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The Nickel Boys is Colson Whitehead's follow-up to the Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award-winning bestseller The Underground Railroad, in which he dramatises another strand of United States history, this time through the story of two boys sentenced to a stretch in a hellish reform school in Jim-Crow-era Florida.
Tallahassee, Florida, 1960s: Brought up by his loving, strict and clear-sighted grandmother, Elwood Curtis is about to enroll at the local black college. But one innocent mistake is enough to destroy his future, and so Elwood arrives instead at the Nickel Academy, which claims to provide training for its inmates to become "honorable and honest men". In reality, the Nickel Academy is a chamber of horrors, where abuse is rife. Stunned to find himself in this vicious environment, Elwood attempts to live by Dr. Martin Luther King's assertion, "Throw us in jail and we will still love you." But his new friend Turner believes the only way to survive is to emulate the cruelty of their oppressors. The tension between Elwood's idealism and Turner's skepticism leads to a decision that will have decades-long repercussions...
Author of The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead, brilliantly dramatizes another strand of American history through the story of two boys sentenced to a hellish reform school in 1960s Florida. Praise for Pulitzer Prize-winning The Underground Railroad: 'My book of the year by some distance . . . luminous, furious, wildly inventive' Observer 'An engrossing and harrowing novel' Sunday Times 'Tells one of the most compelling stories I have ever read' Guardian Whitehead is a superb storyteller . . . [he] brilliantly intertwines his allegory with history . . . writing at the peak of his game' Telegraph ________________________________________________________________________ Elwood Curtis has taken the words of Dr Martin Luther King to heart: he is as good as anyone. Abandoned by his parents, brought up by his loving, strict and clearsighted grandmother, Elwood is about to enroll in the local black college. But given the time and the place, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy his future, and so Elwood arrives at The Nickel Academy, which claims to provide 'physical, intellectual and moral training' which will equip its inmates to become 'honorable and honest men'. In reality, the Nickel Academy is a chamber of horrors, where physical, emotional and sexual abuse is rife, where corrupt officials and tradesmen do a brisk trade in supplies intended for the school, and where any boy who resists is likely to disappear 'out back'. Stunned to find himself in this vicious environment, Elwood tries to hold on to Dr King's ringing assertion, 'Throw us in jail, and we will still love you.' But Elwood's fellow inmate and new friend Turner thinks Elwood is naive and worse; the world is crooked, and the only way to survive is to emulate the cruelty and cynicism of their oppressors. The tension between Elwood's idealism and Turner's skepticism leads to a decision which will have decades-long repercussions. Based on the history of a real reform school in Florida that operated for one hundred and eleven years and warped and destroyed the lives of thousands of children, The Nickel Boys is a devastating, driven narrative by a great American novelist whose work is essential to understanding the current reality of the United States.
As the Civil Rights movement begins to reach the black enclave of Frenchtown in segregated Tallahassee, Elwood Curtis takes the words of Dr. Martin Luther King to heart: He is "as good as anyone." Abandoned by his parents, but kept on the straight and narrow by his grandmother, Elwood is about to enroll in the local black college. But for a black boy in the Jim Crow South of the early 1960s, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy the future. Elwood is sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called the Nickel Academy, whose mission statement says it provides "physical, intellectual and moral training" so the delinquent boys in their charge can become "honorable and honest men." In reality, the Nickel Academy is a grotesque chamber of horrors where the sadistic staff beats and sexually abuses the students, corrupt officials and locals steal food and supplies, and any boy who resists is likely to disappear "out back." Stunned to find himself in such a vicious environment, Elwood tries to hold onto Dr. King's ringing assertion "Throw us in jail and we will still love you." His friend Turner thinks Elwood is worse than naive, that the world is crooked, and that the only way to survive is to scheme and avoid trouble. The tension between Elwood's ideals and Turner's skepticism leads to a decision whose repercussions will echo down the decades. Formed in the crucible of the evils Jim Crow wrought, the boys' fates will be determined by what they endured at the Nickel Academy.
Book The Underground Railroad (Television Tie-In) Description/Summary:
Colson Whitehead's Pulitzer Prize-winning, National Book Award-winning, Oprah-anointed, #1 New York Times bestselling novel that explores America's troubled racial past as only he can--soon to be an original Amazon Prime Video series directed by Barry Jenkins. Cora is a young slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. An outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is on the cusp of womanhood--where even greater pain awaits. And so when Caesar, a slave who has recently arrived from Virginia, urges her to join him on the Underground Railroad, she seizes the opportunity and escapes with him. In Whitehead's ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor: engineers and conductors operate a secret network of actual tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora embarks on a harrowing flight from one state to the next, encountering strange yet familiar iterations of her own world at each stop. As Whitehead brilliantly recreates the terrors of the antebellum era, he weaves in the saga of our nation, from the brutal abduction of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is both the gripping tale of one woman's will to escape the horrors of bondage and a powerful meditation on the history we all share. Look for Colson Whitehead's new novel, Harlem Shuffle, coming this September!
