My Abandonment. Peter Rock. Once a week they go to the city to buy groceries and otherwise merge with the civilized world. But one small mistake allows a backcountry jogger to discover them, which derails their entire existence, ultimately provoking a deeper flight. Inspired by a true story and told through the startlingly sincere voice of its young narrator, Caroline, My Abandonment is a riveting journey into life at the margins and a mesmerizing tale of survival and hope.
Stephen King. It: Chapter Two—now a major motion picture! Welcome to Derry, Maine. Only in Derry the haunting is real. They were seven teenagers when they first stumbled upon the horror. Now they are grown-up men and women who have gone out into the big world to gain success and happiness. Readers of Stephen King know that Derry, Maine, is a place with a deep, dark hold on the author. But it all starts with It. Book Brooklyn: A Novel. Colm Toibin.
Forensic linguistics can use powerful programs to track written text back to its author
When an Irish priest from Brooklyn offers to sponsor Eilis in America, she decides she must go, leaving her fragile mother and her charismatic sister behind. Eilis finds work in a department store on Fulton Street, and when she least expects it, finds love. Tony, who loves the Dodgers and his big Italian family, slowly wins her over with patient charm. But just as Eilis begins to fall in love, devastating news from Ireland threatens the promise of her future. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Book 1.
50 of the Best Books to Read This Fall
The edition of this essential companion to the Harry Potter stories included a new foreword from J. Rowling writing as Newt Scamander and 6 new beasts! A set textbook at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry since publication, Newt Scamander's masterpiece has entertained wizarding families through the generations. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is an indispensable introduction to the magical beasts of the wizarding world. Scamander's years of travel and research have created a tome of unparalleled importance.
Some of the beasts will be familiar to readers of the Harry Potter books - the Hippogriff, the Basilisk, the Hungarian Horntail Others will surprise even the most ardent amateur Magizoologist. Dip in to discover the curious habits of magical beasts across five continents Killing Eve: Codename Villanelle. Luke Jennings. The breakneck thriller that inspired TV sensation Killing Eve, starring Sandra Oh, "unlike any other spy drama you've seen. A catlike psychopath whose love for the creature comforts of her luxurious lifestyle is second only to her love of the game, she specializes in murdering the world's richest and most powerful.
But when she murders an influential Russian politician, she draws a relentless foe to her tail. Eve Polastri not a codename is a former MI6 operative hired by the national security services for a singular task: to find and capture or kill the assassin responsible, and those who have aided her. Eve, whose quiet and otherwise unextraordinary life belies her quick wit and keen intellect, accepts the mission.
The ensuing chase will lead them on a trail around the world, intersecting with corrupt governments and powerful criminal organizations, all leading towards a final confrontation from which neither will emerge unscathed. Codename Villanelle is a sleek, fast-paced international thriller from an exciting new voice in fiction.
The Last Wish: Introducing the Witcher. Andrzej Sapkowski. Soon to be a major Netflix original series! Geralt the Witcher -- revered and hated -- holds the line against the monsters plaguing humanity in this collection of adventures in the NYT bestselling series that inspired the blockbuster video games. Geralt is a Witcher, a man whose magic powers, enhanced by long training and a mysterious elixir, have made him a brilliant fighter and a merciless assassin. Yet he is no ordinary murderer: his targets are the multifarious monsters and vile fiends that ravage the land and attack the innocent.
But not everything monstrous-looking is evil and not everything fair is good Andrzej Sapkowski, winner of the World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement award, started an international phenomenon with his Witcher series. The Last Wish short story collection is the perfect introduction to this one of a kind fantasy world. What's next for Offred? The Handmaid's Tale sequel. Margaret Atwood. More than fifteen years after the events of The Handmaid's Tale, the theocratic regime of the Republic of Gilead maintains its grip on power, but there are signs it is beginning to rot from within.
At this crucial moment, the lives of three radically different women converge, with potentially explosive results. Two have grown up as part of the first generation to come of age in the new order. The testimonies of these two young women are joined by a third voice: a woman who wields power through the ruthless accumulation and deployment of secrets. As Atwood unfolds The Testaments, she opens up the innermost workings of Gilead as each woman is forced to come to terms with who she is, and how far she will go for what she believes.
The Handmaid's Tale. Set in the near future, it describes life in what was once the United States and is now called the Republic of Gilead, a monotheocracy that has reacted to social unrest and a sharply declining birthrate by reverting to, and going beyond, the repressive intolerance of the original Puritans. The regime takes the Book of Genesis absolutely at its word, with bizarre consequences for the women and men in its population.
