Biography and Memoir
The Truths We Hold: An American Journey by Kamala HarrisWhat it is: a candid and inspiring memoir from California Democratic Senator Kamala Harris, who recently announced her 2020 presidential run.
Topics include: Harris' immigrant parents and her Oakland upbringing; her tenure as the District Attorney for San Francisco and the Attorney General of California.
Who it's for: readers interested in Harris' solutions to tackling some of the most divisive issues in American politics, including immigration, national security, income inequality, and the opioid crisis.
Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive by Stephanie LandWhat it's about: Single mom Stephanie Land struggles to make a living as a housecleaner and dreams of attending college to become a writer.
Is it for you? Though it does not speak to the impact of poverty on marginalized communities, Land's memoir is intimate and affecting.
Reviewers say: "An important memoir that should be required reading for anyone who has never struggled with poverty" (Kirkus Reviews).
The Man Who Would Be Sherlock: The Real-Life Adventures of Arthur Conan Doyle by Christopher SandfordWhat it is: an engrossing biography that investigates the similarities between Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his famous creation, such as their shared penchant for crime-solving and quirky deduction methods.
Did you know? Doyle helped exonerate two falsely convicted men --Oscar Slater was tried for murder; George Edalji for animal mutilation.
Try this next: Margalit Fox's extensively researched Conan Doyle for the Defense dramatically tackles the Oscar Slater case.
Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by Dani ShapiroWhat it's about: After submitting her DNA for analysis on a whim, Dani Shapiro discovered that her long-deceased dad was not her biological father. Grappling with the consequences of this shocking family secret, she set out to uncover the true story of her parentage.
Book buzz: Jennifer Egan (A Visit from the Goon Squad) calls Inheritance "a gripping genetic detective story;" Julie Buntin (Marlena) says it's a "read-in-one-sitting kind of memoir."
The Unwinding of the Miracle: A Memoir of Life, Death, and Everything That Comes After by Julie Yip-WilliamsWhat it is: a poignant and page-turning memoir of Julie Yip-Williams' five-year battle with Stage IV colon cancer.
Read it for: moving anecdotes of the author's early life; born with congenital cataracts to an impoverished Chinese family in Vietnam, she barely survived infancy after her grandmother suggested a potion to help her "sleep forever."
About the author: Harvard-educated lawyer Yip-Williams died in March 2018, leaving behind a husband and two young daughters.
The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son on Life, Love, and Loss by Anderson Cooper & Gloria VanderbiltWhat it is: an intimate year-long email correspondence between journalist Anderson Cooper and his fashion designer mother Gloria Vanderbilt, which began after Vanderbilt became gravely ill in 2015.
Read it for: the growing closeness that develops between the pair.
Further reading: Will Schwalbe's reflective memoir The End of Your Life Book Club similarly explores a relationship with an ailing parent.
Mockingbird Songs: My Friendship with Harper Lee by Wayne FlyntWhat it's about: historian Wayne Flynt's 20-year-long, late-in-life friendship with author Harper Lee, nurtured primarily via their witty and admiring letters to each other.
What sets it apart: This concise and touching work arranges the duo's letters thematically as well as chronologically.
Chapters include: "Celebrity, Kinship, and Calamity;" "Imperfect Fathers, Imperfect Towns;" "An Author Shapes Her Own Identity"
Autumn by Karl Ove KnausgaardWhat it is: Written as a "Letter to an Unborn Daughter," each section of this perceptive free-association memoir eschews traditional storytelling conventions to find the extraordinary in the mundane.
Want a taste? "The little tooth, sharply white, dark red with blood at the root, is thrown into almost obscenely sharp relief against my pinkish palm."
Series alert: Autumn is the first volume in award-winning Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgaard's Seasons Quartet.
Dear Mr. You by Mary-Louise ParkerWhat it is: a lyrical and nostalgic collection of letters addressed (but never sent) to the men (both real and hypothetical) who have impacted Mary-Louise Parker's life.
Author alert: Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress Parker is best known for her starring role in the television series Weeds.
Don't miss: Parker's touching letter to her deceased father: "To convey in any existing language how much I miss you isn't possible. It would be like blue trying to describe the ocean."
Love, Nina: A Nanny Writes Home by Nina StibbeWhat it's about: While working as a 20-year-old nanny in early 1980s London, Nina Stibbe wrote gossipy letters home detailing life with her charges and their famous parents.
Featuring: Stibbe's employers, London Review of Books editor Mary-Kay Wilmers and film director Stephen Frears; playwright Alan Bennett, a frequent dinner guest.
For fans of: quirky British humor and snappy dialogue.
Contact your librarian for more great books!
If you are having trouble unsubscribing to this newsletter, please contact the Millburn Free Public Library at
973-376-1006, 200 Glen Avenue, Millburn, NJ 07041