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His story begins as cliché: an aging jock with nagging lower-back pain. For the better part of a year, he ignores it, convinced he has a slipped or herniated disk. It’s only when he can no longer ride a bike, a lifelong passion, that he makes the doctor appointment. The problem isn’t a disk; it’s a tumor on his spine the size of a softball. In the summer of 2014, Todd Balf, author of the acclaimed adventure tales The Darkest Jungle and The Last River, was diagnosed with a rare spinal cancer called chordoma. Only three hundred cases are diagnosed in the United States each year, meaning that Balf was literally one in a million. During two long and risky surgeries, a team of specialists removed the tumor and buttressed his damaged spine with a scaffolding of metal rods. Having survived the surgery, itself a minor miracle, Balf was told that, with some rehab and follow-up radiation, he would soon be back to his former athletic self. He wasn’t. The surgery had resulted in a spinal-cord injury that left one of his legs partially paralyzed. Give it time, his doctors advised. The nerves might heal. Thus began Balf’s membership in a tribe. The disabled. He imagined his own disability would be temporary, a short visit to a foreign land. He spent years test-piloting remedies that might spark his spinal nerves back to life. With the same gusto and good humor that he brought to his work as a writer, he searched for the perfect treatment: anti-gravity treadmills, adaptive bikes, endless rehab and trips to the gym, and—why not?—a few long-distance cycling events. His wife and children, long accustomed to Balf’s kinetic energy and sometimes harebrained schemes, cheered him on and hoped for the best. Then came unexpected surgery to repair broken rods in Balf’s spine, followed by yet another complication: a stroke that jeopardized not only his recovery but his professional career. Balf wasn’t just one in a million. Thanks to his unresolved spine injury, topped off with a stroke, he was now an “n of 1”—a single case study. Before his long medical misadventure, Balf had always relished being one of the healthiest and fittest people around. Now he was unique for all the wrong reasons. Complications recounts Balf’s journey from cancer diagnosis to his present-day reality as a man caught between two worlds. Both moving and irrepressibly joyful, Complications is a forthright account of what it’s like to suffer a physical catastrophe and manage the uncertainty that comes with it. What’s the right balance between striving to recover and accepting limitations? Was he still just visiting the land of the disabled, or there for good? Who was Todd Balf now?Show more
“Francine Prose is a powerhouse. The Vixen will fascinate and complicate the histories that haunt our present moments. Like Coney Island’s Cyclone, this story tumbles and tangles a reader’s grip of reality. It’s told with the heart, humor and daring of a true artist. Prose’s Vixen is a triumph and a trip though the solid magic that books make real.”—Samantha Hunt “A rollicking trickster of a novel, wondrously funny and wickedly addictive.”—Maria Semple Critically acclaimed, bestselling author Francine Prose returns with a dazzling new novel set in the glamorous world of 1950s New York publishing, the story of a young man tasked with editing a steamy bodice-ripper based on the recent trial and execution of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg—an assignment that will reveal the true cost of entering that seductive, dangerous new world. It’s 1953, and Simon Putnam, a recent Harvard graduate newly hired by a distinguished New York publishing firm, has entered a glittering world of three-martini lunches, exclusive literary parties, and old-money aristocrats in exquisitely tailored suits, a far cry from his loving, middle-class Jewish family in Coney Island. But Simon’s first assignment—editing The Vixen, the Patriot and the Fanatic, a lurid bodice-ripper improbably based on the recent trial and execution of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, a potboiler intended to shore up the firm’s failing finances—makes him question the cost of admission. Because Simon has a secret that, at the height of the Red Scare and the McCarthy hearings, he cannot reveal: his beloved mother was a childhood friend of Ethel Rosenberg’s. His parents mourn Ethel’s death. Simon’s dilemma grows thornier when he meets The Vixen’s author, the startlingly beautiful, reckless, seductive Anya Partridge, ensconced in her opium-scented boudoir in a luxury Hudson River mental asylum. As mysteries deepen, as the confluence of sex, money, politics and power spirals out of Simon’s control, he must face what he’s lost by exchanging the loving safety of his middle-class Jewish parents’ Coney Island apartment for the witty, whiskey-soaked orbit of his charismatic boss, the legendary Warren Landry. Gradually Simon realizes that the people around him are not what they seem, that everyone is keeping secrets, that ordinary events may conceal a diabolical plot—and that these crises may steer him toward a brighter future. At once domestic and political, contemporary and historic, funny and heartbreaking, enlivened by surprising plot turns and passages from Anya’s hilariously bad novel, The Vixen illuminates a period of history with eerily striking similarities to the current moment. Meanwhile it asks timeless questions: How do we balance ambition and conscience? What do social mobility and cultural assimilation require us to sacrifice? How do we develop an authentic self, discover a vocation, and learn to live with the mysteries of love, family, art, life and loss?Show more
