Friday, April 24, 2015

In My TBR Stack:

Good Girl: A Memoir
by Sarah Tomlinson
Gallery Books
Hardcover

From the publisher's website:

Told with raw, rugged honesty, this heartrending memoir from journalist Sarah Tomlinson recounts her unconventional upbringing and coming-of-age as colored by her complicated relationship with her father.

Sarah Tomlinson was born on January 29, 1976, in a farmhouse in Freedom, Maine. After two years of attempted family life in Boston, her father’s gambling addiction and broken promises led her mother to pool her resources with five other families to buy 100 acres of land in Maine and reunite with her college boyfriend. Sarah would spend the majority of her childhood on “The Land” with infrequent, but coveted, visits from her father, who—as a hitchhiking, acid-dropping, wannabe mystic turned taxi driver—was nothing short of a rock star in her eyes.

Propelled out of her bohemian upbringing to seek the big life she equated with her father, Sarah entered college at fifteen, where a school shooting further complicated her quest for a sense of safety. While establishing herself as a journalist and rock critic on both coasts, Sarah’s father continued to swerve in and out of her life, building and re-breaking their relationship, and fracturing Sarah’s confidence and sense of self. In this unforgettable memoir, Sarah conveys the dark comedy in her quest to repair the heart her father broke.


Bittersweet, honest, and ultimately redemptive, Good Girl takes an insightful look into what happens when the people we love unconditionally are the people who disappoint us the most, and how time, introspection, and acceptance can help us heal.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

On My Radar:

A Walk for Sunshine: A 2,160 Mile Expedition for Charity on the Appalachian Trail
by Jeff Alt
Beaufort Books
Trade Paperback

From the author's website:

A Walk For Sunshine is an award winning adventure story that will fill you with inspiration to go after your dreams. Jeff Alt takes you along every step of his amazing 2,160-mile Appalachian Trail adventure filled with humor and inspiration. Now, he includes practical advice to plan your own hiking adventure.
Alt takes you along on an entertaining walk with bears, bugs, blisters, skunk bedmates, and hilarious food cravings. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy this adventure for a noble cause. Jeff dedicated his journey to his brother who has cerebral palsy inspiring an annual fundraiser which has raised over $400,000 for the disabled home in which his brother resides. A Walk For Sunshine has been featured on ESPN, Hallmark Channel, reviewed by the AP, and more. As you walk along with Jeff, you experience perseverance, surviving with only the bare essentials, the success of goal setting, and overcoming obstacles. His story sheds light on the pursuit of a simpler life. In 2007, Jeff shared an epilogue focusing on his Life Lessons from the trail and how he has applied them to his life.

THE NEW 3rd EDITION: of A Walk For Sunshine includes gear ideas and other tips for taking your whole family hiking, and details about the annual Walk-With-Sunshine. We’ve taken the outdoor “leave no trace” ethic and applied it to A Walk For Sunshine. This edition is printed on 100% recycled paper.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

In My TBR Stack:

Diary of a Madman: The Geto Boys Life, Death and the Roots of Southern Rap
by Brad "Scarface" Jordan with Benjamin Meadows-Ingram
Dey Street Books
Hardcover

From the publisher's website:

From Geto Boys legend and renowned storyteller Scarface, comes a passionate memoir about how hip-hop changed the life of a kid from the south side of Houston, and how he rose to the top-and ushered in a new generation of rap dominance. 

Scarface is the celebrated rapper whose hits include "On My Block," "Mind Playing Tricks on Me" and "Damn It Feels Good to be a Gangsta" (made famous in the cult film Office Space). The former president of Def Jam South, he's collaborated with everyone from Kanye West, Ice Cube and Nas, and had many solo hits such as "Guess Who's Back" feat. Jay-Z and "Smile" feat. Tupac. But before that, he was a kid from Houston in love with rock-and-roll, listening to AC/DC and KISS.


In Diary of a Madman, Scarface shares how his world changed when he heard Run DMC for the first time; how he dropped out of school in the ninth grade and started selling crack; and how he began rapping as the new form of music made its way out of New York and across the country. It is the account of his rise to the heights of the rap world, as well as his battles with his own demons and depression. Passionately exploring and explaining the roots and influences of rap culture, Diary of a Madman is the story of hip-hop-the music, the business, the streets, and life on the south side Houston, Texas.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

On My Radar:

The Perfection of the Paper Clip: Curious Tales of Invention, Accidental Genius, and Stationery Obsession
by James Ward
Touchstone Books
Hardcover

From the publisher's website:

This wonderfully quirky book will change the way you look at your desk forever with stories of accidental genius, bitter rivalries, and an appreciation for everyday objects, like the humble but perfectly designed paper clip and the utilitarian, irreplaceable pencil.

How many of humanity’s brightest ideas started out on a scrap of paper, a Post-It, or in the margins of a notebook? In a delightfully witty and fresh voice, James Ward—cofounder of the Boring Conference and collector of the arcane—explores the secret histories of deskbound supplies, from pencils to fluorescent ink, and the gleaming reams of white paper we all take for granted, encouraging a deeper appreciation and fascination for the things that surround us each day.


