Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of "outliers"—the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different? His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing. Along the way he explains the secrets of software billionaires, what it takes to be a great soccer player, why Asians are good at math, and what made the Beatles the greatest rock band. Read more about Outliers
As the novel begins, Harry, Ron and Hermione are on the run from Lord Voldemort, whose minions of Death Eaters have not only taken control of the Minister of Magic but have begun to systematically -- and forcibly -- change the entire culture of the magic community: Muggle-born wizards, for example, are being rounded up and questioned, and all "blood traitors" are being imprisoned. But as Voldemort and his followers ruthlessly pursue the fugitive with the lightning bolt scar on his forehead, Potter finally uncovers the jaw-dropping truth of his existence....
Undoubtedly Rowling's crowning literary achievement, this triumphant final installment not only answers any and all questions surrounding integral characters like Albus Dumbledore, Voldemort, Severus Snape, Neville Longbottom, and Draco Malfoy but also brilliantly deals with some decidedly adult themes -- mortality, faith, duty, honor, etc. -- with a lyrical simplicity that will touch the hearts of readers of all ages. ("Do not pity the dead...pity the living, and, above all, those who live without love.") Rowling definitely saved the best for last in this saga; HP7 will exceed the expectations of even the most demanding Harry Potter fan -- a towering, transcendent end to an equally towering and transcendent series. Read more about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
It's 1988 and Dexter Mayhew and Emma Morley have only just met. They both know that the next day, after college graduation, they must go their separate ways. But after only one day together, they cannot stop thinking about one another. As the years go by, Dex and Em begin to lead separate lives-lives very different from the people they once dreamed they'd become. And yet, unable to let go of that special something that grabbed onto them that first night, an extraordinary relationship develops between the two.
Over twenty years, snapshots of that relationship are revealed on the same day-July 15th-of each year. Dex and Em face squabbles and fights, hopes and missed opportunities, laughter and tears. And as the true meaning of this one crucial day is revealed, they must come to grips with the nature of love and life itself. Read more about Quarter Life Crisis: One Day
Everyone says they would like to retire early, but Rodney Rothman actually did it — forty years early. Burnt out, he decides at the age of twenty-eight to get an early start on his golden years. He travels to Boca Raton, Florida, where he moves in with an elderly piano teacher at Century Village, a retirement community that is home to thousands of senior citizens.
Early Bird is an irreverent, hilarious, and ultimately warmhearted account of Rodney's journey deep into the heart of retirement. Rodney struggles for acceptance from the senior citizens he shares a swimming pool with and battles with cranky octogenarians who want him off their turf. Before long he observes, "I don't think Tuesdays with Morrie would have been quite so uplifting if that guy had to spend more than one day a week with Morrie." Read more about Early Bird: A Memoir of Premature Retirement
The hero-narrator of The Catcher in the Rye is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caulfield. Through circumstances that tend to preclude adult, secondhand description, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days. The boy himself is at once too simple and too complex for us to make any final comment about him or his story.
Perhaps the safest thing we can say about Holden is that he was born in the world not just strongly attracted to beauty but, almost, hopelessly impaled on it. There are many voices in this novel: children's voices, adult voices, underground voices-but Holden's voice is the most eloquent of all. Transcending his own vernacular, yet remaining marvelously faithful to it, he issues a perfectly articulated cry of mixed pain and pleasure. However, like most lovers and clowns and poets of the higher orders, he keeps most of the pain to, and for, himself. The pleasure he gives away, or sets aside, with all his heart. It is there for the reader who can handle it to keep. Read more about Catcher in the Rye
In 1955, Look magazine called Phenix City, Alabama, “The Wickedest City in America,” but even that may have been an understatement. It was a stew of organized crime and corruption, run by a machine that dealt with complaints forcefully and with dispatch. No one dared cross them - no one even tried. And then the machine killed the wrong man.
When crime-fighting attorney Albert Patterson is gunned down in a Phenix City alley in the spring of 1954, the entire town seems to pause for just a moment - and when it starts up again, there is something different about it. A small group of men meet and decide they have had enough, but what that means and where it will take them is something they could not have foreseen. Over the course of the next several months, lives will change, people die, and unexpected heroes emerge - like “a Randolph Scott western,” one of them remarks, “played out not with horses and Winchesters, but with Chevys and .38s and switchblades.” Read more about Quarter-Life Crisis: Wicked City
The story of the young sociologist who studied a Chicago crack-dealing gang from the inside captured the world's attention when it was first described in Freakonomics. Gang Leader for a Day is the fascinating full story of how Sudhir Venkatesh managed to gain entrée into the gang, what he learned, and how his method revolutionized the academic establishment.
"She wondered if all men could sleep this soundly under duress But she did not know any other men, had not seen the way they slept, and she wondered how it would feel to have someone else sleep beside her."
With the gentle, unerring confidence and wisdom of a much older writer, Morgan gives us the ageless story of Aloma, a Kentucky orphan who never knew her parents or lived in a house, whose only moments of joy are found playing the piano. Aloma lives a solitary life teaching music in a rural school, dreaming a faraway future as a professional musician, when she meets a reticent farm boy named Orren, and feels an undeniable physical pull.
Their nights of recklessness and freedom are cut short when Orren's family perishes in a car accident, leaving Orren to tend the family tobacco farm. Aloma doesn't hesitate when he asks her to come live with him, but her doubts rage when she sees her new home. It is tragically run-down, and Aloma sees the future ahead of her: endless days of cooking, cleaning, and farm work. And how can she console the silent, grieving man with whom she now finds herself? Her only solace is playing piano for a church where a preacher's kind attention lifts her from her isolation, and ultimately helps her decide whether to submit to the life she's been granted, or leave the farm to seek another. Read more about Literary Giants: All the Living
Will Freeman may have discovered the key to dating success: If the simple fact that they were single mothers meant that gorgeous women--women who would not ordinarily look twice at Will--might not only be willing, but enthusiastic about dating him, then he was really onto something. Single mothers--bright, attractive, available women--thousands of them, were all over London. He just had to find them.
SPAT: Single Parents--Alone Together. It was a brilliant plan. And Will wasn't going to let the fact that he didn't have a child himself hold him back. A fictional two-year-old named Ned wouldn't be the first thing he'd invented. And it seems to go quite well at first, until he meets an actual twelve-year-old named Marcus, who is more that Will bargained for... Read more about Quarter-Life Crisis: About a Boy
Featuring soap made from human fat, waiters at high-class restaurants who do unmentionable things to soup and an underground organization dedicated to inflicting a violent anarchy upon the land, Palahniuk's apocalyptic first novel is clearly not for the faint of heart. The unnamed (and extremely unreliable) narrator, who makes his living investigating accidents for a car company in order to assess their liability, is combating insomnia and a general sense of anomie by attending a steady series of support-group meetings for the grievously ill, at one of which (testicular cancer) he meets a young woman named Marla. She and the narrator get into a love triangle of sorts with Tyler Durden, a mysterious and gleefully destructive young man with whom the narrator starts a fight club, a secret society that offers young professionals the chance to beat one another to a bloody pulp. Mayhem ensues, beginning with the narrator's condo exploding and culminating with a terrorist attack on the world's tallest building. Writing in an ironic deadpan and including something to offend everyone, Palahniuk is a risky writer who takes chances galore, especially with a particularly bizarre plot twist he throws in late in the book. Caustic, outrageous, bleakly funny, violent and always unsettling, Palahniuk's utterly original creation will make even the most jaded reader sit up and take notice. Read more about Quarter-Life Crisis: Fight Club