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Story + Poetry Reads

28 Books | by Ryan Miller

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Snow Crash

Snow Crash

Neal Stephenson

In twenty-first-century America, a teenaged computer hacker finds himself fighting a computer virus that battles virtual reality technology and a deadly drug that turns humans into zombies
American Gods

American Gods

Neil Gaiman

American Gods, the extraordinary, highly acclaimed epic novel from storytelling genius and international bestseller Neil Gaiman, comes vividly to life this May in the hottest major TV show of 2017. Praised by Empire as 'something very special', the series will be shown in the UK on Amazon Prime Video and stars Ricky Whittle, Ian McShane, Emily Browning and Gillian Anderson. 'Gaiman is a treasure-house of story and we are lucky to have him' Stephen King. If you are to survive, you must believe. Shadow Moon has served his time. But hours before his release from prison, his beloved wife is killed in a freak accident. Dazed, he boards a plane home where he meets the enigmatic Mr Wednesday, who professes both to know Shadow and to be king of America. Together they embark on a profoundly strange road trip across the USA, encountering a kaleidoscopic cast of characters along the way. Yet all around them a storm threatens to break. The war has already begun, an epic struggle for the very soul of America, and Shadow is standing squarely in its path.
Elegy On Toy Piano

Elegy On Toy Piano

Dean Young

In Elegy on Toy Piano, Dean Young's sixth book of poems, elegiac necessity finds itself next to goofy celebration. Daffy Duck enters the Valley of the Eternals. Faulkner and bell-bottoms cling to beauty's evanescence. Even in single poems, Young's tone and style vary. No one feeling or idea takes precedence over another, and their simultaneity is frequently revealed; sadness may throw a squirrelly shadow, joy can find itself dressed in mourning black. As in the agitated "Whirlpool Suite": "Pain / and pleasure are two signals carried / over one phoneline." In taking up subjects as slight as the examination of a signature or a true/false test, and as pressing as the death of friends, Young's poems embrace the duplicity of feeling, the malleability of perception, and the truth telling of wordplay.
Skirmish

Skirmish

Dobby Gibson

New poetry by Dobby Gibson, author of Polar, which "teems with a language so alive and so imaginative that one cannot help but read on with wonder and rapture" (The Bloomsbury Review) We have to escape while we can. I'm trying to remember you--quick, now you try to remember me. --from "Refuge" With sheer wit and keen observation, Dobby Gibson's Skirmish puts into conflict the private and public self, civil disobedience and civic engagement, fortunes told and fortunes made. These poems imaginatively, sometimes manically, move from perception to perception with the speed of a mind forced moment by moment to make sense of distant war and local unrest, global misjudgment and suspicious next-door neighbors, the splice-cuts of the media and the gliding leaves on the Mississippi River.
Brave New World Revisited

Brave New World Revisited

Aldous Huxley

In 1958, author Aldous Huxley wrote what some would call a sequel to his novel Brave New World (1932) but the sequel did not revisit the story or the characters. Instead, Huxley chose to revisit the world he created in a set of twelve essays in which he meditates on how his fantasy seemed to be becoming a reality and far more quickly than he ever imagined. That Huxley’s book Brave New World had been largely prophetic about a dystopian future a great distress to Huxley. By 1958, Huxley was sixty-four-years old; the world had been transformed by the events of World War II and the terrifying advent of nuclear weapons. Peeking behind the Iron Curtain where people were not free but instead governed by Totalitarianism, Huxley could only bow to grim prophecy of his friend, author George Orwell, (author of the book 1984). It struck Huxley that people were trading their freedom and individualism in exchange for the illusory comfort of sensory pleasure--just as he had predicted in Brave New World. Huxley despairs of contemporary humankind’s willingness to surrender freedom for pleasure. Huxley worried that the rallying cry, “Give me liberty or give me death” could be easily replaced by “Give me television and hamburgers, but don’t bother me with the responsibilities of liberty.” Huxley saw hope in education; education that could teach people to see beyond the easy slogans and efficient ends and anesthetic-like influence of propaganda.
Cockpit Confidential

