An inspiring message from the inaugural Folio Prize winner, George Saunders, one of today's most influential and original writers
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The perfect graduation gift, this inspiring meditation on kindness from the author of Lincoln in the Bardo is based on his popular commencement address. Three months after George Saunders gave a graduation address at Syracuse University, a transcript of that speech was posted on the website of The New York Times, where its simple, uplifting message struck a deep chord. Within days, it had been shared more than one million times. Why? Because Saunders’s words tap into a desire in all of us to lead kinder, more fulfilling lives. Powerful, funny, and wise, Congratulations, by the way is an inspiring message from one of today’s most influential and original writers. Praise for Congratulations, by the way “As slender as a psalm, and as heavy.”—The New York Times “The graduating college senior in your life probably just wants money. But if you want to impart some heartfelt, plainspoken wisdom in addition to a check, you can't do much better than [Congratulations, by the way].”—Entertainment Weekly “The loving selflessness that [George Saunders] advises and the interconnectedness that he recognizes couldn’t be purer or simpler—or more challenging.”—Kirkus Reviews “Warm and tender.”—Publishers Weekly
'Here's something I know to be true, although it's a little corny, and I don't quite know what to do with it: What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness' Three months after George Saunders gave a convocation address at Syracuse University, a transcript of that speech was posted on the website of The New York Times, where its simple, uplifting message struck a deep chord. Within days, it had been shared more than one million times. Why? Because Saunders's words tap into a desire in all of us to lead kinder, more fulfilling lives. Powerful, funny, and wise, Congratulations, by the way is an inspiring message from one of today's most influential and original writers.
'Saunders is an astoundingly tuned voice - graceful, dark, authentic and funny - telling just the kind of stories we need to get us through these times' Thomas Pynchon In PASTORALIA elements of contemporary life are twisted, merged and amplified into a slightly skewed version of modern America. A couple live and work in a caveman theme-park, where speaking is an instantly punishable offence. A born loser attends a self-help seminar where he is encouraged to rid himself of all the people who are 'crapping in your oatmeal'. And a male exotic dancer and his family are terrorised by their decomposing aunt who visits them with a solemn message from beyond the grave. With an uncanny combination of deadpan naturalism and uproarious humour, George Saunders creates a world that is both indelibly original and yet hauntingly familiar ...
Compiles poignant, irreverent, and humorous baccalaureate speeches made by such speakers as Bill Cosby, Seamus Heaney, Madeleine Albright, Salman Rushdie, Sting, Al Franken, and Edward Albee.
WINNER OF THE 2014 FOLIO PRIZE AND SHORTLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD 2013 George Saunders's most wryly hilarious and disturbing collection yet, Tenth of December illuminates human experience and explores figures lost in a labyrinth of troubling preoccupations. A family member recollects a backyard pole dressed for all occasions; Jeff faces horrifying ultimatums and the prospect of DarkenfloxxTM in some unusual drug trials; and Al Roosten hides his own internal monologue behind a winning smile that he hopes will make him popular. With dark visions of the future riffing against ghosts of the past and the ever-settling present, this collection sings with astonishing charm and intensity.
Originally published: New York: Villard Books, 2000.
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Lincoln in the Bardo, a darkly comic short story about the unintended consequences unleashed by our quest to tame the natural world—featuring gorgeous black-and-white illustrations by Chelsea Cardinal. Fox 8 has always been known as the daydreamer in his pack, the one his fellow foxes regard with a knowing snort and a roll of the eyes. That is, until he develops a unique skill: He teaches himself to speak “Yuman” by hiding in the bushes outside a house and listening to children’s bedtime stories. The power of language fuels his abundant curiosity about people—even after “danjer” arrives in the form of a new shopping mall that cuts off his food supply, sending Fox 8 on a harrowing quest to help save his pack. Told with his distinctive blend of humor and pathos, Fox 8 showcases the extraordinary imaginative talents of George Saunders, whom The New York Times called “the writer for our time.”
