Tuesday, June 15, 2010


About Aliceby Calvin Trillin. "Very sweet and tender memoir written about the author's wife."

All over but the Shoutin' by Rick Bragg. "A memoir of growing up dirt poor in the South and rising to become a reporter at the New York Times. An honest, forthright portrayal of a time and a place and a man."

The Bolter (Vintage)by Frances Osborne. Many of us went to the book party for this new release. From Amazon: "Osborne's lively narrative brings Lady Idina Sackville (an inspiration for Nancy Mitford's character the Bolter) boldly to life, with a black lapdog named Satan at her side and a cigarette in her hand. Osborne (Lilla's Feast) portrays a desperately lonely woman who shocked Edwardian high society with relentless affairs and drug-fueled orgies. Idina's story unfolds in an intimate tone thanks to the author, her great-granddaughter, who only accidentally discovered the kinship in her youth with the media serialization of James Fox's White Mischief."

Columbine by Dave Cullen. “Wow! This book hooks you from page one and never lets go. The Columbine massacre is a fascinating story to start with but Dave Cullen does a fantastic job of putting you in the school on that horrible day and into the minds of the killers, the victims, and the town. It would be easy to write a sensational account of such an infamous day in history but this book does not read like sleazy tabloid reporting. Cullen is thoughtful and empathetic but also painfully honest about debunking some of the myths around the killers and even the victims. I could understand why someone may not feel up to tackling a book on this subject matter but if you are remotely interested in reading a book on Columbine I would highly recommend Cullen's.”

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Dan Pink. "DC resident Dan Pink examines motivation and drive and the context for how organizations can effectively motivate and reward employees."

Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life by Judith Orloff.

My Father's Paradise: A Son's Search for His Family's Past by Ariel Sabar.
Interesting story of one family journey from Aramaic speaking Kurdish Iraq to Israel and to the United States in just three generations. The author retraces not only his grandfather and father's lives but the history and decline of the last remnants of the Aramaic language as a living tongue. Last years' book but worth reading this year."

Fruitless Fall: The Collapse of the Honeybee and the Coming Agricultural Crisis by Rowan Jacobsen. "It is amazing how reliant we are on honey bees for agricultural production. This book gives a very detailled description of the complexity of honey bee colonies, what has been happening with honey bees and the consequences for the production of agricultural products that rely on pollination (seems to be almost everything in one way or another)."

Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets by Sudhir Venkatesh. “Honest and entertaining, Columbia University professor Venkatesh vividly recounts his seven years following and befriending a Chicago crack-dealing gang in a fascinating look into the complex world of the Windy City's urban poor.” I couldn’t put this down I was so fascinated with this way of life right here in America!

The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin. "This one got me through a day or two of snowmaggedon in a decent mood. Her blog is very engaging." and "Much talked about story of the author's year-long project to determine what makes people "happy." (Really can a content person become even happier by doing certain things, and how do these things change the way those around you act?). The book is interesting enough, but the reading list in the back is terrific and spurred several other great reads for me this year."

Happy Yoga: 7 Reasons Why There's Nothing to Worry About by Steve Ross. I didn't get any specific comments on this, but something made me decide not to fret about it.

Here If You Need Me: A True Story by Kate Baestrup. "It may take ingenuity to interest browsers in a memoir by a middle-aged mother who, 11 years ago, was suddenly widowed, then became a Unitarian-Universalist minister, and now works as chaplain to game wardens in Maine."

I Am Not Superwoman: Further Essays on Happier Living by our own Michele Woodward (stalwart supporter and contributor of this blog, plus life coach extraordinnaire and now two-, soon to be three-time author). Michele will have another release in the fall: Career Strategy: Six Steps To A Successful Job Search. I will add that link when it's available.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. (The following review is lifted from Amazon or Goodreads or somewhere). "Written with the values and wisdom of a very different world than the hospital room in which the story begins but a compelling history of one woman's cancer cells. The book follows the path that the cells have taken to become the single best known research cell line and the discomfort and pain that Henrietta's family have felt due to their lack of knowledge of the project and their perceived invasion of family privacy."

The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the Worldby A.J. Jacobs. "In the vein of Julie & Julia, AJ Jacobs spends a year reading the Encyclopedia Brittanica from A to Z. The writing is sharp and witty as he interweaves completely random facts he learns along the way with some pretty funny stories about trying to share his new-found knowledge at every opportunity."

