Paul Simon: The Life by Robert Hilburn

A publishing event from music legend Paul Simon: an intimate, candid, and definitive biography written with Simon’s full participation—but without his editorial control—by acclaimed biographer and music writer Robert Hilburn.

For more than fifty years, Paul Simon has spoken to us in songs about alienation, doubt, resilience, and empathy in ways that have established him as one of the most beloved artists in American pop music history. Songs like “The Sound of Silence,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “Still Crazy After All These Years,” and “Graceland” have moved beyond the sales charts and into our cultural consciousness. But Simon is a deeply private person who has resisted speaking to us outside of his music. He has said he will not write an autobiography or memoir, and he has refused to talk to previous biographers.

Finally, Simon has opened up—for more than one hundred hours of interviews—to Robert Hilburn, whose biography of Johnny Cash was named by Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times as one of her ten favorite books of 2013. The result is a landmark book that will take its place as the defining biography of one of America’s greatest artists.

It begins in Kew Gardens Hills, Queens, where, raised by a bandleader father and schoolteacher mother, Simon grew up with the twin passions of baseball and music. The latter took over at age twelve when he and schoolboy chum Art Garfunkel became infatuated with the alluring harmonies of doo-wop. Together, they became international icons, and then Simon went on to even greater artistic heights on his own. But beneath the surface of his storied five-decade career is a roller coaster of tumultuous personal and professional ups and downs. From his remarkable early success with Garfunkel to their painfully acrimonious split; from his massive early hits as a solo artist to the wrenching commercial failures of One-Trick Pony and Hearts and Bones; from the historic comeback success of Graceland and The Rhythm of the Saints to the star-crossed foray into theater with The Capeman and a late-career creative resurgence—his is a musical life unlike any other.

Over the past three years, Hilburn has conducted in-depth interviews with scores of Paul Simon’s friends, family, colleagues, and others—including ex-wives Carrie Fisher and Peggy Harper, who spoke for the first time—and even penetrated the inner circle of Simon’s long-reclusive muse, Kathy Chitty. The result is a deeply human account of the challenges and sacrifices of a life in music at the highest level. In the process, Hilburn documents Simon’s search for artistry and his constant struggle to protect that artistry against distractions—fame, marriage, divorce, drugs, record company interference, rejection, and insecurity—that have derailed so many great pop figures.

Paul Simon is an intimate and inspiring narrative that helps us finally understand Paul Simon the person and the artist. “With train-wreck moments and tender interludes alike, it delivers a sharply detailed Kodachrome of a brilliant musician” (Kirkus Reviews).

 

Robert B. Parker’s Old Black Magic (Spenser) – by Ace Atkins

Iconic, tough-but-tender Boston PI Spenser delves into the black market art scene to investigate a decades-long unsolved crime of dangerous proportions.

The heist was legendary, still talked about twenty years after the priceless paintings disappeared from one of Boston’s premier art museums. Most thought the art was lost forever, buried deep, sold off overseas, or, worse, destroyed as incriminating evidence. But when paint chips from the most valuable piece stolen, Gentlemen in Black by a Spanish master, arrives at the desk of a Boston journalist, the museum finds hope and enlists Spenser’s help.

Soon the cold art case thrusts Spenser into the shady world of black market art dealers, aged Mafia bosses, and old vendettas. A five-million-dollar-reward by the museum’s top benefactor, an aged, unlikable Boston socialite, sets Spenser and pals Vinnie Morris and Hawk onto a trail of hidden secrets, jailhouse confessions, and decades-old murders.

Set against the high-society art scene and the low-life back alleys of Boston, this is classic Spenser doing what he does best.

The Fallen (Amos Decker #4) by David Baldacci

Amos Decker is the Memory Man. Following a football-related head injury that altered his personality, Decker is now unable to forget even the smallest detail–as much a curse as it is a blessing. And in #1 New York Times bestselling author David Baldacci’s gripping new thriller, Decker’s life might be about to change again…

Something sinister is going on in Baronville. The rust belt town has seen four bizarre murders in the space of two weeks. Cryptic clues left at the scenes–obscure bible verses, odd symbols–have the police stumped.

Amos Decker and his FBI colleague Alex Jamison are in Baronville visiting Alex’s sister and her family. It’s a bleak place: a former mill and mining town with a crumbling economy and rampant opioid addiction. Decker has only been there a few hours when he stumbles on a horrific double murder scene.

Then the next killing hits sickeningly close to home. And with the lives of people he cares about suddenly hanging in the balance, Decker begins to realize that the recent string of deaths may be only one small piece of a much larger scheme–with consequences that will reach far beyond Baronville.

