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Self-Help Humor


My Year of Rest and Relaxation

My Year of Rest and Relaxation Lowest new price: $15.60
Lowest used price: $17.18
List price: $26.00
Author: Ottessa Moshfegh

From one of our boldest, most celebrated new literary voices, a novel about a young woman's efforts to duck the ills of the world by embarking on an extended hibernation with the help of one of the worst psychiatrists in the annals of literature and the battery of medicines she prescribes

Our narrator should be happy, shouldn't she? She's young, thin, pretty, a recent Columbia graduate, works an easy job at a hip art gallery, lives in an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan paid for, like the rest of her needs, by her inheritance. But there is a dark and vacuous hole in her heart, and it isn't just the loss of her parents, or the way her Wall Street boyfriend treats her, or her sadomasochistic relationship with her best friend, Reva. It's the year 2000 in a city aglitter with wealth and possibility; what could be so terribly wrong?

My Year of Rest and Relaxation is a powerful answer to that question. Through the story of a year spent under the influence of a truly mad combination of drugs designed to heal our heroine from her alienation from this world, Moshfegh shows us how reasonable, even necessary, alienation can be. Both tender and blackly funny, merciless and compassionate, it is a showcase for the gifts of one of our major writers working at the height of her powers.

An Amazon Best Book of July 2018: Not a whole lot happens in Ottessa Moshfegh’s novel. If that sounds like a deal breaker, consider yourself warned. My Year of Rest and Relaxation takes place in 2001, when a pretty young Columbia graduate with an easy job at an art gallery decides to take a year off just to sleep. She has access to a quack psychiatrist willing to prescribe her an arsenal of pills, and she has money that she inherited from her deceased parents. She also has a terrible older boyfriend who works on Wall Street and a best friend, Reva, with whom she shares a thorny, complicated relationship. That’s pretty much all the raw story material Moshfegh is working with—again, the goal being for the unnamed protagonist to hibernate—and the fact that Moshfegh keeps the pages turning, and turning rapidly, is a testament to her profound skill as an author. This is a mostly internal novel. It is insightful to the smallest detail, and it is darkly, insightfully funny. It shimmers with intelligence and empathy. No one in the book is particularly happy, but I am particularly happy I read it. – Chris Schluep , Amazon Book Review

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Rosie Revere, Engineer

Rosie Revere, Engineer Lowest new price: $10.61
Lowest used price: $8.33
List price: $17.95
Author: Andrea Beaty
Brand: Beaty, Andrea/ Roberts, David (ILT)

Rosie may seem quiet during the day, but at night she's a brilliant inventor of gizmos and gadgets who dreams of becoming a great engineer. When her great-great-aunt Rose (Rosie the Riveter) comes for a visit and mentions her one unfinished goal--to fly--Rosie sets to work building a contraption to make her aunt's dream come true. But when her contraption doesn't fl y but rather hovers for a moment and then crashes, Rosie deems the invention a failure. On the contrary, Aunt Rose inisists that Rosie's contraption was a raging success. You can only truly fail, she explains, if you quit.

Features:

  • Abrams Books for Young Readers

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Never Let Me Go

Never Let Me Go Lowest new price: $5.69
Lowest used price: $2.02
List price: $16.00
Author: Kazuo Ishiguro
Brand: Brand: Vintage International

From the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature and author of the Booker Prize–winning novel The Remains of the Day comes a devastating novel of innocence, knowledge, and loss.
 
As children Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy were students at Hailsham, an exclusive boarding school secluded in the English countryside. It was a place of mercurial cliques and mysterious rules where teachers were constantly reminding their charges of how special they were. Now, years later, Kathy is a young woman. Ruth and Tommy have reentered her life. And for the first time she is beginning to look back at their shared past and understand just what it is that makes them special—and how that gift will shape the rest of their time together. Suspenseful, moving, beautifully atmospheric, Never Let Me Go is modern classic.

Features:

  • Vintage Books USA

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The Stranger

The Stranger Lowest new price: $4.36
Lowest used price: $1.91
List price: $13.95
Author: Albert Camus
Brand: Vintage

Through the story of an ordinary man unwittingly drawn into a senseless murder on an Algerian beach, Camus explored what he termed "the nakedness of man faced with the absurd." First published in 1946; now in a new translation by Matthew Ward.

