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A powerful memoir “about a difficult childhood . . . tough stuff, honest and real”—The Oregonian

Peter Hoffmeister was a nervous child who ran away repeatedly and bit his fingernails until they bled. Home-schooled until the age of fourteen, he had only to deal with his parents and siblings on a daily basis, yet even that sometimes proved too much for him.

Over the years, he watched his mother disintegrate into her own form of mania, while his father—a scholar and doctor who had once played semi-pro baseball—was strict and pushed Peter particularly hard. He wanted only the best from his son, but in the process taught Peter to expect only the worst from himself. In the midst of his chaotic home life, Peter began to hear a voice—an insistent, monotone that would periodically dictate his actions. When Peter finally entered public school he started to break free from his father’s control—only to fall sway to the voice more and more. His obsessive-compulsive behavior morphed into ruthless competition in sports and, ultimately, into lies, violence, and drugs.

The End of Boys follows Hoffmeister to the very brink of sanity and back, in a harrowing and heartbreaking account of the trauma of adolescence and the redemption available to us all, if only we choose to find it.

“Peter Brown Hoffmeister calls every sense into play, providing rich imagery, grounded reflection, and the tension inherent in a coming-of-age tale in which drugs, violence, and a genetic tendency toward OCD conspire.” —Los Angeles Review

“The End of Boys takes no prisoners with its gritty, entrancing realism . . . a chilling and captivating read . . . a voice that is refreshingly new.” —Eugene Weekly

Product Categories: Biography & Autobiography, Family & Relationships, Memoir, and Nonfiction.  Book Author: Peter Brown Hoffmeister.

What’s your damage?

In 1989, Michael Lehmann’s black comedy Heathers drew a line in the sand, rebuffing the sweetness and optimism of John Hughes’ more popular fare with darkness and death. Launching the careers of Winona Ryder and Christian Slater, Heathers became a cult classic, ranking #5 on Entertainment Weekly’s list of the 50 Best High School Movies and inspiring hoards of teen films that vastly overshadow its fame but lack its acid wit, moral complexity, and undeniable emotional punch.

For the latest installment of Deep Focus, John Ross Bowie blends captivating memoir with astute analysis, tracing the rebel-teen mythology that links Columbine, heavy metal, and The Catcher in the Rye. With help from Lehmann, screenwriter Daniel Waters, and members of the cast, Bowie thoroughly unpacks the film’s peculiar resonance. Brilliant riffs on the etymology of its teen slang, the implications of its title, and its visual debt to Stanley Kubrick show how Heathers—for all its audacious absurdity—speaks volumes about the realities of high school and of life itself.

Product Categories: Fiction, Film & Television, and Popular Culture.  Book Author: John Ross Bowie and Sean Howe.

In 1977, The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training had a moment in the sun. A glowing junk sculpture of American genres—sports flick, coming-of-age story, family melodrama, after-school special, road narrative—the film cashed in on the previous year’s success of its predecessor, The Bad News Bears. Arguing against the sequel’s dismissal as a cultural afterthought, Josh Wilker lovingly rescues from the oblivion of cinema history a quintessential expression of American resilience and joy.

Rushed into theaters by Paramount when the beleaguered film industry was suffering from “acute sequelitis,” the (undeniably flawed) movie miraculously transcended its limitations to become a gathering point for heroic imagery drawn from American mythology. Considered in context, the film’s unreasonable optimism, rooted in its characters’ sincere desire to keep playing, is a powerful response to the political, economic, and social stresses of the late 1970s.

To Wilker’s surprise, despite repeated viewings, The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training continues to move him. Its huge heart makes it not only the ultimate fantasy of the baseball-obsessed American boy, but a memorable iteration of that barbed vision of pure sunshine itself, the American dream.

Product Categories: Fiction, Film & Television, and Popular Culture.  Book Author: Josh Wilker and Sean Howe.

Frustrated by the indifference of the music industry and the stacks of homemade CDs gathering dust in their closets, brothers Heth and Jed Weinstein made the radical decision to bring their music directly to the masses. They began playing on street corners, in subway stations, and wherever else they could connect with a live audience. To their surprise, far from this being the terminal stop of a dead-end career, busking turned out to be just the beginning as crowds of stressed-out commuters gathered around, cheering them on, subscribing to their mailing lists, and actually buying some of those stockpiled CDs—40,000 and counting.

In Buskers, Heth and Jed recount their turbulent, drug- and crime-filled adolescence in the nowhere-land of Livingston, New Jersey, their valiant attempts to achieve rock ’n’ roll success through traditional channels, and their unexpected path to circumventing the outmoded music industry. They divulge fascinating details about the technical and legal aspects of street performance, New York busking culture, and the lives of their fellow troubadours.