The trio of brave friends who make up Shark, Inc—Luke, Maribel and Sabina—dive back into adventure in Stingers, the follow-up to bestselling author Randy Wayne White’s Fins. Marine biologist Doc Ford invites Maribel, Luke, and Sabina to a remote island in the Bahamas where lionfish, a beautiful and venomous inhabitant of the South Pacific that has invaded Florida and the Caribbean, are not just upsetting the balance of nature by damaging the coral reefs—their sting has put several people in the hospital. What Doc and Captain Hannah Smith don’t mention is that the island is riddled with limestone caves, once home to a band of pirates, and stories of Spanish gold have lured outlaw treasure hunters to the area. When the trio finds precious artifacts, they agree to guard the secret until they’ve thoroughly explored the spot. Soon, outlaws search for the trio, hoping they will lead them to riches. A Macmillan Audio production from Roaring Brook PressShow more
2018 Dragon Award Finalist — Best Fantasy Novel Centuries ago, the followers of the new gods defeated the old gods, and the folk of legend were banished from the world. With their departure, magic faded from the land. However, the Milesian Accords provided for a new challenge, and its time rapidly approaches. The descendant of the druid who participated in the original challenge, Liam Knox, must forge the sword for the Champion to wield, and write the next set of Accords. Time is running out, though, and the minions of the new gods will stop at nothing to ensure he fails in his tasks. The descendent of the legendary hero Cu Chulainn, Erin Donnelly, has gone to Dunos Scaith, a fortress out of time and space, to train for the Challenge to come. Interruptions and distractions abound, though, including the potential for new love … and she is being hunted as well. Both Druid and Champion are running out of time as the Challenge approaches — a challenge that could end the world as we know it — and neither is likely to be ready in time. They must trust in each other and their friends … but what if that trust is misplaced?Show more
The startling conclusion to the instant New York Times bestselling Something Dark and Holy trilogy The girl, the monster, the prince, the queen. They broke the world. And some things can never be undone. In Emily A. Duncan’s Blessed Monsters, they must unite once more to fight the dark chaos they've unleashed - but is it already too late? A Macmillan Audio production from Wednesday BooksShow more
A medieval fantasy with a party of adventurers all ready to make a name for themselves and earn some gold. Tankards and Heroes is set in the city of Kortufan, where spies, assassins, mercenaries, arms dealers, rebels, smugglers, and informants do dirty deals dirt cheap. The Poxy Dragon is a rough bar outside the worst part of the medieval Silk Road. It takes serious courage just to walk into the place, not only from its reputation, but because of the rough clientele, questionable food, awful beer, and abysmal hygiene. Lots of taverns in Kortufan are home to ruffians and illegal dealings, but the Poxy Dragon is the proving ground for heroes-with a cemetery out back for the ones who don't make the cut. Lady Leota, the resident demigoddess at the Poxy Dragon, sends would-be heroes to different realms on quests. Once committed, there is no turning back, and if they want their reward, every party member must return through the portal-dead or alive.Show more
New stories in the bestselling Freehold series, featuring all-new stories by Larry Correia, Michael Z. Williamson, Brad R. Torgersen, Mike Massa, Kacey Ezell, and more. When the UN invaded the Freehold of Grainne, the intent was simple: Force a noncompliant star nation back into the collective. What the politicians hadn't accounted for was that the Freehold had spent 200 years as the haven for every independent, rebellious, self-reliant adventurer in human space. Its military are scattered remnants, its bases smoking ruins, its cities occupied. But Grainne and its space habitats have resources beyond measure. Retired intelligence agents, disabled veterans, animal handlers, petty smugglers, half-lame computer specialists, research scientists, planetary engineers, all have one goal in mind: Make the invaders suffer for their presumption. This isn't just resistance. It's vengeance.Show more