Lift by Kelly Corrigan. "This is one of the books I asked for for Mother's Day and read very quickly."

Lit: A Memoir (P.S.) by Mary Karr. “ (Entertainment Weekly). Lit follows the self-professed blackbelt sinner's descent into the inferno of alcoholism and madness--and to her astonishing resurrection.

Making Toast: A Family Story by Roger Rosenblatt. (From Amazon) "Family tragedy is healed by domestic routine in this quiet, tender memoir. When his daughter Amy died suddenly at the age of 38 from an asymptomatic heart condition, journalist and novelist Rosen-blatt (Lapham Rising) and his wife moved into her house to help her husband care for their three young children ... Rosenblatt draws sharply etched portraits of his grandchildren; his stoic, gentle son-in-law; his wife, who feels slightly guilty that she is living her daughter's life; and Amy emerges as a smart, prickly, selfless figure whose significance the author never registered until her death."

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck. "This book - literally - changed my life. Dweck, a Stanford researcher, examines why some people get stuck and find limits, and why some don't. Absolutely blew my mind."

Mommies Who Drink: Sex, Drugs, and Other Distant Memories of an Ordinary Mom by Brett Paesel. "It may not be for everyone because of the raunchiness but if you want a chuckle, it’s worth it. Here is the part from Amazon that I feel sums up her humor: Paesel's willingness to mock herself even allows her to milk a laugh from a postpartum visit to a therapist. "I'm so unhappy," she cries. "I hate myself. I hate my life. I feel like it's never going to change." After a while, the therapist makes a suggestion. "Maybe we should think about antidepressants.'' "What?" Paesel thinks. "It's not that bad." And guess what? She eventually finds that motherhood is not that bad. In fact, she likes it, which is lucky, since Hollywood demands a happy ending. Even so, it's safe to say that if there's Jell-O around, this mommy wants not a lollipop but a vodka-infused "shooter."

Money Doesn't Grow On Trees: A Parent's Guide to Raising Financially Responsible Children by Neale S. Godfrey. "Great ideas for teaching money management to kids." (I am so getting this. My 11 year old evidently thinks iphone apps grown on trees.)

The Omnivore's Dilemma for Kids: The Secrets Behind What You Eat (and anything else) by Michael Pollan. "A kid's version for Omnivore's Dilemna. Pass it on to the next generation."

One and the Same: My Life as an Identical Twin and What I've Learned About Everyone's Struggle to Be Singular by Abigail Pogrebin. "Not only for twins or parents of twins, this is a very interesting look at what it means to be a 'double' and how even as singletons we can learn from the unique twin relationship."

Open: An Autobiography by J R Moerhinger. “This may be an unpopular opinion, but OHMYGOD is Andre Agassi a whiny little bitch. I love JR Moerhinger's memoir (The Tender Bar), so I wanted to read this Agassi memoir to see how one of my favorite writers handled Agassi's story. The writing is only as strong as Agassi's life will allow, but it's relatively well written. I'll confess to having skimmed through some of the earlier chapters because I wanted to get to the parts about Brooke Shields (I know, I'm shallow). Worth the read whether in paperback, second-hand hardcover, or from the library.” and: “Andre opens up his life, heart and mind for inspection in a highly detailed personal account notable for its eloquence and humor. One need not be a tennis or an Agassi fan to be gripped by the experiences of a little boy whose relentless father determined that his son would one day be the best tennis player in the world.”

The Politician: An Insider's Account of John Edwards's Pursuit of the Presidency and the Scandal That Brought Him Down by Andrew Young. "I read every delicious word of this insider account of John Edwards, Elizabeth Edwards, Rielle Hunter and their whole dysfunctional and ridiculous relationships to each other. Andrew Young was Edwards closest aide -- and the one who pretended to be Rielle Hunter's baby's father -- and has great detail into Edwards narcissism, Elizabeth's nastiness and Rielle's total craziness. Reading the book, you'll have to keep reminding yourself that this is all true story, and the man was running for president!"

Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World's Stolen Treasures by Robert K. Wittman and John Shiffman. John Shiffman is a Landon grad, so I can offer this testimony: If this book is as good as the parties he had in his basement circa 1983, it’s bound to be worth reading. One Amazon reviewer writes: "Priceless has just about everything you'd want in a book, with appeal to all sorts of readers. In light of the recent art heist in Paris, this is timely and fascinating. Wittman's exploits do indeed read like a crime thriller, keeping the pages turning in a breathless fashion."

The River of Doubt : Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey by Candace Millard.
"A gripping account of Roosevelt’s trip through the Amazon in the early 1900s."

Rosa Lee: A Mother and Her Family in Urban America by Leon Dash. "A devastating in depth view of the underclass in DC. I read it in 2 days."

Saved by Her Enemy: An Iraqi woman's journey from the heart of war to the heartland of America by Don Teague. "This has a compelling narrative like all the great stories in history: A hero goes on an epic mission; he faces great trials and obstacles; he finally conquers the goal; and, in the end, he learns lessons about the world and himself. In Mr. Teague's story, the beautiful lessons are that we are all united by our common humanity and that God's love, as seen through our relationships, is more powerful than divisions of race, religion or nationality. 'Saved by Her Enemy' is a true story, but it feels like a parable that teaches us once again that God is at work in this world - even in a war zone - and loving our neighbors as ourselves will result in miracles."

Seven Days in the Art World by Sarah Thorton. "If you really like contemporary art and always wonder how art value is determined, then you'll enjoy this very thorough examination into the art world -- from auction house to gallery to prestigious art institute. If you aren't interested in the topic, the book isn't for you."

The Shelter of Each Other by Mary Pipher (author of reviving Ophelia). From Amazon: "As she tells stories of families, her own and others, therapist Pipher focuses on small victories in what she calls 'the current family-hurting culture.' Distancing herself from therapies that pathologize families, Pipher claims to have experienced the power of hope that can be stimulated through carefully chosen family stories. In even the most dysfunctional families, she discerns threads of connectedness that have led to empowerment of her clients as they became more capable of handling their own lives."

Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern. Halpern, 29 years old, moves back in with his 74 year old dad, who is, according to some, like a potty-mouthed prophet. Maybe he's just potty-mouthed, but either way, he's hilarious. Justin started tweeting things his dad says, and found himself himself with 1.4 million followers on Twitter, and now a book.

The Six O'Clock Scramble: Quick, Healthy, and Delicious Dinner Recipes for Busy Families by Aviva Goldfarb. "Seriously, this cookbook has changed our lives! Simple, quick, family friendly recipes that we have all enjoyed. Organized seasonally and by week, it will save you both shopping and cooking time."

Start-Up Nation by Dan Senor & Paul Singer. "Start-Up Nation is a book on economics but much more it is a book on the mind set of an entrepreneurial country. No charts or formulas are given, rather the authors delve into why a new nation found that in order to survive it had to develop a philosophy that encompasses quick decisions and great democratization power. An economic beach read."

Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan by Greg Mortenson. "A follow-on to Mortenson's first book, this is his account of the amazing lengths people will go to for the opportunity of an education, and describes the work of his remarkable crew."

The Talent Code: Greatness Isn't Born. It's Grown. Here's How. by Daniel Coyle.
Is talent born or bred? Coyle says some of both, and points the reader on a practical path to develop his or her own talents. Great in conjunction with Drive and Mindset."

When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris. "If David Sedaris were not gay, and in a committed relationship, I would marry him. This collection of essays is funny, wry, slightly tipsy and a definite read-when-you-need-a-laugh book."

Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything by Geneen Roth. "I have been recommended this book by many friends, and have to admit that it's not really for me, as I've not suffered from an ill relationship with food. But I know many have, and many have received comfort and direction from this book, so I'm recommending it."

Why We Suck: A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid by Dennis Leary. "'nuf said"

Yeah Dave's Guide to Livin' the Moment: Getting to Ecstasy Through Wine, Chocolate and Your iPod Playlist by David Romanelli. (From Amazon:) "Yahoo! blogger and co-founder of a "progressive" Phoenix, Ariz. yoga studio, shares his Zen approach to happiness in this guide to the care and feeding of a live-the-moment lifestyle: 'Everyday, if you can enjoy one delicious moment...you will soon recognize a meaningful life is no further away than a box of chocolates... your walk to work, and a little... laughter.'"

No comments: