Tag Archives: W.W. Norton

A trio of great new releases from W.W. Norton & Company

Kafkaesque: Fourteen Stories ($19.95, on sale now)is a mesmerizing interpretation of fourteen iconic Kafka stories. Long fascinated with the work of Franz Kafka, Kuper began illustrating his stories in 1988. Initially drawn to the master’s dark humor, Kuper adapted the stories over the years to plumb their deeper truths. His style deliberately evokes Lynd Ward and Frans Masereel, contemporaries of Kafka whose wordless novels captured much of the same claustrophobia and mania as Kafka’s tales.

Kafkaesque: Fourteen Stories

Kuper has reimagined these iconic stories for the twenty-first century, using setting and perspective to comment on contemporary issues like civil rights and homelessness. Longtime lovers of Kafka will appreciate Kuper’s innovative interpretations, while Kafka novices will discover a haunting introduction to some of the great writer’s most beguiling stories, including “A Hunger Artist,” “In The Penal Colony,” and “The Burrow.” Kafkaesque stands somewhere between adaptation and wholly original creation, going beyond a simple illustration of Kafka’s words to become a stunning work of art.


In End of the Megafauna: The Fate of the World’s Hugest, Fiercest, and Strangest Animals ($35, on sale November 13) paleomammologistRoss D.E. MacPhee a look into the fascinating lives and puzzling demise of some of the largest animals on earth. Until a few thousand years ago, creatures that could have been from a sci-fi thriller roamed the earth. These great beasts, or “megafauna,” lived on every habitable continent and on many islands. With a handful of exceptions, all are now gone. What caused the disappearance of these prehistoric behemoths?

End of the Megafauna: The Fate of the World's Hugest, Fiercest, and Strangest Animals

MacPhee explores that question, examining the leading extinction theories, weighing the evidence, and presenting his own conclusions. He shows how theories of human overhunting and catastrophic climate change fail to explain critical features of these extinctions, and how new thinking is needed to elucidate these mysterious losses. Gorgeous four-color illustrations by Peter Schouten bring these megabeasts back to life in vivid detail.


Silicon City: San Francisco in the Long Shadow of the Valley($26.95, on sale November 13) is an intimate, eye-opening portrait of San Francisco transformed by the tech boom that asks: Can a city lose its soul? The tech boom of our time is changing San Francisco at warp speed. Famously home to artists and activists, and known as the birthplace of the Beats, the Black Panthers and the LGBTQ movement, the Bay Area has been transformed by Silicon Valley. But the richer the region gets, the more unequal and less diverse it becomes, and the cracks in the city’s facade begin to show. Writer and filmmaker Cary McClelland has spent several years interviewing people at the epicenter of the Bay Area’s rapid change: tech innovators, venture capitalists, coders, homeless advocates, pawn brokers, prosecutors and public defenders, tattoo artists, and tour guides.
Silicon City: San Francisco in the Long Shadow of the Valley
Silicon City masterfully weaves together their voices and unforgettable stories to create a dynamic portrait of a beloved city and a cautionary tale for the entire country.

Want to know a secret? here’s a look at some new books for a new year, from W.W. Norton

Whenever we hear great news, we like to share it. Here, a sampling of the must-read, must-read titles coming from W.W. Norton next year. Why are are telling you so early? So you have save the bucks given to you throughout the holidays and then cash in on them! You’re welcome.

Bluff City: The Secret Life of Photographer Ernest Withers
By Preston Lauterbach (on sale January 15, 2019)
The little-known story of an iconic photographer, Ernest Withers, whose work captured and influenced a critical moment in American history.

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 From his position at the heart of the cultural revolution, Withers took some of the most legendary images of the ’50s and 60s: Martin Luther King Jr. riding a newly integrated bus in Montgomery, Alabama; Emmett Till’s uncle pointing an accusatory finger across the courtroom at his nephew’s killer. From Black Power meetings to raucous Memphis nightclubs where Elvis brushed shoulders with B.B. King, Withers was simultaneously gathering information for the FBI. In this gripping narrative history, Preston Lauterbach examines the complicated political and economic forces that supported Withers’ seeming betrayal of those he witnessed.