This debut novel by the two time Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Underground Railroad and The Nickel Boys wowed critics and readers everywhere and marked the debut of an important American writer. Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read It is a time of calamity in a major metropolitan city's Department of Elevator Inspectors, and Lila Mae Watson, the first black female elevator inspector in the history of the department, is at the center of it. There are two warring factions within the department: the Empiricists, who work by the book and dutifully check for striations on the winch cable and such; and the Intuitionists, who are simply able to enter the elevator cab in question, meditate, and intuit any defects. Lila Mae is an Intuitionist and, it just so happens, has the highest accuracy rate in the entire department. But when an elevator in a new city building goes into total freefall on Lila Mae's watch, chaos ensues. It's an election year in the Elevator Guild, and the good-old-boy Empiricists would love nothing more than to assign the blame to an Intuitionist. But Lila Mae is never wrong. The sudden appearance of excerpts from the lost notebooks of Intuitionism's founder, James Fulton, has also caused quite a stir. The notebooks describe Fulton's work on the "black box," a perfect elevator that could reinvent the city as radically as the first passenger elevator did when patented by Elisha Otis in the nineteenth century. When Lila Mae goes underground to investigate the crash, she becomes involved in the search for the portions of the notebooks that are still missing and uncovers a secret that will change her life forever. Look for Colson Whitehead’s new novel, Harlem Shuffle, coming this September!
Book The Nickel Boys (Winner 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction) Description/Summary:
In this Pulitzer Prize-winning, New York Times bestselling follow-up to The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead brilliantly dramatizes another strand of American history through the story of two boys unjustly sentenced to a hellish reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida. When Elwood Curtis, a black boy growing up in 1960s Tallahassee, is unfairly sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called the Nickel Academy, he finds himself trapped in a grotesque chamber of horrors. Elwood’s only salvation is his friendship with fellow “delinquent” Turner, which deepens despite Turner’s conviction that Elwood is hopelessly naive, that the world is crooked, and that the only way to survive is to scheme and avoid trouble. As life at the Academy becomes ever more perilous, the tension between Elwood’s ideals and Turner’s skepticism leads to a decision whose repercussions will echo down the decades. Based on the real story of a reform school that operated for 111 years and warped the lives of thousands of children, The Nickel Boys is a devastating, driven narrative that showcases a great American novelist writing at the height of his powers and “should further cement Whitehead as one of his generation's best" (Entertainment Weekly). Look for Colson Whitehead’s new novel, Harlem Shuffle, coming this September!
In 2011, Grantland magazine gave novelist Coloson Whitehaead $10,000 to play at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. Whitehead brilliantly details his progress, both literal and existential, through the event's antes and turns, through its gritty moments of calculation, hope, and spectacle. -- back cover.
From the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Underground Railroad and The Nickel Boys A pandemic has devastated the planet, sorting humanity into two types: the uninfected and the infected, the living and the living dead. After the worst of the plague is over, armed forces stationed in Chinatown’s Fort Wonton have successfully reclaimed the island south of Canal Street—aka Zone One. Mark Spitz is a member of one of the three-person civilian sweeper units tasked with clearing lower Manhattan of the remaining feral zombies. Zone One unfolds over three surreal days in which Spitz is occupied with the mundane mission of straggler removal, the rigors of Post-Apocalyptic Stress Disorder (PASD), and the impossible task of coming to terms with a fallen world. And then things start to go terribly wrong… At once a chilling horror story and a literary novel by a contemporary master, Zone One is a dazzling portrait of modern civilization in all its wretched, shambling glory. Look for Colson Whitehead’s new novel, Harlem Shuffle, coming this September!
From the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Underground Railroad and The Nickel Boys: a tender, hilarious, and supremely original novel about coming-of-age in the 80s. Benji Cooper is one of the few black students at an elite prep school in Manhattan. But every summer, Benji escapes to the Hamptons, to Sag Harbor, where a small community of African American professionals have built a world of their own. The summer of ’85 won’t be without its usual trials and tribulations, of course. There will be complicated new handshakes to fumble through and state-of-the-art profanity to master. Benji will be tested by contests big and small, by his misshapen haircut (which seems to have a will of its own), by the New Coke Tragedy, and by his secret Lite FM addiction. But maybe, just maybe, this summer might be one for the ages. Look for Colson Whitehead’s new novel, Harlem Shuffle, coming this September!
