Biographies

Last call at the Hotel Imperial : the reporters who took on a world at war book cover

Last call at the Hotel Imperial : the reporters who took on a world at war

Deborah Cohen

070.922 /Cohen
Nonfiction, Biographies, History

"Married foreign correspondents John and Frances Gunther intimately understood that it isn't only impersonal, economic forces that propel history, bringing readers so close to the front lines of history that they could feel how personal pathologies became the stuff of geopolitical crises. Together with other reporters of the Lost Generation--American journalists H.R. Knickerbocker, Vincent Sheean, and Dorothy Thompson--the Gunthers slipped through knots of surveillance and ignored orders of expulsion in order to expose the mass executions in Badajoz during the Spanish Civil War, the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact, the millions of dollars that Joseph Goebbels salted away abroad, and the sexual peccadillos of Hitler's brownshirts. They conjured what it was like to ride with Hitler in an airplane ("not a word did he say to any soul"); broke the inside story about Mussolini's claustrophobia and superstitions (he "took fright" at an Egyptian mummy that had been given to him); and verified the hypnotic impression Stalin made when he walked into a room ("You felt his antennae"). But just as they were transforming journalism, it was also transforming them: who they loved and betrayed, how they raised their children and coped with death. Over the course of their careers they would popularize bringing the private life into public view, not only in their reporting on the outsized figures of their day, but in what they revealed about their own (and each other's) intimate experiences as well. What were intimate relationships, after all, but geopolitics writ small?"--

Anne M's picture

I thought this book had a slow start, but as soon as we got to Europe and in the thick of war reporting, I was hooked. Learning about Dorothy Thompson, Frances Gunther, John Gunther, H.R. Knickerbocker, and Vincent Sheean and how they reported on Europe in the 1930s and 1940s showed how important journalists are. -Anne M

Carry on : reflections for a new generation book cover

Carry on : reflections for a new generation

John Lewis

BIOGRAPHY Lewis, John
Biographies

"A brilliant and empowering collection of final reflections and words of wisdom from venerable civil rights champion, the late Congressman John Lewis at the end of his remarkable life. Congressman John Lewis was a paragon of the Civil Rights Movement and political leadership for decades. A hero we won't soon forget, Lewis was a beacon of hope and a model of humility whose invocation to "good trouble" continues to inspire millions across our nation. In his last months on earth, even while battling cancer, he dedicated time to share his memories, beliefs, and advice-exclusively immortalized in these pages-as a message to the generations to come. Organized by topic ranging from justice, courage, faith, mentorship, and forgiveness to the protests and the pandemic, and many more besides, Carry On collects the late Congressman's thoughts for readers to draw on whenever they are in need of guidance. John Lewis had great confidence in our future, even as he died in the midst of one of our country's most challenging years to date. With this book, he performs that crucial passing of the baton, empowering us to live up to the legacy he has left us with his perseverance, dedication, profound insight, and unwavering ability to see the good in life." -- Publisher's description.

Victoria's picture

It's only been two years since we lost this incredible testament to the American spirit of resilience, hope and equity. It is hard to fathom that even toward the end of his life, in some of the country's darkest days, John Lewis was still full of tempered grace, light and hope for the future. This book is brimming with his vast wisdom; acquired over many decades and is a wonderful read for young adult and older readers alike. May we always be looking for "good trouble!" -Victoria

Sandor Katz and the tiny wild book cover

Sandor Katz and the tiny wild

Jacqueline Briggs Martin

j641.61 Martin
Biographies, Health, LGBTQ+

Welcome to Sandor Katz's no-desk, new-ways school! There are no tests, no rules - just happy, hungry people learning how to make fermented food. All they need are their favorite vegetables, salt, and the TINY WILD. These invisible microbes change cucumbers into crunchy pickles, and cabbages into zingy-zangy sauerkraut and kimchi.

