Wednesday, July 30, 2014

In My TBR Stack:

Seriously Not All Right: Five Wars in Ten Years
Ron Capps
Schaffner Press
Hardcover

From the publisher's website:

A veteran of five wars, Ron Capps- who served both as a senior military intelligence officer and a Foreign Service officer in conflicts ranging from Kosovo and Rwanda, to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Darfur -provides a wrenchingly honest account of his experiences and his struggle with PTSD, which he suffered as a result of the horrors he had witnessed yet was helpless to prevent. To monitor his emotional condition, he created a scale that ranged from "All Right" to "Seriously Not All Right;" but, after several years spent in the midst of extreme violence, trying to keep himself"All Right," he found himself plunging headlong into deep depression. One evening in the African desert, he attempted to take his own life, only to be pulled back from suicide by a miraculously timed phone call. SERIOUSLY NOT ALL RIGHT is his memoir that details not only his role as peacekeeper in these wars, but his return home and recovery (still ongoing) from PTSD, and his subsequent career as a teacher and founder of the Veterans Writing Project in Washington, D.C. where he provides veterans with the skills to tell their own stories, in order that they too might, in his words, "write their way home."

Ron Capps's debut memoir is an incisive look at the cost of combat and peacekeeping missions, and the limits of extreme violence humans can tolerate when they're powerless to stop it. Seriously Not All Right is also a harrowing and ultimately redemptive look at Capps's climb out of the post-traumatic stress disorder pit and what he did to help others once he succeeded. This is a well-written, timely memoir, with scene after vivid scene that lingers, that provides a possible healing path for veterans. Discover: An admirable, important memoir from a combat veteran and observer of genocide-Shelf Awareness, May 20th, 2014

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

In My TBR Stack:

I Said Yes to Everything: A Memoir
Lee Grant
Blue Rider Press
Hardcover

From the publisher's website:

 Born Lyova Haskell Rosenthal in New York City, actress Lee Grant spent her youth accumulating more experiences than most people have in a lifetime: from student at the famed Neighborhood Playhouse to member of the leg­endary Actors Studio; from celebrated Broadway star to Vogue “It Girl.” At age twenty-four, she was nominated for an Academy Award for Detective Story, and a year later found herself married and a mother for the first time, her career on the rise.
And then she lost it all.

Her name landed on the Hollywood black­list, her offers for film and television roles ground to a halt, and her marriage fell apart.

Finding reserves of strength she didn’t know she had, Grant took action against anti-Communist witch hunts in the arts. She threw herself into work, accepting every theater or teaching job that came her way. She met a man ten years her junior and began a wild, liberat­ing fling that she never expected would last a lifetime. And after twelve years of fighting the blacklist, she was finally exonerated. With cour­age and style, Grant rebuilt her life on her own terms: first stop, a starring role on Peyton Place, and then leads in Valley of the Dolls, In the Heat of the Night, and Shampoo, for which she won her first Oscar.

Set amid the New York theater scene of the fifties and the star-studded parties of Malibu in the seventies, I Said Yes to Everything evokes a world of political passion and movie-star glamour. Grant tells endlessly delightful tales of costars and friends such as Warren Beatty, Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly, and Sidney Poitier, and writes with the verve and candor befitting such a seductive and beloved star.



Sunday, July 27, 2014

In My TBR Stack:

The Angel in My Pocket: A Story of Love, Loss, and Life After Death
Sukey Forbes
Viking
Hardcover

From the publisher's website:

When Sukey Forbes lost her six-year-old daughter, Charlotte, to a rare genetic disorder, her life felt as if it were shattered forever. Descended from two distinguished New England families, Forbes was raised in a rarefied—if eccentric—life of privilege. Yet, Forbes’s family history is also rich with spiritual seekers, including her great-great-great-grandfather Ralph Waldo Emerson. On the family’s private island enclave off Cape Cod, apparitions have always been as common as the servants who once walked the back halls. But the “afterlife” took on new meaning once Forbes dipped into the world of clairvoyants to reconnect with Charlotte.


With a mission to help others by sharing her own story, Forbes chronicles a world of ghosts that reawakens us to a lost American spiritual tradition. The Angel in My Pocket is a moving and utterly unique tale of one mother’s undying love for her child.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

On My Radar:

Four Boots - One Journey: A Story of Survival, Awareness & Rejuvenation on the John Muir Trail
Jeff Alt
Beaufort Books
Trade Paperback

From the publisher's website:


Beth Alt is a woman who prefers hotels, hot showers, and warm beds. But her husband, Jeff, persuades her to go out of her comfort zone and attempt a journey that even seasoned hikers find extremely difficult. Together they walk the entire John Muir Trail—over 218 miles of rugged remote mountain terrain traversing three national parks—in her brother’s memory as a depression awareness campaign. Their breathtaking scenic hike is riddled with adventure, humor, and inspiration. From the moment they set foot on the trail, the fast paced adventure begins with menacing bears, lightning bolts, a mountain rescue, the constant threat of cougars, food shortages, fascinating characters, and altitude sickness.

