Guide Wayward: scifi stories & poems

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By Rick Moody. Recollections of 29 days the author spent in a psychiatric hospital in Queens 15 years ago, crazily apprehensive of sexual assault, woven into a tour of Maine looking in vain for plausible connections between his family and Hawthorne's black-veiled minister. By Steven Pinker. Pinker, a psychologist at M. By Joseph O'Neill. A smart, diligent inquiry into the World War II era and the possibly culpable activities of the author's grandfathers, one a Turk interned by the British in Palestine, the other an I. By Tony Horwitz.

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Horwitz cheerfully pursues James Cook's hugely successful 18th-century voyages of discovery in the Pacific and in doing so considers how becoming part of the ''known world'' changed the discoverees. By Judy Blunt. An account, delicately eloquent when it's not scary, of 12 years as a ranch wife, mother and overstressed laborer in Montana; the author, who was virtually unconsulted about her career choice up to this point, arose one day and scrammed. By Richard Rodriguez. The final volume in Rodriguez's trilogy of memoirs exploring the American predicament turns on the concept of brown ''not in the sense of pigment'' but in the sense of mixed, unclear, fluid, dissolving boundaries like race, class and country.

By Janet Browne. The second half of a portrait of Darwin and the Victorian habitat that enabled his work but paradoxically rejected its content, though honoring him as Britain's greatest scientist. By Sara Wheeler. An authoritative evocation of the English amateur explorer who was permanently bemused by his two years with Scott in the Antarctic and wrote a classic book about them, ''The Worst Journey in the World.

By Jack Miles. The author of ''God: A Biography'' continues his examination of God strictly as a literary character -- a complex, contradictory one who learns about himself from his interactions with humans; in becoming one himself, God accepts and expiates his guilt for his errors since the Creation. By Atul Gawande. Gawande, who is both a surgeon and a staff writer for The New Yorker, looks clearly and coolly at the limits and defects of medicine, which, he says, may be the most complex of human endeavors. By Michael Beschloss. Franklin Delano Roosevelt -- brilliant, charming, unpredictable and dying -- dominates this vigorously written history of the Allies' plan for rebuilding Germany after the war.

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By Anthony Bourdain. An amusing account of the author's global search for the ''perfect mix of food and context'' that takes the reader to the culinary corners of the earth: from Vietnam a live cobra heart and Japan poisonous blowfish to England roasted bone marrow and Scotland deep-fried Mars bar. By John Taylor. An anxiety-enhancing, doubt-engendering report about the murder or suicide of a prosperous social climber in Virginia and the conviction or railroading of a woman who had been his lover; by the author of ''Storming the Magic Kingdom.

By Richard Preston. Preston, whose book ''The Hot Zone'' made his name synonymous with troublesome microbes, turns his focus from the Ebola virus to another, potentially even more lethal microbial disaster -- a bioterrorist attack with the smallpox virus. By Alexandra Fuller. A memoir from the ''bad side'' of African history, presented with plenty of wit and no apologies, by a woman whose family, seeking to escape black rule, batted around several former colonies, surrounded by watchdogs, booze and tragedy.

By John Cassidy. A history of the dot-com bubble by a financial writer for The New Yorker, with insightful observations about the Federal Reserve and severe views on its chairman, Alan Greenspan. Primo Levi: A Biography. By Carole Angier. This life of the author, chemist and Auschwitz survivor sprang from two equally necessary processes of creation: inductive, which illuminates the radiant work, and deductive Levi's family declined to talk , which conjures up the intensely private man in all his resilient melancholy.

By John Gross. Ivan R. A delightful memoir of life to the age of 18 in London before, during and after World War II, and a paean to the author's family, itself major delightful; Gross, who grew up to be an eminent British man of letters, recalls never suffering on account of being Jewish. By Jonathan Kaplan. An unusual memoir by a white South African surgeon whose sense of adventure has led to work on the battlefields of Kurdistan, Eritrea, Myanmar and Mozambique -- and aboard a cruise ship.

By Tom Wicker. This volume in Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. Wicker, a former reporter and columnist at The Times, likes the man more than his policies. By Gaby Wood. Ever since Enlightenment philosophers conceived of men and animals as machines, clever people have found reasons and means to enforce the idea; this book presents notable automatons, both genuine and fake, down to Thomas Edison's time.

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By Carlo D'Este. A very thick book about an ambitious, self-confident man; it explores adeptly the events in that tested the limits of Eisenhower's abilities, which were enormous as to organization and political sensitivity but not as to strategic skills.

Edited by Steve Neal. Truman and Franklin D. Roosevelt's widow needed each other badly for their own agendas; these letters show a mutual wariness that never ceased, but growing respect and admiration as well. By Deborah Scroggins.

