Caroline Fraser - Prairie Fires - Little, Brown Book Group

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    • ISBN:9780708898680
    • Publication date:23 Nov 2017
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    • Publication date:23 Nov 2017

Prairie Fires

The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder

By Caroline Fraser

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The first comprehensive historical biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the beloved author of the Little House on the Prairie book series

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE

WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD

'Just as gripping as the original novels . . . As pacy and vivid as one of Wilder's own narratives, this surprising biography is immensely revealing both about Wilder and about America's founding myths' Sunday Times

'"Little House" devotees will appreciate the extraordinary care and energy Fraser devotes to uncovering the details of a life that has been expertly veiled by myth' New York Times Book Review

Millions of readers of the 'Little House' books believe they know Laura Ingalls Wilder - the pioneer girl who survived blizzards and near-starvation on the Great Plains as her family chased their American dream. But the true story of her life has never been fully told.

Drawing on unpublished manuscripts, letters, diaries and public records, Caroline Fraser masterfully fills in the gaps in Wilder's biography, uncovering the grown-up story behind the best-loved childhood epic of pioneer life.

Set against nearly a century of unimaginable change, from the Homestead Act and the Indian Wars to the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, Wilder's life was full of drama and adversity. Settling on the frontier amid land-rush speculation, her family endured Biblical tribulations of locusts and drought, poverty and want, before she left at the age of eighteen to marry Almanzo. This is where the books end, but there is so much more to tell; deep in debt after a series of personal tragedies, Laura and Almanzo uprooted themselves once again, crisscrossing the country, taking menial jobs to support the family. In middle age, she began writing a farm advice column, prodded by her journalist daughter Rose. And at the age of sixty, fearing the loss of almost everything in the Depression, she turned to children's books, recasting her extraordinarily difficult childhood as a triumphal vision of homesteading - achieving fame and fortune in the process.

Laura Ingalls Wilder's life is one of the most astonishing rags-to-riches stories in American letters. Offering fresh insight and new discoveries, Prairie Fires reveals the complex woman who defined the American pioneer character, and whose artful blend of fact and fiction grips us to this day.

Biographical Notes

Caroline Fraser is the editor of the Library of America edition of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books, and the author of Rewilding the World and God's Perfect Child. Her writing has appeared in the New York Review of Books, New Yorker, Atlantic, Los Angeles Times and London Review of Books, among other publications. She lives in New Mexico.

