From the author of the acclaimed, instant New York Times bestseller All the Light We Cannot See, a “dazzling” (Azar Nafisi, author of Reading Lolita in Tehran) memoir about art and adventures in Rome.
Anthony Doerr has received many awards — from the New York Public Library, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the American Library Association. Then came the Rome Prize, one of the most prestigious awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and with it a stipend and a writing studio in Rome for a year. Doerr learned of the award the day he and his wife returned from the hospital with newborn twins.
Exquisitely observed, Four Seasons in Rome describes Doerr’s varied adventures in one of the most enchanting cities in the world. He reads Pliny, Dante, and Keats — the chroniclers of Rome who came before him — and visits the piazzas, temples, and ancient cisterns they describe. He attends the vigil of a dying Pope John Paul II and takes his twins to the Pantheon in December to wait for snow to fall through the oculus. He and his family are embraced by the butchers, grocers, and bakers of the neighborhood, whose clamor of stories and idiosyncratic child-rearing advice is as compelling as the city itself.
This intimate and revelatory book is a celebration of Rome, a wondrous look at new parenthood, and a fascinating story of a writer’s craft — the process by which he transforms what he sees and experiences into sentences.
Vicki Myron - Bret Witter - Dewey
How much of an impact can an animal have? How many lives can one cat touch? How is it possible for an abandoned kitten to transform a small library, save a classic American town, and eventually become famous around the world? You can't even begin to answer those questions until you hear the charming story of Dewey Readmore Books, the beloved library cat of Spencer, Iowa. Dewey's story starts in the worst possible way. Only a few weeks old, on the coldest night of the year, he was stuffed into the returned book slot at the Spencer Public Library. He was found the next morning by library director, Vicki Myron, a single mother who had survived the loss of her family farm, a breast cancer scare, and an alcoholic husband. Dewey won her heart, and the hearts of the staff, by pulling himself up and hobbling on frostbitten feet to nudge each of them in a gesture of thanks and love. For the next nineteen years, he never stopped charming the people of Spencer with his enthusiasm, warmth, humility, (for a cat) and, above all, his sixth sense about who needed him most. As his fame grew from town to town, then state to state, and finally, amazingly, worldwide, Dewey became more than just a friend; he became a source of pride for an extraordinary Heartland farming town pulling its way slowly back from the greatest crisis in its long history
Sylvia Plath - The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
A major literary event--the complete, uncensored journals of Sylvia Plath, published in their entirety for the first time. Sylvia Plath's journals were originally published in 1982 in a heavily abridged version authorized by Plath's husband, Ted Hughes. This new edition is an exact and complete transcription of the diaries Plath kept during the last twelve years of her life. Sixty percent of the book is material that has never before been made public, more fully revealing the intensity of the poet's personal and literary struggles, and providing fresh insight into both her frequent desperation and the bravery with which she faced down her demons. The complete Journals of Sylvia Plath is essential reading for all who have been moved and fascinated by Plath's life and work.
Gretchen Rubin - The Happiness Project
Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. "The days are long, but the years are short," she realized. "Time is passing, and I'm not focusing enough on the things that really matter." In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project. In this lively and compelling account of that year, Rubin carves out her place alongside the authors of bestselling memoirs such as Julie and Julia, The Year of Living Biblically, and Eat, Pray, Love. With humor and insight, she chronicles her adventures during the twelve months she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. Rubin didn't have the option to uproot herself, nor did she really want to; instead she focused on improving her life as it was. Each month she tackled a new set of resolutions: give proofs of love, ask for help, find more fun, keep a gratitude notebook, forget about results. She immersed herself in principles set forth by all manner of experts, from Epicurus to Thoreau to Oprah to Martin Seligman to the Dalai Lama to see what worked for her—and what didn't. Her conclusions are sometimes surprising—she finds that money can buy happiness, when spent wisely; that novelty and challenge are powerful sources of happiness; that "treating" yourself can make you feel worse; that venting bad feelings doesn't relieve them; that the very smallest of changes can make the biggest difference—and they range from the practical to the profound. Written with charm and wit, The Happiness Project is illuminating yet entertaining, thought-provoking yet compulsively readable. Gretchen Rubin's passion for her subject jumps off the page, and reading just a few chapters of this book will inspire you to start your own happiness project.
