In the summers of the early 1970s, Morris Ardoin and his siblings helped run their family's roadside motel in a hot, buggy, bayou town in Cajun Louisiana. The stifling, sticky heat inspired them to find creative ways to stay cool and out of trouble. When they were not doing their chores—handling a colorful cast of customers, scrubbing motel-room toilets, plucking chicken bones and used condoms from under the beds—they played canasta, an old ladies’ game that provided them with a refuge from the sun and helped them avoid their violent, troubled father. Morris was successful at occupying his time with his siblings and the children of families staying in the motel’s kitchenette apartments but was not so successful at keeping clear of his father, a man unable to shake the horrors he had experienced as a child and, later, as a soldier. The preteen would learn as he matured that his father had reserved his most ferocious attacks for him because of an inability to accept a gay or, to his mind, broken, son. It became his dad’s mission to “fix” his son, and Morris’s mission to resist—and survive intact. He was aided in his struggle immeasurably by the love and encouragement of a selfless and generous grandmother, who provides his story with much of its warmth, wisdom, and humor. There’s also suspense, awkward romance, naughty French lessons, and an insider’s take on a truly remarkable, not-yet-homogenized pocket of American culture.
Just a few months out of law school, Bill Merritt takes a job working for a slightly shady but charismatic lawyer named Thaddeus Silk. Only months later, Thaddeus drops dead of a heart attack, and Bill is left to pick up the pieces of his chaotic and poorly managed practice. Before he can even start to make sense of the mess that was Thaddeus's legal life, the police are knocking at his door, and Bill is being accused of fencing stolen treasure. Enter Abby Birdsong and Grady Jackson, two clients of Thaddeus's whose files are among the boxes and papers and bourbon bottles that litter his office. Drug charges had been brought against Abby for carrying two pounds of pot in her bag; and Grady seeks a permit from the state of Oregon to dig for treasure on a local beach. Bill takes on both of their cases, which, on the face of it, aren't related. When the two cases collide in ways that seem too fantastic to be true, Bill finds himself caught in the middle.
How Thaddeus and Bill, Abby and Grady, assorted law enforcement officials and colorful hangers-on overlap and interconnect took Bill another nineteen years to puzzle out. The result is an intricate and original legal yarn with a cast of provincial misfits so peculiar and charming it reads like fiction.
Love history? Know your stuff with History in an Hour.What made a failed Austrian artist into the most reviled and destructive personality of the twentieth century? Where did the seeds of his rabid anti-Semitism lie? How did a marginalized loner become such a moving force in Germany? How could a nation have fallen for such a fanatic? What made him so determined to bring about war?Through manipulation of politicians and civilians, bullying, diplomacy, violence and lies, Hitler achieved a total and unlikely power. Covering his early life, military service in World War One and eventual rise to power, first as the leader of the Nazi party, and then head of state, Hitler: History in an Hour describes the life of a man who spent his final days inside a bunker having plunged the world into a global conflict, the bloodiest in history.Love history? Know your stuff with History in an Hour…
An acclaimed poet’s “gripping” memoir of an accidental tragedy, a childhood haunted by guilt, and a quest to find healing through art (Publishers Weekly).
When Gregory Orr was twelve years old, he shot and killed his brother in a hunting accident. From the immediate aftermath—a period of shock, sadness, and isolation—it quickly became clear that support and guidance would not be coming from his distant mother. Nor would it come from his father, a philandering country doctor addicted to amphetamines. Left to his own devices, the boy suffered.
Guilt weighed on him throughout a childhood split between the rural Hudson Valley and jungles of Haiti. As a young man, his feelings and a growing sense of idealism prompted him to activism in the civil rights movement, where he marched and was imprisoned, and then scarred again by a terrifying abduction. Eventually, Orr’s experiences led him to understand that art, particularly poetry, could work as a powerful source of healing and meaning to combat the trauma he carried.
Throughout The Blessing, Orr articulates his journey in language as lyrical as it is authentic, gifting us all with a singular tale of survival, and of the transformation of suffering into art.
“Even a chaotic and hapless family, it seems, can confer a blessing—the strength to live in the world as it is, and the wisdom to love people as they are. The book is not so much about surviving pain so much as developing a writer’s instinct for transforming it.” —Kathleen Norris, New York Times–bestselling author of The Cloister Walk
Bidden by a lovesick ghost to unearth Lord Byron’s secret diary, a Boston heiress finds a fiery passion of her own in this “spellbinding” novel (Romantic Times). Heiress Alison Cunningham, born into the upper echelon of Boston society, is shattered when her parents are killed in a tragic plane crash. Driven by grief to a séance, she receives a message not from her family, but from long-dead Lady Caroline Lamb, a former lover of Lord Byron whose affair ended in heartbreak and betrayal. All Caroline wants is proof that Lord Byron truly loved her—proof that can be found in his memoirs, hidden somewhere in Dewhurst Manor. But when Alison impulsively buys the estate, she finds more than she bargained for. Jeremy Ryder, a British antiques dealer, is also searching for the memoirs. Their tempers quickly clash, but not without igniting a historic passion of their own in this “truly remarkable story” (Publishers Weekly). “Jill Jones continues to carve out a most unique and extraordinary niche for herself with her completely captivating and unusual novels.” —RT Book Reviews
Big Mama blog founder and New York Times bestselling author Melanie Shankle helps us sort through our questions about being true to ourselves in a world gone crazy and what matters the most in the end.
These days, so many voices tell us what to do, what to think, and what kind of parent or friend or spouse to be that it's easy to feel overwhelmed and defeated. Somewhere in the midst of online arguments and crazy politics and the ups and downs of life, we've lost sight of the gifts that are all around us: kindness, love, mercy, and joy.
In On the Bright Side, Melanie Shankle reminds us of the unchanging principles we can count on in a changing world. These are lessons that Melanie has learned along the way about how to find all the joy that life has to offer - and why encouragement is never something to keep to ourselves. Exploring topics such as dealing with comparisons, when life doesn't turn out like we expected, and how to find your people, Melanie invites us to lead with love in all areas of our lives.
This delightful memoir highlights the joys of life told in Melanie's down to earth, relatable, and totally enjoyable style. On the Bright Side is a how-to guide to knowing - and living - what matters most.
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