Holiday Season is Approaching…
Long lines at airport security, football on tv and a starch overdose may be in your future this month but in between travel, cooking and black Friday shopping, be thankful for some quiet time and pick up a new book. I’m looking forward to another novel from one of my favorite authors, John Boyne, a follow up to Michelle Obama’s best seller, a biography of choreographer, George Balantine, a memoir by U2’s Bono, a tell all from one of our favorite Friends, Matthew Perry, and more.
Edith and Ashley have been best friends for over forty-two years. They’ve shared the mundane and the momentous together: trick or treating and binge drinking; Gilligan’s Island reruns and REM concerts; hickeys and heartbreak; surprise Scottish wakes; marriages, infertility, and children. As Ash says, “Edi’s memory is like the back-up hard drive for mine.”
But now the unthinkable has happened. Edi is dying of ovarian cancer and spending her last days at a hospice near Ash, who stumbles into heartbreak surrounded by her daughters, ex(ish) husband, dear friends, a poorly chosen lover (or two), and a rotating cast of beautifully, fleetingly human hospice characters.
As The Fiddler on the Roof soundtrack blasts all day long from the room next door, Edi and Ash reminisce, hold on, and try to let go. Meanwhile, Ash struggles with being an imperfect friend, wife, and parent–with life, in other words, distilled to its heartbreaking, joyful, and comedic essence.
Sylvie Pelletier is the irrepressible young heroine of this sweeping historical novel, set in Moonstone, Colorado, 1907. Hers is the tale of a hardscrabble education, about right and wrong, and the consequences of speaking out against injustice.
In a voice full of questions and sly humor, Sylvie recounts the story of leaving her family’s snowbound mountain cabin to work in the local manor house for the Padgetts, owners of the marble mining company that employs her father and dominates the town. Sharp-eyed Sylvie is awed by the luxury around her, fascinated by her employer, the charming “Countess” Inge, and confused by the erratic affections of Jasper, the bookish heir to the family fortune. When she learns that a European King will soon arrive for a hunting party, her fairy-tale ideas of glamour and romance take a dark turn, as she realizes the Padgetts’ lofty philosophical talk is at odds with the unfair labor practices that have enriched them. Their servants, the Gradys, descendants of formerly enslaved people have long known this to be true—and are making plans to form a utopian community on the Colorado prairie.
Outside the manor walls, Moonstone is roiling with discontent. A handsome union organizer, along with labor leader Mary Harris “Mother” Jones, is stirring up the quarry workers. The editor of the local newspaper—a bold woman who takes Sylvie on as apprentice—is publishing unflattering accounts of the Padgett Company. Threats of violence permeate the air. Sylvie navigates between vastly different worlds, and struggles to find her own voice amidst conflicting loves and loyalties. When the harsh and dangerous winter brings tragedy, Sylvie must choose between silence and revenge.
Drawn from true stories of Colorado history, Gilded Mountain is an unforgettable saga of a bygone American West seized by robber barons and settled by immigrants; a novel about resilience in the midst of hardship, and a story infused with longing—for family and equality, beauty and joy.
June 1941. Hitler’s armies race toward vulnerable Leningrad. In a matter of weeks, the Nazis surround the city, cut off the food supply, and launch a vicious bombardment. Widowed violinist Sofya Karavayeva and her teenage granddaughter, Yelena, are cornered in the crumbling city.
On Leningrad’s outskirts, Admiral Vasili Antonov defends his homeland and fights for a future with Sofya. Meanwhile, Yelena’s soldier fiancé transports food across the Ice Road–part of the desperate effort to save Leningrad. With their help, the two women inch toward survival, but the war still exacts a steep personal price, even as Sofya’s reckoning with a family secret threatens to finish what Hitler started.
Equal parts war epic, family saga, and love story, Lost Souls of Leningrad brings to vivid life this little-known chapter of World War II in a tale of two remarkable women–grandmother and granddaughter–separated by years and experience but of one heart in their devotion to each other and the men they love. Neither the oppression of Stalin nor the brutality of Hitler can destroy their courage, compassion, or will in this testament to resilience.
