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    The Best of Bill

    Bill W.

    A compilation of essential writings for Grapevine magazine by Bill W., co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous Grapevine , the international journal of Alcoholics Anonymous, has collected some of the most inspiring articles that Bill Wilson, a.k.a. Bill W., wrote specifically for the magazine. Whether participating in AA groups for decades or just beginning to find their way through the Twelve Steps of recovery, readers will relate to Bill’s sincere and personal reflections on topics that range from faith and fear to honesty, humility, and love. This edition of The Best of Bill also includes Bill W.’s classic essay on the spiritual meaning of anonymity.

    The Language of the Heart

    Bill W.

    [b]From Bill W., co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, a collection of inspiring and illuminating articles written for Grapevine magazine[b] Bill W. was AA Grapevine ’s most prolific contributor, having written more than 150 articles, from his first in June 1944 to his last in December 1970. An enthusiastic advocate, he also served for many years as a consulting editor of Grapevine , which started as an eight-page local newsletter and became the principal journal of the Fellowship. In more than 150 articles, written over a span of twenty-six years, Bill Wilson documented the painstaking process of trial and error that resulted in AA's spiritual principles of recovery, unity, and service, articulating along the way his vision of what the Fellowship could become. In The Language of the Heart: Bill W.’s Grapevine Writings , readers will find Bill’s initial inspirations for what became the Twelve Traditions, his battles with chronic depression and spiritual pride, memories of an all-night drinking spree, and a vivid description of how he came to organize the Twelve Steps (there were six in the first draft). For anyone in recovery from alcoholism or addiction, this uplifting and poignant collection provides a view into the early days of Alcoholics Anonymous as well as deep insights on emotional sobriety and personal struggle. Ultimately, The Language of the Heart documents a heartfelt journey that offers foundational knowledge and hope.

    The Four Seals of the Dharma

    Lama Khenpo Karma Ngedön

    Upon completing the path that led him to fully develop compassion and wisdom, Shakyamuni arrived at enlightenment, the state of Buddhahood that marks the end of suffering. Replying to the requests made of him, he transmitted three cycles of teachings to explain the path he had taken and the methods he used. Traditionally, Buddhism counts 84,000 teachings, and the four seals of the Dharma contain the essence of all these. Like a royal seal that historically proved authenticity and authority, the four seals give a true description of our current situation and that to which we can progress: All phenomena are impermanent by nature. All contaminated phenomena are suffering by nature. All phenomena are empty and devoid of inherent existence. Nirvana is a state of absolute peace. The first two seals allow us to understand the characteristics of our condition and the last two, the qualities of liberation. In this way, the teaching shows the Buddha’s path and the Buddhist perspective. Today, Buddhism is no longer an exotic movement but a methodology that has taken root and is practiced in the West. Nevertheless, do we really know what it means to be Buddhist? Using the introspective process of investigation that is precious to this tradition, Lama Khenpo Ngedön directly involves the reader in this discovery by asking simple, to-the-point questions and then bringing together the elements of an answer connected with these four statements.

    The Painted Veil

    W. Somerset Maugham

    First serialized in 1924 and published as a complete novel in 1925, “The Painted Veil” is the powerful novel of transgression and redemption by popular and prolific British author W. Somerset Maugham. “The Painted Veil” tells the story of the lovely and superficial Kitty Garstin and her unhappy marriage to Walter Fane, a quiet and honorable man. Kitty agrees to marry Walter not because she loves him, but because she fears being upstaged by her younger sister. Kitty travels to Tching-Yen with her new husband, where he is posted as a government scientist, and Kitty soon falls in love with her husband’s colleague, the handsome and charming Charlie Townsend. Walter is not as clueless about her behavior as Kitty would like to believe, and eventually rejected by her selfish lover, he has her travel with him to mainland China to help during a dangerous cholera epidemic. The experience utterly transforms Kitty and she begins to take responsibility for her mistakes and understand her shortcomings. Beautiful and deeply affecting, “The Painted Veil” is a thought-provoking study of the ability of people to change, grow, and learn how to love deeply. This edition includes a biographical afterword.

    Poirot Investigates

    Agatha Christie

    First published in 1924, “Poirot Investigates” is a collection of several short stories by Agatha Christie featuring her brilliant detective Hercule Poirot. In this collection of entertaining and captivating mysteries, Christie’s most famous character solves several murders and thefts with his trademark wit and powers of observation. In “The Adventures of the Western Star”, Poirot solves the strange mystery of the theft of a beautiful diamond and exposes a husband’s treachery and lies. In “The Tragedy of Marsden Manor”, the famed detective solves the suspicious death of a man who may have committed insurance fraud. In “The Adventure of the Cheap Flat”, a deal too good to be true for the rental of an apartment turns into a dangerous tale of spies and stolen government secrets. In “The Mystery of Hunter’s Lodge”, Poirot and his associate Hastings investigate the strange case of a murdered man, an inherited fortune, and secret identities. In “The Million Dollar Bond Robbery”, Poirot brilliantly solves a complicated plot to steal a fortune in bonds that mysteriously went missing. This collection of tales is sure to delight all fans of the mystery genre. Included in this volume are the fourteen tales which appeared in the 1925 American edition. This edition includes a biographical afterword.