The Stranger is not merely one of the most widely read novels of the 20th century, but one of the books likely to outlive it. Written in 1946, Camus's compelling and troubling tale of a disaffected, apparently amoral young man has earned a durable popularity (and remains a staple of U.S. high school literature courses) in part because it reveals so vividly the anxieties of its time. Alienation, the fear of anonymity, spiritual doubt--all could have been given a purely modern inflection in the hands of a lesser talent than Camus, who won the Nobel Prize in 1957 and was noted for his existentialist aesthetic. The remarkable trick of The Stranger, however, is that it's not mired in period philosophy.

The plot is simple. A young Algerian, Meursault, afflicted with a sort of aimless inertia, becomes embroiled in the petty intrigues of a local pimp and, somewhat inexplicably, ends up killing a man. Once he's imprisoned and eventually brought to trial, his crime, it becomes apparent, is not so much the arguably defensible murder he has committed as it is his deficient character. The trial's proceedings are absurd, a parsing of incidental trivialities--that Meursault, for instance, seemed unmoved by his own mother's death and then attended a comic movie the evening after her funeral are two ostensibly damning facts--so that the eventual sentence the jury issues is both ridiculous and inevitable.

Meursault remains a cipher nearly to the story's end--dispassionate, clinical, disengaged from his own emotions. "She wanted to know if I loved her," he says of his girlfriend. "I answered the same way I had the last time, that it didn't mean anything but that I probably didn't." There's a latent ominousness in such observations, a sense that devotion is nothing more than self-delusion. It's undoubtedly true that Meursault exhibits an extreme of resignation; however, his confrontation with "the gentle indifference of the world" remains as compelling as it was when Camus first recounted it. --Ben Guterson

Features:

  • Vintage

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You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth

You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth Lowest new price: $9.80
Lowest used price: $10.57
List price: $16.00
Author: Jen Sincero

“A cheerful manifesto on removing obstacles between yourself and the income of your dreams.” —New York Magazine

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of You Are a Badass®, a life-changing guide to making the kind of money you’ve only ever dreamed of


You Are a Badass at Making Money will launch you past the fears and stumbling blocks that have kept financial success beyond your reach. Drawing on her own transformation—over just a few years—from a woman living in a converted garage with tumbleweeds blowing through her bank account to a woman who travels the world in style, Jen Sincero channels the inimitable sass and practicality that made You Are a Badass an indomitable bestseller. She combines hilarious personal essays with bite-size, aha concepts that unlock earning potential and get real results.
 
Learn to:

   • Uncover what's holding you back from making money
   • Give your doubts, fears, and excuses the heave-ho
   • Relate to money in a new (and lucrative) way
   • Shake up the cocktail of creation
   • Tap into your natural ability to grow rich
   • Shape your reality—stop playing victim to circumstance
   • Get as wealthy as you wanna be

“This book truly crystallizes the concept that financial abundance is an inside job—in that it all begins with your mindset—and Sincero gets serious (in the funniest ways possible) about helping you identify your particular limiting beliefs surrounding money.” —PopSugar

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Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things Lowest new price: $0.49
Lowest used price: $2.41
List price: $17.99
Author: Jenny Lawson
Brand: Flatiron Books

#1 New York Times Bestseller

In Furiously Happy, a humor memoir tinged with just enough tragedy and pathos to make it worthwhile, Jenny Lawson examines her own experience with severe depression and a host of other conditions, and explains how it has led her to live life to the fullest:

"I've often thought that people with severe depression have developed such a well for experiencing extreme emotion that they might be able to experience extreme joy in a way that ‘normal people' also might never understand. And that's what Furiously Happy is all about."