A cherished heirloom opens up a century of secrets in a bittersweet novel about family, hard truths, and self-discovery by the author of Millicent Glenn’s Last Wish.
Melanie Barnett thinks she has it all together. With an ex-fiancé and a pending promotion at a Kentucky bourbon distillery, Melanie has figured out that love and career don’t mix. Until she makes a discovery while cleaning her Jordan MX car, a scarlet-red symbol of the Jazz Age’s independent women that she inherited from her great-great-great-aunt Violet. Its secret compartment holds Violet’s weathered journal—within it an intriguing message: Take from this story what you will, Melanie, and you can bury the rest. Melanie wonders what more there is to learn from Violet’s past.
In 1921 Violet Bond defers to no one. Hers is a life of adventure in Detroit, the hub of the motorcar boom and the fastest growing city in America. But in an era of speakeasies, financial windfalls, free-spirited friends, and unexpected romance, it’s easy to spin out of control.
Now, as Melanie’s own world takes unexpected turns, her life and Violet’s life intersect. Generations apart, they’re coming into their own and questioning what modern womanhood—and happiness—really means.
Introducing the little-known story of the daring women who rode through war-torn Europe, carrying secrets on their shoulders . . .
An orphan coming of age without a penny to her name, Marion joins the Women’s Royal Navy Service (the “Wrens”) as a motorcycle despatch rider on the Western Front, assigned to train and deliver carrier pigeons to the front line. Despite the hardships and constant threat of danger, Marion feels as if she finally belongs and that she has a purpose. Meanwhile, she and her childhood best friend, Eddie, dream of a future after the war—until tragedy strikes.
A society girl, Evelyn has overcome a childhood disability and has found her true passion in automobile racing. When England enters WWII, Evelyn sees an opportunity to use her skills as a despatch rider, but her parents threaten to cut her off if she doesn’t start acting like a lady and marry the man they have chosen for her.
Meanwhile, a fellow Wren shows up at Marion’s door with an unwelcome call to return to her service.
Told in alternating narratives that converge in a single life-changing moment, The Call of the Wrens is a vivid, emotional saga of love, war, secrets, and resilience.
In an inspiring follow-up to her critically acclaimed, #1 bestselling memoir Becoming, former First Lady Michelle Obama shares practical wisdom and powerful strategies for staying hopeful and balanced in today’s highly uncertain world.
There may be no tidy solutions or pithy answers to life’s big challenges, but Michelle Obama believes that we can all locate and lean on a set of tools to help us better navigate change and remain steady within flux. In The Light We Carry, she opens a frank and honest dialogue with readers, considering the questions many of us wrestle with: How do we build enduring and honest relationships? How can we discover strength and community inside our differences? What tools do we use to address feelings of self-doubt or helplessness? What do we do when it all starts to feel like too much?
Michelle Obama offers readers a series of fresh stories and insightful reflections on change, challenge, and power, including her belief that when we light up for others, we can illuminate the richness and potential of the world around us, discovering deeper truths and new pathways for progress. Drawing from her experiences as a mother, daughter, spouse, friend, and First Lady, she shares the habits and principles she has developed to successfully adapt to change and overcome various obstacles—the earned wisdom that helps her continue to “become.” She details her most valuable practices, like “starting kind,” “going high,” and assembling a “kitchen table” of trusted friends and mentors. With trademark humor, candor, and compassion, she also explores issues connected to race, gender, and visibility, encouraging readers to work through fear, find strength in community, and live with boldness.
“When we are able to recognize our own light, we become empowered to use it,” writes Michelle Obama. A rewarding blend of powerful stories and profound advice that will ignite conversation, The Light We Carry inspires readers to examine their own lives, identify their sources of gladness, and connect meaningfully in a turbulent world.
