Tag: memoirs

Check Out These Awesome Nonfiction Books Just Waiting to Be Read!

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 are bestsellers, and showcase what’s resonating with audiences right now! Pick these up to see what everyone is talking about!

 

5. The Unwinding of the miracle by Julie Yip-Williams

 

Image via Amazon

The Unwinding of the Miracle by Julie Yip-Williams tells of  her rocky beginnings to finding her path in life against all expectations. Born blind in Vietnam, she narrowly escaped death at the hands of her own grandmother before fleeing the political upheaval in her country in the 1970s. She eventually made it to the USA and started a family, but then, tragedy struck. She was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer and a difficult journey began. She sought guidance and finding none, began to write for herself, channeling her emotions into her work. Telling her story in a sprawling narrative, Julie offers guidance, joy, and channels her rage into cleansing, passionate anger. As inspiring as it is tear-jerking, this is a must-read.

 

4. Unicorn by Amrou Al-Kadhi

 

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Unicorn by Amrou Al-Kadhi is a heart-wrenching and hilarious memoir about a young Muslim boy’s journey to becoming a proud, fearless drag queen. As a young boy, Amrou realized he was different when he found himself attracted to other boys, something his parents did not take kindly too and took strict measures to control him. But Amrou didn’t abandon his identity and through understanding marine biology, he accepted his own non-binary gender identity. Covering the relationship between Amrou, the world around him, and his own mother, this is a deeply enriching exploration of sexual identity that is an astounding read.

 

3. The Heat of the moment by Sabrina Cohen-Hatton

 

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The Heart of the Moment by Sabrina Cohen-Hatton is a look into the life of a firefighter through the lens of a rare female firefighter.Dr Sabrina Cohen-Hatton has been a firefighter for eighteen years. She decides which of her colleagues rush into a burning building and how they confront the blaze. She makes the call to evacuate if she believes the options have been exhausted or that the situation has escalated beyond hope. This is her astonishing account of a profession defined by the most difficult decisions imaginable.Sabrina uses her award-winning research to reveal the skills that are essential to surviving – and even thriving – in such a fast-paced and emotionally-charged environment.

 

2. Underland by Robert Macfarlane 

 

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Underland by Robert Macfarlane has been called the author’s masterpiece and it’s not hard to see why. A celebrated author of nonfiction books exploring the intersection between human nature and the natural world, with his new book Macfarlane delivers a downright epic exploration of Earth’s underworlds as they exist myth, literature, and nature itself. Exploring the sea caves of Greenland to the catacombs of Paris and underground fungal networks that run beneath the planet. Woven into these travels are stories about man’s relationship to the underground world, from cave paintings to divers to cave explorers and so much more. This is a fascinating, breathtaking novel you owe it to yourself to check out.

 

1. Love thy Neighbor by Ayaz Virji

 

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Love Thy Neighbor by Ayaz Virji is a timely book in today’s racially charged American climate. The author was living a comfortable life at an East Coast hospital in a big city but was forced to move to a small town in Minnesota to address the shortage of doctors in rural America. In 2016, this decision was tested when Donald Trump campaigned and the town swung in his favor. Some of the author’s most loyal patients began turning against him, questioning whether he belonged among them. Virji wanted out. But in 2017, just as he was lining up a job in Dubai, a local pastor invited him to speak at her church and address misconceptions about what Muslims practice and believe. That invitation has grown into a well-attended lecture series that has changed hearts and minds across the state, while giving Virji a new vocation that he never would have expected. This is a powerful novel about the consequences of toxic politics and the racism inherent across America, while pushing for a path to acceptance.

 

 

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Gloria Vanderbilt, Author and Fashion Icon, Passes Away at 95

An icon has passed away. Gloria Vanderbilt, according to CNNhas died at the age of ninety-five after a long battle with stomach cancer. The news was reported by her son, famous anchorman Anderson Cooper. Vanderbilt died at home, surrounded by friends and family. She had been in slowly declining health for the past few months. She was a famous socialite, fashion designer, and author, producing numerous well-known and celebrated fashion magazines. She licensed her name for numerous brands, including those that made scarves and designer jeans. Her lines were hugely successful, garnering her international fame, which was difficult for Vanderbilt due to her shyness in public. Later in her career, she branched out into art exhibitions, which included Dream Boxes and and thirty-five paintings at the Arts Center in Manchester.

 

Gloria Vanderbilt holds a cigarette in a black and white photo

Image Via Wikipedia

 

Throughout her life, Gloria Vanderbilt was also a successful novelist. During her lifetime, she wrote two books on art, four memoirs, and three novels. She was also a regular contributor to The New York Times, Vanity Fair, and Elle. Her novels include Obsession: An Erotic Tale, Never Say Goodbyeand The Memory of Starr Faithful. 

