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  • Joel Cunningham 1:00 pm on 2019/11/21 Permalink
    Tags: 1919: the year that changed america, , arthur size, , baron wenchkeim's homecoming, , , bnstorefront-history, great slate, lászló krasznahorkai, martin w. sandler, National Book Award, , , , ,   

    Announcing the Winners of the 2019 National Book Awards 

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    When the journalist and writer Sarah M. Broom decided to tell the story of her family—of the home her then-19-year-old mother bought in New Orleans East at the age of 19; the house where she raised twelve children, including Sarah; the house that was was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2006—in her searing memoir The Yellow House, she knew there was value in sharing their intimate, personal story with the world. She knew it was worth the risk.

    “My family understands, I think, the value of having these stories in a book,” she said. “I think they know that in a way this will outlast them and be something that the next generations can draw on to understand where they came from.”

    That pronouncement took on an air of prophecy last night, as Broom took home the 2019 National Book Award for Nonfiction, ensuring the already widely acclaimed work will find its way into the hands of many more readers. The Broom family’s story will live on.

    This fall, we’ve been following along with the 2019 National Book Awards, from the announcement of the fascinating longlists in September to last month’s unveiling of the formidable shortlists. At a ceremony last night in New York City, the awards were finally handed out in each of five categories—Young People’s Literature, Translated Literature, Poetry, Nonfiction, and Fiction. Taken together, the winners are a powerful collection of books, from authors whose work, from prose to poetry, feels utterly vital to the landscape of American letters in 2019.

    Here is the complete list of winners. Explore the other nominated works here.

    Winner for Fiction

    Trust Exercise, by Susan Choi
    An Indie Next pick named to 11 best book lists in 2018, Trust Exercise is set in the 1980s at a highly competitive suburban performing arts high school, Trust Exercise will incite heated discussions about fiction and truth, friendships and loyalties, and will leave readers with wiser understandings of the true capacities of adolescents and the powers and responsibilities of adults.


    Winner for Nonfiction

    The Yellow Houseby Sarah M. Broom
    A book of great ambition, Sarah M. Broom’s The Yellow House tells a hundred years of her family and their relationship to home in a neglected area of one of America’s most mythologized cities. This is the story of a mother’s struggle against a house’s entropy, and that of a prodigal daughter who left home only to reckon with the pull that home exerts, even after the Yellow House was wiped off the map after Hurricane Katrina. The Yellow House expands the map of New Orleans to include the stories of its lesser known natives, guided deftly by one of its native daughters, to demonstrate how enduring drives of clan, pride, and familial love resist and defy erasure. Located in the gap between the “Big Easy” of tourist guides and the New Orleans in which Broom was raised, The Yellow House is a brilliant memoir of place, class, race, the seeping rot of inequality, and the internalized shame that often follows.

    Winner for Poetry

    Sight Lines, by Arthur Sze
    From the current phenomenon of drawing calligraphy with water in public parks in China to Thomas Jefferson laying out dinosaur bones on the White House floor, from the last sighting of the axolotl to a man who stops building plutonium triggers, Sight Lines moves through space and time and brings the disparate and divergent into stunning and meaningful focus. In this new work, Arthur Sze employs a wide range of voices—from lichen on a ceiling to a man behind on his rent—and his mythic imagination continually evokes how humans are endangering the planet; yet, balancing rigor with passion, he seizes the significant and luminous and transforms these moments into riveting and enduring poetry.

    Winner for Translated Literature

    Baron Wenckheim’s Homecoming, by László Krasznahorkai, translated by Ottilie Mulzet
    Set in contemporary times, Baron Wenckheim’s Homecoming tells the story of a Prince Myshkin–like figure, Baron Béla Wenckheim, who returns at the end of his life to his provincial Hungarian hometown. Having escaped from his many casino debts in Buenos Aires, where he was living in exile, he longs to be reunited with his high-school sweetheart Marika. Confusions abound, and what follows is an endless storm of gossip, con men, and local politicians, vividly evoking the small town’s alternately drab and absurd existence. All along, the Professor—a world-famous natural scientist who studies mosses and inhabits a bizarre Zen-like shack in a desolate area outside of town—offers long rants and disquisitions on his attempts to immunize himself from thought. Spectacular actions are staged as death and the abyss loom over the unsuspecting townfolk.

