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Biography

1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows

1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows

Ai WeiWei
$32.00
NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS' CHOICE - In Ai Weiwei's widely anticipated memoir, "one of the most important artists working in the world today" (Financial Times) tells a century-long epic tale of China through the story of his own extraordinary life and the legacy of his father, the nation's most celebrated poet.

ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: Time, BookPage, Booklist, Kirkus Reviews - "With uncommon humanity, humbling scholarship, and poignant intimacy, Ai Weiwei recounts a life of courage, argument, defeat, and triumph. His is one of the great voices of our time."--Andrew Solomon

Hailed as "an eloquent and seemingly unsilenceable voice of freedom" by The New York Times, Ai Weiwei has written a sweeping memoir that presents a remarkable history of China over the last hundred years while also illuminating his artistic process.

Once an intimate of Mao Zedong and the nation's most celebrated poet, Ai Weiwei's father, Ai Qing, was branded a rightist during the Cultural Revolution, and he and his family were banished to a desolate place known as "Little Siberia," where Ai Qing was sentenced to hard labor cleaning public toilets. Ai Weiwei recounts his childhood in exile, and his difficult decision to leave his family to study art in America, where he befriended Allen Ginsberg and was inspired by Andy Warhol. With candor and wit, he details his return to China and his rise from artistic unknown to art world superstar and international human rights activist--and how his work has been shaped by living under a totalitarian regime.

Ai Weiwei's sculptures and installations have been viewed by millions around the globe, and his architectural achievements include helping to design the iconic Bird's Nest Olympic Stadium in Beijing. His political activism has long made him a target of the Chinese authorities, which culminated in months of secret detention without charge in 2011. Here, for the first time, Ai Weiwei explores the origins of his exceptional creativity and passionate political beliefs through his life story and that of his father, whose creativity was stifled.

At once ambitious and intimate, Ai Weiwei's 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows offers a deep understanding of the myriad forces that have shaped modern China, and serves as a timely reminder of the urgent need to protect freedom of expression.

Roxanne says: Weiwei's memoir impetus was his two months in Chinese solitary confinement where he regretted so deeply his lack of empathy for his own father’s plight that he penned his backstory.  Thus, Weiwei’s memoir is his father's biography as much as his own memoir and reads similar to Laura Hillenbrand’s heroic and riveting biography Unbroken.


Naked Don't Fear the Water: An Underground Journey with Afghan Refugees

Naked Don't Fear the Water: An Underground Journey with Afghan Refugees

Aikins, Matthieu
$27.99

A NYTBR Editor's Choice

"This is a book of radical empathy, crossing many borders - not just borders that separate nations, but also borders of form, borders of meaning, and borders of possibility. It is powerful and humane and deserves to find a wide, wandering readership." -- Mohsin Hamid, author of Exit West

In this extraordinary book, an acclaimed young war reporter chronicles a dangerous journey on the smuggler's road to Europe, accompanying his friend, an Afghan refugee, in search of a better future.

In 2016, a young Afghan driver and translator named Omar makes the heart-wrenching choice to flee his war-torn country, saying goodbye to Laila, the love of his life, without knowing when they might be reunited again. He is one of millions of refugees who leave their homes that year.

Matthieu Aikins, a journalist living in Kabul, decides to follow his friend. In order to do so, he must leave his own passport and identity behind to go underground on the refugee trail with Omar. Their odyssey across land and sea from Afghanistan to Europe brings them face to face with the people at heart of the migration crisis: smugglers, cops, activists, and the men, women and children fleeing war in search of a better life. As setbacks and dangers mount for the two friends, Matthieu is also drawn into the escape plans of Omar's entire family, including Maryam, the matriarch who has fought ferociously for her children's survival.

Harrowing yet hopeful, this exceptional work brings into sharp focus one of the most contentious issues of our times. The Naked Don't Fear the Water is a tale of love and friendship across borders, and an inquiry into our shared journey in a divided world.

Hell and Other Destinations

Hell and Other Destinations

Albright, Madeleine
$18.99

"Richly detailed. . . an intimate portrait of a diplomat." --New Yorker

Now in paperback with a new epilogue

In this revealing, funny, and inspiring memoir, seven-time New York Times bestselling author and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright--among the most admired and tireless public servants in history--reflects on the challenge of continuing one's career far beyond the normal age of retirement.

In 2001, when Madeleine Albright was leaving office as America's first female secretary of state, interviewers asked her how she wished to be remembered. "I don't want to be remembered," she answered. "I am still here and have much more I intend to do. As difficult as it might seem, I want every stage of my life to be more exciting than the last."

In that time of transition, the former Secretary considered the possibilities: she could write, teach, travel, give speeches, start a business, fight for democracy, help to empower women, campaign for favored political candidates, spend more time with her grandchildren. Instead of choosing one or two, she decided to do it all. For nearly twenty years, Albright was in constant motion, navigating half a dozen professions, clashing with presidents and prime ministers, learning every day. After leaving the State Department, she blazed her own trail--and gave voice to millions who yearn for respect, regardless of gender, background, or age.

