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  • Sarah Skilton 4:00 pm on 2017/09/18 Permalink
    Tags: , Memoirs,   

    6 Funny, Awkward Memoirs By Funny, Awkward Women 

    The last ten years have seen a surge of funny lady memoirs. When you want the literary equivalent of drinking wine with an old friend—the one who’s always finding herself in awkward situations and turning them into hilarious anecdotes—Tina and Amy (and Amy) are there for you. Inspired by those queens of comedy, we’ve compiled a list of other snort-inducing books guaranteed to keep you cringing, laughing, nodding your head in recognition, and reaching for another glass.

    The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, by Issa Rae
    After producing an award-winning web series, but prior to launching her successful HBO show Insecure (now in its second season), Rae published a collection of clever and entertaining essays about her inability to act, feel, or be cool. This inability bothered her, because society told her coolness is supposedly intrinsic to black people. As a guide for fellow Awks, she covers race and relationships, her introverted style, her parents’ divorce, and how to deflect unsolicited questions and opinions.

    You’ll Grow Out of It, by Jessi Klein
    As a tomboy who, despite the title, has never actually “grown out of it,” Klein’s highly relatable memoir analyzes the modern trappings of femininity, from the cult of bathing to the difficulty in finding women-friendly porn to the pressure placed on pregnant women to endure “natural births.” Her discovery of standup comedy as a refuge, passion, and calling takes her far in life. From SNL to Inside Amy Schumer (for which she won an Emmy as Head Writer), Klein never loses sight of what it means to be a woman today, whether you’re a poodle or a wolf.

    Shockaholic, by Carrie Fisher
    Prior to her death last December, the iconic actress authored four novels, three memoirs, and a one-woman stage show, all at least partially drawn from events in her (relentlessly surreal) existence in a galaxy close to home. (“I wish I could—and armed with that explanation, somehow excuse—the seemingly unending, ongoing…pathetic fixation I have with my feelings.”) You might think the topics of drug use and mental illness would feel heavy to read about, but Fisher never once lost her sense of humor about what life threw at her. Shockaholic is in some ways a love letter to her notoriously unreliable father, Eddie; a detailed family history (splayed out in the tabloids when Fisher was a child); and a depiction of the memory-erasing side effects of electroshock therapy.

    The Broke Diaries, by Angela Nissel
    As a broke student in the late ’90s at the University of Pennsylvania, Nissel and her friends used their creativity and smarts to find ways around their financial troubles, such as posing as teaching assistants on the phone and ordering free copies of the “Educator’s Edition” of expensive textbooks. She occasionally went on dates with crazy dudes for the free food. Now a TV writer (past credits include Scrubs, upcoming ones include Tyler the Creator’s The Jellies, for Adult Swim), her story has a happy ending, but when she wrote the book, her future was up in the air. A very funny storyteller with a compelling, wry, down to earth tone, she’ll have you rooting for her every broke step of the way.

    I Don’t Know What You Know Me From: Confessions of a Co-Star, by Judy Greer
    As the ultimate character actress (see: Arrested DevelopmentArcher, etc.), Greer has an extensive list of credits. Known mainly for her comedy chops, she’s just as adept at drama (see: The Descendants). If you’ve ever wondered about the charming woman perpetually cast as “the quirky guest star,” “the awkward/sexy weirdo,” or “the lead actor’s best friend,” you’re in for a treat with this memoir. Growing up in Detroit as an only child, Greer maintains both an insider and outsider’s view of Hollywood, which she happily invites readers to share.

    Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)by Mindy Kaling
    A self-deprecating writer and comedian (she refers to herself as “a vain flake” and “a timid chubster afraid of her bike” who’s perplexed by hookup culture) Kaling’s conversational tone and hilarious point of view over modern life, including life as a woman and a minority, will keep you smiling from start to finish. This memoir, and her newest one (Why Not Me?) prove beyond a doubt that anyone who has the option of hanging out with Mindy (jelly!) would never dream of leaving her behind.