    Winner for Young People’s Literature

    1919: The Year That Changed America, by Martin W. Sandler
    1919 was a momentous year, as Sandler documents in this fascinating overview of events ranging from Boston’s Great Molasses Flood, to laborers protesting working conditions, to women’s gaining the right to vote. Sandler breathes life into each event, gives it context, and examines its impact on modern day politics and culture; connections to immigration, the Black Lives Matter movement, and climate change will particularly resonate with young readers. A meticulous and breathtaking look at history’s influence on the present day.

    Congratulations to the winners! Explore all all of the nominees here.

    The post Announcing the Winners of the 2019 National Book Awards appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • BN Editors 1:00 pm on 2019/11/21 Permalink
    Tags: , after the flood, , , bnstorefront-history, , national book award for nonfiction, ,   

    Breaking the Frame: Sarah Broom Unearths Her Family’s Story in Her National Book Award-Winning Memoir The Yellow House 

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    Last night, journalist and author Sarah M. Broom took home the 2019 National Book Award for Nonfiction for her memoir The Yellow House, an emotional and revelatory chronicle of her family home in New Orleans, where her mother raised 12 children before it was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2006. In it, their story becomes a sort of biography of the city itself—a place that was flooded with problems, from racial division, to poverty, to government corruption, long before the waters rose.

    Below, we present a profile of the author and her book by Amy Gall, originally published in September 2019.

    For author Sarah Broom, the expression “home is where the heart is” works not just as a truism, but as an understatement. “I was haunted by the house I grew up in from the moment I left it to go to college in 1997. I’m interested in place and what it means to be tethered to place, and through the years, I kept taking notes on the physical house itself without knowing what I was going to say about it. And then in 2006 after Katrina hit and the house was demolished by the city, the story changed for me. Because rather than write about this physical place that I can cast my longing and interrogations on, there was no place. Then I was writing about absence and that process blew open a world for me.”

    That blown-open world would eventually become Broom’s stunning debut memoir The Yellow House. It tells the story of the shotgun home Broom’s mother bought in New Orleans East at the age of 19 and where she raised twelve children, Broom being the youngest, until the house was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

    In order to construct this meticulous narrative, Broom, who had spent much of her adult life running away from the city of her birth, moved back to New Orleans in 2011 and spent the year doing extensive interviews with her family. It was an act that was at times cathartic but also gave rise to its own difficulties when the resulting stories began to get published. “An excerpt from the book ran in The New Yorker in 2015 and the magazine is meticulous about fact checking, so they called my siblings to ask them if what they said was true and my siblings were like, ‘Sigh. Here she goes again.’ It’s very hard to be written about. My family understands, I think, the value of having these stories in a book and I think they know that in a way this will outlast them and be something that the next generations can draw on to understand where they came from. But in the moment, that’s not the thing you’re thinking about when you’re feeling exposed and vulnerable.”

    The true power of The Yellow House emerges in the way Broom takes these highly personal stories and stitches them into a larger narrative about New Orleans itself, a city that has been plagued by racism, capitalist greed, and government corruption since long before Hurricane Katrina brought all of these issues to the nation’s attention. “I spent a lot of time thinking about the dysfunction of New Orleans. In a way, it made me feel closer to the city, like I was claiming it in the way that Joan Didion writes about making a place your own. But then I was also turning it on its back and looking at its soft underbelly and saying, what kind of place is this that made me and noticing that there are some icky things under there. But those icky things were part of what it means to tell a full story. The whole section about the French Quarter, for instance, is a game of taking what people know about New Orleans and saying, ‘How do I exploit that knowledge and push it to the edge of itself? How do I go into the myths of America like: it’s a meritocracy, and, if you buy a house it will lead you to wealth, and then blow them up?’ ”

