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  • Ross Johnson 5:00 pm on 2019/01/31 Permalink
    Tags: Biography, ,   

    February’s Best Biographies & Memoirs 


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    Wild Bill: The True Story of the American Frontier’s First Gunfighter, by Tom Clavin
    Is there anyone more closely associated with the mythology of American westward expansion than “Wild Bill” Hickok? Even during his lifetime, fiction and legend overshadowed fact, but this painstakingly researched biography sets the record straight, and the results are at least as interesting as the sensational portrait that developed following a deadly quick-draw duel (the first of its kind) with a man named Davis Tutt—over a watch, of all things. Over his short life, Hickock took on dozens of different roles, and rubbed shoulders with many of the era’s folk heroes. Clavin’s exploration of the reality behind the myth is both enlightening and wildly entertaining.

    Grateful American: A Journey from Self to Service (B&N Exclusive Edition), by Gary Sinise with Marcus Brotherton
    Playing the disabled Lieutenant Dan character in the film adaptation of the novel Forrest Gump changed Sinise’s life forever: embraced by the military for his sensitive portrayal, he made a commitment to support active-duty servicemembers and veterans that became a calling—and, following the attacks of September 11, 2001, began to overshadow acting as his life’s mission. From his stage, film, and TV career through his work in entertaining and fundraising for veterans, Sinise’s tells the story of his life and his passion for service. The exclusive B&N edition features a letter from the author and a series of postcards.

    I.M.: A Memoir, by Isaac Mizrahi
    Celebrity designer Isaac Mizrahi grew up gay in a Syrian Orthodox Jewish family before he became a performer, a talk-show host, and a fashion icon. Throughout his life, he has moved through all of these identities and more, and walked in lofty celebrity circles that have included the likes of Richard Avedon, Audrey Hepburn, and Oprah Winfrey. This new memoir chronicles the highs and lows of his fascinating life.

    Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, by Trevor Noah
    Now in paperback: When The Daily Show host Trevor Noah was born in apartheid South Africa, his existence was literally a crime: the union of his white father and black Xhosa mother would have, had it been discovered, been punishable by five years in prison. As a result, Noah was hidden away for much of his young life, before liberation saw his mother embark with him on an adventurous existence to try to make up for the years of privation. It would be a fascinating story even if he hadn’t gone on to take over as host of the venerable political comedy show. Noah’s anecdotes and stories covering the breadth of his life take on extra weight, given its unlikely trajectory.

    The Perfect Predator: A Scientist’s Race to Save Her Husband from a Deadly Superbug: A Memoir, by Steffanie Strathdee and Thomas Patterson, with Teresa Barker
    This memoir is extraordinarily unique–a personal story of epidemiology, a medical mystery involving a scientist’s effort to save her husband. While visiting Egypt, Tom Patterson was overcome by one of the most dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria known. Desperate to save his life, epidemiologist Steffanie Strathdee came upon a long out-of-favor treatment: phage therapy, or the introduction of a virus in an attempt to overpower a bacterial infection. The resulting story is the stuff of a nail-biting medical thriller, yet the resurrection of a forgotten treatment might have implications that extend far beyond the fate of one couple.

    Whose story inspires you?

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

     
  • Ross Johnson 5:00 pm on 2019/01/02 Permalink
    Tags: Biography, gabrielle union, kamala harris,   

    The Best Biographies & Memoirs of January 2019 


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    Let Me Finish: Trump, the Kushners, Bannon, New Jersey, and the Power of In-Your-Face Politics, by Chris Christie
    Whatever your thoughts on our current political moment, it’s going to be a goldmine for saucy tell-alls. Here, former New Jersey governor and Trump insider tells his side of the story on his time in charge of the Garden State, Bridgegate, and his work on long-time friend Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. After navigating the minefield of conflicting personalities and agendas within Trump Tower (and nearly becoming the running mate), Christie found himself on the outside looking in within days of Trump’s surprise victory. The first draft of history is always the juiciest.