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Scroggins builds her suspenseful account of the continuing Sudanese civil war around the short life of Emma McCune -- a beautiful, adventurous and recklessly passionate aid worker -- and sheds light on the greater European dreams, delusions and failures in the African country. By Ben Macintyre. A remarkable excavation of an improbable incident, the concealment for a year and a half in a French village of some stranded British soldiers, one of them the father of a local woman the author met there in By David Halberstam.

A journalist's homage to firefighters, their values, their culture and their courage during the martyrdom imposed on the New York Fire Department by the catastrophe of the attack on the World Trade Center. By Warren Zimmermann. A career diplomat's brilliantly readable book on the Spanish-American War and its aftermath, and on the men who used the occasion to gain control of 10 million people of nearly all races and an island empire: Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Cabot Lodge, John Hay, Elihu Root and Alfred T.

By Nicholas Dawidoff. Dawidoff's captivating family memoir is a tribute to his twice-exiled grandfather, the Harvard economist Alexander Gerschenkron, retracing his tortuous path to Cambridge and recounting the intellectual passion that earned Gerschenkron the title ''the last man with all known knowledge.

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By Edward O. This distinguished biologist proposes that there is yet time to avoid a grand planetary environmental crash provided we get serious, acknowledge a duty of stewardship and recognize an emotional affiliation biophilia, as he calls it with other kinds of life. By Alexander Stille.

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A smart, engaging consideration of how hard and how important it is to maintain a collective memory through the preservation of monuments and artifacts, the care of libraries, the recording of cultural systems, the preservation of breathing spaces. By Jacques Steinberg. Steinberg, a national education correspondent for The Times, was able to follow the procedures at Wesleyan University for a year and see how the admissions process really looks, to the admitters as well as the applicants.

He found it strenuous for all concerned, and not getting easier. By James D. A priceless glimpse into the intellectual circle, and the campus coed distractions, that nurtured the revolutionary paradigm discovered by Watson and his collaborator Francis Crick. By Harold Bloom. Not your usual literary critic, Bloom; he arrives at his judgments through broad comparisons rather than close textual scrutiny too bad for you if you haven't read everything yet , but his enthusiasm, his gigantic assertions and his religious fervor have the power to trample unbelief to dust.

By Alex Beam. By Clive Fisher. A penetrating, absorbing biography of the American poet, a sensation in his teens, who ended his own life at 32; the author, a British critic, captures the loneliness and pathos of Crane's existence and places his poems where the life illuminates them. By James B.

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Rescorla, an old soldier, helped direct 2, people down the stairs of 2 World Trade Center to safety and was last seen on the 10th floor, climbing. By Keith Bradsher.

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The author, a former Detroit correspondent of The Times, devotes statistics, indignation and a how-things-work comprehension of the internal combustion monster to an argument that the S. By Adrian Tinniswood. A capable, workmanlike biography of the rebuilder of St. Paul's Cathedral and renewer of 56 churches destroyed in the Great Fire of London in By Penelope Lively.

An English country house, where Lively herself spent much of her adolescence, becomes a historical landscape, dramatizing the generations that owned it and illuminating, from its gong stands to its napkin rings, centuries of change and upheaval. By Jonathan Franzen.

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Thirteen smart pieces, dated from to , all recording a sensibility in endless conflict with the world around it and with itself, concerned with the contradictions and ambivalences a novelist usually embodies in imaginary people. By Christopher Woodward. A historian's learned, eclectic approach to the spooky gratification known to Henry James and Rose Macaulay that comes with contemplating the collapse of presumptuousness past, the wreck of vanished wealth, importance and influence.

The examples, all European, begin and end in Italy. By Mary Beth Norton. A historian seeks to restore the witchcraft panic to its context, much of which consisted of the terrifying Indian wars of lateth-century New England; the society that tried witches in was living on the edge of hysteria already, from natural political events we find it hard to recall. By Caroline Moorehead. A fascinating biography of a remarkable woman, an Anglo-American heiress who became the lady of a big estate in Tuscany, where she knew everybody, worked hard, taught peasants to read, helped people escape Fascism and wrote beautifully on many subjects.

By Peter Kurth. The meteoric trajectory of Isadora Duncan, the American free spirit who more or less invented modern dance; astonished audiences throughout the first quarter of the 20th century; and lost two children in a strange automobile accident, then her own life in an even stranger one. By Garry Wills. The fourth president of the United States -- who can remember him?

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By Ricky Jay. The contents of the 16 issues of Jay's handsome and handsomely researched historical quarterly of the same title about magicians and unusual performers, like the armless and legless bowler Matthew Buchinger and the multiple crucifixion victim Chami Khan. By Alfred Appel Jr. Appel pursues the formal and thematic affinities between jazz and high modernism, linking the rhythms of Armstrong to Hemingway, the phrasings of Ellington to the work of Brancusi and Man Ray. A provocative, heavily revisionist biography of America's prototype bandit; James's Civil War experiences as a death-squad guerrilla lead directly to his postwar depredations, which are seen less as proletarian anger against the rich and the banks than as efforts to defeat Reconstruction.