The story is told through the eyes of Offred, one of the unfortunate Handmaids under the new social order. It is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and a tour de force. It is Margaret Atwood at her best. In search of answers, he embarks on a journey through the lush wilderness that was so recently a great city, until powerful corporations took mankind on an uncontrolled genetic engineering ride.
Set in a darkly plausible future shaped by plagues, floods, and genetic engineering, these three novels take us from the end of the world to a brave new beginning. Thrilling, moving, and a triumph of imagination, the Maddaddam Trilogy confirms the ultimate endurance of humanity, community, and love. Book 3. Toby is part of a small band of survivors, along with the Children of Crake: the gentle, bioengineered quasi-human species who will inherit this new earth.
Blending action, humor, romance, and an imagination at once dazzlingly inventive and grounded in a recognizable world, MaddAddam is vintage Atwood—a moving and dramatic conclusion to her epic work of speculative fiction. Wilderness Tips. In a few brief pages we watch as characters progress from the vulnerabilities of adolescence through the passions of youth into the precarious complexities of middle age. By superimposing the past on the present, Atwood paints interior landscapes shaped by time, regret, and life's lost chances, endowing even the banal with a sense of mystery.
The Year of the Flood. Book 2. In this second book of the MaddAddam trilogy, the long-feared waterless flood has occurred, altering Earth as we know it and obliterating most human life. Among the survivors are Ren, a young trapeze dancer locked inside the high-end sex club Scales and Tails, and Toby, who is barricaded inside a luxurious spa. Amid shadowy, corrupt ruling powers and new, gene-spliced life forms, Ren and Toby will have to decide on their next move, but they can't stay locked away.
Or that was the plan. Instead, after an act of unforeseen treachery, Felix is living in exile in a backwoods hovel, haunted by memories of his beloved lost daughter, Miranda. And also brewing revenge, which, after twelve years, arrives in the shape of a theatre course at a nearby prison. The Tent. In these pieces, Margaret Atwood gives a sly pep talk to the ambitious young; writes about the disconcerting experience of looking at old photos of ourselves; and examines the boons and banes of orphanhood.
Part detective novel, part psychological thriller, Surfacing is the story of a talented woman artist who goes in search of her missing father on a remote island in northern Quebec. Setting out with her lover and another young couple, she soon finds herself captivated by the isolated setting, where a marriage begins to fall apart, violence and death lurk just beneath the surface, and sex becomes a catalyst for conflict and dangerous choices.
Surfacing is a work permeated with an aura of suspense, complex with layered meanings, and written in brilliant, diamond-sharp prose. Here is a rich mine of ideas from an extraordinary writer about contemporary life and nature, families and marriage, and about women fragmented The Blind Assassin: A Novel. The novel begins with the mysterious death—a possible suicide—of a young woman named Laura Chase in These richly layered stories-within-stories gradually illuminate the secrets that have long haunted the Chase family, coming together in a brilliant and astonishing final twist.
New releases. Andy McDermott. In the most explosive book of the thrilling Wilde and Chase series, the intrepid pair must race against time before an ancient force is unleashed on the world A Single Thread: A Novel. Tracy Chevalier. An immersive, moving story of a woman coming into her own at the dawn of the Second World War, from internationally bestselling author Tracy Chevalier Yet Violet cannot reconcile herself to a life spent caring for her grieving, embittered mother.
After countless meals of boiled eggs and dry toast, she saves enough to move out of her mother's place and into the town of Winchester, home to one of England's grandest cathedrals. There, Violet is drawn into a society of broderers--women who embroider kneelers for the Cathedral, carrying on a centuries-long tradition of bringing comfort to worshippers. Violet finds support and community in the group, fulfillment in the work they create, and even a growing friendship with the vivacious Gilda. But when forces threaten her new independence and another war appears on the horizon, Violet must fight to put down roots in a place where women aren't expected to grow.
Told in Chevalier's glorious prose, A Single Thread is a timeless story of friendship, love, and a woman crafting her own life. Dark Forge. Miles Cameron. Only fools think war is simple or glorious. On the magic-drenched battlefield, information is the lifeblood of victory, and Aranthur is about to discover that carrying messages, scouting the enemy, keeping his nerve, and passing on orders is more dangerous, and more essential, than an inexperienced soldier could imagine.
Land of Wolves. Craig Johnson. Attempting to recover from his harrowing experiences in Mexico, in Land of Wolves Wyoming Sheriff Walt Longmire is neck deep in the investigation of what could or could not be the suicidal hanging of a shepherd. With unsettling connections to a Basque family with a reputation for removing the legs of Absaroka County sheriffs, matters become even more complicated with the appearance of an oversize wolf in the Big Horn Mountains to which Walt finds himself feeling more and more empathetic.