    The Truths We Hold: An American Journey, by Kamala Harris
    It’s an impressive life story: the daughter of an economist from Jamaica and an Indian cancer researcher became the chief law enforcement officer of California before becoming a United States Senator already shortlisted for a potential 2020 presidential run. Kamala Harris’s memoir isn’t a straight biography; instead, it distills her life and experience into a frank conversation about her data-driven approach to addressing the myriad problems facing Americans in the 21st century.

    We’re Going to Need More Wine: Stories That Are Funny, Complicated, and True, by Gabrielle Union
    Gabrielle Union tells her story with wit and sensitivity, a tale that includes her struggles as one of a few black students in a predominantly white high school, a devastating rape at gunpoint that almost broke her, and her recovery and pursuit of a high-octane Hollywood career. The actress addresses topics like teen sexuality and the challenge of raising black kids in a culture often perceived as steeped in racism with disarming humor and perceptive insights, marking this as much more than the typical Hollywood vanity memoir. Working without much of a filter, Union comes across as a nuanced survivor who has managed to keep both her sense of humor and her ability to love intact despite experiences that could break anyone.

    A Serial Killer’s Daughter: My Story of Faith, Love, and Overcoming, by Kerri Rawson
    It’s an unbelievable scenario that most of us will, fortunately, never face: Kerri Rawson’s loving father, who had also been a seemingly good husband, a Boy Scout leader, and church president, was revealed in 2005 to be the BTK killer, having committed a series of brutal murders over the course of three decades—or Kerri’s her entire life. Rawson shares her story here, confronting a past that no longer makes sense, and an uncertain future.

    Breaking and Entering: The Extraordinary Story of a Hacker Called “Alien”, by Jeremy N. Smith
    Smith takes the story of high-end hacker Elizabeth Tessman and shapes it into a character piece, bringing a novelistic flair to cybersecurity. “Alien” began her career as an MIT undergrad breaking into off-limits areas of campus before running afoul of the law. She later joined a cybersecurity firm that tested its clients’ security using every means imaginable, whether that meant exploiting coding flaws or putting on disguises and sneaking in. Her story puts a human face on the sometimes thrilling, often alarming world of cyber-security.

    Whose story inspires you?

    The post The Best Biographies & Memoirs of January 2019 appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Ross Johnson 7:00 pm on 2018/12/14 Permalink
    Tags: becoming, big gifts, Biography,   

    9 Celebrity Memoirs for the True Fan on Your Gift List 


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    Modern celebrities come in many different forms, with many different types of fans. Each one of the memoirs below is by an icon in their respective field, and each pulls back the curtain on a live lived in the spotlight to candidly reveal, in their own words, the lives of people we only think we know. Any of them would make a fabulous gift for the fan in your life.

    Becoming, by Michelle Obama
    The memoir of any First Lady is going to be a major event, but Michelle Obama remains a uniquely consequential figure who became a powerful advocate for women and girls around the world during her tenure, all while raising a family under the watchful eye of the media. Her life didn’t begin there, though: the Princeton and Harvard Law graduate was a lawyer, educator, and executive before ever stepping foot in the White House. In her own words, she candidly talks about her life, her career, her family, and her continuing story. Her story is already one of the year’s biggest books, and it’s going to be an essential gift.

    In Pieces, by Sally Field
    For the first time, and with impressive literary style, Field reflects on a career that began with sitcoms in the ’60s and developed in movies like Sybil, Norma Rae, and Lincoln. She talks of the highs and lows of her impressive career, as well as about the troubled relationships and insecurities that have challenged her even as they helped to make her into the inspiring figure she has become. Just as impressive, this memoir has proven that Field can write as well as she can act.

    This Will Only Hurt a Little, by Busy Philipps
    Actress and, more recently, Instagram star Phillips shares the deeply candid story of her life and career in a book that’s both funny and straight-talking in its assessment of the challenges of making it in a sexist system (she recounts instances of on-set bullying and body shaming on the sets of shows like Freaks and Geeks). As she does in her acting and in her social media, Phillips holds back nothing on the page, neither her triumphs nor her stumbles. Fans will find that Philipps remains a social media star with toughness, depth, and a sense of humor.