An inspirational and timely reflection on the way we bring up children that will resonate with parents everywhere. 'Longtime high school English teacher McCullough scores an A+ with this volume for teens and parents. Rich in literary references and poetic in cadence, the author also offers plenty of hilarious and pointed comments on teens and today's society.' - Publishers Weekly So you think you're special? Well, think again: you're not. David McCullough Jr, a US high-school English teacher, found himself suddenly famous in 2012 when his commencement address to graduating high-school seniors went viral on Youtube. the main theme of that speech, 'You're not special', seemed to hit a nerve and validate a sense among people worldwide that something is deeply and fundamentally wrong with the way children are being raised today. From infancy, he observed, children are taught to believe they are unique and special, deserving of every advantage, destined for success. Consequently they learn to work hard and distinguish themselves for the sake of status and material reward rather than for the benefit of others - the larger community; the world. Success is defined as something almost entirely selfish. there is little attention or time given to the pursuit of education for the sake of wisdom, or even real happiness. Drawing from his long career as an educator and experience as a father of teenage boys, McCullough will expand upon the ideas laid out in his radical twelve-minute speech and argue that we can do better - as parents and as teachers - than fostering in our children a sense of privilege and entitlement. Watch the speech at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lfxYhtf8o4 Or read it at: http://theswellesleyreport.com/2012/06/wellesley-high-grads-told-youre-not-special/
In this, his first collection of essays, Saunders trains his eye on the real world rather than the fictional and reveals it to be brimming with wonderful, marvellous strangeness. As he faces a political and cultural reality saturated with lazy media, false promises and political doublespeak, Saunders invokes the wisdom of American literary heroes Twain, Vonnegut and Barthelme and inspires us to re-examine our assumptions about the world we live in, as we struggle to discover what is really there.
Since its publication in 1996, George Saunders’s debut collection has grown in esteem from a cherished cult classic to a masterpiece of the form, inspiring an entire generation of writers along the way. In six stories and a novella, Saunders hatches an unforgettable cast of characters, each struggling to survive in an increasingly haywire world. With a new introduction by Joshua Ferris and a new author’s note by Saunders himself, this edition is essential reading for those seeking to discover or revisit a virtuosic, disturbingly prescient voice. Praise for George Saunders and CivilWarLand in Bad Decline “It’s no exaggeration to say that short story master George Saunders helped change the trajectory of American fiction.”—The Wall Street Journal “Saunders’s satiric vision of America is dark and demented; it’s also ferocious and very funny.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times “George Saunders is a writer of arresting brilliance and originality, with a sure sense of his material and apparently inexhaustible resources of voice. [CivilWarLand in Bad Decline] is scary, hilarious, and unforgettable.”—Tobias Wolff “Saunders makes the all-but-impossible look effortless.”—Jonathan Franzen “Not since Twain has America produced a satirist this funny.”—Zadie Smith “An astoundingly tuned voice—graceful, dark, authentic, and funny—telling just the kinds of stories we need to get us through these times.”—Thomas Pynchon From the Trade Paperback edition.
With contemporary graduation speeches that dissect the world as it is and imagine what it could be, The World Is Waiting for You brings forth eighteen courageous figures who have dared to transform the podium into a pulpit for championing peace, justice, protest, and a better world. “The voices of conformity speak so loudly. Don’t listen to them,” acclaimed author and award-winning journalist Anna Quindlen cautioned graduates of Grinnell College. Jazz virtuoso and educator Wynton Marsalis advised new Connecticut College alums not to worry about being on time, but rather to be in time—because “time is actually your friend. He don’t come back because he never goes away.” And renowned physician and humanitarian Paul Farmer revealed at the University of Delaware his remarkable discovery—the new disease Empathy Deficit Disorder—and assured the commencers it could be cured. The prescient, fiery feminism of Gloria Steinem sits parallel to that of celebrated writer Ursula K. Le Guin, who asks, “What if I talked like a woman right here in public?” Nobelist and novelist Toni Morrison sagaciously ponders how people centuries from now will perceive our current times, and Pulitzer Prize winner Barbara Kingsolver asks those born into the Age of Irony to “imagine getting caught with your Optimism hanging out” and implores us always to act and speak the truth. The World Is Waiting for You speaks to anyone who might take to heart the advice of Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards—“life as an activist, troublemaker, or agitator is a tremendous option and one I highly recommend”—and is the perfect gift for all who are ready to move their tassels to the left.