Book The Index of Self-Destructive Acts Description/Summary:
“A significant novel, beautifully crafted and deeply felt. Beha creates a high bonfire of our era's vanities. . . .This is a novel to savor.”- Colum McCann Through baseball, finance, media, and religion, Beha traces the passing of the torch from the old establishment to the new meritocracy, exploring how each generation’s failure helped land us where we are today. What makes a life, Sam Waxworth sometimes wondered—self or circumstance? On the day Sam Waxworth arrives in New York to write for the Interviewer, a street-corner preacher declares that the world is coming to an end. A data journalist and recent media celebrity—he correctly forecast every outcome of the 2008 election—Sam knows a few things about predicting the future. But when projection meets reality, life gets complicated. His first assignment for the Interviewer is a profile of disgraced political columnist Frank Doyle, known to Sam for the sentimental works of baseball lore that first sparked his love of the game. When Sam meets Frank at Citi Field for the Mets’ home opener, he finds himself unexpectedly ushered into Doyle’s crumbling family empire. Kit, the matriarch, lost her investment bank to the financial crisis; Eddie, their son, hasn’t been the same since his second combat tour in Iraq; Eddie’s best friend from childhood, the fantastically successful hedge funder Justin Price, is starting to see cracks in his spotless public image. And then there’s Frank’s daughter, Margo, with whom Sam becomes involved—just as his wife, Lucy, arrives from Wisconsin. While their lives seem inextricable, none of them know how close they are to losing everything, including each other. Sweeping in scope yet meticulous in its construction, The Index of Self-Destructive Acts is a remarkable family portrait and a masterful evocation of New York City and its institutions. Over the course of a single baseball season, Christopher Beha traces the passing of the torch from the old establishment to the new meritocracy, exploring how each generation’s failure helped land us where we are today. Whether or not the world is ending, Beha’s characters are all headed to apocalypses of their own making.
This New York Times Notable Book from the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Underground Railroad and The Nickel Boys is a brisk, comic tour de force about identity, history, and the adhesive bandage industry. The town of Winthrop has decided it needs a new name. The resident software millionaire wants to call it New Prospera; the mayor wants to return to the original choice of the founding black settlers; and the town’s aristocracy sees no reason to change the name at all. What they need, they realize, is a nomenclature consultant. And, it turns out, the consultant needs them. But in a culture overwhelmed by marketing, the name is everything and our hero’s efforts may result in not just a new name for the town but a new and subtler truth about it as well. Look for Colson Whitehead’s new novel, Harlem Shuffle, coming this September!
Book The Colossus of New York Description/Summary:
In a dazzlingly original work of nonfiction, the two time Pulitzer-Prize winning author of The Underground Railroad and The Nickel Boys recreates the exuberance, the chaos, the promise, and the heartbreak of New York. Here is a literary love song that will entrance anyone who has lived in—or spent time—in the greatest of American cities. A masterful evocation of the city that never sleeps, The Colossus of New York captures the city’s inner and outer landscapes in a series of vignettes, meditations, and personal memories. Colson Whitehead conveys with almost uncanny immediacy the feelings and thoughts of longtime residents and of newcomers who dream of making it their home; of those who have conquered its challenges; and of those who struggle against its cruelties. Whitehead’s style is as multilayered and multifarious as New York itself: Switching from third person, to first person, to second person, he weaves individual voices into a jazzy musical composition that perfectly reflects the way we experience the city. There is a funny, knowing riff on what it feels like to arrive in New York for the first time; a lyrical meditation on how the city is transformed by an unexpected rain shower; and a wry look at the ferocious battle that is commuting. The plaintive notes of the lonely and dispossessed resound in one passage, while another captures those magical moments when the city seems to be talking directly to you, inviting you to become one with its rhythms. The Colossus of New York is a remarkable portrait of life in the big city. Ambitious in scope, gemlike in its details, it is at once an unparalleled tribute to New York and the ideal introduction to one of the most exciting writers working today. Look for Colson Whitehead’s new novel, Harlem Shuffle, coming this September!