Cockpit Confidential

Patrick Smith

A New York Times bestseller For millions of people, travel by air is a confounding, uncomfortable, and even fearful experience. Patrick Smith, airline pilot and author of the popular website www.askthepilot.com, separates fact from fallacy and tells you everything you need to know: • How planes fly, and a revealing look at the men and women who fly them • Straight talk on turbulence, pilot training, and safety. • The real story on delays, congestion, and the dysfunction of the modern airport • The myths and misconceptions of cabin air and cockpit automation • Terrorism in perspective, and a provocative look at security • Airfares, seating woes, and the pitfalls of airline customer service • The colors and cultures of the airlines we love to hate COCKPIT CONFIDENTIAL covers not only the nuts and bolts of flying, but the grand theater of air travel, from airport architecture to inflight service to the excitement of travel abroad. It's a thoughtful, funny, at times deeply personal look into the strange and misunderstood world of commercial flying. "Patrick Smith is extraordinarily knowledgeable about modern aviation...the ideal seatmate, a companion, writer and explorer." —Boston Globe "Anyone remotely afraid of flying should read this book, as should anyone who appreciates good writing and great information." —The New York Times, on ASK THE PILOT.
Open

Open

Andre Agassi

A candid memoir by the tennis champion includes coverage of his Grand Slam wins, establishment of a charitable foundation for underprivileged children and marriage to Stefanie Graf.
Don't Sleep, There are Snakes

Don't Sleep, There are Snakes

Daniel Everett

Although Daniel Everett was a missionary, far from converting the Pirahs, they converted him. He shows the slow, meticulous steps by which he gradually mastered their language and his gradual realisation that its unusual nature closely reflected its speakers' startlingly original perceptions of the world. Everett describes how he began to realise that his discoveries about the Pirah language opened up a new way of understanding how language works in our minds and in our lives, and that this way was utterly at odds with Noam Chomsky's universally accepted linguistic theories. The perils of passionate academic opposition were then swiftly conjoined to those of the Amazon in a debate whose outcome has yet to be won. Everett's views are most recently discussed in Tom Wolfe's bestselling The Kingdom of Speech. Adventure, personal enlightenment and the makings of a scientific revolution proceed together in this vivid, funny and moving book.
Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me

Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me

Ian Morgan Cron

“When I first discovered the grainy picture in my mother’s desk—me as a towheaded two year old sitting in what I remember was a salmon-orange-stained lifeboat—I was overwhelmed by the feeling that the boy in the boat was not waving and laughing at the person snapping the photo as much as he was frantically trying to get the attention of the man I am today. The boy was beckoning me to join him on a voyage through the harrowing straits of memory. He was gambling that if we survived the passage, we might discover an ocean where the past would become the wind at our back rather than a driving gale to the nose of our boat. This book is the record of that voyage.” When he was sixteen years old, Ian Morgan Cron was told about his father’s clandestine work with the CIA. This astonishing revelation, coupled with his father’s dark struggles with chronic alcoholism and depression, upended the world of a boy struggling to become a man. Decades later, as he faces his own personal demons, Ian realizes the only way to find peace is to voyage back through a painful childhood marked by extremes—privilege and poverty, violence and tenderness, truth and deceit—that he’s spent years trying to escape. In this surprisingly funny and forgiving memoir, Ian reminds us that no matter how different the pieces may be, in the end we are all cut from the same cloth, stitched by faith into an exquisite quilt of grace. “Simultaneously redemptive and consoling with bright moments of humor . . . this story is chock-full of sacredness and hope. Cron is one of only a few spirituality authors who could articulate these themes as poignantly.” PUBLISHERS WEEKLY “Ian Cron writes with astonishing energy and freshness; his metaphors stick fast in the imagination. This is neither a simple memoir of hurt endured, nor a tidy story of reconciliation and resolution. It is—rather like Augustine’s Confessions—a testimony to the unfinished business of grace.” DR. ROWAN WILLIAMS, Archbishop of Canterbury “Ian Cron has the gift of making his human journey a parable for all of our journeys. Read this profound book and be well fed, and freed.” FR. RICHARD ROHR, O.F.M., author of Everything Belongs “Ian Morgan Cron is a brilliant writer. This is the kind of book that you don’t just read. It reads you.” MARK BATTERSON, author of In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day
Erwin Schrodinger and the Quantum Revolution

