Biography and Memoir
The Best Cook in the World: Tales from My Momma's Table by Rick BraggWhat it's about: In this heartfelt and nostalgic tribute to the cuisine of his Alabama childhood, author Rick Bragg (All Over but the Shoutin') shares the stories behind his family's recipes.
Recipes include: pinto beans and ham bone, baked possum.
Want a taste? "She cooks in dabs, and smidgens, and tads, and a measurement she mysteriously refers to as 'you know, hon, just some.'"
Patriot Number One: American Dreams in Chinatown by Lauren HilgersWhat it's about: After attracting powerful enemies in his home village of Wukan, Chinese dissident Zhang Liehong immigrated to New York City in 2014, finding solace among fellow Chinese exiles and activists.
Why you should read it: Timely and nuanced, Patriot Number One thoughtfully explores the struggles of modern immigration.
Reviewers say: "This book is hard to put down" (Library Journal).
The Age of Eisenhower: America and the World in the 1950s by William I. HitchcockWhat it is: a measured reevaluation of the "do-nothing" president that demonstrates the extent of his accomplishments in office.
About the author: William I. Hitchcock is a history professor at the University of Virginia and the author of The Bitter Road to Freedom: A New History of the Liberation of Europe, for which he was a Pulitzer Prize finalist.
Further reading: Jean Edward Smith's Eisenhower: In War and Peace.
The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath by Leslie JamisonWhat it is: a candid and galvanizing memoir of Leslie Jamison's recovery from the alcohol addiction that dominated her 20s.
What's inside: perceptive profiles of famous alcoholics throughout history -- including writer Raymond Carver and singer Billie Holiday -- that explore the link between addiction and creativity.
Try this next: Olivia Laing's The Trip to Echo Spring: On Writers and Drinking.
The Duchess: Camilla Parker Bowles and the Love Affair That Rocked the Crown by Penny JunorWhat it's about: Royal biographer Penny Junor sympathetically delves into the life of "the other woman" deemed responsible for the dissolution of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's marriage.
Topics include: Camilla's romance with Charles prior to his marriage; how she handled her highly publicized vilification once their extramarital affair was revealed.
Is it for you? This persuasive portrait recasts Camilla from reviled to redeemed, arguing that her support of the royal family strengthens their standing.
Publishing: A Writer's Memoir by Gail GodwinWhat it's about: novelist Gail Godwin's 50-year career as a writer, during which she navigated the evolving corporatization of the publishing industry.
What's inside: Black and white line drawings by architect Frances Halsband complement Godwin's illuminating prose.
Further reading: Godwin previously published her journals from 1961-1969 in the two-volume The Making of a Writer.
The Accidental Life: An Editor's Notes on Writing and Writers by Terry McDonellWhat it's about: Magazine editor Terry McDonell, who's worked for Rolling Stone, Esquire, and Sports Illustrated, reflects on his 40-year career and the luminaries (Hunter S. Thompson and Tom Wolfe, among others) whose careers he helped shape along the way.
Want a taste? McDonell likens his friendship with Thompson to the plot of Treasure Island: "Adventurous boy kidnapped by pirates; joins pirates."
Don't miss: Word counts accompany McDonell's short, witty chapters.
Manderley Forever: A Biography of Daphne Du Maurier by Tatiana de RosnayWhat it is: a compelling portrait of prolific author Daphne Du Maurier (Rebecca, Jamaica Inn), whose popularity throughout her career did not translate to critical praise -- she was often inaccurately (and dismissively) called a romance novelist.
What sets it apart: Through extensive research and insights from family members, Tatiana de Rosnay depicts the depth of Du Maurier's talents and influence, affording her the admiration that eluded her in life.
Where the Past Begins: A Writer's Memoir by Amy TanWhat it is: a captivating, nonlinear chronicle of the forces that have shaped Amy Tan's writing, including her tumultuous upbringing and her love of music and drawing.
Featuring: Tan's difficult mother, in whom her fiction fans will recognize a familiar character type.
For fans of: reflective literary memoirs like Richard Ford's Between Them.
Sailor and Fiddler: Reflections of a 100-Year-Old Author by Herman WoukWhat it's about: In this engaging memoir, centenarian Herman Wouk reveals the stories behind his 16 published works with humor and clarity.
About the author: Wouk is a Pulitzer Prize winner (for 1951's The Caine Mutiny) whose works have been published in 27 languages.
To be continued? The author teases a posthumous publication of "the whole Herman Wouk story" -- his diary.
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