Killer Instinct. James Patterson. The murder of an Ivy League professor pulls Dr. Dylan Reinhart out of his ivory tower and onto the streets of New York, where he reunites with his old partner, Detective Elizabeth Needham. Is his secret past about to be brought to light? As the terrorist attack unfolds, Elizabeth Needham does something courageous that thrusts her into the media spotlight. She's a reluctant hero. And thanks to the attention, she also becomes a prime target for the ruthless murderer behind the attack.
Dylan literally wrote the book on the psychology of murder, and he and Elizabeth have solved cases that have baffled conventional detectives. But the sociopath they're facing this time is the opposite of a textbook case. There's no time to study for the test he's about to give them.
And if they fail, they die. The Titanic Secret. When Isaac Bell attempts to decipher the forbidding deaths of nine men, he encounters a secret so powerful it could dictate the fate of the world in this riveting thriller by the 1 New York Times-bestselling author. In the present day, Pitt makes a daring rescue from inside an antiquated submersible in the waters off New York City. His reward afterwards is a document left behind a century earlier by legendary detective Isaac Bell--a document that re-opens a historical mystery In , in Colorado, Isaac Bell is asked to look into an unexplained tragedy at Little Angel Mine, in which nine people died.
His dangerous quest to answer the riddle leads to a larger puzzle centered on byzanium, a rare element with extraordinary powers and of virtually incalculable value. As he discovers that there are people who will do anything to control the substance, Isaac Bell will find out just how far he'll go to stop them. Everything Is Figureoutable. Marie Forleo. While most self-help books offer quick fixes, Everything is Figureoutable will retrain your brain to think more creatively and positively in the face of setbacks. In the words of Cheryl Strayed, it's "a must-read for anyone who wants to face their fears, fulfill their dreams, and find a better way forward.
It's that you haven't yet installed the one belief that changes everything. Marie's mom once told her, "Nothing in life is that complicated. You can do whatever you set your mind to if you roll up your sleeves. Everything is figureoutable. It's more than just a fun phrase to say. It's a philosophy of relentless optimism.
A mindset. A mantra. A conviction. Most important, it's about to make you unstoppable. The Nanny: A Novel. Gilly Macmillan. The New York Times bestselling author of What She Knew conjures a dark and unpredictable tale of family secrets that explores the lengths people will go to hurt one another. Desperate to piece together the gaping holes in her memory, Jo must uncover who her nanny really was, why she left, and if she can trust her own mother… In this compulsively readable tale of secrets, lies, and deception, Gilly Macmillan explores the darkest impulses and desires of the human heart.
Shut Up and Listen!
Tilman Fertitta. For entrepreneurs ready to reach the next level of success, small business owner turned multibillionaire Tilman Fertitta shares the commonsense principles that have rocketed his worldwide hospitality empire to the top. Top romance reads. Shadow Warrior. Book 4. Vittorio Ferraro is a man whose family loyalty knows no bounds. He would die for his siblings and the people they love, but what he really wants is to start a family of his own. Deep down, Vittorio has always known finding a woman who could ride shadows would be nearly impossible—let alone one who could accept his particular needs—and he never expected to find her in the middle of a kidnapping.
But Grace knows her presence is putting the entire Ferraro family in danger.
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Her monster of a brother will never let her go, but Vittorio has no intention of losing the woman whose shadow matches his own. If you love hot men, sexy women, the good guys winning against the bad guys, love both sweet and ultra steamy , and family that stands together, then this book is all that and even more. The Mister. E L James. London, Life has been easy for Maxim Trevelyan. Just who is Alessia Demachi? Can Maxim protect her from the malevolence that threatens her? From the heart of London through wild, rural Cornwall to the bleak, forbidding beauty of the Balkans, The Mister is a roller-coaster ride of danger and desire that leaves the reader breathless to the very last page.
Obsession: Steel Brothers Saga 2. Editorial Reviews "Helen has weaved a delicately balanced story of intrigue, secrets and passion, which practically melts the pages. But as Talon begins his journey of healing, Jade uncovers some startling secrets…. Possession: Steel Brothers Saga 3. Satisfaction Guaranteed. Resist, of course.
I say, how about seven nights of O lessons? And at the end, we'll walk away. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Until the rules changed Melt: Steel Brothers Saga 4. Editorial Reviews "The chemistry in Melt is explosive! He failed in the worst way.
