"What's a stone worth? Well, it depends on the stone, obviously. The real question is: What are our criteria for measuring?"
~ from Aja Raden's Stoned
NFL Confidential: True Confessions from the Gutter of Football by Johnny AnonymousWritten anonymously by an offensive lineman with problems with the league he works for, this blunt exposé of professional football and the NFL is eye-opening. Behind-the-scenes glimpses include surprising off-field behavior (more video games than bar crawls) and bizarre ways to make weight (the author's on the small side for a lineman), but the author also notes the racial segregation among players and the way professional football damages the bodies of its players. Like Nate Jackson's Slow Getting Up, this is an entertaining, and personal, perspective of the NFL.
What Happened, Miss Simone? A Biography by Alan LightDrawing from the same material used to support the well-received documentary of the same name, this biography of musical icon Nina Simone looks at both her public persona and her private life. Including stories from her difficult childhood, throughout her career, and her fight for civil rights, this illuminating biography is "electrifying, humane, and dimensional," says fellow singer Alicia Keys. (David Bowie fans will enjoy the appearance he makes within these pages, too.)
Stoned: Jewelry, Obsession, and How Desire Shapes the World by Aja RadenFascinated by jewelry and other shiny objects? This account of how eight jewels shaped human history (and culture) will be right up your alley. (If you don't care about jewels, but love a good niche history, we urge you to give Stoned a chance too.) Delivered in a sassy tone, the stories within combine history (Marie Antoinette, Queen Elizabeth I, the purchase of Manhattan), technology (cultured pearls), and culture (De Beers and the engagement ring tradition). You'll treasure this book.
Stories I Tell Myself: Growing Up with Hunter S. Thompson by Juan F. ThompsonReaders interested in gonzo journalist and counterculture icon Hunter S. Thompson will best appreciate this memoir from his only son, with whom he had a complicated relationship. Thompson abused plenty of substances and was often difficult to be around, but he was also revered for his fearless style of journalism; this intimate memoir illustrates both sides of his character. For Thompson in his own words, try his 2003 memoir, Kingdom of Fear.
Sick in the Head: Conversations about Life and Comedy by Judd ApatowTechnically, Sick in the Head is not a memoir, though it does share a lot about director Judd Apatow's comedic influences. It's actually a collection of conversations and interviews between Apatow and his fellow comedians, whether it's his idol Jerry Seinfeld (interviewed when Apatow was only 15) or contemporaries like Adam Sandler or mentee Amy Schumer. Because the earliest interviews were done in the 1980s, this book offers a tantalizing perspective of the rising stars of that decade while also exploring what being funny is all about.
Why Not Me? by Mindy KalingActress, writer, and director Mindy Kaling is often told by fans that they want to be her best friend. Sadly for us, the position is already taken. In her candid second memoir, Mindy addresses everything from her (brief) time as a sorority sister and how she feels about wearing fake pregnancy suits (not great) to what a regular work day looks like (exhausting, but sometimes with cake) and that time she thought she might die in a plane crash (she was very calm). Throughout, her charming, self-deprecating but very smart humor shines through, and fans won't want to miss it.
Born with Teeth: A Memoir by Kate MulgrewActress Kate Mulgrew is known for the strong women characters she has played on such successful TV shows as Star Trek: Voyager and Orange Is the New Black, and in real life, she's surmounted more than a few obstacles along the way. In her forthright memoir, Mulgrew shares stories from a happy childhood and her successful acting career, as well as her heartbreak over the deaths of two siblings and her decision to place her first (unplanned) daughter for adoption. "Compellingly introspective and revealing," says Kirkus Reviews.
M Train by Patti Smith"It's not so easy writing about nothing," declares musical icon Patti Smith at the outset of this follow-up to her acclaimed memoir, Just Kids. Of course, Smith isn't really recounting nothing (though even if she were, it would probably still be riveting). Described by the author as "a roadmap to my life," M Train takes readers on a tour of the places and spaces that have influenced Smith throughout her long and multifaceted career.
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