The Best Collections eBooks




Farther Away
by Jonathan Franzen
Farther Away

Jonathan Franzen's Freedom was the runaway most-discussed novel of 2010, an ambitious and searching engagement with life in America in the twenty-first century. In The New York Times Book Review, Sam Tanenhaus proclaimed it "a masterpiece of American fiction" and lauded its illumination, "through the steady radiance of its author's profound moral intelligence, [of] the world we thought we knew."

In Farther Away, which gathers together essays and speeches written mostly in the past five years, Franzen returns with renewed vigor to the themes, both human and literary, that have long preoccupied him. Whether recounting his violent encounter with bird poachers in Cyprus, examining his mixed feelings about the suicide of his friend and rival David Foster Wallace, or offering a moving and witty take on the ways that technology has changed how people express their love, these pieces deliver on Franzen's implicit promise to conceal nothing. On a trip to China to see first-hand the environmental devastation there, he doesn't omit mention of his excitement and awe at the pace of China's economic development; the trip becomes a journey out of his own prejudice and moral condemnation. Taken together, these essays trace the progress of unique and mature mind wrestling with itself, with literature, and with some of the most important issues of our day. Farther Away is remarkable, provocative, and necessary.


 



And So it Goes: Kurt Vonnegut: A Life
by Charles J. Shields
And So it Goes: Kurt Vonnegut: A Life

The first authoritative biography of Kurt Vonnegut Jr., a writer who changed the conversation of American literature

In 2006, Charles Shields reached out to Kurt Vonnegut in a letter, asking for his endorsement for a planned biography. The first response was no ("A most respectful demurring by me for the excellent writer Charles J. Shields, who offered to be my biographer"). Unwilling to take no for an answer, propelled by a passion for his subject, and already deep into his research, Shields wrote again and this time, to his delight, the answer came back: "O. K." For the next year — a year that ended up being Vonnegut's last — Shields had access to Vonnegut and his letters.

And So It Goes is the culmination of five years of research and writing — the first-ever biography of the life of Kurt Vonnegut. Vonnegut resonates with readers of all generations from the baby boomers who grew up with him to high-school and college students who are discovering his work for the first time. Vonnegut's concise collection of personal essays, Man Without a Country, published in 2006, spent fifteen weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and has sold more than 300, 000 copies to date. The twenty-first century has seen interest in and scholarship about Vonnegut's works grow even stronger, and this is the first book to examine in full the life of one of the most influential iconoclasts of his time.


 



That is All
by John Hodgman
That is All

John Hodgman-bestselling author, The Daily Show's "Resident Expert", minor television celebrity, and deranged millionaire-brings us the third and final installment in his trilogy of Complete World Knowledge.

In 2005, Dutton published The Areas of My Expertise, a handy little book of Complete World Knowledge, marked by the distinction that all of the fascinating trivia and amazing true facts were completely made up by its author, John Hodgman. At the time, Hodgman was merely a former literary agent and occasional scribbler of fake trivia. In short: a nobody.

But during an interview on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, an incredible transformation occurred. He became a famous minor television personality. You may ask: During his whirlwind tornado ride through the high ether of minor fame and outrageous fortune, did John Hodgman forget how to write books of fake trivia? The answer is: Yes. Briefly. But soon, he remembered!

And so he returned, crashing his Kansas farmhouse down upon the wicked witch of ignorance with More Information Than You Require, a New York Times bestseller containing even more mesmerizing and essential fake trivia, including seven hundred mole-man names (and their occupations).

And now, John Hodgman completes his vision with That Is All, the last book in a trilogy of Complete World Knowledge. Like its predecessors, That Is All compiles incredibly handy made-up facts into brief articles, overlong lists, and beguiling narratives on new and familiar themes. It picks up exactly where More Information left off-specifically, at page 596-and finally completes COMPLETE WORLD KNOWLEDGE, just in time for the return of Quetzalcoatl and the end of human history in 2012.


 



The Ecstasy of Influence: Nonfictions, Etc.
by Jonathan Lethem
The Ecstasy of Influence: Nonfictions, Etc.

What’s a novelist supposed to do with contemporary culture? And what’s contemporary culture sup­posed to do with novelists? In The Ecstasy of Influence, Jonathan Lethem, tangling with what he calls the “white elephant” role of the writer as public intellectual, arrives at an astonishing range of answers.

A constellation of previously published pieces and new essays as provocative and idiosyncratic as any he’s written, this volume sheds light on an array of topics from sex in cinema to drugs, graffiti, Bob Dylan, cyberculture, 9/11, book touring, and Marlon Brando, as well as on a shelf’s worth of his literary models and contemporaries: Norman Mailer, Paula Fox, Bret Easton Ellis, James Wood, and oth­ers. And, writing about Brooklyn, his father, and his sojourn through two decades of writing, Lethem sheds an equally strong light on himself.


 



Buried Secrets
by Joseph Finder
Buried Secrets

Joseph Finder introduced Nick Heller, a “private spy” who finds out things powerful people want to keep hidden, to widespread acclaim from the critics and wild enthusiasm from the readers, in the New York Times bestselling novel Vanished. Now, in Buried Secrets, Nick Heller returns, finding himself in the middle of a life-or-death situation that’s both high-profile and intensely personal.

Nick has returned to his old home town of Boston to set up his own shop. There he’s urgently summoned by an old family friend. Hedge fund titan Marshall Marcus desperately needs Nick’s help. His teenaged daughter, Alexa, has just been kidnapped. Her abduction was clearly a sophisticated professional job, done with extraordinary precision. Alexa, whom Nick has known since she was young, is now buried alive, held prisoner in an underground crypt, a camera trained on her, her suffering streaming live over the internet. She’s been left with a limited supply of food and water and, if her father doesn’t meet the demands of her shadowy kidnappers, she’ll die. And as Nick begins to probe, he discovers that all is not quite right with Marshall Marcus’s business. He’s being investigated by the FBI, he has a lot of shady investors, his fund is in danger and now he has a lot of powerful enemies who may have the motivation to go after Marcus’s daughter. But to find out who’s holding Alexa Marcus hostage, Nick has to find out why. Once he does, he uncovers an astonishing conspiracy that reaches far beyond anything he could have imagined. And if he’s going to find Alexa in time, he will have to flush out and confront some of his deadliest opponents ever.


 



Thank You Notes
by Jimmy Fallon, the Writers of Late Night
Thank You Notes

Thank you, slow walking family walking in front of me on the sidewalk. No, please, take your time. And definitely spread out, too, so you create a barricade of idiots. I am so thankful that you forced me to walk on the street and risk getting hit by a car in order to pass you so I could resume walking at a normal human pace. Jimmy Fallon has a few people and a few things to thank. In this brand-new book, the very first to come from his show, he addresses some 200 subjects in need of his undying "gratitude." Each page will feature one note and a photograph of its recipient. But why read any more about formatting when you could just read a few more samples;Thank you, guy whose chair made a farting noise, for prompting him to spend the next 20 minutes awkwardly shifting around trying to re-create the noise, so people would know it was just the chair. Thank you, Miley Cyrus, for being 16 and acting like a stripper at the Teen Choice Awards. If you REALLY wanna piss off your dad, why not just cut off his allowance? From Hilary Clinton to a light bulb he is too lazy to replace, these are the moments and memories that make Jimmy's life a little bit fuller.