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An “extraordinary” work of spiritual journalism that grapples with the themes of drugs, prisons, politics, and spirituality through Shaw’s personal story (Chicago Tribune), originally published as a series on Reality Sandwich and The Huffington Post.

In 2005, Shaw was arrested in Chicago for possession of MDMA and was sent to prison for one year. Shaw not only looks at the current prison system and its many destructive flaws, but also at how American culture regards criminals and those who live outside of society. He begins his story at Chicago’s Cook County Jail, and uses its sprawling, highly corrupt infrastructure to build upon his overarching argument.

This is an insider’s look at the forgotten or excluded segments of our society, the disenfranchised lifestyles and subcultures existing in what Shaw calls the “exile nation.” They are those who lost some or all of their ability to participate in the full opportunities of society because of an arrest or conviction for a non-violent, drug-related, or “moral offense,” those who cannot participate in the credit economy, and those with lifestyle choices that involve radical politics and sexuality, cognitive liberty, and unorthodox spiritual and healing practices. Together they make up the new “evolutionary counterculture” of the most significant epoch in human history.

Product Categories: Biography & Autobiography, Current Events, Memoir, Nonfiction, Politics, Religion/Spirituality, and Social Sciences.  Book Author: Charles Shaw.

The Book of Harold is as profound and deeply respectful a novel as it is irreverent in its wild, often hilarious take on a modern messianic movement in suburbia. The titular and sometimes exasperating hero of this masterful satire is Harold Peeks, a middle-aged suburbanite living a lonely if typical modern life in the outskirts of Houston, Texas. His world feels bland and pointless until one evening at a mundane office party he announces to his stunned co-workers that he is the Second Coming of Christ. Oddly enough, people start to believe him.

Blake Waterson, Harold’s closest friend and narrator of the novel, is as skeptical as anyone of this disheveled and disconcertingly bawdy Savior and yet this would-be Judas is compelled to follow Harold on his two-hundred mile walking journey to Austin with a mismatched group of equally puzzled disciples. On the road, this motley crew of witnesses to the holy get to experience misguided converts, violent possums, and the ungrateful recipients of off-kilter healings. They also discover the inherent paradoxes, absurdities, and dangers of spirituality, as they learn that saviors may not have all the answers, and humanity is just as bizarre and beautiful as the beliefs we hold.

Product Categories: Fiction, Humor, and Literary.  Book Author: Owen Egerton.

A revised and updated edition of the explosive book that blows the lid off the Central Intelligence Agency.

The CIA’s Greatest Hits details how the CIA:

   • hired top Nazi war criminals, shielded them from justice and learned—and used—their techniques
   • has been involved in assassinations, bombings, massacres, wars, death squads, drug trafficking, and rigged elections all over the world
   • tortures children as young as 13 and adults as old as 89, resulting in forced “confessions to all sorts of imaginary crimes (an innocent Kuwaiti was tortured for months to make him keep repeating his initial lies, and a supposed al-Qaeda leader was waterboarded 187 times in a single month without producing a speck of useful information)
   • orchestrates the media—which one CIA deputy director liked to call “the mighty Wurlitzer—and places its agents inside newspapers, magazines and book publishers
   • and much more

The CIA’s crimes continue unabated, and unpunished. The day before General David Petraeus took over as the twentieth CIA director, federal prosecutors announced that they were dropping 99 investigations into the deaths of people in CIA custody, leaving just two active cases they’re willing to pursue.

Product Categories: Current Events, History, Nonfiction, Political Science, and Politics.  Book Author: Arthur Naiman and Mark Zepezauer.

Searching for his missing brother in Prague, an American encounters a world of killers, gangsters, and ancient mysteries in a “satisfyingly twisted tale” (Publishers Weekly).

When American collections agent Lee Holloway receives a letter from a mysterious woman named Vera concerning his missing brother Paul, curiosity takes him to Prague in search of answers. But what he finds in the historic city’s looming shadows and cobbled streets is a mind-bending world of conspiracy and danger. A world where black magic and sixteenth-century alchemy aren’t just footnotes in history books. A world where gangsters with fairy-tale names and a bloodthirsty serial killer exist alongside grim reminders of Nazi invasion. And where a priceless watch named The Rudolph Complication—commissioned by an eccentric Roman emperor—is rumored to hold the secret to eternal life.

As Lee delves deeper into the question of Paul’s fate, he discovers unsettling truths about his brother . . . and himself. Now Lee must unravel the tangled threads of Paul’s last days if he wants to escape the ancient city alive.