Team Human
By Douglas Rushkoff (on sale January 22, 2019)
Our technologies, markets, and institutions often contain an anti-human agenda. Douglas Rushkoff, digital theorist and host of the Team Human podcast, reveals how forces for human connection have turned into ones of isolation and repression: robots taking our jobs, algorithms directing our attention, and social media undermining our democracy.
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But all is not lost. It’s time for Team Human to take a stand, regenerate the social bonds that define us and, together, make a positive impact on this earth.

Good to Go: What the Athlete in All of Us Can Learn from the Strange Science of Recovery
By Christie Aschwanden (on sale February 5, 2019)
An eye-opening, myth-busting exploration of how the human body can best recover and adapt to sports and fitness training.

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In Good to Go, acclaimed FiveThirtyEight science writer Christie Aschwanden takes readers on an entertaining and enlightening tour through the pseudoscience behind the latest sports recovery trends, products and services, providing answers to the fundamental question: Do any of them actually help the body recover and achieve peak performance?

Sounds Like Titanic: A Memoir
By Jessica Hindman (on sale February 12, 2019)
When aspiring violinist Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman lands a job with a professional ensemble, it is a lifelong dream come true. But the ensemble proves to be a sham—when the group “performs,” the microphones are never on. Instead, the music blares from a CD that sounds suspiciously like the Titanic soundtrack.

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With vulnerability, humor, and sharp insight into ambition and gender, Hindman tells a surreal coming-of-age story that perfectly articulates the anxieties and illusions of her generation. As Sounds Like Titanic swells to a crescendo, it gives voice to the failed promises of a nation that takes comfort in false realities.

Greek to Me: Adventures of the Comma Queen
By Mary Norris (on sale April 2, 2019)
The beloved Comma Queen returns with a buoyant and charming book about language, love, and the wine-dark sea. In Greek to Me, Mary Norris delivers another wise and witty paean to the art of expressing oneself clearly and convincingly, this time filtered through her greatest passion: all things Greek.

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 Filled with Norris’s memorable encounters with Greek words, Greek gods, Greek wine—and more than a few Greek waiters—Greek to Me is the Comma Queen’s fresh take on Greece and the exotic yet strangely familiar language that so deeply influences our own.

Provocative and compelling, “Kafka’s Last Trial” is a riveting read, a brilliant meditation on cultural ownership and national identity

When Franz Kafka died from tuberculosis at 40 in 1924, he left one last instruction to his closest friend and confidant, the celebrated author Max Brod: Burn [my] remaining manuscripts, diaries, and letters unread.

Brod did not follow the request.

Instead of destroying Kafka’s manuscripts, Brod devoted the rest of his life to canonizing Kafka as the most prescient writer of the twentieth century.

In Kafka Last Trial: The Case of a Literary Legacy (W. W. Norton & Company, $26.95 hardcover) Benjamin Balint, one of our most perceptive and engaging scholars of Jewish literature, tells the tale of the fate of Kafka’s works—from Max Brod’s harrowing escape to Palestine with the manuscripts as Nazi invaders closed in  on Czechoslovakia in 1939, to a gripping account of the contentious international legal battle over the ownership of Kafka’s oeuvre, which reached its climax in Israel’s high court in 2016.

In addition to the gripping legal drama, the book doubles as a first-rate biography of both Kafka and Brod. Balint details the course of their heady friendship, marked by Kafka’s introversion and self-scrutiny and Brod’s exuberance. Brod was a critic, novelist, translator, and a seminal figure in the group of intellectuals known in the early years of the twentieth century as the “Prague Circle,” and Balint illuminates how the literary debates and disputes in taste between Kafka and Brod animated much of Kafka’s own writing. Despite the lackluster reception of Kafka’s early works, Brod worshipped Kafka and was the first to recognize his literary genius. This recognition led Brod to betray his friend’s dying wish and preserve for the world such foundational works of literary modernism at The Castle, The Trial, Kafka’s diaries, and the harrowing Letter to His Father.

