The Fifth Act: America's End in Afghanistan by Elliot AckermanWhat it's about: In the summer of 2021, combat veteran Elliot Ackerman found himself pulled back into the war in Afghanistan as the country fell to the Taliban.
What happened next: Ackerman and a makeshift network of journalists, fellow veterans, and colleagues coordinated evacuation efforts for hundreds of Afghans stranded at the Kabul airport.
Read it for: a haunting and thought-provoking indictment of the foreign policy failures behind America's longest war.
Path Lit by Lightning: The Life of Jim Thorpe by David MaranissWhat it is: a well-researched and insightful biography of multi-hyphenate athlete Jim Thorpe, the first Indigenous American to win Olympic gold for the United States (though he was later stripped of his medals).
Why you should read it: Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Maraniss looks at the man beyond the myth, exploring how Thorpe grappled with racist treatment, poverty and alcoholism, and fraught family relationships amid his career triumphs.
Did you know? Thorpe made headlines in July when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) reinstated his medals after 110 years.
A Place in the World: Finding the Meaning of Home by Frances MayesWhat it's about: "what home means, how it hooks the past and pushes into the future."
What's inside: Under the Tuscan Sun author Frances Mayes' evocative reflections of the places she's lived throughout her life, including Fitzgerald, GA; Cortona, Italy; San Francisco, CA; and Hillsborough, NC.
Who it's for: Homebodies and wanderers alike will find much to appreciate in Mayes' poignant and lyrical latest.
Acceptance by Emi NietfeldWhat it is: a page-turning coming-of-age memoir from Harvard-educated software engineer Emi Nietfeld, who fought many hard-won battles on her unlikely path to success.
Is it for you? Nietfeld's unflinching debut tackles difficult topics, including her parents' abuse and her placement in foster care, periods of homelessness, and suicide attempts.
Reviewers say: "a radical probe into our society's insistence on resiliency through unthinkable struggles" (Booklist).
Shy : the alarmingly outspoken memoirs of Mary Rodgers
by Mary Rodgers
What it is: these memoirs of the theater star, author of books for young people, and chairman of the Juilliard School serve as both an eyewitness account from the Golden Age of American musical theater.
About the author: Mary Rodgers was an accomplished composer, author, and screenwriter. She was the author of the novel Freaky Friday and its 1976 screenplay adaptation. Rodgers also wrote the music for Once Upon a Mattress, which was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Musical.
Reviewers say: "The book is pure pleasure ― except when it’s jaw-droppingly shocking"(The New York Times Book Review) and "a Broadway tell-all that deserves to become a classic of music theater lore" (Kirkus Reviews).
Focus on: Hispanic Heritage Month
The Soul of a Woman: On Impatient Love, Long Life, and Good Witches by Isabel AllendeWhat it is: beloved author Isabel Allende's intimate and lyrical reflections on the role that feminism has played in her life.
Topics include: Allende's career beginnings as a journalist in 1960s Chile; the roadblocks she encountered while attempting to publish her first novel, 1982's The House of the Spirits; aging, sex, and family life.
Who it's for: fans of Allende's work will appreciate this empowering memoir/manifesto and the lessons shared within.
In the dream house : a memoir
by Carmen Maria Machado
What it is: tracing the full arc of a harrowing relationship with a charismatic but volatile woman, Machado struggles to make sense of how what happened to her shaped the person she was becoming.
Read it for: the author's engrossing and wildly innovative account of a relationship gone bad, and a bold dissection of the mechanisms and cultural representations of psychological abuse.
About the author: Carmen Maria Machado is the author of Her Body and Other Parties, which was a finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Prize.
Once I Was You: A Memoir of Love and Hate in a Torn America by Maria HinojosaWhat it's about: Mexico-born journalist Maria Hinojosa's immigrant experiences and her time spent reporting on others' immigration stories.
Read it for: a thought-provoking and impassioned exploration of the failures of U.S. immigration policy.
Book buzz: Once I Was You was named a Best Book of 2020 by NPR and Real Simple.
I Am These Truths: A Memoir of Identity, Justice, and Living Between Worlds by Sunny HostinWhat it's about: The View co-host and ABC News legal analyst Sunny Hostin's life and career.
Topics include: Hostin's loving yet dysfunctional childhood; her Afro Latina identity; making a name for herself in an industry that isn't always hospitable to women of color.
Reviewers say: "inspiring" (Booklist); "educational" (Kirkus Reviews).
Trejo: My Life of Crime, Redemption, and Hollywood by Danny Trejo with Donal LogueWhat it is: an inspiring, no-holds-barred memoir from perennial Hollywood bad guy Danny Trejo, whose remarkable career has spanned more than 400 film and TV appearances.
Topics include: the "macho Chicanismo" of Trejo's youth; his addiction battles and stints in Folsom and San Quentin prisons; finding faith, sobriety, and success in the entertainment industry.
Want a taste? "A bad day on a movie will always be a million times better than your best day in prison."
Contact your librarian for more great books!