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The Corrections

Author Jonathan Franzen
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Published 2001-09-15

Winner of the 2001 National Book Award for Fiction Nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award An American Library Association Notable Book Jonathan Franzen's third novel, The Corrections, is a great work of art and a grandly entertaining overture to our new century: a bold, comic, tragic, deeply moving family drama that stretches from the Midwest at mid-century to Wall Street and Eastern Europe in the age of greed and globalism. Franzen brings an old-time America of freight trains and civic duty, of Cub Scouts and Christmas cookies and sexual inhibitions, into brilliant collision with the modern absurdities of brain science, home surveillance, hands-off parenting, do-it-yourself mental healthcare, and the anti-gravity New Economy. With The Corrections, Franzen emerges as one of our premier interpreters of American society and the American soul. Enid Lambert is terribly, terribly anxious. Although she would never admit it to her neighbors or her three grown children, her husband, Alfred, is losing his grip on reality. Maybe it's the medication that Alfred takes for his Parkinson's disease, or maybe it's his negative attitude, but he spends his days brooding in the basement and committing shadowy, unspeakable acts. More and more often, he doesn't seem to understand a word Enid says. Trouble is also brewing in the lives of Enid's children. Her older son, Gary, a banker in Philadelphia, has turned cruel and materialistic and is trying to force his parents out of their old house and into a tiny apartment. The middle child, Chip, has suddenly and for no good reason quit his exciting job as a professor at D------ College and moved to New York City, where he seems to be pursuing a "transgressive" lifestyle and writing some sort of screenplay. Meanwhile the baby of the family, Denise, has escaped her disastrous marriage only to pour her youth and beauty down the drain of an affair with a married man--or so Gary hints. Enid, who loves to have fun, can still look forward to a final family Christmas and to the ten-day Nordic Pleasurelines Luxury Fall Color Cruise that she and Alfred are about to embark on. But even these few remaining joys are threatened by her husband's growing confusion and unsteadiness. As Alfred enters his final decline, the Lamberts must face the failures, secrets, and long-buried hurts that haunt them as a family if they are to make the corrections that each desperately needs.

The Burgess Boys

Author Elizabeth Strout
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Published 2014

Haunted by the freak accident that killed their father when they were children, Jim and Bob Burgess escaped from their Maine hometown of Shirley Falls for New York City as soon as they possibly could. Jim, a sleek, successful corporate lawyer, has belittled his bighearted brother their whole lives, and Bob, a Legal Aid attorney who idolizes Jim, has always taken it in stride. But their long-standing dynamic is upended when their sister, Susan—the Burgess sibling who stayed behind—urgently calls them home. Her lonely teenage son, Zach, has gotten himself into a world of trouble, and Susan desperately needs their help. And so the Burgess brothers return to the landscape of their childhood, where the long-buried tensions that have shaped and shadowed their relationship begin to surface in unexpected ways that will change them forever.

Mila 18

Author Leon Uris
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Published 2011-09-27

New York Times bestseller: Nazis close in on Poland’s Jews in the Warsaw ghettos in this powerful Holocaust novel from the author of Exodus. In Nazi-occupied Warsaw before the outbreak of World War II, American journalist Christopher de Monti is wined and dined by German officers eager for sympathetic coverage. But de Monti’s nose for the real story soon leads him to discover the terrifying conditions of the Warsaw ghettos and the Nazis’ chilling plans for the ghettos’ inhabitants. As he comes to know the Jewish resistance movement and joins their courageous—if doomed—last stand, de Monti is thrust into a forbidden affair, a historic uprising, and a terrifying quest for survival. A novel inspired by real events and based on meticulous research into pre-WWII Warsaw, Mila 18 is “the story of a sacrifice that had real meaning and will forever be remembered. . . . A fine and important novel” (The New York Times). This ebook features an illustrated biography of Leon Uris including rare photos from the author’s estate.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog

Author Muriel Barbery
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Published 2008-09-02

A New York Times Bestseller We are in an elegant hôtel particulier in the center of Paris. Renée, the building's concierge, is short, ugly, and plump. She has bunions on her feet. She is cantankerous and addicted to television soaps. Her only genuine attachment is to her cat, Leo. In short, she is everything society expects from a concierge at a bourgeois building in a posh Parisian neighborhood. But Renée has a secret: she is a ferocious autodidact who furtively devours art, philosophy, music, and Japanese culture. With biting humor she scrutinizes the lives of the building's tenants—her inferiors in every way except that of material wealth. Then there's Paloma, a super-smart twelve-year-old and the youngest daughter of the Josses, who live on the fifth floor. Talented, precocious, and startingly lucid, she has come to terms with life's seeming futility and has decided to end her own on the day of her thirteenth birthday. Until then she will continue hiding her extraordinary intelligence behind a mask of mediocrity, acting the part of an average pre-teen high on pop subculture, a good but not an outstanding student, an obedient if obstinate daughter. Paloma and Renée hide both their true talents and their finest qualities from a world they suspect cannot or will not appreciate them. They discover their kindred souls when a wealthy Japanese man named Ozu arrives in the building. Only he is able to gain Paloma's trust and to see through Renée's timeworn disguise to the secret that haunts her. This is a moving, funny, triumphant novel that exalts the quiet victories of the inconspicuous among us.

The Painted Bird

Author Jerzy Kosinski
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Published 2007-12-01

The classic novel of a boy’s struggle for survival in WWII Poland, from the National Book Award–winning author of Steps and Being There. “In 1939, a six-year-old boy is sent by his anti-Nazi parents to a remote village in Poland where they believe he will be safe. Things happen, however, and the boy is left to roam the Polish countryside. . . . To the blond, blue-eyed peasants in this part of the country, the swarthy, dark-eyed boy who speaks the dialect of the educated class is either Jew, gypsy, vampire, or devil. They fear him and they fear what the Germans will do to them if he is found among them. So he must keep moving. In doing so, over a period of years, he observes every conceivable variation on the theme of horror” (Kirkus Reviews). Originally published in 1965, The Painted Bird established Jerzy Kosinski as a major literary figure. With sparse prose and vivid imagery, it is a story of mythic proportion and timeless human relevance. “One of the best . . . Written with deep sincerity and sensitivity.” —Elie Wiesel, The New York Times Book Review “Of all the remarkable fiction that emerged from World Wat II, nothing stands higher than Jerzy Kosinski’s The Painted Bird. A magnificent work of art, and a celebration of the individual will. No one who reads it will forget it; no one who reads it will be unmoved by it. The Painted Bird enriches our literature and our lives.” —Jonathan Yardley, The Miami Herald “Extraordinary . . . Literally staggering . . . One of the most powerful books I have ever read.” —Richard Kluger, Harper’s Magazine “One of our most significant writers.” —Newsweek

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