Book God-Level Knowledge Darts Description/Summary:
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - "Desus & Mero are smarter and funnier than everyone writing books."--Shea Serrano "I will never write anything as hilarious as they have. I give up."--Malcolm Gladwell "These motherf***ers make me laugh until I choke."--Jia Tolentino NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR A wild, hilarious guide to life from the hosts of the hit late-night show Desus & Mero and the Bodega Boys podcast Who could have predicted that, after a fateful meeting in a Bronx summer school in the 1990s, Desus & Mero would turn their friendship into an empire of talking to each other. And it's no surprise--tuning in to them is like listening to the funniest, smartest people you know dissect a topic and then light it on fire. Now they've written the most essential guide to life of this century*, in which all the important questions are asked: How do I talk to my kids about drugs if I do them, too? What are the ethics of ghosting in a relationship? How do I bet on sports? How should I behave in jail? How much is too much to spend on sneakers? Is porn really that bad for me? As they put it: "We want to share all we've learned, after years in the Bronx streets, with you: the people. So with a lifetime spent building up a plethora of information from trials and tribulations and a handful of misdemeanors, we decided to write this book--a sequel to the Bible, or maybe to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, depending on how big a nerd you are. Let this book be your North Star." *NO REFUNDS
Book Fruit of the Drunken Tree Description/Summary:
“One of the most dazzling and devastating novels I’ve read in a long time...Readers of Fruit of the Drunken Tree will surely be transformed.” --San Francisco Chronicle “Simultaneously propulsive and poetic, reminiscent of Isabel Allende...Listen to this new author’s voice — she has something powerful to say.” --Entertainment Weekly A mesmerizing debut set in Colombia at the height Pablo Escobar's violent reign about a sheltered young girl and a teenage maid who strike an unlikely friendship that threatens to undo them both Seven-year-old Chula and her older sister Cassandra enjoy carefree lives thanks to their gated community in Bogotá, but the threat of kidnappings, car bombs, and assassinations hover just outside the neighborhood walls, where the godlike drug lord Pablo Escobar continues to elude authorities and capture the attention of the nation. When their mother hires Petrona, a live-in-maid from the city's guerrilla-occupied slum, Chula makes it her mission to understand Petrona's mysterious ways. But Petrona's unusual behavior belies more than shyness. She is a young woman crumbling under the burden of providing for her family as the rip tide of first love pulls her in the opposite direction. As both girls' families scramble to maintain stability amidst the rapidly escalating conflict, Petrona and Chula find themselves entangled in a web of secrecy that will force them both to choose between sacrifice and betrayal. Inspired by the author's own life, and told through the alternating perspectives of the willful Chula and the achingly hopeful Petrona, Fruit of the Drunken Tree contrasts two very different, but inextricably linked coming-of-age stories. In lush prose, Rojas Contreras has written a powerful testament to the impossible choices women are often forced to make in the face of violence and the unexpected connections that can blossom out of desperation.
Book Atmospheric Disturbances Description/Summary:
Convinced that his wife has disappeared and left behind a duplicate of herself who fools everyone else, Dr. Leo Liebenstein embarks on a quixotic journey to reclaim his lost love, an effort during which he is aided by a deluded psychiatric patient and an enigmatic meteorologist.
From the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Underground Railroad and The Nickel Boys Colson Whitehead’s triumphant novel is on one level a multifaceted retelling of the story of John Henry, the black steel-driver who died outracing a machine designed to replace him. On another level it’s the story of a disaffected, middle-aged black journalist on a mission to set a record for junketeering who attends the annual John Henry Days festival. It is also a high-velocity thrill ride through the tunnel where American legend gives way to American pop culture, replete with p. r. flacks, stamp collectors, blues men , and turn-of-the-century song pluggers. John Henry Days is an acrobatic, intellectually dazzling, and laugh-out-loud funny book that will be read and talked about for years to come. Look for Colson Whitehead’s new novel, Harlem Shuffle, coming this September!
In the summer of 1955, fourteen-year-old Clement enters a general store in Money, Mississippi to purchase a soda. Unaware of the consequences of flouting the rules governing black-white relations in the South, this Chicago native defies tradition, by laying a dime on the counter and turns to depart. Miss Cuthbert, the store attendant, demands that he place the money in her hand, but he refuses, declaring, "I ain't no slave!" and exits with a sense of entitlement unknown to black people at the time. His behavior results in his brutal murder. This event sparks a war in Money, forcing the black community to galvanize its strength in pursuit of equality.
NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • A Best Book of 2021: Entertainment Weekly, Good Morning America, Wall Street Journal, and more From the indie rockstar of Japanese Breakfast fame, and author of the viral 2018 New Yorker essay that shares the title of this book, an unflinching, powerful memoir about growing up Korean American, losing her mother, and forging her own identity. In this exquisite story of family, food, grief, and endurance, Michelle Zauner proves herself far more than a dazzling singer, songwriter, and guitarist. With humor and heart, she tells of growing up one of the few Asian American kids at her school in Eugene, Oregon; of struggling with her mother's particular, high expectations of her; of a painful adolescence; of treasured months spent in her grandmother's tiny apartment in Seoul, where she and her mother would bond, late at night, over heaping plates of food. As she grew up, moving to the East Coast for college, finding work in the restaurant industry, and performing gigs with her fledgling band--and meeting the man who would become her husband--her Koreanness began to feel ever more distant, even as she found the life she wanted to live. It was her mother's diagnosis of terminal cancer, when Michelle was twenty-five, that forced a reckoning with her identity and brought her to reclaim the gifts of taste, language, and history her mother had given her. Vivacious and plainspoken, lyrical and honest, Zauner's voice is as radiantly alive on the page as it is onstage. Rich with intimate anecdotes that will resonate widely, and complete with family photos, Crying in H Mart is a book to cherish, share, and reread.