    Broom got her start in journalism, earning her degree from the University of California, Berkeley, where she worked with Cynthia Gorney, “an old school journalist from the Washington Post.” The investigative rigor Broom honed there fed a project that wound up expanding outside the limits of a typical memoir. “I was trying to make something a little beyond the frame, because it was personal but that was just one layer, and even the personal was a lot of investigative reporting. If my uncle said to me, ‘In 1920 we were living on Saint Joseph Street by the rice mill,’ I wouldn’t just write, ‘Uncle Joe said they lived on Saint Joseph Street.’ I’d find the name of the rice mill, figure out where the train tracks were, figure out from census records how long they were there, and then construct a story from that fact. I used the thing he said to build a kind of world, and that’s an extra layer of journalistic work. I spent a lot of time in public libraries, cemetery libraries, driving to Raceland where my father is from. I basically lived on the fifth floor, which is called the Louisiana Division, of the main library in New Orleans and the University of New Orleans archive. But there needed to be all these layers of investigation because the book for me was like a concentric circle, just expanding and getting broader and broader.”

    Broom took particular pains to illustrate how inadequate healthcare, access to education and employment and “environmental racism” trap black families like hers in cycles of poverty and violence. She uses those broader themes to return powerfully to the memories of childhood shame she carried, growing up in a home that, even before Katrina, had fallen into a state of disrepair. “There was a moment in the book where I say something about how I learned to define myself by the place I’m from and the trick in the work of shame I think, is rather than allow you the clarity of mind to say, what the fuck is wrong with this system? What the fuck is wrong with this world? You take it on as yours. Now, as a thinking, interrogative person, that shame feels ridiculous to me.”

    Sometimes the heaviness of the work would stop Broom in her tracks, but inspiration could also come from unexpected places. “It was very hard, because you’re sucked into this world. For a long time I didn’t talk to my siblings in real life, because I was writing them and I was listening to them and it was just a lot, all their stories and their fears and ideas. At some point I was going so insane with this story and it seemed too unwieldy and I couldn’t gather it together and I remember standing up in my office, and going to the wall where I would do charcoal drawings every morning as a kind of exercise and just writing ‘Show Up’ and underneath that ‘Stay.’ And that became the thing that I did. I didn’t overthink it and say ‘This is so hard.’ I just showed up and stayed.”

    After spending so much time documenting the loss of her childhood house, one might expect that Broom would be hesitant about owning a home, especially in New Orleans. But an unexpected discovery piqued the author’s interest. “When my book went into production, my friend sent me a listing for this little yellow shotgun house. I never wanted a yellow house. I was not a person trying to replace my childhood home. But it was the cutest little house and I became obsessed with it. The house is only about 650 square feet, so I can’t really host big gatherings there. Only about four people can fit in there at once. But buying it was a moment where I was just thinking about myself and my own needs. And when you’re from a large family, that doesn’t happen that often. So, the house is special for me in that way.”

    This new yellow house has a history just as interesting as its predecessor, and may even inspire her next book. “The house is supposedly from 1811 and was originally owned by a free woman of color. I’d like to write about it someday. Who knows? The rest of my life might just be looking up addresses and saying what’s the history of this place?”

    The Yellow House is available now. Explore all the winners of the 2019 National Book Awards here.

    The post Breaking the Frame: Sarah Broom Unearths Her Family’s Story in Her National Book Award-Winning Memoir <i>The Yellow House</i> appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Jeff Somers 2:00 pm on 2019/11/01 Permalink
    Tags: , bnstorefront-history, , current affair, , rachel maddow, , then and now,   

    This Season’s Best History & Current Events Books 

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    As 2019 winds down, it’s a perfect time to reflect on the past—both the events of a momentous year and the more distant history that brought us to where we are today.  The best history and current events books of this season come to us from journalists like Rachel Maddow, Gail Collins, and Ronan Farrow, and historians like Amity Shlaes and S. C. Gwynne, all of them exploring the events that have and will define our lives.

    Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth, by Rachel Maddow
    Firebrand journalist Rachel Maddow’s latest argues that the primary corrupting influence disrupting our world today—responsible for eroding democratic norms and making things worse for just about everybody—is the oil and natural gas industry. On one hand, she makes a case that the obscene amounts of money generated by these parts of the energy sector make it easy for corporate interests to pervert good governance for their own short-term interests. On the other, she takes a deep dive into the affairs of modern-day Russia, arguing that Vladimir Putin seized control of his country’s oil and gas industry and made it (and its profits) a tool of his domestic and international policies, while simultaneously running it into the ground. It’s an incendiary take on global politics that might change the way you look at the world.