Erwin Schrodinger and the Quantum Revolution

John Gribbin

A lively, fascinating biography of the father of quantum mechanics by the bestselling author of the science classic, In Search of Schrödinger's Cat Erwin Schrödinger, best known for his famous “Schrödinger's Cat” paradox, is one of the most famous physicists of the early twentieth century and a member of a new generation of quantum physicists, including Werner Heisenberg, Paul Dirac, and Niels Bohr. Yet Schrödinger's scientific discoveries only scratch the surface of what makes him so fascinating. More rumpled than Einstein, a devotee of eastern religion and philosophy, and infamous for his alternative lifestyle, his major contribution to physics—and the work for which he received the Nobel Prize in 1933—was to some extent a disappointment to him. Regardless, Schrödinger's masterpiece became an important part of the new physics of his time. This book tells the story of Schrödinger's surprisingly colorful life during one of the most fertile and creative moments in the history of science. The first accessible, in-depth biography of the Nobel Prize-winning Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger Takes you into the heart of the quantum revolution and explains the captivating world of quantum mechanics, which underpins all of modern science Written by bestselling author John Gribbin, one of today's greatest popular science writers whose other books include In Search of Schrödinger's Cat , In Search of the Multiverse, and Alone in the Universe
Life of Pi

Life of Pi

Yann Martel

Life of Pi is a masterful and utterly original novel that is at once the story of a young castaway who faces immeasurable hardships on the high seas, and a meditation on religion, faith, art and life that is as witty as it is profound. Using the threads of all of our best stories, Yann Martel has woven a glorious spiritual adventure that makes us question what it means to be alive, and to believe.
The Boys in the Boat

The Boys in the Boat

Daniel James Brown

Agent Zigzag

Agent Zigzag

Ben Macintyre

A gripping portrait of the ultimate double agent draws on recently declassified documents to recount the remarkable exploits of the enigmatic Eddie Chapman, Agent Zigzag, a criminal, con man, and philanderer trained by the Nazis as a spy who became a British agent at the heart of the German Secret Service. Reprint. 50,000 first printing.
Eleven Rings

Eleven Rings

Phil Jackson, Hugh Delehanty

The head coach of the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers traces the life experiences and philosophies that inspired his championship-winning techniques, revealing how he forged successful teams by combining talents and promoting trust.
Ready Player One

Ready Player One

Ernest Cline

Immersing himself in a mid-21st-century technological virtual utopia to escape an ugly real world of famine, poverty and disease, Wade Watts joins an increasingly violent effort to solve a series of puzzles by the virtual world's super-wealthy creator, who has promised that the winner will be his heir. (This book was previously listed in Forecast.)
Refusing Heaven

Refusing Heaven

Jack Gilbert

More than a decade after Jack Gilbert’s The Great Fires, this highly anticipated new collection shows the continued development of a poet who has remained fierce in his avoidance of the beaten path. In Refusing Heaven, Gilbert writes compellingly about the commingled passion, loneliness, and sometimes surprising happiness of a life spent in luminous understanding of his own blessings and shortcomings: “The days and nights wasted . . . Long hot afternoons / watching ants while the cicadas railed / in the Chinese elm about the brevity of life.” Time slows down in these poems, as Gilbert creates an aura of curiosity and wonder at the fact of existence itself. Despite powerful intermittent griefs–over the women he has parted from or the one lost to cancer (an experience he captures with intimate precision)–Gilbert’s choice in this volume is to “refuse heaven.” He prefers this life, with its struggle and alienation and delight, to any paradise. His work is both a rebellious assertion of the call to clarity and a profound affirmation of the world in all its aspects. It braces the reader in its humanity and heart. From the Hardcover edition.
Wildflowers in the Median

Wildflowers in the Median

Agnes Furey, Leonard Scovens

When Agnes Furey lost her forty-year old daughter Pat and six-year-old grandson Christopher to homicide in 1998 at the hands of Leonard Scovens, words could not describe the hole left in her heart. Even so, rather than hate, Furey chose peace, and she reached out to Scovens in prison. Wildflowers in the Median tells the story of their journey of restoration. Through a collection of poems, vignettes, and letters, both Furey and Scovens pour out their emotions and reflections. It is a tale not of forgiveness, but of understandinga story of a survivor of crime and a criminal finding communion as each struggles with grief and suffering, eventually coming to terms with their spiritual identities and a desire to help others in similar circumstances. A valuable testament to the human heart and its capacity to love, Wildflowers in the Median shows how grace was found in the aftermath of a tragedy.
The Knowledge

The Knowledge

Steven Pressfield

THE KNOWLEDGE is not just a writer’s coming-of-age story. It’s every writer’s coming-of-age story.If you’re a fan of THE WAR OF ART, Pressfield’s new memoir, THE KNOWLEDGE, is the story behind that story and the origin tale between its lines. In the high-crime 1970s in New York, Pressfield was driving a cab and tending bar, incapable of achieving anything literary beyond the completion of his third-in-a-row unpublishable novel. Until fate, in the form of a job tailing his boss’s straying wife, propels him into a Big Lebowski-esque underworld saga that ends with him coming to a life-altering crisis involving not just the criminals he has become deeply and emotionally involved with, but with his own inner demons of the blank page.
Sorry for Your Troubles

