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Jonathan Lethem's Bookcase

Jonathan Allen Lethem (born February 19, 1964) is an American novelist, essayist and short story writer. His first novel, Gun, with Occasional Music, a genre work that mixed elements of science fiction and detective fiction, was published in 1994. It was followed by three more science fiction novels.

Photo by: David Shankbone

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“The opening chapter defies description. Imagine one of those 1930s screwball comedies with the crazy situations, but substitute malevolence for humor.”—Karl Edward Wagner

“Doctor, I’m losing my mind.” So begins John Franklin Bardin’s unconventional crime thriller in which a psychiatrist attempts to help his patient lead to a dead-end world of amnesia and social outcasts. The Deadly Percheron is a murder mystery, poignant love story, and an unsettling and hallucinatory voyage into memory, madness, and despair.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

Have you ever loved a magical book above all others? Have you ever wished the magic were real? Welcome to The Land of Laughs. A novel about how terrifying that would be.

Schoolteacher Thomas Abbey, unsure son of a film star, doesn't know who he is or what he wants--in life, in love, or in his relationship with the strange and intense Saxony Gardner. What he knows is that in his whole life nothing has touched him so deeply as the novels of Marshall France, a reclusive author of fabulous children's tales who died at forty-four.

Now Thomas and Saxony have come to France's hometown, the dreamy Midwestern town of Galen, Missouri, to write France's biography. Warned in advance that France's family may oppose them, they're surprised to find France's daughter warmly welcoming instead. But slowly they begin to see that something fantastic and horrible is happening. The magic of Marshall France has extended far beyond the printed page...leaving them with a terrifying task to undertake.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

CRAZY IN BERLIN is the first novel in the saga of Carlo Reinhart. American literature has produced a number of flawed heroes, but none more memorable than Carlo. Reinhart is a young army medic, stationed in Germany during the early days of the Allied occupation. Large, generous, kind-hearted, he caretakes a shattered civilization. Wartime stereotypes dissolve in the wash of individuals. All this blood, toil and treasure...for what? Reinhart, who deals daily with psychos, drives himself to the brink with his own questions. "With this novel, Berger gains a solid place in contemporary fiction." (Saturday Review)

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From the prodigiously talented A. L. Kennedy comes a flamboyantly stylish and fiercely emotional novel about fathers and daughters, creation and self-destruction, and love’s paradoxical power to heal its most devastated victims. One such victim is Nathan Staples, a writer whose hilarious contempt for humanity is surpassed only by his corrosive self-loathing. Along with five equally dysfunctional colleagues Nathan lives on an island retreat off the coast of Wales, where he yearns for the daughter he lost years before. Now, in defiance of all his hopes, Mary Lamb–herself an aspiring writer–is about to join him as the seventh member of the colony.

As Nathan tortuously wins the trust of the child who has no inkling of their true relationship, Mary comes to a gradual understanding of her gift. In Everything You Need, A. L. Kennedy combines the mythic resonance of Arthurian legend with a sensibility as lyrical as it is profane.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

One of the best-known experimental novels of the 1960s, Beautiful Losers is Cohen’ s most defiant and uninhibited work. The novel centres upon the hapless members of a love triangle united by their sexual obsessions and by their fascination with Catherine Tekakwitha, the 17th-century Mohawk saint.

By turns vulgar, rhapsodic, and viciously witty, Beautiful Losers explores each character’s attainment of a state of self-abandonment, in which the sensualist cannot be distinguished from the saint.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

"A rare and wondrous thing....[Fox] knows how to create a character."―Vogue

Luisa de la Cueva was born on the Caribbean island of Malagita, of a plantation owner's son and a native woman, a servant in the kitchen. Her years on Malagita were sweet with the beauty of bamboo, banana, and mango trees with flocks of silver-feathered guinea hens underneath, the magic of a victrola, and the caramel flan that Mama sneaked home from the plantation kitchen. Luisa's father, fearing revolution, takes his family to New York. In the barrio his once-powerful name means nothing, and the family establishes itself in a basement tenement. For Luisa, Malagita becomes a dream. Luisa does not dream of going to college, as her friend Ellen does, or of winning the lottery, as her father does. She takes a job as a servant and, paradoxically, grows more independent. She marries and later raises a son alone. She works as a servant all her life. A Servant's Tale is the story of a life that is simple on the surface but full of depth and richness as we come to know it, a story told with consummate grace and compassion by Paula Fox.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

Italo Calvino imagines a novel capable of endless mutations in this intricately crafted story about writing and readers.