Jenny’s readings are standing room only, with fans lining up to have Jenny sign their bottles of Xanax or Prozac as often as they are to have her sign their books. Furiously Happy appeals to Jenny's core fan base but also transcends it. There are so many people out there struggling with depression and mental illness, either themselves or someone in their family―and in Furiously Happy they will find a member of their tribe offering up an uplifting message (via a taxidermied roadkill raccoon). Let's Pretend This Never Happened ostensibly was about embracing your own weirdness, but deep down it was about family. Furiously Happy is about depression and mental illness, but deep down it's about joy―and who doesn't want a bit more of that?

Features:

  • Flatiron Books

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The Last Lecture

The Last Lecture Lowest new price: $3.50
Lowest used price: $0.25
List price: $22.00
Author: Randy Pausch
Brand: Hyperion

A lot of professors give talks titled "The Last Lecture." Professors are asked to consider their demise and to ruminate on what matters most to them. And while they speak, audiences can't help but mull the same question: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? If we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we want as our legacy?

When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give such a lecture, he didn't have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the lecture he gave--"Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams"--wasn't about dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because "time is all you have...and you may find one day that you have less than you think"). It was a summation of everything Randy had come to believe. It was about living.

In this book, Randy Pausch has combined the humor, inspiration and intelligence that made his lecture such a phenomenon and given it an indelible form. It is a book that will be shared for generations to come.

"We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand." --Randy Pausch

"We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand."
--Randy Pausch

A lot of professors give talks titled "The Last Lecture." Professors are asked to consider their demise and to ruminate on what matters most to them. And while they speak, audiences can't help but mull the same question: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? If we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we want as our legacy?

When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give such a lecture, he didn't have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the lecture he gave--"Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams"--wasn't about dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because "time is all you have...and you may find one day that you have less than you think"). It was a summation of everything Randy had come to believe. It was about living.

In this book, Randy Pausch has combined the humor, inspiration and intelligence that made his lecture such a phenomenon and given it an indelible form. It is a book that will be shared for generations to come.

Questions for Randy Pausch

We were shy about barging in on Randy Pausch's valuable time to ask him a few questions about his expansion of his famous Last Lecture into the book by the same name, but he was gracious enough to take a moment to answer. (See Randy to the right with his kids, Dylan, Logan, and Chloe.) As anyone who has watched the lecture or read the book will understand, the really crucial question is the last one, and we weren't surprised to learn that the "secret" to winning giant stuffed animals on the midway, like most anything else, is sheer persistence.

Amazon.com: I apologize for asking a question you must get far more often than you'd like, but how are you feeling?

Pausch: The tumors are not yet large enough to affect my health, so all the problems are related to the chemotherapy. I have neuropathy (numbness in fingers and toes), and varying degrees of GI discomfort, mild nausea, and fatigue. Occasionally I have an unusually bad reaction to a chemo infusion (last week, I spiked a 103 fever), but all of this is a small price to pay for walkin' around.

Amazon.com: Your lecture at Carnegie Mellon has reached millions of people, but even with the short time you apparently have, you wanted to write a book. What did you want to say in a book that you weren't able to say in the lecture?

Pausch: Well, the lecture was written quickly--in under a week. And it was time-limited. I had a great six-hour lecture I could give, but I suspect it would have been less popular at that length ;-).

A book allows me to cover many, many more stories from my life and the attendant lessons I hope my kids can take from them. Also, much of my lecture at Carnegie Mellon focused on the professional side of my life--my students, colleagues and career. The book is a far more personal look at my childhood dreams and all the lessons I've learned. Putting words on paper, I've found, was a better way for me to share all the yearnings I have regarding my wife, children and other loved ones. I knew I couldn't have gone into those subjects on stage without getting emotional.

Amazon.com: You talk about the importance--and the possibility!--of following your childhood dreams, and of keeping that childlike sense of wonder. But are there things you didn't learn until you were a grownup that helped you do that?

Pausch: That's a great question. I think the most important thing I learned as I grew older was that you can't get anywhere without help. That means people have to want to help you, and that begs the question: What kind of person do other people seem to want to help? That strikes me as a pretty good operational answer to the existential question: "What kind of person should you try to be?"

Amazon.com: One of the things that struck me most about your talk was how many other people you talked about. You made me want to meet them and work with them--and believe me, I wouldn't make much of a computer scientist. Do you think the people you've brought together will be your legacy as well?

