Sunday, September 24, 2023

On My Radar:

The World According to Joan Didion
Hardcover



Joan Didion was a writer’s writer; not only a groundbreaking journalist, essayist, novelist and screenwriter, but a keen observer who honed her sights on life’s telling details. Her insights continue to influence creatives and admirers, encouraging them to become close observers of the world, unsentimental critics, and meticulous stylists.

An antidote to a global view that narrows our vision to the smallest screens, The World According To Joan Didion is a meditation on the people, places, and objects that propelled Didion’s prose and an invitation to journalists, storytellers, and life adventurers to “throw themselves into the convulsions of the world,” as she once said.

Evelyn McDonnell, the acclaimed journalist, essayist, critic, feminist, native Californian, and university professor who regularly teaches Didion’s work, is attuned to interpret Didion’s vision for readers today. Inspired by Didion’s own words—from her works both published and unpublished—and informed by the people who knew Didion and those whose lives she shaped, The World According to Joan Didion is an illustrated journey through her life, tracing the path she carved from Sacramento, Portuguese Bend, Los Angeles, and Malibu to Manhattan, Miami, and Hawaii. McDonnell reveals the world as it was seen through Didion’s eyes and explores her work in chapters keyed to the singular physical motifs of her writing: Snake. Typewriter. Hotel. Notebook. Girl. Etc.

One of the first books to be published after the revered writer’s death in 2021, The World According to Joan Didion is a literary companion for those embarking on new journeys and a guide to innovative ways of being. It will radically transform the way you explore the world, and will help you answer the question as you sit in a caf√©, or on a plane or train, pondering the future: What would Joan Didion have seen?

Saturday, September 23, 2023

On My Radar:

Enough

by Cassidy Hutchinson

Simon & Schuster

Hardcover


From the publisher's website:


Ever since a childhood visit to Washington, DC, Cassidy Hutchinson aspired to serve her country in government. Raised in a working-class family with a military background, she was the first in her immediate family to graduate from college. Despite having no ties to Washington, Hutchinson landed a vital position at the center of the Trump White House.


Her life took a dramatic turn on January 6th, 2021, when, at twenty-four, she found herself in one of the most extraordinary and unprecedented calamities in modern political history.

Hutchinson was faced with a choice between loyalty to the Trump administration or loyalty to the country by revealing what she saw and heard in the attempt to overthrow a democratic election. She bravely came forward to become the pivotal witness in the House January 6 investigations, as her testimony transfixed and stunned the nation. In her memoir, Hutchinson reveals the struggle between the pressures she confronted to toe the party line and the demands of the oath she swore to defend American democracy.

Enough reaches far beyond the typical insider political account. It’s the saga of a woman whose fierce determination helped her overcome childhood challenges to get her dream job, only to face a crisis of conscience—one that more senior White House aides tried to evade—and, in the process, find her voice and herself. This is a portrait of how the courage of one person can change the course of history. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Today's Featured Book:

Sign Here

by Claudia Lux

Berkley Books

Trade Paperback


From the publisher's website:


Peyote Trip has a pretty good gig in the deals department on the fifth floor of Hell. Sure, none of the pens work, the coffee machine has been out of order for a century, and the only drink on offer is J√§germeister, but Pey has a plan—and all he needs is one last member of the Harrison family to sell their soul.

 
When the Harrisons retreat to the family lake house for the summer, with their daughter Mickey’s precocious new friend, Ruth, in tow, the opportunity Pey has waited a millennium for might finally be in his grasp. And with the help of his charismatic coworker Calamity, he sets a plan in motion.
 
But things aren’t always as they seem, on Earth or in Hell. And as old secrets and new dangers scrape away at the Harrisons’ shiny surface, revealing the darkness beneath, everyone must face the consequences of their choices. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Today's Featured Book:

Round Here and Over Yonder: A Front Porch Travel Guide by Two Progressive Hillbillies (Yes, That's a Thing)

by Trae Crowder and Corey Ryan Forrester 

Harper Horizon

Hardcover


From the publisher's website:


Trae and Corey will take you from the smallest of small towns to major US metropolises (or is it metropoli? We haven't a fartin' clue!). They'll even cross the pond to sip tea in some of them fancy kings-and-castles places that PBS Viewers Like You can't stop yapping about. From Chickamauga to Cheyenne, New York to New Orleans, Seattle to Scotland—no matter where these two wandering jesters go, there's something to roast, something to toast, and something to learn about what ties us together as humans. Even the most outrageous of us.

