Monday, November 30, 2015

In My TBR Stack:

438 Days: An Extraordinary True Story of Survival at Sea
by Jonathan Franklin
Atria Books

From the publisher's website:

The best survival book in a decade” (Outside magazine), 438 Days is the true story of the fisherman who survived fourteen months in a small boat drifting seven thousand miles across the Pacific Ocean.

On November 17, 2012, a pair of fishermen left the coast of Mexico for a weekend fishing trip in the open Pacific. That night, a violent storm ambushed them as they were fishing eighty miles offshore. As gale force winds and ten-foot waves pummeled their small, open boat from all sides and nearly capsized them, captain Salvador Alvarenga and his crewmate cut away a two-mile-long fishing line and began a desperate dash through crashing waves as they sought the safety of port.

Fourteen months later, on January 30, 2014, Alvarenga, now a hairy, wild-bearded and half-mad castaway, washed ashore on a nearly deserted island on the far side of the Pacific. He could barely speak and was unable to walk. He claimed to have drifted from Mexico, a journey of some seven thousand miles.

438 Days is the first-ever account of one of the most amazing survival stories in modern times. Based on dozens of hours of exclusive interviews with Alvarenga, his colleagues, search-and-rescue officials, the remote islanders who found him, and the medical team that saved his life, 438 Days is an unforgettable study of the resilience, will, ingenuity and determination required for one man to survive more than a year lost and adrift at sea.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

On My Radar:

The Best Advice in Six Words: Writers Famous and Obscure on Love, Sex, Money, Friendship, Family, Work, and Much More
Edited by Larry Smith
St. Martins Griffin

From the publisher's website:

The creator of the bestselling, short-form Six-Word Memoir series, Larry Smith, is back again with THE BEST ADVICE IN SIX WORDS, a poignant collection of universal wisdom, life lessons, and caution thrown to the wind. With 100,1 contributions from celebrities like Molly Ringwald, Whoopi Goldberg, Lemony Snicket, and Gary Shteyngart, as well as everyday people who've learned a thing or two about a thing or two during their time on the planet, readers will pulled into the sometimes hilarious, often serious, occasionally reflective experience of the book.

Don’t miss these amazing tips:

“Never, ever refuse a breath mint.” –Lemony Snicket
“You learn more from your failures.” –Piper Kerman
“Does it need to be said?” –Julianne Moore
“Be a doer, not a dreamer” –Shonda Rimes
“Sometimes on low, sometimes on high.” – Mario Batali
"Can't say something nice? Try fiction." - David Baldacci

Friday, November 27, 2015

On My Radar:

I Should Be Dead: My Life Surviving Politics, TV, and Addiction
by Bob Beckel
Hachette Books

From the publisher's website:

From popular TV personality Bob Beckel, a deeply moving, redemptive memoir about his life as a political operative and diplomat, his long struggle with alcohol and drugs, and his unlikely journey to finding faith. 

Growing up poor in an abusive home, Bob Beckel learned to be a survivor: to avoid conflict, mask his feelings, and to lie--all skills that served him well in Washington, where he would become the youngest-ever Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and manage Walter Mondale's 1984 presidential campaign. 

But Beckel was living a double life. On January 20, 2001--George W. Bush's first Inauguration Day--he hit rock bottom, waking up in the psych ward. Written with captivating honesty, Beckel chronicles how his addictions nearly killed him until he found help in an unexpected ally, conservative Cal Thomas, who helped him find faith, get sober, and get his life back on track.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

On My Radar:

By the Book: Writers on Literature and the Literary Life from the New York Times Book Review
by Pamela Paul
Picador Books
Trade Paperback

From the publisher's website:

Every Sunday, readers of The New York Times Book Review turn with anticipation to see which novelist, historian, short story writer, or artist will be the subject of the popular By the Book feature. These wide-ranging interviews are conducted by Pamela Paul, the editor of the Book Review, and here she brings together sixty-five of the most intriguing and fascinating exchanges, featuring personalities as varied as David Sedaris, Hilary Mantel, Michael Chabon, Khaled Hosseini, Anne Lamott, and James Patterson.

By the Book contains the full uncut interviews, offering a range of experiences and observations that deepens readers' understanding of the literary sensibility and the writing process. The questions and answers admit us into the private worlds of these authors, as they reflect on their work habits, reading preferences, inspirations, pet peeves, and recommendations.

