Literature, General
Featured Items
Coming Up for Air
Coming Up for Air
Paperback      ISBN: 0156196255

George Bowling, the hero of this comic novel, is a middle-aged insurance salesman who lives in an average English suburban row house with a wife and two children. One day, after winning some money from a bet, he goes back to the village where he grew up, to fish for carp in a pool he remembers from thirty years before. The pool, alas, is gone, the village has changed beyond recognition, and the principal event of his holiday is an accidental bombing by the RAF.

Blood and Guts in High School
Blood and Guts in High School
Paperback      ISBN: 080213193x

Kathy Acker was a high-wire writer. She took risks. She experimented for the sake of it. She made mistakes. She fell. She never wanted a modest success, and so her books, all of them, swing from passages of topflight bravura, where you think, "How did she do that?" to a sawdust-in-your-mouth kind of feeling that you just want to spit out. She is an exhilarating, exasperating writer who wants you in the ring with her, through the highs and the lows. There was always something touching and trusting about Acker's belief that her audience would not want a smooth finished product of the kind they could buy at any dime store, but would prefer to be in on the process -- flying when she did, falling when she did, nothing leveled out or homogenized.

She was ahead of her time. There is no doubt about that. Acker really was interactive art. It's why she fronted bands -- most famously The Mekons on the CD of Pussy, King of the Pirates -- if you haven't heard it, buy it now. It's why her readings were more like stage shows than those creepy literary events where some dude mumbles in a monotone for half an hour. To see Kathy in her leopard-skin leotard, slash of red lipstick, gym-honed muscles, maybe a dildo, usually a backing track, seduce a packed crowd with that gorgeous voice and knowing childlike look was to discover how exciting art could be. Not rarefied, not back-dated, not dull, just something you suddenly wanted -- the way you suddenly want to be kissed by someone you hadn't even looked at before.

Okay, so Acker was art as performance and language as desire, but was she an important writer? Yes. Important work always has risk in it. That doesn't mean that all risky work is important, but it does mean that safety gets us nowhere. In science this is self-evident. In the arts, and particularly literature, we still moan and groan at experiment. Just gimme a good story, we say, with a beginning, middle, and end. Well, Acker won't do that for you, but she will help you get high.
Tales of Ordinary Madness
Tales of Ordinary Madness
Paperback      ISBN: 0872861554

Exceptional stories that come pounding out of Bukowski's violent and depraved life. Horrible and holy, you cannot read them and ever come away the same again.

This collection of stories was once part of the 1972 City Lights classic, Erections, Ejaculations, Exhibitions and General Tales of Ordinary Madness. That book was later split into two volumes and republished: The Most Beautiful Woman in Town and, this book, Tales of Ordinary Madness.

With Bukowski, the votes are still coming in. There seems to be no middle ground--people seem either to love him or hate him. Tales of his own life and doings are as wild and weird as the very stories he writes. In a sense, Bukowski was a legend in his time, a madman, a recluse, a lover; tender, vicious; never the same.

"Bukowski ... a professional disturber of the peace ... laureate of Los Angeles netherworld writes with] crazy romantic insistence that losers are less phony than winners, and with an angry compassion for the lost."--Jack Kroll, Newsweek

"Bukowski's works are extraordinarily vivid and often bitterly funny observations of people living on the very edge of oblivion. His poetry, in all its glorious simplicity, was accessible the way poetry seldom is a testament to his genius."--Nick Burton, PIF Magazine

Crane: Prose and Poetry
Crane
Prose and Poetry
Hardcover      ISBN: 0940450178

Here in one volume are all of Stephen Crane's best-known works, including the novels The Red Badge of Courage, about a young and confused Union soldier under fire for the first time; Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, a vivid portrait of slum life and a young girl's fall; George's Mother, about New York's Bowery and its effect on a young workingman; The Third Violet, about a bohemian artist's country romance; and The Monster, a novella about sacrifice and rescue. The stories collected here include masterpieces like The Open Boat, The Blue Hotel, and The Bride Comes to the Yellow Sky, as well as tales of childhood in small-town America. In his journalism, the best of which is presented here, Crane covered the Spanish-American and Grego-Turkish wars, traveled through Mexico and the West, and reported on the seamier sides of New York City life. The volume concludes with The Black Riders and War Is Kind, collections of epigrammatic free verse that look back to Emily Dickinson and forward to Imagism.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation's literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America's best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
Bruegel
Bruegel
Paperback      ISBN: 0500201560

Although Pieter Bruegel's pictures have been celebrated throughout the past four hundred years, the artist himself remains a shadowy and misunderstood figure. In a volume which will widen the understanding and enhance the enjoyment of Bruegel's many admirers, Walter Gibson illuminates the sixteenth-century world in which the artist lived. He analyzes the different strands of Bruegel's inspiration, examines his works, and considers his influence on later artists. Dispelling the notion of Bruegel the simpleton peasant, the author shows us Bruegel the cultivated artist, satisfying an urban society's pleasure in moralizing tales and proverbs, rooted in the rich, bourgeois, brilliant Antwerp of the Flemish Renaissance.

Invisible Cities
Invisible Cities
Paperback      ISBN: 0156453800
"Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else." -- from Invisible Cities

In a garden sit the aged Kublai Khan and the young Marco Polo -- Mongol emperor and Venetian traveler. Kublai Khan has sensed the end of his empire coming soon. Marco Polo diverts his host with stories of the cities he has seen in his travels around the empire: cities and memory, cities and desire, cities and designs, cities and the dead, cities and the sky, trading cities, hidden cities. As Marco Polo unspools his tales, the emperor detects these fantastic places are more than they appear.

"Invisible Cities changed the way we read and what is possible in the balance between poetry and prose . . . The book I would choose as pillow and plate, alone on a desert island." -- Jeanette Winterson
Siddhartha
Siddhartha
Paperback      ISBN: 081120068x

Written in a prose of almost biblical simplicity and beauty, it is the story of a soul's long quest in search of he ultimate answer to the enigma of man's role on this earth. As a youth, the young Indian Siddhartha meets the Buddha but cannot be content with a disciple's role: he must work out his own destiny and solve his own doubt--a tortuous road that carries him through the sensuality of a love affair with the beautiful courtesan Kamala, the temptation of success and riches, the heartache of struggle with his own son, to final renunciation and self-knowledge.

The name "Siddhartha" is one often given to the Buddha himself--perhaps a clue to Hesse's aims in contrasting the traditional legendary figure with his own conception, as a European (Hesse was Swiss), of a spiritual explorer.
Collected Stories of Eudora Welty
Collected Stories of Eudora Welty
Paperback      ISBN: 0156189216

With a preface written by the author especially for this edition, this is the complete collection of stories by Eudora Welty.

Including the earlier collections A Curtain of Green, The Wide Net, The Golden Apples, and The Bride of the Innisfallen, as well as previously uncollected ones, these forty-one stories demonstrate Eudora Welty's talent for writing from diverse points-of-view with "vision that is sweet by nature, always humanizing, uncannily objective, but never angry" (Washington Post).

The Years
The Years
Paperback      ISBN: 0156997010

The principal theme of this ambitious book is Time, threading together three generations of an upper-class English family, the Pargiters. The characters come and go, meet, talk, think, dream, grow older, in a continuous ritual of life that eludes meaning.

The Counterfeiters
The Counterfeiters
Paperback      ISBN: 0394718429

A young artist pursues a search for knowledge through the treatment of homosexuality and the collapse of morality in middle class France.