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  • Ross Johnson 6:00 pm on 2018/05/31 Permalink
    Tags: Biography, ,   

    June’s Best Biographies and Memoirs 

    The World as It Is: A Memoir of the Obama White House, by Ben Rhodes
    For eight years, Rhodes was the insider’s insider at the Obama White House, having begun working with the then-presidential hopeful as a speechwriter in 2007, just as that unlikely campaign was kicking into high gear. From there, he went on to roles as deputy national security advisor and foreign policy advisor. He was present for some of the most consequential moments in that administration, including the Bin Laden raid, and central to shaping many key policies, including the Iran nuclear agreement and normalized relations with Cuba. As a friend and advisor to a president, as well as a writer himself, Rhodes offers a true behind-the-scenes look with novelistic flair.

    Robert F. Kennedy: Ripples of Hope: Kerry Kennedy in Conversation with Heads of State, Business Leaders, Influencers, and Activists about Her Father’s Impact on Their Lives, by Kerry Kennedy
    The forthcoming 50th anniversary of Robert Kennedy’s assassination has been attended by a resurgence in interest in the senator, attorney general, and would-be president. His impact on his era was almost as great as that of his brother, and might have been greater still. Here, his daughter shares her own memories and reminiscences side-by-side with those who knew or were influenced by the man. Among those interviewed are Barack Obama, John Lewis, Gloria Steinem, Dolores Huerta, Bill Clinton, Tony Bennett, and many others.

    Uncensored: My Life and Uncomfortable Conversations at the Intersection of Black and White America, by Zachary R. Wood
    At 21, Zachary Wood has placed himself near the center of debates over free speech in modern America: president of the Uncomfortable Learning student group at Williams college, Wood has advocated his own personal policy of open dialogue and debate with anyone, regardless of how much their views might differ with is own. He’s even delivered a TED Talk on the topic, and his memoir discusses his quietly radical philosophy while going into the details of his personal story, beginning with a poor childhood in Washington, DC.

    Black Klansman: Race, Hate, and the Undercover Investigation of a Lifetime, by Ron Stallworth
    Ron Stallworth’s incredible true story is the inspiration for an upcoming film from writer/director Spike Lee and producer Jordan Peele. In 1978, the Klan was again on the rise in the United States, and Stallworth was the first black detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department. Interested in a growing terrorist threat to the community, he responded to an ad for more information from the local KKK by mail. Instead, he received a call asking if he was willing to join up. During months of investigation, he maintains a phone correspondence with the group, sabotaging cross-burnings, exposing plots, and even forming a relationship with then-Grand Wizard (and current alt-right leader) David Duke. His white partner was even tasked to fill-in for Stallworth in person when necessary to maintain the charade.  It’s a fascinating story.

    Reporter: A Memoir, by Seymour M. Hersh
    The brand of investigative reporting that made Seymour Hersh famous is an evolving, if not dying, art in today’s fast-paced media climate. From the beginning, Hersh was more than willing to take on the biggest stories and most powerful players on the political scene, from the coverup of the Mai Lai Massacre to Watergate, and, more recently, Abu Ghraib. His confrontational style and willingness to dive into stories that others might consider conspiracies have won him awards, but also courted controversy. In his memoir, Hersh looks back at his career and offers deeper insight into some of the many stories he’s covered.

    My Girls: A Lifetime with Carrie and Debbie, by Todd Fisher
    In December of 2016, millions mourned the unexpected deaths of both Carrie Fisher and her mother, Debbie Reynolds, within a day of each other. For their fans and admirers, it was deeply sad. But for the family of these two Hollywood legends, the pain was far more intimate. In this memoir, Todd Fisher, the only surviving child of Debbie and singer Eddie Fisher, relates the story of his glamorous childhood with an unconventional mother and the lifelong bond with sister. The book is part personal memoir and part tribute to Debbie and Carrie, as funny as it is poignant as it charts their glamorous, often very weird lives all the way through their final days together.

    Ghostbuster’s Daughter: Life with My Dad, Harold Ramis, by Violet Ramis Stiel
    Another child reflects on a famous father this month—this time on the daughter of multi-talented actor, director, writer, and comedian Harold Ramis, whose films are among the most beloved of recent decades (Animal House, Caddyshack, Ghostbusters, and Groundhog Day). Stiel recounts the too-short life of her famous father, and also the story of her unconventional upbringing, in a book that’s part family memoir, part look inside the mind of a comedic genius.

