Category: Memoir

Bookstr’s Three to Read This Week 5/15/19

Not sure what to read this week? We have a suggestion: something unlike anything you’ve read before. You may be grappling with finals or watching in agony as students prepare to do what you wish you could (not have to wake up early every damn day), but one thing’s for sure—you need a book as hot as the impending summer.

Our picks for this week are as unique as you are: a look into the unapologetically political and astoundingly insightful The Handmaid’s Tale, an ambition sci-fi read that peers five years into a more recognizable future, and a groundbreaking work of lesbian fantasy. (My fantasy? More lesbian rep on the best-seller list.) Grab a copy of these books and take a look… when you glance up disoriented several hours later, you’ll thank me.

 

OUR HOT PICK

 

'The Art and Making of the Handmaid's Tale'

 

Synopsis:

Explore the world of Gilead with this behind-the-scenes look at the award–winning show The Handmaid’s Tale.

The Handmaid’s Tale—the groundbreaking show produced by MGM Television and based on Margaret Atwood’s best-selling novel—has drawn rave reviews and attention worldwide. Now, this comprehensive book details the process of bringing the story to the small screen with forty-five exclusive cast and crew interviews, backstage and set photography, concept art, costume design, and more.

Delve deep into the dystopia of Gilead as interviews with the show’s cast and creators provide insight into the inspiration behind the characters, settings, and themes, as well as its parallels to the real-world political climate. Showcasing striking visuals and insightful commentary, The Art and Making of The Handmaid’s Tale is the definitive exploration of one of television’s most critically acclaimed shows.

 

Why?

The popular TV series The Handmaid’s Tale will return for its third season on June 5, and the timing couldn’t be more poignant. This season includes pivotal scenes shot in Washington, D.C., further emphasizing the inherently political nature of the show and its source material. Currently, The Handmaid’s Tale is trending on Twitter—of course, there’s a historical precedent. The story trended directly after Donald Trump’s inaguration, coinciding with the historic Women’s March. Currently, the story is likely trending in part because of recent decisions in Alabama and Georgia on the subject of reproductive rights. The former state’s law is particularly stringent for reasons we won’t mention here, as they may be deeply upsetting. (Imagine how upsetting they are when they result in unwanted pregnancy.) The Art and Making of the Handmaid’s Tale captures the essence of these troubling times, featuring rich and thoughtful bonus content such as interviews with Margaret Atwood herself. Other exclusive interviews feature Elisabeth Moss (the actress who portrays Offred) and Warren Littlefield (executive producer)!

 

OUR COFFEE SHOP READ

 

'Last Tango in Cyberspace' by Steven Kotler

 

Synopsis:

Hard to say when the human species fractured exactly. Harder to say when this new talent arrived. But Lion Zorn is the first of his kind–an empathy tracker, an emotional soothsayer, with a felt sense for the future of the we. In simpler terms, he can spot cultural shifts and trends before they happen.

It’s a useful skill for a certain kind of company.

Arctic Pharmaceuticals is that kind of company. But when a routine em-tracking job leads to the discovery of a gruesome murder, Lion finds himself neck-deep in a world of eco-assassins, soul hackers and consciousness terrorists. But what the man really needs is a nap.

A unique blend of cutting-edge technology and traditional cyberpunk, Last Tango in Cyberspace explores hot topics like psychology, neuroscience, technology, as well as ecological and animal rights issues. The world created in Last Tango is based very closely on our world about five years from now, and all technology in the book either exists in labs or is rumored to exist. With its electrifying sentences, subtle humor, and an intriguing main character, readers are sure to find something that resonates with them in this groundbreaking cyberpunk science fiction thriller.

 

Why?

New York Times bestselling author Steven Kotler is as ambitious and impressive as his latest novel: a multiple-time Pultizer Prize nominee whose work has been translated into over forty languages, Kotler offers journalistic insight into a surprising range of timely topics. Since Last Tango in Cyberspace peers only five years into the future, it’s a striking and uncanny exploration of the world we might inhabit, playing on real fears and questions that we have as people living in 2019. The novel discusses ecological and animal rights issues alongside more traditional sci-fi topics, the more familiar neuroscience and technology. Sci-fi fans will appreciate Kotler’s expert balance of references to the genre at large and unique new additions to the genre. Lion Zorn is a charismatic and nuanced protagonist, and readers are sure to appreciate him just as much as the novel’s conceptual striving.

 

 

OUR dark horse

 

'Ash' by Malinda Lo

 

 

Synopsis:

In the wake of her father’s death, Ash is left at the mercy of her cruel stepmother. Consumed with grief, her only joy comes by the light of the dying hearth fire, rereading the fairy tales her mother once told her. In her dreams, someday the fairies will steal her away, as they are said to do. When she meets the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean, she believes that her wish may be granted.