For the devoted reader, By the Book is a way to invite sixty-five of the most interesting guests into your world. It's a book party not to be missed.
Featuring Conversations with . . . 

Lena Dunham
John Irving
Elizabeth Gilbert
Ira Glass
Junot Díaz
J. K. Rowling
Ian McEwan
Jared Diamond
Alain de Botton
Katherine Boo
Sheryl Sandberg
Isabel Allende
Anna Quindlen
Jonathan Franzen
Dan Brown
James McBride
Jhumpa Lahiri
Christopher Buckley
Malcolm Gladwell
Donna Tartt
Ann Patchett
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Chang-Rae Lee
Gary Shteyngart

. . . among others

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

On My Radar:

Boys in the Trees: A Memoir
by Carly Simon
Flatiron Books

From the publisher's website:

Simon's memoir reveals her remarkable life, beginning with her storied childhood as the third daughter of Richard L. Simon, the co-founder of publishing giant Simon & Schuster, her musical debut as half of The Simon Sisters performing folk songs with her sister Lucy in Greenwich Village, to a meteoric solo career that would result in 13 top 40 hits, including the #1 song "You're So Vain." She was the first artist in history to win a Grammy Award, an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award, for her song "Let the River Run" from the movie Working Girl.

The memoir recalls a childhood enriched by music and culture, but also one shrouded in secrets that would eventually tear her family apart. Simon brilliantly captures moments of creative inspiration, the sparks of songs, and the stories behind writing "Anticipation" and "We Have No Secrets" among many others. Romantic entanglements with some of the most famous men of the day fueled her confessional lyrics, as well as the unraveling of her storybook marriage to James Taylor.

Monday, November 23, 2015

In My TBR Stack:

Sky Lantern
by Matt Mikalatos
Howard Books

From the publisher's website:

Matt Mikalatos offers a poignant and compassionate look at a father’s relationship with his children, the healing power of a small act of kindness, and the certainty that even death can’t stop love in a deeply moving memoir inspired by a sky lantern with a scribbled note and the journey to find the child who wrote it.

“Love you, Dad. Miss you so much. Steph.”

A brokenhearted daughter scribbled those words on a sky lantern before setting it aloft. She had no way of knowing the lantern would fly halfway across the country.

Matt Mikalatos found the lantern, broken and crushed, the words still legible. As a father of three daughters, Matt could not let Steph’s heart-wrenching note go unanswered, but he wasn’t sure where he could find her. So he posted an open letter to her on his blog, which went viral overnight. Little did he know how that small act of kindness would lead him to the real Steph and change his family’s life in remarkable ways.

A poignant and lyrical account of the beauty and wonder of domestic life, Sky Lantern tells the miraculous events that followed Matt finding the sky lantern in his yard—of meeting Steph and forming a friendship that impacted him and his family—proving that the bond between a parent and their child is lasting and far-reaching.

Sky Lantern will bring a tear to your eyes and a smile to your face as you fall in love with Matt and his family in this heartwarming, beautifully written memoir.

This book is for people with questions about what it means to love, to be loved, and to love well. It’s for anyone who has had a parent relationship: absent, complicated, or amazing. It’s about embracing the truth about ourselves: that we are worthy of love, and that love makes our lives worth living.

Friday, November 20, 2015

On My Radar:

The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion
by Meghan Daum
Picador Books

From the publisher's website:

Nearly fifteen years after her debut collection, My Misspent Youth, captured the ambitions and anxieties of a generation, Meghan Daum returns to the personal essay with The Unspeakable, a powerful collection of ten new works. Where her previous collection explores what it is to be a struggling twenty-something urban dweller with an overdrawn bank account and oversized ambition, The Unspeakable contends with parental death, the decision not to have children, and more-a new set of challenges tackled by a writer at her best, investigated in the same uncompromising voice that made Daum one of the most engaging thinkers writing today.

In The Unspeakable, Daum pushes back against the false sentimentality and shrink-wrapped platitudes that surround so much of the contemporary American experience. But Daum also operates in a comic register. With perfect precision, she reveals the absurdities of the New Age search for the "Best Possible Experience," champions the merits of cream-of-mushroom-soup casserole, and gleefully recounts a quintessential "only-in-L.A." story of playing charades at a famous person's home.

Combining the piercing insight of Joan Didion with humor reminiscent of Nora Ephron's, Daum dissects our culture's most dangerous illusions while retaining her own joy and compassion. Through it all, she dramatizes the search for an authentic self in a world where achieving an identity is never simple and never complete.