    Famous Father Girl: A Memoir of Growing Up Bernstein, by Jamie Bernstein
    At the height of his career in the middle years of the 20th century, at a time when a composer could still have an enormous influence on pop culture, none was bigger than Leonard Bernstein. The conductor and pianist had a circle that included the Kennedys, John Lennon, Richard Avedon, and Lauren Bacall, among many others, all they all populate the cast of this memoir. On the centennial of his birth, Bernstein’s eldest daughter Jamie reflects on her childhood with the complex, sometimes troubled man who taught her to love music, and the world.

    Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot, by John Callahan and David Kelly
    The title of the late Callahan’s memoir refers to one of his more (in)famous cartoons, an image in which three sheriffs approach an empty wheelchair in the desert. One sheriff says to another: “Don’t worry. He won’t get far on foot.” Which just about sums up Callahan’s warped, controversial, and boundary-pushing career as a cartoonist. That career began at the age of 21 after an alcohol-related car crash severed his spine and left him a quadriplegic. A few years later, he had relearned to use his right hand enough to make the simplistic drawings for which he became famous. This memoir is the subject of a forthcoming film from director Gus Van Sant.

    Whose story inspires you?

    The post June’s Best Biographies and Memoirs appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Ross Johnson 8:00 pm on 2018/04/30 Permalink
    Tags: Biography, ,   

    The Best Biographies and Memoirs of May 

    Life After Darkness: Finding Healing and Happiness After the Cleveland Kidnappings, by Michelle Knight
    In 2013, Knight (now Lily Rose Lee) was freed, along with two others, after a decade of captivity in the Cleveland home of kidnapper Ariel Castro. On the fifth anniversary of her rescue, she reflects on her experiences and on the road to healing the wounds she suffered: mental, spiritual, and physical. It’s not the darkness she’s focused on, but her journey into the light.

    The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights, and Other Appreciations, by John McCain and Mark Salter
    This isn’t John McCain’s first memoir with Salter (his Faith of My Fathers was a bestseller almost 20 years ago), but it is the first written in the shadow of his brain cancer diagnosis last year. In the new book, he discusses his senatorial career over the last several decades, his 2008 run for the White House, and his work in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. He speaks with candor about the current state of affairs in America—and particularly his feelings about the current president—while looking to the future and sharing a positive vision for the country.

    Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces, by Michael Chabon
    Inspired by a popular 2016 GQ article about accompanying his 13-year-old son Abraham to Paris for Men’s Fashion Week, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and essayist Chabon has written a series of essays about fatherhood. In the GQ excerpt, he describes being both bored to tears and dramatically inspired by his son’s passion for the fashion on display. With the trademark style and richnesses of imagery, Chabon discusses the mysteries, joys, and contradictions of fatherhood.

    I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons, by Kevin Hart with Neil Strauss
    Kevin Hart has achieved a level of popularity and fame (he’s among the top grossing comedians worldwide) that make a memoir a no-brainer, but he’s also got a compelling life story that began with a troubled childhood in Philadelphia. He’s also genuinely funny, and his autobiography (now in paperback) is as compelling as it is laugh-out-loud hilarious.

    The Seasons of My Mother: A Memoir of Love, Family, and Flowers, by Marcia Gay Harden
    In this unconventional memoir, the actress tells her own life story in parallel with that of her mother. Beverly became enamored with ikebana, the art of flower arranging, while the family lived in Japan during the Vietnam War, an interest later pursued by Marcia. Over the last several years, the author has had to come to grips with her mother’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, a struggle that frames this poignant, funny, and heartfelt memoir.

    So Close to Being the Sh*t, Y’all Don’t Even Know, by Retta
    Parks and Rec star Retta threw her Liberian parents for a loop when she skipped medical school in favor of moving to Hollywood in search of sitcom fame and fortune. Though she didn’t find it right away, her career has only been on the rise in recent years. In her new essay collection, she tells a series of often hilarious anecdotes about life as a wealthy, successful woman who knows how precarious fame can be.