Hell and Other Destinations reveals this remarkable figure at her bluntest, funniest, most intimate, and most serious. It is the tale of our times anchored in lessons for all time, narrated by an extraordinary woman who had a matchless zest for life.

Volunteers

Volunteers

Alexander, Jerad W.
$26.95
"Riveting and morally complex, Volunteers is not only an insider's account of war. It takes you inside the increasingly closed culture that creates our warriors." --Elliot Ackerman, author of the National Book Award finalist Dark at the Crossing

As a child, Jerad Alexander lay in bed listening to the fighter jets take off outside his window and was desperate to be airborne. As a teenager at an American base in Japan, he immersed himself in war games, war movies, and pulpy novels about Vietnam. Obsessed with all things military, he grew up playing with guns, joined the Civil Air Patrol for the uniform, and reveled in the closed and safe life "inside the castle," within the embrace of the armed forces, the only world he knew or could imagine. Most of all, he dreamed of enlisting--like his mother, father, stepfather, and grandfather before him--and playing his part in the Great American War Story.

He joined the US Marines straight out of high school, eager for action. Once in Iraq, however, he came to realize he was fighting a lost cause, enmeshed in the ongoing War on Terror that was really just a fruitless display of American might. The myths of war, the stories of violence and masculinity and heroism, the legacy of his family--everything Alexander had planned his life around--was a mirage.

Alternating scenes from childhood with skirmishes in the Iraqi desert, this original, searing, and propulsive memoir introduces a powerful new voice in the literature of war. Jerad W. Alexander--not some elite warrior, but a simple volunteer--delivers a passionate and timely reckoning with the troubled and cyclical truths of the American war machine.

Go Back to Where You Came From

Go Back to Where You Came From

Ali, Wajahat
$26.95

This is just one of the many warm, lovely, and helpful tips that Wajahat Ali and other children of immigrants receive on a daily basis. Go back where, exactly? Fremont, California, where he grew up, but is now an unaffordable place to live? Or Pakistan, the country his parents left behind a half-century ago?

Growing up living the suburban American dream, young Wajahat devoured comic books (devoid of brown superheroes) and fielded well-intentioned advice from uncles and aunties. ("Become a doctor!") He had turmeric stains under his fingernails, was accident-prone, suffered from OCD, and wore Husky pants, but he was as American as his neighbors, with roots all over the world. Then, while Ali was studying at University of California, Berkeley, 9/11 happened. Muslims replaced communists as America's enemy #1, and he became an accidental spokesman and ambassador of all ordinary, unthreatening things Muslim-y.

Now a middle-aged dad, Ali has become one of the foremost and funniest public intellectuals in America. In Go Back to Where You Came From, he tackles the dangers of Islamophobia, white supremacy, and chocolate hummus, peppering personal stories with astute insights into national security, immigration, and pop culture. In this refreshingly bold, hopeful, and uproarious memoir, Ali offers indispensable lessons for cultivating a more compassionate, inclusive, and delicious America.

Apropos of Nothing

Apropos of Nothing

Allen, Woody
$30.00
The Long-Awaited, Enormously Entertaining Memoir by One of the Great Artists of Our Time--Now a New York Times, USA Today,
Los Angeles Times
, and Publisher's Weekly
Bestseller.

In this candid and often hilarious memoir, the celebrated director, comedian, writer, and actor offers a comprehensive, personal look at his tumultuous life. Beginning with his Brooklyn childhood and his stint as a writer for the Sid Caesar variety show in the early days of television, working alongside comedy greats, Allen tells of his difficult early days doing standup before he achieved recognition and success. With his unique storytelling pizzazz, he recounts his departure into moviemaking, with such slapstick comedies as Take the Money and Run, and revisits his entire, sixty-year-long, and enormously productive career as a writer and director, from his classics Annie Hall, Manhattan, and Annie and Her Sisters to his most recent films, including Midnight in Paris. Along the way, he discusses his marriages, his romances and famous friendships, his jazz playing, and his books and plays. We learn about his demons, his mistakes, his successes, and those he loved, worked with, and learned from in equal measure.

This is a hugely entertaining, deeply honest, rich and brilliant self-portrait of a celebrated artist who is ranked among the greatest filmmakers of our time.

Roxanne says: Our world is round as should our ability to look at an issue. This is a witty love letter to NYC and writing, with the addition of Farrow vs. Allen facts to which anyone with a heart (and the previously mentioned world view) to child advocacy should be open to at least ponder.

Becoming Duchess Goldblatt

Becoming Duchess Goldblatt

Anonymous
$15.99
One of the New York Times' 20 Books to Read in 2020

"A tonic . . . Splendid . . . A respite . . . A summer cocktail of a book."

--Washington Post

"Unforgettable . . . Behind her brilliantly witty and uplifting message is a remarkable vulnerability and candor that reminds us that we are not alone in our struggles--and that we can, against all odds, get through them."--Lori Gottlieb, New York Times best-selling author of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone

Part memoir and part joyful romp through the fields of imagination, the story behind a beloved pseudonymous Twitter account reveals how a writer deep in grief rebuilt a life worth living.