    The post 6 Funny, Awkward Memoirs By Funny, Awkward Women appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Sarah Skilton 4:00 pm on 2017/09/18 Permalink
    Tags: , Memoirs,   

    6 Funny, Awkward Memoirs By Funny, Awkward Women 

    The last ten years have seen a surge of funny lady memoirs. When you want the literary equivalent of drinking wine with an old friend—the one who’s always finding herself in awkward situations and turning them into hilarious anecdotes—Tina and Amy (and Amy) are there for you. Inspired by those queens of comedy, we’ve compiled a list of other snort-inducing books guaranteed to keep you cringing, laughing, nodding your head in recognition, and reaching for another glass.

    The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, by Issa Rae
    After producing an award-winning web series, but prior to launching her successful HBO show Insecure (now in its second season), Rae published a collection of clever and entertaining essays about her inability to act, feel, or be cool. This inability bothered her, because society told her coolness is supposedly intrinsic to black people. As a guide for fellow Awks, she covers race and relationships, her introverted style, her parents’ divorce, and how to deflect unsolicited questions and opinions.

    You’ll Grow Out of It, by Jessi Klein
    As a tomboy who, despite the title, has never actually “grown out of it,” Klein’s highly relatable memoir analyzes the modern trappings of femininity, from the cult of bathing to the difficulty in finding women-friendly porn to the pressure placed on pregnant women to endure “natural births.” Her discovery of standup comedy as a refuge, passion, and calling takes her far in life. From SNL to Inside Amy Schumer (for which she won an Emmy as Head Writer), Klein never loses sight of what it means to be a woman today, whether you’re a poodle or a wolf.

    Shockaholic, by Carrie Fisher
    Prior to her death last December, the iconic actress authored four novels, three memoirs, and a one-woman stage show, all at least partially drawn from events in her (relentlessly surreal) existence in a galaxy close to home. (“I wish I could—and armed with that explanation, somehow excuse—the seemingly unending, ongoing…pathetic fixation I have with my feelings.”) You might think the topics of drug use and mental illness would feel heavy to read about, but Fisher never once lost her sense of humor about what life threw at her. Shockaholic is in some ways a love letter to her notoriously unreliable father, Eddie; a detailed family history (splayed out in the tabloids when Fisher was a child); and a depiction of the memory-erasing side effects of electroshock therapy.

    The Broke Diaries, by Angela Nissel
    As a broke student in the late ’90s at the University of Pennsylvania, Nissel and her friends used their creativity and smarts to find ways around their financial troubles, such as posing as teaching assistants on the phone and ordering free copies of the “Educator’s Edition” of expensive textbooks. She occasionally went on dates with crazy dudes for the free food. Now a TV writer (past credits include Scrubs, upcoming ones include Tyler the Creator’s The Jellies, for Adult Swim), her story has a happy ending, but when she wrote the book, her future was up in the air. A very funny storyteller with a compelling, wry, down to earth tone, she’ll have you rooting for her every broke step of the way.

    I Don’t Know What You Know Me From: Confessions of a Co-Star, by Judy Greer
    As the ultimate character actress (see: Arrested DevelopmentArcher, etc.), Greer has an extensive list of credits. Known mainly for her comedy chops, she’s just as adept at drama (see: The Descendants). If you’ve ever wondered about the charming woman perpetually cast as “the quirky guest star,” “the awkward/sexy weirdo,” or “the lead actor’s best friend,” you’re in for a treat with this memoir. Growing up in Detroit as an only child, Greer maintains both an insider and outsider’s view of Hollywood, which she happily invites readers to share.

    Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)by Mindy Kaling
    A self-deprecating writer and comedian (she refers to herself as “a vain flake” and “a timid chubster afraid of her bike” who’s perplexed by hookup culture) Kaling’s conversational tone and hilarious point of view over modern life, including life as a woman and a minority, will keep you smiling from start to finish. This memoir, and her newest one (Why Not Me?) prove beyond a doubt that anyone who has the option of hanging out with Mindy (jelly!) would never dream of leaving her behind.