Echoing with ghosts and mythic monsters from Europe’s storied past, this is a heart-pumping thrill ride into the very heart of darkness.

Product Categories: Fiction and Mystery/Thriller/Noir.  Book Author: Isaac Adamson.

Soft Skull Press proudly offers this tenth-anniversary edition of visionary essays exploring the glory and power of Black Cool, curated by thought leader and bestselling author Rebecca Walker, with a foreword by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Originally published in 2012, this collection of illuminating essays exploring the ineffable and protean aesthetics of Black Cool has been widely cited for its contribution to much of the contemporary discussion of the influence of Black Cool on culture, politics, and power around the world.

Curated by Rebecca Walker, and drawing on her lifelong study of the African roots of Black Cool and its expression within the African diaspora, this collection identifies ancestral elements often excluded from colloquial understandings of Black Cool: cultivated reserve, coded resistance, intentional audacity, transcendent intellectual and spiritual rigor, intentionally disruptive eccentricity, and more.

With essays by some of America’s most innovative Black thinkers, including visual artist Hank Willis Thomas, writer and filmmaker dream hampton, MacArthur-winning photographer Dawoud Bey, fashion legend Michaela angela Davis, and critical theorist and cultural icon bell hooks,¬†Black Cool¬†offers an excavation of the African roots of Cool and its hitherto undefined legacy in American culture and beyond.

This edition includes a new introduction from Rebecca Walker, a powerful meditation on the genesis, creation, completion, and subsequent impact of this landmark volume over the last decade.

Product Categories: Anthology, Discrimination & Race Relations, Essays, and Nonfiction.  Book Author: Henry Louis Gates Jr and Rebecca Walker.

The human race has invented nearly every toxin imaginable. In our food, there are chemicals that kill pests, make foods ripen faster and grow bigger, and lengthen shelf life. In our clothing, chemicals make fabrics soft, keep them from wrinkling, make them fire retardant and resistant to stains, and keep them from collecting static. In our kitchens and bathrooms, chemicals create suds, remove grease, stiffen our hair, make our skin feel smooth, stop us from perspiring, change our hair color, lengthen our lashes, and make us smell good.

Unfortunately, many of these chemicals, designed to improve and simplify our lives, cause birth defects, hyperactivity, learning disabilities, attention deficit, early puberty, and developmental problems—to name a few.

The Pure Cure takes readers to a new level of awareness regarding the dangers of the toxins in everyday products and services. Taking a thorough and comprehensive approach, the book guides readers through every room in the house and beyond, identifying problematic toxins and a course of action for eliminating them. The author also points to surprising new areas of concern, makes suggestions for healthy solutions, and provides a lists of products and companies that can offer safer alternatives.

Product Categories: Current Events, Heath & Fitness, Nonfiction, and Self-Help.  Book Author: Sharyn Wynters.

Set in an alternate present that is a slightly, if dangerously, skewed version of our own, Keyhole Factory tracks the interwoven destinies of disparate characters up to and beyond the end of the world-as-we-know-it, brought on by a global super-virus. Beginning with a biting satire of an academic poetry conference, the novel moves on to encompass the stories of a poet-astronaut, a microbiologist contemplating an exit strategy from her high-level job designing biological weapons, a sports-car-driving killer who stages the aesthetic murders of utopian commune-dwellers, and a lone pirate radio disc jockey who may be the last person left alive broadcasting her story to nobody. Allowing form and content to shape each other, William Gillespie pries open the confusion in a moment of total crisis through a narrative web-work technique derived from deranged fiction pioneer Harry Stephen Keeler.

Part imaginative free-for-all and part deeply felt examination of isolation and survival, the individual lives in Keyhole Factory shine through the chaos in all their beauty and tragedy. With his signature wit and originality, Gillespie spins a glittering fever-dream that questions our assumptions about the way we interpret events and our relation to the planet, without ever losing sight of the underlying experience of what it feels like to be a human being in the world we live in today.

Product Categories: Fiction and Literary.  Book Author: William Gillespie.

Bowling lessons with a hunchback. A bizarre first-grade teacher who hallucinates in class. A tragically innocent family blind-sided by flower power, and the salvation of soul music at a radio station straight out of a Quentin Tarantino version of The Twilight Zone. These are just a few of the luminous characters and conjurings Kris Saknussemm delivers in his kaleidoscopic Sea Monkeys—the story of his growing up in the counterculture San Francisco Bay Area and central California in the 1960s.