Roth and I are on an open-ended tour of the world. Roth being Roth, this means missionary in Morocco, reverse cowgirl in Calcutta, bent over the bow of a houseboat in Hanoi, slow and sleepy on St. Anywhere and everywhere, in every conceivable position, and some I didn't know were possible. Life was pretty incredible. Until I woke up in his chateau in France, alone. On the bed next to me was a note. There were only four words: He belongs to me. E L James revisits the world of Fifty Shades with a deeper and darker take on the love story that has enthralled millions of readers around the globe.
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Christian Grey exercises control in all things; his world is neat, disciplined, and utterly empty—until the day that Anastasia Steele falls into his office, in a tangle of shapely limbs and tumbling brown hair. He tries to forget her, but instead is swept up in a storm of emotion he cannot comprehend and cannot resist. Will being with Ana dispel the horrors of his childhood that haunt Christian every night? Or will his dark sexual desires, his compulsion to control, and the self-loathing that fills his soul drive this girl away and destroy the fragile hope she offers him?
This book is intended for mature audiences. Wolf Rain. The end of Silence was supposed to create a better world for future generations. But trust is broken, and the alliance between Psy, Changeling, and human is thin. The problems that led to Silence are back in full force. Because Silence fixed nothing, just hid the problems. This time, the Psy have to find a real answer to their problems--if one exists. Or their race will soon go extinct in a cascade of violence.
The answer begins with an empath who is attuned to monsters--and who is going to charm a wolf into loving her despite his own demons. How exactly has one good deed landed me in the penalty box? Find your new favorite book. JJ Smith. The New York Times bestselling Day Green Smoothie Cleanse will jump-start your weight loss, increase your energy level, clear your mind, and improve your overall health as you lose ten to fifteen pounds in just ten days.
Made up of supernutrients from leafy greens and fruits, green smoothies are filling and healthy and you will enjoy drinking them. Your body will also thank you for drinking them as your health and energy improve to levels you never thought possible. It is an experience that could change your life if you stick with it! This book provides a shopping list, recipes, and detailed instructions for the day cleanse, along with suggestions for getting the best results. It also offers advice on how to continue to lose weight and maintain good health afterwards. Are you ready to look slimmer, healthier, and sexier than you have in years?
Then get ready to begin the Day Green Smoothie Cleanse! Mark Manson. Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe. Cullen Bunn. Collects Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe What if everything you thought was funny about Deadpool was actually just disturbing? What if he decided to kill everyone and everything that makes up the Marvel Universe? What if he actually pulled it off? Would that be FUN for you? The Merc with a Mouth takes a turn for the twisted in a horror comic like no other!
City of Endless Night. Douglas Preston. When Grace Ozmian, the beautiful and reckless daughter of a wealthy tech billionaire, first goes missing, the NYPD assumes she has simply sped off on another wild adventure. Until the young woman's body is discovered in an abandoned warehouse in Queens, the head nowhere to be found. Pendergast shows up at the crime scene assigned to the case.
Just like when we first met, back at the Museum of Natural History. A diabolical presence is haunting the greater metropolitan area, and Grace Ozmian was only the first of many victims to be murdered. Worse still, there's something unique to the city itself that has attracted the evil eye of the killer. As mass hysteria sets in, Pendergast and D'Agosta find themselves in the crosshairs of an opponent who has threatened the very lifeblood of the city.
It'll take all of Pendergast's skill to unmask this most dangerous foe-let alone survive to tell the tale. The Fallen. Star FBI detective Amos Decker and his colleague Alex Jamison must solve four increasingly bizarre murders in a dying rust belt town--and the closer they come to the truth, the deadlier it gets in this rapid-fire 1 New York Times bestseller. Something sinister is going on in Baronville. The rust belt town has seen four bizarre murders in the space of two weeks. Cryptic clues left at the scenes--obscure bible verses, odd symbols--have the police stumped.
It's a bleak place: a former mill and mining town with a crumbling economy and rampant opioid addiction. Decker has only been there a few hours when he stumbles on a horrific double murder scene. Then the next killing hits sickeningly close to home. And with the lives of people he cares about suddenly hanging in the balance, Decker begins to realize that the recent string of deaths may be only one small piece of a much larger scheme--with consequences that will reach far beyond Baronville.
Decker, with his singular talents, may be the only one who can crack this bizarre case. Only this time--when one mistake could cost him everything--Decker finds that his previously infallible memory may not be so trustworthy after all Rick Riordan. The formerly glorious god Apollo, cast down to earth in punishment by Zeus, is now an awkward mortal teenager named Lester Papadopoulos.
In order to regain his place on Mount Olympus, Lester must restore five Oracles that have gone dark. But he has to achieve this impossible task without having any godly powers and while being duty-bound to a confounding young daughter of Demeter named Meg. Thanks a lot, Dad. With the help of some demigod friends, Lester managed to survive his first two trials, one at Camp Half-Blood, and one in Indianapolis, where Meg received the Dark Prophecy.