Ian S. MacNiven - Literchoor Is My Beat
A biography—thoughtful and playful—of the man who founded New Directions and transformed American publishing James Laughlin—a poet, publisher, world-class skier—was the man behind some of the most daring, revolutionary works in verse and prose of the twentieth century. As the founder of New Directions, he published Ezra Pound’s The Cantos and William Carlos Williams’s Paterson; he brought Herman Hesse and Jorge Luis Borges to an American audience. Throughout his life, this tall, charismatic intellectual, athlete, and entrepreneur preferred to stay hidden. But no longer—in “Literchoor is My Beat”: James Laughlin and New Directions, Ian S. MacNiven has given us a sensitive and revealing portrait of this visionary and the understory of the last century of American letters. Laughlin—or J, as MacNiven calls him—emerges as an impressive and complex figure: energetic, idealistic, and hardworking, but also plagued by doubts—not about his ability to identify and nurture talent, but about his own worth as a writer. Haunted by his father’s struggles with bipolar disorder, J threw himself into a flurry of activity, pulling together the first New Directions anthology before he’d graduated from Harvard and purchasing and managing a ski resort in Utah. MacNiven’s portrait is comprehensive and vital, spiced with Ezra Pound’s eccentric letters, J’s romantic foibles, and anecdotes from a seat-of-your-pants era of publishing now gone by. A story about the struggle to publish only the best, it is itself an example of literary biography at its finest.
Kevin Jackson - Darkest Days, Brightest Nights
Darkest Days, Brightest Nights takes the reader through the wild ride of manic depression. The manic periods can often create a feeling of great optimism and confidence, while at the same time lead down a path of self-destruction. Depression is like the painful hangover following the big party and all that there is left to do is to clean up the terrible mess that was left behind.
Agatha Christie - An Autobiography
In an all-new edition, an engaging and illuminating chronicle of the life of the “Queen of Mystery,” complete with a bonus CD featuring the voice of the grande dame herself Agatha Christie was a woman of mystery, in every sense of the word. Her novels made her the world’s best-selling author, but her private life was hidden from view. For many years she dodged reporters and gave no interviews, and for a brief time she famously disappeared. She started writing her autobiography in April 1950 and finished it fifteen years later, when she was seventy-five years old and decided “it seems the right moment to stop.” In this book, which was originally published in 1977 in the United States by Dodd, Mead & Company, Agatha Christie sheds light on her past. She tells of her childhood in Victorian England, her volunteer work during World War II, her rise to success, her working habits, the inspiration for her most famous characters—Hercule Poirot and Jane Marple—and the places and people that influenced her.
Reinaldo Arenas - Before Night Falls
This shocking memoir by the Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas is a book about sexual, political and artistic freedom. In "Before Night Falls", Arenas recounts his journey from a poverty-stricken childhood in rural Cuba to his death in New York four decades later. He tells of his odyssey from young rebel fighting for the Revolution, through his suppression as a writer, his disillusionment with Castro, his imprisonment and torture, to his eventual flight from Cuba. Now a feature film starring Javier Bardem and Johnny Depp, "Before Night Falls" is a stunning testament to an individual's urge to create against all odds.
Scott Jurek - Eat and Run
For nearly two decades, Scott Jurek has been a dominant force—and darling—in the grueling and growing sport of ultrarunning. In 1999, as a complete unknown, he took the lead of the Western States Endurance Run, a 100-mile traverse over the old Gold Rush trails of the California Sierra Nevada. He won that race seven years in a row, setting a course record along the way. Twice he won the Badwater Ultramarathon, a 135-mile “jaunt” through Death Valley. Recently he set an American record of 165.7 miles in 24 hours—6 1/2 marathons in one day. And he was one of the elite runners who traveled to Mexico to run with the Tarahumara Indians, as profiled in the bestseller Born to Run. His accomplishments are nothing short of extraordinary, but that he has achieved all of this on a plant-based diet makes his story all the more so. In Eat and Run, Scott Jurek opens up about his life and career—as an elite athlete and a vegan—and inspires runners at every level. From his Midwestern childhood hunting, fishing, and cooking for his meat-and-potatoes family, to his early beginnings in running (he hated it), to his slow transition to ultrarunning and veganism, to his world-spanning, record-breaking races, Scott’s story shows the power of an iron will and blows apart all the stereotypes of what athletes should eat to fuel optimal performance. Chock-full of incredible, on-the-brink stories of endurance and competition, fascinating science, and accessible practical advice—including his own favorite plant-based recipes—Eat and Run will motivate everyone to “go the distance,” whether that means getting out for that first run, expanding your food horizons, or simply exploring the limits of your own potential
David Gilmour - The Film Club
It was an unconventional deal: Jesse could leave school, sleep all day, not work, not pay rent - but he had to watch three films a week... of his father's choosing. Week by week, side by side, father and son watch the world's best (and occasionally worst) films - from True Romance to Chungking Express, A Hard Day's Night to Rosemary's Baby, Showgirls to La Dolce Vita. The films get them talking - about girls, music, heartbreak, work, drugs, money, love, friendship - and they open doors to a young man's interior life at a time when parents are normally shut out. Gradually, the son develops from a chaotic teenager into a self-assured young adult, but as the film club moves towards its bittersweat and inevitable conclusion, Jesse makes a decision which surprises even his father... The Film Club is a book that goes straight to the heart. Honest, unsparing and poignant, it is the true story of one man's attempt to chart a course for his beloved son's rocky passage into adulthood
Frédéric Mistral - The Memoirs of Frédéric Mistral
Frederic Mistral was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1904- and he gave the prize money to a folklore museum he had founded in Arles. Two years later at age 27 he published MEMOIRS - which was a recollection of the life of ordinary country people in his early years, filled with delightful tales, folksongs and poetry. This illustrated edition includes the original texts of Provencal songs and verse with the author, Professor George Wickes, English versions printed 'en face'.
