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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

How To Be Your Own Literary Agent
by Richard Curtis

How to Be Your Own Literary Agent takes the mystery out of book publishing for any writer, published or not. Richard Curtis — a top literary agent for more than thirty years — provides a comprehensive practical overview of the publishing process, from submissions to contract negotiations to subsidiary rights to marketing, publicity, and beyond. He also gives away trade secrets and invaluable wisdom — candid advice that can be found nowhere else. Now completely revised and expanded, How to Be Your Own Literary Agent is essential reading for all writers.

* Big publishers, small publishers, self-publishers, e-publishers: how to keep up in a rapidly changing business * The new breed of busy literary editors: how to find them and know what they’re looking for * What the electronic revolution means to you, and how to take advantage of it * How to know your “publishing” rights and negotiate effectively * How to have a say in your book’s design, jacket, and promotion * How book chains and superstores have altered publishing — and what that means for you


The Martha Manual
by Martha Stewart

Essential life skills from America’s most trusted lifestyle expert—together in one beautiful and practical handbook, with hundreds of ideas, instructions, and inspirations

Martha Stewart is America’s go-to source for the best answers to nearly every question. As an authority on the many worlds upon which she’s built her domestic empire, she can advise on everything from creating a cutting garden and setting the table to playing classic lawn games or building a campfire. Whether it’s organizing, celebrating, cleaning, decorating, or any number of other life skills, these are the time-tested, Martha-approved strategies for frequent challenges and basic how-to knowledge that everyone should have at the ready. Also included are plenty of solutions for the not-so-common conundrums, such as how to transport a decorated cake, bathe a cat, or fold an American flag. With hundreds of expert tips and useful insights in an easy-to-follow format, this is the manual you need to learn how to do everything—the Martha way.


Morning Glory on the Vine
by Joni Mitchell

In 1971, as her album ‘Blue’ topped music charts around the world, Joni Mitchell created a dazzling and unforgettable holiday gift for her closest friends. ‘Morning Glory on the Vine’ was an exquisite selection of Joni’s handwritten lyrics and poems, accompanied by more than thirty full-colour illustrations, paintings and watercolours. The book was hand-produced in Los Angeles and limited to one hundred signed and numbered copies. Copies of the book have rarely been seen in the past half-century.0Now, in conjunction with Joni’s 75th birthday celebrations, ‘Morning Glory on the Vine: Early Songs and Drawings’, will be made publicly available for the first time. This edition contains the book’s complete original content, plus a new introduction written by Joni and a number of her additional paintings (made at the time of the book’s creation).

Saving Fiona
by Thane Maynard

The amazing, true story of Fiona, a baby hippo born prematurely at the Cincinnati Zoo, the team of scientists and caregivers who nursed her to health, and the vast community in Cincinnati and beyond who rallied around her. Includes full-color behind-the-scenes photographs throughout.

On a cold January day in 2017, nearly two months before due date, Nile hippopotamus Bibi gave her keepers at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden a big (little) surprise—a tiny newborn hippo, no bigger than a football.  The first premature hippo born and raised in captivity, baby Fiona was an underdog from the start:  she couldn’t nurse, she couldn’t stay hydrated, and she wasn’t thriving. But the staff at the zoo knew they could save her.  It would take creative thinking and teamwork. They would have to study the makeup of hippo milk for the first time ever and reach out to medical colleagues, including a team at the local Children’s Hospital with superior vein-finding skills,  to ensure that Fiona would begin to gain weight and become healthy. When Fiona began to thrive, her star began to rise, and soon she became an internet sensation, her picture and videos garnering thousands and thousands of likes and fans on Instagram and Facebook.  Now a Fiona appearance at the Zoo mimics a Beatles concert.  What made this little, now big, hippo such a big hit with people all over the world?  And what’s in store for her and her family in the future?


Difficult Loves
by Italo Calvino

Intricate interior lives are brilliantly explored in these short stories, now presented in one definitive collection as Calvino intended them

In Difficult Loves, Italy’s master storyteller weaves tales in which cherished deceptions and illusions of love—including self-love—are swept away in magical instants of recognition. A soldier is reduced to quivering fear by the presence of a full-figured woman in his train compartment; a young clerk leaves a lady’s bed at dawn; a young woman is isolated from bathers on a beach by the loss of her bikini bottom. Each of them discovers hidden truths beneath the surface of everyday life.   
This is the first edition in English to present the collection as Calvino originally envisioned it, and includes two stories newly translated by Ann Goldstein.


