Here are the 50 best biography books of 2021 according to Google. Find your new favorite book from the local library with one click.
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The Nobel Peace Summit Award-winning actress, activist, and humanitarian chronicles her efforts to recover and rebuild after a massive stroke, discussing how her health challenges were also shaped by industry standards, childhood traumas, and family bonds.
“In this memoir, readers will accompany one of the world’s most recognizable women on her journey of self-discovery.”–
NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER * A Best Book of 2021: AV Club * Bustle * Entertainment Weekly * Good Morning America * Chicago Review of Books * Fortune * TIME * CNN Underscored * Apartment Therapy * Popsugar * Hello Giggles * Business Insider * The Millions * Wall Street Journal Magazine * Glamour From the indie rockstar of Japanese Breakfast fame, and author of the viral 2018 New Yorker essay that shares the title of this book, an unflinching, powerful memoir about growing up Korean American, losing her mother, and forging her own identity. In this exquisite story of family, food, grief, and endurance, Michelle Zauner proves herself far more than a dazzling singer, songwriter, and guitarist. With humor and heart, she tells of growing up one of the few Asian American kids at her school in Eugene, Oregon; of struggling with her mother’s particular, high expectations of her; of a painful adolescence; of treasured months spent in her grandmother’s tiny apartment in Seoul, where she and her mother would bond, late at night, over heaping plates of food. As she grew up, moving to the East Coast for college, finding work in the restaurant industry, and performing gigs with her fledgling band–and meeting the man who would become her husband–her Koreanness began to feel ever more distant, even as she found the life she wanted to live. It was her mother’s diagnosis of terminal cancer, when Michelle was twenty-five, that forced a reckoning with her identity and brought her to reclaim the gifts of taste, language, and history her mother had given her. Vivacious and plainspoken, lyrical and honest, Zauner’s voice is as radiantly alive on the page as it is onstage. Rich with intimate anecdotes that will resonate widely, and complete with family photos, Crying in H Mart is a book to cherish, share, and reread.
“I don’t want you to rehabilitate me,” Philip Roth said to his only authorized biographer, Blake Bailey. “Just make me interesting.” Granted complete independence and access, Bailey spent almost ten years poring over Roth’s personal archive, interviewing his friends, lovers, and colleagues, and listening to Roth’s own breathtakingly candid confessions. Cynthia Ozick, in her front-page rave for the New York Times Book Review, described Bailey’s monumental biography as “a narrative masterwork … As in a novel, what is seen at first to be casual chance is revealed at last to be a steady and powerfully demanding drive. … under Bailey’s strong light what remains on the page is one writer’s life as it was lived, and―almost―as it was felt.” Though Roth is generally considered an autobiographical novelist—his alter-egos include not only the Roth-like writer Nathan Zuckerman, but also a recurring character named Philip Roth—relatively little is known about the actual life on which so vast an oeuvre was supposedly based. Bailey reveals a man who, by design, led a highly compartmentalized life: a tireless champion of dissident writers behind the Iron Curtain on the one hand, Roth was also the Mickey Sabbath-like roué who pursued scandalous love affairs and aspired “[t]o affront and affront and affront till there was no one on earth unaffronted”—the man who was pilloried by his second wife, the actress Claire Bloom, in her 1996 memoir, Leaving a Doll’s House. Towering above it all was Roth’s achievement: thirty-one books that give us “the truest picture we have of the way we live now,” as the poet Mark Strand put it in his remarks for Roth’s Gold Medal at the 2001 American Academy of Arts and Letters ceremonial. Tracing Roth’s path from realism to farce to metafiction to the tragic masterpieces of the American Trilogy, Bailey explores Roth’s engagement with nearly every aspect of postwar American culture.
“Known for her outstanding performances on The Good Wife and ER, Julianna Margulies now unleashes her sharp talent with a powerful debut memoir chronicling her life and her work, examining from within, her journey from chaos to calm. “When an actor is on a long running television show, especially when the writing is superb as was the case with The Good Wife, the character becomes a second skin; they grow as you grow, they change as you change. Being an actress gives me the luxury of discovering myself. All the feelings that came up from playing Alicia allowed me to look back at my life and tap into my own vulnerability. My personal fear of the unknown reared its ugly head as I studied this character, most likely stemming from the ever-present unpredictability of my childhood.” – From the Introduction An apple-cheeked bubbly child, Julianna Margulies was bestowed the nickname “Sunshine Girl” by her mother at an early age. Raised between two divorced parents, often on different continents, Julianna quickly learned how to be of value to her eccentric mother and her absent father. Raised in fairly unconventional ways in various homes in Paris, England, New York, and New Hampshire, Julianna’s role among the turmoil and uncertainty that her parents generated, was to comfort those around her, find organization among the disorder, and eventually make her way in the world as a young adult and eventually an Award-winning actress. Along the way, there were failed romances, difficult choices, and overwhelming rejections. But there was also the moment that fate, faith, and talent assembled in a perfect storm that lead to the roles of a lifetime, both professionally and personally. Sunshine Girl is an accomplished coming of age story that offers readers a rich sense of relatability as well as the intimate details of a life unimagined”–
From award-winning actor and food obsessive Stanley Tucci comes an intimate and charming memoir of life in and out of the kitchen. Stanley Tucci grew up in an Italian American family that spent every night around the kitchen table. He shared the magic of those meals with us in The Tucci Cookbook and The Tucci Table, and now he takes us beyond the savory recipes and into the compelling stories behind them. Taste is a reflection on the intersection of food and life, filled with anecdotes about his growing up in Westchester, New York; preparing for and shooting the foodie films Big Night and Julie & Julia; falling in love over dinner; and teaming up with his wife to create meals for a multitude of children. Each morsel of this gastronomic journey through good times and bad, five-star meals and burned dishes, is as heartfelt and delicious as the last. Written with Stanley’s signature wry humor, Taste is for fans of Bill Buford, Gabrielle Hamilton, and Ruth Reichl—and anyone who knows the power of a home-cooked meal.
What happens when a girl tries to grow up in a world where everyone wants her to remain a child? Hayley Mills’ teenage decade in Hollywood produced some of the era’s greatest coming-of-age family movies: classics like Pollyanna, The Parent Trap and In Search of the Castaways, and in Britain the acclaimed Whistle Down the Wind. These films made Hayley a genuine teen idol and a household name. Now and for the first time, Hayley reveals the truth of her own coming-of-age story, in her own words – a story of incredible twists of fate and fortune, but also mismanagement, bankruptcy, family crisis and dislocation. Told with characteristic warmth, honesty and humour, Hayley takes us back in time to a bygone era, charting a journey from her carefree childhood innocence in post-war Britain, growing up in the shadow of her famous theatrical family, to being propelled into the Technicolor boomtown of 1960s Hollywood, where she is mentored to stardom by Walt Disney himself.