The words she uttered while seated on the Throne of Memory revealed that an evil triumvirate of Roman emperors plans to attack Camp Jupiter. While Leo flies ahead on Festus to warn the Roman camp, Lester and Meg must go through the Labyrinth to find the third emperor--and an Oracle who speaks in word puzzles--somewhere in the American Southwest. There is one glimmer of hope in the gloom-filled prophecy: The cloven guide alone the way does know.
They will have a satyr companion, and Meg knows just who to call upon. The Inquisition: Summoner: Book Two. A New York Times Bestseller! A Publishers Weekly Bestseller! A year has passed since the Tournament. Fletcher and Ignatius have been locked away in Pelt's dungeons, but now they must face trial at the hands of the Inquisition, a powerful institution controlled by those who would delight in Fletcher's downfall. Educated: A Memoir. Tara Westover. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University.
And how much must we betray them to grow up? James Comey. In his book, former FBI director James Comey shares his never-before-told experiences from some of the highest-stakes situations of his career in the past two decades of American government, exploring what good, ethical leadership looks like, and how it drives sound decisions. His journey provides an unprecedented entry into the corridors of power, and a remarkable lesson in what makes an effective leader.
There his family dwells in peace and comfort: his proud wife, Catelyn; his sons Robb, Brandon, and Rickon; his daughters Sansa and Arya; and his bastard son, Jon Snow. Far to the north, behind the towering Wall, lie savage Wildings and worse—unnatural things relegated to myth during the centuries-long summer, but proving all too real and all too deadly in the turning of the season. Yet a more immediate threat lurks to the south, where Jon Arryn, the Hand of the King, has died under mysterious circumstances.
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All are heading for Winterfell and a fateful encounter that will change the course of kingdoms. Meanwhile, across the Narrow Sea, Prince Viserys, heir of the fallen House Targaryen, which once ruled all of Westeros, schemes to reclaim the throne with an army of barbarian Dothraki—whose loyalty he will purchase in the only coin left to him: his beautiful yet innocent sister, Daenerys.
Uncensored advice for a better life. Philip Andrew. Many people wonder how they can become highly successful, not realizing that they hold within them everything they need to achieve all of the success they desire. Get this book NOW, and learn how to change your habits and transform your life! Amy Morin. Sarah Knight. Fed up with pleasing everyone else before you please yourself? And it will free you to spend your time, energy, and money on the things that really matter.
So what are you waiting for? Eckhart Tolle. To make the journey into the Now we will need to leave our analytical mind and its false created self, the ego, behind. From the very first page of Eckhart Tolle's extraordinary book, we move rapidly into a significantly higher altitude where we breathe a lighter air. A word of mouth phenomenon since its first publication, The Power of Now is one of those rare books with the power to create an experience in readers, one that can radically change their lives for the better.
Mike Bechtle. Strange as it may seem, other people are not nearly as committed to our happiness as we are. In fact, sometimes they seem like they're on a mission to make us miserable! There's always that one person. The one who hijacks your emotions and makes you crazy. The one who seems to thrive on drama. If you could just "fix" that person, everything would be better. But we can't fix other people--we can only make choices about ourselves.
In this cut-to-the-chase book, communication expert Mike Bechtle shows readers that they don't have to be victims of other people's craziness. With commonsense wisdom and practical advice that can be implemented immediately, Bechtle gives readers a proven strategy to handle crazy people. More than just offering a set of techniques, Bechtle offers a new perspective that will change readers' lives as they deal with those difficult people who just won't go away.
She combines hilarious personal essays with bite-size, aha concepts that unlock earning potential and get real results. Michael Bennett, MD. Need to stop screwing up? Want to become a more positive person? Do you work with an ass? Think you can rescue an addicted person? Looking for closure after abuse? Have you realized that your parent is an asshole?
Feel compelled to clear your name? Hope to salvage a lost love? Want to get a lover to commit? Plagued by a bully? Afraid of ruining your kid? Ready to vent your anger? There is a constant barrage of social expectations that teach us that being imperfect is synonymous with being inadequate. So, we learn to hide our struggles and protect ourselves from shame, judgment, criticism and blame by seeking safety in pretending and perfection. Based on seven years of her ground-breaking research and hundreds of interviews, I Thought It Was Just Me shines a long-overdue light on an important truth: Our imperfections are what connect us to each other and to our humanity.