Bono–artist, activist, and the lead singer of Irish rock band U2–has written a memoir: honest and irreverent, intimate and profound, Surrender is the story of the remarkable life he’s lived, the challenges he’s faced, and the friends and family who have shaped and sustained him.
“When I started to write this book, I was hoping to draw in detail what I’d previously only sketched in songs. The people, places, and possibilities in my life. Surrender is a word freighted with meaning for me. Growing up in Ireland in the seventies with my fists up (musically speaking), it was not a natural concept. A word I only circled until I gathered my thoughts for the book. I am still grappling with this most humbling of commands. In the band, in my marriage, in my faith, in my life as an activist. Surrender is the story of one pilgrim’s lack of progress … With a fair amount of fun along the way.” –Bono
As one of the music world’s most iconic artists and the cofounder of the organizations ONE and (RED), Bono’s career has been written about extensively. But in Surrender, it’s Bono who picks up the pen, writing for the first time about his remarkable life and those he has shared it with. In his unique voice, Bono takes us from his early days growing up in Dublin, including the sudden loss of his mother when he was fourteen, to U2’s unlikely journey to become one of the world’s most influential rock bands, to his more than twenty years of activism dedicated to the fight against AIDS and extreme poverty. Writing with candor, self-reflection, and humor, Bono opens the aperture on his life–and the family, friends, and faith that have sustained, challenged, and shaped him.
Surrender‘s subtitle, 40 Songs, One Story, is a nod to the book’s forty chapters, which are each named after a U2 song. Bono has also created forty original drawings for Surrender, which appear throughout the book.
Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum-selling artist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Fat Joe pulls back the curtain on his larger-than-life persona in this gritty, intimate memoir about growing up in the South Bronx and finding his voice through music.
Fat Joe is a hip-hop legend, but this is not a tale of celebrity; it is the story of Joseph Cartagena, a kid who came of age in the South Bronx during its darkest years of drugs, violence, and abandonment, and how he navigated that traumatizing landscape until he found—through art, friendship, luck, and will—a rocky path to a different life.
Joe was born into a sprawling Puerto Rican and Cuban family in the projects of the South Bronx. From infancy his life is threatened by violence, and by the time he starts middle school, he is forced to make a life-shaping choice: to be prey or predator. Soon, Joe and his crew rise up to dominate the streets—dodging bullets and betrayal all along the way—but he discovers his true strength in the street corner ciphers where the Bronx’s wild energy took musical form. His identity splits in two: a hustler roaming record stores, looking for beats; a budding rapper whose rep rings in the streets. As his day-to-day life becomes more and more fraught—he is shot and almost killed and watches as family and friends fall to prison, addiction, and even death—he gravitates toward the music that gives him both a voice to tell the stories of his young life and the tools he needs to create a new one. The challenges never stopped—but neither did Joe.
This memoir, written in Joe’s own intensely compelling voice, moves with the momentum of pulp fiction, but underneath the tragicomedy and riveting tales of the streets and the industry is a thought-provoking story about a generation of survivors raised in warlike conditions—the life-and-death choices they had to make, the friends they lost and mourned, the regrets that haunted them, and the enduring art and glittering lives they created from the ruins.
A deeply moving and brilliantly idiosyncratic visual book of days by the National Book Award–winning author of Just Kids and M Train, featuring more than 365 images and reflections that chart Smith’s singular aesthetic—inspired by her wildly popular Instagram.
In 2018, without any plan or agenda for what might happen next, Patti Smith posted her first Instagram photo: her hand with the simple message “Hello Everybody!” Known for shooting with her beloved Land Camera 250, Smith started posting images from her phone including portraits of her kids, her radiator, her boots, and her Abyssinian cat, Cairo. Followers felt an immediate affinity with these miniature windows into Smith’s world, photographs of her daily coffee, the books she’s reading, the graves of beloved heroes—William Blake, Dylan Thomas, Sylvia Plath, Simone Weil, Albert Camus. Over time, a coherent story of a life devoted to art took shape, and more than a million followers responded to Smith’s unique aesthetic in images that chart her passions, devotions, obsessions, and whims. Original to this book are vintage photographs: anniversary pearls, a mother’s keychain, and a husband’s Mosrite guitar. Here, too, are photos from Smith’s archives of life on and off the road, train stations, obscure cafés, a notebook always nearby. In wide-ranging yet intimate daily notations, Smith shares dispatches from her travels around the world.
