NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST NONFICTION BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY A haunting, unforgettable mother-daughter story for a new generation—the debut of a blazing new lyrical voice Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more. Domenica Ruta grew up in a working-class, unforgiving town north of Boston, in a trash-filled house on a dead-end road surrounded by a river and a salt marsh. Her mother, Kathi, a notorious local figure, was a drug addict and sometimes dealer whose life swung between welfare and riches, and whose highbrow taste was at odds with her hardscrabble life. And yet she managed, despite the chaos she created, to instill in her daughter a love of stories. Kathi frequently kept Domenica home from school to watch such classics as the Godfather movies and everything by Martin Scorsese and Woody Allen, telling her, “This is more important. I promise. You’ll thank me later.” And despite the fact that there was not a book to be found in her household, Domenica developed a love of reading, which helped her believe that she could transcend this life of undying grudges, self-inflicted misfortune, and the crooked moral code that Kathi and her cohorts lived by. With or Without You is the story of Domenica Ruta’s unconventional coming of age—a darkly hilarious chronicle of a misfit ’90s youth and the necessary and painful act of breaking away, and of overcoming her own addictions and demons in the process. In a brilliant stylistic feat, Ruta has written a powerful, inspiring, compulsively readable, and finally redemptive story about loving and leaving. Praise for With or Without You “A luminous, layered accomplishment.”—The New York Times Book Review “A singular new coming-of-age memoir traces one girl’s twisting path up from mean streets (and parents) to the reflective life of a writer. . . . The burgeoning canon of literary memoir . . . begets another winner in Domenica Ruta’s searing With or Without You. . . . [A] gloriously gutsy memory-work.”—Elle “Stunning . . . comes across as a bleaker, funnier, R-rated version of The Glass Castle and marks the arrival of a blazing new voice in literature.”—Entertainment Weekly “Valiant and heartbreaking.”—Bust “Powerful . . . Ruta found an unconventional voice, a scary good mixture of erudition and hardened street smarts. Her writing is also, as they say in Danvers, wicked funny—though in her case wicked is more an adjective than an intensifier. . . . [With or Without You] hums with jangled energy and bristles with sharp edges. . . . Ruta writes with unflinching honesty.”—Slate “Bracingly funny and poignant.”—The Boston Globe “Exceedingly powerful.”—Booklist
The story of the actor who portrayed Mark Cohen in "Rent" covers such topics as his Broadway successes, his grief at the death of the production's creator, and his struggles with his mother's life-threatening illness.
A wryly comic, deeply emotional memoir of the author's relationship with her flamboyant drug dealer mother describes her misfit youth and eventual escape into writing before succumbing to addiction and resolving to leave her past in order to survive. 50,000 first printing.
A memoir about growing up in a cluttered and rat-infested home that resulted from her father's struggle with compulsive hoarding, describing how the burden led to the author's suicide attempt and her against-all-odds bond with her parents.
An uplifting account of a young woman's efforts to live life to its fullest while gradually going blind describes her diagnosis with retinitis pigmentosa at age 19, her reckless relationships, training at a circus school and extensive travels before unexpectedly falling in love and becoming pregnant. 30,000 first printing.
The child of an alcoholic father and an eccentric artist mother discusses her family's nomadic upbringing, during which she and her siblings fended for themselves while their parents outmaneuvered bill collectors and the authorities.
It's the 1960s in New Hampshire, and Gloria Norris is growing up in the projects with her family. A photo might show a happy, young family, but only a dummkopf would believe that. Jimmy's a wiseguy who relies on charm, wit and an unyielding belief that he's above the law; and his youngest daughter, Gloria, is just like him. Or at least, she knows that she needs to stay on his good side. When an unspeakable act of violence shakes her to her core, Gloria's fiery determination takes shape and she sets herself on a path away from the cycle of violence whirling around her.