    Just Jessie: My Guide to Love, Life, Family, and Food, by Jessie James Decker
    There are any number of reasons that the person on your gift list might be a fan of Decker: she’s a hit country music star, the face of fashion label Kittenish, co-star (with her husband, former Denver Bronco Eric Decker) of E!’s Eric & Jessie, as well being popular for her Instagram posts about food and family. So, this fully illustrated book is the ultimate gift for a Jessie James Decker fan, but it’s also full of tips and lessons on dating, parenting, fitness, and even cooking: it offers step-by-step instructions for fifteen of her most popular recipes.

    Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: A Sortabiography, by Eric Idle
    Next year marks a half-century since Monty Python first appeared on television, and this new autobiography from one of the leading lights of the surrealist comedy troupe seems a fitting way to kick off the celebration. In the ’60s, Eric Idle was at the forefront of Britain’s cultural revolution, rubbing shoulders with the Beatles and Bowie, before becoming a mainstream star through work on films like Life of Brian and, more recently, Broadway’s musical sensation Spamalot. It’s a fascinating and funny look behind the scenes of a fascinating life, perfect for Python fans or anyone with an interest in the key players in British pop culture.

    All the Way: Football, Fame, and Redemption (B&N Exclusive Edition), by Joe Namath with Don Yaeger
    Fifty years after Namath lead the New York Jets to a Super Bowl victory against the Baltimore Colts, the icon tells the story of his journey from small-town Pennsylvania kid to sports legend. Across half a century, Namath spent time at the height of celebrity, but also dealt with debilitating injuries that saw him addicted to painkillers and alcohol. Here, he reveals that the charmed life he appeared to lead masked real challenges. It’s a story of incredible triumphs, incredible lows, and redemption.

    Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life, by Gisele Bündchen
    Bündchen is best known as a celebrity supermodel, one of the highest-paid in the world, and her life would doubtless be fascinating if that’s all there were. But, of course, there’s more: Bündchen grew up in southern Brazil, saving dogs and cats and hoping to become a veterinarian. A modeling scout discovered her in São Paulo, beginning a life of stardom as well as environmental activism and parenthood. This is the first time that she has revealed so much of the life behind the celebrity.

    GuRu, by RuPaul with Jane Fonda
    RuPaul fans are legion, and not just for the love of drag. Mama Ru has always thought of drag as a way of deconstructing identity as a means of getting to the true person inside, and that’s what this new book is all about. Full of photographs, RuPaul shares her deeply spiritual secrets to success and offers up her unique outlook on the world, breaking down imposed barriers in order to find the hidden possibilities within. No RuPaul fan is going to want to be without it.

    Kitchen Confidential Deluxe Edition: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly (B&N Exclusive Edition), by Anthony Bourdain
    Fans of the late Bourdain will doubtless find this book a little bittersweet, but nevertheless essential. This new edition of the classic that started his career remains as candid and trenchant as ever, unsparingly revealing the behind-the-scenes of the restaurant industry. Now updated and revised, the book contains Bourdain’s own notes, a new introduction, and an interview with his editor. Additionally, the B&N Exclusive Edition includes three of Bourdain’s favorite recipes: Macaroni and Cheese, Scrambled Eggs, and Portuguese Squid and Octopus Soup.

    What’s on your celebrity memoir gift list?

    The post 9 Celebrity Memoirs for the True Fan on Your Gift List appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Ross Johnson 3:30 pm on 2018/11/12 Permalink
    Tags: behind the music, Biography, gift guides 2018, justin timberlake, , , roger daltrey   

    6 Musical Memoirs for Fans of All Stripes 


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    There are no fans like music fans, and this fall, several gorgeous new books have arrived in which some of the most iconic musical legends of our time (and all time) tell their own stories. From a classic crooner to stars of hip hop and beyond, there are gifts to be had for music fans of all stripes.

    Hindsight: & All the Things I Can’t See in Front of Me (B&N Exclusive Edition), by Justin Timberlake
    JT is practically pop royalty at this point, with legions of fans who grew up with the idol. In his first book, he’s assembled anecdotes and candid observations about his life and work, and paired them with hundreds of photographs from his own personal archives, spanning the years from his very early days to the present, onstage and off. The Barnes & Noble Exclusive Edition includes an additional 16 pages of photographs.