An instant New York Times Bestseller! A magnificent biography of one of the most protean creative forces in American entertainment history, a life of dazzling highs and vertiginous plunges–some of the worst largely unknown until now–by the acclaimed author of Pictures at a Revolution and Five Came Back Mike Nichols burst onto the scene as a wunderkind: while still in his twenties, he was half of a hit improv duo with Elaine May that was the talk of the country. Next he directed four consecutive hit plays, won back-to-back Tonys, ushered in a new era of Hollywood moviemaking with Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and followed it with The Graduate, which won him an Oscar and became the third-highest-grossing movie ever. At thirty-five, he lived in a three-story Central Park West penthouse, drove a Rolls-Royce, collected Arabian horses, and counted Jacqueline Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor, Leonard Bernstein, and Richard Avedon as friends. Where he arrived is even more astonishing given where he had begun: born Igor Peschkowsky to a Jewish couple in Berlin in 1931, he was sent along with his younger brother to America on a ship in 1939. The young immigrant boy caught very few breaks. He was bullied and ostracized–an allergic reaction had rendered him permanently hairless–and his father died when he was just twelve, leaving his mother alone and overwhelmed. The gulf between these two sets of facts explains a great deal about Nichols’s transformation from lonely outsider to the center of more than one cultural universe–the acute powers of observation that first made him famous; the nourishment he drew from his creative partnerships, most enduringly with May; his unquenchable drive; his hunger for security and status; and the depressions and self-medications that brought him to terrible lows. It would take decades for him to come to grips with his demons. In an incomparable portrait that follows Nichols from Berlin to New York to Chicago to Hollywood, Mark Harris explores, with brilliantly vivid detail and insight, the life, work, struggle, and passion of an artist and man in constant motion. Among the 250 people Harris interviewed: Elaine May, Meryl Streep, Stephen Sondheim, Robert Redford, Glenn Close, Tom Hanks, Candice Bergen, Emma Thompson, Annette Bening, Natalie Portman, Julia Roberts, Lorne Michaels, and Gloria Steinem. Mark Harris gives an intimate and evenhanded accounting of success and failure alike; the portrait is not always flattering, but its ultimate impact is to present the full story of one of the most richly interesting, complicated, and consequential figures the worlds of theater and motion pictures have ever seen. It is a triumph of the biographer’s art.
In the tradition of The Glass Castle, a deeply felt memoir from Whiting Award–winner Nadia Owusu about the push and pull of belonging, the seismic emotional toll of family secrets, and the heart it takes to pull through. A Most-Anticipated Selection by * The New York Times * Entertainment Weekly * O, The Oprah Magazine * New York magazine * Vogue * Time * Elle * Minneapolis Star Tribune * Electric Literature * Goodreads * The Millions *Refinery29 * HelloGiggles * Young Nadia Owusu followed her father, a United Nations official, from Europe to Africa and back again. Just as she and her family settled into a new home, her father would tell them it was time to say their goodbyes. The instability wrought by Nadia’s nomadic childhood was deepened by family secrets and fractures, both lived and inherited. Her Armenian American mother, who abandoned Nadia when she was two, would periodically reappear, only to vanish again. Her father, a Ghanaian, the great hero of her life, died when she was thirteen. After his passing, Nadia’s stepmother weighed her down with a revelation that was either a bombshell secret or a lie, rife with shaming innuendo. With these and other ruptures, Nadia arrived in New York as a young woman feeling stateless, motherless, and uncertain about her future, yet eager to find her own identity. What followed, however, were periods of depression in which she struggled to hold herself and her siblings together. Aftershocks is the way she hauled herself from the wreckage of her life’s perpetual quaking, the means by which she has finally come to understand that the only ground firm enough to count on is the one written into existence by her own hand. Heralding a dazzling new writer, Aftershocks joins the likes of Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight and William Styron’s Darkness Visible, and does for race identity what Maggie Nelson does for gender identity in The Argonauts.
The made-in-Hollywood marriage of Ronald and Nancy Reagan was the partnership that made him president. Nancy understood how to foster his strengths and compensate for his weaknesses– and made herself a place in history. Tumulty shows how Nancy’s confidence developed, and reveals new details surrounding Reagan’s tumultuous presidency that shows how Nancy became one of the most influential first ladies in history. — adapted from jacket
NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • An inspiring and intimate self-portrait of the champion of equality that encompasses her brilliant tennis career, unwavering activism, and an ongoing commitment to fairness and social justice. “A story about the personal strength, immense growth, and undeniable greatness of one woman who fearlessly stood up to a culture trying to break her down.”—Serena Williams In this spirited account, Billie Jean King details her life’s journey to find her true self. She recounts her groundbreaking tennis career—six years as the top-ranked woman in the world, twenty Wimbledon championships, thirty-nine grand-slam titles, and her watershed defeat of Bobby Riggs in the famous “Battle of the Sexes.” She poignantly recalls the cultural backdrop of those years and the profound impact on her worldview from the women’s movement, the assassinations and anti-war protests of the 1960s, the civil rights movement, and, eventually, the LGBTQ+ rights movement. She describes the myriad challenges she’s hurdled—entrenched sexism, an eating disorder, near financial peril after being outed—on her path to publicly and unequivocally acknowledging her sexual identity at the age of fifty-one. She talks about how her life today remains one of indefatigable service. She offers insights and advice on leadership, business, activism, sports, politics, marriage equality, parenting, sexuality, and love. And she shows how living honestly and openly has had a transformative effect on her relationships and happiness. Hers is the story of a pathbreaking feminist, a world-class athlete, and an indomitable spirit whose impact has transcended even her spectacular achievements in sports.
A fascinating journey into the life of H.G. Wells, from one of Britain’s best biographers – available for pre-order now How did the first forty years of H. G. Wells’ life shape the father of science fiction? From his impoverished childhood in a working-class English family, to his determination to educate himself at any cost, to the serious ill health that dominated his twenties and thirties, his complicated marriages, and love affair with socialism, the first forty years of H. G. Wells’ extraordinary life would set him on a path to become one of the world’s most influential writers. The sudden success of The Time Machine and The War of The Worlds transformed his life and catapulted him to international fame; he became the writer who most inspired Orwell and countless others, and predicted men walking on the moon seventy years before it happened. In this remarkable, empathetic biography, Claire Tomalin paints a fascinating portrait of a man like no other, driven by curiosity and desiring reform, a socialist and a futurist whose new and imaginative worlds continue to inspire today. ‘The finest of biographers’ Hilary Mantel ‘A most intelligent and sympathetic biographer’ Daily Telegraph ‘One of the best biographers of her generation’ Guardian
Twelve early pieces never before collected offer an illuminating glimpse intothe mind and process of the bestselling author.