If on a Winter's Night a Traveler turns out to be not one novel but ten, each with a different plot, style, ambience, and author, and each interrupted at a moment of suspense. Together they form a labyrinth of literatures, known and unknown, alive and extinct, through which two readers, a male and a female, pursue both the story lines that intrigue them and one another.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

James Thurber was one of the finest humorists of the twentieth century (and a crack cartoonist to boot). A bestseller upon its initial publication in 1999, The Thurber Carnival captures the depth of his talent and the breadth of his wit. The stories compiled here, almost all of which first appeared in The New Yorker, are from his uproarious and candid collection My World and Welcome to It—including the American classic "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty"—as well as from The Owl in the Attic, The Seal in the Bathroom, and Men, Women and Dogs.

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Por primera vez se edita -Rayuela- como un clasico de la novela contemporanea. Todo el conjunto de materiales que aporta esta edicion (introduccion, abundantes notas, plano, fotografias) serviran al lector para comprender mejor y disfrutar mas con esta gran novela. Al aclararse tantas alusiones y tecnicas narrativas, resplandece con mas claridad el sentido profundo del relato: la busqueda constante, el humor, el juego, la nostalgia de una verdadera vida, el paso sonado -de la tierra al cielo-…

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An indefatigable, irresistible, and wildly inappropriate Jewish mother takes her 17-year-old son to school in this uproarious coming-of-age comedy

Tall and scattered-looking, Joseph has just graduated from high school and is ready for college. But is college ready for him? Apparently not, judging by the rejection letter he receives from Bates and the deafening silence that greets his application to Columbia.

While his friends pack their bags for schools across the country, Joseph mopes around the apartment in his bathrobe and checks the mailbox obsessively. It’s enough to make his mother fear for the boy’s sanity—so she resolves to take matters into her own hands. What follows is a sidesplitting series of misadventures as Meg, whom the New York Times Book Review called “the most unforgettable mother since Medea,” pulls out all the stops to get her boy what he wants.

This ebook features an illustrated biography of Bruce Jay Friedman including rare photos from the author’s personal collection.

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In Sleepless Nights a woman looks back on her life—the parade of people, the shifting background of place—and assembles a scrapbook of memories, reflections, portraits, letters, wishes, and dreams. An inspired fusion of fact and invention, this beautifully realized, hard-bitten, lyrical book is not only Elizabeth Hardwick's finest fiction but one of the outstanding contributions to American literature of the last fifty years.

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Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

Authored

From America's most inventive novelist, Jonathan Lethem, comes this compelling and compulsive riff on the classic detective novel.

Lionel Essrog is Brooklyn's very own self-appointed Human Freakshow, an orphan whose Tourettic impulses drive him to bark, count, and rip apart our language in startling and original ways.  Together with three veterans of the St. Vincent's Home for Boys, he works for small-time mobster Frank Minna's limo service cum detective agency. Life without Frank Minna, the charismatic King of Brooklyn, would be unimaginable, so who cares if the tasks he sets them are, well, not exactly legal. But when Frank is fatally stabbed, one of Lionel's colleagues lands in jail, the other two vie for his position, and the victim's widow skips town. Lionel's world is suddenly topsy-turvy, and this outcast who has trouble even conversing attempts to untangle the threads of the case while trying to keep the words straight in his head.  Motherless Brooklyn is a brilliantly original homage to the classic detective novel by one of the most acclaimed writers of his generation.

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Found via: Favobooks

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Nonfictions, Etc.

National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist A New York Times Notable Book A Best Book of the Year —Austin American-Statesman Includes a new, previously uncollected piece: "My Internet"

In The Ecstasy of Influence, the incomparable Jonathan Lethem has compiled a career-spanning collection of occasional pieces—essays, memoir, liner notes, fiction, and criticism—which also doubles as a novelist’s manifesto, self-portrait, and confession. The result is an insightful, charming, and entertaining grab bag that covers everything from great novels to old films to graffiti to cyberculture.

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Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

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