With compassion, wit, and erudition, Balint unpacks the complicated trial—dense with dilemmas legal, ethical and political, and filled with surreal ironies worthy of the term “Kafkaesque.” The case pitted three powers in the struggle for the legacy: the National Library
of Israel, which asserted that Kafka’s work belonged in the Jewish homeland; the deep-pocketed German Literature Archive in Marbach, which had been negotiating to purchase the estate of
Max Brod—and therefore the materials left behind by Kafka; and the elusive Eva Hoffe, who had inherited Kafka’s estate from her mother, Esther Hoffe, Brod’s secretary and erstwhile
lover. When the dust of the case settled, only one of these parties would be granted the literary legacy of this cryptic genius.
Balint also reveals Kafka as a man inhabiting a borderland between cultures—steeped in German literature and culture, but also fascinated by Zionism, by the Hebrew language, and by Yiddish theatre. Balint situates Kafka’s life and cultural heritage within the larger strains of the cultural diaspora, revealing the motives behind Israel’s insistence on laying claim to Kafka’s manuscripts.

Provocative and compelling, Kafka’s Last Trial is the definitive account of this captivating and tortuous case, as well as a brilliant meditation on cultural ownership and national identity.

Richard Munson’s “Tesla” asks: Did Tesla’s eccentricities eclipsed his genius?

It’s a shame many still don’t know his name. Or his genius.
Nikola Tesla invented the radio, the induction motor, the neon lamp, and the remote control. His scientific discoveries made possible X-ray technology, wireless communications, and radar, and he predicted the Internet and even the smart watch. Today, he is hailed as a visionary by the likes of Elon Musk (whose electronic cars bear his name) and Larry Page, the founder of Google. His image appears on stamps, the Encyclopedia Brittanica ranks him as one of the ten most interesting historical figures, and Life magazine lists him as one of the one hundred most famous people of the last millennium. And yet, his contemporaries and fellow inventors Thomas Edison and Guglielmo Marconi achieved far greater commercial success and popular recognition.

In Tesla: Inventor of the Modern (W. W. Norton & Company, $26.95), Richard Munson asks whether Tesla’s eccentricities eclipsed his genius. Ultimately, he delivers an enthralling biography that illuminates every facet of Tesla’s life while justifying his stature as the most original inventor of the late nineteenth century.

Born at midnight during a lightning storm, between “today and tomorrow,” as Munson writes, Tesla’s unusual entry into the world foreshadowed a life in flux. He was raised a Serb in what is now Croatia by a religious father and a mother who encouraged his early scientific investigations. Though he never married and often craved isolation, he could be a master showman, entertaining crowds by exposing himself to thousands of volts of electricity. He enjoyed lavish living—he dressed impeccably and lived for years at the Waldorf Astoria—but died penniless after letting a series of promising business opportunities slip away. His alternating-current system formed the basis of the electric grid and long-distance electrical transmission, and yet he spent his later years feeding the pigeons in Bryant Park, speculating about communication with other planets, and maintaining an unusual exercise regimen (including toe-wiggling exercises) that he claimed sustained his health. He was alternately praised as a “man ahead of his time” and labeled an eccentric unable to draw practical application from his prophecies.

In this authoritative and highly readable biography, Munson explores the paradoxes that defined this underappreciated genius, as well as the relationships that altered the course of his life. Drawing on colorful accounts of his lectures and demonstrations, Munson brings to vivid life the “War of the Currents,” during which Tesla and Edison publicly debated the merits of direct and alternating currents. Compelling excerpts from Tesla’s correspondence with George Westinghouse reveal the complexities of this partnership—Westinghouse brought Tesla’s polyphase system to the world, but the company’s struggle to survive a culture of robber barons and monopolies led Tesla to sacrifice lucrative royalty payments. An examination of Tesla’s friendship with Robert and Katharine Johnson reveals the inventor’s human side, as does an account of his acquaintance with Mark Twain.