Decker, with his singular talents, may be the only one who can crack this bizarre case. Only this time–when one mistake could cost him everything–Decker finds that his previously infallible memory may not be so trustworthy after all…

Unmasked: A Memoir by Andrew Lloyd Webber

“You have the luck of Croesus on stilts (as my Auntie Vi would have said) if you’ve had the sort of career, ups and downs, warts and all that I have in that wondrous little corner of show business called musical theatre.”

One of the most successful and distinguished artists of our time, Andrew Lloyd Webber has reigned over the musical theatre world for nearly five decades. The winner of numerous awards, including multiple Tonys and an Oscar, Lloyd Webber has enchanted millions worldwide with his music and numerous hit shows, including Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Cats, The Phantom of the Opera—Broadway’s longest running show—and most recently, School of Rock. In Unmasked, written in his own inimitable, quirky voice, the revered, award-winning composer takes stock of his achievements, the twists of fate and circumstance which brought him both success and disappointment, and the passions that inspire and sustain him.

The son of a music professor and a piano teacher, Lloyd Webber reveals his artistic influences, from his idols Rodgers and Hammerstein and the perfection of South Pacific’s “Some Enchanted Evening,” to the pop and rock music of the 1960s and Puccini’s Tosca, to P. G. Wodehouse and T. S. Eliot. Lloyd Webber recalls his bohemian London youth, reminiscing about the happiest place of his childhood, his homemade Harrington Pavilion—a make-believe world of musical theatre in which he created his earliest entertainments.

A record of several exciting and turbulent decades of British and American musical theatre and the transformation of popular music itself, Unmasked is ultimately a chronicle of artistic creation. Lloyd Webber looks back at the development of some of his most famous works and illuminates his collaborations with luminaries such as Tim Rice, Robert Stigwood, Harold Prince, Cameron Mackintosh, and Trevor Nunn. Taking us behind the scenes of his productions, Lloyd Webber reveals fascinating details about each show, including the rich cast of characters involved with making them, and the creative and logistical challenges and artistic political battles that ensued.

Lloyd Webber shares his recollections of the works that have become cultural touchstones for generations of fans: writings songs for a school production that would become his first hit, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; finding the coterie of performers for his classic rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar; developing his first megahit, Evita, which would win seven Tonys Awards, including Best Musical; staking his reputation and fortune on the groundbreaking Cats; and making history with the dazzling The Phantom of the Opera.

Reflecting a life that included many passions (from architecture to Turkish Swimming Cats), full of witty and revealing anecdotes, and featuring cameo appearances by numerous celebrities—Elaine Paige, Sarah Brightman, David Frost, Julie Covington, Judi Dench, Richard Branson, A.R. Rahman, Mandy Patinkin, Patti LuPone, Richard Rodgers, Norman Jewison, Milos Forman, Plácido Domingo, Barbra Streisand, Michael Crawford, Gillian Lynne, Betty Buckley, and more—Unmasked at last reveals the true face of the extraordinary man beneath the storied legend.

Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America’s Class War by Jon Bageant

Years before Hillbilly Elegy and White Trash, a raucous, truth-telling look at the white working poor — and why they have learned to hate liberalism. What it adds up to, he asserts, is an unacknowledged class war.

By turns tender, incendiary, and seriously funny, this book is a call to arms for fellow progressives with little real understanding of “the great beery, NASCAR-loving, church-going, gun-owning America that has never set foot in a Starbucks.”

Deer Hunting with Jesus is Joe Bageant’s report on what he learned when he moved back to his hometown of Winchester, Virginia. Like countless American small towns, it is fast becoming the bedrock of a permanent underclass. Two in five of the people in his old neighborhood do not have high school diplomas or health care. Alcohol, overeating, and Jesus are the preferred avenues of escape.

He writes of:

• His childhood friends who work at factory jobs that are constantly on the verge of being outsourced
• The mortgage and credit card rackets that saddle the working poor with debt
• The ubiquitous gun culture—and why the left doesn’ t get it
• Scots Irish culture and how it played out in the young life of Lynddie England

The Disappeared by C. J. Box

Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett has two lethal cases to contend with in the electrifying new novel from #1 New York Times-bestselling author C. J. Box.

Wyoming’s new governor isn’t sure what to make of Joe Pickett, but he has a job for him that is extremely delicate. A prominent female British executive never came home from the high-end guest ranch she was visiting, and the British Embassy is pressing hard. Pickett knows that happens sometimes–these ranches are stocked with handsome young cowboys, and “ranch romances” aren’t uncommon. But no sign of her months after she vanished? That suggests something else.

