The following books are now available for download:
An engrossing novel about Mary Todd Lincoln — one of history’s most misunderstood and enigmatic women.
Writing from Bellevue asylum–where the shrieks of the other inmates keep her awake at night–a famous widow can finally share the story of her life in her own words. From her tempestuous childhood in a slaveholding Southern family through the opium–clouded years after her husband’s death, we are let into the inner, intimate world of this brave and fascinating woman.
Intelligent and unconventional–and, some thought, mad — she held spiritualist séances in the White House, ran her family into debt with compulsive shopping, negotiated with conniving politicians, and raised her young sons in the nation’s capital during the bloodiest war this country has ever known. She was also a political strategist, a comfort to wounded soldiers, a supporter of emancipation, the first to be called First Lady, and a wife and mother who survived the loss of three children and the assassination of her beloved husband. Interwoven with her memories of the past, she describes life in the asylum, where the treatment for lunacy is bland food, cold baths, and near-lethal doses of chloral hydrate. It is here where we meet her friends, the anorectic Minnie Judd, who is starving herself to win the affection of her beautiful husband; and Myra Bradwell, the suffragist lawyer who helps Mary win her freedom.
A dramatic tale filled with passion and depression, poverty and ridicule, infidelity and redemption, this is the unforgettable story of Mary Todd Lincoln.
Both humorous and heartwarming, Dog is the story of Jill Rosen – a single, childless professor who has given up on finding love – and Phil, the wise, young dog she adopts, almost by accident. Although Jill finds her routines disrupted and her wistfulness about past loves stirred, she forges a connection with the dog that takes her by surprise in her solitary middle age.
A father, trying to understand both his son with autism and himself, pens a truthful and heartfelt memoir encompassing their
conversations, adventures, struggles, and achievements.
With great love and profound wonder, Halfdan W. Freihow describes his complex relationship with his youngest son, Gabriel, who was diagnosed with autism at the age of three. Though their relationship is sometimes fraught with frustration and misunderstanding, it endures and flourishes with parental pride, and ultimately, unconditional love.
Taking the form of a personal letter, and set against the haunting yet beautiful coastal landscape in which the family lives, Freihow’s intimate tale evokes a rich sense of childhood magic. A tender and brutally honest testament to love and the power of family, Dear Gabriel reaches out to all parents as they try to understand and nurture their children, regardless of any obstacles that may stand in their way.
A debut novel about a young girl at the center of the secret world of professional mourners, where women are trained extensively and paid handsomely to attend the funerals of strangers.
Mem is a wailer, a professional mourner hired to cry at funerals. One of the few remaining American girls in this secret, illegal profession, Mem hails from a long line of mourners, including her mother, a legendary master wailer hired for the most important funerals in her home-town of Philadelphia.
Though Mem is to eventually become a renowned wailer herself, she at first struggles with her calling. She is a girl who cannot make herself cry, and though her mother loves her fiercely, she must use ancient, emotionally abusive, cult-like rituals to train Mem to weep. When Mem emerges as the greatest wailer that the profession has ever seen, her infamy brings with it unwanted attention, especially from the authorities.
Interweaving poetic prose and artefacts spanning six thousand years and seven continents, Open Me is an utterly original novel about mothers and daughters, dark underworlds, and the play between fact and fiction.
A moving collection of personal essays about the real, human experiences behind the highly politicized issue of reproductive choice.
At a time when a woman’s most complex decisions have been reduced to political rhetoric and impersonal theory, and political debate has been hijacked by pundits and name-callers, Choice joins the discourse with an assortment of candid voices in an effort to humanize the debate about reproductive rights. In addressing a wide range of women’s choices—from using birth control to taking the morning-after pill, from adopting a child to putting a child up for adoption, from having an abortion to bringing a pregnancy to full term—Choice explores the complexities inherent in every reproductive decision.
Including twenty-four honest, heartrending essays from established writers such as Francine Prose, Jacquelyn Mitchard, Pam Houston, Ann Hood, and Sarah Messer and emerging talents such as Kimi Faxon Hemingway, Stephanie Anderson, and Ashley Talley, Choice will allow you to truly understand the meaning of the word "choice"—regardless of what side of the debate you stand on.
Every year the "miracle" of the Holy Fire is enacted in front of hundreds of the faithful at Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the church built around the purported tomb of Jesus of Nazareth. For centuries, Orthodox Christian pilgrims have made the arduous journey to witness an oil lamp set aflame by prayer alone, proving that God favors them above all other Christians, as well as Jews and Muslims. But the annual ceremony is marked by controversy, with charges of fraud and heresy as religious factions battle for control of the church and their place in Christian hierarchy.
Deftly weaving history, reportage, and religion, Victoria Clark has crafted a fluid and fascinating account of how events beginning with the medieval Crusades and European empire-building have slowly led to battles over a lawn chair on the church rooftop.
Holy Fire presents the passionate, often absurd, and always political battle waged by various denominations of Christian churchmen for their savior’s empty tomb, as the microcosm of centuries of wider religious power struggles – all at a time when it has never been more urgent for the West to see itself as others do.