A world of possibilities opens up when the brothers take it to the streets, proving the value of their music to themselves and anyone who’ll listen. Read their story, and your commute will never be the same.

Product Categories: Biography & Autobiography, Memoir, Music, Nonfiction, Performing Arts, and Popular Culture.  Book Author: Heth and Jed Weinstein, Heth Weinstein, and Jed Weinstein.

“Fried’s stories are laugh-out-loud hilarious and wonderfully weird, yet his many strange worlds also have the power to haunt.” –Dan Chaon

In “Loeka Discovered,” a buzz flows throughout a lab when scientists unearth a perfectly preserved prehistoric man who suggests to them the hopefulness of life, but the more they learn, the more the realities of ancient survival invade their buoyant projections. “Frost Mountain Picnic Massacre” meditates on why an entire town enthusiastically rushes out to the annual picnic that ends, year after year, in a massacre of astonishing creativity and casualty. The title story illuminates the desires and even the violence that surges beneath the tenuous peace among the animals in the Garden of Eden.

Equal parts fable and wry satire, Seth Fried’s stories suggest that we are at our most compelling and human when wrestling with the most frustrating aspects of both the world around us and of our very own natures—and show why he has been called “one of the most exciting new voices in fiction” (Charles Yu, author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe).

“He’s channeling Saunders by way of Barthelme and Kafka, but also clearing a whole new territory of his own . . . Seth Fried is the future of fiction.” —Hannah Tinti, author of The Good Thief

Product Categories: Fiction, Literary, and Short Stories.  Book Author: Seth Fried.

When the world is threatened by an alien force, a Florida gator wrestler is all that stands between survival and total annihilation.

Though humans have never heard their name, mankind’s greatest enemies are called the Zawa. A race of alien zealots, they crisscross the stars on a bloodthirsty crusade, destroying life on other planets in service of their sinister galactic god. And Earth is next on their list.

They offer mankind one hope for survival: They will engage in hand-to-hand combat with Earth’s chosen champion to determine the planet’s fate. To find the world’s deadliest creature, Earth’s richest man—media titan Milan Marlowe—organizes a no-species-barred fight to the death, pitting sharks, gorillas, and polar bears against one another in a gruesome knockout tourney. No one bets on the alligator, but that’s because no one has heard of his trainer. Bruno Bolo is an alligator wrestler, blues singer, and whiskey-hound from the humid Florida swamps. He has a quick temper, quicker fists, and courage that is unmatched in man or beast. And he might just be humanity’s last chance . . .

Product Categories: Fiction and Graphic Novel.  Book Author: Adam Mansbach, Douglas McGowan, and Owen Brozman.

A wild and uncompromising history of four infamous magazines and the outlaws behind them, Dirty! Dirty! Dirty! is the first book to rip the sheet off of the sleazy myth-making machine of Hugh Hefner and Playboy, and reveal the doomed history of Hefner’s arch rival, Penthouse founder Bob Guccione, whose messiah complex and heedless spending — on a legendary flop of a movie paid for with bags of cash, a porn magazine for women, and a pie-in-the sky scheme for a portable nuclear reactor —fueled the greatest riches to rags story ever told.

The adventure begins in the early 1950s and rips through the tumultuous ’60s and ’70s —when Hustler’s Larry Flynt and Screw’s Al Goldstein were arrested dozens of times, recklessly pushing the boundaries of free speech, attacking politicians, and putting unapologetic filth front and center — through the 1990s when a sexed-up culture high on the Internet finally killed the era when men looked for satisfaction in the centerfold. As America goes, so goes it’s porn.

Along the way we meet many unexpected heroes—John Lennon, Lenny Bruce, Helen Gurley Brown, and the staff of Mad magazine among them—and villains—from Richard Nixon and the Moral Majority to Hugh Hefner himself, whose legacy, we learn, is built on a self-perpetuated lie.

Product Categories: Gender/Sexuality, History, Nonfiction, and Popular Culture.  Book Author: Mike Edison.

Judas Iscariot is the historical symbol of betrayal. But what really happened at the Garden of Gethsemane? What really compelled Judas to hang himself from a tree? I, Judas reimagines Iscariot’s relationship to Jesus Christ and explores Judas’s orchestration of the elaborate con of the divinity of Jesus Christ, subverting the legend of Judas as he inhabits some of our most notorious literary and historic figures in their darkest hours. Custer, Sexton, Van Gogh: These famous suicides converge through the figure of Judas in a cutting-edge piece of fiction that exposes the dangers of seeking universal truths in myth.

Product Categories: Christianity, Fiction, History, and Religion/Spirituality.  Book Author: James Reich.