For more than forty years, Katie Couric has been an iconic presence in the media world. In her brutally honest, hilarious, heartbreaking memoir, she reveals what was going on behind the scenes of her sometimes tumultuous personal and professional life – a story she’s never shared, until now. Of the medium she loves, the one that made her a household name, she says, “Television can put you in a box; the flat-screen can flatten. On TV, you are larger than life but smaller, too. It is not the whole story, and it is not the whole me. This book is.” Beginning in early childhood, Couric was inspired by her journalist father to pursue the career he loved but couldn’t afford to stay in. Balancing her vivacious, outgoing personality with her desire to be taken seriously, she overcame every obstacle in her way: insecurity, an eating disorder, being typecast, sexism…challenges, and how she dealt with them, setting the tone for the rest of her career. Couric talks candidly about adjusting to sudden fame after her astonishing rise to co-anchor of the TODAY show, and guides us through the most momentous events and news stories of the era, to which she had a front-row seat: Rodney King, Anita Hill, Columbine, the death of Princess Diana, 9/11, the Iraq War… In every instance, she relentlessly pursued the facts, ruffling more than a few feathers along the way. She also recalls in vivid and sometimes lurid detail the intense pressure on female anchors to snag the latest “get”–often sensational tabloid stories like Jon Benet Ramsey, Tonya Harding, and OJ Simpson. Couric’s position as one of the leading lights of her profession was shadowed by the shock and trauma of losing her husband to stage 4 colon cancer when he was just 42, leaving her a widow and single mom to two daughters, 6 and 2. The death of her sister Emily, just three years later, brought yet more trauma–and an unwavering commitment to cancer awareness and research, one of her proudest accomplishments. Couric is unsparing in the details of her historic move to the anchor chair at the CBS Evening News–a world rife with sexism and misogyny. Her “welcome” was even more hostile at 60 Minutes, an unrepentant boys club that engaged in outright hazing of even the most established women. In the wake of the MeToo movement, Couric shares her clear-eyed reckoning with gender inequality and predatory behavior in the workplace, and downfall of Matt Lauer–a colleague she had trusted and respected for more than a decade. Couric also talks about the challenge of finding love again, with all the hilarity, false-starts, and drama that search entailed, before finding her midlife Mr. Right. Something she has never discussed publicly–why her second marriage almost didn’t happen. Through it all, Couric maintains the wit and sparkle for which she is known and beloved around the world. With her multimedia ventures and her unique, intimate connection with her viewers, she has never stopped working and reinventing herself as TV and media writ large undergo a radical transformation. If you thought you knew Katie Couric, think again. Going There is the fast-paced, emotional, riveting story of a thoroughly modern woman, whose journey took her from humble origins to superstardom. In these pages, you will find a friend, a confidante, a role model, a survivor whose lessons about life will enrich your own.
‘Amazon Unbound’ is an unvarnished picture of Amazon’s unprecedented growth and its billionaire founder, Jeff Bezos, revealing the most important business story of our time. From the author of ‘The Everything Store’.
An upcoming book to be published by Penguin Random House.
The critically acclaimed singer-songwriter, producer, and five-time Grammy winner opens up about a life shaped by music in this candid, heartfelt, and intimate story. “One of the great memoirs of our time . . . a gift from Brandi’s soul.”–Glennon Doyle – “Brandi’s story is about perseverance, humor, forgiveness, and manifestation. I absolutely loved it.”–Elton John – “Broken Horses led me right into Brandi’s heart, and my own.”–Brené Brown Brandi Carlile was born into a musically gifted, impoverished family on the outskirts of Seattle and grew up in a constant state of change, moving from house to house, trailer to trailer, fourteen times in as many years. Though imperfect in every way, her dysfunctional childhood was as beautiful as it was strange, and as nurturing as it was difficult. At the age of five, Brandi contracted bacterial meningitis, which almost took her life, leaving an indelible mark on her formative years and altering her journey into young adulthood. As an openly gay teenager, Brandi grappled with the tension between her sexuality and her faith when her pastor publicly refused to baptize her on the day of the ceremony. Shockingly, her small town rallied around Brandi in support and set her on a path to salvation where the rest of the misfits and rejects find it: through twisted, joyful, weird, and wonderful music. In Broken Horses, Brandi Carlile takes readers through the events of her life that shaped her very raw art–from her start at a local singing competition where she performed Elton John’s “Honky Cat” in a bedazzled white polyester suit, to her first break opening for Dave Matthews Band, to many sleepless tours over fifteen years and six studio albums, all while raising two children with her wife, Catherine Shepherd. This hard-won success led her to collaborations with personal heroes like Elton John, Dolly Parton, Mavis Staples, Pearl Jam, Tanya Tucker, and Joni Mitchell, as well as her peers in the supergroup The Highwomen, and ultimately to the Grammy stage, where she converted millions of viewers into instant fans. Evocative and piercingly honest, Broken Horses is at once an examination of faith through the eyes of a person rejected by the church’s basic tenets and a meditation on the moments and lyrics that have shaped the life of a creative mind, a brilliant artist, and a genuine empath on a mission to give back.
A biography of venture capitalist and entrepreneur Peter Thiel, the enigmatic, controversial, and hugely influential power broker who sits at the dynamic intersection of tech, business, and politics “Max Chafkin’s The Contrarian is much more than a consistently shocking biography of Peter Thiel, the most important investor in tech and a key supporter of the Donald Trump presidency. It’s also a disturbing history of Silicon Valley that will make you reconsider the ideological foundations of America’s relentless engine of creative destruction.”—Brad Stone, author of The Everything Store and Amazon Unbound Since the days of the dot-com bubble in the late 1990s, no industry has made a greater impact on the world than Silicon Valley. And few individuals have done more to shape Silicon Valley than Peter Thiel. The billionaire venture capitalist and entrepreneur has been a behind-the-scenes operator influencing countless aspects of our contemporary way of life, from the technologies we use every day to the delicate power balance between Silicon Valley, Wall Street, and Washington. But despite his power and the ubiquity of his projects, no public figure is quite so mysterious. In the first major biography of Thiel, Max Chafkin traces the trajectory of the innovator’s singular life and worldview, from his upbringing as the child of immigrant parents and years at Stanford as a burgeoning conservative thought leader to his founding of PayPal and Palantir, early investment in Facebook and SpaceX, and relationships with fellow tech titans Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, and Eric Schmidt. The Contrarian illuminates the extent to which Thiel has sought to export his values to the corridors of power beyond Silicon Valley, including funding the lawsuit that destroyed the blog Gawker and strenuously backing far-right political candidates, notably Donald Trump for president in 2016. Eye-opening and deeply reported, The Contrarian is a revelatory biography of a one-of-a-kind leader and an incisive portrait of a tech industry whose explosive growth and power is both thrilling and fraught with controversy.
“From the Beach Boys and Jan & Dean to the Byrds and the Mamas & the Papas, acclaimed music journalist Joel Selvin tells the story of a group of young artists and musicians who came together at the dawn of the 1960s to create the lasting myth of the California dream. From surf music to hot-rod records to the sunny pop of the Beach Boys and the Mamas & the Papas, Hollywood Eden captures the fresh blossom of a young generation who came together in the epic spring of the 1960s to invent the myth of the California Paradise. Central to the story is a group of sun-kissed teens from the University High School class of 1959 — a class that included Jan & Dean, Nancy Sinatra, and future members of the Beach Boys — who came of age in Los Angeles at the dawn of a new golden era when anything seemed possible. These were the people who created the idea of modern California for the rest of the world. But their own private struggles belied the paradise portrayed in their music. What began as a light-hearted frolic under sunny skies ended up crashing down to earth just a few short but action-packed years later as, one by one, each met their destinies head-on. A rock ‘n’ roll opera loaded with violence, deceit, intrigue, low comedy, and high drama, Hollywood Eden tells the story of a group of young artists and musicians who bumped heads, crashed cars, and ultimately flew too close to the sun.”–
New York Times–bestselling author Julie Klam’s funny and moving story of the Morris sisters, distant relations with mysterious pasts. Ever since she was young, Julie Klam has been fascinated by the Morris sisters, cousins of her grandmother. According to family lore, early in the twentieth century the sisters’ parents decided to move the family from Eastern Europe to Los Angeles so their father could become a movie director. On the way, their pregnant mother went into labor in St. Louis, where the baby was born and where their mother died. The father left the children in an orphanage and promised to send for them when he settled in California—a promise he never kept. One of the Morris sisters later became a successful Wall Street trader and advised Franklin Roosevelt. The sisters lived together in New York City, none of them married or had children, and one even had an affair with J. P. Morgan. The stories of these independent women intrigued Klam, but as she delved into them to learn more, she realized that the tales were almost completely untrue. The Almost Legendary Morris Sisters is the revealing account of what Klam discovered about her family—and herself—as she dug into the past. The deeper she went into the lives of the Morris sisters, the slipperier their stories became. And the more questions she had about what actually happened to them, the more her opinion of them evolved. Part memoir and part confessional, and told with the wit and honesty that are hallmarks of Klam’s books, The Almost Legendary Morris Sisters is the fascinating and funny true story of one writer’s journey into her family’s past, the truths she brings to light, and what she learns about herself along the way.
