FIRST LINES FROM NEW BOOKS OUT TODAY: MARCH 11, 2013
"Sometimes I’m asked to tell a story of the old days, the great adventures I enjoyed, and though memory loves to paint our tragedies higher and our comedies ever lower, I try to oblige with the truth—a rare commodity mined from a life increasingly far away."
On the Ropes: A Novel by James Vance and Dan E. Burr
"The climb felt almost arduous, the engine juddering and restarting four times during the creaking ascent up. But when they reached the top it was worth it, as it had always been worth it: they were so far above the ground that the poor, patched and battered world seemed as small and harmless as a toy train set."
The Gods of Heavenly Punishment: A Novel by Jennifer Cody Epstein
FIRST LINES FROM NEW BOOKS OUT TODAY: MARCH 4, 2013
"If Claire had to look back and decide why she had the affair in the first place, she would point to the missing boy."
The Obituary Writer: A Novel by Ann Hood
"Some people think emotionally more often than they think politically. Some think politically more often than they think rationally. Other never think rationally about anything at all."
Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier by Neil deGrasse Tyson
FIRST LINES FROM NEW BOOKS OUT TODAY: FEBRUARY 25, 2013
"Where are we? Walking through the cityscapes of St. Petersburg, Shanghai, Mumbai, and Dubai provokes this same question. Built to look as if they were not where they are—in Russia, China, India, and the Arab World respectively—each metropolis conjures the same captivating yet discomfiting sense of disorientation."
A History of Future Cities by Daniel Brook
“Nattō is a stringy (the strings can stretch up to four feet), sticky, slimy, chunky, fermented soybean dish that the Japanese love and regularly eat for breakfast. It can be eaten straight up, but is usually served cold over rice and seasoned with soy sauce, mustard, or wasabi and can also be garnished with green onion, fish flakes, raw eggs, or radish.”
That’s Disgusting: Unraveling the Mysteries of Repulsion by Rachel Herz
FIRST LINES FROM NEW BOOKS OUT TODAY: FEBRUARY 11, 2013
"The problem lay buried, unspoken, for many years in the minds of American women. It was a strange stirring, a sense of dissatisfaction, a yearning that women suffered in the middle of the twentieth century in the United States. Each suburban wife struggled with it alone. As she made the beds, shopped for groceries, matched slipcover material, at peanut butter sandwiches with her children, chauffeured Cub Scouts and Brownies, lay beside her husband at night—she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question—‘Is this all?’"
The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
"Throughout much of central and eastern Europe, including the Balkan Peninsula, there has long existed a belief in female spirits, bringers of fertility, who spend their nights and days dancing in the forests and fields."
The Dancing Goddesses: Folklore, Archaeology, and the Origins of European Dance by Elizabeth Wayland Barber
"Books on global health often start with a nasty shock: a disturbing detailed example, or bare statistics presented with a pretense of scientific objectivity."
The Human Right to Health by Jonathan Wolff
FIRST LINES FROM NEW BOOKS OUT TODAY: FEBRUARY 4, 2013
"Four days before the bomb that is supposed to obliterate and kill us all, I stand in the ruins of Crawford Market, haggling with the lone remaining fruit seller over the price of the pomegranate in my hand."
The City of Devi by Manil Suri
"Pembroke, a hamlet once known as Scuffletown (population 2,800), sits in the southeastern flatlands of North Carolina on Highway 711—home to the University of North Caroline Braves, the Lumbee Indians, the Berea Baptist Church, Dollar Tree, Papa Bill’s Ribs, a nearby drag strip with wheelstanding contests, and one of today’s hottest ladies men."
Swoon: Great Seducers and Why We Love Them by Betsy Prioleau
Pears for your breakfast and please first
drink the small glass of fresh orange juice.
Took hours to squeeze.
All the love I have.
P. G. Wodehouse: A Life in Letters edited by Sophie Ratcliffe
"The central purpose of Angles of Ascent is to introduce readers to contemporary African American poetry—that is, the many engaging collections new black artists have been producing since the demise of the Black Arts movement in the late 1970s.”
Angles of Ascent edited by Charles Henry Rowell
"The Chinese know, perhaps better than anyone else, how to eat."
Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking by Fuchsia Dunlop
"You keep me waiting in a truck
with its one good wheel stuck in a ditch,
while you piss against the south side of a tree.
Hurry. I’ve got nothing on under my skirt tonight.”
The Collected Poems of Ai
"For several thousand years people have been thinking about Judaism."
Anti-Judaism by David Nirenberg
FIRST LINES FROM NEW BOOKS OUT TODAY: JANUARY 28, 2013
"This is a book about the economic slump now afflicting the United States and many other countries—a slump that has now entered its fifth year and that shows no signs of ending anytime soon."
End This Depression Now! by Paul Krugman
"It was true that Henry didn’t entirely understand what, exactly, their magazine was really trying to achieve, although he enjoyed the fervor of his friends and the sort of conviction that everyone else seemed to feel over the importance of the project."
The Best of Youth: A Novel by Michael Dahlie
"It was a fitful start to the most ambitious venture ever launched in Antarctica."