“With all the graphic adaptations of mythology flying around, it’s about time someone got to old Gilgamesh . . . Winegarner’s adaptation demonstrates the extensive debt mythology and religion owe this ancient tale.” —Booklist

Before the Bible and legendary figures like Hercules, King Arthur, and Beowulf, there was Gilgamesh. As the king of Uruk, a city in ancient Mesopotamia, Gilgamesh protected his people from harm, battling a multitude of fierce demons with the steadfast help of his brother, Enkidu.

But Gilgamesh’s reign faced the ultimate challenge from the power-hungry goddess Ishtar, who proposed marriage only to be unceremoniously spurned by Gilgamesh. Ishtar’s rage led Gilgamesh to his greatest battle, a battle that shook Gilgamesh to his core and led him to travel further than any other man—to the land of the gods on a quest to find immortality.

Written down on cuneiform tablets nearly five thousand years ago, Gilgamesh’s story was originally recorded in the form of an epic poem. In this bold retelling of the ancient legend—presented for the first time in graphic novel form—graphic novelist Andrew Winegarner revitalizes the ultimate adventure story. His illustrations breathe new life into the story of humanity’s first hero, and the result is a page-turning take on the world’s oldest epic poem.

Product Categories: Folklore, Graphic Novel, and History.  Book Author: Andrew Winegarner and April Rasmussen.

Growing up in the suburbs of Boston and raised on secular Judaism, Cocoa Puffs, and Gilligan’s Island, Peter Bebergal was barely in his teens when the ancient desire to finding higher spiritual meaning in the universe struck. Already schooled in mysticism by way of comic books, Dungeons & Dragons, and Carlos Castaneda, he turned to hallucinogens, convinced they would provide a path to illumination.

Was this profound desire for God—a god he believed that could only be apprehended by an extreme state of altered consciousness—simply a side effect of the drugs? Or was it a deeper human longing that was manifesting itself, even on a country club golf course at the edge of a strip mall?

Too Much to Dream places Bebergal’s story within the cultural history of hallucinogens, American fascination with mysticism, and the complex relationship between drug addiction, popular culture, rock ‘n’ roll, occultism, and psychology. With a captivating foreword by Peter Coyote, and interviews with writers, artists, and psychologists such as Dennis McKenna, James Fadima, Arik Roper, Jim Woodring, and Mark Tulin, Bebergal offers a groundbreaking exploration of drugs, religion, and the craving for spirituality entrenched in America’s youth.

Product Categories: Biography & Autobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, Popular Culture, Psychology & Psychiatry, and Religion/Spirituality.  Book Author: Peter Bebergal and Peter Coyote.

From “one of the most brilliant, articulate and courageous critics of white privilege in the nation” (Michael Eric Dyson), this now-classic is “a brilliant and personal deconstruction of institutionalized white supremacy in the United States . . . a beautifully written, heartfelt memoir” (Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz).

The inspiration for the acclaimed documentary film, this deeply personal polemic reveals how racial privilege shapes the daily lives of white Americans in every realm: employment, education, housing, criminal justice, and elsewhere.

Using stories from his own life, Tim Wise examines what it really means to be white in a nation created to benefit people who are “white like him.” This inherent racism is not only real, but disproportionately burdens people of color and makes progressive social change less likely to occur. Explaining in clear and convincing language why it is in everyone’s best interest to fight racial inequality, Wise offers ways in which white people can challenge these unjust privileges, resist white supremacy and racism, and ultimately help to ensure the country’s personal and collective well-being.

Product Categories: Discrimination & Race Relations, Essays, Memoir, Nonfiction, and Social Sciences.  Book Author: Tim Wise.

According to The New York Times, Noam Chomsky is “arguably the most important intellectual alive.” But he isn’t easy to read . . . or at least he wasn’t until these books came along. Made up of intensively edited speeches and interviews, they offer something not found anywhere else: pure Chomsky, with every dazzling idea and penetrating insight intact, delivered in clear, accessible, reader-friendly prose.

Published as four short books in the famous Real Story series—What Uncle Sam Really Wants; The Prosperous Few and the Restless Many; Secrets, Lies and Democracy; and The Common Good—they’ve collectively sold almost 600,000 copies.

And they continue to sell year after year after year because Chomsky’s ideas become, if anything, more relevant as time goes by. For example, twenty years ago he pointed out that “in 1970, about 90% of international capital was used for trade and long-term investment—more or less productive things—and 10% for speculation. By 1990, those figures had reversed.” As we know, speculation continued to increase exponentially. We’re paying the price now for not heeding him them.

Product Categories: Anthology, Collection, Current Events, Economics, History, Nonfiction, Political Science, and Social Sciences.  Book Author: Arthur Naiman, David Barsamian, and Noam Chomsky.

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