The Undefeated
by Kwame Alexander

The Newbery Award-winning author of THE CROSSOVER pens an ode to black American triumph and tribulation, with art from a two-time Caldecott Honoree.
Originally performed for ESPN’s The Undefeated, this poem is a love letter to black life in the United States. It highlights the unspeakable trauma of slavery, the faith and fire of the civil rights movement, and the grit, passion, and perseverance of some of the world’s greatest heroes. The text is also peppered with references to the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, and others, offering deeper insights into the accomplishments of the past, while bringing stark attention to the endurance and spirit of those surviving and thriving in the present. Robust back matter at the end provides valuable historical context and additional detail for those wishing to learn more.

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Maybe You Should Talk To Someone

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone
by Lori Gottlieb

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!

Now being developed as a television series with Eva Longoria and ABC!

“Rarely have I read a book that challenged me to see myself in an entirely new light, and was at the same time laugh-out-loud funny and utterly absorbing.”—Katie Couric
 
“This is a daring, delightful, and transformative book.”—Arianna Huffington, Founder, Huffington Post and Founder & CEO, Thrive Global
 
“Wise, warm, smart, and funny. You must read this book.”—Susan Cain, New York Times best-selling author of Quiet

From a New York Times best-selling author, psychotherapist, and national advice columnist, a hilarious, thought-provoking, and surprising new book that takes us behind the scenes of a therapist’s world—where her patients are looking for answers (and so is she).

One day, Lori Gottlieb is a therapist who helps patients in her Los Angeles practice. The next, a crisis causes her world to come crashing down. Enter Wendell, the quirky but seasoned therapist in whose of­fice she suddenly lands. With his balding head, cardigan, and khakis, he seems to have come straight from Therapist Central Casting. Yet he will turn out to be anything but.
 
As Gottlieb explores the inner chambers of her patients’ lives — a self-absorbed Hollywood producer, a young newlywed diagnosed with a terminal illness, a senior citizen threatening to end her life on her birthday if nothing gets better, and a twenty-something who can’t stop hooking up with the wrong guys — she finds that the questions they are struggling with are the very ones she is now bringing to Wendell.
 
With startling wisdom and humor, Gottlieb invites us into her world as both clinician and patient, examining the truths and fictions we tell ourselves and others as we teeter on the tightrope between love and desire, meaning and mortality, guilt and redemption, terror and courage, hope and change.
 
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone is rev­olutionary in its candor, offering a deeply per­sonal yet universal tour of our hearts and minds and providing the rarest of gifts: a boldly reveal­ing portrait of what it means to be human, and a disarmingly funny and illuminating account of our own mysterious lives and our power to transform them.


Marry Him
by Lori Gottlieb

An eye-opening, funny, painful, and always truthful in-depth examination of modern relationships and a wake-up call for single women about getting real about Mr. Right.

You have a fulfilling job, great friends, and the perfect apartment. So what if you haven’t found “The One” just yet. He’ll come along someday, right?
 
But what if he doesn’t?  Or what if Mr. Right had been, well, Mr. Right in Front of You—but you passed him by? Nearing forty and still single, journalist Lori Gottlieb started to wonder: What makes for lasting romantic fulfillment, and are we looking for those qualities when we’re dating? Are we too picky about trivial things that don’t matter, and not picky enough about the often overlooked things that do?
 
In Marry Him, Gottlieb explores an all-too-common dilemma—how to reconcile the desire for a happy marriage with a list of must-haves and deal-breakers so long and complicated that many great guys get misguidedly eliminated. On a quest to find the answer, Gottlieb sets out on her own journey in search of love, discovering wisdom and surprising insights from sociologists and neurobiologists, marital researchers and behavioral economists—as well as single and married men and women of all generations.