In this book you'll find:

  • Loads of eccentric things folks say.
  • Seriously well-informed tips on exactly where to eat and what to order in each city.
  • Anecdotes from Corey about everything from "German Mardi Gras" in Helen, Georgia, to eatin' over-priced rabbit in Napa, California.
  • Travel bingo boards and ad-libs for your own adventures.
  • And as many off-the-beaten-path jokes as can be packed into 256 pages!

Perfect for anyone who:

  • Likes to travel.
  • Loathes to travel.
  • Any Southerner who's both a little proud and a little ashamed of the South (that's all the sane ones).
  • Any Northerner, Midwesterner, or West Coaster who wants to know what two self-proclaimed rednecks have to say about their own hometown.
  • Anyone from the UK who thinks us Yanks are the craziest folks on God's green earth (cause this book will likely confirm that stereotype, yup).

Monday, September 18, 2023

Today's Featured Book:

Down the Hill: My Descent into the Double Murder in Delphi 

by Susan Hendricks

Hachette Books

Hardcover


From the publisher's website:


On February 13, 2017, two teenage girls—13-year-old Abby Williams and 14-year-old Libby German—decided to enjoy a day off from school by exploring the popular hiking trails near the Monon High Bridge just a few minutes’ drive from Libby’s home in Delphi, Indiana. Libby’s sister, Kelsi, dropped the two girls off at the head of the trail and waved to them as they walked down the path, which was the last time they’d ever be seen alive. Less than 24 hours later, their bodies were found on the north bank of Deer Creek, about a mile from where they were last seen. There were few clues and little to go on in terms of physical evidence, except for the visual and audio remnants of a strange encounter the girls had with a stranger just hours before their disappearance, an encounter unsettling enough that Libby had thought to record it on her cellphone as it unfolded. In the years since the murders were first made public, Libby’s audio and video recordings have been released and two very different composite sketches of the suspect have been shown, but local law enforcement remained vague about developments for years—until finally, in October 2022, the long-awaited suspect was arrested and a trial date was set.


Longtime anchor and journalist Susan Hendricks was one of the first reporters to cover the case. A broadcast veteran with decades’ worth of experience under her belt, she was no stranger when it came to sharing the tragedies of the day with viewers. But there was something about this case that rattled her to her core. A year after the murders, Susan went to Delphi to interview the victims’ families for an in-depth special report where Kelsi drove Susan down the same path that she drove her sister down on the last day of her life. Over the years, Susan has built close relationships with family members, and law enforcement officials and armchair detectives alike who are determined to get justice for Abby and Libby.

In Down the Hill, Hendricks digs deeper in into the mystery that has captivated our nation for years, exploring the family's enduring resilience and advocacy, as well as the rippling impact the case has had on not just Delphi, but the very heart of the American heartland. As a result, this book is more than just a book about a double homicide; it’s about a small town in middle America that’s been haunted by an unfathomable act of violence; it’s about the ways families and communities cope with grief and move forward after tragedy; it’s about the limitations of local law enforcement and the rise of technology in helping to solve cases in new ways. But it’s also about compassion, connection, empathy, and resilience—on a very real, very human level.

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Today's Featured Book:

 Bartleby & Me: Reflections of an Old Scrivener

by Gay Talese

Mariner Books

Hardcover


From the publisher's website:


“New York is a city of things unnoticed,” ayoung reporter named Gay Talese wrote sixty years ago. He would spend the rest of his legendary career defying that statement by celebrating the people most reporters overlooked, understanding that it was through these minor characters that the epic story of New York and America unfolded. Inspired by Herman Melville’s great short story “Bartleby, the Scrivener,” Talese now revisits the unforgettable “nobodies” he has profiled in his celebrated career—from the New York Times’s anonymous obituary writer to Frank Sinatra’s entourage. In the book’s final act, a remarkable piece of original reporting titled “Dr. Bartha’s Brownstone,” Talese presents a new “Bartleby,” an unknown doctor who made his mark on the city one summer day in 2006. 