Wendy Lawless - Chanel Bonfire
A stunning memoir about an actress's unconventional, heartbreaking childhood with an unstable alcoholic and suicidal mother — a real-life Holly Golightly turned Mommie Dearest — and the unusual strength that allowed her to rise above it all. By the time Wendy Lawless turned seventeen, she'd known for quite some time that she didn't have a normal mother. But that didn't stop her from wanting one. Georgann Rea didn't bake cookies or go to PTA meetings; she wore a mink coat and always had a lit Dunhill plugged into her cigarette holder. She had slept with too many men, and some women, and she didn't like dogs or children. Georgann had the ice queen beauty of a Hitchcock heroine and the cold heart to match. In this evocative, darkly humorous memoir, Wendy deftly charts the highs and lows of growing up with her younger sister in the shadow of an unstable, fabulously neglectful mother. Georgann, a real-life Holly Golightly who constantly reinvents herself as she trades up from trailer-park to penthouse, suffers multiple nervous breakdowns and suicide attempts, while Wendy tries to hide the cracks in their fractured family from the rest of the world. Chanel Bonfire depicts a childhood blazed through the refined aeries of The Dakota and the swinging townhouses of London, while the girls' beautiful but damned mother desperately searches for glamour and fulfillment. Ultimately, they must choose between living their own lives and being their mother's warden.
Mira Bartók - The Memory Palace
“ People have abandoned their loved ones for much less than you’ve been through,” Mira Bartók is told at her mother’s memorial service. It is a poignant observation about the relationship between Mira, her sister, and their mentally ill mother. Before she was struck with schizophrenia at the age of nineteen, beautiful piano protégé Norma Herr had been the most vibrant personality in the room. She loved her daughters and did her best to raise them well, but as her mental state deteriorated, Norma spoke less about Chopin and more about Nazis and her fear that her daughters would be kidnapped, murdered, or raped. When the girls left for college, the harassment escalated—Norma called them obsessively, appeared at their apartments or jobs, threatened to kill herself if they did not return home. After a traumatic encounter, Mira and her sister were left with no choice but to change their names and sever all contact with Norma in order to stay safe. But while Mira pursued her career as an artist—exploring the ancient romance of Florence, the eerie mysticism of northern Norway, and the raw desert of Israel—the haunting memories of her mother were never far away.
Mark Twain - Autobiography of Mark Twain
"I've struck it!" Mark Twain wrote in a 1904 letter to a friend. "And I will give it away--to you. You will never know how much enjoyment you have lost until you get to dictating your autobiography." Thus, after dozens of false starts and hundreds of pages, Twain embarked on his "Final (and Right) Plan" for telling the story of his life. His innovative notion--to "talk only about the thing which interests you for the moment"--meant that his thoughts could range freely. The strict instruction that many of these texts remain unpublished for 100 years meant that when they came out, he would be "dead, and unaware, and indifferent," and that he was therefore free to speak his "whole frank mind." The year 2010 marks the 100th anniversary of Twain's death. In celebration of this important milestone and in honor of the cherished tradition of publishing Mark Twain's works, UC Press is proud to offer for the first time Mark Twain's uncensored autobiography in its entirety and exactly as he left it. This major literary event brings to readers, admirers, and scholars the first of three volumes and presents Mark Twain's authentic and unsuppressed voice, brimming with humor, ideas, and opinions, and speaking clearly from the grave as he intended.