The day that Ash meets Kaisa, the King’s Huntress, her heart begins to change. Instead of chasing fairies, Ash learns to hunt with Kaisa. Though their friendship is as delicate as a new bloom, it reawakens Ash’s capacity for love-and her desire to live. But Sidhean has already claimed Ash for his own, and she must make a choice between fairy tale dreams and true love.

Entrancing, empowering, and romantic, Ash is about the connection between life and love, and solitude and death, where transformation can come from even the deepest grief.

 

Why?

Malinda Lo‘s Ash is our Dark Horse this week for no lack of accolades: the groundbreaking LGBT+ YA was a Lambda Award finalist and a Kirkus Best Young Adult Novel. Published in 2009, the ten-year-anniversary edition of this dark, lesbian Cinderella story is actually a re-release, printed due to the novel’s success and cultural significance as an earlier LGBT+ work. The special anniversary release is jam-packed with special features, including a foreward by iconic YA fantasy author Holly Black, a letter from Malinda Lo, exclusive Q&A, and more! If you missed out on this story a decade ago (possibly because you were a small child then), now’s your chance to get in on the (literal!) magic. Even in YA fiction, which has grown increasingly open to LGBT+ characters and stories, lesbians and queer women remain underrepresented. Not in this book! Despite its basis in fairy tale, the novel received an outpouring of praise from sources like Publishers Weekly and The New York Times, praising its originality and deliberate, beautiful language.

 

 

 

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anna delvey

Rachel Williams’ Memoir Outs Fake Heiress & Con Artist Anna Delvey

Forbes reports that former Vanity Fair photo editor Rachel Williams will be releasing My Friend Anna: The True Story of the Fake Heiress Who Conned Me and Half of New York City, a memoir that expands upon on her viral essay about the time she spent with con artist Anna Sorokin.

The memoir will detail her friendship with the infamous Anna Delvey, Sorokin’s con artist persona who pretended to be a German heiress living off a trust fund, staying at luxury hotels, and defrauding New York’s wealthiest. (Well, that last part she didn’t pretend to do. She DID defraud New York’s wealthiest, and she maintained the charade for longer than anyone could have imagined.)

 

my friend annaImage via Forbes

 

Williams once joined Sorokin on a trip to Marrakech, which she assumed the ostentatiously wealthy Sorokin would pay for. ‘Delvey’ was known for generosity with her funds, frequently tipping hotel staff $100 bills for tasks as simple as delivering a package. Of course, this was a part of the charade: grand gestures intended to convince other that money was unimportant to her. Williams, convinced of Sorokin’s wealth, ended up paying the $7,000-a-night hotel fee with her own credit card. She was cheated out of $62,000, and her ex-friend never paid her back as promised.

However, karma prevailed. Sorokin was convicted last week of second-degree larceny, as well as theft of services and first-degree attempted grand larceny.

Williams revealed her motivations for writing the book:

 

 

 

The book is being described as Sex and the City meets Catch Me if You Can, and it’s already on its way to the screen. Girls creator and star Lena Dunham is adapting Williams’ memoir for HBO, and Jennifer Lawrence and Margot Robbie have both expressed interest in the lead role. Shonda Rhimes is writing a series about Sorokin for Netflix as well.

 

my-friend-anna-rachel-williams
Rachel Williams
Image via Forbes

 

V.P. Editorial Director of Gallery Books (My Friend Anna publisher), Aimee Bell, also praised the memoir as the foremost record of the fake heiress scandal:

 

My Friend Anna is the definitive account of the Anna Delvey story, with never-before-revealed behind-the-scenes details—from the beginning of the author’s friendship with Anna in downtown New York, to their ill-fated trip to Marrakech, to the Manhattan courtroom where the con woman was convicted.

 

My Friend Anna will arrive in July of this year.

 

 

Featured Image via Rolling Stone

Upcoming ‘The Council of Dads’ Adaptation Tackles Mortality & Fatherhood

Each person we’re close with makes us feel a specific and inimitable way—every relationship is different. We are different with different people. Friends, coworkers, and acquaintances all make up the eternally-growing tapestry of our lives. We may grow apart from old friends and make new ones along the way, but the relationships we form will always be a part of who we were and are. In this way, the characters we spend time with are a direct reflection of ourselves. This is the notion that occurred to Bruce Feiler when he was tasked with facing his own mortality.

 

Image Via Amazonaws.com

 

In 2008, doctors told writer Bruce Feiler there was a cancerous tumor in his femur. Almost immediately, Bruce’s thoughts turned to his children. His three-year-old twin daughters. If he wasn’t around, who would advise them paternally? Tell them to put away their phones at the dinner table and take it easy on the family Suburban? He wanted them to know him. So he made a list of all the qualities of himself he wanted his girls to know and associated them with men he had known throughout his life. He had known these men since the playground, college, and various business ventures—men he trusted but may have lost touch with. He wrote them all letters, six in total, asking them to be a father to his daughters if the worst were to happen.