Rising within the city of New York are about one million buildings. These include skyscrapers, apartment buildings, bodegas, schools, churches, and homeless shelters. Also spread through the city are more than 19,000 vacant lots, one of which suddenly appeared some years ago—at 34 East 62nd Street, between Madison and Park Avenues—when the unhappy owner of a brownstone at that address blew it up (with himself in it) rather than sell his cherished nineteenth-century high-stoop Neo-Grecian residence in order to pay the court-ordered sum of $4 million to the woman who had divorced him three years earlier. This man was a physician of sixty-six named Nicholas Bartha. On the morning of July 10, 2006, Dr. Bartha filled his building with gas that he had diverted from a pipe in the basement, and then he set off an explosion that reduced the fivestory premises into a fiery heap that would injure ten firefighters and five passersby and damage the interiors of thirteen apartments that stood to the west of the crumbled brownstone.

Talese has been obsessed with Dr. Bartha’s story and spent the last seventeen years examining this single 20 x 100 foot New York City building lot, its serpentine past, and the unexpected triumphs and disasters encountere by its residents and owners—an unlikely cast featuring society wannabes, striving immigrants, Gilded Age powerbrokers, Russian financiers, and even a turncoat during the War of Independence—just as he has been obsessed with similar “nobodies” throughout his career. Concise, elegant, tragic, and whimsical, Bartleby and Me is the valedictory work of a master journalist.

Today's Featured Book:

Misfit: Growing Up Awkward in the 80s

 by Gary Gulman

Flatiron Books

Hardcover


From the publisher's website:


For years, Gary Gulman had been the comedian’s comedian, acclaimed for his delight in language and his bracing honesty. But after two stints in a psych ward, he found himself back in his mother’s house in Boston—living in his childhood bedroom at age forty-six, as he struggled to regain his mental health. 


That’s where Misfit begins. Then it goes way back. 

This is no ordinary book about growing older and growing up. Gulman has an astonishing memory and takes the reader through every year of his childhood education, with obsessively detailed stories that are in turn alarming and riotously funny. We meet Gulman’s family, neighbors, teachers, heroes, and antagonists, and get to know the young comedian-in-the-making who is his own worst―and most persistent―enemy. 

From failing to impress at grade school show-and-tell to literally fumbling at his first big football game―in settings that take us all the way from the local playground to the local mall, from Hebrew School to his best (and only) friend’s rec room, young Gary becomes a stand-in for everyone who grew up wondering if they would ever truly fit in. And that’s not all: the book is also chock-full of ‘80s nostalgia (Scented Markers, indifference to sunscreen, mall culture).

Misfit is a book that only Gary Gulman could have written: a brilliant, witty, poignant, laugh-until-your-face-hurts memoir that speaks directly to the awkward child in us all.


Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Today's Featured Book:

The Young Man
Translated by Alison Strayer
Trade Paperback



The Young Man
 is Annie Ernaux’s account of her passionate love affair with A., a man some 30 years younger, when she was in her fifties. The relationship pulls her back to memories of her own youth and at the same time leaves her feeling ageless, outside of time— together with a sense that she is living her life backwards.

Amidst talk of having a child together, she feels time running its course, and menopause approaching. The Young Man recalls Ernaux as the “scandalous girl” she once was, but is composed with the mastery and the self-assurance she has achieved across decades of writing. It was first published in France in 2022.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Today's Featured Book:

Final Call
Trade Paperback



They thought it was a simple flight home. The pilot had other plans…

A moment of calm
Heading home after a conference, the senior leadership of a global corporation relax on their private jet ahead of their Christmas break.

A flash of fear
But their peace is shattered when they realise their jet isn’t taking them home. Instead, it’s heading east—out over the Atlantic Ocean.