One of our greatest literary naturalists turns her famed observational eye on herself in this captivating memoir. How is it that an untrained, self-taught observer and writer could see things that professional anthropologists often missed? How is that a pioneering woman, working in male-dominated fields, without sponsors or credentials, could accomplish more than so many more celebrated and professionally educated men could manage? How can we all unlock the wisdom of the world simply by paying close attention? With their intelligence and acute insight into other cultures and species, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas's many books have won a wide and loving audience. In A Million Years with You, this legendary author shares stories from her life, showing how a formative experience in South West Africa (now Namibia) in the 1950s taught her how to pay attention to the ancient wisdom of animals and humankind. As a young woman, Marshall Thomas joined her family on an anthropological expedition to the Kalahari Desert, where she conducted fieldwork among the Ju/wa Bushmen, later publishing her findings as The Harmless People. After college, a wedding, and the birth of two children, she returned to Uganda shortly before Idi Amin's bloody coup. Her skills as an observer and a writer would be put to the test on many other occasions working with dogs, cats, cougars, deer—and with more personal struggles. A Million Years with You is a powerful memoir from a pioneering woman, an icon of American letters.
A haunting account of teaching English to the sons of North Korea's ruling class during the last six months of Kim Jong-il's reign Every day, three times a day, the students march in two straight lines, singing praises to Kim Jong-il and North Korea: Without you, there is no motherland. Without you, there is no us. It is a chilling scene, but gradually Suki Kim, too, learns the tune and, without noticing, begins to hum it. It is 2011, and all universities in North Korea have been shut down for an entire year, the students sent to construction fields—except for the 270 students at the all-male Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST), a walled compound where portraits of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il look on impassively from the walls of every room, and where Suki has gone undercover as a missionary and a teacher. Over the next six months, she will eat three meals a day with her young charges and struggle to teach them English, all under the watchful eye of the regime. Life at PUST is lonely and claustrophobic, especially for Suki, whose letters are read by censors and who must hide her notes and photographs not only from her minders but from her colleagues—evangelical Christian missionaries who don't know or choose to ignore that Suki doesn't share their faith. As the weeks pass, she is mystified by how easily her students lie, unnerved by their obedience to the regime. At the same time, they offer Suki tantalizing glimpses of their private selves—their boyish enthusiasm, their eagerness to please, the flashes of curiosity that have not yet been extinguished. She in turn begins to hint at the existence of a world beyond their own—at such exotic activities as surfing the Internet or traveling freely and, more dangerously, at electoral democracy and other ideas forbidden in a country where defectors risk torture and execution. But when Kim Jong-il dies, and the boys she has come to love appear devastated, she wonders whether the gulf between her world and theirs can ever be bridged. Without You, There Is No Us offers a moving and incalculably rare glimpse of life in the world's most unknowable country, and at the privileged young men she calls "soldiers and slaves."
“I found myself underlining sentences, and then entire passages, that resonated with me, articulating the extreme inadequacy and sense of dislocation single women of a certain age, like MacNicol—and like me —experience in moments when others are growing closer without you…an anthem to choosing the single, family-free life.”—Amanda Stern, The New York Times Book Review BuzzFeed: “Exciting Summer Books” Goop: “15 Books We’re Reading This Summer” Vogue.com: “13 Books to Thrill, Entertain, and Sustain You This Summer” Bustle: “15 Best Nonfiction Books Coming Out In July 2018” Town & Country: “Best New Books to Read This July” Elle.com: “The 40 Best Books to Read This Summer” InStyle: “11 Books to Bury Your Nose in This Summer” If the story doesn’t end with marriage or a child, what then? This question plagued Glynnis MacNicol on the eve of her 40th birthday. Despite a successful career as a writer, and an exciting life in New York City, Glynnis was constantly reminded she had neither of the things the world expected of a woman her age: a partner or a baby. She knew she was supposed to feel bad about this. After all, single women and those without children are often seen as objects of pity, relegated to the sidelines, or indulgent spoiled creatures who think only of themselves. Glynnis refused to be cast into either of those roles and yet the question remained: What now? There was no good blueprint for how to be a woman alone in the world. She concluded it was time to create one. Over the course of her fortieth year, which this memoir chronicles, Glynnis embarks on a revealing journey of self-discovery that continually contradicts everything she’d been led to expect. Through the trials of family illness and turmoil, and the thrills of far-flung travel and adventures with men, young and old (and sometimes wearing cowboy hats), she is forced to wrestle with her biggest hopes and fears about love, death, sex, friendship, and loneliness. In doing so, she discovers that holding the power to determine her own fate requires a resilience and courage that no one talks about, and is more rewarding than anyone imagines. Intimate and timely, No One Tells You This is a fearless reckoning with modern womanhood and an exhilarating adventure that will resonate with anyone determined to live by their own rules.