With over 365 photographs taking you through a single year, A Book of Days is a new way to experience the expansive mind of the visionary poet, writer, and performer. Hopeful, elegiac, playful—and complete with an introduction by Smith that explores her documentary process—A Book of Days is a timeless offering for deeply uncertain times, an inspirational map of an artist’s life.
“A fascinating read about a true genius and his unrelenting thirst for beauty in art and in life.”–MIKHAIL BARYSHNIKOV
Based on a decade of unprecedented research, the first major biography of George Balanchine, a broad-canvas portrait set against the backdrop of the tumultuous century that shaped the man The New York Times called “the Shakespeare of dancing”–from the bestselling author of Apollo’s Angels
Arguably the greatest choreographer who ever lived, George Balanchine was one of the cultural titans of the twentieth century–The New York Times called him “the Shakespeare of dancing.” His radical approach to choreography–and life–reinvented the art of ballet and made him a legend. Written with enormous style and artistry, and based on more than one hundred interviews and research in archives across Russia, Europe, and the Americas, Mr. B carries us through Balanchine’s tumultuous and high-pitched life story and into the making of his extraordinary dances.
Balanchine’s life intersected with some of the biggest historical events of his century. Born in Russia under the last czar, Balanchine experienced the upheavals of World War I, the Russian Revolution, exile, World War II, and the Cold War. A co-founder of the New York City Ballet, he pressed ballet in America to the forefront of modernism and made it a popular art. None of this was easy, and we see his loneliness and failures, his five marriages–all to dancers–and many loves. We follow his bouts of ill health and spiritual crises, and learn of his profound musical skills and sensibility and his immense determination to make some of the most glorious, strange, and beautiful dances ever to grace the modern stage.
With full access to Balanchine’s papers and many of his dancers, Jennifer Homans, the dance critic for The New Yorker and a former dancer herself, has spent more than a decade researching Balanchine’s life and times to write a vast history of the twentieth century through the lens of one of its greatest artists: the definitive biography of the man his dancers called Mr. B.
A magnetic tale of betrayal, art, and ambition, set in the world of professional ballet, New York City during the AIDS crisis, and present-day Los Angeles
Carlisle Martin dreams of becoming a professional ballet dancer just like her mother, Isabel, a former Balanchine ballerina. Since they live in Ohio, she only gets to see her father Robert for a few precious weeks a year when she visits Greenwich Village, where he lives in an enchanting apartment on Bank Street with his partner, James.
Brilliant but troubled, James gives Carlisle an education in all that he holds dear in life–literature, music, and most of all, dance. Seduced by the heady pull of mentorship and the sophistication of their lives, Carlisle’s aspiration to become a dancer herself blooms, born of her desire to be asked to stay at Bank Street, to be included in Robert and James’ world even as AIDS brings devastation to their community. Instead, a passionate love affair creates a rift between them, with devastating consequences that reverberate for decades to come.
Nineteen years later, Carlisle receives a phone call which unravels the fateful events of her life, causing her to see with new eyes how her younger self has informed the woman she’s become. They’re Going to Love You is a gripping and gorgeously written novel of heartbreaking intensity. With psychological precision and a masterfully revealed secret at its heart, it asks what it takes to be an artist in America, and the price of forgiveness, of ambition, and of love.