    Bread Givers

    Anzia Yezierska

    First published in 1925, Anzia Yezierska’s “Bread Givers” is the tale of a young Jewish-American immigrant woman and her struggle to control her own destiny in Manhattan’s Lower East Side at the turn of the century. The novel is based in large part on Yezierska’s own life experiences immigrating from Poland as a child and growing up in New York City in an Orthodox Jewish family. “Bread Givers” centers on the story of its main character, Sara Smolinsky, who lives with her older sisters and parents in a poor tenement in the Lower East Side. The Smolinsky family is destitute and struggles to make ends meet as the father, Reb, refuses to work and spends all his time studying the Torah and clinging to the traditions of the country he left behind. He arranges unhappy marriages for his older daughters in the hope of becoming rich himself. Sara vows to avoid her sisters’ fates and takes her life into her own hands, pursuing an education and refusing to marry just because it is expected of her. “Bread Givers” is both an engaging portrait of New York at the beginning of the twentieth-century and a timeless tale of a young woman’s journey of self-discovery and determination.

    The Love Books of Ovid


    “The Love Books of Ovid” is a collection of four works of Roman poet Ovid’s verses on love in English prose translation. Ovid, born in 43 B.C., a contemporary of Virgil and Horace, lived during the reign of Augustus and is perhaps best remembered today for his work on Roman mythology entitled “The Metamorphoses”. This volume collects the poet’s following works: “The Loves”, “The Art of Love”, “Love’s Cure”, and “The Art of Beauty”. Ovid was an innovator in the writing of love poetry in that he changed the focus of the poem from the poet to love itself and examined the effect of love on people. These works were considered controversial in their time and many scholars believe that Ovid’s “The Art of Love” was the cause of his life-long banishment by Augustus to a remote province on the Black Sea. Considered to be a master of the elegy form of poetry, which are poems of lamentation and mourning, and the last of the Latin love elegists, Ovid is faithfully represented here in this English prose translation. Students of classical literature and fans of romantic poetry will both delight in this volume of works by a poetic master. This edition is follows the translation of J. Lewis May.

    The Professor's House

    Уилла Кэсер

    First published in 1925, “The Professor's House” is the profound study of a middle-aged man’s unhappiness by critically acclaimed American author Willa Cather. The novel tells the story of its central character, Professor Godfrey St. Peter, in three parts. In the first part, the Professor feels that he is losing control over his life and resists the direction it is taking. He is displeased with his family’s move to a new house, with his daughters being grown and married, and with the death of Tom Outland in the First World War, who was a beloved student and the fiancé of his oldest daughter. In the second part, the Professor recalls the first-person account of Tom and his explorations in New Mexico. Tom’s goodness and love of nature are a sharp contrast to the materialism and superficiality of the Professor’s new son-in-law and his death has been a great loss to the family. The third section finds the Professor alone, despondent, and losing his will to live while secluded in his old study as the rest of his family is off on vacation. “The Professor’s House” is a moving and affecting study of fear, mortality, and one man’s struggle to find meaning in his changing life. This edition includes a biographical afterword.


    Sinclair Lewis

    First published in 1925, Sinclair Lewis’ “Arrowsmith” is the fascinating tale of a man torn between the pursuit of scientific knowledge and the demands of everyday domestic life. “Arrowsmith” was published to great critical acclaim, being awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1926, and has endured as the author’s most popular novel. It is the story of Martin Arrowsmith, an intelligent and scientific young man who leaves his small Midwestern hometown to attend medical school and become a doctor. Along the way he lives his personal life haphazardly while he struggles to devote more of his time and attention to his scientific endeavors. The tension between his family and his life of rigorous and exacting scientific pursuit come to a dramatic head during an outbreak of bubonic plague on a tropical island. Martin must make difficult decisions between his principles, his research, and his ethical obligations. “Arrowsmith” is a well-researched and detailed description of medical training and practice, as well as an intense character study and thought-provoking examination of the tension that exists between everyday life and the rigorous pursuit of scientific inquiry. This edition includes a biographical afterword.

    An American Tragedy

    Theodore Dreiser

    First published in 1925, Theodore Dreiser’s “An American Tragedy” is widely considered to be one of the best American novels of the twentieth-century. It is the classic tragedy that follows the rise and fall of its central character, the social climbing and self-absorbed Clyde Griffiths. Clyde, raised by very poor and devout parents, has always dreamed of being and having more. He quickly falls under the spell of his richer and wilder co-workers at the prestigious hotel in Kansas City where he works as a bellhop and he is willing to do terrible things to be a part of their world. Clyde’s sense of moral responsibility and decency begin to fade as he flees the scene of a senseless crime and his poor choices continue to follow him into the new life he tries to create for himself in New York. Soon he is caught up in a love triangle and his callousness and impulsiveness lead him to decisions with tragic and far reaching consequences. “An American Tragedy” is an absorbing and impressively detailed character study and a masterful exposition on the destructive powers of ambition, greed, and economic inequality. This edition includes a biographical afterword.