“Anne Lamott is my Oprah.” -Chicago Tribune From the bestselling author of Help, Thanks, Wow comes an inspiring guide to restoring hope and joy in our lives. In Dusk, Night, Dawn, Anne Lamott explores the tough questions that many of us grapple with. How can we recapture the confidence we once had as we stumble through the dark times that seem increasingly bleak? As bad newspiles up—from climate crises to daily assaults on civility—how can we cope? Where, she asks, “do we start to get our world and joy and hope and our faith in life itself back . . . with our sore feet, hearing loss, stiff fingers, poor digestion, stunned minds, broken hearts?” We begin, Lamott says, by accepting our flaws and embracing our humanity. Drawing from her own experiences, Lamott shows us the intimate and human ways we can adopt to move through life’s dark places and toward the light of hope that still burns ahead for all of us. As she does in Help, Thanks, Wow and her other bestselling books, Lamott explores the thorny issues of life and faith by breaking them down into manageable, human-sized questions for readers to ponder, in the process showing us how we can amplify life’s small moments of joy by staying open to love and connection. As Lamott notes in Dusk, Night, Dawn, “I got Medicare three days before I got hitched, which sounds like something an old person might do, which does not describe adorably ageless me.” Marrying for the first time with a grown son and a grandson, Lamott explains that finding happiness with a partner isn’t a function of age or beauty but of outlook and perspective. Full of the honesty, humor, and humanity that have made Lamott beloved by millions of readers, Dusk, Night, Dawn is classic Anne Lamott—thoughtful and comic, warm and wise—and further proof that Lamott truly speaks to the better angels in all of us.
Ike “The President” Ibeabuchi had the boxing world at his feet in 1997 after vanquishing David Tua in a battle for the ages in Sacramento. The Nigerian heavyweight’s subsequent descent into a vortex of mental illness and crime and punishment was as shocking as it was tragic. Was Ibeabuchi a vulnerable man exploited by a ruthless sport and a dysfunctional criminal justice system, or was he guilty-as-charged for his deeds and rightly punished? Somewhere amid a colorful cast of characters including Republican politicians, crooked promoters, and demons hiding in air-conditioning units, lies the uncomfortable truth. In President of Pandemonium, Luke G. Williams vividly recreates Ibeabuchi’s life in and out of the ring. Combining exclusive interviews with those who guided his career and observed him closely, as well as firsthand testimony from “The President” himself, this is a story of brilliance destroyed by dark forces, both real and imagined.
So, I’ve written a book. Having entertained the idea for years, and even offered a few questionable opportunities (“It’s a piece of cake! Just do 4 hours of interviews, find someone else to write it, put your face on the cover, and voila!”) I have decided to write these stories just as I have always done, in my own hand. The joy that I have felt from chronicling these tales is not unlike listening back to a song that I’ve recorded and can’t wait to share with the world, or reading a primitive journal entry from a stained notebook, or even hearing my voice bounce between the Kiss posters on my wall as a child. This certainly doesn’t mean that I’m quitting my day job, but it does give me a place to shed a little light on what it’s like to be a kid from Springfield, Virginia, walking through life while living out the crazy dreams I had as young musician. From hitting the road with Scream at 18 years old, to my time in Nirvana and the Foo Fighters, jamming with Iggy Pop or playing at the Academy Awards or dancing with AC/DC and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, drumming for Tom Petty or meeting Sir Paul McCartney at Royal Albert Hall, bedtime stories with Joan Jett or a chance meeting with Little Richard, to flying halfway around the world for one epic night with my daughters…the list goes on. I look forward to focusing the lens through which I see these memories a little sharper for you with much excitement.
“A memoir in essays about so many things—growing up in an abusive cult, coming of age as a lesbian in the military, forced out by homophobia, living on the margins as a working class woman and what it’s like to grow into the person you are meant to be. Hough’s writing will break your heart.” —Roxane Gay Searing and extremely personal essays, shot through with the darkest elements America can manifest, while discovering light and humor in unexpected corners. As an adult, Lauren Hough has had many identities: an airman in the U.S. Air Force, a cable guy, a bouncer at a gay club. As a child, however, she had none. Growing up as a member of the infamous cult The Children of God, Hough had her own self robbed from her. The cult took her all over the globe–to Germany, Japan, Texas, Chile—but it wasn’t until she finally left for good that Lauren understood she could have a life beyond “The Family.” Along the way, she’s loaded up her car and started over, trading one life for the next. She’s taken pilgrimages to the sights of her youth, been kept in solitary confinement, dated a lot of women, dabbled in drugs, and eventually found herself as what she always wanted to be: a writer. Here, as she sweeps through the underbelly of America—relying on friends, family, and strangers alike—she begins to excavate a new identity even as her past continues to trail her and color her world, relationships, and perceptions of self. At once razor-sharp, profoundly brave, and often very, very funny, the essays in Leaving Isn’t the Hardest Thing interrogate our notions of ecstasy, queerness, and what it means to live freely. Each piece is a reckoning: of survival, identity, and how to reclaim one’s past when carving out a future. A VINTAGE ORIGINAL
“The … story of a fourteen-year-old sentenced to life in prison, of the extraordinary relationship that developed between him and the woman he shot, and of his release after twenty-six years of imprisonment through the efforts of … legal activist Bryan Stevenson”–
“Sure to be one of the best memoirs of 2021.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review “So clear, sharp, and smooth that the reader sees, in vivid focus, Ford’s complicated childhood, brilliant mind, and golden heart. Ford is a writer for the ages, and Somebody’s Daughter will be a book of the year.” —Glennon Doyle, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Untamed “Ford’s wrenchingly brilliant memoir is truly a classic in the making. The writing is so richly observed and so suffused with love and yearning that I kept forgetting to breathe while reading it.” —John Green, #1 New York Times bestselling author One of the most prominent voices of her generation debuts with an extraordinarily powerful memoir: the story of a childhood defined by the looming absence of her incarcerated father. Through poverty, adolescence, and a fraught relationship with her mother, Ashley Ford wishes she could turn to her father for hope and encouragement. There are just a few problems: he’s in prison, and she doesn’t know what he did to end up there. She doesn’t know how to deal with the incessant worries that keep her up at night, or how to handle the changes in her body that draw unwanted attention from men. In her search for unconditional love, Ashley begins dating a boy her mother hates. When the relationship turns sour, he assaults her. Still reeling from the rape, which she keeps secret from her family, Ashley desperately searches for meaning in the chaos. Then, her grandmother reveals the truth about her father’s incarceration . . . and Ashley’s entire world is turned upside down. Somebody’s Daughter steps into the world of growing up a poor, Black girl in Indiana with a family fragmented by incarceration, exploring how isolating and complex such a childhood can be. As Ashley battles her body and her environment, she embarks on a powerful journey to find the threads between who she is and what she was born into, and the complicated familial love that often binds them.