Talk to Me First
by Deborah Roffman

We live in a time when kids of all ages are bombarded with age-sensitive material wherever they turn; “sexting” and bullying are on the rise at an increasingly younger age, and teen moms are “celebrified.” What is a concerned–and embarrassed–parent to do? With wit, wisdom, and savvy, Deborah Roffman translates her experiences gleaned from decades of teaching kids and parents, and as a mom, into strategies to help parents navigate this tricky terrain. Talk to Me First is for any parent who wants to become and remain the most credible and influential resource about sexuality in their children’s lives. 

Talking Across the Divide
by Justin Lee

A guide to learning how to communicate with people who have diametrically opposed opinions from you, how to empathize with them, and how to (possibly) change their minds

America is more polarized than ever. Whether the issue is Donald Trump, healthcare, abortion, gun control, breastfeeding, or even DC vs Marvel, it feels like you can’t voice an opinion without ruffling someone’s feathers. In today’s digital age, it’s easier than ever to build walls around yourself. You fill up your Twitter feed with voices that are angry about the same issues and believe as you believe. Before long, you’re isolated in your own personalized echo chamber. And if you ever encounter someone outside of your bubble, you don’t understand how the arguments that resonate so well with your peers can’t get through to anyone else. In a time when every conversation quickly becomes a battlefield, it’s up to us to learn how to talk to each other again.

In Talking Across the Divide, social justice activist Justin Lee explains how to break through the five key barriers that make people resist differing opinions. With a combination of psychological research, pop-culture references, and anecdotes from Justin’s many years of experience mediating contentious conversations, this book will help you understand people on the other side of the argument and give you the tools you need to change their minds–even if they’ve fallen for “fake news.”


How to Win Friends and Influence People
by Dale Carnegie, General Press

‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ is one of the first best-selling self-help books ever published. Just after publishing, it quickly exploded into an overnight success, eventually selling more than 15 million copies worldwide, and pioneering an entire genre of self-help and personal success books.

With an enduring grasp of human nature, it teaches his readers how to handle people without letting them feel manipulated, how to make people feel important without inspiring resentment, how win people over to your point of view without causing offence, and how to make a friend out of just about anyone. Millions of people around the world have improved their lives based on the teachings of Dale Carnegie. This classic book will turn your relationships around and improve your interactions with everyone in your life.

(How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, 9788180320217)


We Need to Talk
by Celeste Headlee

“WE NEED TO TALK.”

In this urgent and insightful book, public radio journalist Celeste Headlee shows us how to bridge what divides us–by having real conversations

BASED ON THE TED TALK WITH OVER 10 MILLION VIEWS
NPR’s Best Books of 2017

Winner of the 2017 Silver Nautilus Award in Relationships & Communication

“We Need to Talk is an important read for a conversationally-challenged, disconnected age. Headlee is a talented, honest storyteller, and her advice has helped me become a better spouse, friend, and mother.”  (Jessica Lahey, author of New York Times bestseller The Gift of Failure)

Today most of us communicate from behind electronic screens, and studies show that Americans feel less connected and more divided than ever before. The blame for some of this disconnect can be attributed to our political landscape, but the erosion of our conversational skills as a society lies with us as individuals.

And the only way forward, says Headlee, is to start talking to each other. In We Need to Talk, she outlines the strategies that have made her a better conversationalist—and offers simple tools that can improve anyone’s communication. For example: 

  • BE THERE OR GO ELSEWHERE. Human beings are incapable of multitasking, and this is especially true of tasks that involve language. Think you can type up a few emails while on a business call, or hold a conversation with your child while texting your spouse? Think again.
  • CHECK YOUR BIAS. The belief that your intelligence protects you from erroneous assumptions can end up making you more vulnerable to them. We all have blind spots that affect the way we view others. Check your bias before you judge someone else.
  • HIDE YOUR PHONE. Don’t just put down your phone, put it away. New research suggests that the mere presence of a cell phone can negatively impact the quality of a conversation.

Whether you’re struggling to communicate with your kid’s teacher at school, an employee at work, or the people you love the most—Headlee offers smart strategies that can help us all have conversations that matter.