    Deep State: Trump, the FBI, and the Rule of Law, by James B. Stewart
    James B. Stewart analyzes the ongoing collateral damage ensuing from the back-and-forth between the Trump administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, beginning with the simultaneous investigations of both the Trump and Clinton campaigns that dangerously politicized the work of the country’s main investigative body—a situation that only grew more fraught after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. The result of these power struggles will redefine what the term “rule of law” means in a country where the concept is foundational; Stewart makes the case that whatever the result of these conflicts, the chief loser will be American democracy.

    Great Society: A New History, by Amity Shlaes
    Amity Shlaes makes the forceful argument that decisions made fifty years ago under the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations seeking to ameliorate the suffering of the poor have now made it nearly impossible to solve the very problems they were designed to address. The book takes a contrarian view of the Johnson and Nixon administrations, arguing that they were more similar in process than is usually accepted, and that together they doomed both the ambitious agenda of the Great Society and the administration of the Vietnam War. She suggests the spending commitments of the Great Society have not only trapped multiple generations into what she terms “government dependence,” but also now made it impossible for the government to reverse course in any meaningful way to address the issue. It’s a sobering work that reminds us that, in government, there are no easy fixes.

    Hymns of the Republic: The Story of the Final Year of the American Civil War, by S. C. Gwynne
    The Civil War remains a fascinating area of study, not least because of the contrary nature of the narrative—for long stretches, the worth of each costly skirmish was inconclusive at best, as both sides spent blood and treasure in battles that had little impact on the overall course of the conflict. That all changed in 1864 when Ulysses S. Grant was placed in charge of the federal forces; within a year, the Confederacy surrendered. Gwynne takes a detailed look at this final year of the war to discover what changed, highlighting Grant’s relative ineffectiveness as a field commander, a Robert E. Lee defined more by frustration than brilliance, and a Sherman who was simultaneously a poor general and a brilliant man. There’s still more to discover about this defining American conflict.

    Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators, by Ronan Farrow
    Ronan Farrow delivers a book fated to inspire future generations of journalists. While working on a related story, Farrow and his producer stumble on clues that indicate a well-known, powerful Hollywood figure is a serial sexual predator. The ensuing investigation reads like a spy thriller, as Farrow—who doesn’t lack connections and resources—faces a growing army of operatives working to derail the story and intimidate him by any means necessary. Even as Farrow is followed, surveilled, and threatened, the story remains as much about the women who sparked a global movement as it is about careful journalism.

    No Stopping Us Now: The Adventures of Older Women in American History, by Gail Collins
    The perception of age is shifting in today’s society, especially for women, who have historically struggled against prevalent ageism. Gail Collins’s latest offers a clear look back at the contributions made by women over a certain age throughout history, from Martha Washington to Muriel Fox—fascinating tales of overcoming prejudice and other obstacles while simultaneously fighting against the idea that women have a “sell-by” date that renders them voiceless, sexless, and invisible. With deep-dive analysis broken up by briefer vignettes, Collins reveals surprising facts uncovered in her research (for example, doctors once thought sexual activity would literally kill women over the age of 50) while establishing that woman have always been more than capable of handling themselves at any age.

    Sam Houston and the Alamo Avengers: The Texas Victory That Changed American History, by Brian Kilmeade
    The conflict that made Sam Houston, David Crockett, and Jim Bowie household names was a pivotal moment for both Texas and the United States. But General Houston, the hero of Texas independence and its president, is often overlooked in popular history, despite his influence on this momentous event. Kilmeade seeks to remedy that with a fast-paced account of Houston’s life and career, culminating in the Battle of San Jacinto, the Texan victory that secured its independence from Mexico and ultimately set it on the path to statehood. Kilmeade brings Houston to life as a bold, flawed hero living in the midst of incredible events and surrounded by personalities large enough to match his own.

    The Second Founding: How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution, by Eric Foner
    Pulitzer Prize winner Eric Foner takes a deep dive into the lasting repercussions of the Civil War, most notably the so-call Reconstruction Amendments—the 13th, 14th, and 15th—and their enduring impact on our constitution and system of government. Foner notes that these amendments marked the first time equality was specifically extended to all Americans, and challenged tradition by charging the federal government with enforcement of the rule of law they established, rather than the states. Foner sees this change as ushering in a second iteration of the United States—one that floundered almost immediately, but which he sees as still viable; certainly the book is shot-through with optimism, and the belief that America still has a chance to become a country in which all citizens are truly equal.