In May 2012, bestselling author Neil Gaiman delivered the commencement address at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts, in which he shared his thoughts about creativity, bravery, and strength. He encouraged the fledgling painters, musicians, writers, and dreamers to break rules and think outside the box. Most of all, he encouraged them to make good art. The book Make Good Art, designed by renowned graphic artist Chip Kidd, contains the full text of Gaiman’s inspiring speech.
Only once did David Foster Wallace give a public talk on his views on life, during a commencement address given in 2005 at Kenyon College. The speech is reprinted for the first time in book form in THIS IS WATER. How does one keep from going through their comfortable, prosperous adult life unconsciously? How do we get ourselves out of the foreground of our thoughts and achieve compassion? The speech captures Wallace's electric intellect as well as his grace in attention to others. After his death, it became a treasured piece of writing reprinted in The Wall Street Journal and the London Times, commented on endlessly in blogs, and emailed from friend to friend. Writing with his one-of-a-kind blend of causal humor, exacting intellect, and practical philosophy, David Foster Wallace probes the challenges of daily living and offers advice that renews us with every reading.
Published just in time for graduation day, this inspiring collection of commencement addresses celebrates the value of education, and its crucial place in the weaving of our social fabric. By turns playful and profound, Graduation Day includes speeches from Jodi Foster, Russell Baker, Alice Walker, Robert Redford, Bill Clinton, Ann Richards, Toni Morrison, and others. This unique anthology will be well cherished long after graduation day.
The commencement speech is the most popular public address of our time, shared every spring and remembered for years. Here, in an anthology of some of the finest of the genre, brilliant creative minds in every sector offer their wisdom: David Foster Wallace on living a compassionate life, Debbie Millman on the importance of taking risks, Michael Lewis on the responsibility that good fortune merits—and so many other greats. Some of this advice is grand (believe in the impossible), and some of it is granular enough to check off a life list (donate five percent of your money or your time). All of it is universally uplifting. Handsomely packaged with a silkscreened cloth spine and energetic typography throughout, this book is a smart, special gift for graduates and anyone embarking on a new adventure. Includes speeches from: Dick Costolo, Nora Ephron, Ira Glass, Khaled Hosseini, Barbara Kingsolver, Madeleine L’Engle, Michael Lewis, Debbie Millman, Eileen Myles, Jonathan Safran Foer, Michael Uslan, David Foster Wallace, Bradley Whitford, and Tom Wolfe.
Rheinhardt, a disk jockey and failed musician, rolls into New Orleans looking for work and another chance in life. What he finds is a woman physically and psychically damaged by the men in her past and a job that entangles him in a right-wing political movement. Peopled with civil rights activists, fanatical Christians, corrupt politicians, and demented Hollywood stars, A Hall of Mirrors vividly depicts the dark side of America that erupted in the sixties. To quote Wallace Stegner, "Stone writes like a bird, like an angel, like a circus barker, like a con man, like someone so high on pot that he is scraping his shoes on the stars."
Contains a collection of short satirical works, including "The Red Bow," in which a town is consumed by pet-killing hysteria, and "Bohemians," in which two Eastern European widows attempt to fit into suburban America.
From the highly acclaimed cult author of Pastoralia, comes a novella and short-story collection.
This is Oh, the Places You'll Never Go--the ultimate hilarious, cynical, but absolutely realistic view of a college graduate's future. And what he or she can or can't do about it. "This commencement address will never be given, because graduation speakers are supposed to offer encouragement and inspiration. That's not what you need. You need a warning." So begins Carl Hiaasen's attempt to prepare young men and women for their future. And who better to warn them about their precarious paths forward than Carl Hiaasen? The answer, after reading Assume the Worst, is: Nobody. And who better to illustrate--and with those illustrations, expand upon and cement Hiaasen's cynical point of view--than Roz Chast, best-selling author/illustrator and National Book Award winner? The answer again is easy: Nobody. Following the format of Anna Quindlen's commencement address (Being Perfect) and George Saunders's commencement address (Congratulations, by the way), the collaboration of Hiaasen and Chast might look typical from the outside, but inside it is anything but. This book is bound to be a classic, sold year after year come graduation time. Although it's also a good gift for anyone starting a job, getting married, or recently released from prison. Because it is not just funny. It is, in its own Hiaasen way, extremely wise and even hopeful. Well, it might not be full of hope, but there are certainly enough slivers of the stuff in there to more than keep us all going.