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HOW TO BE ALONE

IF YOU WANT TO, AND EVEN IF YOU DON'T

An irreverent, candidly introspective exploration of toiling with loneliness that will leave readers feeling not so alone.

One woman’s quest for companionship in a culture progressively geared toward isolation.

In her first book, about dealing with one’s own solitude, Moore—the Onion writer, former sex and relationships editor at Cosmopolitan, and creator of the comedy show Tinder Live!—doesn’t compile reams of statistics, comparative studies, or clinical evidence. Rather, she takes readers on a playful ride through her life, examining relationships and nonrelationships alike as she both actively engaged in and passively avoided assuaging that aching search for friendship and love. Swinging from the euphoria of newfound friendship to the despairing trenches of love lost, each chapter becomes a foray into universally themed experiences for women of all ages and sexual persuasions—e.g., “Please Just Be a Good Person So I Can Finally Be Someone Who Has Friends,” which details the adolescent exploits with her friends and the confusion of teen gender roles and intimacy between girls. In “I Liked Dating You Better in My Head,” Moore explores a long-term romance with a man that ended up unraveling into a textbook co-dependency in which the couple was in love with future possibilities rather than the empty reality of now. Moore’s fast-clip wit, hilarious allegories, and conversational prose knock down the uncomfortably sharp edges of facing aloneness. Comparing her own life to scientist Harry Harlow’s monkey love experiments, Moore teases, “I have always identified with the kind-of-dying monkeys who technically had food, but desperately wished they had softness and care too.” Later, in a brief manifesto of women’s romantic needs, she asks, “why did we stop wanting dinner and a movie and maybe flowers?....When did we start thinking that courtship was too time-consuming and everything romantic comedies waxed on about was just a dumb fairy-tale concept, instead of our expectations for romantic love? I’m tired of pretending I’m cool with whatevs. I’m tired of pretending that laziness can replace thoughtfulness and still be acceptable to me.”

An irreverent, candidly introspective exploration of toiling with loneliness that will leave readers feeling not so alone.

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7883-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Awards & Accolades

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  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015


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  • Kirkus Prize
    winner


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  • IndieBound Bestseller


  • National Book Award Winner


  • Pulitzer Prize Finalist

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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NIGHT

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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