment from God to kill a blameless woman and her baby girl. Beginning with a meticulously researched account of this appalling double murder, Krakauer constructs a multi-layered, bone-chilling narrative of messianic delusion, polygamy, savage violence, and unyielding faith. Along the way he uncovers a shadowy offshoot of America's fastest growing religion, and raises provocative questions about the nature of religious belief.

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    Whose Story Is This?

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    New feminist essays for the #MeToo era from the international best-selling author of Men Explain Things to Me.

    Who gets to shape the narrative of our times? The current moment is a battle royale over that foundational power, one in which women, people of color, non-straight people are telling other versions, and white people and men and particularly white men are trying to hang onto the old versions and their own centrality. In Whose Story Is This? Rebecca Solnit appraises what's emerging and why it matters and what the obstacles are.

    Year of Magical Thinking

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    From one of America's iconic writers, a stunning book of electric honesty and passion. Joan Didion explores an intensely personal yet universal experience: a portrait of a marriage--and a life, in good times and bad--that will speak to anyone who has ever loved a husband or wife or child.