Tag Archives: health

The Guardians: An Elegy for a Friend by Sarah Manguso

The GuardiansThe Guardians: An Elegy for a Friend
Sarah Manguso
Picador / $15.00 / 128 pages
On Sale: March 5, 2013
Memoir / Health / Mental Health

For review copies (US and Canada only), or to schedule an interview with Sarah Manguso, please email gabrielle.gantz [at] picadorusa.com

“Memoirs about grief often concern a relative or partner, but Manguso’s offers a revealing perspective on simple friendship and on a formative period of early adulthood when choices are made and selfhood solidifies.”—The New Yorker

“‘Nobody understands how I feel,’ we often think (mistakenly) in times of loss. But Manguso not only understands, she can articulate it in the precisest and most unexpected of images—an unrelated car accident, a bowl of Italian candies, a swim in the ocean. What results is a memoir that reveals not the just intimacies of the writer’s life, but of your own. Most moving is that The Guardians covers a subject so rarely recognized in our society, the grief from the death of a friend.”—Leigh Newman, Oprah.com, “Book of the Week”

“Sarah Manguso’s The Guardians goes to hell and back . . . The book majors in bone-on-bone rawness, exposed nerve endings . . . With The Guardians, I did something I do when I love a book: start covering my mouth when I read; this is very pure and elemental, and I wanted nothing coming between me and the page.”—David Shields, Los Angeles Review of Books

“A bittersweet elegy to a friend who ‘eloped’ from a locked psychiatric ward . . . [Manguso] explores the extent to which we are our friends’ guardians and, in outliving them, the guardians of their memory . . . Manguso’s writing manages, in carefully honed bursts of pointed, poetic observation, to transcend the darkness and turn it into something beautiful. The results are also deeply instructive, not in the manner we’ve come to fatuously call “self-help” but in the way that good literature expands and illuminates our realm of experience.”—Heller McAlpin, Barnes and Noble Review

“Shortly after returning home from a fellowship year in Rome, poet and memoirist Sarah Manguso received word that her old college friend Harris had fled a psychiatric hospital and jumped in front of a train. In The Guardians: An Elegy, the writer explores, in prose that singes with precision and honesty, the many ambiguities surrounding the tragedy . . . A long friendship is a crucial orientation point, and Manguso captures with great delicacy the spinning compass of her grief, and its accompanying jumble of anger, disappointments, corrupted memories—and love.”—Megan O’Grady, Vogue

“Packs an emotional wallop into small, patterned movements.”—The A.V. Club

“In The Guardians, Sarah Manguso holds up two kinds of love: the love for someone willfully at one’s side (the new husband) and the love for someone willfully gone (the dear friend, a suicide). The limitations and complexities of romantic love played out in the present are here haunted on all sides by the simple expansiveness of platonic love, especially as seen through the lens of mourning. The living cannot compete with the dead. But marriage has its rights before any friendship. The mystery of where Manguso’s heart will land propels us through this vivid meditation.”—Sheila Heti, author of How Should a Person Be?

“Sarah Manguso’s is a disarming and yet infectiously charming style, one that mixes intimate personal reflection with curiously distanced observations of the world. What this ends up feeling like while reading The Guardians is a tension that’s both inviting and simultaneously alienating, a wounded sort of intellect that wants to protect and yet expose itself to the reader. It’s a beautifully sad meditation—as exhilarating as it is devastating.”—John D’Agata, author of About a Mountain

“Manguso is a deliberate and exact stylist….At her best, she has some of Didion’s rhythms, her watchfulness and remove, her way of drawing attention to her own fragility….A fiercely personal book.”—The Cleveland Plain Dealer

“An unidentified white man was struck and instantly killed by a Metro-North train last night,” reported the July 24, 2008, edition of the Riverdale Press. This man was named Harris, and The Guardians—written in the years after he escaped from a psychiatric hospital and ended his life—is Sarah Manguso’s heartbreaking elegy.

Harris was a man who “played music, wrote software, wrote music, learned to drive, went to college, went to bed with girls.” In The Guardians, Manguso grieves not for family or for a lover, but for a best friend. With startling humor and candor, she paints a portrait of a friendship between a man and a woman—in all its unexpected detail—and shows that love and grief do not always take the shapes we expect them to.

Sarah Manguso is the author of a memoir, The Two Kinds of Decay; two books of poetry, Siste Viator and The Captain Lands in Paradise; and a short-story collection, Hard to Admit and Harder to Escape.

Cover image for download
Sarah Manguso’s website

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The School of Life Presents: How to Think More About Sex and How to Stay Sane









How to Think More About Sex by Alain de Botton
How to Stay Sane by Philippa Perry
A Picador Original / $16.00 / 208pp
Publication Date: December 24, 2012 (January 2013)
Self Help / Psychology / Sexuality

For review copies (US and Canada only) or to schedule an interview with Alain de Botton or Philippa Perry, please email gabrielle.gantz [at] picadorusa.com


How to Think More About Sex

“De Botton is never prescriptive, and the intellectual rigor of his investigation prevents this book from settling into a self-help reference guide.”
—Publishers Weekly

“By encouraging readers to understand their desires and manifestations of sexuality in new and more reflective ways, de Botton’s addition to the School of Life series offers a tantalizing discourse on this endlessly fascinating, and eternally misunderstood, subject.”—Booklist

“De Botton addresses and reframes the origins of attraction and desire, the definition of ‘sexy,’ sexual pleasure and problems, pornography, adultery, and myriad other down-and-dirty topics. This is a thoughtful and profoundly useful examination of contemporary sexuality, and I can’t recommend it enough.”Rebecca Joines Schinsky, BookRiot