Sorry for Your Troubles

Pádraig Ó Tuama

One of the most engaging voices contemporary spirituality in is that of the Irish poet, Pádraig O'Tuama. This second poetry collection arises out of a decade of his hearing stories of people who have lived through personal and political conflict in Northern Ireland, the Middle East and other places of conflict. These poems tell stories of individuals who have lived through conflict: their loves and losses, their hope and generosity. One poem, 'Shaking hands' was written when Pádraig witnessed the historic handshake between Queen Elizabeth II and Martin McGuinness, who has since used the poem publicly. The phrase 'Sorry for your troubles' is used all over Ireland. It comes directly from an Irish phrase, yet Irish has no word for 'bereavement' - the word used is 'troiblóid'. So the phrase would be better translated 'Sorry for your bereavements'. With this in mind, this new book speaks evocatively about a time when thousands of people lost their lives and many thousands more lived through the searing pain of grief.
Unfamiliar Fishes

Unfamiliar Fishes

Sarah Vowell

An irreverent analysis of late-nineteenth-century imperialism in the United States focuses on the annexation of Hawaii as a defining historical milestone, covering such contributing factors as the missionary overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy and the activities of whaling fleets.
I Can't Make This Up

I Can't Make This Up

Kevin Hart

Superstar comedian and Hollywood box office star Kevin Hart turns his immense talent to the written word by writing some words. Some of those words include: the, a, for, above, and even even. Put them together and you have the funniest, most heartfelt, and most inspirational memoir on survival, success, and the importance of believing in yourself since Old Yeller. The question you’re probably asking yourself right now is: What does Kevin Hart have that a book also has? According to the three people who have seen Kevin Hart and a book in the same room, the answer is clear: A book is compact. Kevin Hart is compact. A book has a spine that holds it together. Kevin Hart has a spine that holds him together. A book has a beginning. Kevin Hart’s life uniquely qualifies him to write this book by also having a beginning. It begins in North Philadelphia. He was born an accident, unwanted by his parents. His father was a drug addict who was in and out of jail. His brother was a crack dealer and petty thief. And his mother was overwhelmingly strict, beating him with belts, frying pans, and his own toys. The odds, in short, were stacked against our young hero, just like the odds that are stacked against the release of a new book in this era of social media (where Hart has a following of over 100 million, by the way). But Kevin Hart, like Ernest Hemingway, JK Rowling, and Chocolate Droppa before him, was able to defy the odds and turn it around. In his literary debut, he takes the reader on a journey through what his life was, what it is today, and how he’s overcome each challenge to become the man he is today. And that man happens to be the biggest comedian in the world, with tours that sell out football stadiums and films that have collectively grossed over $3.5 billion. He achieved this not just through hard work, determination, and talent: It was through his unique way of looking at the world. Because just like a book has chapters, Hart sees life as a collection of chapters that each person gets to write for himself or herself. “Not only do you get to choose how you interpret each chapter, but your interpretation writes the next chapter,” he says. “So why not choose the interpretation that serves your life the best?”
The Essential Rumi - reissue

The Essential Rumi - reissue

Coleman Barks

From the premier interpreter of Rumi comes the first definitive one-volume collection of the enduringly popular spiritual poetry by the extraordinary thirteenth-century Sufi mystic.
I Heard God Laughing

I Heard God Laughing

Hafiz

From the renowned translator of The Gift, a rich collection that brings the great Sufi poet to Western readers To Persians , the poems of Hafiz are not "classical literature" from a remote past but cherished wisdom from a dear and intimate friend that continue to be quoted in daily life. With uncanny insight, Hafiz captures the many forms and stages of love. His poetry outlines the stages of the mystic's "path of love"-a journey in which love dissolves personal boundaries and limitations to join larger processes of growth and transformation. With this stunning collection, Ladinsky has succeeded brilliantly in translating the essence of one of Islam's greatest poetic and spiritual voices. "If you haven't yet had the delight of dining with Daniel Ladinsky's sweet, playful renderings of the musings of the great saints, I Heard God Laughing is a perfect appetizer. . . . This newly released edition of his first playful foray into Hafiz's divinely inspired poetry is essential reading . . . . Ladinsky is a master who will be remembered for finally bringing Hafiz alive in the West."-Alexandra Marks, The Christian Science Monitor
Like Brothers