These are the gifts that bring love, laughter, gratitude, empathy and joy into our lives. And Maybe the World. William H. If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed. On May 17, , Admiral William H. McRaven addressed the graduating class of the University of Texas at Austin on their Commencement day. Taking inspiration from the university's slogan, "What starts here changes the world," he shared the ten principles he learned during Navy Seal training that helped him overcome challenges not only in his training and long Naval career, but also throughout his life; and he explained how anyone can use these basic lessons to change themselves-and the world-for the better.
Admiral McRaven's original speech went viral with over 10 million views. Building on the core tenets laid out in his speech, McRaven now recounts tales from his own life and from those of people he encountered during his military service who dealt with hardship and made tough decisions with determination, compassion, honor, and courage. Told with great humility and optimism, this timeless book provides simple wisdom, practical advice, and words of encouragement that will inspire readers to achieve more, even in life's darkest moments.
The Institute: A Novel. From 1 New York Times bestselling author Stephen King, the most riveting and unforgettable story of kids confronting evil since It—publishing just as the second part of It, the movie, lands in theaters. The operation takes less than two minutes. And outside his door are other doors, behind which are other kids with special talents—telekinesis and telepathy—who got to this place the same way Luke did: Kalisha, Nick, George, Iris, and ten-year-old Avery Dixon.
They are all in Front Half. Sigsby, and her staff are ruthlessly dedicated to extracting from these children the force of their extranormal gifts. There are no scruples here. If you go along, you get tokens for the vending machines. As each new victim disappears to Back Half, Luke becomes more and more desperate to get out and get help. But no one has ever escaped from the Institute. The Colorado Kid.
On an island off the coast of Maine, a man is found dead.
There's no identification on the body. Capturing brain activity using imaging technology inevitably leads to oversimplifications, as sometimes evidenced by news reports that an investigator has found the location of something—love, guilt, decision making—in a single region of the brain. Many forms of creativity, from writing a novel to discovering the structure of DNA, require this kind of ongoing, iterative process. With functional magnetic resonance imaging, the best we can do is capture brain activity during brief moments in time while subjects are performing some task.
For instance, observing brain activity while test subjects look at photographs of their relatives can help answer the question of which parts of the brain people use when they recognize familiar faces. Creativity, of course, cannot be distilled into a single mental process, and it cannot be captured in a snapshot—nor can people produce a creative insight or thought on demand. I spent many years thinking about how to design an imaging study that could identify the unique features of the creative brain.
Some regions of the brain are highly specialized, receiving sensory information from our eyes, ears, skin, mouth, or nose, or controlling our movements. We call these regions the primary visual, auditory, sensory, and motor cortices. They collect information from the world around us and execute our actions. But we would be helpless, and effectively nonhuman, if our brains consisted only of these regions.
In fact, the most extensively developed regions in the human brain are known as association cortices. These regions help us interpret and make use of the specialized information collected by the primary visual, auditory, sensory, and motor regions. For example, as you read these words on a page or a screen, they register as black lines on a white background in your primary visual cortex. To read, your brain, through miraculously complex processes that scientists are still figuring out, needs to forward those black letters on to association-cortex regions such as the angular gyrus, so that meaning is attached to them; and then on to language-association regions in the temporal lobes, so that the words are connected not only to one another but also to their associated memories and given richer meanings.
A neuroimaging study I conducted in using positron-emission tomography, or PET, scanning turned out to be unexpectedly useful in advancing my own understanding of association cortices and their role in the creative process. My team and I compared this with another system, that of semantic memory, which is a repository of general information and is not personal or time-linked.
In this study, we divided episodic memory into two subtypes. We examined focused episodic memory by asking subjects to recall a specific event that had occurred in the past and to describe it with their eyes closed. And we examined a condition that we called random episodic silent thought, or REST : we asked subjects to lie quietly with their eyes closed, to relax, and to think about whatever came to mind. The acronym REST was intentionally ironic; we suspected that the association regions of the brain would actually be wildly active during this state. This suspicion was based on what we had learned about free association from the psychoanalytic approach to understanding the mind.
In the hands of Freud and other psychoanalysts, free association—spontaneously saying whatever comes to mind without censorship—became a window into understanding unconscious processes. Based on my interviews with the creative subjects in my workshop study, and from additional conversations with artists, I knew that such unconscious processes are an important component of creativity. Samuel Taylor Coleridge once described how he composed an entire line poem about Kubla Khan while in an opiate-induced, dreamlike state, and began writing it down when he awoke; he said he then lost most of it when he got interrupted and called away on an errand—thus the finished poem he published was but a fragment of what originally came to him in his dreamlike state.