    The post 6 Funny, Awkward Memoirs By Funny, Awkward Women appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Ross Johnson 9:30 pm on 2017/07/31 Permalink
    Tags: , , Memoirs,   

    August’s Best New Biographies and Memoirs 

    It’s Not Yet Dark, by Simon Fitzmaurice
    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 hope, but nevertheless chose to take extraordinary measures to stay alive. In the years since, he’s fathered twins and continued to work as a documentarian. 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.

    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. He 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 triumphant story 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.

    Hail to the Chin: Further Confessions of a B Movie Actor, by Bruce Campbell, Craig Sanborn, and John Hodgman
    Over a long and varied career, Bruce Campbell has somehow managed to craft an A-list career out of a variety of B-movie credits, largely by willing to have a laugh at his own expense. It’s been 15 years since his last memoir, and the intervening decade-and-a-half has seen him take on roles in some of the biggest blockbusters of the era (Spider-Man, for example) and develop an enviable social media presence. The new book promises plenty of pictures alongside Bruce’s trademark self-deprecating humor.

    The Bettencourt Affair: The World’s Richest Woman and the Scandal That Rocked Paris, by Tom Sancton
    Though little discussed in the United States, there’s no juicier story than that of the later years of Liliane Bettencourt. Currently 94, the L’Oréal heiress is literally the richest woman in the world, and has been all over the French news for more than a decade. She became the benefactor to a photographer to the tune of well over a billion dollars, leading to an estrangement with her children. The ensuing scandal has allegedly involved secret tapes, Swiss bank accounts, and envelopes full of cash handed off to France’s highest-profile politicians. It’s a family drama at its heart, but that means something a bit different when the family’s worth $40 billion.

    Across That Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America, by John Lewis
    There are few Americans with a more impressive lives and careers than Congressman John Lewis. In this memoir, Lewis discusses his experiences during the Civil Rights Movement as a means of offering guidance to anyone who wants to change the world, or even just to live to a higher standard. Now in paperback, the award-winning book includes a new introduction that brings his story up to date and into our present political moment.

    Stronger, by Jeff Bauman with Bret Witter
    In 2013, Jeff Bauman became the face of the Boston Marathon bombing when pictures of him in a wheelchair went around the world. Bauman was not only at the center of the explosion of the first bomb, he also got a look at the bomber, and set off a manhunt when he awoke in the hospital to tell what he saw. Bauman’s memoir tells of the investigation and of his experiences that day as it follows the journey of his rehabilitation. Bauman will be played by Jake Gyllenhaal in the forthcoming movie based on the book.

    Stanton: Lincoln’s War Secretary, by Walter Stahr
    Digging deeply into still-relevant American history, Stahr takes on the life of Edwin Stanton, the Secretary of War under Lincoln during the American Civil War. He was a prickly, complicated figure who was nevertheless seen by Lincoln as entirely indispensable in managing resources, movements, and soldiers. The secretary was often seen as ruthless in his treatment of those resistant to the idea of war, but was also lauded for his genius as he took the reins of government, briefly, during the crisis around Lincoln’s assassination. Stahr’s previous work was an award-winning biography of Lincoln’s Secretary of State, William Henry Seward, so we’re looking forward to this new consideration of a major figure of the era.

    Shooting Ghosts: A U.S. Marine, a Combat Photographer, and Their Journey Back from War, by Thomas J. Brennan and Finbarr O’Reilly
    This dual memoir is a story of war, to a point, but it’s largely a story of aftermath and recovery. Brennan, a U.S. Marine, and Finbarr, a conflict photographer, became friends during their shared experiences in the field, and returned home together when Brennan was injured by a Taliban ambush in Afghanistan. The alternating narrative tells of the horrors of war, and also of the challenges faced when returning home. Both of the men remain haunted by the things that they saw and did, but also have learned to find a measure of peace in their friendship.

    Whose story are you most looking forward to?

