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On April 12, 1961, Yuri Gagarin became the first person in history to leave the Earth’s atmosphere and venture into space. His flight aboard a Russian Vostok rocket lasted only 108 minutes, but at the end of it he had become the most famous man in the world. Back on the ground, his smiling face captured the hearts of millions around the globe. Film stars, politicians and pop stars from Europe to Japan, India to the United States vied with each other to shake his hand. Despite this immense fame, almost nothing is known about Gagarin or the exceptional people behind his dramatic space flight.
Told completely from the Trans-Siberian and a series of Russian jets, this is the story of a young British poet, who, after becoming engaged to his translator more than 3,500 miles east, embarks on a journey into the very heart of Siberia to marry his fiancée. However, in place of the desolate wasteland he expected to find, Michael discovers the side of Siberia little known outside of Russia. After 30 years of British rain, Michael has to learn the art of sunbathing, in the last place on Earth anyone would think to take a pair of flip-flops.
This well-researched book is a biography of the life—and disappearance—of Amelia Earhart, the pioneering aviator who was the first woman to fly solo over the Atlantic in 1928. But did Amelia’s plane really crash and sink in 1937, or was her fate entirely different?
Winner of the prestigious Naguib Mahfouz Medal, this fierce and moving work is an unparalleled rendering of the human aspects of the Palestinian predicament.Barred from his homeland after 1967’s Six-Day War, the poet Mourid Barghouti spent thirty years in exile—shuttling among the world’s cities, yet secure in none of them; separated from his family for years at a time; never certain whether he was a visitor, a refugee, a citizen, or a guest. As he returns home for the first time since the Israeli occupation, Barghouti crosses a wooden bridge over the Jordan River into Ramallah and is unable to recognize the city of his youth.
Everybody needs to run away from home at least once. Susan Corbett told people she was out to save the world, but really she was running–running from her home as much as to anywhere. Like many women, she was searching for meaning to her life or for a good man to share it with. In Africa, she hoped to find both. Compelling and compassionate, In the Belly of the Elephant is Susan’s transformative story of what happens when you decide to try to achieve world peace while searching for a good man.
Over the first half of the twentieth century, scientist and scholar Frances Densmore (1867–1957) visited thirty-five Native American tribes, recorded more than twenty-five hundred songs, amassed hundreds of artifacts and Native-crafted objects, and transcribed information about Native cultures. Her visits to indigenous groups included meetings with the Ojibwes, Lakotas, Dakotas, Northern Utes, Ho-chunks, Seminoles, and Makahs. A “New Woman” and a self-trained anthropologist, she not only influenced government attitudes toward indigenous cultures but also helped mold the field of anthropology.
Dishwasher is the true story of a man on a mission: to clean dirty dishes professionally in every state in America. Part adventure, part parody, and part miraculous journey of self-discovery, it is the unforgettable account of Pete Jordan’s transformation from itinerant seeker into "Dishwasher Pete"—unlikely folk hero, writer, publisher of his own cult zine, and the ultimate professional dish dog—and how he gave it all up for love.
The author of the immortal Lolita and Pale Fire, born to an eminent Russian family, conjures the apotheosis of the high modernist artist: cultured, refined–as European as they come. But Vladimir Nabokov, who came to America fleeing the Nazis, came to think of his time here as the richest of his life. Indeed, Nabokov was not only happiest here, but his best work flowed from his response to this exotic land.
Robert Roper fills out this period in the writer’s life with charm and insight–covering Nabokov’s critical friendship with Edmund Wilson, his time at Cornell, his role at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology.
Taxidermy is everywhere these days—from hip restaurants to posh clothing stores. Yet few realize that behind these "stuffed" animals is a world of intrepid hunterexplorers, eccentric naturalists, and museum artisans, all devoted to the paradoxical pursuit of creating the illusion of life.Into this subculture of intensely passionate animal lovers ventures journalist Melissa Milgrom, whose trek stretches from the family workshop of the last chief taxidermist for the American Museum of Natural History to the studio where an English sculptor preserves the animals for Damien Hirst’s most disturbing artwork.
In this modern version of the Grand Tour, Theroux sets off from Gibraltar, one of the fabled Pillars of Hercules, on a glorious journey around the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. It is a long, lively, occasionally dangerous, and endlessly fascinating trip, up the coast of Spain, along the Riviera, by ferry to the islands of Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, and beyond – way beyond.By foot, train, bus, and cruise ship, Theroux travels around Italy and the Greek islands, to Albania in a state of near anarchy and to war-torn Croatia.
In 1994 an American writer named Emily Prager met her new daughter LuLu. All she knew about her was that the baby had been born in Wuhu, a city in southern China, and left near a police station in her first three days of life. Her birth mother had left a note with Lulu’s western and lunar birth dates. In 1999 Emily and her daughter–now a happy, fearless four-year-old–returned to China to find out more. That journey and its discoveries unfold in this lovely, touching and sensitively observed book.I
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