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In these and other relationships both personal and professional, Tesla alternately amazed and infuriated his admirers, often letting ego and stubbornness get in the way of business deals that might have converted his visions into reality and commercial success. But, as Munson argues, even his failures in business and public relations can’t obscure the fact that he “made at least five outstanding scientific discoveries . . . that others ‘rediscovered’ up to forty years later and for which they then won Nobel Prizes.” He was a “poet and visionary,” from whom we can still learn today, an out-of-the-box thinker whose regard for innovation over money speaks to our current need for clean energy solutions.

While others, most notably Edison, produced more recognizable products, Tesla’s discoveries power our modern economy, even if those of us benefiting from them understand little of his contribution. In Tesla, Richard Munson grants the inventor the recognition he deserves for both his practical achievements and prophetic visions, skillfully placing him within the context of his time while acknowledging the many ways in which he lived outside of time, ultimately ushering in a future that others could not yet see.

Chuck Palahniuk’s “Adjustment Day” tells the story of a U.S on the brink of chaos

For more than two decades, Chuck Palahniuk has been holding up a dark mirror so that we might view ourselves—all too often leading us to wonder, is the darkness within the mirror or within our own psyches? Palahniuk’s works have been hailed as “astonishing,” “diabolical,” “powerful,” “important.” His reality-bending tales have sparked debate and stirred controversy.

Now, Palahniuk has returned home to the publisher that launched his career 22 years ago with Fight Club. W. W. Norton & Co. has released Adjustment Day ($26.95), a book that does for the current apocalyptic zeitgeist what Fight Club did for ’90scorporate unease. Indeed, Palahniuk has said: “Adjustment Day is to Fight Club what Atlas Shrugged is to The Fountainhead—a bigger package of bold characters and norm-bashing ideas.”

In this devastating and comic novel of rebellion, he looks at the heart of America and finds it frightening. Palahniuk has never pulled his punches. Here is a book designed to challenge, to provoke, to enrage—everyone. Adjustment Day tells the story of a United States on the brink of chaos—a simmering cauldron, ready to boil over.

The book calls to mind a politicized Hieronymus Bosch panel, wherein the disaffected citizens of a lost world prepare to take control—or blow everything up trying. And the directives for these widespread acts of malice and assassination all seem to be coming from a single source: a mysterious blue-black book with a gold-embossed cover.  A book that brands the carrier as a hero.  A volume found in no library, and which can be purchased in no bookshop.  A book that men carry “every day, everywhere, as they’d carry a flag into battle.”

 

The road to all things Broadway can be found in architect Fran Leadon’s “Broadway: A History of New York City in Thirteen Miles”

They say the neon light are bright on Broadway. But Manhattan’s “Broadway” is much more than flashing marquees and glitzy shops. It is a 13-mile street stretch that runs from State Street at Bowling Green through the borough of Manhattan. (There’s 2 miles through the Bronx, exiting north from the city to run an additional 18 miles through the municipalities of Yonkers, Hastings-On-Hudson, Dobbs Ferry, Irvington and Tarrytown, and terminating north of Sleepy Hollow in Westchester County.
Broadway is the oldest north–south main thoroughfare in New York City, dating to the first New Amsterdam settlement, although most of it did not bear its current name until the late 19th century. The name Broadway is the English language literal translation of the Dutch name, Brede weg.

The road to all things Broadway can be found in architect Fran Leadon’s Broadway: A History of New York City in Thirteen Miles (W.W. Norton, $35).

Broadway takes us on a mile-by-mile journey that traces the gradual evolution of the 17th-century’s Brede Weg, a muddy cow path in a backwater Dutch settlement, to the 20th-century’s Great White Way. We learn why one side of the street was once considered more fashionable than the other. We witness construction of the Ansonia Apartments, Trinity Church, and the Flatiron Building and the burning of P.T. Barnum’s American Museum. We discover that Columbia University was built on the site of an insane asylum.
Library of Congress
Our fave Broadway site: the Flatiron Building, way back when
Along the way we meet Alexander Hamilton; Edgar Allen Poe; John James Audubon; Emma Goldman; “Bill the Butcher” Poole; “Texas” Guinan, and the assorted real estate speculators, impresarios, and politicians who helped turn Broadway into a living paradigm of American progress, at its best and worst. With maps and more than 75 black-and-white photos throughout, Broadway tells the vivid story of what is arguably the world most famous thoroughfare.

