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Audiobook

The Night Watchman

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List price: $29.99

Based on the extraordinary life of National Book Award-winning author Louise Erdrich’s grandfather who worked as a night watchman and carried the fight against Native dispossession from rural North Dakota all the way to Washington, D.C., this powerful novel explores themes of love and death with lightness and gravity and unfolds with the elegant prose, sly humor, and depth of feeling of a master craftsman.

Thomas Wazhushk is the night watchman at the jewel bearing plant, the first factory located near the Turtle Mountain Reservation in rural North Dakota. He is also a Chippewa Council member who is trying to understand the consequences of a new “emancipation” bill on its way to the floor of the United States Congress. It is 1953 and he and the other council members know the bill isn’t about freedom; Congress is fed up with Indians. The bill is a “termination” that threatens the rights of Native Americans to their land and their very identity. How can the government abandon treaties made in good faith with Native Americans “for as long as the grasses shall grow, and the rivers run”?

Since graduating high school, Pixie Paranteau has insisted that everyone call her Patrice. Unlike most of the girls on the reservation, Patrice, the class valedictorian, has no desire to wear herself down with a husband and kids. She makes jewel bearings at the plant, a job that barely pays her enough to support her mother and brother. Patrice’s shameful alcoholic father returns home sporadically to terrorize his wife and children and bully her for money. But Patrice needs every penny to follow her beloved older sister, Vera, who moved to the big city of Minneapolis. Vera may have disappeared; she hasn’t been in touch in months, and is rumored to have had a baby. Determined to find Vera and her child, Patrice makes a fateful trip to Minnesota that introduces her to unexpected forms of exploitation and violence, and endangers her life.

Thomas and Patrice live in this impoverished reservation community along with young Chippewa boxer Wood Mountain and his mother Juggie Blue, her niece and Patrice’s best friend Valentine, and Stack Barnes, the white high school math teacher and boxing coach who is hopelessly in love with Patrice.

In the Night Watchman, Louise Erdrich creates a fictional world populated with memorable characters who are forced to grapple with the worst and best impulses of human nature. Illuminating the loves and lives, the desires and ambitions of these characters with compassion, wit, and intelligence, The Night Watchman is a majestic work of fiction from this revered cultural treasure.

ISBN: 9780062983893
Published: March 3, 2020
By: Louise Erdrich
Read by: Louise Erdrich

©2020 Louise Erdrich (P)2020 HarperAudio

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Audiobook

The Hardest Job in the World: The American Presidency

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the veteran political journalist and 60 Minutes correspondent, a deep dive into the history, evolution, and current state of the American presidency—and how we can make the job less impossible and more productive.

“This is a great gift to our sense of the actual presidency, a primer on leadership.”—Ken Burns


Imagine you have just been elected president. You are now commander-in-chief, chief executive, chief diplomat, chief legislator, chief of party, chief voice of the people, first responder, chief priest, and world leader. You’re expected to fulfill your campaign promises, but you’re also expected to solve the urgent crises of the day. What’s on your to-do list? Where would you even start? What shocks aren’t you thinking about?

The American presidency is in trouble. It has become overburdened, misunderstood, almost impossible to do. “The problems in the job unfolded before Donald Trump was elected, and the challenges of governing today will confront his successors,” writes John Dickerson. After all, the founders never intended for our system of checks and balances to have one superior Chief Magistrate, with Congress demoted to “the little brother who can’t keep up.”

In this eye-opening book, John Dickerson writes about presidents in history such a Washington, Lincoln, FDR, and Eisenhower, and and in contemporary times, from LBJ and Reagan and Bush, Obama, and Trump, to show how a complex job has been done, and why we need to reevaluate how we view the presidency, how we choose our presidents, and what we expect from them once they are in office. Think of the presidential campaign as a job interview. Are we asking the right questions? Are we looking for good campaigners, or good presidents? Once a candidate gets the job, what can they do to thrive? Drawing on research and interviews with current and former White House staffers, Dickerson defines what the job of president actually entails, identifies the things that only the president can do, and analyzes how presidents in history have managed the burden. What qualities make for a good president? Who did it well? Why did Bill Clinton call the White House “the crown jewel in the American penal system”? The presidency is a job of surprises with high stakes, requiring vision, management skill, and an even temperament. Ultimately, in order to evaluate candidates properly for the job, we need to adjust our expectations, and be more realistic about the goals, the requirements, and the limitations of the office.