Based on all this, I surmised that observing which parts of the brain are most active during free association would give us clues about the neural basis of creativity. And what did we find? Sure enough, the association cortices were wildly active during REST. Once I arrived at this idea, the design for the imaging studies was obvious: I needed to compare the brains of highly creative people with those of control subjects as they engaged in tasks that activated their association cortices. For years, I had been asking myself what might be special or unique about the brains of the workshop writers I had studied.
In my own version of a eureka moment, the answer finally came to me: creative people are better at recognizing relationships, making associations and connections, and seeing things in an original way—seeing things that others cannot see. To test this capacity, I needed to study the regions of the brain that go crazy when you let your thoughts wander.
I needed to target the association cortices. I was ready to design Creativity Study II. This time around, I wanted to examine a more diverse sample of creativity, from the sciences as well as the arts. My motivations were partly selfish—I wanted the chance to discuss the creative process with people who might think and work differently, and I thought I could probably learn a lot by listening to just a few people from specific scientific fields.
After all, each would be an individual jewel—a fascinating study on his or her own. My individual jewels so far include, among others, the filmmaker George Lucas, the mathematician and Fields Medalist William Thurston, the Pulitzer Prize—winning novelist Jane Smiley, and six Nobel laureates from the fields of chemistry, physics, and physiology or medicine. Apart from stating their names, I do not have permission to reveal individual information about my subjects. And because the study is ongoing each subject can take as long as a year to recruit, making for slow progress , we do not yet have any definitive results—though we do have a good sense of the direction that things are taking.
To participate in the study, each subject spends three days in Iowa City, since it is important to conduct the research using the same MRI scanner. The subjects and I typically get to know each other over dinner at my home and a bottle of Bordeaux from my cellar , and by prowling my acre nature retreat in an all-terrain vehicle, observing whatever wildlife happens to be wandering around. We begin the actual study with an MRI scan, during which subjects perform three different tasks, in addition to REST: word association, picture association, and pattern recognition.
Each experimental task alternates with a control task; during word association, for example, subjects are shown words on a screen and asked to either think of the first word that comes to mind the experimental task or silently repeat the word they see the control task. Speaking disrupts the scanning process, so subjects silently indicate when they have completed a task by pressing a button on a keypad. Playing word games inside a thumping, screeching hollow tube seems like a far cry from the kind of meandering, spontaneous discovery process that we tend to associate with creativity.
It is, however, as close as one can come to a proxy for that experience, apart from REST. You cannot force creativity to happen—every creative person can attest to that. But the essence of creativity is making connections and solving puzzles. As I hypothesized, the creative people have shown stronger activations in their association cortices during all four tasks than the controls have.
See the images on page This pattern has held true for both the artists and the scientists, suggesting that similar brain processes may underlie a broad spectrum of creative expression. Many creative people are polymaths, people with broad interests in many fields—a common trait among my study subjects. After the brain scans, I settle in with subjects for an in-depth interview. I begin by asking subjects about their life history—where they grew up, where they went to school, what activities they enjoyed.
I ask about their parents—their education, occupation, and parenting style—and about how the family got along. We talk about how the subjects managed the challenges of growing up, any early interests and hobbies particularly those related to the creative activities they pursue as adults , dating patterns, life in college and graduate school, marriages, and child-rearing. I ask them to describe a typical day at work and to think through how they have achieved such a high level of creativity. Two of the 13 creative subjects in my current study have lost a parent to suicide—a rate many times that of the general U.
Talking with those subjects who have suffered from a mental illness themselves, I hear about how it has affected their work and how they have learned to cope. The creative subjects and their relatives have a higher rate of mental illness than the controls and their relatives do though not as high a rate as I found in the first study , with the frequency being fairly even across the artists and the scientists. The most-common diagnoses include bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety or panic disorder, and alcoholism.
Interestingly, when the physician and researcher Jon L. Leonard Heston, a former psychiatric colleague of mine at Iowa, conducted an influential study of the children of schizophrenic mothers raised from infancy by foster or adoptive parents, and found that more than 10 percent of these children developed schizophrenia, as compared with zero percent of a control group. This suggests a powerful genetic component to schizophrenia. Heston and I discussed whether some particularly creative people owe their gifts to a subclinical variant of schizophrenia that loosens their associative links sufficiently to enhance their creativity but not enough to make them mentally ill.
In this arena, nurture clearly plays a strong role. Half the subjects come from very high-achieving backgrounds, with at least one parent who has a doctoral degree. The majority grew up in an environment where learning and education were highly valued. This is how one person described his childhood:. So why do these highly gifted people experience mental illness at a higher-than-average rate?