“Searing. Powerful. Needed.” —Oprah “Sometimes a single story can change the world. Unbound is one of those stories. Tarana’s words are a testimony to liberation and love.” —Brené Brown From the founder and activist behind one of the largest movements of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, the “me too” movement, Tarana Burke debuts a powerful memoir about her own journey to saying those two simple yet infinitely powerful words—me too—and how she brought empathy back to an entire generation in one of the largest cultural events in American history. Tarana didn’t always have the courage to say “me too.” As a child, she reeled from her sexual assault, believing she was responsible. Unable to confess what she thought of as her own sins for fear of shattering her family, her soul split in two. One side was the bright, intellectually curious third generation Bronxite steeped in Black literature and power, and the other was the bad, shame ridden girl who thought of herself as a vile rule breaker, not of a victim. She tucked one away, hidden behind a wall of pain and anger, which seemed to work…until it didn’t. Tarana fought to reunite her fractured soul, through organizing, pursuing justice, and finding community. In her debut memoir she shares her extensive work supporting and empowering Black and brown girls, and the devastating realization that to truly help these girls she needed to help that scared, ashamed child still in her soul. She needed to stop running and confront what had happened to her, for Heaven and Diamond and the countless other young Black women for whom she cared. They gave her the courage to embrace her power. A power which in turn she shared with the entire world. Through these young Black and brown women, Tarana found that we can only offer empathy to others if we first offer it to ourselves. Unbound is the story of an inimitable woman’s inner strength and perseverance, all in pursuit of bringing healing to her community and the world around her, but it is also a story of possibility, of empathy, of power, and of the leader we all have inside ourselves. In sharing her path toward healing and saying “me too,” Tarana reaches out a hand to help us all on our own journeys.
From iconic NBA All-Star Carmelo Anthony comes a raw and inspirational memoir about growing up in the housing projects of Red Hook and Baltimore—a brutal world Where Tomorrows Aren’t Promised. For a long time, Carmelo Anthony’s world wasn’t any larger than the view of the hoopers and hustlers he watched from the side window of his family’s first-floor project apartment in Red Hook, Brooklyn. He couldn’t dream any bigger than emulating his older brothers and cousin, much less going on to become a basketball champion on the world stage. He faced palpable dangers growing up in the housing projects in Red Hook and West Baltimore’s Murphy Homes (a.k.a. Murder Homes, subject of HBO’s The Wire). He navigated an education system that ignored, exploited, or ostracized him. He suffered the untimely deaths of his closely held loved ones. He struggled to survive physically and emotionally. But with the strength of family and the guidance of key mentors on the streets and on the court, he pushed past lethal odds to endure and thrive. By the time Carmelo found himself at the NBA Draft at Madison Square Garden in 2003 preparing to embark on his legendary career, he wondered: How did a kid who’d had so many hopes, dreams, and expectations beaten out of him by a world of violence, poverty, and racism make it here at all? Carmelo’s story is one of perseverance and determination; of dribbling past players bigger and tougher than him, while also weaving around vial caps and needles strewn across the court; where dealers and junkies lined one side of the asphalt and kids playing jacks and Double Dutch lined the other; where rims had no nets, and you better not call a foul—a place Where Tomorrows Aren’t Promised.
A stunning and heartbreaking lens on the global refugee crisis, from a man who faced the very worst of humanity and survived to advocate for displaced people around the world One day when Mondiant Dogon, a Bagogwe Tutsi born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, was only three years old, his father’s lifelong friend, a Hutu man, came to their home with a machete in his hand and warned the family they were to be killed within hours. Dogon’s family fled into the forest, initiating a long and dangerous journey into Rwanda. They made their way to the first of several UN tent cities in which they would spend decades. But their search for a safe haven had just begun. Hideous violence stalked them in the camps. Even though Rwanda famously has a former refugee for a president in Paul Kagame, refugees in that country face enormous prejudice and acute want. For much of his life, Dogon and his family ate barely enough to keep themselves from starving. He fled back to Congo in search of the better life that had been lost, but there he was imprisoned and left without any option but to become a child soldier. For most refugees, the camp starts as an oasis but soon becomes quicksand, impossible to leave. Yet Dogon managed to be one of the few refugees he knew to go to college. Though he hid his status from his fellow students out of shame, eventually he would emerge as an advocate for his people. Rarely do refugees get to tell their own stories. We see them only for a moment, if at all, in flight: Syrians winding through the desert; children searching a Greek shore for their parents; families gathered at the southern border of the United States. But through his writing, Dogon took control of his own narrative and spoke up for forever refugees everywhere. As Dogon once wrote in a poem, “Those we throw away are diamonds.”
The highly anticipated portrait of three generations of the Sackler family, by the prize-winning, bestselling author of SAY NOTHING The Sackler name adorns the walls of many storied institutions: Harvard, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Oxford, the Louvre. They are one of the richest families in the world, known for their lavish donations to the arts and sciences. The source of the family fortune was vague, however, until it emerged that the Sacklers were responsible for making and marketing OxyContin, a blockbuster painkiller that was a catalyst for the opioid crisis. Empire of Pain is a masterpiece of narrative reporting and writing, exhaustively documented and ferociously compelling.
Pretty Mess meets #Girlboss in this part memoir, part entrepreneurial manifesto from The Real Housewives of New Jersey’s “Powerhouse in Pigtails.” Margaret Josephs is a hustler. She’s a tough cookie. She speaks her mind. She never leaves the house without lipstick on. She’s also a devoted wife, mother, daughter, businesswoman, lifestyle expert, and fan-favorite star of the reality TV series The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Sounds pretty glamorous, right? Well, things are never exactly as they seem. Before she arrived where she is today, “The Marge” was born to young immigrant parents. Raised by a single party-girl mother who left her physically abusive father when she was one and a half, she was taught that it was more important to look good than to feel good. No structure. No rules. No blueprint for future success or stability. But like most people who struggle through atypical childhoods, destructive relationships, and career challenges, she forced herself to wake up every morning and put one high heel in front of the other, even if she didn’t know where she was going. Margaret took the cards she was dealt and eventually turned them into a winning hand, and she wants to arm fans with the ability to do the same. In Caviar Dreams, Tuna Fish Budget, she’ll talk about how to launch a lifestyle brand, how to work with family members, and how to be an uncompromising woman in a man’s world. She also spills stories from her personal life about the son Real Housewives viewers don’t know exists, the time Joan Rivers gave her the best advice she ever got, the rendezvous she had with a famous rock star, and the affair with her contractor that ended her marriage but gave her the happily ever after. Caviar Dreams, Tuna Fish Budget takes readers along Margaret’s wild, bumpy journey to entrepreneurial success and reality TV fame, written in her trademark no-nonsense, tongue-in-cheek voice with the perfect combination of grit and glitz.
