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Non Fiction

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On The Observation Car:  Stories

“…finely tuned insight[s] into the human spirit… with a true gift for both language and storytelling.”  Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Series, on Deluge. “Johnson’s sentences shimmer, dip, swoop, and stretch.  …by turns wily, sad, violent, somber, and hopeful.”  Daniel Woodrell, The New York Times, on Don’t Think Twice. “…dazzling …mythic …realistic  … archetypally grand.”  Booklist, on The Devil You Know. From New York Times Notable Book and Pulitzer Prize nominated author Wayne Johnson comes On the Observation Car, a brilliant new collection of stories—comedic, surprising, and delightful.  From a portrait of a colorfully ingenious boy who, after being abandoned by his mother, finds himself in a strange and dangerous new world, to a searing examination of the effects of what once was called “racial prejudice” in “Eighty Acres,” these stories grip the imagination with a rare and powerful clarity. Originally published in Ploughshares, New Letters, Glimmer Train, and elsewhere, these award-winning stories are about the issues that are essential to us all: how we find the courage to live; how we acquire freedom, despite the costs; and how we love.  All of Johnson’s stories, rendered through a sharp-eyed realism, take us into a world that touches the very heart of the human condition.

Baseball Diaries: Confessions of a Cold War Youth 

It’s 1963 in suburban Minneapolis, when 7-year-old George (later Wayne) Johnson meets Artie, who lets George fly his dog. Thus begins a decade-long, on-and-off friendship and coming-of-age odyssey that will shape both boys’ futures and test their character, loyalty, humor, and wits. This is not, however, the land of June and Ward Cleaver, and we are drawn into a parallel world unimagined by the boys’ mainstream parents and peers, a world sometimes hilarious (the “duel” between Artie’s dog and a casserole), sometimes nostalgic (balsa-wood model planes and Playboy centerfolds), occasionally perilous, and often illegal (setting off a stash of illicit fireworks deep inside the Minneapolis Convention Center). On the surface there is little-league and scouting, romance and school, hobbies and jobs. But hidden from the adult world are the life-endangering stunts, the relentless torment of a pathological bully leading George to develop a series of home-made (and increasingly dangerous) defensive weapons, and the fleeting moral disdain for marijuana which soon gives way to an entrepreneurial and connoisseurial obsession when the plant is found growing in abundance nearby. In turns tender, humorous, hair-raising and heartwarming, Baseball Diaries is a bitter-sweet and fascinating look at a pivotal time in a young man’s life and a magical time in America when baseball seemed simple and pure.

Live to Ride is pure adrenaline!  A full-throttle exploration of motorcyles that pushes to the limit, with heart-pounding accounts of riding the greatest bikes of all time, all over the world. Wayne Johnson, a lifelong motorcycle-lover and acclaimed writer, takes us around the globe and onto the terrain where the most extreme, thrilling forms of riding happen. Johnson shows where it all began more than a hundred years ago, and lands us on the track today with some of the world’s highest-paid athletes— professional motorcycle road racers.  Johnson also offers an inside look at the legendarily secretive culture of biker clubs with firsthand accounts of his own wild rides with an outlaw club. Hold on tight for this irresistible, one-of-a-kind journey into motorcycling.

White Heat  A thrilling exploration of extreme skiing that pushes the reader over the edge with heart-pounding accounts of people who risk their lives on the fastest, steepest slopes. Wayne Johnson, former competitive skier and member of the National Ski Patrol, puts you in his boots when recounting goose-bump- inducing tales of high-speed downhill racing, Nordic jumping competitions, avalanche control (where you will meet the amazing "Dynamite Girl"), and the hip, ripping world of snowboarding. If you've ever wondered what kind of nut would willingly choose to fly off a twenty-story ski jump, or have ever dreamed of living outside the usual boundaries, or just like to read about people having life-expanding adventures, then White Heat is an exhilarating thrill ride that will leave you breathless..

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