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

     
  • Jeff Somers 4:22 pm on 2017/04/03 Permalink
    Tags: , Memoirs, , ,   

    Celebrate Opening Day with 10 Great Baseball Books 

    Once again Opening Day is upon us, so it’s time to oil up that glove, gloat over your baseball card collection, and remember why you keep coming back to baseball even though it’s a game of suffering. Despite being born in the 19th century and enduring the ongoing rule-tinkering of its overlords, baseball remains the country’s favorite warm-weather sport. Unrushed, almost languid, and balletic in execution, just watching a game recalls childhood summer days spent roasting in the sun, while you stood in center field shagging fly balls. To help you get into the right mood, here are 10 baseball books that will remind you what keeps us coming back to the diamond each spring.

    My Cubs: A Love Story, by Scott Simon
    First the Red Sox, now the Cubbies: Baseball’s most time-honored losing streaks are crumbling. NPR host Scott Simon is a lifelong Cubs fan, and his excitement over the Cubs winning the 2016 World Series buzzes on every page of this book chronicling Cubs history, reciting the best Cubs stories, and recounting how much influence his love of the team and the game through all those lean years had on his life. His affectionate description of a team of “lovable losers” will make just about everyone a Cubs fan for a little while (unless you’re a White Sox fan).

    The Mental Game of Baseball, by H.A. Dorfman and Karl Kuehl
    More than any other sport, baseball is a mental game. With its lengthy pauses and irregular rhythms, it’s easy for players to get into their own heads and over- or under-think the game. Dorfman and Kuehl understand this aspect of a sport that often requires fewer lightning-fast reflexes and more strategic thinking, offering up theories backed by real-life examples of how any player at any level can raise their performance level through a better understanding of the game. Whether you’re a fan, a pro player, or a kid trying out for Little League, this book will improve your game.

    Lou: Fifty Years of Kicking Dirt, Playing Hard, and Winning Big in the Sweet Spot of Baseball, by Lou Piniella and Bill Madden
    Any fan of baseball knows Lou Piniella. As a player and manager, Sweet Lou has been a fixture of the game for more than five decades, a man known for his often undiplomatic passion for the sport. In this fascinating memoir, Piniella not only gives us the skinny on his playing and managing experiences, he also offers incredible insight into the ways the game has changed in his lifetime. As you might expect, Lou doesn’t hold back or mince his words, and baseball fans will love every page.

    Ballplayer, by Chipper Jones and Carroll R. Walton
    Larry Wayne “Chipper” Jones is one of the greatest hitters of the modern age, and the rare superstar who spent his entire career with a single team. The 1999 MVP and 2008 batting champion discusses his life in this absorbing memoir, from being a top prospect in high school with dozens of scouts following his every game to the 1995 World Series and every post-season appearance thereafter. Jones is brutally honest about his game, his personal life, and his failings—and his peers, many of whom have been tainted by association with performance-enhancing drugs.

    Papi: My Story, by David Ortiz and Michael Holley
    Few sluggers end their career at their prime the way David Ortiz did, retiring from the game after a season in which he drove in a league-leading 127 runs and smacked a league-leading 48 doubles (not to mention a not-too-shabby 38 home runs, all while batting .315 at the age of 40). In this unvarnished memoir, Ortiz lets us in on his journey from poverty in the Dominican Republic to his tempestuous time with the Minnesota Twins to finding a second home in Boston, a team he led to a historic championship and a city he led through some dark times.

    Teammate: My Journey in Baseball and a World Series for the Ages, by David Ross and Don Yaeger
    Baseball fans are going to be talking about the Cubs’ 2016 World Series for…well, forever. Central to that victory was a 39-year-old journeyman catcher who suddenly emerged as a force both on and off the field. David Ross, nicknamed Grandpa Rossy, brought experience and gravitas to the team, but also brought an incredible sense of humor, expert touch on social media, and some of the best play of his career, culminating in a World Series at bat for the ages—all of which he discusses in his signature warm, humorous style in this inspiring memoir.