From the incomparable Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Award winner, a powerful and revealing autobiography about race, sexuality, art, and healing It’s easy to be yourself when who and what you are is in vogue. But growing up Black and gay in America has never been easy. Before Billy Porter was slaying red carpets and giving an iconic Emmy-winning performance in the celebrated TV show Pose; before he was the groundbreaking Tony and Grammy Award-winning star of Broadway’s Kinky Boots; and before he was an acclaimed recording artist, actor, playwright, director, and all-around legend, Porter was a young boy in Pittsburgh who was seen as different, who didn’t fit in. At five years old, Porter was sent to therapy to “fix” his effeminacy. He was endlessly bullied at school, sexually abused by his stepfather, and criticized at his church. Porter came of age in a world where simply being himself was a constant struggle. Billy Porter’s Unprotected is the life story of a singular artist and survivor in his own words. It is the story of a boy whose talent and courage opened doors for him, but only a crack. It is the story of a teenager discovering himself, learning his voice and his craft amidst deep trauma. And it is the story of a young man whose unbreakable determination led him through countless hard times to where he is now; a proud icon who refuses to back down or hide. Porter is a multitalented, multifaceted treasure at the top of his game, and Unprotected is a resonant, inspirational story of trauma and healing, shot through with his singular voice.
Retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, who found himself at the center of a firestorm for his decision to report the infamous phone call that led to presidential impeachment, tells his own story for the first time. HERE, RIGHT MATTERS is a stirring account of Vindman’s childhood as an immigrant growing up in New York City, his career in service of his new home on the battlefield and at the White House , and the decisions leading up to, and fallout surrounding, his exposure of President Trump’s abuse of power. 0900, Thursday, July 25, 2019: President Trump called Ukraine’s President Zelensky, supposedly to congratulate him on his recent victory. In the months that followed, the American public would only learn what happened on that call because Alexander Vindman felt duty-bound to report it up the chain of command: that the President of the United States had extorted a foreign ally to damage a political challenger at home. Vindman’s actions and subsequent testimony before congress would lead to Trump’s impeachment and affirm Vindman’s belief that he had done the right thing in the face of intense pressure to stay silent. But it would come at an enormous cost, straining relationships with colleagues, superiors, and even his own father, and eventually end his decorated career in the US Army, by a Trump administration intent on retribution. Here, Right Matters is Vindman’s proud, passionate, and candid account of his family, his career, and the moment of truth he faced for his nation. As an immigrant, raised by a father who fled the Soviet Union in pursuit of a better life for his children, Vindman learned about respect for truth throughout his education and military service. As this memoir makes clear, his decision to speak up about the July 25th call was never a choice: it was Vindman’s duty, as a naturalized citizen and member of the armed forces. In the wake of his testimony, he would endure furious partisan attacks on his record and his loyalty. But far louder was the extraordinary chorus of support from citizens who were collectively intent on reaffirming an abiding American commitment to integrity. In the face of a sure-fire career derailment and public excoriation, Vindman heeded the lessons from the people and institutions who instilled in him the moral compass and the courage to act decisively. Like so many other American immigrant families, the Vindmans had to learn to build a life from scratch and take big risks to achieve important goals. Here, Right Matters is about the quiet heroes who keep us safe; but, above all, it is a call to arms for those who refuse to let America betray its true self.
NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • A TODAY SHOW #READWITHJENNA BOOK CLUB PICK! An incandescent memoir from an astonishing new talent, Beautiful Country puts readers in the shoes of an undocumented child living in poverty in the richest country in the world. “Extraordinary…Consider this remarkable memoir a new classic.”—Publishers Weekly, *Starred Review* In Chinese, the word for America, Mei Guo, translates directly to “beautiful country.” Yet when seven-year-old Qian arrives in New York City in 1994 full of curiosity, she is overwhelmed by crushing fear and scarcity. In China, Qian’s parents were professors; in America, her family is “illegal” and it will require all the determination and small joys they can muster to survive. In Chinatown, Qian’s parents labor in sweatshops. Instead of laughing at her jokes, they fight constantly, taking out the stress of their new life on one another. Shunned by her classmates and teachers for her limited English, Qian takes refuge in the library and masters the language through books, coming to think of The Berenstain Bears as her first American friends. And where there is delight to be found, Qian relishes it: her first bite of gloriously greasy pizza, weekly “shopping days,” when Qian finds small treasures in the trash lining Brooklyn’s streets, and a magical Christmas visit to Rockefeller Center—confirmation that the New York City she saw in movies does exist after all. But then Qian’s headstrong Ma Ma collapses, revealing an illness that she has kept secret for months for fear of the cost and scrutiny of a doctor’s visit. As Ba Ba retreats further inward, Qian has little to hold onto beyond his constant refrain: Whatever happens, say that you were born here, that you’ve always lived here. Inhabiting her childhood perspective with exquisite lyric clarity and unforgettable charm and strength, Qian Julie Wang has penned an essential American story about a family fracturing under the weight of invisibility, and a girl coming of age in the shadows, who never stops seeking the light.
A career-spanning anthology of essays on politics and culture by the best-selling author of The Flamethrowers includes entries discussing a Palestinian refugee camp, an illegal Baja Peninsula motorcycle race, and the 1970s Fiat factory wildcat strikes.
A revelatory new portrait of the courageous woman who saved Dostoyevsky’s life—and became a pioneer in Russian literary history In the fall of 1866, a twenty-year-old stenographer named Anna Snitkina applied for a position with a writer she idolized: Fyodor Dostoyevsky. A self-described “emancipated girl of the sixties,” Snitkina had come of age during Russia’s first feminist movement, and Dostoyevsky—a notorious radical turned acclaimed novelist—had impressed the young woman with his enlightened and visionary fiction. Yet in person she found the writer “terribly unhappy, broken, tormented,” weakened by epilepsy, and yoked to a ruinous gambling addiction. Alarmed by his condition, Anna became his trusted first reader and confidante, then his wife, and finally his business manager—launching one of literature’s most turbulent and fascinating marriages. The Gambler Wife offers a fresh and captivating portrait of Anna Dostoyevskaya, who reversed the novelist’s freefall and cleared the way for two of the most notable careers in Russian letters—her husband’s and her own. Drawing on diaries, letters, and other little-known archival sources, Andrew Kaufman reveals how Anna warded off creditors, family members, and her greatest romantic rival, keeping the young family afloat through years of penury and exile. In a series of dramatic set pieces, we watch as she navigates the writer’s self-destructive binges in the casinos of Europe—even hazarding an audacious turn at roulette herself—until his addiction is conquered. And, finally, we watch as Anna frees her husband from predatory contracts by founding her own publishing house, making Anna the first solo female publisher in Russian history. The result is a story that challenges ideas of empowerment, sacrifice, and female agency in nineteenth-century Russia—and a welcome new appraisal of an indomitable woman whose legacy has been nearly lost to literary history.