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  • ISBN: 9780708898666
  • Publication date: 23 Nov 2017
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  • Imprint: Fleet
[This new biography is] just as gripping as the original novels . . . As pacy and vivid as one of Wilder's own narratives, this surprising biography is immensely revealing both about Wilder and about America's founding myths — Eleanor Mills, Sunday Times
Fraser's gripping account is much more than a biography. Hugely recommended, even if you haven't read Wilder — Claire Lowdon, Sunday Times, Books of the Year
A fascinating tale, which spans an extraordinary period of American history . . . Whether you're a Wilder fan or have never picked up one of her books, this is compelling stuff - and as a history of the American dream, it's hard to beat — Telegraph
The sweep of the story is magnificent — Laura Freeman, The Times
Memories can be both "treasures" and "consuming fires of torment", as Laura Ingalls Wilder knew. Caroline Fraser's rigorously researched biography shows how the author's life was so much more painful than it appears in her writings. Having combed through manuscripts, letters and other documents, Fraser has gained insight into the history that shaped her, including the dust bowl and the great depression. She explores the dreams that sustained the writer - and gets to the heart of a pioneer spirit. Here is an atmospheric portrait of places as much as of a person, too: the log cabin in which Wilder was born, the Great Plains, the dense forests and, of course, the prairies — Anita Sethi, Observer
Tells a story that is far more intriguing than the myth — Oldie
Caroline Fraser's expert account of both Laura and her troubled daughter Rose Wilder Lane, who is widely thought to have over-influenced her mother's oeuvre, minutely dissects their related lives and careers to explain and illustrate modern America's inviolate founding myth . . . should stand as the last word on a long life...Her story is everything you never knew and, now more than ever, need to understand about a defining element of the national character and the great American dream — Country Life
An absorbing new biography [that] deserves recognition as an essential text.... For anyone who has drifted into thinking of Wilder's 'Little House' books as relics of a distant and irrelevant past, reading Prairie Fires will provide a lasting cure.... Meanwhile, 'Little House' devotees will appreciate the extraordinary care and energy Fraser devotes to uncovering the details of a life that has been expertly veiled by myth — Patricia Nelson Limerick, New York Times Book Review
The definitive biography...Magisterial and eloquent...A rich, provocative portrait — Star Tribune
Fraser's meticulous, smart, historically informed biography shows where the books hew to - and diverge from - the facts of Wilder's long and eventful life...Fraser got a head start on her work for this biography when she edited the Library of America editions of Laura Ingalls Wilder's writing. Even readers who have already enjoyed those annotated volumes will find a trove of new material in Prairie Fires, which puts the books in a richer, more complicated context without undermining their value. Fraser concludes, "They are not, as Wilder and her daughter had claimed, true in every particular. Yet the truth about our history is in them. ...Anyone who would ask where we came from and why, must reckon with them — Sarah Harrison Smith, the Amazon Book Review, An Amazon Best Book of November 2017
Unforgettable... A magisterial biography, which surely must be called definitive. Richly documented (it contains 85 pages of notes), it is a compelling, beautifully written story.... One of the more interesting aspects of this wonderfully insightful book is its delineation of the fraught relationship between Wilder and her deeply disturbed, often suicidal daughter. But it is its marriage of biography and history - the latter providing such a rich context for the life - that is one of the great strengths of this indispensable book — Booklist, starred review
Engrossing... Exhilarating... Lovers of the series will delight in learning about real-life counterparts to classic fictional episodes, but, as Fraser emphasizes, the true story was often much harsher. Meticulously tracing the Ingalls and Wilder families' experiences through public records and private documents, Fraser discovers failed farm ventures and constant money problems, as well as natural disasters even more terrifying and devastating in real life than in Wilder's writing — Publishers Weekly
In the twenty-first century, the tense and secret authorial partnership between Laura Ingalls Wilder and her daughter Rose Wilder Lane has emerged as the most complex and fascinating psychological saga of mother-daughter collaboration in American literary history. Caroline Fraser's deeply researched and stimulating biography analyzes their controversial relationship and places Wilder's influential fiction in the contexts of other myths of pioneer women and the frontier — Elaine Showalter
A fantastic book. We've long understood the Little House series to be a great American story, but Caroline Fraser brings it unprecedented new context, as she masterfully chronicles the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family alongside the complicated history of our nation. Prairie Fires represents a significant milestone in our understanding of Wilder's life, work, and legacy — Wendy McClure, author of The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie
Fleet

Sharp

Michelle Dean
Authors:
Michelle Dean

A BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week'This is such a great idea for a book, and Michelle Dean carries it off, showing us the complexities of her fascinating, extraordinary subjects, in print and out in the world. Dean writes with vigor, depth, knowledge and absorption, and as a result Sharp is a real achievement' Meg Wolitzer, New York TimesDorothy Parker, Hannah Arendt, Mary McCarthy, Susan Sontag, Joan Didion, Nora Ephron and Janet Malcolm are just some of the women whose lives intertwined as they cut through twentieth-century cultural and intellectual life in the United States, arguing as fervently with each other as they did with the men who so often belittled their work as journalists, novelists, critics and poets. These women are united by their 'sharpness': an accuracy and precision of thought and wit, a claiming of power through their writing.Sharp is a rich and lively portrait of these women and their world, where Manhattan cocktail parties, fuelled by lethal quantities of both alcohol and gossip, could lead to high-stakes slanging matches in the Partisan Review or the New York Review of Books. It is fascinating and revealing on how these women came to be so influential in a climate in which they were routinely met with condescension and derision by their male counterparts.Michelle Dean mixes biography, criticism and cultural and social history to create an enthralling exploration of how a group of brilliant women became central figures in the world of letters, staked out territory for themselves and began to change the world.