As Dickerson writes, “Americans need their president to succeed, but the presidency is set up for failure. It doesn’t have to be.”

PRAISE

“Dickerson has a gift for effectively mixing anecdote and history, as he did so well in Whistlestop: My Favorite Stories from Presidential Campaign History, and he does it again in his rich chronicle of the American presidency. The qualities required of a good candidate differ from that of a great president, and Dickerson makes a convincing case for reforming the job, which is radically different from how it was conceived by the founders.” —The National Book Review

“You should read [The Hardest Job in the World] if you want to understand what the presidency should and should not be. Dickerson . . . brilliantly explains how the presidency grew and evolved and accumulated power, how Trump has warped it, and how it can be fixed.” —Business Insider

“Brilliantly chronicles what the American presidency has meant, what it could mean . . . With wit, sweep, and unfailing generosity, The Hardest Job in the World is a book for our times, informed and delightful and definitely not to be missed.” —Brenda Wineapple, author of The Impeachers: The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream of a Just Nation

“Superb . . . a captivating read . . . I found myself sometimes nodding in agreement so vigorously that I worried about hurting my neck. . . . A wonderful contribution to understanding what is, for sure, the hardest job in the world.”—Robert Gates, former United States Secretary of Defense

“This is a wonderful ‘inside’ look at the difficult act of being the president of the United States. It is told with grace and insight by a man who not only knows his subject—he understands it. This is a great gift to our sense of the actual presidency, a primer on leadership, and, of course, of necessity, a reflection on failure.”—Ken Burns, award-winning filmmaker

“From one of our closest students of the presidency, John Dickerson’s thoughtful, learned, original, shrewd, comprehensive, up-to-the-minute book, full of wisdom and personal observations, could not be more needed than at this moment in American history.” —Michael Beschloss, bestselling author of Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How They Changed America 1789–1989

“Evenhanded and insightful . . . Drawing on illuminating interviews with former White House officials and presidential historians, Dickerson packs the book with intriguing arcana and colorful quotes. . . . This entertaining history rises above the political fray to cast even the most maligned chief executives in a new light.”—Publishers Weekly

About the author: John Dickerson is 60 Minutes correspondent. Prior to that, he was a co-host of CBS This Morning, the anchor of Face the Nation, and CBS News’s chief Washington correspondent. Dickerson is also a contributing writer to The Atlantic, co-host of Slate‘s Political Gabfest podcast, and host of the Whistlestop podcast. Dickerson won the Ford Prize for Distinguished Reporting on the Presidency as Slate‘s chief political correspondent. Dickerson covered the White House for Time during his twelve years at the magazine. The 2020 presidential campaign is the seventh he has covered.

Narrated By: John Dickerson
ISBN: 9781984883933
Published: Random House Audio
June 16, 2020
Length: 944 Minutes

©2020 John Dickerson (P)2020 Random House Audio

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The Absolute Book: A Novel

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A bewitching epic fantasy about a revenge killing, a mysterious scroll box that has survived centuries of fires, and the book that changed everything.

“Intricately plotted and gorgeously written, The Absolute Book is a cinematic tale that is by turns dark and dreamlike, yet ultimately hopeful.” –Deborah Harkness, New York Times bestselling author of A Discovery of Witches

Taryn Cornick believes that the past–her sister’s violent death, and her own ill-conceived revenge–is behind her, and she can get on with her life. She has written a successful book about the things that threaten libraries: insects, damp, light, fire, carelessness and uncaring . . . but not all of the attention it brings her is good.