 

Image Via Goodreads.com

 

The worst didn’t happen, and the council was never fully activated, but Feiler’s story became the foundation of his book, The Council of Dads: My Daughters, My Illness, and the Men Who Could Be Me. The memoir became a best-seller and has now, according to Deadline, inspired a television show which was just picked up by NBC. Council of Dads stars Sarah Wayne Callies, Clive Standen, Tom Everett Scott, and J. August Richards. The show tells the story of Scott (quasi Bruce played by Clive Standen) and his family after he receives a potentially terminal diagnosis. Facing this grim prognosis, Scott and his wife (Sarah Wayne Callies) assemble a group of their closest three friends to help guide Scott’s family through all of life’s challenges. Deadline goes on to give us a preview of who these three influential men are as people:

The trusted group of role models Scott has assembled to help his family include his oldest friend Anthony, his AA sponsor Alrry and his surgeon and wife’s best friend Oliver. The three men agree to devote themselves to supporting and guiding Scott’s family through “all the triumphs and challenges life has to offer — just in case he ever can’t be there to do so himself.

 

Image Via Variety.com

 

NBC is undoubtedly aiming for the type of drama associated with their uber-successful This Is Us in its Council of Dads pickupHopefully, the show will produce the same amount of tearfully smiling faces that the former has. Tony Phelan and Joan Rater will write and executive produce along with Jerry Bruckheimer, Jonathan Littman, and Kristie Anne Reed. The pilot was directed by James Strong.

 

Featured Image Via Books2screen.com

Bookstr’s Top Nonfiction Picks of the Week!

Each week, Bookstr scans bestseller lists across the Internet to learn what people are reading, buying, gifting, and talking about most — just so we can ensure consistent, high-quality recommendations. This week’s nonfiction picks center around the theme of current best-sellers, showcasing what nonfiction books are the biggest hits with audiences! Pick these up to see what everyone is talking about!

 

5. Life will be the Death of me by Chelsea Handler

 

Chelsea sits cross legged on a white couch between two dogs
IMAGE VIA AMAZON

Life Will Be The Death Of Me chronicles Chelsea Handler’s tale of self discovery after the election of Donald Trump and the despair she felt afterwards. Faced with self-destruction, Handler makes some big chances to her life instead, becoming more active in her social life, appreciating things she once took for granted, and even becoming politically active. The book showcases a year in her life, from its ups and downs, always witty and earnest. The book asks up to look deep within, showcasing what really matters to us and asking us to focus on that while keeping us laughing.

 

4. Code Name: Lise by Larry Loftis

 

A woman dressed in a British uniform in a dining room
IMAGE VIA AMAZON

Code Name: Lise may be nonfiction but it’s a page-turner!  During  World War II, Odette Samson decides to follow in her father’s footsteps, as he was a war hero. Landing in France on a secret mission, meeting Captain Peter Churchill. Fighting together in France, the two grow close and start a romance. But soon, they are captured by the Germans and held in a concentration camp. Enduring torture, the two face despair but never give up and hold onto their love for each other to endure whatever their captors can throw at them.

 

3. Mama’s Last hug by Frans De Waal

 

 

A closeup portrait of a chimpanzee
IMAGE VIA AMAZON

Mama’s Last Hug explores the fascinating world of animals and their emotions through the eyes of primatologist Frans De Waal. The book begins with the death of chimp Mama, who shares a tearful last hug with her biologist that goes viral on social media. The story forms the core of Waal’s arguments throughout the book, as he showcases that animals are just as capable of displaying the full range of emotions humans have, such as fear, jealously, and love. The book showcases how differently we can view the world and uses emotional stories to tell its theories, creating a profound moving experience.

 

2. Nanaville: Adventures in Grandparenting by Anna Quindlen

 

A picture of a multi-colored handprint
IMAGE VIA AMAZON

Nanaville: Adventures in Grandparenting is a tender and thoughtful read by Anna Quindlen. In the age before blogs, Anna Quindlen wrote about the challenges and joys of family life in her syndicated column. Now, as a grandmother, she’s chronicling her own adventures in this phase of her life. She reflects how she’s no longer the main character of her life but a secondary one, a mentor to her grandson and a supporter of his parents. She provides an illuminating, funny, and thoughtful book, full of observations and showcasing how growing old isn’t so bad.

 

1. The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral life by David Brooks

 

A picture of mountains against a sunny backdrop
Image via Amazon

 

The Second Mountain by David Brooks is a book about helping find a more meaningful existence, especially in today’s world. Brooks looks at several tenants about modern life, including one’s family, spouse, philosophy, faith, and one’s chosen vocation. Both a helpful guideline to how to live a better existence and an engaging social commentary, this book will help you take a good look at your life and see if its really as meaningful as you want it to be. After all, the path to self-discovery starts by looking within.

 

 

Featured Image Via Amazon