Known for his genre-bending works Zanesville and Private Midnight, Saknussemm now gives us a highly original take on the nonfiction memoir, in which he shatters the stained glass windows of his father’s church and mixes the pieces with ghost cartoons, the Cronkite contradictions of Civil Rights demonstrations, and ads for laxatives during a strange hiatus in American sanity when Sly Stone and Perry Como could both be in the Top 10. Honest, funny, and at times heartbreaking, Sea Monkeys is the no-holds-barred tale of one of our most exciting contemporary authors’ own coming of age, and the perfect follow-up to Saknussemm’s Zanesville, which Booklist hailed as “one of the most creative, edgy, and entertaining novels spawned in a decade.”

Product Categories: Memoir and Nonfiction.  Book Author: Kris Saknussemm.

Caught in a riptide of haphazard underemployment, at turns violent and unpredictable, suffering under a bad economy with no family or friends to speak of, Stratton Brown longs for the chance to escape his small-town past and build a new life. He sets out for Chicago, where he meets a new and fresh hell: a nine-to-fiver in a nondescript, meaningless company, and an obsessive love affair with woman who may be a bit too attached to her abusive ex-boyfriend. Is this all America has to offer its twentysomethings? He’ll soon have to figure out that beneath the gruff labor of building a new life lies the presence of something much more true: a way past his violent childhood and a new path to the American dream.

At Dawn is a literary debut of a fresh and powerful male voice in fiction.

Product Categories: Fiction and Literary.  Book Author: Jobie Hughes.

Cult poet and musician Mike Doughty makes his print debut with Slanky, a black-comic stroll through the demimonde of pop culture and modern urban life.

Doughty’s poems are at once absurdest and matter-of-fact; the images he conjures are thrown into high relief through cutting wordplay. In a series of prose poems about showbiz, he re imagines Cookie Monster as a burned-out suicide, and cheesy talk-show host Joe Franklin as a cross-dressing witness to the apocalypse. And in “For Charlotte, Unlisted” he wrenchingly tracks the elusive memory of a faded romance.

Product Categories: Collection and Poetry.  Book Author: Mike Doughty.

Inspired by The Grateful Dead and featuring interviews and profiles of key artists, Art of the Dead is the story of the vibrant, charismatic poster art that emerged from the streets of 1960s San Francisco.

The Art of the Dead showcases the vibrant, charismatic poster art that emerged from the streets of San Francisco in 1964 and 1966. It traces the cultural, political, and historical influences of posters as art back to Japanese wood blocks through Bell Epoque, on to the Beatniks, the Free Speech Movement, and the Acid Tests. Featuring interviews and profiles of the key artists, including Rick Griffin, Stanley “Mouse” Miller, Alton Kelley, Wes Wilson, and Victor Moscoso.

The book uses Grateful Dead as the vehicle to tell the story of poster art as The Dead were the band that ultimately proved to be the most substantive and engaged partner for the artists and hence featured the best art of any rock ‘n’ roll band ever. The book will follow a chronological evolution of the art from the band’s origination in 1965 through Jerry Garcia’s death in 1995.

The book is in four-color throughout, featuring iconic and rare images as well as extensive “process” material, including sketches, original art, blue lines, film, and printing plates that show how the art was created. It will also include essays by Greil Marcus, Peter Coyote, and Victoria Binder, as well as essays on the elements of the printing process from the original art to the final poster. Ultimately, the Art of the Dead makes the case that poster art is truly an original form of American fine art.

Product Categories: Art and Essays.  Book Author: Phil Cushway.

Capturing the atmosphere of anxiety and loss that exists in Manhattan, this is a story of the city itself, and the interconnected lives of those attempting to navigate both Manhattan and their own mortality.

Joseph Guiteau is a working actor who moved to New York to escape a tragic family history in the Midwest. Wandering through a city transformed by the attacks of September 2001, he frequents gatherings of conspiracy groups, trying to make sense of world events and his own personal history. Looming over his life is a secret that threatens to undermine his new marriage to Del, a snake expert at a city park, whose work visa is the only thread keeping her from deportation back to her native Greece.

The new marriage influences the lives of those around them: William, a dark and troubled actor whose sanity is fading as quickly as his career, leading him to perform increasingly desperate acts; Madi, a young entrepreneur who will have to face the moral complications of a business made successful by the outsourcing of American jobs to India; and her brother Raj, Del’s former lover, a promising photographer whose work details the empty rooms of an increasingly alienated city.

Product Categories: Fiction and Literary.  Book Author: Christopher Bollen.

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