X Saves the World

Jeff Gordinier

Book Cover: X Saves the World

In this simultaneously hilarious and incisive "manifesto for a generation that's never had much use for manifestos," Gordinier suggests that for the first time since the "Smells Like Teen Spirit"breakthrough of the early 1990s, Gen X has what it takes to rescue American culture from a state of collapse. Over the past twenty years, the so-called "slackers"have irrevocably changed countless elements of our culture-from the way we watch movies to the way we make sense of a cracked political process to the way the whole world does business.

My Life at First Try:

Mark Budman

Book Cover: My Life at First Try:

This semi-autobiographical debut novel chronicles the life of Alex, born in Siberia in 1950, and his dreams of becoming a writer and of meeting Annie, his distant American cousin. As a child, Alex observes a group of foreign tourists do something that non-drunk Soviet adults seldom do: they laugh. Alex yearns to become one of them—a free and happy foreigner. Those aspirations quickly fade as Alex begins to encounter the absurdities and constraints of living in a society where conformity is institutionalized. Hilarious and sometimes sobering, the book’s short chapters chronicle making it through the army, mastering the English language, sex, and meeting the girl of his dreams. In 1980, Alex and his young family finally get the chance to move to America. There he realizes that he is finally a foreigner—not the happy foreigner of his dream, but an alien. Ultimately, Alex finds his own place in the world, despite the fact that having the right “to vote for an elephant or an ass” does not necessarily guarantee self-fulfillment.

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Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate A Cappella Glory

Mickey Rapkin

Book Cover: Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate A Cappella Glory

A musical tale of collegiate a cappella filled of high notes, high drama, and high jinks that inspired the hit films Pitch Perfect and Pitch Perfect 2. 

 

Get ready to be pitch slapped.

 

The roots of unaccompanied vocal music stretch all the way back to Gregorian chants of the Middle Ages, and collegiate a cappella is over a century old. But what was once largely an Ivy League phenomenon has, in the past twenty years, exploded. And it’s not what you think. Though the blue blazers and khakis may remain, a cappella groups at colleges across the country have become downright funky.

 

In Pitch Perfect, journalist Mickey Rapkin follows a season in a cappella through all its twists and turns, covering the breathtaking displays of vocal talent, the groupies (yes, there are a cappella groupies), the rock-star partying, and all the bitter rivalries. Rapkin brings you into the world of collegiate a cappella characters—from movie-star looks and celebrity-size egos to a troubled new singer with the megawatt voice. Including encounters with a cappella alums like John Legend and Diane Sawyer and fans from Prince to presidents, Rapkin shows that a cappella isn’t for the faint of heart—or lungs.

 

Sure to strike a chord with fans of Glee and The Sing-Off, this raucous story of a cappella rock stars shows that sometimes, to get that perfect harmony, you have to embrace a little discord.