This is Not for You reveals a childhood of raw encounters with drug abuse and mental illness. This is Not for You is a memoir which vividly describes the memories of growing up in a dysfunctional environment and how these circumstances developed a spirit within the narrator. This is a story of resiliency and drive to overcome the extreme adversities that addiction and poverty can create in the life of a young child.
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An unforgettable memoir about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY PUBLISHERS WEEKLY “A coming-of-age memoir reminiscent of The Glass Castle.”—O: The Oprah Magazine “Beautiful and propulsive . . . Despite the singularity of [Westover’s] childhood, the questions her book poses are universal: How much of ourselves should we give to those we love? And how much must we betray them to grow up?”—Vogue Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home. Book Club Pick for Now Read This, from PBS NewsHour and The New York Times • Longlisted for the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction “Heart-wrenching . . . a beautiful testament to the power of education to open eyes and change lives.”—Amy Chua, The New York Times Book Review “A heartbreaking, heartwarming, best-in-years memoir.”—USA Today “Tara Westover’s one-of-a-kind memoir is about the shaping of a mind. . . . She evokes a childhood that completely defined her. Yet it was also, she gradually sensed, deforming her.”—The Atlantic “Riveting . . . Westover brings readers deep into this world, a milieu usually hidden from outsiders.”—The Economist “Incredibly thought-provoking . . . so much more than a memoir about a woman who graduated college without a formal education. It is about a woman who must learn how to learn.”—The Harvard Crimson “A subtle, nuanced study of how dysfunction of any kind can be normalized even within the most conventional family structure, and of the damage such containment can do.”—Financial Times “Westover’s extraordinary memoir is haunting in the best way, delivering a powerful coming-of-age saga.”—Paste
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEARThe New York Times, Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, Vogue, NPR, Publishers Weekly, BookPage A revealing and beautifully written memoir and family history from acclaimed photographer Sally Mann. In this groundbreaking book, a unique interplay of narrative and image, Mann's preoccupation with family, race, mortality, and the storied landscape of the American South are revealed as almost genetically predetermined, written into her DNA by the family history that precedes her. Sorting through boxes of family papers and yellowed photographs she finds more than she bargained for: "deceit and scandal, alcohol, domestic abuse, car crashes, bogeymen, clandestine affairs, dearly loved and disputed family land . . . racial complications, vast sums of money made and lost, the return of the prodigal son, and maybe even bloody murder." In lyrical prose and startlingly revealing photographs, she crafts a totally original form of personal history that has the page-turning drama of a great novel but is firmly rooted in the fertile soil of her own life.