    The Pact: A UFC Champion, a Boy with Cancer, and Their Promise to Win the Ultimate Battle, by Cody Garbrandt with Mark Dagostino
    When he was 20, Cody Garbrandt formed a unique bond with 5-year-old Maddux Maple. The young boy was dying of leukemia, while Cody was intent on pursuing his dream of rising to the top in Mixed Martial Arts. The two made a pact to pursue their dreams: recovery for the kid, and the world championship for Cody. Five years later, Maddux was in remission and Cody had claimed the UFC title. Here, the champ himself tells their story.

    Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, by J. D. Vance
    Vance has accomplished something extraordinary with this complex and insightful memoir (now in paperback) in which he discusses his own family history, going deep below the surface to uncover truths that speak to the state of American culture in the 21st century. Vance tells a story of upward mobility and of the grandparents who left extreme poverty in Kentucky’s Appalachia to build a middle-class family. On the surface, it’s a triumphal tale of one generation doing better than the last, but Vance digs deeper to examine the legacies of poverty and want, including abuse and alcoholism, and the ways in which the family has never truly escaped its past.

    Papi: My Story, by David Ortiz and Michael Holley
    Barely six months into retirement, Ortiz tells the story of a long career in baseball that culminated in a 14-year run with the Boston Red Sox that saw the storied franchise go from perpetual losers to a one of the winningest teams in MLB. For Sox fans, and baseball lovers in general, he brings an insider’s view of the modern history of the sport, and shares a frank assessment of his rough and poor childhood in the Dominican Republic and his life leading to his 2008 American citizenship.

    Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom, by Thomas E. Ricks
    Two of the 20th Century’s towering figures, in Britain and in the world at large, Churchill and Orwell had wildly different ideas about how to approach the great challenges of their age. They never met, but Ricks places the lives and work of the two side-by-side and finds as many commonalities as differences: Orwell’s commitment to social justice and democratic socialism was at odds with Churchill’s more conservative views, but the two shared an absolute opposition to totalitarianism and strong senses of tradition. By bringing together two men who never interacted in life, Ricks paints a vivid picture of their time.

    Whose story inspires you?

    The post The Best Biographies and Memoirs of May appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Jeff Somers 2:00 pm on 2018/04/06 Permalink
    Tags: Biography, sargento, treated like family   

    Behind a Famous Brand Name, a Quiet Hero 

    One day Tom Faley, a three-decade employee of Sargento, the food company known nationwide for its natural cheese, overheard a group of younger coworkers wondering about the identity of a man in an old photo. Faley was shocked the didn’t know who the man, Leonard Gentine, was—though, as the co-founder of Sargento, he was responsible for the existence of their jobs. He was also Faley’s personal hero. It was unacceptable to Faley to consider Gentine’s legacy might fade into obscurity. So he decided to do something about it.

    The result is Treated Like Family:How an Entrepreneur and His “Employee Family” Built Sargento, a Billion-Dollar Cheese Company, a new book that tells the inspiring story of Leonard Gentine’s life, his business vision, and his dedication to the basic values that made his company great. It’s a book that reminds us that not all heroes are household names, and that sometimes, heroism is about steadfastly sticking to your beliefs and always doing the right thing, even when it hurts.

    The Man behind the brand

    Chances are you’re familiar with Sargento and its cheese. Leonard Gentine—the “gen” in Sargento—was the driving force behind the company from its inception in 1953 until his retirement in 1984, and Faley’s book is as much a story of Gentine’s life—and his family—as it is an American success story. Remarkably, Gentine managed to build a business empire without stepping back from his commitment to family, his support of his community, or his dedication to fundamental concepts of decency, equality, and fairness that sometimes seem in short supply in modern American life.

    The crash

    Gentine’s story begins with a crash—a car accident that saw him damage the vehicle of a local mortician. Unable to pay for the repairs, Gentine proposed an arrangement: he would work for the funeral home for free until he’d paid off the bill. This sort of creative, restless thinking would mark Gentine for the rest of his life—and, impossibly, the arrangement inspired Gentine’s first business: that’s right, the man behind one of the most famous cheese brands in the U.S.  started off as the owner of a funeral home.

    Restless innovation

    The Gentine Funeral Home never quite took off, even as it provided a living for Gentine and his growing family. Faley paints a portrait of a man driven not by greed—Gentine was generous to a fault and famously unconcerned about profits—but by a desire to provide for those he loved. That noble dedication to family drove Gentine to experiment with several businesses, always working feverishly to understand their products and markets and find ways to innovate.