Sid Halley is back and he has a new left hand having had a transplant since his last appearance in Refusal. An ex-jockey trainer friend calls him to ask for his help in finding out who has threatened him but Sid has his own problems of a marital nature, and he puts the friend off for a couple of days. However, the very next morning, the friend’s stable yard is torched, horses killed, and then the friend is found dead. The police think it’s suicide but Sid is not convinced. Sid starts to investigate and soon finds himself embroiled in a conspiracy that cuts to the very heart of the integrity of British horse racing. Can Sid get to the bottom of what’s going on before he too becomes a victim, while, at the same time, saving his marriage?
In an extraordinary story that only he could tell, Matthew Perry takes readers onto the soundstage of the most successful sitcom of all time while opening up about his private struggles with addiction. Candid, self-aware, and told with his trademark humor, Perry vividly details his lifelong battle with the disease and what fueled it despite seemingly having it all.
Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing is an unforgettable memoir that shares the most intimate details of the love Perry lost, his darkest days, and his greatest friends.
Unflinchingly honest, moving, and hilarious: this is the book fans have been waiting for.
From the author of A Little Hope—a Read with Jenna Bonus Pick—comes an enormously powerful and life-affirming novel about three individuals facing challenges and grappling with loss in his or her own way.
Chuck Ayers can’t decide if he should make the trip to Hilton Head this winter without his wife, Cat. Cat died in the spring, and though he cannot bear another moment of being alone in their home, the thought of making the familiar journey without her—not stopping at their favorite lunch spot or listening to her beloved Broadway tunes on the way, not sitting on the beach or playing cards once there—is unimaginable.
Ella Burke delivers newspapers and works at a bridal shop to pass the time while she waits for news—any piece of information—about her missing daughter. She adjusts to life in a new apartment and answers every call on her phone, thinking her daughter will reach out one day.
Kirsten Bonato works at an animal rescue shelter and thinks daily about her father who was killed in a convenience store robbery. Once on track to become a veterinarian, Kirsten now feels lost and unmoored. But her complicated feelings for two of her colleagues are a distraction from her pain.
The lives of these three individuals intersect in unforeseen ways, as each character bravely presses onward, trying to recover something they have lost. Tender, emotionally powerful, and infused with hope, A Quiet Life explores how grief shapes our choices and shows that no matter how dark the most difficult moments in life can be, our humanity and capacity for forgiveness shine through.
Arresting and powerful, Flight examines the possibility and pain of fierce love and hope in our time of looming existential threats.” — Lily King, New York Times bestselling author of Writers & Lovers
Suspenseful, dazzling and moving.” — Rumaan Alam, New York Times bestselling author of Leave the World Behind
It’s December twenty-second and siblings Henry, Kate, and Martin have converged with their spouses on Henry’s house in upstate New York. This is the first Christmas the siblings are without their mother, the first not at their mother’s Florida house. Over the course of the next three days, old resentments and instabilities arise as the siblings, with a gaggle of children afoot, attempt to perform familiar rituals, while also trying to decide what to do with their mother’s house, their sole inheritance. As tensions rise, the whole group is forced to come together unexpectedly when a local mother and daughter need help.
With the urgency and artfulness that cemented her previous novel Want as “a defining novel of our age” (Vulture), Strong once again turns her attention to the structural and systemic failings that are haunting Americans, but also to the ways in which family, friends, and strangers can support each other through the gaps. Flight is a novel of family, ambition, precarity, art, and desire, one that forms a powerful next step from a brilliant chronicler of our time.
LIFE IS FULL OF GUARDIAN ANGELS.
Lucas Goodgame lives in Majestic, Pennsylvania, a quaint suburb that has been torn apart by a recent tragedy. Everyone in Majestic sees Lucas as a hero—everyone, that is, except Lucas himself. Insisting that his deceased wife, Darcy, visits him every night in the form of an angel, Lucas spends his time writing letters to his former Jungian analyst, Karl. It is only when Eli, an eighteen-year-old young man whom the community has ostracized, begins camping out in Lucas’s backyard that an unlikely alliance takes shape and the two embark on a journey to heal their neighbors and, most important, themselves.