She also wrote the memoir The Rainbow Comes and Goes with her son, Anderson Cooper. The novel told about their relationship, offering an intimate glimpse into their lives, careers, and Cooper’s coming-of-age under his mother’s unconventional house rules. This book offers a portrait of two great people who dearly loved each other, making it all the more heart-wrenching to see Cooper announce his mother’s death: the memoir showcases just how strong their bond truly was behind closed doors.

 

Image via NBC

 

Gloria Vanderbilt remains an icon of design, fashion, and authorship. She will be remembered both for her forceful personality and her loving relationship with her son. It’s safe to say she made a huge mark on the world and will be remembered forever as a genuine icon!

 

 

Featured Image Via CNN. 

Abolition

Five Books to Celebrate and Remember the Abolition

Everything has history, but sometimes, history is more deeply rooted than we can imagine. Today marks the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition and we can’t help but remember all the powerful authors that brought slavery into the light for us to truly see.

 

So many legendary authors have created works that stood the tests of time. They gave us literature and the truth all in one. Here are four works to honor this day and every day of freedom:

 

1.Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Ann Jacobs
 
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One of the first of the slave narratives, Jacobs’s work was a passionate appeal to white women living in the Northern United States to enlighten themselves as to the evils of slavery. Jacobs describes her life from a young age living as a slave in North Carolina. Her formative years are relatively idyllic and it is not until her mother dies and her mistress bequeaths her to a relative that she begins to discover the true horror of her position. What follows is a harrowing narrative of sexual abuse and fight for survival. While the work was almost immediately overshadowed by the start of the American Civil War it has since found its place as one of the most important of all the slave narratives distinguishing itself as one of the first from the female perspective.

 

 
 
 

 

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Considered as one of the most famous of all the slave narratives ever written, the story recounts Douglass’s life from early childhood growing up in Maryland as a slave to his eventual escape to the North. Douglass tells of his life with various owners depicting the cruelty that he himself endured and was witness to. Douglass begins to learn to read and write when his master’s wife, Mrs. Sophia Auld, begins teaching him the alphabet and some small words. His instruction quickly comes to an end though when Mr. Auld disapproves. Douglass, however, realizing the importance of literacy, takes it upon himself to learn to read and write. This decision would serve him well as he would eventually use it to document the civil injustices of slavery in 19th century America and to craft his impassioned oratories against it.
 
 
 
 

 

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Northup, who was a free African American living in Saratoga, New York, had no idea what was in store for him when he was approached by two circus promoters with an offer of a brief high paying job as a musician with their traveling circus. A skilled violinist, Solomon gladly accepted the offer and traveled with the two men to Washington, D.C. When he awoke one morning drugged and bound in a cell for slaves he discovered the men’s true intentions of selling him into slavery. What followed was twelve years of bondage during which Northup experienced the gamut of both kindness and cruelty afforded to slaves in the Southern United States just prior to the American Civil War.

 

 
4. The Underground Railroad: A Novel by Colson Whitehead

 

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Cora is a young slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. An outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is on the cusp of womanhood—where greater pain awaits. And so when Caesar, a slave who has recently arrived from Virginia, urges her to join him on the Underground Railroad, she seizes the opportunity and escapes with him. In Colson Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor: engineers and conductors operate a secret network of actual tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora embarks on a harrowing flight from one state to the next, encountering, like Gulliver, strange yet familiar iterations of her own world at each stop.
 
 
 
 
5. Beloved by Toni Morrison

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Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby. Sethe, its protagonist, was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. And Sethe’s new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved. Filled with bitter poetry and suspense as taut as a rope, Beloved is a towering achievement.

 

 

 

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small fry

Steve Jobs’ Daughter Discusses Relationship With Family and Father In New Memoir

Steve Jobs is often remembered as a brilliant mind that bestowed humanity with gifts in the form of various technologies that we use today. There have been many books published about him after his death, and two movies have come out to portray his life. However, in her new book, Lisa Brennan-Jobs discusses how life with her father really was, giving us many unknown details and characteristics about the tech titan.

 

 

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Image Via Macrumor

 

 

Although the author has said in interviews that she has come to peace with her father, the new memoir Small Fry presents Steve Jobs as a very cold and often times manipulative father. Brennan started work on the book not long after Jobs’ passing. She spent time interviewing most of her family and even past loves of both her parents in order to have somewhat of a distinctive view of a different type of family.

 

 

Although one might expect the work to mainly cover the relationship with her famous father, Brennan doesn’t shy away from writing accurately about her family. In a recent interview according to The New York Times, the author’s mother Chrisann Brennan stated:

 

 

“It was horrendous for me to read… It was very, very hard. But she got it right.” 