    Sargento has its roots in a humble cheese counter Gentine started when he hit on the idea of selling cheese gift baskets, one of several businesses he launched in his search for the sort of success that would offer his family security.

    Even Sargento, formed in partnership with Joe Sartori (the “sar” in Sargento; the “o” was added to make the name sound Italian), took many years to flourish. In the interim, Gentine concentrated on coming up with new products and taking care of the people who worked for and partnered with him. He spent months perfecting a vacuum-sealable plastic container in order to introduce the first prepackaged sliced cheese, and developed packaged grated cheese by repurposing a pasta making machine, spending long hours to get just the right results and achieving innovations larger companies had failed to perfect. But despite these incredible achievements, Sargento was only modestly successful—until he hit on the supermarket peg.

    Pegged to success

    Today, the sight of products on a metal peg in the supermarket aisle is so common we barely notice, but in 1969, it was an innovation. While Gentine didn’t invent the concept, he happened upon one of its earliest implementations, and immediately saw the potential. He developed a peg system and accompanying packaging, and before long, Sargento was on its way to becoming the household name we all know today. Gentine had help in all of these endeavors—something both he and Faley never hesitate to underscore—but it was the man’s quest to ensure his family’s comfort that drove the ultimate success of the company.

    Family above all

    Gentine’s true legacy is his family. Sargento remains a family-run business, and his five children all went on to be the sort of kids anyone would be proud of. Gentine often stated he was most proud of the corporate culture he created, one in which all the employees are treated like family.

    Leonard Gentine passed away in 1996, after battling Parkinson’s Disease. We tend to think of heroes as people who run into burning buildings or defeat the bad guys, but there’s a different kind of hero who often gets overlooked: the quiet heroes, who stick to their values no matter what, always do the right thing, and never quit. Leonard Gentine was one of them—an American who loved his family and strove only to offer a quality product at a good price , and make his corner of the world a better place.

    Treated Like Family is available April 10.

    This post is sponsored by Triad Retail Media.

    The post Behind a Famous Brand Name, a Quiet Hero appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Ross Johnson 2:00 pm on 2018/04/02 Permalink
    Tags: Biography, ,   

    The Best Biographies & Memoirs of April 2018 

    The Best Cook in the World: Tales from My Momma’s Table, by Rick Bragg
    Pulitzer Prize-winner Rick Bragg combines a love of cooking with the history of his family and of a region for this memoir/cookbook. Focusing on his mother’s recipes, never before recorded, he tells the stories behind each dish and of the family traditions that accompanied meals passed down in his family since before the Civil War. Alabama and family history aside, the book contains recipes for southern classics like corn pudding, redeye gravy, pinto beans and hambone, stewed cabbage, short ribs, and more.

    My American Dream: A Life of Love, Family, and Food, by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich
    Celebrity chef, restauranteur, and cookbook author Bastianich grew up in Pula under Tito’s regime in Yugoslavia. Lidia’s family ultimately was forced to flee to a refugee camp in Italy before being granted visas to to the United States.  The beloved TV star tells the story of her life, from learning Italian cooking at her grandmother’s knee, to the family’s the flight to America, to her teenage years spent working in restaurants, and the great success that she’s achieved in the years since.

    The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind: My Tale of Madness and Recovery, by Barbara K. Lipska and Elaine McArdle
    Barbara Lipska found herself at the beginning of a harrowing, but remarkable journey in early 2015: the renowned expert on the neuroscience of mental illness was herself diagnosed with melanoma that had spread to her brain. Short months later, she developed symptoms of dementia and schizophrenia that resulted from the shutdown of parts of her frontal lobe. She found herself descending into madness—but fortunately, a course of immunotherapy worked, and restored her physical and mental health. Not only that, but the neuroscientist remembers every detail of her ordeal. Her memoir of the experience provides extraordinary insight into the working of the human brain, told as it is by an expert who came back from the brink.

    Eunice: The Kennedy Who Changed the World, by Eileen McNamara
    While the Kennedy boys were being groomed for political power, Joe Kennedy’s daughter Eunice was pursuing a Stanford education as a preliminary to a lifetime of work with the disabled. For this thoroughly researched biography, Pulitzer Prize-winner Eileen McNamara gained access to never-before-seen private documents from the life of the formidable, cigar-smoking founder of what became the Special Olympics. She makes a very convincing case that it’s wasn’t just the Kennedy men who changed America.