Kath Kelly - How I Lived a Year on Just a Pound a Day
Kath Kelly was broke. That was ok, as all her friends were, too. But she had an important event to budget for, just a year away. One drunken night, she made a rash decision: to live on just a pound a day for the next twelve months. This book tells her story.
Jonathan Franzen - The Discomfort Zone
The excruciating dynamics of a Christian youth fellowship in the 1970's... the effects of Kafka's fiction on a young man protracted quest to lose his virginity... the web of connections between birdwatching, a collapsing marriage, and global warming: in this comic memoir of self-consciousness, the author of The Corrections tells the story of his life and of the strange country in which he's lived it.
Andrew McCarthy - The Longest Way Home
Award-winning travel writer and actor Andrew McCarthy delivers a revealing and insightful memoir about how travel helped him become the man he wanted to be, helping him overcome life-long fears and confront his resistance to commitment.From time immemorial, travel has been a pursuit of passion—from adventurers of old seeking gold or new lands, to today’s spiritual and pleasure seekers who follow in the footsteps of Elizabeth Gilbert. Some see travel as a form of light-hearted escapism while others believe it has the power to open your mind, forcing you to confront your demons, and discover your true self. Andrew McCarthy belongs to this second category of traveler. The Longest Way Home follows his excursions to Patagonia, the Amazon, Costa Rica, Baltimore, Vienna, Kilimanjaro, Dublin, and beyond. He uses his wanderlust to examine his motives and desires, and explore his ambivalence about commitment. He ponders his personal life, his acting career, and his impulse to leave home, all building toward one of the most significant moments of his life: his wedding day. Genuine and spirited, McCarthy’s message about the transformative power of travel is universal, and his exploration of the nature and passion of relationships, both fleeting and enduring, will strike a chord with every man and woman who has ever wondered at the vicissitudes of the human heart.
Marian Keyes - Saved by Cake
From one of the best-loved novelists in Britain comes a book for all of us who love to bake (or would love to learn). After a difficult period in her life, Marian Keyes found solace in baking. The precision of the measurements, the light spring of a well-baked cake, the prettiness of the frosting and decorations: the whole process was soothing. She immersed herself in the world of recipes and piping bags and silicone cake moulds, baking for friends, family and (when they couldn’t eat another bite) total strangers. In short, she fell in love with baking. Saved By Cake is a dose of pure Marian. Funny and charming as ever, Marian guides you through the world of baking in her own inimitable way. It’s perfect for novice bakers, with plenty of advice for beginners, but the recipes are delicious and unique enough to appeal to even the most seasoned of bakers. From Slightly Sinister Star Anise cupcakes to Blokey Snickers Loaf Cheesecake, from Lemon and Thyme biscuits to the Ultimate Chocolate Cake, Marian has something for everyone’s taste buds. And with her as your guide, this is baking as it’s meant to be: pure, unadulterated fun!
David Mitchell - Back Story
David Mitchell, who you may know for his inappropriate anger on every TV panel show except Never Mind the Buzzcocks, his look of permanent discomfort on C4 sex comedy Peep Show, his online commenter-baiting in The Observer or just for wearing a stick-on moustache in That Mitchell and Webb Look, has written a book about his life. As well as giving a specific account of every single time he's scored some smack, this disgusting memoir also details: • the singular, pitbull-infested charm of the FRP (‘Flat Roofed Pub’) • the curious French habit of injecting everyone in the arse rather than the arm • why, by the time he got to Cambridge, he really, really needed a drink • the pain of being denied a childhood birthday party at McDonalds • the satisfaction of writing jokes about suicide • how doing quite a lot of walking around London helps with his sciatica • trying to pretend he isn’t a total **** at Robert Webb’s wedding • that he has fallen in love at LOT, but rarely done anything about it • why it would be worse to bump into Michael Palin than Hitler on holiday • that he’s not David Mitchell the novelist. Despite what David Miliband might think
Paul Auster - Winter Journal
From the bestselling novelist and author of The Invention of Solitude, a moving and highly personal meditation on the body, time, and language itself "That is where the story begins, in your body, and everything will end in the body as well. Facing his sixty-third winter, internationally acclaimed novelist Paul Auster sits down to write a history of his body and its sensations—both pleasurable and painful. Thirty years after the publication of The Invention of Solitude, in which he wrote so movingly about fatherhood, Auster gives us a second unconventional memoir in which he writes about his mother's life and death. Winter Journal is a highly personal meditation on the body, time, and memory, by one of our most intellectually elegant writers.