Little, Brown

An Orchestra of Minorities

Chigozie Obioma
Authors:
Chigozie Obioma

'Chigozie Obioma is a writer to watch' The EconomistUmuahia, Nigeria. Chinonso, a young poultry farmer, sees a woman attempting to jump to her death from a highway bridge. Horrified by her recklessness, Chinonso joins her on the roadside and hurls two of his most prized chickens into the water below to demonstrate the severity of the fall. The woman, Ndali, is moved by his sacrifice.Bonded by this strange night on the bridge, Chinonso and Ndali fall in love. But Ndali is from a wealthy family, and when they officially object to the union because he is uneducated, Chinonso sells most of his possessions to attend a small college in Cyprus. Once in Cyprus, he discovers that all is not what it seems. Furious at a world which continues to relegate him to the sidelines, Chinonso gets further and further away from his dream, from Ndali and the place he called home. In this contemporary twist of Homer's Odyssey, in the mythic style of the Igbo literary tradition, Chigozie Obioma weaves a heart-wrenching epic about the tension between destiny and determination.'Chigozie Obioma truly is the heir to Chinua Achebe' New York Time Book Review

Robinson

Rule Makers, Rule Breakers

Michele J. Gelfand
Authors:
Michele J. Gelfand

"A groundbreaking analysis of what used to be an impenetrable mystery: how and why do cultures differ? Gelfand shows that a wide range of divides of class, culture, and coalition are traceable to an intriguing source. Anyone interested in our cultural divides will find tremendous insight in Rule Makers, Rule Breakers." - Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of Enlightenment NowWhy are clocks in Germany always correct, while those in Brazil are frequently wrong? Why are Singaporeans jailed for selling gum? Why do women in New Zealand have three times the sex of females worldwide? Why was the Daimler-Chrysler merger ill-fated from the start? And why does each generation of Americans give their kids weirder and weirder names? Curious about the answers to these and other questions, award-winning social psychologist Michele Gelfand has spent two decades studying both tight societies (with clearly stated rules and codes of ethics) and loose societies (more informal communities with weak or ambiguous norms). Putting each under the microscope, she conducted research in more than fifty countries and collaborated with political scientists, neuroscientists, computer scientists, anthropologists, and archaeologists. Her fascinating conclusion: behaviour seems largely dependent on perceived threats. It's why certain nations seem predisposed to tangle with others; some American states identify as "Red" and others as "Blue"; and those attending a sports contest, health club, or school function behave in prescribed ways. Rule Makers, Rule Breakers reveals how to predict national variations around the globe, why some leaders innovate and others don't, and even how a tight vs. loose system can determine happiness. Consistently riveting and always illuminating, Michele Gelfand's book helps us understand how a single cultural trait dramatically affects even the smallest aspects of our lives."Fascinating and profound...It's quite possibly this year's best book on culture." Roy F. Baumeister, bestselling co-author of Willpower and author of The Cultural Animal"This brilliant book is full of well-documented insights that will change the way you look at yourself and at the world around you." Barry Schwartz, bestselling author of The Paradox of Choice, Practical Wisdom, and Why We Work

Corsair

Manhattan Beach

Jennifer Egan
Authors:
Jennifer Egan

* Winner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction* New York Times Bestseller * A New York Times Notable Book and a Washington Post Notable Fiction Book of 2017* Longlisted for the National Book Award for Fiction* Named a Best Book of 2017 by NPR, The Guardian, Vogue, Esquire, Kirkus Reviews, Philadelphia Inquirer, BookPage, Bustle, Southern Living, and St. Louis Post-Dispatch"Immensely satisfying...an old-fashioned page-turner, tweaked by this witty and sophisticated writer...Egan is masterly at displaying mastery...she works a formidable kind of magic." -Dwight Garner, The New York TimesThe long-awaited novel from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Visit from the Goon Squad, Manhattan Beach opens in Brooklyn during the Great Depression. Anna Kerrigan, nearly twelve years old, accompanies her father to the house of a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family. Anna observes the uniformed servants, the lavishing of toys on the children, and some secret pact between her father and Dexter Styles. Years later, her father has disappeared and the country is at war. Anna works at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where women are allowed to hold jobs that had always belonged to men. She becomes the first female diver, the most dangerous and exclusive of occupations, repairing the ships that will help America win the war. She is the sole provider for her mother, a farm girl who had a brief and glamorous career as a Ziegfield folly, and her lovely, severely disabled sister. At a night club, she chances to meet Styles, the man she visited with her father before he vanished, and she begins to understand the complexity of her father's life, the reasons he might have been murdered. Mesmerizing, hauntingly beautiful, with the pace and atmosphere of a noir thriller and a wealth of detail about organized crime, the merchant marine and the clash of classes in New York, Egan's first historical novel is a masterpiece, a deft, startling, intimate exploration of a transformative moment in the lives of women and men, America and the world. Manhattan Beach is a magnificent novel by one of the greatest writers of our time.