    The Phenomenon: Pressure, the Yips, and the Pitch that Changed My Life, by Rick Ankiel and Tim Brown
    Any baseball fan has heard of—and perhaps experienced—a phenomenon known as the Yips. More accurately diagnosed as an anxiety disorder, it’s most obvious symptom in a pitcher is a sudden inability to throw a strike despite prior accuracy. Rick Ankiel is probably the modern poster boy for the affliction, and in this memoir he details his awful childhood, his sudden wealth and fame as a teenage pitching prodigy, and his terrifying experience with the Yips during a high-pressure playoff game when he was just 21. That Ankiel fought his way back to the game despite his problems makes his story all the more fascinating.

    The Matheny Manifesto: A Young Manager’s Old-School Views on Success in Sports and Life, by Mike Matheny and Jerry B. Jenkins
    Matheny offers up something more than your standard athlete memoir in this expanded version of the viral “manifesto” he sent to parents who asked him to coach a local kids’ team. In that letter and this book, Matheny tells the inside story of his career as a player and as the current manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, but also lays out an approach to youth sports in this country that’s being hailed as a literal game-changer.

    Casey Stengel: Baseball’s Greatest Character, by Marty Appel
    You might think you know everything there is to know about the legendary Yankees manager Stengel, who steered the team through their second most famous incarnation during the Mantle and Maris years. But Appel has access to an unpublished memoir written by Stengel’s widow as well as a deep dive into contemporary news clippings and interviews with Stengel’s peers and the players he managed, resulting in a revelatory glimpse of one of baseball’s most famous personalities.

    Baseball Prospectus 2017, edited by Aaron Gleeman and Bret Sayre
    Whether you maintain six fantasy teams every year or just like being in the know about the upcoming season, there’s no better way to prepare for the sport that, more than any other, revolves around numbers. The 2017 Prospectus offers every stat, every projection, and every piece of data real-life scouts use when planning for the coming season.

    The post Celebrate Opening Day with 10 Great Baseball Books appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Jeff Somers 4:22 pm on 2017/04/03 Permalink
    Tags: , Memoirs, , ,   

    Celebrate Opening Day with 10 Great Baseball Books 

    Once again Opening Day is upon us, so it’s time to oil up that glove, gloat over your baseball card collection, and remember why you keep coming back to baseball even though it’s a game of suffering. Despite being born in the 19th century and enduring the ongoing rule-tinkering of its overlords, baseball remains the country’s favorite warm-weather sport. Unrushed, almost languid, and balletic in execution, just watching a game recalls childhood summer days spent roasting in the sun, while you stood in center field shagging fly balls. To help you get into the right mood, here are 10 baseball books that will remind you what keeps us coming back to the diamond each spring.

    My Cubs: A Love Story, by Scott Simon
    First the Red Sox, now the Cubbies: Baseball’s most time-honored losing streaks are crumbling. NPR host Scott Simon is a lifelong Cubs fan, and his excitement over the Cubs winning the 2016 World Series buzzes on every page of this book chronicling Cubs history, reciting the best Cubs stories, and recounting how much influence his love of the team and the game through all those lean years had on his life. His affectionate description of a team of “lovable losers” will make just about everyone a Cubs fan for a little while (unless you’re a White Sox fan).

    The Mental Game of Baseball, by H.A. Dorfman and Karl Kuehl
    More than any other sport, baseball is a mental game. With its lengthy pauses and irregular rhythms, it’s easy for players to get into their own heads and over- or under-think the game. Dorfman and Kuehl understand this aspect of a sport that often requires fewer lightning-fast reflexes and more strategic thinking, offering up theories backed by real-life examples of how any player at any level can raise their performance level through a better understanding of the game. Whether you’re a fan, a pro player, or a kid trying out for Little League, this book will improve your game.