Professional chef Cameron Stauch explores the clever ways that Vietnamese cooks transform imitation meats into exquisite, uniquely delicious dishes

We are happy to serve up some exciting news about a cookbook that W.W. Norton releases on March 13. This is no ordinary cookbook:  The dishes in Vegetarian Việt Nam ($35) make use of the full arsenal of Vietnamese herbs and sauces to make tofu, mushrooms, and vegetables burst with flavor like never before.

In the years he spent living and cooking in Vietnam, professional chef Cameron Stauch learned about a tradition of vegetarian Vietnamese cuisine that is light and full of flavor. He dishes out an essential introduction to meatless Vietnamese cooking; the nearly 100 recipes  have been  devised over centuries by Mahayana Buddhist monks.

Featuring practical and sophisticated recipes, Staunch explores the clever ways that Vietnamese cooks transform imitation meats into exquisite, uniquely delicious dishes such as Lemongrass Chile “Chicken” Strips Stir-Fry, Turmeric Tofu Wrapped in Wild Pepper Leaves, Sweetened Sticky Rice with Shredded Coconut, Green Mango Rice Paper Ribbons, and Soy Ginger Glazed Eggplant. Seconds anyone?

In these versatile and wide-ranging recipes, Staunch teaches the home cook how to use annatto seed oil, toasted rice powder, tamarind liquid, and nutty mushroom pâté, among other Vietnamese pantry essentials, to produce the spicy, tangy, crunchy and sweet dishes that will have readers wondering how they ever lived without vegetarian Vietnamese meals

Cameron cooks banh xeo pancakes for lunch.

With a lavishly illustrated glossary that helps you recognize the mushrooms, noodles, fruits, and vegetables that make up the vegetarian Vietnamese pantry, Vegetarian Việt Nam will unlock an entire universe of flavor to people who want healthy, tasty, and sustainable food.

Hungry for ideas in food? The recipe is clear: “Gluten-Free Flour Power: Bringing Your Favorite Foods Back to the Table”

Let us serve you a great idea for what will be a great new year: Aki Kamozawa and H. Alexander Talbot—chefs and restaurant consultants known for their innovative approach to tricky food conundrums, and their widely-popular book and blog Ideas in Food—apply their characteristic blend of diligent, kitchen-tested solutions and eclectic influences in Gluten-Free Flour Power: Bringing Your Favorite Foods Back to the Table [W. W. Norton & Company, $19.95). With more than 90 recipes and photographs, Aki and Alex provide answers to home cooks’ toughest questions about making delicious gluten-free foods at home. Whether it’s deliciously fluffy blueberry muffins, crispy homemade pizza dough, hearty spiced pumpkin waffles, or chewy chocolate chip cookies, Aki and Alex are always looking to maximize flavor, texture and taste.

Gluten-free Flour Power

While gluten-free flour blends are readily available at the store, Aki and Alex demonstrate how simple it is to create a homemade blend that’s more reliable (and affordable) than the prepackaged store-bought flours. The book covers the flours, gums and starches needed to make great gluten-free dishes and how to put them to work in your kitchen every day, with three unique flour blends designed to be used interchangeably with each recipe in the book. Each blend takes into account an allergen beyond gluten sensitivity: soy, dairy, and gums. Readers will also find simple, satisfying recipes that are at once familiar and groundbreaking: light and airy doughnuts made with buttermilk brioche; pass-around Stromboli made with yogurt; and a triple chocolate cake, each layer pre-soaked in a smooth chocolate syrup.

Aki and Alex show how easy it can be to amp up familiar recipes to get incredible results: harnessing tapioca starch to get a perfectly thick texture in homemade ice cream; adding potato starch for light, crispy, fully-flavored fried chicken; or boosting biscuit and cake batters with toasted milk powder to produce delicious caramelized flavors. Their “seamless” ravioli, with pepperoni Bolognese, starts with rounds of cheese filling that are slowly coated in flour to create a smooth, seamless exterior. When you drop the balls into boiling water, the flour gelatinizes, forming a skin around the filling and creating the perfect marriage of cheese and pasta texture.

