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The art of war

Previous translations of The Art of War have presented Sun Tzu’s classic from the point of view of military strategy, Chinese history, or Taoist philosophy. This translation—accompanied by the translators’ in-depth essays and illuminating line-by-line commentary—offers a fresh perspective on this ancient Chinese text. Here, Sun Tzu’s strategic principles of warfare (based as they were on the fundamental insights of the Chinese spiritual and philosophical tradition) are seen as universally relevant—the foundation for personal transformation and the creation of an enlightened society. In this translation of The Art of War , Sun Tzu’s teachings are revealed in an entirely new light. War is any situation that demands hard choices about creation and destruction, life or death. The state is the system in which we live—our household, our culture or society, or our own mind. Defense ensures the integrity of our boundaries and allows life to flourish within them. Force is the energy of concentrated action. Victory lies in bringing others around to embracing a larger view—one that includes their own—without ever going to battle.

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The Formulas of Popular Fiction

"Anna Faktorovich has written an impressive study of genre writing. It is comprehensively informative and enticing on an intellectual level and simultaneously encouraging and useful to those embarking on a writing career. Formulaic authorship is not as creatively rewarding as producing Lolita or King Lear, but those future Luke Skywalkers and Harry Potters will pay the rent."–Robert Hauptman, editor, Journal of Information Ethics.
This book creates a taxonomy for the major bestselling fictional genres: romance (e.g., authors Heyer, Cartland, Woodiwiss and Roberts), religious and inspirational (Corelli and Douglas), mystery and detective (Conan Doyle, Christie and Mankell), and science fiction, horror and fantasy (Wells, Tolkien, Orwell, Niven, King and Rowling). Chapters look at a genre from its roots to its most recent works. The structural patterns in the plot, characters and setting of these genres are then explained.
The book also provides a critique of currently popular hyper-formulaic, hack, unliterary writings that have multiplied in recent decades. Special topics such as the publishing oligopoly and the resulting homogeneity among bestselling works and the steady movement from literary to unliterary fiction are also examined.

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Wicked

An astonishingly rich re-creation of the land of Oz, this book retells the story of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, who wasn’t so wicked after all. Taking readers past the yellow brick road and into a phantasmagoric world rich with imagination and allegory, Gregory Maguire just might change the reputation of one of the most sinister characters in literature.

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American Gods

The storm was coming….

Shadow spent three years in prison, keeping his head down, doing his time. All he wanted was to get back to the loving arms of his wife and to stay out of trouble for the rest of his life. But days before his scheduled release, he learns that his wife has been killed in an accident, and his world becomes a colder place.

On the plane ride home to the funeral, Shadow meets a grizzled man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. A self-styled grifter and rogue, Wednesday offers Shadow a job. And Shadow, a man with nothing to lose, accepts.

But working for the enigmatic Wednesday is not without its price, and Shadow soon learns that his role in Wednesday’s schemes will be far more dangerous than he ever could have imagined. Entangled in a world of secrets, he embarks on a wild road trip and encounters, among others, the murderous Czernobog, the impish Mr. Nancy, and the beautiful Easter — all of whom seem to know more about Shadow than he himself does.

Shadow will learn that the past does not die, that everyone, including his late wife, had secrets, and that the stakes are higher than anyone could have imagined.

All around them a storm of epic proportions threatens to break. Soon Shadow and Wednesday will be swept up into a conflict as old as humanity itself. For beneath the placid surface of everyday life a war is being fought — and the prize is the very soul of America.

As unsettling as it is exhilarating, American Gods is a dark and kaleidoscopic journey deep into myth and across an America at once eerily familiar and utterly alien. Magnificently told, this work of literary magic will haunt the reader far beyond the final page.