Pausch: Like any teacher, my students are my biggest professional legacy. I'd like to think that the people I've crossed paths with have learned something from me, and I know I learned a great deal from them, for which I am very grateful. Certainly, I've dedicated a lot of my teaching to helping young folks realize how they need to be able to work with other people--especially other people who are very different from themselves.

Amazon.com: And last, the most important question: What's the secret for knocking down those milk bottles on the midway?

Pausch: Two-part answer:
     1) long arms
     2) discretionary income / persistence

Actually, I was never good at the milk bottles. I'm more of a ring toss and softball-in-milk-can guy, myself. More seriously, though, most people try these games once, don't win immediately, and then give up. I've won *lots* of midway stuffed animals, but I don't ever recall winning one on the very first try. Nor did I expect to. That's why I think midway games are a great metaphor for life.

Features:

  • Hyperion Books

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Zen as F*ck: A Journal for Practicing the Mindful Art of Not Giving a Sh*t

Zen as F*ck: A Journal for Practicing the Mindful Art of Not Giving a Sh*t Lowest new price: $9.30
Lowest used price: $9.41
List price: $14.99
Author: Monica Sweeney

A beautiful, uplifting guided journal for when you just don't give a f*ck

The road to serenity is ahead, and it’s paved with a f*ck-ton of profanity. When quiet meditation and peaceful mantras aren’t enough to cut through the bullsh*t and brighten your day―hold close the pages of Zen as F*ck. On each and every page, you can give the good around you a warm f*cking hug and kick the bad on its ass. Journal your way through positive affirmations and cathartic-as-f*ck activities on your liberating journey toward something pretty close to happiness.

Sprinkle, scatter, or set off a glitter-bomb of happy vibes onto your trail of tranquility with Zen as F*ck!

• Start sparkling like the f*cking gem you are
• Learn how to rise, shine, and kick ass
• Cast your soul-shining light on others and spread some f*cking beauty

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Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 535 Easy(ish) Steps

Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 535 Easy(ish) Steps Lowest new price: $5.60
Lowest used price: $8.33
List price: $15.99
Author: Kelly Williams Brown

THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING GUIDE, WITH UPDATED MATERIAL AND A NEW FOREWORD

If you graduated from college but still feel like a student . . . if you wear a business suit to job interviews but pajamas to the grocery store . . . if you have your own apartment but no idea how to cook or clean . . . it's OK. But it doesn't have to be this way.
Just because you don't feel like an adult doesn't mean you can't act like one. And it all begins with this funny, wise, and useful book. Based on Kelly Williams Brown's popular blog, ADULTING, makes the scary, confusing "real world" approachable, manageable--and even conquerable. This guide will help you to navigate the stormy Sea of Adulthood so that you may find safe harbor in Not Running Out of Toilet Paper Bay, and along the way you will learn:


  • What to check for when renting a new apartment--Not just the nearby bars, but the faucets and stove, among other things.
  • When a busy person can find time to learn more about the world (It involves the intersection of NPR and hair-straightening.)
  • How to avoid hooking up with anyone in your office--Imagine your coworkers having plastic, featureless doll crotches. It helps.
  • The secret to finding a mechanic you love--Or, more realistically, one that will not rob you blind.
From breaking up with frenemies to fixing your toilet, this way fun comprehensive handbook is the answer for aspiring grown-ups of all ages.

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Look Alive Twenty-Five: A Stephanie Plum Novel

Look Alive Twenty-Five: A Stephanie Plum Novel Lowest new price: $25.20
List price: $28.00
Author: Janet Evanovich

Stephanie Plum faces the toughest puzzle of her career in the twenty-fifth entry in Janet Evanovich's #1 New York Times-bestselling series.

There's nothing like a good deli, and the Red River Deli in Trenton is one of the best. World-famous for its pastrami, cole slaw, and for its disappearing managers. Over the last month, three have vanished from the face of the earth, and the only clue in each case is one shoe that's been left behind. The police are baffled. Lula is convinced that it's a case of alien abduction. Whatever it is, they'd better figure out what's going on before they lose their new manager, Ms. Stephanie Plum.

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