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About Jonathan Ames
Jonathan Ames is the author of the novels I Pass Like Night (1989), The Extra Man (1998), Wake Up, Sir! (2004), You Were Never Really Here (2018); a graphic novel, The Alcoholic (2008, with artwork by Dean Haspiel); and the essay collections What's Not to Love? (2000), My Less Than Secret Life (2002), I Love You More Than You Know (2006), and The Double Life is Twice As Good (2009). He is also the editor of the anthology, Sexual Metamorphosis (2005). In addition to books, he is the creator of two television shows: Bored to Death (HBO, 2009-2011) and Blunt Talk (STARZ, 2015-2016). His novel The Extra Man was adapted as a film, starring Kevin Kline and Paul Dano, and You Were Never Really Here has also been adapted as a film, starring Joaquin Phoenix. Ames is the winner of a Guggenheim Fellowship and at one time had two amateur boxing matches, fighting as "The Herring Wonder."
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Happy Doll is a charming, if occasionally inexpert, private detective living just one sheer cliff drop beneath the Hollywood sign with his beloved half-Chihuahua half-Terrier, George. A veteran of both the Navy and LAPD, Doll supplements his meager income as a P.I. by working through the night at a local Thai spa that offers its clients a number of special services. Armed with his sixteen-inch steel telescopic baton, biting dry humor, and just a bit of a hero complex, the ex-cop sets out to protect the women who work there from clients who have trouble understanding the word "no."
Doll gets by just fine following his two basic rules: bark loudly and act first. But when things get out-of-hand with one particularly violent patron, even he finds himself wildly out of his depth, and then things take an even more dangerous twist when an old friend from his days as a cop shows up at his door with a bullet in his gut.
A Man Named Doll is more than just a fascinating introduction to one truly singular character, it is a highly addictive and completely unpredictable joyride through the sensuous and violent streets of LA.
Joe has witnessed things that cannot be erased. A former FBI agent and Marine, his abusive childhood has left him damaged beyond repair. He has completely withdrawn from the world and earns his living rescuing girls who have been kidnapped into the sex trade.
When he's hired to save the daughter of a corrupt New York senator held captive at a Manhattan brothel, he stumbles into a dangerous web of conspiracy, and he pays the price. As Joe's small web of associates are picked off one by one, he realizes that he has no choice but to take the fight to the men who want him dead.
Brutal and redemptive in equal measure, You Were Never Really Here is a toxic shot of a thriller, laced with corruption, revenge and the darkest of inner demons.
Alan Blair, the hero of Wake Up, Sir!, is a young, loony writer with numerous problems of the mental, emotional, sexual, spiritual, and physical variety. He's very good at problems. But luckily for Alan, he has a personal valet named Jeeves, who does his best to sort things out for his troubled master. And Alan does find trouble wherever he goes. He embarks on a perilous and bizarre road journey, his destination being an artists colony in Saratoga Springs. There Alan encounters a gorgeous femme fatale who is in possession of the most spectacular nose in the history of noses. Such a nose can only lead to a wild disaster for someone like Alan, and Jeeves tries to help him, but...well, read the book and find out!
This wonderfully entertaining memoir is a touching and humorous look at life in New York City. But this is life for an author who can proclaim “my first sexual experience was rather old-fashioned: it was with a prostitute”–an author who can talk about his desire to be a model for the Hair Club for Men and about meeting his son for the first time.
Often insightful, sometimes tender, always witty and self-deprecating, What’s Not to Love? is an engaging memoir from one of our most funny, most daring writers.
Jonathan Ames has drawn comparisons across the literary spectrum, from David Sedaris to F. Scott Fitzgerald to P.G. Wodehouse, and his books, as well as his abilities as a performer, have made him a favorite on the Late Show with David Letterman. Whether he’s chasing deranged cockroaches around his apartment, kissing a beautiful actress on the set of an avant-garde film, finding himself stuck perilously on top of a fence in the middle of the night in Memphis, or provoking fights with huge German men, Jonathan Ames has an uncanny knack for getting himself into outlandish situations.
In I Love You More Than You Know, Ames once again turns his own adventures, neuroses, joys, heartaches, and insights into profound and hilarious tales. Alive with love and tenderness for his son, his parents, his great-aunt—and even strangers in bars—Ames looks beneath the surface of our world to find the beauty in the perverse, the sweetness in loneliness, and the humor in pain in essays that are “both poignant and silly—an irresistible mix” (John Dicker, Philadelphia Weekly).
Bored to Death Artwork © 2009 Home Box Office, Inc. All rights reserved. HBO® and related channels and service marks are the property of Home Box Office, Inc.
In The Double Life Is Twice as Good, fans will be treated to a deft and charming compilation of Ames’s journalism, personal essays, and short fiction. Featuring illuminating profiles of Marilyn Manson and Lenny Kravitz, his adventures at a goth festival in the Midwest, a story written for Esquire on a napkin, as well as a comic strip collaboration with graphic artist Nick Bertozzi, Ames’s unique style and personality-driven humor shines throughout this wickedly funny collection. Also included is the short story, “Bored to Death,” a Raymond Chandler–esque tale about a struggling writer-turned-detective who becomes quickly embroiled in the search for a missing college co-ed, which inspired the HBO series of the same name. Described by The Portland Oregonian as “an edgier David Sedaris,” Ames will have you hooked with this brilliant collection.