We can only speculate about what those factors might be, but there are some clues in how these people describe themselves and their lifestyles. One possible contributory factor is a personality style shared by many of my creative subjects. These subjects are adventuresome and exploratory. They take risks. Particularly in science, the best work tends to occur in new frontiers.
And yet they have to persist in spite of that, because they believe strongly in the value of what they do. This can lead to psychic pain, which may manifest itself as depression or anxiety, or lead people to attempt to reduce their discomfort by turning to pain relievers such as alcohol. One interesting paradox that has emerged during conversations with subjects about their creative processes is that, though many of them suffer from mood and anxiety disorders, they associate their gifts with strong feelings of joy and excitement.
It excites you all over and makes you feel as if you are all-powerful and complete. At that moment it pops into my head, it is so deeply satisfying and rewarding … My nucleus accumbens is probably going nuts when it happens. As for how these ideas emerge, almost all of my subjects confirmed that when eureka moments occur, they tend to be precipitated by long periods of preparation and incubation, and to strike when the mind is relaxed—during that state we called REST.
Many subjects mentioned lighting on ideas while showering, driving, or exercising. Some of the other most common findings my studies have suggested include:. Many creative people are autodidacts. They like to teach themselves, rather than be spoon-fed information or knowledge in standard educational settings. Many of my subjects taught themselves to read before even starting school, and many have read widely throughout their lives.
This observation has important implications for the education of creatively gifted children. The teacher did not appreciate being corrected. Many creative people are polymaths, as historic geniuses including Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci were. Another polymath, one of the scientists, described his love of literature:. The arts and the sciences are seen as separate tracks, and students are encouraged to specialize in one or the other.
If we wish to nurture creative students, this may be a serious error. Creative people tend to be very persistent, even when confronted with skepticism or rejection. Asked what it takes to be a successful scientist, one replied:. Do creative people simply have more ideas, and therefore differ from average people only in a quantitative way, or are they also qualitatively different? One subject, a neuroscientist and an inventor, addressed this question in an interesting way, conceptualizing the matter in terms of kites and strings:.
Of course, having too many ideas can be dangerous. Part of what comes with seeing connections no one else sees is that not all of these connections actually exist. How could you believe that you are being recruited by aliens from outer space to save the world? So I took them seriously. Some people see things others cannot, and they are right, and we call them creative geniuses. Some people see things others cannot, and they are wrong, and we call them mentally ill.
And some people, like John Nash, are both. Physical-education programs were designed to encourage health and fitness, but they may be counterproductive. The president of the United States reportedly sought the help of a foreign government against an American citizen who might challenge him for his office. This is the single most important revelation in a scoop by The Wall Street Journal , and if it is true, then President Donald Trump should be impeached and removed from office immediately. Until now, there was room for reasonable disagreement over impeachment as both a matter of politics and a matter of tactics.
The Mueller report revealed despicably unpatriotic behavior by Trump and his minions, but it did not trigger a political judgment with a majority of Americans that it warranted impeachment. The Democrats, for their part, remained unwilling to risk their new majority in Congress on a move destined to fail in a Republican-controlled Senate. They are, for lack of a more specific term, readers. That why is consequential—leisure reading has been linked to a range of good academic and professional outcomes—as well as difficult to fully explain.
But a chief factor seems to be the household one is born into, and the culture of reading that parents create within it. Farhad Yusef-Zadeh was observing the center of the Milky Way galaxy in radio waves, looking for the presence of faint stars, when he saw it: a spindly structure giving off its own radio emissions. The filament-like feature was probably a glitch in the telescope, or something clouding the field of view, he decided. But the mystery filament kept showing up, and soon Yusef-Zadeh found others.
What the astronomer had mistaken for an imperfection turned out to be an entire population of cosmic structures at the heart of the galaxy. The menagerie of filaments is clustered around the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy. The country is offering citizenship to Jews whose families it expelled in the 15th century. Jews had lived on the Iberian Peninsula for more than 1, years, producing philosophers, poets, diplomats, physicians, scholars, translators, and merchants.
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Historians still debate the number of Jews expelled; some estimate 40,, others , or more. Those who fled sought exile in places that would have them—Italy, North Africa, the Netherlands, and eventually the Ottoman empire. Many continued to speak Ladino, a variant of 15th-century Spanish, and treasure elements of Spanish culture.
Tens of thousands stayed, but converted, and remained vulnerable to the perils of the Inquisition. How many Jews were killed remains unclear, but a widely accepted estimate is 2, people during the first two decades of the Inquisition, with thousands more tortured and killed throughout its full course. During the campaign, I received a phone call from an influential political journalist and author, who was soliciting my thoughts on Donald Trump.