How to Stay Sane

“Right off the bat, it’s clear her [Perry’s] intention is not to transform the clinically crazy into functioning members of society; rather this brief book is aimed at everyday folks struggling to ‘remain stable and yet flexible, coherent and yet able to embrace complexity.’ … her inviting tone (complimented by lighthearted illustrations throughout) and friendly prose make this an accessible addition to the School of Life publications.”
—Publishers Weekly

“Using stories from her therapy practice to illustrate her points as well as numerous exercises to conduct alone, with a loved one or within a group, Perry brings new light to a well-visited subject.”—Kirkus

“In her pithy contribution to the School of Life series, Perry explores the components of a rational lifestyle on many levels. … Concluding that there is no single “right” approach for every person or lifestyle, Perry helpfully supports her recommendations with practical exercises that, she posits, may preclude the need for external psychotherapeutic intervention. Throughout, Perry offers guidance that is both revelatory and achievable.”—Booklist


HOW TO THINK MORE ABOUT SEX (Picador Original / On Sale: January 2013 / ISBN 978-1-250-03065-8 / $16.00 / 208 pages) by Alain de Botton is a frank appraisal of how sex is had—or not had—among people in the 21st century.

In HOW TO THINK MORE ABOUT SEX,de Botton argues that there is a dissonance between what we think is normal and what we experience in real life concerning sex and our sexual lives. Sometimes we don’t feel what we think we’re supposed to feel.  This book examines the implications of desire, lust, commitment and love, claiming that these things are all a precarious balancing act. De Botton honestly assesses the confusion of having sex in the modern age, including such subjects as fetishes, pornography, and threesomes. This smart, thought-provoking investigation offers readers both insight and comfort into the sex that they are—or are not—having.

Topics Alain de Botton discusses in the book and/or can be discussed in an interview:

  • The difficulties of monogamy
  • The dangers of pornography
  • Why we are attracted to certain people
  • What we look for in love and sex
  • Why sex dies – and has to die – within couples
  • Why sex is best with strangers
  • Why marriage needs to be rethought.
  • The importance of self-help books: of the right kind
  • Why academics have largely abandoned their responsibilities to ‘daily life’.

ALAIN DE BOTTON is the best-selling author of How Proust Can Change Your Life, The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work and, most recently, Religion for Atheists, among other works of fiction and essays. He is well-known for making complex philosophical and artistic subjects accessible for a wider audience. De Botton founded The School of Life, a series of lectures in London that aim to make academic learning applicable to real life. With the success of the school, this concept has been adapted into the School of Life book series. De Botton lives and works in London. You can follow Alain on Twitter at @alaindebotton.


HOW TO STAY SANE (Picador Original / On Sale: January 2013 / ISBN 978-1-250-03064-1 / $16.00 / 208 pages) by Philippa Perryis a practical and engaging guide to the often difficult task of not losing your mind in the modern age.
Both practical and engagingly written, HOW TO STAY SANE offers a brilliant explanation of our minds as well as profound advice for living a life less tortured. While decidedly not an easy task, Perry has developed a digestible four-pronged strategy for staying sane, applicable to anyone: learn to observe yourself more carefully, analyze how you relate to others, fill your life with unusual experiences and think of new ways to reinvent yourself. This refreshing, exuberant guide, drawing on the latest discoveries in psychology and neuroscience, gives readers new ways to examine themselves and how to relate to the world.

Topics Philippa Perry discusses in the book and/or can be discussed in an interview:

  • Her work as a psychotherapist
  • Mental health issues and psychotherapy
  • Any cultural issue and how it relates to her research as a psychotherapist
  • Age, sex, race, disability, and gender
  • The importance of childhood, specifically the first few months and years of life
  • The importance of being comfortable with vulnerability

PHILIPPA PERRY is a psychotherapist and writer who has written pieces for The Guardian, The Observer, Time Out, and Healthy Living magazine. In 2010, she wrote the wry graphic novel Couch Fiction, in which she demystifies the practice of therapy using the form of a case study. She is married to Turner Prize–winning artist Grayson Perry. You can follow Philippa on Twitter at @philippa_perry.

The School of Life website
Alain de Botton discusses The School of Life on On Being with Krista Tippett
Alain’s author photo (credit included in file name)
Philippa’s author photo (credit included in file name)
How to Think More About Sex (cover image)
How to Stay Sane (cover image)

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Poser: My Life in Twenty-three Yoga Poses by Claire Dederer

Poser: My Life in Twenty-three Yoga Poses
Claire Dederer
On Sale: January 2012

Ten years ago, Claire Dederer put her back out while breastfeeding her baby daughter. Told to try yoga by everyone from the woman behind the counter at the co-op to the homeless guy on the corner, she signed up for her first class. She fell madly in love.

Over the next decade, she would tackle triangle, wheel, and the dreaded crow, becoming fast friends with some poses and developing long-standing feuds with others. At the same time, she found herself confronting the forces that shaped her generation. Daughters of women who ran away to find themselves and made a few messes along the way, Dederer and her peers grew up determined to be good, good, good—even if this meant feeling hemmed in by the smugness of their organic-buying, attachment-parenting, anxiously conscientious little world. Yoga seemed to fit right into this virtuous program, but to her surprise, Dederer found that the deeper she went into the poses, the more they tested her most basic ideas of what makes a good mother, daughter, friend, wife—and the more they made her want something a little less tidy, a little more improvisational. Less goodness, more joy.

Read more: Includes excerpt and video
Claire’s website

Review copies are limited, please email Gabrielle.Gantz [at] Picadorusa.com for availability.

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