An English scholar, his Indian bride, their triplets, and a randy ex-cabbie grandfather look for a sense of home and family in a sunny Northern California suburb.
In 1974, the young and callow Englishman George Armitage goes to Madras in the hopes of returning with at least the beginning of his Ph.D. dissertation. Instead, he comes home with a bride named Viji, an Indian woman he barely knows. This seemingly unlikely pair eventually wind up in Sacramento, where they buy a ranch house and give birth to triplets.
In this new American world of shag carpets and pudding pops, Viji seeks consolation in her prayer room, which she visits frequently to gossip, sass, and seek advice from the framed portraits of her dead relatives. It is here where Viji feels most herself, where she immerses herself in the comforts of home, and where these deceased family members “felt as real to her as she’d been to them.”
The relative calm of Viji’s California existence is interrupted when George’s father shows up on their doorstep, unexpected and unannounced. Granddad Stan encourages the triplets to pee in the rosebushes, beds the neighbor’s maid, and takes every opportunity to flummox Viji in every way he can. So when Viji’s sister sends an out-of-the-blue invitation to visit India, she prepares for her first trip home in nearly eleven years, not knowing for sure if she’ll ever return to the States.
A hilarious and heartfelt debut, The Prayer Room re-examines the meaning of family—the people who live down the hall, the people who exist only in our memories, and the people who roll their eyes at you from within their picture frames.
Moby Dick for the blog generation.
Cat food cannery worker Gus Openshaw has one goal in life: to kill a whale. Not just any whale, but a big, blubbery whale that ate his wife, child, and arm during a vicious and unprovoked attack.
With a rickety boat and a heavily restrictive whale-hunting license, Gus sets out to exact his revenge. Along the way, Gus keeps an online journal – a blog – to keep the world informed about his misfit crew, his clashes with pirates, his near-fatal incarceration, and his infatuation with a certain island princess.
Complete with gorgeous scrimshaw illustrations, Gus Openshaw's Whale-Killing Journal is the hilarious documentation of one man's obsessive pursuit of a giant whale that would make Captain Ahab proud.
Published to great acclaim in six countries, The Great Inland Sea is a haunting novel about a boy who escapes the scorched Australian landscape of his youth with a horse called Unusual, and returns as an adult to nurse his ailing father, discovering the secrets long buried there. The Great Inland Sea is an evocative story of grace and compassion, of a boy’s loss and enduring hope as he endeavors to forge connections with the world around him. It marks David Francis as a powerful new literary voice.
Set in Portland, Oregon, The Bewildered follows three high school friends who skateboard, study languages and music, and, lured by a strange woman they suspect might hold valuable secrets, illegally harvest copper wire from electrical lines outside the city. When a disastrous accident leads them on an adventure through underground tunnels and into Chinatown, they discover a remarkable group of people with unique needs and powers.
Set in Depression-era Chicago, an exhilarating début about a young boy’s obsession with comic book heroes, and his lifelong attempt to both recapture and escape his childhood.
Six-year-old Michael Halligan longs to be a hero. Submerging himself in the world of Big Little Books, he imagines himself as “Mike Steele,” righter of wrongs, friend to Dick Tracy, Buck Rogers, and The Lone Ranger. But reality pops him on the jaw when his mother dies unexpectedly in the winter of 1934. Michael is left in the custody of his gangster father, Paddy, where he tragically loses his faith in the power of good over evil.
So begins Michael’s obsessive quest through the city and suburbs of Chicago to recapture the purity and comfort that defined his boyhood. As he attempts to track down a copy of every Big Little Book in existence, Michael begins—perhaps unintentionally—to also search out unconditional love, security, and stability in an arbitrary and unkind world.
A dazzling tale featuring a colourful cast of heroes, villains, and damsels in distress—both real and make-believe—Dream City poses the most dangerous of questions: What happens when we finally discover what we’ve spent our entire lives searching for?
In the same vein as Marley and Me and My Dog Skip, this “mostly true” novel is at once a whimsical camp-fire mystery and a universal story about the friendship between a man and his dog.
Cormac, a golden retriever who has always been afraid of thunderstorms and lightning flashes, runs away one stormy night while his master is away.
So begins a strange adventure that lands Cormac in the back of a red pickup truck driven by a mysterious woman, takes him to a series of dog pounds and rescue shelters, and ultimately brings him to the suburbs of Connecticut. His owner, meanwhile, devastated by Cormac's disappearance and trying to juggle a family, a book tour, and writing his new novel, becomes determined to solve the "dog-napping" case. With the help of the local veterinarian, bookstore colleagues, animal rescue employees, and old friends, he picks up on Cormac's trail and watches his small-town community come together in search of his lost companion.
Inspired by real events, and embellished only to serve the story through the spirit of imagination, Brewer has, as he says, "mainly told the truth in this story of losing my good dog Cormac."
Fresh new hilarity from the author of The Mysterious Secret of the Valuable Treasure.