A Memoir of My Wilderness Childhood, My Unusual Family, and How I Survived Both
Author: Cea Sunrise Person
Publisher: Harper Collins
Category: Biography & Autobiography
Sex, drugs, and . . . bug stew? In the vein of The Glass Castle and Wild, Cea Sunrise Person’s compelling memoir of a childhood spent with her dysfunctional counter-culture family in the Canadian wilderness—a searing story of physical, emotional, and psychological survival. In the late 1960s, riding the crest of the counterculture movement, Cea’s family left a comfortable existence in California to live off the land in the Canadian wilderness. But unlike most commune dwellers of the time, the Persons weren’t trying to build a new society—they wanted to escape civilization altogether. Led by Cea’s grandfather Dick, they lived a pot-smoking, free-loving, clothing-optional life under a canvas tipi without running water, electricity, or heat for the bitter winters. Living out her grandparents’ dream with her teenage mother Michelle, young Cea knew little of the world beyond her forest. She spent her summers playing nude in the meadow and her winters snowshoeing behind the grandfather she idolized. Despite fierce storms, food shortages, and the occasional drug-and-sex-infused party for visitors, it seemed to be a mostly happy existence. For Michelle, however, now long separated from Cea’s father, there was one crucial element missing: a man. When Cea was five, Michelle took her on the road with a new boyfriend. As the trio set upon a series of ill-fated adventures, Cea began to question both her highly unusual world and the hedonistic woman at the centre of it—questions that eventually evolved into an all-consuming search for a more normal life. Finally, in her early teens, Cea realized she would have to make a choice as drastic as the one her grandparents once had in order to save herself. While a successful international modeling career offered her a way out of the wilderness, Cea discovered that this new world was in its own way daunting and full of challenges. Containing twenty-four intimate black-and-white family photos, North of Normal is Cea’s funny, shocking, heartbreaking, and triumphant tale of self-discovery and acceptance, adversity, and strength that will leave no reader unmoved.
A Library Journal Editors' Spring Pick: 1 of 34 Titles to Wave a Flag About "Old in Art School is a glorious achievement—bighearted and critical, insightful and entertaining. This book is a cup of courage for everyone who wants to change their lives." —Tayari Jones, author of An American Marriage and Silver Sparrow Following her retirement from Princeton University, celebrated historian Dr. Nell Irvin Painter surprised everyone in her life by returning to school—in her sixties—to earn a BFA and MFA in painting. In Old in Art School, she travels from her beloved Newark to the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design; finds meaning in the artists she loves, even as she comes to understand how they may be undervalued; and struggles with the unstable balance between the pursuit of art and the inevitable, sometimes painful demands of a life fully lived. How are women and artists seen and judged by their age, looks, and race? What does it mean when someone says, “You will never be an artist”? Who defines what “An Artist” is and all that goes with such an identity, and how are these ideas tied to our shared conceptions of beauty, value, and difference? Old in Art School is Nell Painter’s ongoing exploration of those crucial questions. Bringing to bear incisive insights from two careers, Painter weaves a frank, funny, and often surprising tale of her move from academia to art.
Winner of the Wellcome Prize A finalist for the Samuel Johnson Prize and the Costa Award “A memoir quite unlike any other. It has the strength of an arrow: taut, spiked, quavering, working to its fatal conclusion...an extraordinary story told in an extraordinary way.”—The Sunday Times “The most heartbreaking memoir of the year.”—Independent on Sunday Winner of the Wellcome Book Prize, and finalist for every major nonfiction award in the UK, including the Samuel Johnson Prize and the Costa Award, The Iceberg is artist and writer Marion Coutts’ astonishing memoir; an “adventure of being and dying “and a compelling, poetic meditation on family, love, and language. In 2008, Tom Lubbock, the chief art critic for The Independent was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The Iceberg is his wife, Marion Coutts’, fierce, exquisite account of the two years leading up to his death. In spare, breathtaking prose, Coutts conveys the intolerable and, alongside their two year old son Ev—whose language is developing as Tom’s is disappearing—Marion and Tom lovingly weather the storm together. In short bursts of exquisitely textured prose, The Iceberg becomes a singular work of art and an uplifting and universal story of endurance in the face of loss.
Presents a personal account of the author's youth, his parents, and the 1950s upstate New York town they struggled to escape, recounting the encroaching poverty and illness that challenged everyday life and the dreams his mother instilled that inspired his career.