    Beastie Boys Book, by Michael Diamond and Adam Horovitz
    Mike D and ADROCK are joined by Amy Poehler, Colson Whitehead, Spike Jonze, Wes Anderson, Luc Sante, and many more friends and fans to tell the story of a deeply unlikely hip hop superstars. Over the course of three decades, the band members evolved from teenage punks to world class rappers under the tutelage of Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin, producing the first #1 hip hop record before evolving their style and breaking genre rules in later years. This isn’t just a band biography, though: alongside photos and illustrations, it also includes recipes, a graphic novel, maps, playlists, and much more.  It’s as wildly eclectic as the band itself, and the perfect gift for fans.

    Tony Bennett Onstage and in the Studio, by Tony Bennett, Dick Golden, Danny Bennett, and Michael Bublé
    The greatest of all time? Maybe. With a career spanning almost seven decades, Bennett somehow seems to keep getting cooler. He celebrates the entirety of his life in music in this lavish book, going into detail about his influences and experiences from his own point of view, as well as through the eyes of celebrated friends and colleagues. More than 140 images illustrate the book, including memorabilia, personal notes, album covers and artwork, and photographs of Tony at work. It’s the ultimate gift for a Bennett fan. (And who isn’t one?)

    My Love Story, by Tina Turner
    Suffering a health crisis after her 2013 wedding, Turner found herself with the time and inclination to reflect on her life so far. And it’s been some life: from a Tennessee childhood, to tours of St. Louis nightclubs as she got her feet wet as a performer, to her experiences during the turbulent ’60s, years during which she found mainstream success—and also found herself in a famously abusive relationship. Of course, that was only the beginning. Here, the rock icon tells, in her own words, the fascinating story of the tragedies and triumphs of her life and music career.

    Just Kids Illustrated Edition (Signed Book), by Patti Smith
    A chance encounter in 1967 set poet and singer Patti Smith and photographer Robert Mapplethorpe on a path that made them legends. At a critical time and place, the two developed their individual styles of art from the legendary, infamous Chelsea Hotel. This new edition of her already classic memoir includes new images from iconic photographer’s collection alongside a new introduction from Smith herself. Signed copies make for the ultimate gift.

    Thanks a Lot Mr Kibblewhite: My Story, by Roger Daltrey
    Roger Daltrey’s memoir is everything a Who fan could hope for. It’s the life story of Daltrey, sure, and it’s full of music, and mayhem, and more than a few trashed hotel rooms. As the founder and lead singer of one of the bands that defined rock ‘n’ roll in the ’60s, his stories are, like the era, nothing if not over the top. Fortunately, Daltrey is also a wry, witty, and patient observer of his own life and orbit, and as he takes us from an impoverished childhood during the Blitz to the Who’s inception and beyond, the singer proves as great at storytelling as he was at living through great stories.

    What’s on the gift list for your favorite music fan?

    The post 6 Musical Memoirs for Fans of All Stripes appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Ross Johnson 8:00 pm on 2018/10/01 Permalink
    Tags: Biography, ,   

    October’s Best Biographies and Memoirs 


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    The Big Fella: Babe Ruth and the World He Created, by Jane Leavy
    Everyone knows his name, but the specifics of the life and legacy of the 20th century’s biggest baseball star have begun to fade. This new biography comes just in time: Ruth almost singlehandedly invented celebrity culture, particularly with regard to athletes, and it’s impossible to understand much of our modern world without considering Ruth, and the very large life he lead. As a means of capturing the excitement and appeal that surrounded the complex figure, Leavy centers her book around the three-week barnstorming victory tour that Ruth undertook with Lou Gehrig in 1927.

    The Unstoppable Ruth Bader Ginsburg: American Icon, by Antonia Felix with Mimi Leder
    Our unlikeliest pop culture icon, Supreme Court Justice RBG’s face adorns T-shirts, coffee mugs, and even action figures. In celebration of her quarter-century on the Court, as well as of a forthcoming biopic, this pictorial overview covers the entirety of her life and career, from her youth, to her education, to her continuing judicial legacy. In addition to the pictures and illustrations, the book includes quotes, excerpts of speeches and opinions, and commentary.