Louis Ives, the narrator of The Extra Man, fancies himself a young gentleman fashioned after his heroes in the books of F. Scott Fitzgerald. He dresses the part -- favoring neckties, blue blazers, and sport coats. But he also has a penchant for women's clothing, a weakness that causes him to lose his job as a teacher at a Princeton day school after a bizarre incident involving a colleague's brassiere. Thrust out of Princeton, he heads to New York where he rents a cheap room in the madly discombobulated apartment of Henry Harrison, a failed but brilliant playwright who dances alone to Ethel Merman records, sneaks into Broadway shows, and performs with great style the duties of a walker -- an escort for the rich widows of the Upper East Side.
The two men, separated in age by more than forty years, develop a relationship that is irascible mentor and eager apprentice, and they form a bond the depths of which neither expected. But Louis, when he's not with Henry, has fascinations that lead him to an unusual community on the fringes of the sex world of Times Square. He develops a secret life there, which he fears will be his undoing and which he must keep hidden from Henry at all costs.
A hilarious yet moving story about friendship and longing, The Extra Man is an original and unforgettable novel by one of America's most talented young writers.
Lee Child recruits Joyce Carol Oates, Jonathan Ames, Cara Black, and others to reveal nicotine's scintillating alter egos.
"Typically for Akashic--publisher of the terrific Noir series--the stories approach the subject matter from an impressive number of angles...Akashic has yet to produce a dull anthology, and this one is especially good."
"Sixteen tributes to America's guiltiest pleasure...Even confirmed anti-smokers will find something to savor."
"The most successful entries delve bone-deep into addiction, as characters smoke to smother physical pain, loneliness, and their days...These writers capture the mental gymnastics behind the characters' bad decisions, and the joy such bad decisions can bring."
In recent years, nicotine has become as verboten as many hard drugs. The literary styles in this volume are as varied as the moral quandaries herein, and the authors have successfully unleashed their incandescent imaginations on the subject matter, fashioning an immensely addictive collection.
Featuring brand-new stories by: Lee Child, Joyce Carol Oates, Jonathan Ames, Eric Bogosian, Achy Obejas, Michael Imperioli, Hannah Tinti, Ariel Gore, Bernice L. McFadden, Cara Black, Christopher Sorrentino, David L. Ulin, Jerry Stahl, Lauren Sanders, Peter Kimani, and Robert Arellano.
From the introduction by Lee Child:
Food scientists have discovered a complex compound naturally present in, among other things, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. The compound offers us a number of benefits: it improves our fine motor skills; it increases our attention spans; it improves our cognitive abilities; it improves our long- and short-term memories; it lessens depression...In and of itself, it has no real downside. It's called nicotine. We should all get some.
The problem is the delivery system...The most efficient way is to burn dried tobacco leaves and inhale the smoke. Ten seconds later, the compound is in your brain, doing good in all its various ways. Unfortunately, the rest of the smoke doesn't do good. And therein lies a great mystery of human behavior. To get the good, we risk the bad. Or we prohibit ourselves the good, for fear of the bad. Which approach makes more sense?
At the time the passage above was written, people who felt trapped in the wrong gender automatically became case-studies. Today they become the men and women they always felt they were. Transsexuals test our notions of what it is to be male or female and, more provocatively, what it means to be one self as opposed to another. “Their stories,” says Jonathan Ames, “hold the appeal of an adventurer’s tale.”
In Sexual Metamorphosis, Ames presents the personal narratives of seventeen gender pioneers. Here is Christine Jorgensen, the first celebrity transsexual, greeting thousands of well-wishers from the stage of Madison Square Garden. Here is Caroline Cossey, former model and Bond (as in James) girl, being outed in the tabloid press. Here is novelist and English professor Jennifer Finney Boylan discussing her impending transformation with her heartbroken spouse and supportive yet confused colleagues. The result is a fascinating and compulsively readable book, filled with anguish, introspection and courage.
Feliz Muñeca es un encantador aunque inexperto detective privado que vive en Hollywood con su querido chucho, George. Veterano de la Marina y de la Policía de Los Ángeles, Muñeca complementa sus exiguos ingresos como detective trabajando por las noches en un spa que ofrece "finales felices". Armado con una porra extensible y humor negro, el expolicía protege a las mujeres que trabajan allí de clientes a los que les cuesta entender que "no" significa "no".
Su vida transcurre con cierta normalidad hasta que, un día, se encuentra con un cliente especialmente violento. Por si fuera poco, las cosas se desmadran todavía más cuando un excompañero de la Policía que necesita un trasplante de riñón se presenta en su casa con una bala en la barriga. A partir de ese momento, Muñeca tendrá que hacer todo lo posible por sobrevivir en las violentas y vibrantes calles de Los Ángeles.