Anne W's picture

A cookbook, a history book, a science book, and a biography rolled into one! Sandor Katz is an American food writer, DIY food activist, Jewish LGBT+ man, and haver of cool facial hair who started a school that teaches people how to ferment foods. If you're not sure what fermentation is, then you definitely need to read this book! Learn about Sandor Katz's life and inspiration, how fermentation works, why fermented foods are so healthy for you, get the instructions to try it for yourself, then grow up and start a radical commune in the woods just like Sandor! -Anne W

As a woman : what I learned about power, sex, and the patriarchy after I transitioned book cover

As a woman : what I learned about power, sex, and the patriarchy after I transitioned

Williams, Paula Stone, author.

306.768 /Williams
LGBTQ+, Nonfiction, Biographies

As a father of three, married, and holding several prominent jobs within the Christian community, Williams made the life-changing decision to physically transition from male to female at the age of sixty. Almost instantly, her power and influence in the evangelical world disappeared and her family had to grapple with intense feelings of loss and confusion. Struggling to create a new safe space for herself where she could reconcile her faith, her identity, and her desire to be a leader, Williams found that the key to her new career as a woman came with a deeper awareness of the inequities she had overlooked before her transition. In pulling back the curtain on her transition journey, Williams sheds light on the gendered landscape that impacts many in the LGBTQ+ community. She urges men to recognize the ways in which the world is tilted in their favor and validates the experiences of women who have been disregarded based solely on their gender. -- adapted from jacket and Amazon info

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Women artists A to Z book cover

Women artists A to Z

Melanie LaBarge

jE LaBarge
Nonfiction, Picture Books, Biographies

An empowering alphabet book celebrates famous and less-represented women artists in a variety of genres who have transformed the art world, from Frida Kahlo and Georgia O'Keeffe to Jaune Quick-to-See Smith and Xenobia Bailey. --

Mari's picture

I was reshelving this book on the bookmobile and my eyes were instantly drawn to the bright colors of the cover and the stylistic illustrations of the female artists. I read through the whole alphabet and learned about several artists I didn't know about and enjoyed learning about art history in the context of women's role in society during each artist's time. It's also very cool how the illustrator recreated each artist's work on their page but kept the same unique style throughout. So beautiful! -Mari

I keep trying to catch his eye : a memoir of loss, grief, and love book cover

I keep trying to catch his eye : a memoir of loss, grief, and love

Ivan Maisel

155.937 /Maisel
Biographies, Memoir

"In February 2015, Ivan Maisel received a call that would alter his life forever: his son Max's car was found abandoned in a parking next to Lake Ontario. Two months later, Max's body would be found in the lake. I Keep Trying to Catch His Eye is the story of Maisel's love for a son who was so different from him, but who he loved so deeply, and how he came to learn that grief for Max was nothing more than a last, ultimate expression of love. Navigating the moments of their complicated relationship, as well as their love each other, Maisel explores the bridges he tried to build to his son and the grief that engulfed him and his family after Max's death by suicide. Taking its title from Max's love of photography--and his tendency to only love the camera when he was behind it, looking away whenever his picture was taken--I Keep Trying to Catch His Eye delves into the tragically transformative reality of losing a child, all with grace, depth, and refinement. But by humanizing Max and humanizing his grief, Maisel evokes understanding instead of sorrow, appreciation instead of anxiety--and love instead of fear"--

Amanda's picture

This is a heartbreaking memoir, but I found it so beautiful and comforting as well. We get to learn about a close and loving family and the their talented son who was gone too soon. It's a heavy read, but a transformative one as well. -Amanda

Twilight man : love and ruin in the shadows of Hollywood and the Clark empire book cover