Alone on the Ice: The Greatest Surivival Story in the History of Exploration by David Roberts
"We are two hours out of Sydney when the pilot’s voice comes over the PA system."
Contents May Have Shifted by Pam Houston
"A perfect day in the city always starts like this: my friend Leo picks me up and we go to a breakfast place called Rick and Ann’s where they make red flannel hash out of beets and bacon, and then we cross the Bay Bridge to the gardens of the Palace of the Fine Arts to sit in the wet grass and read poems and talk about love."
Waltzing the Cat by Pam Houston
"Early this summer, I paid $4,500 for a horse."
A Little More About Me by Pam Houston
FIRST LINES FROM NEW BOOKS OUT TODAY: JANUARY 14, 2013
"A quarter of a million miles straight up. That’s the distance to the Moon, and it’s not just a guess but a very well-determined number, even though the distance varies by 10 percent due to the Moon’s elliptical orbit. We know the Moon’s distance with a precision of 1 millimeter, far more accurately than you might know the distance to the nearest wall, or the distance to the person across from you at the dinner table."
How It Began: A Time-Traveler’s Guide to the Universe by Chris Impey
"The whistle blew for eleven o’clock. Throats parches, grim, sun-crazed blacks cutting stone on the white burning hillside dropped with a clang the hot, dust-powdered drills and flew up over the rugged edges of the horizon to descent into a dry, waterless gut."
Tropic Death by Eric Walrond (Liveright Publishing Corporation)
FIRST LINES FROM NEW BOOKS OUT TODAY: JANUARY 7, 2013
"As he nurses his pint in the quiet corner of the Smoking Dog pub on Malmesbury High Street, turning distractedly through the pages of his unfinished manuscript, Donald Gladstone feels the first stirrings of a familiar dissatisfaction."
Finding Camlann: A Novel by Sean Pidgeon
"I’ve noticed a curious phenomenon. Students will complain that statistics is confusing and irrelevant. Then the same students will leave the classroom and happily talk over lunch about batting averages (during the summer) or the windchill factor (during the winter) or grade point averages (always)."
Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data by Charles Wheelan
"Ousep Chacko, according to Mariamma Chacko, is the kind of man who has to be killed at the end of a story."
The Illicit Happiness of Other People: A Novel by Manu Joseph
"All hushed, seven of us huddle in a kitchen, stare into a monitor. It’s about to start."
The Reenactments: A Memoir by Nick Flynn
"I returned: to the bleached light
and the birdlife,
miniature, coked, afraid to stop.
To the drowsy jacarandas
getting naked in the street,
and the filaments of carnelian
in the sidewalk cracks.”
The Oracle of Hollywood Boulevard: Poems by Dana Goodyear
“‘O elephant-headed god, son of Lord Shiva and Parvati; scribe who wrote down the Mahabharata from the seer Vyasa’s dictation: Lord Ganesh, look favourably on this endeavor.’
Professor Ved Vyasa Chaturvedi paused, looked out across his audience, and smiled. ‘The god invoked at the start of all compositions. What better way to begin?’”
Leela’s Book: A Novel by Alice Albinia
FIRST LINES FROM NEW BOOKS OUT TODAY: DECEMBER 17, 2012
"If I speak in the spirit of this time, I must say: no one and nothing can justify what I must proclaim to you. Justification is superfluous to me, since I have no choice, but I must. I have learned that in addition to the spirit of this time there is still another spirit at work namely that which rules the depths of everything contemporary."
The Red Book: A Reader’s Edition by C. G. Jung
"Leaving Hyde Park, expunge the cold bulk of Marble Arch. There is no imperial stone, no Victorian cast iron, no post-modern steel; there are no tinted panels of inscrutable glass. Place yourself at the landward fringe, north-west, of an irregular riverside city. You have approached London the wrong way, reversing the route taken by those under sentence of death."
Reprobates: The Cavaliers of the English Civil War by John Stubbs
FIRST LINES FROM NEW BOOKS OUT TODAY: DECEMBER 10, 2012
"There is no shortage of material for anyone interested in what the musicologist David Boyden called ‘…the fascinating, arcane and baffling world of the violin.’ In summer 2002, a keyword search for ‘violin’ in the Library of Congress’s online catalogue produced 9,976 titles. A follow-up in the more expansive Research Libraries Information Network produced 104,881."
The Violin: A Social History of the World’s Most Versatile Instrument by David Schoenbaum
"A few weeks before Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated on March 4, 1861, the House of Representatives unanimously approved a resolution declaring that the federal government had no power to abolish slavery in any state."
Freedom National: The Destruction of Slavery in the United States, 1861-1865 by James Oakes
"American culture is nothing if not divided. Or say that it exists in a state of extraordinary tension within itself. It expands; its destiny is, or was, manifest. It moves forward; it grows."
The Southern Journey of Alan Lomax: Words Photographs, and Music by Alan Lomax with an essay by Tom Piazza
"What is the nature of reality, the purpose of the universe, and the meaning of life? Is there any rhyme or reason to the course of human history? Why am I here? Do I have a soul, and if so, how long will it last? What happens when we die? Do we have free will? Why should I be moral? What is love, and why is it unusually inconvenient?"
The Atheist’s Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life Without Illusions by Alex Rosenberg