Alex Davies tells the dramatic, colorful story of the quest to develop driverless cars—and the fierce competition between Google, Uber, and other companies in a race to revolutionize our lives. The self-driving car has been one of the most vaunted technological breakthroughs of recent years. But early promises that these autonomous vehicles would soon be on the roads have proven premature. Alex Davies follows the twists and turns of this story from its origins to today. The story starts with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which was charged with developing a land-based equivalent to the drone, a vehicle that could operate in war zones without risking human lives. DARPA issued a series of three "Grand Challenges" that attracted visionaries, many of them students and amateurs, who took the technology from Jetsons-style fantasy to near-reality. The young stars of the Challenges soon connected with Silicon Valley giants Google and Uber, intent on delivering a new way of driving to the civilian world. Soon the automakers joined the quest, some on their own, others in partnership with the tech titans. But as road testing progressed, it became clear that the challenges of driving a car without human assistance were more formidable than anticipated. Davies profiles the industry's key players from the early enthusiasm of the DARPA days to their growing awareness that while this spin on artificial intelligence isn't yet ready for rush-hour traffic, driverless cars are poised to remake how the world moves. Driven explores this exciting quest to transform transportation and change our lives.Show more
Raise. Your. Phantom. In a world on the brink of the next Great Dying, no amount of training can prepare us for what is to come . . . A young heir will raise the most powerful phantom in all of Baiseen. A dangerous High Savant will do anything to control the nine realms. A mysterious and deadly Mar race will steal children into the sea. And a handsome guide with far too many secrets will make me fall in love. My name is Ash. A lowly scribe meant to observe and record. And yet I think I'm destined to save us all.Show more
The bestselling author and recipient of the 2018 Holberg Prize, Cass R. Sunstein, explores how more information can make us happy or miserable, and why we sometimes avoid it-but sometimes seek it out. How much information is too much? Do we need to know how many calories are in the giant vat of popcorn that we bought on our way into the movie theater? Do we want to know if we are genetically predisposed to a certain disease? Can we do anything useful with next week's weather forecast for Paris if we are not in Paris? In Too Much Information, Cass Sunstein examines the effects of information on our lives. Policymakers emphasize 'the right to know,' but Sunstein takes a different perspective, arguing that the focus should be on human well-being and what information contributes to it. Government should require companies, employers, hospitals, and others to disclose information not because of a general 'right to know' but when the information in question would significantly improve people's lives.Show more
Regan was a robotics scientist that caused the robot takeover of the world. When his last creation finally completes his plan to free himself destroying the world in the process. Destruction offers him a second chance to test his wits and cunning in another world. Now tasked with a goal that would upset the balance of a new world, Regan might be a bit more than the people of the world can handle. This is an alternative retelling of the first Dungeon Robotics book: Establish. All the characters have been altered slightly and there are new characters. Only the initial chapters have a resemblance to the first book and quickly change paths to a darker side of things.Show more
A major work of financial theory and practice with immediate relevance to the rebuilding of the economy, and restoring the promise of equality When the government decides to spend money, it simply creates the necessary funds for itself--as if out of thin air. That's how we pay for interstate highways, post offices, wars, social services, and economic stimulus packages. If it's that easy to make money...can't we all get more of it? Absolutely. And we should. So argue financial regulation expert Robert Hockett and bestselling philosopher Aaron James in this eye-opening, irreverent, and inspiring exploration of what the dollar really is. And better still, they show how we can build an economy that works for everybody without unwanted taxes and added regulations. In the process, we learn how disingenuous the political rhetoric surrounding inflation can be, how the demonized concept of the deficit is really just another way of tallying our collective national wealth, and how a strong central bank could free us from the abuses of private banking. With broad historical background and ambitious yet practical institutional proposals, Hockett and James offer a new vision of public finance--people's banking for a people's economy. Armed with this new outlook, we can even stop worrying debt and learn to love a strong, accountable, and transparent Federal Reserve as a cornerstone of our democracy.Show more
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