Glittering with mischief and perversity, Pushcart Prize–winner Jack Pendarvis’s latest collection introduces readers to a world of dreamers poised on the brink of all sorts of disaster — a world only a wink and a nod away from our own.
In the title novella a fundamentalist teenager must single-handedly confront the challenges of a spiritual quest complicated by secular humanists, an apocalyptic folk artist, and his own hormones. The other stories deal poignantly with — among other things — a young millionaire pretending to be a detective, the good folks who invented the diarrhea-inducing chewing gum, and a tollbooth operator who becomes an impromptu drug mule.
Underlying each comedic gem and neurotic twist is an intelligence and empathy rarely found in modern satire. Your Body Is Changing will invite you in with its zany humor and indict you with its moving truths.
The gripping, behind-the-scenes, true account of a critical time in modern history, brought to new life through the accounts of three remarkable men at its core.
The history of the Second World War is typically told through its decisive battles and campaigns. But behind the front lines, behind even the command centers of Allied generals and military planners, a different level of strategic thinking was taking place. Throughout the war, Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin—the "Big Three"—met in various permutations and locations to hash out ways to defeat Nazi Germany. And, just as important, to determine the shape of the postwar world.
Focusing on the riveting interplay between these three larger-than-life personalities, Jonathan Fenby's vivid narrative ranges from the great conferences at Tehran and Yalta to a secret shipboard meeting in a deserted Newfoundland cove, from late-night vodka-fueled sessions in the Kremlin to summer picnics at the presidential estate. Through a rich assortment of original documents, telling anecdotes, and detailed character portraits, we learn how this remarkable alliance was constructed and maintained, and how it finally crumbled, introducing the world to a new kind of "cold" warfare.
Though her neighbors in turn-of-the-century New York consider her a madwoman in the attic, Alice Pinkerton’s mind is razor-sharp, honed by a restless imagination, years of reading, and a profound contempt for her surroundings. Like her namesake in Through the Looking-Glass, Alice has a mirror through which to enter a different world, only for her the mirror is literature. Heartbreakingly funny and fiercely intelligent, Pinkerton’s Sister is an extraordinary work of imagination about imagination, a celebration of the power of fiction and its ultimate redeeming quality.
From the author of the critically acclaimed Pinkerton’s Sister comes volume two of this extraordinary sequence of novels. Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton–the faithless young naval lieutenant who abandons Madam Butterfly–was glimpsed fleetingly in Peter Rushforth’s previous novel, Pinkerton’s Sister. Now Ben steps out of the shadows and into the center of the stage, a young man haunted by the desolation of his boyhood years, unable to show or respond to love. Once again, in his mastery of language, his humor, his extraordinary imagination, and his superb sense of time and place, Peter Rushforth has given the world another masterpiece, ranking alongside, or surpassing, his earlier triumphs.
It'’s a bloodthirsty town, Hollywood. No matter how popular you are, there’s always someone who’d be happier if you were dead. And in some cases, you can be such a bastard, everyone would be happier if you were dead.
Barry Gerber, one of the most hated men in Hollywood, is a no-show for a red carpet event. The next morning he turns up dead, killed in such a bizarre way that neither Detectives Mike Lomax nor Terry Biggs nor anyone in Forensics has ever seen anything like it before. Two days later, the prime suspect — another despised show-business bad boy — is found murdered in the same sadistic manner.
The list of suspects then becomes as long as the credits in a summer blockbuster. Everyone hated the murdered men. Biggs jokes that this could be an elaborate public service effort to make Hollywood a better place to live and work. But he and Lomax soon find that all jokes are off as they wade through a daunting number of leads to uncover who will be the next victim. What they stumble upon is a motive far more primal than they had ever imagined.
Fast-paced, razor-sharp, and intensely funny, Bloodthirsty reunites Lomax and Biggs — the mystery genre’s new dynamic duo.
From the best-selling author of Moonlight on the Avenue of Faith, a stirring, lyrical tale that offers American readers unique insight into the inner workings of Iranian society.
In the decade before the Islamic Revolution, Iran is a country on the brink of explosion. Twelve-year-old Yaas is born into an already divided family: Her father is the son of wealthy Iranian Jews who are integrated into the country’s upper-class, mostly Muslim elite; her mother was raised in the slums of South Tehran, one street away from the old Jewish ghetto.
Yaas spends her childhood navigating the many layers of Iranian society. Her task, already difficult because of the disparity in her parents’ worldview, becomes all the more critical when her father falls in love with a beautiful woman from a noble Muslim family. As her parents’ marriage begins to crumble and the country moves ever closer to revolution, Yaas is plagued by a mysterious and terrifying illness. But despite her ailment, when she learns that her father is about to abandon her and her mother—to immigrate to America with his mistress—Yaas is determined to save herself and her family.
At once a cultural exploration of an as-yet-unfamiliar society and a psychological study of the effects of loss, Caspian Rain takes the reader inside the tragic and fascinating world of a brave young girl struggling against impossible odds.