Twilight man : love and ruin in the shadows of Hollywood and the Clark empire

Liz Brown

306.766092 /Post
History, Biographies

"The unbelievable true story of Harrison Post--the enigmatic lover of one of the richest men in 1920s Hollywood--and the battle for a family fortune. In the booming 1920s, William Andrews Clark Jr. was one of the richest, most respected men in Los Angeles. The son of the mining tycoon known as "The Copper King of Montana," Clark launched the Los Angeles Philharmonic and helped create the Hollywood Bowl. He was also a man with secrets, including a lover named Harrison Post. A former salesclerk, Post enjoyed a lavish existence among Hollywood elites, but the men's money--and their homosexuality--made them targets, for the district attorney, their employees and, in Post's case, his own family. When Clark died suddenly, Harrison Post inherited a substantial fortune--and a wealth of trouble. From Prohibition-era Hollywood to Nazi prison camps to Mexico City nightclubs, Twilight Man tells the story of an illicit love and the battle over a family estate that would destroy one man's life. Harrison Post was forgotten for decades, but after a chance encounter with his portrait, Liz Brown, Clark's great-grandniece, set out to learn his story. Twilight Man is more than just a biography. It is an exploration of how families shape their own legacies, and the lengths they will go in order to do so"--

Amanda's picture

I was mesmerized by this story, and loved hearing all the scandals and gossip from Old Hollywood. It's a sad and engaging story that will keep you on the edge of your seat. -Amanda

Capone : the man and the era book cover

Capone : the man and the era

Laurence Bergreen

BIOGRAPHY Capone, Al
Biographies, History

Bergreen shows the seedy and glamorous sides of the age, the rise of Prohibition, the illicit liquor trade, the battlefield that was Chicago. Delving beyond the Capone mythology. Bergreen finds a paradox: a coldblooded killer, thief, pimp, and racketeer who was also a devoted son and father; a self-styled Robin Hood who rose to the top of organized crime. Capone is a masterful portrait of an extraordinary time and of the one man who reigned supreme over it all, Al Capone.

Hanna's picture

This is a well-structured, narrative account of Al Capone's career. It's not my usual kind of book, but I picked it up while in the hospital and it got me through some bad days. The small moments about a daughter's first date are just as engrossing as the descriptions of well-known and historical shootouts between the mob and the cops in downtown Chicago. This book was a surprisingly good read. -Hanna

Smalltime : a story of my family and the mob book cover

Smalltime : a story of my family and the mob

Russell Shorto

364.1092 /Shorto
Nonfiction, Literary Nonfiction, True Crime, Biographies

"Family secrets emerge as a best-selling author dives into the history of the mob in small-town America. Johnstown, Pennsylvania, a city "in its brawny postwar prime," is where "Little Joe" Regino and Russ Shorto build a local gambling empire on the earnings of factory workers for whom placing a bet--on a horse or pool game, pinball or "tip seal"--is their best shot at the American dream. Decades later, Russell Shorto grew up knowing that his grandfather was a small-town mobster, but never thought to write about him, in keeping with an unspoken family vow of silence. Then a distant cousin prodded him: You gotta write about it. Smalltime, the story of Shorto's search for his namesake, delves into the world of the small-town mob, an intricate web that spanned midcentury America, stitching together cities from Yonkers to Fresno. A riveting immigrant story, Smalltime is also deeply personal, as the author's ailing father, Tony, becomes his partner in piecing together their patriarch's troubled past. Moving, wryly funny, and richly detailed, Smalltime is an irresistible memoir by a masterful writer of historical narrative"--

Anne M's picture

Shorto takes a deep dive into his own family history, uncovering its origins in Sicily, why Pennsylvania attracted his own great-grandfather to sail across the Atlantic, and why the mob? He unearths family secret after family secret and paints a picture of an American experience. -Anne M

Relish: my life in the kitchen book cover

Relish: my life in the kitchen

Lucy Knisley

641.5092 /Knisley
Cookbooks, Biographies

Lucy Knisley loves food. The daughter of a chef and a gourmet, this talented young cartoonist comes by her obsession honestly. In her forthright, thoughtful, and funny memoir, Lucy traces key episodes in her life thus far, framed by what she was eating at the time and lessons learned about food, cooking, and life. Each chapter is bookended with an illustrated recipe-- many of them treasured family dishes, and a few of them Lucy's original inventions.

Beth's picture

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