“A superior exploration of the consequences of the hollowing out of our agricultural heartlands.”—Kirkus Reviews In the tradition of Wendell Berry, a young writer wrestles with what we owe the places we’ve left behind. In the tiny farm town of Emmett, Idaho, there are two kinds of people: those who leave and those who stay. Those who leave go in search of greener pastures, better jobs, and college. Those who stay are left to contend with thinning communities, punishing government farm policy, and environmental decay. Grace Olmstead, now a journalist in Washington, DC, is one who left, and in Uprooted, she examines the heartbreaking consequences of uprooting—for Emmett, and for the greater heartland America. Part memoir, part journalistic investigation, Uprooted wrestles with the questions of what we owe the places we come from and what we are willing to sacrifice for profit and progress. As part of her own quest to decide whether or not to return to her roots, Olmstead revisits the stories of those who, like her great-grandparents and grandparents, made Emmett a strong community and her childhood idyllic. She looks at the stark realities of farming life today, identifying the government policies and big agriculture practices that make it almost impossible for such towns to survive. And she explores the ranks of Emmett’s newcomers and what growth means for the area’s farming tradition. Avoiding both sentimental devotion to the past and blind faith in progress, Olmstead uncovers ways modern life attacks all of our roots, both metaphorical and literal. She brings readers face to face with the damage and brain drain left in the wake of our pursuit of self-improvement, economic opportunity, and so-called growth. Ultimately, she comes to an uneasy conclusion for herself: one can cultivate habits and practices that promote rootedness wherever one may be, but: some things, once lost, cannot be recovered.
An inspiring and deeply personal coming of age memoir from one of Silicon Valley’s youngest entrepreneurs-a second-generation immigrant who taught himself how to code as a thirteen-year-old and went on to claim his share of the American dream. As his parents watched their restaurant business collapse in the wake of the Great Recession, Michael Sayman was googling “how to code.” Within a year, he had launched an iPhone app that was raking in thousands of dollars a month, enough to keep his family afloat-and in America. Entirely self-taught, Sayman headed from high school straight into the professional world, and by the time he was seventeen, he was Facebook’s youngest employe ever, building new features that wowed its founder Mark Zuckerberg and are now being used by more than half a billion people every day. Sayman pushed Facebook to build its own version of Snapchat’s Stories and, as a result, engagement on the platform soared across all demographics. Millions of Gen Z and Millennials flocked to Facebook, and as teen engagement rose dramatically on Instagram and WhatsApp, Snapchat’s parent company suffered a billion-dollar loss in value. Three years later, Sayman jumped ship for Google. App Kid is the galvanizing story of a young Latino, not yet old enough to drink, who excelled in the cutthroat world of Silicon Valley and went on to become an inspiration to thousands of kids everywhere by following his own surprising, extraordinary path. In this candid and uplifting memoir, Sayman shares the highs and lows, the successes and failures, of his remarkable journey. His book is essential and affirming reading for anyone marching to the beat of their own drum.
“A deeply reported and business-savvy chronicle of Tesla’s wild ride.” — Walter Isaacson, New York Times Book Review The outrageous inside story of Elon Musk and Tesla’s bid to build the world’s greatest car—from award-winning Wall Street Journal tech and auto reporter Tim Higgins Elon Musk is among the most controversial titans of Silicon Valley. To some he’s a genius and a visionary; to others he’s a mercurial huckster. Billions of dollars have been gained and lost on his tweets; his personal exploits are the stuff of tabloids. But for all his outrageous talk of mind-uploading and space travel, his most audacious vision is the one closest to the ground: the electric car. When Tesla was founded in the 2000s, electric cars were novelties, trotted out and thrown on the scrap heap by carmakers for more than a century. But where most onlookers saw only failure, a small band of Silicon Valley engineers and entrepreneurs saw potential. The gas-guzzling car was in need of disruption; the world was ready for Car 2.0. So they pitted themselves against the biggest, fiercest business rivals in the world, setting out to make a car that was quicker, sexier, smoother, cleaner than the competition. But as the saying goes, to make a small fortune in cars, start with a big fortune. Tesla would undergo a truly hellish fifteen years, beset by rivals, pressured by investors, hobbled by whistleblowers, buoyed by its loyal supporters. Musk himself would often prove Tesla’s worst enemy–his antics more than once took the company he had initially funded largely with his own money to the brink of collapse. Was he an underdog, an antihero, a conman, or some combination of the three? Wall Street Journal tech and auto reporter Tim Higgins had a front-row seat for the drama: the pileups, wrestling for control, meltdowns, and the unlikeliest outcome of all, success. A story of power, recklessness, struggle, and triumph, Power Play is an exhilarating look at how a team of eccentrics and innovators beat the odds–and changed the future.
New York Times bestselling author Laurence Leamer reveals the complex web of relationships and scandalous true stories behind Truman Capote’s never-published final novel, Answered Prayers–the dark secrets, tragic glamour, and Capote’s ultimate betrayal of the group of female friends he called his “swans.” “There are certain women,” Truman Capote wrote, “who, though perhaps not born rich, are born to be rich.” Barbara “Babe” Paley, Gloria Guinness, Marella Agnelli, Slim Hayward, Pamela Churchill, C. Z. Guest, Lee Radziwill (Jackie Kennedy’s sister)–they were the toast of midcentury New York, each beautiful and distinguished in her own way. These women captivated and enchanted Capote–and at times, they infuriated him as well. He befriended them, received their deepest confidences, and ingratiated himself into their lives. Then, in one fell swoop, he betrayed them in the most surprising and shocking way possible. Bestselling biographer Laurence Leamer delves into the years following the acclaimed publication of Breakfast at Tiffany’s in 1958 and In Cold Blood in 1966, when Capote struggled with a crippling case of writer’s block. While enjoying all the fruits of his success–including cultivating close friendships with the richest and most admired women of the era–he was struck with an idea for what he was sure would be his most celebrated novel…one based on the remarkable, racy lives of his very, very rich friends. For years, Capote attempted to write what he believed would have been his magnum opus, Answered Prayers. But when he eventually published a few chapters in Esquire, the thinly fictionalized lives (and scandals) of his closest female confidantes were laid bare for all to see. The blowback incinerated his relationships and banished Capote from their high-society world forever…a world that was already crumbling, though none of them realized it yet. Laurence Leamer recreates in detail the lives of these fascinating swans, their friendships with Capote and one another, and the doomed quest to write what could have been one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century.
The face and voice of college football, in this riveting and revealing memoir, takes readers behind the scenes, describing how a combination of hard work, perseverance and a little luck landed him on the set of ESPN’s iconic College GameDay.
Explores the lives of eight pioneering women photographers to consider the struggles, perils, and rewards of being a woman artist.
“A landmark biography of the great American writer Stephen Crane”–
A stirring and powerful memoir from black cultural critic Rebecca Carroll recounting her painful struggle to overcome a completely white childhood in order to forge her identity as a black woman in America. Rebecca Carroll grew up the only black person in her rural New Hampshire town. Adopted at birth by artistic parents who believed in peace, love, and zero population growth, her early childhood was loving and idyllic—and yet she couldn’t articulate the deep sense of isolation she increasingly felt as she grew older. Everything changed when she met her birth mother, a young white woman, who consistently undermined Carroll’s sense of her blackness and self-esteem. Carroll’s childhood became harrowing, and her memoir explores the tension between the aching desire for her birth mother’s acceptance, the loyalty she feels toward her adoptive parents, and the search for her racial identity. As an adult, Carroll forged a path from city to city, struggling along the way with difficult boyfriends, depression, eating disorders, and excessive drinking. Ultimately, through the support of her chosen black family, she was able to heal. Intimate and illuminating, Surviving the White Gaze is a timely examination of racism and racial identity in America today, and an extraordinarily moving portrait of resilience.