Four Boots One Journey is an entertaining adventure on the John Muir Trail—and a story of what survival really means. The further they travel down the trail, the more Beth and Jeff discover things they never knew about each other—and with Jeff’s help, Beth becomes a true nomadic survivor. Not only does she complete the expedition, she discovers the joys of backpacking with her husband. They emerge from the trail with their marriage strengthened and their souls rejuvenated.

Friday, July 25, 2014

In My TBR Stack:

Travels with Casey: My Journey Through Our Dog-Crazy Country
Benoit Denizet-Lewis
Simon and Schuster
Hardcover

From the publisher's website:

A moody Labrador and his insecure human take a funny, touching cross-country RV trip into the heart of America’s relationship with dogs.

“I don’t think my dog likes me very much,” New York Times Magazine writer Benoit Denizet-Lewis confesses at the beginning of his journey with his nine-year-old Labrador-mix, Casey. Over the next four months, thirty-two states, and 13,000 miles in a rented motor home, Denizet-Lewis and his canine companion attempt to pay tribute to the most powerful interspecies bond there is, in the country with the highest rate of dog ownership in the world.

On the way, Denizet-Lewis—known for his deeply reported dispatches from far corners of American life—meets an irresistible cast of dogs and dog-obsessed humans. Denizet-Lewis and Casey hang out with wolf-dogs in Appalachia, search with a dedicated rescuer of stray dogs in Missouri, spend a full day at a kooky dog park in Manhattan, get pulled over by a K9 cop in Missouri, and visit “Dog Whisperer” Cesar Millan in California. And then there are the pet psychics, dog-wielding hitchhikers, and two nosy women who took their neighbor to court for allegedly failing to pick up her dog’s poop.


Travels With Casey is a delightfully idiosyncratic blend of memoir and travelogue coupled with an exploration of a dog-loving America. What does our relationship to our dogs tell us about ourselves and our values? Denizet-Lewis explores those questions—and his own canine-related curiosities and insecurities—during his unforgettable road trip through our dog-loving nation.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

On My Radar:

The Secrets of Lost Cats: One Woman, Twenty Posters, and a New Understanding of Love
Dr. Nancy Davidson
St. Martin's Press
Trade Paperback

From the publisher's website:

When her orange tabby, Zak, disappeared, Nancy Davidson did what countless people before her had done. She made a lost cat poster. And after days of frantic searching, she found him. Nancy was ecstatic. Zak seemed happy, too—although being a cat, it was hard to tell.

Zak may have remained his old self, but Nancy had changed. From that moment on, she became acutely aware of lost cat posters. She studied their language, composition, and design. She was drawn to their folk art. Mostly, however, she was intrigued by the messages themselves—the stories behind the posters. It wasn’t long before Nancy reached out to other owners of lost and found cats to offer empathy and support. They told hilarious and often poignant stories. They sought advice.  

That’s when Dr. Nancy, the cat lover and the seasoned therapist, stepped in and offered insights brought to light by her shrewd, but never self-serious analysis. What they told her—and what she learns – creates a captivating look into the heart of our relationships with our pets and each other. For seven years, Dr. Nancy followed the lost cat trail discovering answers to a question that eventually touches all of us: What will you do for love?

The Secrets of Lost Cats traces the evolution of Nancy Davidson’s seven-year passion for lost cat posters. From the astonishing, almost implausible posters she encounters across the country—and indeed, the world—to the daring, dedication, and emotional complexity of the cat owners themselves, The Secrets of Lost Cats offers readers an absorbing journey that illuminates love, loss, and learning to love again, even more deeply.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

On My Radar:

Dogtripping: 25 Rescues, 11 Volunteers, and 3 RVs on Our Canine Cross-Country Adventure
David Rosenfelt
St. Martins Press
Trade Paperback

From the publisher's website:

When mystery writer David Rosenfelt and his family moved from Southern California to Maine, he thought he had prepared for everything. They had mapped the route, brought three GPSs for backup, as well as refrigerators full of food, and stoves and microwaves on which to cook them. But traveling with twenty-five dogs turned out to be a bigger ordeal than he anticipated, despite the RVs, the extra kibble, volunteers (including a few readers), and camping equipment. Rosenfelt recounts the adventure of moving his animal companions across the United States with humor and warmth, and tells the tale of how he and his wife became passionate foster parents for rescue dogs, culminating in the creation of the Tara Foundation and successfully placing several thousand dogs with loving families.