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After 15 years - nearly half his life - in state prison, Mason Burke owns one set of clothes, a wallet, and a photo of Lucy, the service dog he trained while behind bars. Seeking a fresh start, he sets out for Deception Cove, Washington, where the dog now lives. Russo's characters in these four expansive stories bear little similarity to the blue-collar citizens we're familiar with from many of his novels. In "Horseman", a professor confronts a young plagiarist as well as her own weaknesses as the Thanksgiving holiday looms closer and closer: "And after that, who knew?

Anyone familiar with Richard Russo's acclaimed novels will recognize Gloversville, once famous for producing that eponymous product and anything else made of leather. This is where the author grew up, the only son of an aspirant mother and a charming, feckless father who were born into this close-knit community.

But by the time of his childhood in the s, prosperity was inexorably being replaced by poverty and illness often tannery-related , with everyone barely scraping by under a very low horizon.

Primary Inversion

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. 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. Of all of John Irving's books, this is the one that lends itself best to audio. In print, Owen Meany's dialogue is set in capital letters; for this production, Irving himself selected Joe Barrett to deliver Meany's difficult voice as intended.

In the summer of , two year-old boys — best friends — are playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire. One of the boys hits a foul ball that kills the other boy's mother. The boy who hits the ball doesn't believe in accidents; Owen Meany believes he is God's instrument.

What happens to Owen after that foul ball is extraordinary and terrifying. Zephyr, Alabama, is an idyllic hometown for eleven-year-old Cory Mackenson - a place where monsters swim the river deep and friends are forever. Then, one cold spring morning, Cory and his father witness a car plunge into a lake - and a desperate rescue attempt brings his father face-to-face with a terrible, haunting vision of death. As Cory struggles to understand his father's pain, his eyes are slowly opened to the forces of good and evil that surround him. The blue-collar heartache at the center of [his] fiction has the sheen of Dickens but the epic levity of John Irving Nobody's Fool is a big, rambunctious novel with endless riffs and unstoppable human hopefulness.

What is it like to be a year Old man who has always avoided responsibility? Sully is that person in the book Nobody's Fool by Richard Russo. A person who everybody loves and hates, to varying degrees, and who deserves both, Sully finds that all of those responsibilities come to haunt him, along with thoughts of his abusive father, who Sully is slowly becoming as he spirals from the fear of responsibility, from the pain of his wrecked body, and from a reliance on alcohol and pain killers.

For a man who has always avoided responsibility, it is a difficult time. He is needed by his son Peter, who he has never shown any interest in, his ex-wife Vera, who hates him, and a grandson who he can't help loving. There are also the needs of his best friend Rub, his elderly landlady, his long-time girlfriend and her family,and various other characters who walk through his life and who he helps, even while doling out servings of his acid-tongued wit indiscriminately, unsparingly, and to great and horrible effect.

The narrator of this book displays amazing skill. There are many characters, all well written, in this book, and he brings life to all of them, adding to the author's fine description. A lot happens in this book, but it is not written on a grand scale. It is a story of one man, and one town and by the end you love and hate them both, and wish that the story would go on forever. This is a book about quirky characters and the intertwining of their lives in a small town. You just know these are real people.

Don't expect lots of action here but if you love a writer who is a real craftsman with words, one who clearly loves his characters and makes you love them too then this book is for you. Funny, sad, warm and enchanting. I'll listen to it over and over. This is one of the finest books I've read in many years.

The portrayals of both the main character, a something guy whose life has passed him by, and the minor characters, are brilliant. Nothing much happens in this book, whose story covers just a few days, but it is a heart-warming, humanist story. Listening to this audiobook version brought back all the subtleties in Russo's writing. While it took me a while to get used to the reader, in the end I feel he has the perfect voice for this story. This book is long, and slow, and you just want it to continue for a longer time. But it's about real life, and life doesn't last forever. I read several of the reviews here and wasn't sure if I was willing to commit to such a long book about "nothing".

I had no expectations for this book other than wanting to hear a good story. This IS a good story. The characters are well-defined and very easy to picture in your mind. The story itself is basically about people in a small town and what their daily ups and downs are.

See a Problem?

No, it's NOT boring! You will be drawn into the lives of these people, and I promise you that you will laugh and cry and become completely sucked into this book. Donald "Sully" Sullivan is the main character and his interactions with various people - from old Hattie at the diner to his ex-wife's new husband, Ralph, to his narcissistic boss, Carl and his hilariously stupid, best friend, Rub - Sully is man who can be gentle or sarcastic or loving or downright hilarious.

I don't know why another reader said they didn't like Sully.

25 Books That Blow Minds

I sure do. I suspect you will as well. If you are looking for something that simply provides a good story in every sense of the word, this is the book for you. It's true, there is no murder mystery or crime other than petty theft, illegal parking and one domestic issue , there isn't a lot of blood and gore, there isn't even really any sex.

To be honest, it's something special to come across a gem like this without all that stuff. I have to say I'm surprised by others bad reviews, but that's what makes us all different I guess. Much more than Empire Falls which earned him a Pulitzer. His character development and caring for them was brilliant. That fact that Sully doesn't change is what makes it wonderful. Things changed around Sully. No Disney ending here, with I've been wrong, now I'm better off for it stuff.

Just plain, simple life. And I love his explanation of the "stupid streak" coming on. You know it's wrong, you know it's going to screw things up, but you just can't help yourself sometimes. First, I need to say this is not an "action" story.