 


What Not to Say
by Sarah MacLaughlin

“How many times have you uttered a standard, knee-jerk phrase when trying to counsel a young child or respond to irritating behavior? Even when it’s clear our typical verbal reactions and directives aren’t working, many adults just don’t know what to say instead. Changing the way we talk may be a daunting prospect, but What not to say: tools for talking with young children succeeds in steering parents, teachers, nannies, and others in how to revamp their communication with 1- to 6-year-olds. By understanding the importance of what children hear from us and utilizing the book’s practical tools, readers can begin to think twice and alter how they typically speak to the children in their lives. Confrontations and misunderstanding can be turned around with clarity, honesty, consistency, and humor.” –Publisher description.

Make Your Bed
by William H. McRaven

The inspiring #1 New York Times bestseller that “should be read by every leader in America.” (Wall Street Journal)

“Powerful.” –USA Today

“Full of captivating personal anecdotes from inside the national security vault.” –Washington Post

“Superb, smart, and succinct.” –Forbes

BASED ON THE INCREDIBLE GRADUATION SPEECH WITH OVER 14 MILLION VIEWS ON YOUTUBE

If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.

On May 17, 2014, 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 Art of Asking
by Amanda Palmer

FOREWORD BY BRENE BROWN and POSTSCRIPT FROM BRAIN PICKINGS CREATOR MARIA POPOVA

Rock star, crowdfunding pioneer, and TED speaker Amanda Palmer knows all about asking. Performing as a living statue in a wedding dress, she wordlessly asked thousands of passersby for their dollars. When she became a singer, songwriter, and musician, she was not afraid to ask her audience to support her as she surfed the crowd (and slept on their couches while touring). And when she left her record label to strike out on her own, she asked her fans to support her in making an album, leading to the world’s most successful music Kickstarter.

Even while Amanda is both celebrated and attacked for her fearlessness in asking for help, she finds that there are important things she cannot ask for-as a musician, as a friend, and as a wife. She learns that she isn’t alone in this, that so many people are afraid to ask for help, and it paralyzes their lives and relationships. In this groundbreaking book, she explores these barriers in her own life and in the lives of those around her, and discovers the emotional, philosophical, and practical aspects of THE ART OF ASKING.

Part manifesto, part revelation, this is the story of an artist struggling with the new rules of exchange in the twenty-first century, both on and off the Internet. THE ART OF ASKING will inspire readers to rethink their own ideas about asking, giving, art, and love.


We Need to Talk About Kevin
by Lionel Shriver

That neither nature nor nurture bears exclusive responsibility for a child’s character is self-evident. But generalizations about genes are likely to provide cold comfort if it’s your own child who just opened fire on his feellow algebra students and whose class photograph—with its unseemly grin—is shown on the evening news coast-to-coast.

If the question of who’s to blame for teenage atrocity intrigues news-watching voyeurs, it tortures our narrator, Eva Khatchadourian. Two years before the opening of the novel, her son, Kevin, murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker, and the much-beloved teacher who had tried to befriend him. Because his sixteenth birthday arrived two days after the killings, he received a lenient sentence and is currently in a prison for young offenders in upstate New York.

In relating the story of Kevin’s upbringing, Eva addresses her estranged husband, Frank, through a series of startingly direct letters. Fearing that her own shortcomings may have shaped what her son became, she confesses to a deep, long-standing ambivalence about both motherhood in general—and Kevin in particular. How much is her fault?

We Need To Talk About Kevin offers no at explanations for why so many white, well-to-do adolescents—whether in Pearl, Paducah, Springfield, or Littleton—have gone nihilistically off the rails while growing up in the most prosperous country in history. Instead, Lionel Shriver tells a compelling, absorbing, and resonant story with an explosive, haunting ending. She considers motherhood, marriage, family, career—while framing these horrifying tableaus of teenage carnage as metaphors for the larger tragedy of a country where everything works, nobody starves, and anything can be bought but a sense of purpose.


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Inside The Empire

Inside the Empire
by Bob Klapisch, Paul Solotaroff

A riveting look at what is really said and done behind closed doors with the New York Yankees, the most famous and wealthiest sports franchise in the world
 
Using the 2018 baseball season as the backdrop, Inside the Empire gives readers the real, unvarnished “straight-from-the-gut” truth from Brian Cashman, Aaron Boone, Giancarlo Stanton, C.C. Sabathia—even Hal Steinbrenner and Randy Levine—and many more.
 