At the same time, his friend Nate Romanowski has asked Joe to intervene with the feds on behalf of falconers who can no longer hunt with eagles even though their permits are in order. Who is blocking the falconers and why? The more he investigates both cases, the more someone wants him to go away. Is it because of the missing woman or because he’s become Nate’s advocate? Or are they somehow connected? The answers, when they come, will be even worse than he’d imagined.

The Wanted by Robert Crais

Elvis and Joe are back!



It seemed like a simple case–before the bodies starting piling up. Investigator Elvis Cole and his partner, Joe Pike, take on the deadliest case of their lives in the new masterpiece of suspense from the #1 New York Times-bestselling author.
When single mother Devon Connor hires private investigator Elvis Cole, it’s because her troubled teenage son Tyson is flashing cash and she’s afraid he’s dealing drugs. But the truth is devastatingly different. With two other partners in crime, he’s been responsible for a string of high-end burglaries, a crime spree that takes a deadly turn when one of them is murdered and Tyson and his girlfriend disappear.

They stole the wrong thing from the wrong man. Determined to get it back, he has hired a team that is smart and brutal, and to even the odds, Cole calls in his friends Joe Pike and Jon Stone. But even they may be overmatched. The hired killers are leaving a trail of bodies in their wake. A few more won’t make any difference.

Robicheaux by James Lee Burke

James Lee Burke’s most beloved character, Dave Robicheaux, returns in this gritty, atmospheric mystery set in the towns and backwoods of Louisiana.

DAVE ROBICHEAUX IS A HAUNTED MAN.

Between his recurrent nightmares about Vietnam, his battle with alcoholism, and the sudden loss of his beloved wife, Molly, his thoughts drift from one irreconcilable memory to the next. Images of ghosts at Spanish Lake live on the edge of his vision.

During a murder investigation, Dave Robicheaux discovers he may have committed the homicide he’s investigating, one which involved the death of the man who took the life of Dave’s beloved wife. As he works to clear his name and make sense of the murder, Robicheaux encounters a cast of characters and a resurgence of dark social forces that threaten to destroy all of those whom he loves. What emerges is not only a propulsive and thrilling novel, but a harrowing study of America: this nation’s abiding conflict between a sense of past grandeur and a legacy of shame, its easy seduction by demagogues and wealth, and its predilection for violence and revenge. James Lee Burke has returned with one of America’s favorite characters, in his most searing, most prescient novel to date.

 

Uncommon Type: Some Stories by Tom Hanks

A collection of seventeen wonderful short stories showing that two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks is as talented a writer as he is an actor.

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A gentle Eastern European immigrant arrives in New York City after his family and his life have been torn apart by his country’s civil war. A man who loves to bowl rolls a perfect game–and then another and then another and then many more in a row until he winds up ESPN’s newest celebrity, and he must decide if the combination of perfection and celebrity has ruined the thing he loves. An eccentric billionaire and his faithful executive assistant venture into America looking for acquisitions and discover a down and out motel, romance, and a bit of real life. These are just some of the tales Tom Hanks tells in this first collection of his short stories. They are surprising, intelligent, heartwarming, and, for the millions and millions of Tom Hanks fans, an absolute must-have!

Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine by Joe Hagan

The first and only biography of Jann Wenner, the iconic founder of Rolling Stone magazine, and a romp through the hothouses of rock and roll, politics, media, and Hollywood, from the Summer of Love to the Internet age.
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Lennon. Dylan. Jagger. Belushi. Leibovitz. The story of Jann Wenner, Rolling Stone‘s founder, editor, and publisher, is an insider’s trip through the backstages of storied concert venues, rock-star hotel rooms, and the political ups and downs of the latter half of the Twentieth Century, right up through the digital age: connecting the counterculture of Haight Ashbury to the “straight world.”

Supplemented by a cache of extraordinary documents and letters from Wenner’s personal archives, Sticky Fingers is the story of a mercurial, wide-eyed rock and roll fan of ambiguous sexuality but unambiguous ambition who reinvents youth culture, marketing the libertine world of the late sixties counterculture in a stylish, glossy package that would stand for decades as a testament to the cultural power of American youth. Joe Hagan captures in stunning detail the extraordinary lives constellated around a magazine that began as a scrappy rebellion and became a locus of power, influence, and access–using hundreds of hours of reporting and exclusive interviews.

The result is a fascinating and complex portrait of Jann Wenner that is also a biography of popular culture, celebrity, music, and politics in America over the last fifty years.