"Zach goes directly to the map section. He always goes there. I have never seen him go anyplace else in a bookstore." ~ from Buzz Bissinger's Father's Day
New and Recently Released!
The Rose Hotel: A Memoir of Secrets, Loss, and Love from Iran to America by Rahimeh AndalibianBuilt near a popular holy landmark in Iran's second largest city, the luxurious Rose Hotel found success immediately. Young Rahimeh Andalibian and her wealthy family lived in a rose- and jasmine-scented oasis on the grounds of their business, but less than five years after the hotel's opening, the 1979 Iranian Revolution began. In the chaos, a rape and a murder occurred that had devastating, long-lasting effects on the Andalibian family. Eventually, they fled the place they loved, going first to Tehran, then London, before ending up in California, where they struggled with old trauma and a new world. This "powerful and uplifting memoir of tragedy and healing" (Kirkus Reviews) provides eye-opening insight into a fascinating, complex country and the struggles of immigrants.
Picnic in Provence: A Memoir with Recipes by Elizabeth BardIf you enjoyed Lunch in Paris, get ready for a Picnic in Provence. American author Elizabeth Bard's second memoir traces her and her French husband's impulsive move from Paris to a small town in Southern France...when she's six months pregnant. Having bought the charming former home of French Resistance leader and poet René Char, the couple settled in, met their new neighbors, enjoyed nature, savored delicious foods, and opened an artisan ice cream shop. Oh, and they welcomed their new bébé! Bring both your literary and your gastronomic appetite -- this delightful, food-centric book (recipes are included) will have you salivating.
Eating Viêt Nam: Dispatches from a Blue Plastic Table by Graham Holliday; foreword by Anthony BourdainThough his first taste of Vietnamese street food didn't go well -- "as the pig's uterus landed on the blue plastic table in front of me, I knew I'd made a mistake" -- British journalist Graham Holliday persevered. Having moved to Vietnam, a land infused with enticing smells and tastes, he set out to find authentic Vietnamese street food. The recommendations he received led him all over the country and introduced him to many remarkable people, including his wife. Even if you don't like pho, you might like this; Publishers Weekly calls Eating Viêt Nam a "wry, entertaining food and travel memoir."
Around the World in 50 Years: My Adventure to Every Country on Earth by Albert PodellIn this "jokey, politically incorrect, thoughtful and continuously engaging chronicle" (Wall Street Journal), lawyer and former magazine editor Albert Podell describes some of the exciting adventures he experienced as he traveled through 196 (!) countries. Podell, who drove around the world with a friend and co-wrote a successful book about it in the 1960s called Who Needs a Road?, didn't take the easy way either; he used local transportation and tried to scratch beneath the surface of the places he visited. Fans of adventurous travel tales will want to read this extraordinary book, which describes encounters with dangerous animals in Botswana, eating monkey brains in Hong Kong, almost drowning in Costa Rica, and so much more.
Focus on: Fathers and Sons
The Father of All Things: A Marine, His Son, and the Legacy of Vietnam by Tom BissellTom Bissell, a travel and fiction writer (God Lives in St. Petersburg), eloquently describes his trip to Vietnam with his father, John, some 40 years after the elder Bissell served -- and almost died -- as a U.S. Marine in the Vietnam War. In 2005, they explored the now peaceful country and reflected on how the war affected them both as well as how decades-old events still reverberate throughout the lives of thousands of soldiers and their families; in John's case, besides bad memories and the death of friends, the war contributed to his alcoholism and divorce. Bissell brings modern Vietnam to life in this heartfelt and engaging memoir/history, which also looks at the war's continuing influence in America.
Father's Day: Across America with an Unusual Dad and His Extraordinary Son by Buzz BissingerIn Father's Day, Buzz Bissinger (author of Friday Night Lights) relates the joys and frustrations of traveling with his son Zach, who has mental challenges resulting from brain damage at birth (his twin brother, born three minutes earlier, suffered no ill effects). Now in his mid-20s, Zach works as a grocery bagger and has distinct intellectual limits (he reads, but doesn't always comprehend) as well as talents (his memory is amazing). Wishing he could relate to his son better, Buzz takes a father-son road trip with him (though no one except Buzz thinks it's a good idea). Not only describing the things they saw and did along the way, the book also offers Buzz's reflections on what he learned about himself -- and how he gained some insight into Zach as a distinct personality. "Gorgeous and brutally honest," says The New York Times.
When a Crocodile Eats the Sun: A Memoir of Africa by Peter GodwinArmchair travelers interested in visiting Africa will be fascinated by journalist Peter Godwin's memoir of life in his troubled homeland. Godwin, who returned to Zimbabwe when his father suffered a heart attack, watched his father's health decline as the country descended into social and political turmoil under the leadership of dictator Robert Mugabe in the late 1990s. Godwin's parents refused to leave their adopted land even as the danger to white landowners grew, and he learned that their dedication stemmed from a family secret, one which they finally shared with him. This well-written story is a compelling read and an intriguing look at adult sons and elderly fathers.
My Father's Paradise: A Son's Search for His Family's Past by Ariel SabarWhen his own first child was born, Los Angeles-raised journalist Ariel Sabar slowly began to better understand his father, Yona, with whom he had always clashed, and so he decided to explore his father's remarkable roots. Yona, a UCLA professor, was born into an enclave of Aramaic-speaking Kurdish Jews who were forced from their homes in the mountains of northern Iraq and moved to Israel in the 1950s. In 2005, Ariel visited Israel and Iraq in order to learn more about and reconnect with his family's ancestral past. While this National Book Critics Circle Award-winner isn't a standard travelogue, it is a "graceful and resonant" (The New York Times Book Review) memoir that fans of Jewish or Iraqi history will particularly enjoy.
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