Like Brothers

Mark Duplass, Jay Duplass

The multitalented writers, directors, producers, and actors (as seen on The League, Transparent, and The Mindy Project) share the secrets of their lifelong partnership in this unique memoir. Whether producing, writing, directing, or acting, the Duplass Brothers have made their mark in the world of independent film and television on the strength of their quirky and empathetic approach to storytelling. Now, for the first time, Mark and Jay take readers on a tour of their lifelong partnership in this unique memoir told in essays that share the secrets of their success, the joys and frustrations of intimate collaboration, and the lessons they’ve learned the hard way. From a childhood spent wielding an oversized home video camera in the suburbs of New Orleans to their shared years at the University of Texas in early-nineties Austin, and from the breakthrough short they made on a three-dollar budget to the night their feature film Baghead became the center of a Sundance bidding war, Mark and Jay tell the story of a bond that’s resilient, affectionate, mutually empowering, and only mildly dysfunctional. They are brutally honest about how their closeness sabotaged their youthful romantic relationships, about the jealousy each felt when the other stole the spotlight as an actor (Mark in The League, Jay in Transparent), and about the challenges they faced on the set of their HBO series Togetherness—namely, too much togetherness. But Like Brothers is also a surprisingly practical road map to a rewarding creative partnership. Rather than split all their responsibilities fifty-fifty, the brothers learned to capitalize on each other’s strengths. They’re not afraid to call each other out, because they’re also not afraid to compromise. Most relationships aren’t—and frankly shouldn’t be—as intense as Mark and Jay’s, but their brand of trust, validation, and healthy disagreement has taken them far. Part coming-of-age memoir, part underdog story, and part insider account of succeeding in Hollywood on their own terms, Like Brothers is as openhearted and lovably offbeat as Mark and Jay themselves. “Wright. Ringling. Jonas. I’m sure you could name a bunch of famous brother teams. They’re all garbage compared to Mark and Jay. I can’t wait for you to read this book.”—from the foreword by Mindy Kaling
Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music?

Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music?

Gregory Thornbury

The riveting, untold story of the “Father of Christian Rock” and the conflicts that launched a billion-dollar industry at the dawn of America’s culture wars. In 1969, in Capitol Records' Hollywood studio, a blonde-haired troubadour named Larry Norman laid track for an album that would launch a new genre of music and one of the strangest, most interesting careers in modern rock. Having spent the bulk of the 1960s playing on bills with acts like the Who, Janis Joplin, and the Doors, Norman decided that he wanted to sing about the most countercultural subject of all: Jesus. Billboard called Norman “the most important songwriter since Paul Simon,” and his music would go on to inspire members of bands as diverse as U2, The Pixies, Guns ‘N Roses, and more. To a young generation of Christians who wanted a way to be different in the American cultural scene, Larry was a godsend—spinning songs about one’s eternal soul as deftly as he did ones critiquing consumerism, middle-class values, and the Vietnam War. To the religious establishment, however, he was a thorn in the side; and to secular music fans, he was an enigma, constantly offering up Jesus to problems they didn’t think were problems. Paul McCartney himself once told Larry, “You could be famous if you’d just drop the God stuff,” a statement that would foreshadow Norman’s ultimate demise. In Why Should the Devil Have all the Good Music?, Gregory Alan Thornbury draws on unparalleled access to Norman’s personal papers and archives to narrate the conflicts that defined the singer’s life, as he crisscrossed the developing fault lines between Evangelicals and mainstream American culture—friction that continues to this day. What emerges is a twisting, engrossing story about ambition, art, friendship, betrayal, and the turns one’s life can take when you believe God is on your side.
Fly Girls

Fly Girls

Keith O'Brien

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER “Exhilarating.” —New York Times Book Review “Riveting.” —People “Keith O’Brien has brought these women—mostly long-hidden and forgotten—back into the light where they belong. And he’s done it with grace, sensitivity and a cinematic eye for detail that makes Fly Girls both exhilarating and heartbreaking.” —USA Today The untold story of five women who fought to compete against men in the high-stakes national air races of the 1920s and 1930s — and won Between the world wars, no sport was more popular, or more dangerous, than airplane racing. Thousands of fans flocked to multi‐day events, and cities vied with one another to host them. The pilots themselves were hailed as dashing heroes who cheerfully stared death in the face. Well, the men were hailed. Female pilots were more often ridiculed than praised for what the press portrayed as silly efforts to horn in on a manly, and deadly, pursuit. Fly Girls recounts how a cadre of women banded together to break the original glass ceiling: the entrenched prejudice that conspired to keep them out of the sky. O’Brien weaves together the stories of five remarkable women: Florence Klingensmith, a high‐school dropout who worked for a dry cleaner in Fargo, North Dakota; Ruth Elder, an Alabama divorcee; Amelia Earhart, the most famous, but not necessarily the most skilled; Ruth Nichols, who chafed at the constraints of her blue‐blood family’s expectations; and Louise Thaden, the mother of two young kids who got her start selling coal in Wichita. Together, they fought for the chance to race against the men — and in 1936 one of them would triumph in the toughest race of all. Like Hidden Figures and Girls of Atomic City, Fly Girls celebrates a little-known slice of history in which tenacious, trail-blazing women braved all obstacles to achieve greatness.
Grant