    Lou: Fifty Years of Kicking Dirt, Playing Hard, and Winning Big in the Sweet Spot of Baseball, by Lou Piniella and Bill Madden
    Any fan of baseball knows Lou Piniella. As a player and manager, Sweet Lou has been a fixture of the game for more than five decades, a man known for his often undiplomatic passion for the sport. In this fascinating memoir, Piniella not only gives us the skinny on his playing and managing experiences, he also offers incredible insight into the ways the game has changed in his lifetime. As you might expect, Lou doesn’t hold back or mince his words, and baseball fans will love every page.

    Ballplayer, by Chipper Jones and Carroll R. Walton
    Larry Wayne “Chipper” Jones is one of the greatest hitters of the modern age, and the rare superstar who spent his entire career with a single team. The 1999 MVP and 2008 batting champion discusses his life in this absorbing memoir, from being a top prospect in high school with dozens of scouts following his every game to the 1995 World Series and every post-season appearance thereafter. Jones is brutally honest about his game, his personal life, and his failings—and his peers, many of whom have been tainted by association with performance-enhancing drugs.

    Papi: My Story, by David Ortiz and Michael Holley
    Few sluggers end their career at their prime the way David Ortiz did, retiring from the game after a season in which he drove in a league-leading 127 runs and smacked a league-leading 48 doubles (not to mention a not-too-shabby 38 home runs, all while batting .315 at the age of 40). In this unvarnished memoir, Ortiz lets us in on his journey from poverty in the Dominican Republic to his tempestuous time with the Minnesota Twins to finding a second home in Boston, a team he led to a historic championship and a city he led through some dark times.

    Teammate: My Journey in Baseball and a World Series for the Ages, by David Ross and Don Yaeger
    Baseball fans are going to be talking about the Cubs’ 2016 World Series for…well, forever. Central to that victory was a 39-year-old journeyman catcher who suddenly emerged as a force both on and off the field. David Ross, nicknamed Grandpa Rossy, brought experience and gravitas to the team, but also brought an incredible sense of humor, expert touch on social media, and some of the best play of his career, culminating in a World Series at bat for the ages—all of which he discusses in his signature warm, humorous style in this inspiring memoir.

    The Phenomenon: Pressure, the Yips, and the Pitch that Changed My Life, by Rick Ankiel and Tim Brown
    Any baseball fan has heard of—and perhaps experienced—a phenomenon known as the Yips. More accurately diagnosed as an anxiety disorder, it’s most obvious symptom in a pitcher is a sudden inability to throw a strike despite prior accuracy. Rick Ankiel is probably the modern poster boy for the affliction, and in this memoir he details his awful childhood, his sudden wealth and fame as a teenage pitching prodigy, and his terrifying experience with the Yips during a high-pressure playoff game when he was just 21. That Ankiel fought his way back to the game despite his problems makes his story all the more fascinating.

    The Matheny Manifesto: A Young Manager’s Old-School Views on Success in Sports and Life, by Mike Matheny and Jerry B. Jenkins
    Matheny offers up something more than your standard athlete memoir in this expanded version of the viral “manifesto” he sent to parents who asked him to coach a local kids’ team. In that letter and this book, Matheny tells the inside story of his career as a player and as the current manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, but also lays out an approach to youth sports in this country that’s being hailed as a literal game-changer.

    Casey Stengel: Baseball’s Greatest Character, by Marty Appel
    You might think you know everything there is to know about the legendary Yankees manager Stengel, who steered the team through their second most famous incarnation during the Mantle and Maris years. But Appel has access to an unpublished memoir written by Stengel’s widow as well as a deep dive into contemporary news clippings and interviews with Stengel’s peers and the players he managed, resulting in a revelatory glimpse of one of baseball’s most famous personalities.

    Baseball Prospectus 2017, edited by Aaron Gleeman and Bret Sayre
    Whether you maintain six fantasy teams every year or just like being in the know about the upcoming season, there’s no better way to prepare for the sport that, more than any other, revolves around numbers. The 2017 Prospectus offers every stat, every projection, and every piece of data real-life scouts use when planning for the coming season.

    The post Celebrate Opening Day with 10 Great Baseball Books appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
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