 

Ms. Brennan said that her daughter has, if anything, underplayed the chaos of her childhood. “She didn’t go into how bad it really was, if you can believe that,” she said.

 

 

 

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Image Via The Inquisitr

 

 

Although it sounds like a brutally honest account of cold and distant family members, Brennan also recounts the good times with her family. Their relationship was somewhat rocky, but there are moments where Steve Jobs releases hold of his harsh exterior and truly bonds with his daughter. Some of their conversations and moments are both heartwarming and satisfying, only ever-present in a few pages. 

 

 

Small Fry is due to release soon on September 4th. Be sure to pre-order your copy!

 

 

 

 

Featured Image Via Daily Sabah

Speak

‘Speak’ Author Is Releasing a Memoir About Sexual Assault

In 1999, author Laurie Halse Anderson released a young adult novel entitled Speak that would result in widespread conversation and a shift in the way we view and talk about sexual assault.

 

 

Speak

Image Via Amazon

 

 

The novel spread quickly and rooted itself deep, still being something that is read and taught in classrooms across the globe today, even resulting in a movie adaptation starring Kristen Stewart.

 

 

 

 

**Speak Spoilers Ahead**

 

 

 

 

Speak is written through the perspective of high school freshman Melinda Sordino as she struggles with finding her place after being completely ostracized and isolated by her peers for calling the police during a party. Melinda begins shutting down more and more, solely expressing herself through art projects; she hardly verbalizes anything aloud at all. What her classmates and friends fail to understand is that Melinda was raped by popular senior Andy Evans at the party and, in a moment of panic and disembodiment, called the police. By the time the police arrived, Melinda found herself in a state of dissociation, unable to say what had occured. She buries the assault deep inside of her, confiding in no one.

 

 

Speak is brutal, honest, and so, heartbreakingly real in the way it describes sexual assault it sparked a fire of conversation revolving around a side of sexual assault and rape culture that hadn’t yet been seen in the media. I remember first reading the book when I was about eleven years-old and the impact and mark it imprinted on me; it’s a novel I’ve never been able to forget.

 

 

Laurie Halse Anderson was inspired by her own sexual assault to write the novel, hoping to incite some sort of change. Now twenty years later and frustrated with the fact that, although the conversation regarding rape culture has changed, the culture itself is still very much problematic, Anderson has penned a new memoir centered around the subject.

 

 

The memoir is called Shout and is a free-verse work of nonfiction detailed Anderson’s own rape, her fight to overcome the emotional aftermath, and her journey into finding some sort of healing. Anderson recently spoke out about the upcoming memoir, saying:

 

 

I lost my voice for a very long time after I was raped. I lost myself, too. Shout is a poetry tapestry that shares the darkness of my silent years and shows how writing helped me speak up. Shout is a declaration of war against rape culture and a celebration of survival.

 

 

And, in a time of sexual assault being so prevalent it seems like there’s a new case appearing in the media daily, this memoir can’t come soon enough.The way we speak about rape and assault has shifted and progressed so much that it can be easy to feel like society, as a whole, has finally progressed past it. But believing that would be ignoring that disgusting-but-real truth that one woman is assaulted in America every 98 seconds. Just because sexual assault is being talked about widely and predators like Harvey Weinstein have been brought down, doesn’t mean we can grow complacent.

 

 

According to RAINN 1 out of every six American women will be the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime (this statistic increases to 1 out of four women while attending college in the United States). And 94% of sexual assault victims will suffer from PTSD.

 

 

 

RAINN Statistic

Image Via RAINN

 

Sexual assault is so prevalent within our society I don’t think I, personally, know any women who haven’t been sexually assaulted or raped. It’s vital that we keep speaking up about it and that we listen when others rise to share their stories. It’s so weighing for women to be living in a constant state of fear, of never walking home alone at night, of “please stop following me”, of “text me when you get home safe” because we all know the reality of danger constantly hanging over our heads.

 

 

There can no longer be a stigma surrounding this because our well-being, and the well-being of our sisters, is always at risk. Laura Halse Anderson is doing such brave, powerful, revolutionary work (work that she’s been doing for the past two decades). You can’t miss out on this book. Share it with your family and friends. Keep standing up and speaking out.

 

 

And if you’re one of the many of us who’ve been victims of sexual violence, understand that it is no way your fault. You are not alone because you are standing alongside all of us, arm in arm.

 

 

And if you need to speak to someone, don’t be afraid to call the 24 Hour National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673

 

 

Shout is set to release March, 2019.

 

 

 

Featured Image Via Feminist Guide to Hollywood