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Biography

An Odyssey; A Father, A Son, and an Epic (USED)

An Odyssey; A Father, A Son, and an Epic (USED)

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Named a Best Book of 2017 by NPR, Library Journal, The Christian Science Monitor, and Newsday
A Kirkus Best Memoir of 2017
Shortlisted for the 2017 Baillie Gifford Prize

From award-winning memoirist and critic, and bestselling author of The Lost: a deeply moving tale of a father and son's transformative journey in reading--and reliving--Homer's epic masterpiece.

When eighty-one-year-old Jay Mendelsohn decides to enroll in the undergraduate Odyssey seminar his son teaches at Bard College, the two find themselves on an adventure as profoundly emotional as it is intellectual. For Jay, a retired research scientist who sees the world through a mathematician's unforgiving eyes, this return to the classroom is his "one last chance" to learn the great literature he'd neglected in his youth--and, even more, a final opportunity to more fully understand his son, a writer and classicist. But through the sometimes uncomfortable months that the two men explore Homer's great work together--first in the classroom, where Jay persistently challenges his son's interpretations, and then during a surprise-filled Mediterranean journey retracing Odysseus's famous voyages--it becomes clear that Daniel has much to learn, too: Jay's responses to both the text and the travels gradually uncover long-buried secrets that allow the son to understand his difficult father at last. As this intricately woven memoir builds to its wrenching climax, Mendelsohn's narrative comes to echo the Odyssey itself, with its timeless themes of deception and recognition, marriage and children, the pleasures of travel and the meaning of home. Rich with literary and emotional insight, An Odyssey is a renowned author-scholar's most triumphant entwining yet of personal narrative and literary exploration.

Angela's Ashes: A Memoir (USED)

Angela's Ashes: A Memoir (USED)

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Frank McCourt's haunting memoir takes on new life when the author reads from his Pulitzer Prize-winning book. Recounting scenes from his childhood in New York City and Limerick, Ireland, McCourt paints a brutal yet poignant picture of his early days when there was rarely enough food on the table, and boots and coats were a luxury. In a melodic Irish voice that often lends a gentle humor to the unimaginable, the author remembers his wayward yet adoring father who was forever drinking what little money the family had. He recounts the painful loss of his siblings to avoidable sickness and hunger, a proud mother reduced to begging for charity, and the stench of the sewage-strewn streets that ran outside the front door. As McCourt approaches adolescence, he discovers the shame of poverty and the beauty of Shakespeare, the mystery of sex and the unforgiving power of the Irish Catholic Church. This powerful and heart-rending testament to the resiliency and determination of youth is populated with memorable characters and moments, and McCourt's interpretation of the narrative and the voices it contains will leave listeners laughing through their tears.
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (USED)

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (USED)

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Author Barbara Kingsolver and her family abandoned the industrial-food pipeline to live a rural life--vowing that, for one year, they'd only buy food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it. Part memoir, part journalistic investigation, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is an enthralling narrative that will open your eyes in a hundred new ways to an old truth: You are what you eat.

Ann-Margaret My Story (USED)

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Featuring anecdotes about her many costars, including Jack Nicholson, Bette Davis, and Steve McQueen, plus the truth behind her longtime relationship with Elvis, and her battle with and inspiring recovery from substance abuse, Ann-Margaret's story sets the record straight. A totally candid portrait of a woman who found her own way. 32 pages of photos.
Anne Frank Remembered (USED)

Anne Frank Remembered (USED)

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The reminiscences of Miep Gies, the woman who hid the Frank family in Amsterdam during the Second World War, presents a vivid story of life under Nazi occupation.
Apples and Oranges

Apples and Oranges

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What is more complicated than the relations between brother and sister? To discover a brother she hardly knew, Marie Brenner, bestselling author and renowned reporter, leaves behind her life in New York City to reconnect with her ailing sibling. Reconnect is not really the right word, however, because the two have never been compatible. Marie's brother Carl--yin to her yang, red state to her blue state--lives in Texas and the apple country of Washington State, spending his time cultivating his apple orchards, attending church, and paying NRA dues. Meanwhile, Marie has had a successful career among the self-important lefties her brother loathes. In her attempt to care for Carl, the journalist instead finds that health problems can hardly slow down her alpha male brother. The unspoken grudges, the long-harbored frustrations, all of it bubbles up as her brother remains determined to live. In her exposes of Big Tobacco and the Enron scandal, Brenner unveiled the secret networks and simmering malevolence behind the corporate facade. Now the reporter trains her incisive eye on the complexities of family dynamics. In the end, Apples and Oranges is a book about reconciliation. Forced to face the faults and follies of their relationship, Brenner learns to speak her brother's language, and eventually the two are able to break down some of the walls. Apples and Oranges is a fearless look at families and what makes them stick together-- for better or for worse.
Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen (USED)

Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen (USED)

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In this captivating memoir, the man whom Julia Child has called "the best chef in America" tells the story of his rise from a frightened apprentice in an exacting Old World kitchen to an Emmy Awardwinning superstar who taught millions of Americans how to cook and shaped the nation's tastes in the bargain.
We see young Jacques as a homesick six-year-old boy in war-ravaged France, working on a farm in exchange for food, dodging bombs, and bearing witness as German soldiers capture his father, a fighter in the Resistance. Soon Jacques is caught up in the hurly-burly action of his mother's café, where he proves a natural. He endures a literal trial by fire and works his way up the ladder in the feudal system of France's most famous restaurant, finally becoming Charles de Gaulle's personal chef, watching the world being refashioned from the other side of the kitchen door.
When he comes to America, Jacques immediately falls in with a small group of as-yet-unknown food lovers, including Craig Claiborne, James Beard, and Julia Child, whose adventures redefine American food. Through it all, Jacques proves himself to be a master of the American art of reinvention: earning a graduate degree from Columbia University, turning down a job as John F. Kennedy's chef to work at Howard Johnson's, and, after a near-fatal car accident, switching careers once again to become a charismatic leader in the revolution that changed the way Americans approached food. Included as well are approximately forty all-time favorite recipes created during the course of a career spanning nearly half a century, from his mother's utterly simple cheese soufflé to his wife's pork ribs and red beans.
The Apprentice is the poignant and sometimes funny tale of a boy's coming of age. Beyond that, it is the story of America's culinary awakening and the transformation of food from an afterthought to a national preoccupation.
Artificial Paradises: Baudelair's Classic Work on Opium and Wine (USED)

Artificial Paradises: Baudelair's Classic Work on Opium and Wine (USED)

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At the time of its release in 1860, Charles Baudelaire's Artificial Paradises (Les Paradis Artificiels) met with immediate praise. One of the most important French symbolists, Baudelaire led a debauched, violent, and ultimately tragic life, dying an opium addict in 1867. This book, a response to Thomas De Quincey's Confessions of an Opium Eater, serves as a memoir of Baudelaire's last years. In this beautifully wrought portrait of the effects of wine, opium, and hashish on the mind, Baudelaire captures the dreamlike visions he experienced during his narcotic trances. These hallucinations, sometimes exquisite, sometimes disturbing, and the delusions of grandeur that often accompanied them, constitute the Paradis Artificiels, the gorgeous yet false worlds of ecstasy that eventually led to his ruin. Contrasting the effects of hashish and opium with those of wine, Baudelaire concludes that "wine exalts the will, hashish destroys it" and makes idlers of all those who use it.
As Far As I Can See

As Far As I Can See

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As Far as I Can See: A Memoir began as an attempt to write about a beloved husband's last year and his battle with dementia and illness. But it soon became the life story of two people from different backgrounds who married young but made it work. Writing it helped to mitigate the sadness of loss, and perhaps it can help others with similar experiences understand and learn.
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Asperger Syndrome, the Universe and Everything (USED)

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Kenneth Hall was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome at the age of eight. His early school years had been difficult, as although he is bright and articulate, his behaviour could be challenging and easily misread. After his diagnosis, the Local Education Board intervened and provided him with a laptop computer, to encourage him to express himself. This book is the result. Kenneth Hall was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome at the age of eight. He is in a unique position to describe some of the inner experiences and perceptions of autism in childhood. He has a warm and positive attitude to Asperger Syndrome which other children will find inspiring. Insights, struggles and joys are recounted vividly in a frank and humorous way. His book is for anyone interested in understanding more about autism, including parents, siblings, teachers and professionals.