    The Geraldo Show: A Memoir, by Geraldo Rivera
    Whatever your feelings about this news personality and talk show host, there’s no question his long career in the public eye has been quite the wild trip, from his early days as a lawyer and promising young reporter, to the guy who opened Al Capone’s vault, to talk show host and Fox News commentator. He’s been on the scene for some of the biggest news moments of the past five decades and has met many of modern history’s heavy hitters. He’s got plenty of stories to tell in his first memoir since 1992.

    Every Day I’m Hustling, by Vivica A. Fox
    During her 30 years in showbiz, Fox has learned plenty, and she’s ready to share. According to the actress, you never wait for the call. You go out and make life happen. Including stories and anecdotes from her own life and career in movies like Kill Bill and shows like Empire, Fox ‘s memoir offers success strategies for business and love, and even tips about looking good after 50.

    True Stories from an Unreliable Eyewitness: A Feminist Coming of Age, by Christine Lahti
    She’s won almost every major showbiz award over the course of her decades in the business, and has been an activist and blogger. This collection of personal essays focus on three periods in her life: her childhood, her early days as an actress, and the realities of life as a middle-aged woman in Hollywood today. The stories range from funny and self-deprecating to personally painful, but she’s always honest about her achievements and tragedies.

    The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After, by Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Weil
    At the age of 15, Clementine and her sister fled the Rwandan massacre. Over the next six years, they moved through seven different countries before gaining refugee status in the United States. The two sisters came to live very different lives as their paths diverged in Chicago: one a struggling single mother, the other taken in by a generous and loving family who supported her through Yale. Still, both carried the scars of years of inhumanity. Clementine Wamariya tells a story that’s heartbreaking but, ultimately, one of hope and of the power to transcend even the most horrific events.

    Hang Time: My Life in Basketball, by Elgin Baylor and Alan Eisenstock
    Baylor’s long career spans years of incredible change for the NBA and America itself. In 1958 he became one of the very first black superstars of the game, and receives credit for saving the (then) Minneapolis Lakers from extinction while simultaneously serving as an Army Reservist. Fourteen exceptional years later, he retired from playing and went onto a decades-long career as a coach and executive. Throughout, he was a witness to and agent of change, fighting to break down color barriers as a player and manager.

    American Princess: The Love Story of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, by Leslie Carroll
    Carroll has an extensive bibliography when it comes to works of historical non-fiction (and fiction, as well) centered around the loves, marriages, and affairs of European royals. With the story of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, and a relationship that would have been scandalous not so long ago, she’s taking on a rather more contemporary courtship. Grounding the story in the history of royal marriages that broke rules, Carroll dives into the story of the couple, as well as into the impressive background of Markle herself.

    Whose story intrigues and inspires you?

    The post The Best Biographies & Memoirs of April 2018 appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Ross Johnson 5:00 pm on 2018/03/01 Permalink
    Tags: Biography, , ,   

    The Best Biographies & Memoirs of March 2018 

    The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row, by Anthony Ray Hinton, Bryan Stevenson, and Lara Love Hardin
    “I don’t care whether you did it or not. You will be convicted.” That’s what a Birmingham detective told Anthony Ray Hinton after he was arrested for robbery and murder in 1985. Hinton had an alibi, and no evidence linked him to the crime, but testimony suggesting that a gun owned by his mother might have been the same type as was used in the shootings was enough to send the black man to death row. Outside ballistics experts proved conclusively, in 1995, that the bullets weren’t a match for his mother’s gun, but the state refused to reexamine the evidence. Hinton spent almost 30 years were in prison before the state released him in 2015, rather than hold a new trial. The story is tragic and compelling, but also one of hope—of a man who never succumbed to bitterness.

    I’ll Never Change My Name: An Immigrant’s American Dream from Ukraine to the USA to Dancing with the Stars, by Valentin Chmerkovskiy
    Chmerkovskiy grew up in Odessa before his Jewish family immigrated to the United States. Outsiders in their often anti-semitic homeland, Valentin felt like a stranger in the United States, even while honoring the opportunities that America has provided him. His memoir talks about his life, family, and rise to fame as a ballroom dancer on Dancing with the Stars alongside his brother Maks. Additionally, the book includes 16 pages of photographs from on and off the dance floor.