This is baseball’s version of HBO’s award-winning NFL series “Hard Knocks.” Klapisch and Solotaroff take you deep into the Yankees clubhouse, their dugout, and the front office and pull back the curtain so that every fan can see what really goes on.

Bottom line? You may think you know everything about the storied franchise of the New York Yankees and what makes them tick. But Inside the Empire will set the record straight, and drop bombshells about iconic figures along the way. There’s never been a baseball book quite like it.


Inside the Star Wars Empire
by Bill Kimberlin

Bill Kimberlin may refer to himself as “one of those names on the endless list of credits at the close of blockbuster movies.” In reality though, he’s a true insider on some of the most celebrated and popular movies and franchises of the past century. Jurassic Park. Star Trek. Jumanji. Schindler’s List. Saving Private Ryan. Even Forrest Gump. And perhaps most notably, Star Wars.

Inside the Star Wars Empire is the very funny and insightful tell-all about the two decades Kimberlin spent as a department director at LucasFilm Industrial Light and Magic (ILM), the special effects studio founded by the legendary filmmaker George Lucas.


Empire of Fear
by Andrew Hosken

Tourists killed in Tunisia; Jihadi John targeted by drone strikes; carnage in Paris; and hundreds of thousands of Syrians risking everything to reach Europe in an attempt to escape the violence. Islamic State’s reign of terror continues.

Back in June 2014 Islamic State had launched an astonishing blitzkrieg which saw them seize control of an area in the Middle East the size of Britain. The news was soon filled with their relentless acts of savagery, yet nobody seemed to know who they were or where they’d come from. In this updated edition of his acclaimed book, BBC reporter Andrew Hosken delivers the inside story on Islamic State from their origins to the present day. Through extensive first-hand reporting, Hosken builds a comprehensive picture of IS, their brutal ideology and exterminationist methods. The result is equally compelling and horrifying.


The empire builders
by J. Paul Mark

This examination of the power and politics of the Harvard Business School reveals some of the less-than-ethical “tricks of the trade” taught at the school and probes the methods used by faculty and administration to safeguard their positions and the schoo

Angels of Death
by William Marsden, Julian Sher

The award-winning authors of The Road to Hell: How the Biker Gangs Are Conquering Canada bring us a definitive, up-to-the-minute account of the Hells Angels and the international biker network.

Marsden and Sher explain how the expansion of America’s foremost motorcycle gang has allowed this once ragtag group of rebels, outcasts and felons to become one of the world’s most sophisticated criminal organizations. While the media has continued to toast the Hells Angels California leader, Sonny Barger, as an American legend, the facts tell another story – they are America’s major crime export. With an estimated 2,500 full-patch members in 25 countries, the Hells Angels have inspired a global subculture of biker gangs that are among the most feared and violent underworld players.

Angels of Death takes readers to Arizona, inside the biggest American police undercover operation to infiltrate the bikers; to British Columbia where wealthy bikers dominate the organized crime pyramid; to Australia where the “bikies” shoot it out with police; to Curaçao where terrorist organizations funnel drugs to Dutch bikers; and to the streets of Oslo, Copenhagen and Helsinki where a murderous biker war saw rocket attacks and bombs turn Scandinavia into a war zone.

For the first time, police officers who have infiltrated biker gangs tell their secrets – revealing the challenges, fears and horrors they’ve discovered going undercover. Sher and Marsden take the reader behind the latest headlines to tell the story of how the Hells Angels became so powerful, and how the police – with only a few successes – have tried to stop them.

Excerpt from Angels of Death:

Three murderous evenings, three different continents, three faces of the Angels of death: the killing of innocents, the killing of fellow bikers, and the killing of cops.

Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of lives ruined, brains fried, bodies withered by the methamphetamines, cocaine and other drugs pushed by the bikers.

And yet while the body count kept mounting, Sonny Barger, the Californian patriarch and international leader of the Hells Angels, was being feted by the international media as he promoted his latest bestselling book. Even the usually thoughtful British press fell for the rebel Yankee. The Times called him, “affable, big-hearted, warm.”

The Independent labelled him an “American legend.”

And in many ways he is.