In the spirit of The Evolution of Useful Things and A History of the World in 100 Objects, Ward transforms the mundane into stories of invention, discovery, and even awe. The Perfection of the Paper Clip is a fascinating tour of the objects that touch our daily lives, filled with charming drawings, illuminating stories, and winning humor that will satisfy curious minds and armchair inventors.

Monday, April 20, 2015

On My Radar:

Rain: A Natural and Cultural History
by Cynthia Barnett
Crown Publishing
Hardcover

From the publisher's website:

It is the subject of countless poems and paintings; the top of the weather report; the source of the world's water. Yet this is the first book to tell the story of rain.

Cynthia Barnett's Rain begins four billion years ago with the torrents that filled the oceans, and builds to the storms of climate change. It weaves together science—the true shape of a raindrop, the mysteries of frog and fish rains—with the human story of our ambition to control rain, from ancient rain dances to the 2,203 miles of levees that attempt to straitjacket the Mississippi River. It offers a glimpse of our "founding forecaster," Thomas Jefferson, who measured every drizzle long before modern meteorology. Two centuries later, rainy skies would help inspire Morrissey’s mopes and Kurt Cobain’s grunge. Rain is also a travelogue, taking readers to Scotland to tell the surprising story of the mackintosh raincoat, and to India, where villagers extract the scent of rain from the monsoon-drenched earth and turn it into perfume.


Now, after thousands of years spent praying for rain or worshiping it; burning witches at the stake to stop rain or sacrificing small children to bring it; mocking rain with irrigated agriculture and cities built in floodplains; even trying to blast rain out of the sky with mortars meant for war, humanity has finally managed to change the rain. Only not in ways we intended. As climate change upends rainfall patterns and unleashes increasingly severe storms and drought, Barnett shows rain to be a unifying force in a fractured world. Too much and not nearly enough, rain is a conversation we share, and this is a book for everyone who has ever experienced it.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

In My TBR Stack:

Smash Cut: A Memoir of Howard & Art & the '70s & the '80s
by Brad Gooch
Harper Books
Hardcover

From the publisher's website:

The author of the acclaimed City Poet returns with a searing memoir of life in 1980s New York City—a colorful and atmospheric tale of wild bohemians, glamorous celebrity, and complicated passions—with cameo appearances by Madonna, Robert Mapplethorpe, William Burroughs, and a host of others legendary artists.

Brad Gooch arrived in New York in the late 1970s, yearning for artistic and personal freedom. Smash Cut is his bold and intimate memoir of this exhilarating time and place. At its center is his love affair with film director Howard Brookner, pieced together from fragments of memory and fueled by a panoply of emotions, from blazing ecstasy to bleakest despair.

As both men try to reconcile love and fidelity with the irresistible desire to enjoy the freedom of the age, they live together and apart. Gooch works briefly as a model in Milan, then returns to the city and discovers his vocation as an artist. Brookner falls ill with a mysterious virus that soon has a terrifying name: AIDS. And the story, and life in the city, is suddenly overshadowed by this new demon plague that will ravage a generation and transform the creative world. Gooch charts the progress of Brookner through his illness, and writes unforgettably about endings: of a great talent, a passionate love affair, and an incandescent era.

Beautifully written, full of rich detail and poignant reflection, recalling a time and a place and group of friends with affection and clarity, Smash Cut is an extraordinary memoir and an exquisite account of an epoch.


Illustrated with 30 black-and-white photographs.

Friday, April 17, 2015

In My TBR Stack:

Finding Samuel Lowe: China, Jamaica, Harlem
by Paula Williams Madison
Amistad Books
Hardcover

From the publisher's website:

Spanning four generations and moving between New York, Jamaica, and China, a powerful memoir that is a universal story of one woman’s search for her maternal grandfather and the key to her self-identity.
Thanks to her spiteful, jealous Jamaican mother, Nell Vera Lowe was cut off from her Chinese father, Samuel, when she was just a baby, after he announced he was taking a Chinese bride. By the time Nell was old enough to travel to her father’s shop in St. Ann’s Bay, he’d taken his family back to China, never learning what became of his eldest daughter. Bereft, Nell left Jamaica for New York to start a new life. But her Asian features set her apart from her Harlem neighbors and even her own children—a difference that contributed to her feeling of loneliness and loss which she instilled in her only daughter, Paula.

Years later, with a successful corporate career behind her and the arrival of her only grandchild raising questions about family and legacy, Paula decided to search for Samuel Lowe’s descendants in China. With the support of her brothers and the help of encouraging strangers, Paula eventually pieced together the full story of her grandfather’s life, following his story from China to Jamaica and back, and connecting with 300 surprised relatives who were overjoyed to meet her.

Finding Samuel Lowe is a remarkable journey about one woman’s path to self-discovery. It is a story about love and devotion that transcends time and race, and a beautiful reflection of the power of family and the interconnectedness of our world.


Finding Samuel Lowe includes a 16-page black-and-white photo insert and photos in the text.