For many people, maintaining a gluten-free diet has become more than a dietary choice. It can be a statement about the state of the food industry writ large, a desire to take a closer look at—and take some control over—the food we put in our bodies. With fully illustrated step-by-step instructions accompanying nearly every recipe, Gluten-Free Flour Power will change the way you plan everyday meals and dream of new dishes for friends and family.

A new chapter for 2018: Two new must-read books from W.W. Norton

Here’s a sneak peek of two W. W. Norton non-fiction titles being released early this year. Save the date, save time to read them.

In CRÆFT: An Inquiry into the Origins and True Meaning of Traditional Crafts [now on sale], archaeologist and medieval historian Alexander Langlands takes us into the world of traditional crafts to recover a sense of cræft that connects us with our human past, our sense of place, and our remarkable capacity to survive in the harshest of landscapes. We follow Langlands as he journeys from his home in Wales to Spain, France, England, Scotland, and Iceland in search of the material traces and lost meanings of everyday human making. https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/QxQh7unOElOxUyyJ81N1VUplSQ_jel1msAJEgMJ_QSCf2Y1_B4ec31A6jvm28eKmYgqK2ur8G4btpNjfo0ZKdiWU-YCdn7chuu3CanSYz93PC4Qs8pfa-mLMfpSMi7YfDdNv84nFAlong the way, we glimpse living embodiments of ancient cræft through Langlands’ engaging tales of his own adventures herding sheep, keeping bees, tanning hides, spinning wool, and thatching roofs. Langlands reveals that what lies behind our desire for products bearing the mark of authenticity—from the DIY movement to the rise of craft beers—may be nothing less than an a deep respect for human ingenuity and the passing on of traditions from generation to generation.

Behemoth: A History of the Factory and the Making of the Modern World [on sale February 2] presents a sweeping, global history of the rise of the factory and its effects on society. https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/OlnGkYRTVmWxFOqtnevpNnODW8ASUuxor_TdibpZeSkvmRnkE5PAsvbo1JPKdHkSMg9k3i9_t4b4hQmex4NEsLMlTHFmUSbjHsLkRye8O917vQkjH_A1E9BcgckbJEZX61ks6zJlIn an ambitious work of scholarship that is also wonderfully accessible, celebrated historian Joshua B. Freeman tells the story of the factory and examines how it has reflected both our dreams and our nightmares. Guiding readers from the textile mills of Victorian England to the present-day behemoth factories of China and Vietnam, Freeman also traces the idea of the factory in the history of thought, politics, and art, giving weight to the industrial legacies that shaped and continue to define our world.

Fuck yeah: Scientist Emma Byrne’s book proves “Swearing is Good For You”

I curse all the fucking time. I am glad I do:  Scientist Emma Byrne’s sparkling debut Swearing is Good For You: The Amazing Science of Bad Language (W.W. Norton, $25.95) holds a surprising suggestion for healthy living: Start cursing more and you might just decrease stress, reduce pain, and increase cooperation.

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In her book, an irreverent and impeccably researched defense of our dirtiest words, Byrne examines the latest research to show how swearing can be good for you. With humor and colorful language, she explores every angle of swearing—why we do it, how we do it, and what it tells us about ourselves. Byrne reveals how swearing has been around since the earliest humans began to communicate, and has been shown to reduce physical pain, lower anxiety, prevent physical violence, help trauma victims recover language, and promote human cooperation.

Fuck you by liftarn

Taking readers on a whirlwind tour through scientific experiments, historical case studies, and cutting-edge research on language in both humans and other primates, Byrne defends cursing and demonstrates how much it can reveal about different cultures, their taboos and their values. Packed with the results of unlikely and often hilarious scientific studies—from the “ice bucket test” for coping with pain, to the connection between Tourette’s and swearing, to a chimpanzee who curses at her handler in sign language—Swearing is Good for You presents a lighthearted but convincing case for the foulmouthed.