    Gator: My Life in Pinstripes, by Ron Guidry, and Andrew Beaton
    During the so-called “Bronx Zoo” era, the New York Yankees of the late ’70s and ’80s were one of the most celebrated teams in baseball history, and a legendary crew of big personalities. Under manager Billy Martin and owner George Steinbrenner, the team included names like Thurman Munson and Reggie Jackson. Ace pitcher Guidry was there for it all, making and being witness to sports history for over a decade, and shares his (and the team’s) fascinating journey here.

    Jackie’s Girl: My Life with the Kennedy Family, by Kathy McKeon
    The Kennedy family continues to fascinate, perhaps none more than the glamorous, mysterious first lady turned book editor. Even given her later reclusiveness, we still feel as though we’re on a first-name basis with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Kathy McKeon grew up on a remote farm in Ireland with neither running water nor electricity, but was hired by the recent widow when McKeon moved to America in 1964. For 13 years, she was Jackie’s personal assistant and sometimes nanny to the children. Now in paperback, McKeon’s memoir provides a behind-the-scenes look at life with one of the most famous Americans of the 20th century, while also telling the story of a young immigrant who grew up under Jackie’s mentorship.

    A Tokyo Romance: A Memoir, by Ian Buruma
    Writer and historian Buruma travelled to Tokyo in 1975, inspired by the rawness of Japanese theatre performances he’d experienced in his native Netherlands. What he found was a city in the middle of an economic and cultural boom, all neon and J-pop, where hints of life before the war survived as scattered fragments amidst a vivid new backdrop. Buruma’s memoir is the story of his time in Tokyo as an outsider in a city in the midst of radical transformation.

    Would You Rather?: A Memoir of Growing Up and Coming Out, by Katie Heaney
    Novelist and memoirist Heaney’s warm and poignant collections of essays about growing up and searching for Mr. Right have been well-received, but her life’s changed since the release of her last: for one thing, she realized at the age of 28 that she’s gay, so Mr. Right became Ms. Right. Here, she chronicles the journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance that led her to where she is now, and shares stories of her coming out to friends, family, and acquaintances, and her new adventures in dating in New York City.

    Unsuccessful Thug: One Comedian’s Journey from Naptown to Tinseltown, by Mike Epps
    Growing up in a rough part of Indianapolis, Mike Epps seemed destined for a life of crime, until he realized he had neither the sensibilities nor the aptitude for the thug life. So it was off to New York, where he made a splash in stand up, and then to Hollywood, where he parlayed a role in the later Friday movies into a solid film career. From growing up black, to Hollywood racism, to capturing stand-up success, Epps discusses his life and career.

    My Days: Happy and Otherwise, by Marion Ross
    With a career spanning more than six decades, Marion Ross has plenty of stories to tell. After growing up in rural Minnesota, she went to Hollywaood where, by the late ’50s, she had already worked with entertainment luminaries like Ginger Rogers, Humphrey Bogart, and Noel Coward. In the ’70s, she became a television star, and for 11 seasons of Happy Days, she was one of America’s favorite moms. In addition to her own life story on- and off-screen, this memoir includes candid interviews with most of the cast of that enduring sit-com.

    It’s Not Yet Dark, by Simon Fitzmaurice
    A doctor gave filmmaker Fitzmaurice four years to live following an ALS diagnosis in 2008. By 2010, he was at death’s door, and given little reason to hope. Nevertheless, he chose to take extraordinary measures to stay alive. In the years since, he’s fathered twins and continued to work as a documentarian. Now in paperback, and released alongside his wife’s own memoir, Fitzmaurice talks candidly about his daily struggles, but also about the family that sustains him in a life that’s radically different from the one he’d planned for.

    I Found My Tribe: A Memoir, by Ruth Fitzmaurice
    The “Tragic Wives’ Swimming Club” is what Ruth Fitzmaurice calls her tribe of friends, who have banded together in the face of life’s challenges, and regularly make a pilgrimage to a lake together to throw themselves into the frigid waters—a symbol of their resiliency and camaraderie in the face of hardship. Ruth is the wife of Simon, a filmmaker with ALS (whose own memoir is out in paperback this month; see above); caring for a husband who can now only communicate with his eyes taught her love and live as hard as she can. Her story is heartbreaking, but ultimately inspiring.

    Whose story inspires you?

    The post The Best Biographies & Memoirs of March 2018 appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

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