The Empire Inside
by Suzanne Daly

The Empire Inside is unique in its tight focus on the objects from one geographical location, and their deployment in one genre of fiction. This combination results in a powerful study with a wealth of fine formal analyses of literary texts and a similar trove of marvelous historical data.”
—Elaine Freedgood, New York University

“In The Empire Inside, Suzanne Daly does a wonderful job integrating an array of primary materials, especially novels and journal essays, to show the extent to which these ‘foreign’ colonial products of India represented absolutely central aspects of domestic life, at once part of the unremarkable everyday experience of Victorians and rich with meanings.”
—Timothy Carens, College of Charleston

By the early nineteenth century, imperial commodities had become commonplace in middle-class English homes. Such Indian goods as tea, textiles, and gemstones led double lives, functioning at once as exotic foreign artifacts and as markers of proper Englishness. The Empire Inside: Indian Commodities in Victorian Domestic Novels reveals how Indian imports encapsulated new ideas about both the home and the world in Victorian literature and culture. In novels by Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens, and Anthony Trollope, the regularity with which Indian commodities appear bespeaks their burgeoning importance both ideologically and commercially. Such domestic details as the drinking of tea and the giving of shawls as gifts point us toward suppressed connections between the feminized realm of private life and the militarized realm of foreign commerce.

Tracing the history of Indian imports yields a record of the struggles for territory and political power that marked the coming-into-being of British India; reading the novels of the period for the ways in which they infuse meaning into these imports demonstrates how imperialism was written into the fabric of everyday life in nineteenth-century England. Situated at the intersection of Victorian studies, material cultural studies, gender studies, and British Empire studies, The Empire Inside is written for academics, graduate students, and advanced undergraduates in all of these fields.

Suzanne Daly is Associate Professor of English, University of Massachusetts Amherst.


Better to Reign in Hell
by Jim Miller, Kelly Mayhew

The silver-and-black-clad Oakland Raiders fans are the most notorious in American professional sports, with a mythic reputation for cursing, drinking, brawling, and generally wreaking mayhem. The devotion of the team’s multiracial, largely blue-collar supporters runs deep, creating a profound sense of community. As Jim Miller and Kelly Mayhew reveal in this hair-raising and entertaining new book, the self-described Raider Nation, smitten with its outlaw mystique, provides a gritty alternative to California’s sunshine-and-granola image.

Over the course of the harrowing 2003 season, Miller and Mayhew explored the reality behind the myth and interviewed legions of rabid Raiders fans—from suburban families to bikers—while attending games in the “Black Hole” (the rowdiest section in Oakland’s stadium), frequenting sports bars, and crashing tailgate parties. Featuring the extraordinary photography of Joseph A. Blum, Better to Reign in Hell is both a rollicking tale of obsessive fandom and a fascinating study of the intersection of class, race, gender, and community in professional sports.


Empire of Scrounge
by Jeff Ferrell

In December of 2001 Jeff Ferrell quit his job as tenured professor, moved back to his hometown of Fort Worth, Texas, and, with a place to live but no real income, began an eight-month odyssey of essentially living off of the street. Empire of Scrounge tells the story of this unusual journey into the often illicit worlds of scrounging, recycling, and second-hand living. Existing as a dumpster diver and trash picker, Ferrell adopted a way of life that was both field research and free-form survival. Riding around on his scrounged BMX bicycle, Ferrell investigated the million-dollar mansions, working-class neighborhoods, middle class suburbs, industrial and commercial strips, and the large downtown area, where he found countless discarded treasures, from unopened presents and new clothes to scrap metal and even food.

Richly illustrated throughout, Empire of Scrounge is both a personal journey and a larger tale about the changing values of American society. Perhaps nowhere else do the fault lines of inequality get reflected so clearly than at the curbside trash can, where one person’s garbage often becomes another’s bounty. Throughout this engaging narrative, full of a colorful cast of characters, from the mansion living suburbanites to the junk haulers themselves, Ferrell makes a persuasive argument about the dangers of over-consumption. With landfills overflowing, today’s highly disposable culture produces more trash than ever before—and yet the urge to consume seems limitless.

In the end, while picking through the city’s trash was often dirty and unpleasant work, unearthing other people’s discards proved to be unquestionably illuminating. After all, what we throw away says more about us than what we keep.