PublicAffairs

The H Spot

Jill Filipovic
Authors:
Jill Filipovic
Abacus

Less

Andrew Sean Greer
Authors:
Andrew Sean Greer

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE FOR FICTION 2018 'You will sob little tears of joy' Nell Zink'I recommend it with my whole heart' Ann Patchett'I adore this book' Armistead Maupin'Charming, languid and incredibly funny, I absolutely adored Arthur' Jenny Colgan 'Marvellously, endearingly, unexpectedly funny' Gary Shteyngart'Bedazzling, bewitching and be-wonderful' New York Times Book Review'A fast and rocketing read . . . a wonderful, wonderful book!' Karen Joy Fowler'Hilarious, and wise, and abundantly funny' Adam HaslettWHO SAYS YOU CAN'T RUN AWAY FROM YOUR PROBLEMS? Arthur Less is a failed novelist about to turn fifty. A wedding invitation arrives in the post: it is from an ex-boyfriend of nine years who is engaged to someone else. Arthur can't say yes - it would be too awkward; he can't say no - it would look like defeat. So, he begins to accept the invitations on his desk to half-baked literary events around the world. From France to India, Germany to Japan, Arthur almost falls in love, almost falls to his death, and puts miles between him and the plight he refuses to face. Less is a novel about mishaps, misunderstandings and the depths of the human heart.

PublicAffairs

Great American Outpost

Maya Rao
Authors:
Maya Rao

The word was that you could earn $17,000 a month in the Bakken Oilfield of North Dakota. So they flooded in: the profiteers, deadbeats, ex-cons, dreamers, and doers. And so too did Maya Rao, a journalist who embedded herself in the surreal new American frontier.With an eye for the dark, humorous, and absurd, Rao set out in steel-toed boots to chronicle the largest oil boom since the 1968 discovery of oil in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. Businessmen turned up to restart their careers after bankruptcy or fraud allegations from the financial crisis. An ex-con found his niche as a YouTube celebrity exposing the underside of oilfield life. A high-rolling Englishman blew investors' money on $400 shots of cognac as authorities started to catch on that his housing developments were part of a worldwide Ponzi scheme.Part Barbara Ehrenreich, part Upton Sinclair, this is an on-the-ground narrative of capitalism and industrialization as a rural, insular community transformed into a colony of outsiders hustling for profit-a sobering exploration of twenty-first century America that reads like a frontier novel.

Running Press Adult

Tin Can Homestead

Natasha Lawyer, Brett Bashaw
Authors:
Natasha Lawyer, Brett Bashaw

DIY enthusiasts, tiny house-lovers, and van-lifers will find inspiration and step-by-step instructions in Tin Can Homestead, the ultimate resource for living small in your own Airstream paradise.The Airstream trailer is the ultimate symbol of vintage wanderlust-and the classic touring vehicle's resurgent popularity has dovetailed with the tiny house movement, resonating with design-minded individuals looking to live small. Tin Can Homestead, based on the popular Instagram of the same name, is the ultimate resource for these would-be DIY-ers, and the perfect coffee-table addition for anyone looking for streamlined, modern lifestyle inspiration.Part practical how-to, part lushly illustrated design inspiration, Tin Can Homestead follows the story of one couple as they build themselves a new life in an old Airstream. Through personal stories and down-and-dirty checklists, this book guides readers through all stages of creating their own Airstream homes-from buying a trailer to plumbing and electrical work. With a hip, bohemian aesthetic and a fresh authorial voice, the authors pair their DIY knowledge with lifestyle advice-including décor, design, and entertaining-and abundant illustrations, from in-process photographs to hand-drawn illustrations.