    Three Days at the Brink: FDR’s Daring Gamble to Win World War II, by Bret Baier with Catherine Whitney
    Co-writers Bret Baier and Catharine Whitney combines a perceptive portrait of President Franklin D. Roosevelt with a thriller-esque depiction of the fateful meeting between FDR, Stalin, and Churchill in Tehran in 1943. It was at this meeting that Stalin argued for an invasion of Nazi-held Europe to ease the pressure on the Red Army, a plan that eventually culminated in the D-Day invasion of June 6, 1944. Baier details how Roosevelt worked to befriend and “seduce” Stalin, then took lead on the strategy and decision-making when it came time to plan the massive undertaking. Baier isn’t uncritical of the 32nd president, suggesting several decisions in which even the charismatic and brilliant Roosevelt turned out to have been in the wrong. Writing with verve, Baier and Whitney make consequential history come alive.

    What history and current affairs books are you reading this season?

    The post This Season’s Best History & Current Events Books appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Ross Johnson 2:00 pm on 2019/10/30 Permalink
    Tags: , bnstorefront-history, edward snowden, , life itself, , permanent record, , ,   

    The Best Biographies & Memoirs of the Season 

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    It has been an amazing season for new biographies and memoirs, packed with illuminating and entertaining deep dives into fascinating figures of the past and present. These are our picks for the best of the season, all available now.

    Know My Name, by Chanel Miller
    Within four days of its release, the victim impact statement of a woman only known as Emily Doe had been seen by over eleven million people before being read on the floor of Congress, ultimately inspiring changes to California law. The reaction to her statement, which described her sexual assault by Stanford student Brock Turner, was global. The fact that Turner received only six months in a county jail for his crime shocked and outraged many, but also sparked a movement, as Emily Doe’s statement inspiring others to come forward. Having revealed her real name this summer, Chanel Miller tells her horrific and heartrending story, but also offers a sense of the hope that her decision to speak the truth will do something to help change the systems that so often fail victims. It’s a powerful message for our times.

    Me, by Elton John
    It’s  hard to believe Sir Elton has never produced an autobiography until now. With a career that spans more than a half century, the one-time Reginald Dwight has plenty of stories to tell—some relating to the excesses and pitfalls that have plagued so many rockers, many others having to do with his run-ins with some of the most significant figures of our time, including Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth. The suburban kid from Pinner grew up to be one of the most shocking and outrageous figures in glam rock, and soared to the heights of respectability as an icon, and also a father. This is the story of a living legend, told in his own words.

    Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years, by Julie Andrews with Emma Walton Hamilton
    Her first memoir, Home, chronicled Julie Andrews’ difficult childhood and emergence as a singer and stage performer, while this follow-up discusses her Hollywood career from its earliest days and offers insights into her biggest successes in her own words. Co-writing with her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, Andrews not only dives into the stories behind roles in films like Mary PoppinsThe Sound of Music, and Victor/Victoria, but deals with her own transition into worldwide superstardom, and the effect it had on her marriages and children. For an accounting of Andrews’ earlier years, you’ll want to read Home Work alongside her previous book Home: A Memoir of my Early Years.

    Edison, by Edmund Morris
    He was once a defining figure in America’s own self-mythology, but there was certainly much more to prolific inventor Thomas Edison than the lightbulb. With seven years of of research and access to millions of documents, many of them unavailable until now, Edmund Morris confronts Edison in full: the whirlwind of inventor and capitalist whose technology touched every aspect of American life, as well as the autocratic leader and neglectful husband. Morris’ approach is to look for the human beneath the myth; he even spends some time exploring Edison’s notorious, but overstated, competition with Nikola Tesla. Most, if you’ll pardon the pun, enlightening.