Grant

Ron Chernow

The #1 New York Times bestseller. Named one of the 10 Best Books of 2017 by The New York Times Book Review. Pulitzer Prize winner Ron Chernow returns with a sweeping and dramatic portrait of one of our most compelling generals and presidents, Ulysses S. Grant. Ulysses S. Grant's life has typically been misunderstood. All too often he is caricatured as a chronic loser and an inept businessman, or as the triumphant but brutal Union general of the Civil War. But these stereotypes don't come close to capturing him, as Chernow shows in his masterful biography, the first to provide a complete understanding of the general and president whose fortunes rose and fell with dizzying speed and frequency. Before the Civil War, Grant was flailing. His business ventures had ended dismally, and despite distinguished service in the Mexican War he ended up resigning from the army in disgrace amid recurring accusations of drunkenness. But in war, Grant began to realize his remarkable potential, soaring through the ranks of the Union army, prevailing at the battle of Shiloh and in the Vicksburg campaign, and ultimately defeating the legendary Confederate general Robert E. Lee. Along the way, Grant endeared himself to President Lincoln and became his most trusted general and the strategic genius of the war effort. Grant’s military fame translated into a two-term presidency, but one plagued by corruption scandals involving his closest staff members. More important, he sought freedom and justice for black Americans, working to crush the Ku Klux Klan and earning the admiration of Frederick Douglass, who called him “the vigilant, firm, impartial, and wise protector of my race.” After his presidency, he was again brought low by a dashing young swindler on Wall Street, only to resuscitate his image by working with Mark Twain to publish his memoirs, which are recognized as a masterpiece of the genre. With lucidity, breadth, and meticulousness, Chernow finds the threads that bind these disparate stories together, shedding new light on the man whom Walt Whitman described as “nothing heroic... and yet the greatest hero.” Chernow’s probing portrait of Grant's lifelong struggle with alcoholism transforms our understanding of the man at the deepest level. This is America's greatest biographer, bringing movingly to life one of our finest but most underappreciated presidents. The definitive biography, Grant is a grand synthesis of painstaking research and literary brilliance that makes sense of all sides of Grant's life, explaining how this simple Midwesterner could at once be so ordinary and so extraordinary. Named one of the best books of the year by Goodreads • Amazon • The New York Times • Newsday • BookPage • Barnes and Noble • Wall Street Journal
Born a Crime

Born a Crime

Trevor Noah

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Michiko Kakutani, New York Times • Newsday • Esquire • NPR • Booklist Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle. Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life. The stories collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love. Praise for Born a Crime “[A] compelling new memoir . . . By turns alarming, sad and funny, [Trevor Noah’s] book provides a harrowing look, through the prism of Mr. Noah’s family, at life in South Africa under apartheid. . . . Born a Crime is not just an unnerving account of growing up in South Africa under apartheid, but a love letter to the author’s remarkable mother.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times “[An] unforgettable memoir.”—Parade “What makes Born a Crime such a soul-nourishing pleasure, even with all its darker edges and perilous turns, is reading Noah recount in brisk, warmly conversational prose how he learned to negotiate his way through the bullying and ostracism. . . . What also helped was having a mother like Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah. . . . Consider Born a Crime another such gift to her—and an enormous gift to the rest of us.”—USA Today “[Noah] thrives with the help of his astonishingly fearless mother. . . . Their fierce bond makes this story soar.”—People “[Noah’s] electrifying memoir sparkles with funny stories . . . and his candid and compassionate essays deepen our perception of the complexities of race, gender, and class.”—Booklist (starred review) “A gritty memoir . . . studded with insight and provocative social criticism . . . with flashes of brilliant storytelling and acute observations.”—Kirkus Reviews

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