A journey of terror
And things go from bad to worse when their pilot tells them she is going to crash into the ocean if one of them doesn’t confess to murder…

Monday, September 11, 2023

Today's Featured Book:

Night Train to Nashville:  The Greatest Untold Story of Music City

by Paula Blackman

Harper Horizon

Hardcover

From the publisher's website:


Set against the backdrop of Jim Crow, Night Train to Nashville takes readers behind the curtain of one of music’s greatest untold stories during the era of segregation and Civil Rights.

Backed by 15 years of research and interviews, Blackman shares the true story of how promotion of R&B music in the 1940’s by her grandfather, Edward “Gab” Blackman of WLAC radio, and William Sousa “Sou” Bridgeforth, owner of Nashville’s premier Black nightclub, inadvertently sparked a cultural revolution that ultimately led Music City to become the first in the south to desegregate.

In another time and place, Gab and Sou might have been as close as brothers, but in 1940s Nashville they remained separated by the color of their skin. Gab, a visionary yet opportunistic radio executive, saw something no one else did: a vast and untapped market with the R&B scene exploding in Black clubs across the city. He defied his industry, culture, government, and even his own family to broadcast Black music to a national audience.

Sou, the popular kingpin of Black Nashville and a grandson of enslaved persons, led this movement into the second half of the twentieth century as his New Era Club on the Black side of town exploded in the aftermath of this new radio airplay. As the popularity of Black R&B grew, integrated parties an underground concerts spread throughout the city, and this new scene faced a dangerous inflection point: Could a segregated society ever find true unity?

Taking place during one of the most tumultuous times in US history, Night Train to Nashville explores how one city, divided into two completely different and unequal communities, demonstrated the power of music to change the world.

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Today's Featured Book:

Scattershot: Life, Music, Elton & Me
Hardcover



This is the memoir music fans have been waiting for. Half of one of the greatest creative partnerships in popular music, Bernie Taupin is the man who wrote the lyrics for Elton John, who conceived the ideas that spawned countless hits, and sold millions and millions of records. Together, they were a duo, a unit, an immovable object. Their extraordinary, half-century-and-counting creative relationship has been chronicled in biopics (like 2019's 
Rocketman) and even John's own autobiography, Me. But Taupin, a famously private person, has kept his own account of their adventures close to his chest, until now.

Written with honesty and candor, Scattershot allows the reader to witness  events unfolding from Taupin's singular perspective, sometimes front and center, sometimes from the edge, yet always described vibrantly, with an infectious energy that only a vivid songwriter's prose could offer. From his childhood in the East Midlands of England whose imagination was sparked and forever informed by the distinctly American mythopoetics of country music and cowboy culture, to the glittering, star-studded fishbowl of ’70s and ’80s Beverly Hills, Scattershot is simultaneously a Tom Jones­-like picaresque journey across a landscape of unforgettable characters, as well as a striking, first-hand account of a creative era like no other and one man’s experience at the core of it.

An exciting, multi-decade whirlwind told in a non-linear yet grounded narrative, Scattershot whizzes around the world as we ride shotgun with Bernie on his extraordinary life. We visit Los Angeles with him and Elton on the cusp of global fame. We spend time with him in Australia almost in residency at an infamous rock 'n' roll hotel in an endless blizzard of drugs. And we spend late, late night hours with John Lennon, with Bob Marley, and hanging with Frank Sinatra. And beyond the world of popular music, we witness memorable encounters with writers like Graham Greene, painters like Andy Warhol and Salvador Dali, and scores of notable misfits, miscreants, eccentrics, and geniuses, known and unknown. Even if they're not famous in their own right, they are stars on the page, and we discover how they inspired the indelible lyrics to songs such as “Tiny Dancer,” “Candle in the Wind,” “Bennie and The Jets,” and so many more.

Unique and utterly compelling, Scattershot will transport the reader across the decades and around the globe, along the way meeting some of the greatest creative minds of the 20th century, and into the vivid imaginings of one of music's most legendary lyricists.