    The Beautiful Ones, by Prince
    Another equally significant, but very different musical visionary has a new memoir out this month, this one a bit more poignant. The autobiography begun prior to Prince’s death in 2016 is the first-person account of a Minnesota kid who created some of the most visionary pop and funk ever recorded, cultivating a mystique very different from what his upbringing would have suggested. Prince’s own recollections of his childhood and early growth as an artist make up the first part of the book, while writing and candid photographs fill in the major events from the rest of his storied career. Finally, the Artist’s own handwritten treatment for “Purple Rain” is included in its entirety. Though sadly truncated, this is an essential portrait of The Artist: Prince sought to retell his own story as a mythic and funky adventure, and succeeded. (We’ve curated a soundtrack to accompany your reading here.)

    Permanent Record, by Edward Snowden
    One of the most controversial and, ultimately, consequential figures of our time, Edward Snowden’s life and career speaks to all the ways in which we’re not fully prepared for the surveillance age. In 2013, CIA contractor Snowden leaked word of an NSA surveillance program that he’d helped to build—a program to collect data on every cell phone call, text, and email in a way that would impact almost everyone on the planet. It was one of the most consequential acts of whistleblowing in American history. He’s seen as a hero by some, and a traitor by others, and now, six years later, the exile—complex, revered, vilified—tells his side of the story.

    Acid for the Children, by Flea with Patti Smith
    Red Hot Chili Peppers co-founder and bassist Michael Balzary is a rock icon, but he’s also an actor and a philanthropist with an impressive set of credentials for an Australian kid who weathered a turbulent, sometimes violent upbringing that saw him bouncing from Melbourne, to New York, to Los Angeles before he’d even exited his teens. He idolized classic-era jazz musicians before a high school encounter with Anthony Kiedis set him on a path to rock superstardom. His witty and unpredictable memoir brings to life the LA of the ’70s and ’80s, offering a revealing portrait of a raucous life.

    Finding Chika: A Little Girl, an Earthquake, and the Making of a Familyby Mitch Albom
    Returning to nonfiction for the first time this decade, the always inspiring Mitch Albom tells the story of the daughter, Chika, adopted by the author and his wife Janine, and the improbable and sometimes tragic circumstances that brought them all together. Born during the 2010 earthquake that ravaged Haiti and orphaned shortly thereafter when her mother died due to complications of childbirth, Chika was brought to the Port Au Prince orphanage run by Albom, where they found each other. Though in many ways a story forged out of heartbreak, Albom’s book is ultimately a celebration of the ways in which families come together in good times and bad, and the enduring bonds that survive everything life can throw at us.

    Whose story inspires you?

    The post The Best Biographies & Memoirs of the Season appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Ross Johnson 6:00 pm on 2019/06/28 Permalink
    Tags: , , bnstorefront-history, common, , , life's a beach read, , ,   

    This Summer’s Essential Biographies & Memoirs 

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    Biographies are great for the beach, are we’re declaring these 10 recent bios and memoirs as summer essentials. Some are serious, some are a little silly, but they’re all revelatory stories of some of intriguing and inspiring individuals.

    Educated, by Tara Westover
    A well-written memoir can make a mundane life fascinating, but Tara Westover’s life was anything but mundane, and she tells her own story with gripping, clear-eyed ferocity. Raised in the rural Idaho mountains by a family of fundamentalist Mormon survivalists, Westover never went to school until she turned 17, and lived out her days preparing for the worst:helping her fathersalvage scrap to sell, canning food with her mother to get them through the looming apocalypse, packing and repacking her bag of emergency supplies. She never saw a doctor, despite some serious injuries, including violence inflicted upon her by a sibling. Another brother did make it out, however, and came back to the mountain one day with tales of college, and a better life. Determined to follow in his footsteps, Westover taught herself enough math and science to gain admittance to Brigham University, where her life changed forever. This is the fascinating story of the strange ties that bind a family together, and the strength it takes to sever them and strike out on your own.

    Becoming, by Michelle Obama
    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 as she constructs a life for herself outside of the pressures and responsibilities politics. This memoir was one of 2018’s year’s biggest books before it even went on sale, and it deserves every one of those six-plus million copies sold.