    This Will Only Hurt a Little, by Busy Philipps
    Actress and Instagram star Phillips shares the deeply candid story of her life and career in a book that’s both deeply funny and straight-talking in its assessment of the challenges of making it in a sexist system (she recounts instances of on-set bullying and body shaming). As she does in her acting and in her social media, Phillips holds back nothing on the page, neither triumphs or stumbles.

    All the Way: Football, Fame, and Redemption, by Joe Namath with Don Yaeger
    Fifty years after Namath lead the New York Jets to a Super Bowl victory against the Baltimore Colts, the icon tells the story of his journey from small-town Pennsylvania kid to sports legend. Across half a century, Namath spent time at the height of celebrity, but also dealt with debilitating injuries that saw him addicted to painkillers and alcohol. Here, he reveals that the charmed life he appeared to lead masked real challenges.

    Reagan: An American Journey, by Bob Spitz
    One of the most fascinating people to have ever sat in the Oval Office, Ronald Reagan has remained an elusive figure, notoriously challenging biographers who have struggled to separate the human from the actor. Bob Spitz promises a post-partisan look at the beloved but divisive president, covering the entire scope of his life with information gathered from hundreds of interviews as well as newly available documents. He covers not just the success in politics, but also the impoverished and bookish upbringing that somehow paved the way for a career in Hollywood and beyond. Fully reckoning with Reagan’s strengths and weaknesses, Spitz’s book represents our most complete picture to date of a complicated figure.

    Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: A Sortabiography, by Eric Idle
    Next year marks a half-century since Monty Python first appeared on television, and this new autobiography from one of the leading lights of the surrealist comedy troupe seems a fitting way to kick off the celebration. In the ’60s, Eric Idle was at the forefront of Britain’s cultural revolution, rubbing shoulders with the Beatles and Bowie, before becoming a mainstream star through work on films like Life of Brian and, more recently, Broadway’s musical sensation Spamalot. It’s a fascinating and funny look behind the scenes of a fascinating life.

    Heavy: An American Memoir, by Kiese Laymon
    Essayist, novelist, and English professor Laymon describes his long road from a hard-headed, troubled youth in Mississippi, to world-class educator. It’s the story of his own life—and struggles with abuse, sexual violence, obesity, gambling, and anorexia—but it’s also about the nation writ large, and about the black experience in a country desperately determined to avoid reckoning with its past.

    Grant, by Ron Chernow
    Our view of Ulysses S. Grant is frequently framed around a well-meaning presidency marred by scandals that occurred on his watch but outside his view. He’s frequently characterized as either a failed businessman who chanced into the top job in the Union army, or as a brutal general. Pulitzer Prize-winner Ron Chernow, one of our most important popular historians, paints a fuller picture of Grant’s life, with ups and downs that make for great drama. His efforts to destroy the KKK and advocate for equal justice are among the many elements that make his story important even today.

    Leonardo da Vinci, by Walter Isaacson
    Writing biographies of geniuses Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, and Benjamin Franklin was just a warm-up for Walter Isaacson, who here takes on one of history’s most towering intellectual figures: the polymath Leonardo, whose talents combined art and science in a way that’s never quite been replicated in the centuries since he lived. Isaacson’s biography looks not just at Leonardo’s life, but also attempts to unravel the unique combination of talent and ambition that drove him.

    Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit, by Chris Matthews
    Following up on his JFK biography Jack Kennedy, MSNBC anchor Matthews turns his eye on younger brother Bobby, whose impact on the 1960s was almost as great. In Matthews’ extensively researched book, it becomes clear that Bobby had the potential to go even further than Jack; eschewing a career as a naval officer in favor of a joining on as a common sailor, Bobby developed skills that Matthews suggests led him to connect with voters from all walks of life. It’s a revealing portrait of a man who never really got a chance to show us all he was made of.

    Whose story inspires you?

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

     
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