From Matthew Quick, the New York Times bestselling author of The Silver Linings Playbook—made into the Academy Award–winning movie starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper—We Are the Light is an unforgettable novel about the quicksand of grief and the daily miracle of love. The humorous, soul-baring story of Lucas Goodgame offers an antidote to toxic masculinity and celebrates the healing power of art. In this tale that will stay with you long after the final page is turned, Quick reminds us that guardian angels are all around us—sometimes in the forms we least expect.
Candid, insightful, and wildly entertaining essays about life, love, and lessons learned as an actress in Hollywood, from the beloved star of Gilmore Girls and New York Times bestselling author of Talking as Fast as I Can.
With her signature sense of humor and down-to-earth storytelling, Lauren Graham opens up about her years working in the entertainment business—from the sublime to the ridiculous—and shares personal stories about everything from family and friendship to the challenges of aging gracefully in Hollywood. In “RIP Barneys New York,” she writes about an early job as a salesperson at the legendary department store — and the time she inadvertently shoplifted; in “Ne Oublie” she warns us about the perils of coming from an extremely forgetful family; and in “Actor-y Factory” she recounts what a day in the life of an actor looks like (unless you’re Brad Pitt).
Filled with surprising anecdotes, sage advice, and laugh-out-loud observations, Graham’s latest collection of all-new, original essays showcases the winning charm and wit that she’s known for.
Sixteen-year-old Frankie Budge—aspiring writer, indifferent student, offbeat loner—is determined to make it through yet another sad summer in Coalfield, Tennessee, when she meets Zeke, a talented artist who is as lonely and awkward as she is.
As romantic and creative sparks begin to fly, Frankie and Zeke make an unsigned poster that becomes unforgettable to anyone who sees it. Copies of their work are everywhere in town, and rumours start to fly about who might be behind the ubiquitous posters: Satanists? Kidnappers? Soon, the mystery has dangerous repercussions that spread further afield, and the art that brought Frankie and Zeke together now threatens to tear them apart.
Twenty years later, Frances Eleanor Budge—famous author, mother to a wonderful daughter, wife to a loving husband—gets a call that threatens to upend everything: a journalist asks if Frances might know something about the Coalfield Panic of 1996. Could Frances’ past destroy the life she has so carefully built?
A bold coming-of-age story, written with Kevin Wilson’s trademark wit and blazing prose, Now Is Not the Time to Panic is a nuanced exploration of young love, identity and the power of art. It’s also about the secrets that haunt us—and, ultimately, what the truth will set free.
Ninety-one-year-old Gretel Fernsby has lived in the same well-to-do mansion block in London for decades. She lives a quiet, comfortable life, despite her deeply disturbing, dark past. She doesn’t talk about her escape from Nazi Germany at age 12. She doesn’t talk about the grim post-war years in France with her mother. Most of all, she doesn’t talk about her father, who was the commandant of one of the Reich’s most notorious extermination camps.
Then, a new family moves into the apartment below her. In spite of herself, Gretel can’t help but begin a friendship with the little boy, Henry, though his presence brings back memories she would rather forget. One night, she witnesses a disturbing, violent argument between Henry’s beautiful mother and his arrogant father, one that threatens Gretel’s hard-won, self-contained existence.
All The Broken Places moves back and forth in time between Gretel’s girlhood in Germany to present-day London as a woman whose life has been haunted by the past. Now, Gretel faces a similar crossroads to one she encountered long ago. Back then, she denied her own complicity, but now, faced with a chance to interrogate her guilt, grief and remorse, she can choose to save a young boy. If she does, she will be forced to reveal the secrets she has spent a lifetime protecting. This time, she can make a different choice than before — whatever the cost to herself….
From the New York Times bestselling author John Boyne, a devastating, beautiful story about a woman who must confront the sins of her own terrible past, and a present in which it is never too late for bravery.