Virago

The Return Of The Soldier

Rebecca West
Authors:
Rebecca West

'Spellbinding . . . Probably her best fiction' - Sunday TimesThe soldier returns from the front to the three women who love him. His wife, Kitty, with her cold, moonlight beauty, and his devoted cousin Jenny wait in their exquisite home on the crest of the Harrow-weald. Margaret Allington, his first and long-forgotten love, is nearby in the dreary suburb of Wealdstone. But the soldier is shell-shocked and can only remember the Margaret he loved fifteen years before, when he was a young man and she an inn-keeper's daughter. His cousin he remembers only as a childhood playmate; his wife he remembers not at all. The women have a choice - to leave him where he wishes to be, or to 'cure' him. It is Margaret who reveals a love so great that she can make the final sacrifice.Books included in the VMC 40th anniversary series include: Frost in May by Antonia White; The Collected Stories of Grace Paley; Fire from Heaven by Mary Renault; The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter; The Weather in the Streets by Rosamond Lehmann; Deep Water by Patricia Highsmith; The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West; Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston; Heartburn by Nora Ephron; The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy; Memento Mori by Muriel Spark; A View of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor; and Faces in the Water by Janet Frame

Corsair

Felicity

Mary Oliver
Authors:
Mary Oliver
Corsair

A Thousand Mornings

Mary Oliver
Authors:
Mary Oliver

I go down to the shore in the morningand depending on the hour the wavesare rolling in or moving out, and I say, oh, I am miserable,what shall-what should I do? And the sea saysin its lovely voice:Excuse me, I have work to do.Whether studying the leaves of a tree or mourning her treasured dog Percy, Mary Oliver is beautifully open to the teachings contained within the smallest of moments. In A Thousand Mornings she explores, with startling clarity, humour and kindness, the mysteries of our daily experience.

Little, Brown

Force of Nature

Jane Harper
Authors:
Jane Harper
Corsair

Future Home of the Living God

Louise Erdrich
Authors:
Louise Erdrich

'Erdrich is one of the greatest living American writers' GuardianLouise Erdrich, the New York Times bestselling, National Book Award-winning author of LaRose and The Round House, paints a startling portrait of a young woman fighting for her life and her unborn child against oppressive forces that manifest in the wake of a cataclysmic event.The world as we know it is ending. Evolution has reversed itself, affecting every living creature on earth. Science cannot stop the world from running backwards, as woman after woman gives birth to infants that appear to be primitive species of humans. Thirty-two-year-old Cedar Hawk Songmaker, adopted daughter of a pair of big-hearted, open-minded Minneapolis liberals, is as disturbed and uncertain as the rest of America around her. But for Cedar, this change is profound and deeply personal. She is four months pregnant.Though she wants to tell the adoptive parents who raised her from infancy, Cedar first feels compelled to find her birth mother, Mary Potts, an Ojibwe living on the reservation, to understand both her and her baby's origins. As Cedar goes back to her own biological beginnings, society around her begins to disintegrate, fueled by a swelling panic about the end of humanity.There are rumors of martial law, of Congress confining pregnant women. Of a registry, and rewards for those who turn these wanted women in. Flickering through the chaos are signs of increasing repression: a shaken Cedar witnesses a family wrenched apart when police violently drag a mother from her husband and child in a parking lot. The streets of her neighborhood have been renamed with Bible verses. A stranger answers the phone when she calls her adoptive parents, who have vanished without a trace. It will take all Cedar has to avoid the prying eyes of potential informants and keep her baby safe.A chilling dystopian novel both provocative and prescient, Future Home of the Living God is a startlingly original work from one of our most acclaimed writers: a moving meditation on female agency, self-determination, biology, and natural rights that speaks to the troubling changes of our time.'Her talent for description second to none' Observer'Erdrich is the poet laureate of the contemporary Native American experience' Mail on Sunday'Perhaps the most important of Erdrich's achievements is her mastery of complex forms . . . Woven into the specificity of these narratives is Erdrich's determination to speak of the most pressing human questions' New York Times

Constable

Cut It Out

Bryan 'The Brush' Burnsides
Authors:
Bryan 'The Brush' Burnsides

What do all despots and dictators across the ages have in common? Homicidal tendencies? Ruthless megalomania? A desire to enslave millions? Of course! They're not working for Médecins Sans Frontières? . . . but that isn't the whole story. It's all been foretold in the hair, baby.Combing through history, every badass from Genghis Khan to Donald Trump has clambered up the pole to ultimate power on the back of some of the most radical hairdos the world has seen. It's a proven scientific fact that the badder the dude, the bigger the rug statement and in Cut It Out we feature looks that will blow your stack and have you sprinting to the nearest salon to rock your locks.Award-winning stylist Bryan 'The Brush' Burnsides brings decades of prime salon experience to his definitive study of nifty trims for nasty guys.In Cut It Out Burnsides reveals just how the original 'dos were done and shares the intimate trade secrets of today's underground stylists, hell-bent on creating total retro-hair war. Dust off that Mao suit, slip on that armband and get ready for Big Bad Hair!Cut It Out is a spoof guide to the hairstyles of despots and dictators over the centuries that have determined how we view such despicable individuals. Utilising the language of the salon and contemporary hair and beauty trade publications, the book critically examines the hairstyles that are the ultimate definition of 'bad' (and badder) and offers a 'how-to' guide for those brave enough to copy the 'dos of the dastardly, the demonic and downright devious. From Genghis Khan to Grigori Rasputin via Donald Trump and Putin (taking in a few Nazis en route) Cut It Out is both a valuable historic document and outré-cool style guide to the world's most counter-intuitive crops.

Virago

Outsiders

Lyndall Gordon
Authors:
Lyndall Gordon
Nation Books

Necessary Trouble

Sarah Jaffe
Authors:
Sarah Jaffe

Necessary Trouble is the definitive book on the movements that are poised to permanently remake American politics. We are witnessing a moment of unprecedented political turmoil and social activism. Over the last few years, we've seen the growth of the Tea Party, a twenty-first-century black freedom struggle with BlackLivesMatter, Occupy Wall Street, and the grassroots networks supporting presidential candidates in defiance of the traditional party elites.Sarah Jaffe leads readers into the heart of these movements, explaining what has made ordinary Americans become activists. As Jaffe argues, the financial crisis in 2008 was the spark, the moment that crystallized that something was wrong. For years, Jaffe crisscrossed the country, asking people what they were angry about, and what they were doing to take power back. She attended a people's assembly in a church gymnasium in Ferguson, Missouri; walked a picket line at an Atlanta Burger King; rode a bus from New York to Ohio with student organizers; and went door-to-door in Queens days after Hurricane Sandy.From the successful fight for a $15 minimum wage in Seattle and New York to the halting of Shell's Arctic drilling program, Americans are discovering the effectiveness of making good, necessary trouble. Regardless of political alignment, they are boldly challenging who wields power in this country.

Fleet

The Burning Girl

Claire Messud
Authors:
Claire Messud

A bracing and hypnotic portrait of the complexities of female friendship from the New York Times bestselling author of The Woman Upstairs.Julia Robinson and Cassie Burnes have been friends since nursery school. They have shared everything, including their desire to escape the stifling limitations of their birthplace, the quiet town of Royston, Massachusetts. But as the two girls enter adolescence, their paths diverge: while Julia comes from a stable, happy, middle-class family, Cassie never knew her father, who died when she was an infant, and has an increasingly tempestuous relationship with her single mother, Bev. When Bev becomes involved with the mysterious Anders Shute, Cassie feels cruelly abandoned. Disturbed, angry and desperate for answers, she sets out on a journey that will put her own life in danger, and shatter her oldest friendship. Compact, compelling, and ferociously sad, The Burning Girl is at once a story about childhood, friendship and community, and a complex examination of the stories we tell ourselves about childhood and friendship. Claire Messud brilliantly mixes folklore and Bildungsroman, exploring the ways in which our made-up stories, and their consequences, become real.

Robinson

Ten Things Video Games Can Teach Us

Jordan Erica Webber, Daniel Griliopoulos
Authors:
Jordan Erica Webber, Daniel Griliopoulos

WOULD YOU KILL ONE PERSON TO SAVE FIVE OTHERS?If you could upload all of your memories into a machine, would that machine be you? Is it possible we're all already artificial intelligences, living inside a simulation?These sound like questions from a philosophy class, but in fact they're from modern, popular video games. Philosophical discussion often uses thought experiments to consider ideas that we can't test in real life, and media like books, films, and games can make these thought experiments far more accessible to a non-academic audience. Thanks to their interactive nature, video games can be especially effective ways to explore these ideas.Each chapter of this book introduces a philosophical topic through discussion of relevant video games, with interviews with game creators and expert philosophers. In ten chapters, this book demonstrates how video games can help us to consider the following questions:1. Why do video games make for good thought experiments? (From the ethical dilemmas of the Mass Effect series to 'philosophy games'.)2. What can we actually know? (From why Phoenix Wright is right for the wrong reasons to whether No Man's Sky is a lie.)3. Is virtual reality a kind of reality? (On whether VR headsets like the Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR, and HTC Vive deal in mass-market hallucination.)4. What constitutes a mind? (From the souls of Beyond: Two Souls to the synths of Fallout 4.)5. What can you lose before you're no longer yourself? (Identity crises in the likes of The Swapper and BioShock Infinite.)6. Does it mean anything to say we have choice? (Determinism and free will in Bioshock, Portal 2 and Deus Ex.)7. What does it mean to be a good or dutiful person? (Virtue ethics in the Ultima series and duty ethics in Planescape: Torment.)8. Is there anything better in life than to be happy? (Utilitarianism in Bioshock 2 and Harvest Moon.)10. How should we be governed, for whom and by who? (Government and rights in Eve Online, Crusader Kings, Democracy 3 and Fable 3.)11. Is it ever right to take another life? And how do we cope with our own death? (The Harm Thesis and the good death in To The Moon and Lost Odyssey.)

Little, Brown

The Stars are Fire

Anita Shreve
Authors:
Anita Shreve

The brilliantly gripping new novel from the New York Times best-selling author of The Pilot's Wife (an Oprah's Book Club selection).Hot breath on Grace's face. Claire is screaming, and Grace is on her feet. As she lifts her daughter, a wall of fire fills the window. Perhaps a quarter of a mile back, if even that. Where's Gene? Didn't he come home? 1947. Fires are racing along the coast of Maine after a summer-long drought, ravaging thousands of acres, causing unprecedented confusion and fear. Five months pregnant, Grace Holland is left alone to protect her two toddlers when her difficult and unpredictable husband Gene joins the volunteers fighting to bring the fire under control. Along with her best friend, Rosie, and Rosie's two young children, the women watch in horror as their houses go up in flames, then walk into the ocean as a last resort. They spend the night frantically trying to save their children. When dawn comes, they have miraculously survived, but their lives are forever changed: homeless, penniless, and left to face an uncertain future.As Grace awaits news of her husband's fate, she is thrust into a new world in which she must make a life on her own, beginning with absolutely nothing; she must find work, a home, a way to provide for her children. In the midst of devastating loss, Grace discovers glorious new freedoms - joys and triumphs she could never have expected her narrow life with Gene could contain - and her spirit soars. And then the unthinkable happens, and Grace's bravery is tested as never before.

Fleet

The Rules Do Not Apply

Ariel Levy
Authors:
Ariel Levy

A Time Top 10 Non-Fiction Book of 2017A Vogue Top 10 Book of 2017An Amazon.com Book of 2017 and an NPR Great Read of 2017'Every deep feeling a human is capable of will be shaken loose by this short, but profound book' David Sedaris'I wanted what we all want: everything. We want a mate who feels like family and a lover who is exotic, surprising. We want to be youthful adventurers and middle-aged mothers. We want intimacy and autonomy, safety and stimulation, reassurance and novelty, coziness and thrills. But we can't have it all.'Ariel Levy picks you up and hurls you through the story of how she lived believing that conventional rules no longer applied - that marriage doesn't have to mean monogamy, that aging doesn't have to mean infertility, that she could be 'the kind of woman who is free to do whatever she chooses'. But all of her assumptions about what she can control are undone after a string of overwhelming losses.'I thought I had harnessed the power of my own strength and greed and love in a life that could contain it. But it has exploded.'Levy's own story of resilience becomes an unforgettable portrait of the shifting forces in our culture, of what has changed - and what never can.