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wendy wasserstein   A Pulitzer and Tony award-winner, Wendy Wasserstein is best known for her plays, but in her new book Shiksa Goddess , Wasserstein offers up essays ranging from topics like politics, to dieting, to theater, to men. Each essay is a masterpiece in its own right. A life-long New Yorker, Wendy Wasserstein could not have contributed this book at a better time.
 
william storandt   William Storandt's The Summer They Came redefines the term "beach read." While its unintimidating length and frequent innuendos do make it an ideal read for lazing about, this book is hardly typical. Part high camp, part gay Bildungsroman, and part loose allegory, Storandt's novel is the story of the challenges facing a sleepy New England beach town when it becomes the next hot gay resort, a la Fire Island or Provincetown. As the character of the town changes that summer - businesses spruce up for their new clientele, out-of-towners go on a real estate binge, gay locals feel more comfortable coming out, nightclubs open - locals come to terms with what many of them consider a mixed blessing. While Storandt handles the delicate issues at hand here with sensitivity, he also adds a good dose of humor, as you'll see in this excerpt from the first chapter.
 
james gavin   It's a long, sordid tale. Chet Baker became one of the preeminent trumpeters in the fifties, the epitomy of West Coast "Cool" jazz. With his smooth playing style, trouble with the law and movie star looks, his story is the stuff of legend. Early success brought international fame and a seemingly never-ending parade of beautiful women through his life. Troubled by drug abuse throughout his career, Baker's life finally came to a mysterious end in1988 when his body was found beneath an Amsterdam window and speculation ensued that he was murdered. Author James Gavin narrates a spectacular (yet harrowing) story of an immensely gifted musician who looked like an angel but had a rapacious appetite for heroin, and whose ability to enthrall endures to this day.
 
helen simpson   With wit, candor, and shrewd observation, Helen Simpson delivers Getting a Life, her latest collection of short stories. Simpson's protagonists are modern-day women struggling to balance careers, kids, husbands, husbands' lascivious associates, and more, while navigating their own roles in life. The humor is biting, the scenarios blindingly true-to-life, and the characters are as complex and compelling as any in recent literature. Read the short story "Opera" for a slice of Life.
 
w.s. merwin   W.S Merwin remains among the more enduringly successful American poets of the past half century, with nearly twenty books of poetry and as many translations to his credit. His nineteenth book of poetry, The Pupil, is a return to more eloquent lyric forms after the epic narrative of The Folding Cliffs. Having dispensed with punctuation in these poems, syntactical units ebb smoothly across octosyllabic lines. For many, octosyllabics typically provide the voicings of satiric poetry in English, and they have been used to burlesque and even giddy ends in the American postwar period, such as in Robert Creeley's dizzying poem 'I Know a Man'. Having been rescued from this less than serious disposition by profoundly serious authors such as Geoffrey Hill, Merwin continues to press the metrical form into more openly meditative and musical conclusions.
 
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