Becoming Duchess Goldblatt is two stories: that of the reclusive real-life writer who created a fictional character out of loneliness and thin air, and that of the magical Duchess Goldblatt herself, a bright light in the darkness of social media. Fans around the world are drawn to Her Grace's voice, her wit, her life-affirming love for all humanity, and the fun and friendship of the community that's sprung up around her.

@DuchessGoldblat (81 year-old literary icon, author of An Axe to Grind) brought people together in her name: in bookstores, museums, concerts, and coffee shops, and along the way, brought real friends home--foremost among them, Lyle Lovett.

"The only way to be reliably sure that the hero gets the girl at the end of the story is to be both the hero and the girl yourself." -- Duchess Goldblatt

Nora says: A funny, moving, delightful account of the creation of a fictional online character.  Duchess Goldblatt is a favorite of the literary and publishing world, plus Lyle Lovett! A fun romp, surprisingly philosophical and humane. 

Ghosting

Ghosting

Ascher, Barbara
$18.95

Married at a young age to an older man, neither he nor she doubted that he would predecease her; but she discovers that there is no preparing for the loss a beloved. Their marriage was a passionate 35 year love affair, as if the odds against its longevity engendered a rare intensity. She discovers that love has no boundaries, grief is not eternal and ?her husband's motto "Life is a love story" is so very true.

Ascher writes passionately about her unlikely marriage, her husband's illness and death and her ensuing sorrow. A witness to the insanity that grief visits upon its victims with a seeming determination to destroy, she gazes straight into the eye of grief and does not blink. In time she moves beyond that grief - her voyage out.

Ghosting is, by turns, moving and funny, tender and brutal .

The wonder of Ghosting is that Ascher, like Montaigne, calls forth Everyman.

About previous books:

Pat Conroy on Dancing In The Dark:
"One of those books that wakes you up to the life you have failed to live, ...What a wonderful book."

Publishers Weekly on The Habit of Loving: ?
"With her sharp, unflinching eye, she discovers wonder and truth at our very doorsteps."

Boston Globe on Landscape Without Gravity:
"Her honesty touches the reader's heart, opens the scars of old wounds, and helps heal them...wrenching, insightful...compelling"

Eudora Welty on Playing After Dark:
Barbara Ascher has a serious mind and the gift of a light touch.

I Came All This Way to Meet You: Writing Myself Home

I Came All This Way to Meet You: Writing Myself Home

Attenberg, Jami
$27.99

A Most Anticipated Title from: USA Today * The Guardian * Alma * Fodor's * AV Club * Vogue * KatieCouric.com * BookRiot * Lithub * BuzzFeed

From New York Times bestselling author Jami Attenberg comes a dazzling memoir about unlocking and embracing her creativity--and how it saved her life.

In this brilliant, fierce, and funny memoir of transformation, Jami Attenberg--described as a "master of modern fiction" (Entertainment Weekly) and the "poet laureate of difficult families" (Kirkus Reviews)--reveals the defining moments that pushed her to create a life, and voice, she could claim for herself. What does it take to devote oneself to art? What does it mean to own one's ideas? What does the world look like for a woman moving solo through it?

As the daughter of a traveling salesman in the Midwest, Attenberg was drawn to a life on the road. Frustrated by quotidian jobs and hungry for inspiration and fresh experiences, her wanderlust led her across the country and eventually on travels around the globe. Through it all she grapples with questions of mortality, otherworldliness, and what we leave behind.

It is during these adventures that she begins to reflect on the experiences of her youth--the trauma, the challenges, the risks she has taken. Driving across America on self-funded book tours, sometimes crashing on couches when she was broke, she keeps writing: in researching articles for magazines, jotting down ideas for novels, and refining her craft, she grows as an artist and increasingly learns to trust her gut and, ultimately, herself.

Exploring themes of friendship, independence, class, and drive, I Came All This Way to Meet You is an inspiring story of finding one's way home--emotionally, artistically, and physically--and an examination of art and individuality that will resonate with anyone determined to listen to their own creative calling.

Roxanne says: Attenberg, approaching fifty, takes us through a good portion of her life via travels to Italy, Hong Kong, and New York.  Akin to Rachel Cusk, Attenberg uses her travel  fore guideposts to reflect on her wounds and victories.  What results is a poignant, no nonsense assessment of freedom  and her own evolutionary value system.


RBG A to Z

RBG A to Z

Bailey, Nadia
$14.95
An illustrated A to Z celebrating the unparalleled impact of the phenomenon that is RBG.

This intricately illustrated and fastidiously researched book unpacks the life of RBG, who herself was larger-than-life. It explores Ruth's early days growing up in Brooklyn, New York, in her family home; her time at Cornell, where she was first in her class, and Harvard, where she was the first female member of the Havard Law Review; her persistence in fighting for gender equality, and the indelible impact she had on the world.

Featuring jaw-dropping illustrations, track Ruth's rise as one of the US's most important and celebrated judges, the impact of her legacy for women, her contribution to law and the unparalleled phenomena that is Ruth Bader Ginsberg. This book looks at the life of one of the most inspiring, influential figures in recent history - all in a brilliantly illustrated A to Z format.