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It's about ordinary people living in a small, depressed town in NY State. The author has created such wonderful characters, quirky and loveable and frustrating in their humanity. And totally believable. It's a long listen, and I found it took a couple of hours to get to know the characters enough to care. But I was richly rewarded for sticking in there and found myself unable to stop listening later in the tale.

The interactions of the characters is frequently entertaining, the story poignant, sad, and uplifting at the same time - an amazing glimpse of human foibles, love, forgiveness, and redemption. I highly recommend it and will certainly try another of this authors titles.

Excellent story and excellent reader. I truly was captivated by this story and the telling. Ron McClarty has so many voices and nuances just right for the telling of this type of story. I will "read" anything he "reads".


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Russo captures what it is to be human through his look at the denizens of this quirky small town. The book is funny and sad and made me want to move into this town and go drink coffee with these people. It sounds cliche but seriously: You'll laugh, you'll cry and it will become part of you. Russo is a master! You will have lovely scenery, peace, quiet, and solitude in which to work for a month.

It'll be just like Jack Torrance's dream job in The Shining : "finally The only catch heh, heh is that you must feed and care for Tim Kreider's famous cat, The Quetzal, a.

Schadenfreude - Wikipedia

The Cat. Couples will be considered. Submit your pleas, personal information, references, and samples of work or a url of your site where tat work is posted to my email address on our contact page. Junkies and cat-murderers will be rigorously screened. I will be embarking on a whirlwind national tour to promote the book. My reading schedule so far is as follows:. He can do in a few pages what I need several hours of screen time and tens of millions to accomplish. And he does it better. Come to think of it, I'd rather not do a blurb. Pleasure at another's happiness is described by the Buddhist concept of mudita [19] [20] [21] or the concept of " compersion " in the polyamory community.

Displeasure at another's happiness is involved in envy , and perhaps in jealousy. The coinage "freudenschade" similarly means sorrow at another's success.


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Displeasure at another's unhappiness is sympathy , pity , or compassion. Sadism gives pleasure through the infliction of pain, whereas schadenfreude is pleasure on observing misfortune and in particular the fact that the other somehow deserved the misfortune. Neologisms and portmanteau words were coined from the word as early as , when Lincoln Caplan, in his book Skadden: Power, Money, and the Rise of a Legal Empire , [25] used the word Skaddenfreude to describe the delight that competitors of Skadden Arps took in its troubles of the early s. The Book of Proverbs mentions an emotion similar to Schadenfreude : "Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him.

Nemesis is "a painful response to another's undeserved good fortune", while phthonos is a painful response to any good fortune, deserved or not. Lucretius characterises the emotion in an extended simile in De rerum natura : Suave, mari magno turbantibus aequora ventis, e terra magnum alterius spectare laborem , "It is pleasant to watch from the land the great struggle of someone else in a sea rendered great by turbulent winds.

Caesarius of Heisterbach regards "delight in the adversity of a neighbour" as one of the "daughters of envy The philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer mentioned Schadenfreude as the most evil sin of human feeling, famously saying "To feel envy is human, to savor schadenfreude is diabolic. Rabbi Harold S. Kushner in his book When Bad Things Happen to Good People describes Schadenfreude as a universal, even wholesome reaction that cannot be helped.

Susan Sontag 's book Regarding the Pain of Others , published in , is a study of the issue of how the pain and misfortune of some people affects others, namely whether war photography and war paintings may be helpful as anti-war tools, or whether they only serve some sense of Schadenfreude in some viewers. Philosopher and sociologist Theodor Adorno defined schadenfreude as " A New York Times article in cited a number of scientific studies of Schadenfreude , which it defined as "delighting in others' misfortune".

Many such studies are based on social comparison theory , the idea that when people around us have bad luck, we look better to ourselves. Other researchers have found that people with low self-esteem are more likely to feel Schadenfreude than are those who have high self-esteem. A study examined intergroup Schadenfreude within the context of sports, specifically an international football soccer competition.

The study focused on the German and Dutch football teams and their fans. The results of this study indicated that the emotion of Schadenfreude is very sensitive to circumstances that make it more or less legitimate to feel such malicious pleasure towards a sports rival. A study by Cikara and colleagues using functional magnetic resonance imaging fMRI examined Schadenfreude among Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees fans, and found that fans showed increased activation in brain areas correlated with self-reported pleasure ventral striatum when observing the rival team experience a negative outcome e.

Empire Falls by Richard Russo

A experiment about justice served suggests that men, but not women, enjoy seeing "bad people" suffer. The study was designed to measure empathy by watching which brain centers are stimulated when subjects observed via fMRI see someone experiencing physical pain. Researchers expected that the brain's empathy center of subjects would show more stimulation when those seen as "good" got an electric shock, than would occur if the shock was given to someone the subject had reason to consider "bad".

This was indeed the case, but for male subjects, the brain's pleasure centers also lit up when someone got a shock that the male thought was "well-deserved". Brain-scanning studies show that Schadenfreude is correlated with envy in subjects. Strong feelings of envy activated physical pain nodes in the brain's dorsal anterior cingulate cortex ; the brain's reward centers, such as the ventral striatum , were activated by news that other people envied had suffered misfortune.

The magnitude of the brain's Schadenfreude response could even be predicted from the strength of the previous envy response. A study conducted in provides evidence for people's capacity to feel Schadenfreude in response to negative events in politics. It was reported in the study that the likelihood of experiencing feelings of Schadenfreude depends upon whether an individual's own party or the opposing party is suffering harm.