A policeman, Jacob Berger, questions her about a cold case. Then there are questions about a fire in the library at her grandparents’ house and an ancient scroll box known as the Firestarter, as well as threatening phone calls and a mysterious illness. Finally a shadowy young man named Shift appears, forcing Taryn and Jacob toward a reckoning felt in more than one world.

The Absolute Book is epic, action-packed fantasy in which hidden treasures are recovered, wicked things resurface, birds can talk, and dead sisters are a living force. It is a book of journeys and returns, from contemporary England to Auckland, New Zealand; from a magical fairyland to Purgatory. Above all, it is a declaration of love for stories and the ways in which they shape our worlds and create gods out of mortals.

ISBN: 9780593394946
Published: Feb 09, 2021
By: Elizabeth Knox
Read by: Anne-Marie Duff

©2021 Elizabeth Knox (P)2021 Penguin Audio

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The Fourth Child: A Novel

$22.99

List price: $29.99

“A beautifully observed and thrillingly honest novel about the dark corners of family life and the long, complicated search for understanding and grace.” —Jenny Offill, author of Dept. of Speculation and Weather

The Fourth Child is keen and beautiful and heartbreaking—an exploration of private guilt and unexpected obligation, of the intimate losses of power embedded in female adolescence, and of the fraught moments of glancing divinity that come with shouldering the burden of love.” —Jia Tolentino, New York Times bestselling author of Trick Mirror

“A remarkable family saga . . . The Fourth Child is a balm—a reminder that it is possible for art to provide a nuanced exploration of life itself.” —Rumaan Alam, author of Leave the World Behind and Rich and Pretty

The author of Break in Case of Emergency follows up her the “extraordinary debut” (The Guardian) with a moving novel about motherhood and marriage, adolescence and bodily autonomy, family and love, religion and sexuality, and the delicate balance between the purity of faith and the messy reality of life.

Book-smart, devoutly Catholic, and painfully unsure of herself, Jane becomes pregnant in high school; by her early twenties, she is raising three children in the suburbs of western New York State. In the fall of 1991, as her children are growing older and more independent, Jane is overcome by a spiritual and intellectual restlessness that leads her to become involved with a local pro-life group. Following the tenets of her beliefs, she also adopts a little girl from Eastern Europe. But Mirela is a difficult child. Deprived of a loving caregiver in infancy, she remains unattached to her new parents, no matter how much love Jane shows her. As Jane becomes consumed with chasing therapies that might help Mirela, her relationships with her family, especially her older daughter, Lauren, begin to fray.

Feeling estranged from her mother and unsettled in her new high school, Lauren begins to discover the power of her own burgeoning creativity and sexuality—a journey that both echoes and departs from her mother’s own adolescent experiences. But when Lauren is confronted with the limits of her youth and independence, Jane is thrown into an emotional crisis, forced to reconcile her principles and faith with her determination to keep her daughters safe. The Fourth Child is a piercing love story and a haunting portrayal of how love can shatter—or strengthen—our beliefs.

Published: March 9, 2021
By: Jessica Winter
Read by: Cassandra Campbell

©2021 Jessica Winter (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers

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Mike Nichols: A Life

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An instant New York Times Bestseller!

A magnificent biography of one of the most protean creative forces in American entertainment history, a life of dazzling highs and vertiginous plunges–some of the worst largely unknown until now–by the acclaimed author of Pictures at a Revolution and Five Came Back

Mike Nichols burst onto the scene as a wunderkind: while still in his twenties, he was half of a hit improv duo with Elaine May that was the talk of the country. Next he directed four consecutive hit plays, won back-to-back Tonys, ushered in a new era of Hollywood moviemaking with Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and followed it with The Graduate, which won him an Oscar and became the third-highest-grossing movie ever. At thirty-five, he lived in a three-story Central Park West penthouse, drove a Rolls-Royce, collected Arabian horses, and counted Jacqueline Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor, Leonard Bernstein, and Richard Avedon as friends.

Where he arrived is even more astonishing given where he had begun: born Igor Peschkowsky to a Jewish couple in Berlin in 1931, he was sent along with his younger brother to America on a ship in 1939. The young immigrant boy caught very few breaks. He was bullied and ostracized–an allergic reaction had rendered him permanently hairless–and his father died when he was just twelve, leaving his mother alone and overwhelmed.