    Howard Stern Comes Again, by Howard Stern
    At some point, the king of shock jocks became true radio royalty with a career spanning over four decades and success across multiple mediums. His first book became a hit movie, and his second was also a bestseller—but that was over 20 years ago, and much has changed in the life of Howard Stern since, from his departure from terrestrial radio, to his mega-bucks deal with SiriusXM, to shakeups in his personal life and a reality TV gig that won him fans among people who might not show up for his radio work. There’s no doubt that he has plenty of new stories to tell in his latest, told through the prism of some of his favorite and most revealing celebrity interviews, transcribed with new commentary.

    Lake of the Ozarks: My Surreal Summers in a Vanishing America, by Bill Geist
    Author and recently retired CBS News correspondent Bill Geist was popular for over three decades for his lighthearted, wonderfully corny human interest segments covering some of the weirder corners of American life. In his latest, the baby boomer looks back to his own childhood in the midcentury American midwest. Specifically, he revisits that middle-class summer vacation hot spot, Lake of the Ozarks, and the eccentric personalities he met there who influenced his life and career. It’s a charming, often very funny portrait of a bygone era.

    Let Love Have the Last Word, by Common
    Common has won Grammy Awards and Academy Awards, sold millions of albums and carved out a serious acting career, and he’s done so without a hint of controversy or scandal, a rare achievement in this day and age. Here he offers an uplifting and practical message for everyone: put simply, the title says it all. He argues that how you love is just as important as who and what you love. Covering topics as deeply personal as his relationship with his daughter to those as deeply spiritual as his relationship with God, Common uses his own experience as a guide to navigating a world increasingly rent with political and cultural divisions, and as a challenge to everyone to do better and to be better.

    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 contributed to an addiction 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, ultimately, redemption.

    Life Will Be the Death of Me. . . and you too!, by Chelsea Handler
    Part confessional, part journey of self-discovery, Handler’s latest memoir describes a year in her life. Following the tumult of the 2016 presidential election, the comedian, writer, and television host made a commitment to confront her past and look her choices square in the face, embarking on a year of change, growth, and self-sufficiency through therapy, political activism, and picking up her own dog’s poo. It’s a funny and insightful journey, offering a roadmap to those of us looking to keep a smile on our faces as we chart new paths in life.

    Forever and Ever, Amen: A Memoir of Music, Faith, and Braving the Storms of Life, by Randy Travis with Ken Abraham
    For the first time, the country and gospel superstar tells his own story. From a Nashville club singer, Travis had his first smash hit at only 27, inaugurating a new style of country that blends traditional style with pop elements. Over the following quarter-century, he went from hit record to hit record, with TV and movie roles coming in as well. Then, in 2009, his marriage and finances fell apart, leading to his increasing dependence on alcohol and an eventual arrest. On the road to putting his life back together, he suffered a near-fatal stroke. This confessional autobiography far more than the tale of his success—it’s a journey down the bumpy road of stardom.

    Dutch Girl: Audrey Hepburn and World War II, by Robert Matzen with Luca Dotti
    There’s something missing in our cultural understanding of Audrey Hepburn, one of the 20th century’s preeminent style icons. The meteoric rise that followed her award-winning performance in Roman Holiday made it seem as though she arrived fully formed to take the movie landscape by storm. But, of course, that’s never really the case, and particularly so in Hepburn’s. Via documents only recently made available, new interviews, and access to the actress’s own diaries, Matzen explores her formative years during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. In spite of the (initially) pro-Nazi views of her parents, Audrey participated in the Dutch Resistance as a doctor’s assistant during the brutal war that, according to her son, made her who she came to be.

    My Dad, Yogi: A Memoir of Family and Baseball, by Dale Berra with Mark Ribowsky
    Baseball fan or otherwise, most everyone knows the name Yogi Berra—his mastery of the game as a New York Yankee and his management of a championship Mets team made him a sports icon, but his personality and… unique speaking style, peppered with his signature Yogi-isms, made him a household name. But no one knew the real Yogi like his family, and here, his son Dale tells his own story of life with the American giant. Dale was blessed with a unique view of baseball and its great platers from an early age, and eventually followed in his father’s footsteps before a drug scandal put an end to his career. Through it all, Yogi supported his son and stayed close to him, and in this new memoir, Dale offers a one-of-a-kind perspective on the baseball great.

    Whose life stories inspire you?

    The post This Summer’s Essential Biographies & Memoirs appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

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