Paired with stories by Chekhov, Turgenev, Tolstoy, and Gogol, these essays are intended for anyone interested in how fiction works and why it’s more relevant than ever in these turbulent times.
At 95, the legendary Mel Brooks continues to set the standard for comedy across television, film, and the stage. Now, for the first time, this EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) winner shares his story in his own words. “I hope fans of comedy will get a kick out of the stories behind my work, and really enjoy taking this remarkable ride with me.”—Mel Brooks For anyone who loves American comedy, the long wait is over. Here are the never-before-told, behind-the-scenes anecdotes and remembrances from a master storyteller, filmmaker, and creator of all things funny. All About Me! charts Mel Brooks’s meteoric rise from a Depression-era kid in Brooklyn to the recipient of the National Medal of Arts. Whether serving in the United States Army in World War II, or during his burgeoning career as a teenage comedian in the Catskills, Mel was always mining his experiences for material, always looking for the perfect joke. His iconic career began with Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows, where he was part of the greatest writers’ room in history, which included Carl Reiner, Neil Simon, and Larry Gelbart. After co-creating both the mega-hit 2000 Year Old Man comedy albums and the classic television series Get Smart, Brooks’s stellar film career took off. He would go on to write, direct, and star in The Producers, The Twelve Chairs, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Silent Movie, High Anxiety, and Spaceballs, as well as produce groundbreaking and eclectic films, including The Elephant Man, The Fly, and My Favorite Year. Brooks then went on to conquer Broadway with his record-breaking, Tony-winning musical, The Producers. All About Me! offers fans insight into the inspiration behind the ideas for his outstanding collection of boundary-breaking work, and offers details about the many close friendships and collaborations Brooks had, including those with Sid Caesar, Carl Reiner, Gene Wilder, Madeleine Kahn, Alfred Hitchcock, and the great love of his life, Anne Bancroft. Filled with tales of struggle, achievement, and camaraderie (and dozens of photographs), readers will gain a more personal and deeper understanding of the incredible body of work behind one of the most accomplished and beloved entertainers in history.
THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER! Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2021 by Newsweek ∙ Oprah Magazine ∙ Marie Claire ∙ Parade ∙ PopSugar ∙ BookPage ∙ BookBub ∙ Betches ∙ SheReads ∙ Good Housekeeping ∙ BuzzFeed ∙ and more! Two best friends. Ten summer trips. One last chance to fall in love. From the bestselling author of Beach Read comes a sparkling new novel that will leave you with the warm, hazy afterglow usually reserved for the best vacations. Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart—she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown—but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together. Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven’t spoken since. Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together—lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees. Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?
The bestselling author of Leonardo da Vinci and Steve Jobs returns with a gripping account of how Nobel Prize winner Jennifer Doudna and her colleagues launched a revolution that will allow us to cure diseases, fend off viruses, and have healthier babies. When Jennifer Doudna was in sixth grade, she came home one day to find that her dad had left a paperback titled The Double Helix on her bed. She put it aside, thinking it was one of those detective tales she loved. When she read it on a rainy Saturday, she discovered she was right, in a way. As she sped through the pages, she became enthralled by the intense drama behind the competition to discover the code of life. Even though her high school counselor told her girls didn’t become scientists, she decided she would. Driven by a passion to understand how nature works and to turn discoveries into inventions, she would help to make what the book’s author, James Watson, told her was the most important biological advance since his co-discovery of the structure of DNA. She and her collaborators turned a curiosity of nature into an invention that will transform the human race: an easy-to-use tool that can edit DNA. Known as CRISPR, it opened a brave new world of medical miracles and moral questions. The development of CRISPR and the race to create vaccines for coronavirus will hasten our transition to the next great innovation revolution. The past half-century has been a digital age, based on the microchip, computer, and internet. Now we are entering a life-science revolution. Children who study digital coding will be joined by those who study genetic code. Should we use our new evolution-hacking powers to make us less susceptible to viruses? What a wonderful boon that would be! And what about preventing depression? Hmmm…Should we allow parents, if they can afford it, to enhance the height or muscles or IQ of their kids? After helping to discover CRISPR, Doudna became a leader in wrestling with these moral issues and, with her collaborator Emmanuelle Charpentier, won the Nobel Prize in 2020. Her story is a thrilling detective tale that involves the most profound wonders of nature, from the origins of life to the future of our species.
From the Academy Award®-winning actor, an unconventional memoir filled with raucous stories, outlaw wisdom, and lessons learned the hard way about living with greater satisfaction. I’ve been in this life for fifty years, been trying to work out its riddle for forty-two, and been keeping diaries of clues to that riddle for the last thirty-five. Notes about successes and failures, joys and sorrows, things that made me marvel, and things that made me laugh out loud. How to be fair. How to have less stress. How to have fun. How to hurt people less. How to get hurt less. How to be a good man. How to have meaning in life. How to be more me. Recently, I worked up the courage to sit down with those diaries. I found stories I experienced, lessons I learned and forgot, poems, prayers, prescriptions, beliefs about what matters, some great photographs, and a whole bunch of bumper stickers. I found a reliable theme, an approach to living that gave me more satisfaction, at the time, and still: If you know how, and when, to deal with life’s challenges – how to get relative with the inevitable – you can enjoy a state of success I call ‘catching greenlights.’ So I took a one-way ticket to the desert and wrote this book: an album, a record, a story of my life so far. This is fifty years of my sights and seens, felts and figured-outs, cools and shamefuls. Graces, truths, and beauties of brutality. Getting away withs, getting caughts, and getting wets while trying to dance between the raindrops. Hopefully, it’s medicine that tastes good, a couple of aspirin instead of the infirmary, a spaceship to Mars without needing your pilot’s license, going to church without having to be born again, and laughing through the tears. It’s a love letter. To life. It’s also a guide to catching more greenlights-and to realising that the yellows and reds eventually turn green too. Good luck.
‘A simply astonishing achievement. The quality, depth, emotional power and terrifying honesty of Alan Davies’s story-telling take the breath away’ Stephen Fry ‘This hugely affecting book is brave, insightful and, at times, funny about things it is hard to be funny about’ Jo Brand The story of a life built on sand. In the rain. In this compelling memoir, comedian and actor Alan Davies recalls his boyhood with vivid insight and devastating humour. Shifting between his 1970s upbringing and his life today, Davies moves poignantly from innocence to experience to the clarity of hindsight, always with a keen sense of the absurd. From sibling dynamics, to his voiceless, misunderstood progression through school, sexuality and humiliating ‘accidents’, Davies inhabits his younger mind with spectacular accuracy, sharply evoking an era when Green Shield Stamps, Bob-a-Job week and Whizzer & Chips loomed large, a bus fare was 2p – and children had little power in the face of adult motivation. Here, there are often exquisitely tender recollections of the mother he lost at six years old, of a bereaved family struggling to find its way, and the kicks and confusion of adolescence. Through even the joyous and innocent memories, the pain of Davies’s lifelong grief and profound betrayal is unfiltered, searing and beautifully articulated. Just Ignore Him is not only an autobiography, it is a testament to a survivor’s resilience and courage.
Last updated on October 17, 2021