The gulf between these two sets of facts explains a great deal about Nichols’s transformation from lonely outsider to the center of more than one cultural universe–the acute powers of observation that first made him famous; the nourishment he drew from his creative partnerships, most enduringly with May; his unquenchable drive; his hunger for security and status; and the depressions and self-medications that brought him to terrible lows. It would take decades for him to come to grips with his demons. In an incomparable portrait that follows Nichols from Berlin to New York to Chicago to Hollywood, Mark Harris explores, with brilliantly vivid detail and insight, the life, work, struggle, and passion of an artist and man in constant motion. Among the 250 people Harris interviewed: Elaine May, Meryl Streep, Stephen Sondheim, Robert Redford, Glenn Close, Tom Hanks, Candice Bergen, Emma Thompson, Annette Bening, Natalie Portman, Julia Roberts, Lorne Michaels, and Gloria Steinem.

Mark Harris gives an intimate and evenhanded accounting of success and failure alike; the portrait is not always flattering, but its ultimate impact is to present the full story of one of the most richly interesting, complicated, and consequential figures the worlds of theater and motion pictures have ever seen. It is a triumph of the biographer’s art.

ISBN: 9780593394427
Published: Feb 02, 2021
By: Mark Harris
Read by: George Newbern

©2021 Mark Harris (P)2021 Penguin Audio

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Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty

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A grand, devastating portrait of three generations of the Sackler family, famed for their philanthropy, whose fortune was built by Valium and whose reputation was destroyed by OxyContin, by the prize-winning, bestselling author of Say Nothing

The Sackler name adorns the walls of many storied institutions—Harvard, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Oxford, the Louvre. They are one of the richest families in the world, known for their lavish donations to the arts and the sciences. The source of the family fortune was vague, however, until it emerged that the Sacklers were responsible for making and marketing a blockbuster painkiller that was the catalyst for the opioid crisis.

Empire of Pain begins with the story of three doctor brothers, Raymond, Mortimer and the incalculably energetic Arthur, who weathered the poverty of the Great Depression and appalling anti-Semitism. Working at a barbaric mental institution, Arthur saw a better way and conducted groundbreaking research into drug treatments. He also had a genius for marketing, especially for pharmaceuticals, and bought a small ad firm.

Arthur devised the marketing for Valium, and built the first great Sackler fortune. He purchased a drug manufacturer, Purdue Frederick, which would be run by Raymond and Mortimer. The brothers began collecting art, and wives, and grand residences in exotic locales. Their children and grandchildren grew up in luxury.

Forty years later, Raymond’s son Richard ran the family-owned Purdue. The template Arthur Sackler created to sell Valium—co-opting doctors, influencing the FDA, downplaying the drug’s addictiveness—was employed to launch a far more potent product: OxyContin. The drug went on to generate some thirty-five billion dollars in revenue, and to launch a public health crisis in which hundreds of thousands would die.

This is the saga of three generations of a single family and the mark they would leave on the world, a tale that moves from the bustling streets of early twentieth-century Brooklyn to the seaside palaces of Greenwich, Connecticut, and Cap d’Antibes to the corridors of power in Washington, D.C. Empire of Pain chronicles the multiple investigations of the Sacklers and their company, and the scorched-earth legal tactics that the family has used to evade accountability. The history of the Sackler dynasty is rife with drama—baroque personal lives; bitter disputes over estates; fistfights in boardrooms; glittering art collections; Machiavellian courtroom maneuvers; and the calculated use of money to burnish reputations and crush the less powerful.

Empire of Pain is a masterpiece of narrative reporting and writing, exhaustively documented and ferociously compelling. It is a portrait of the excesses of America’s second Gilded Age, a study of impunity among the super elite and a relentless investigation of the naked greed and indifference to human suffering that built one of the world’s great fortunes.

ISBN: 9780593162392
By: Patrick Radden Keefe
Read by:
Published: Apr 13, 2021

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