Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage

By Dani Shapiro. The best-selling novelist and memoirist Dani Shapiro delivers the most intimate and powerful work of her career: an achingly honest hymn to an imperfect but precious life; a piercing, shattering, life-affirming memoir about marriage and memory, about the frailty and elasticity of our most essential bonds, and about the accretion, over time, of both sorrow and love.
Hourglass is an inquiry into how marriage is transformed by time–abraded, strengthened, shaped in miraculous and sometimes terrifying ways by accident and experience.  With courage and relentless honesty, Dani Shapiro opens the door to her house, her marriage, and her heart,
and invites us to witness her own marital reckoning–a reckoning in which she confronts both the life she dreamed of and the life she made, and struggles to reconcile the girl she was with the woman she has become.
What are the forces that shape our most elemental bonds? How do we make lifelong commitments in the face of identities that are continuously shifting, and commit ourselves for all time when the self is so often in flux?  What happens to love in the face of the unexpected, in the face of disappointment and compromise–how do we wrest beauty from imperfection, find grace in the ordinary, desire what we have rather than what we lack?  Drawing on literature, poetry, philosophy, and theology, Shapiro writes gloriously of the joys and challenges of matrimonial life, in a luminous narrative that unfurls with urgent immediacy and sharp intelligence.  Artful, intensely emotional work from one of our finest writers.

“Greeting, Reading & Eating” with David Leite on Sunday April 23rd at 5:00pm

THIS EVENT IS FULL– thank you for your interest. Please join us when David returns for a book discussion of this book on Thursday June 15th with our Book Group.

 

Byrd’s Books welcomes back author David Leite in celebration of his memoir, “Notes on a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love, and Manic Depression” on Sunday April 23rd at 5:00pm (6:00pm light fare served- prepared by David). For those of us who were fortunate enough to attend David’s author talk on his last book, “The New Portuguese Table” we got a preview of this new, wonderful book. Although this event is free, registration is required- please click HERE to save a spot.

Released by Harper Collins April 11th: 

The stunning and long-awaited memoir from the beloved founder of the James Beard Award-winning website Leite s Culinaria a candid, courageous, and at times laugh-out-loud funny story of family, food, mental illness, and sexual identity.

Born into a family of Azorean immigrants, David Leite grew up in the 1960s in a devoutly Catholic, blue-collar, food-crazed Portuguese home in Fall River, Massachusetts. A clever and determined dreamer with a vivid imagination and a flair for the dramatic, “Banana” as his mother endearingly called him, obsessed over proper hair care, yearned to live in a middle-class house with a swinging kitchen door like the ones on television, and fell in love with everything French, thanks to his Portuguese and French-Canadian godmother. But David also struggled with the emotional devastation of bipolar disorder. Until he was diagnosed in his mid-thirties, David found relief from his wild mood swings in cooking, Julia Child, and a Viking stove he named “Thor.”

Notes on a Banana is his heartfelt, unflinchingly honest, yet tender memoir of growing up, accepting himself, and turning his love of food into an award-winning career. Reminiscing about the people and events that shaped him, David looks back at the highs and lows of his life: from his rejection of being gay and his attempt to “turn straight” through Aesthetic Realism, a cult in downtown Manhattan, to becoming a writer, cookbook author, and web publisher, to his twenty-three-year relationship with Alan, known to millions of David s readers as “The One,” which began with (what else?) food. Woven throughout these stories are the dishes David loves the tastes that led him to happiness, health, and success.

A blend of Kay Redfield Jamison s An Unquiet Mind, the food memoirsof Ruth Reichl, Anthony Bourdain, and Gabrielle Hamilton, and the character-rich storytelling of Augusten Burroughs, David Sedaris, and Jenny Lawson, Notes on a Banana is a feast that dazzles, delights, and, ultimately, heals.

About the author:

The winner of multiple James Beard awards, Leite grew up in a blue-collar Portuguese home in Fall River, MA, longing for middle-class stability and struggling with bipolar disorder, which was not diagnosed until his mid-thirties. Meanwhile, he threw himself into cooking.

My review of the book on Goodreads:

In a beautifully written memoir of self-discovery, David Leite takes us on a journey of finding the true balance in his heritage, his sexual orientation, his bi-polar disorder and his deep and abiding love of food. With the anchor of strong family and culture, the author mines the depths of mental illness and the aching journey of diagnosis to find balance and, ultimately, happiness. From the author of the James Beard Award-winning website Leite’s Culinaria, David Leite has given us a feast of a journey to devour in this piercing memoir.

Cannot attend, but would like a signed book? Click HERE, and pick it up at the store.

Would you like a signed book mailed to a friend? Click HERE.

 

Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy

By Ann Lamott. An exploration of mercy, its elusive presence, and why people ignore or embrace it shares advice for forging deeper self-understanding and how to pursue an honest, meaningful life that involves kindness to others.

The Women in the Castle

 By Jessica Shattuck. In a novel set at the end of World War II, in a crumbling Bavarian castle that once played host to all of German high society, three widows’ lives and fates become intertwined. By the author of The Hazards of Good Breeding. 150,000 first printing.

The Ground Beneath Us: From the Oldest Cities to the Last Wilderness, What Dirt Tells Us About Who We Are

By Paul Bogard

Our most compelling resource just might be the ground beneath our feet.

When a teaspoon of soil contains millions of species, and when we pave over the earth on a daily basis, what does that mean for our future? What is the risk to our food supply, the planet’s wildlife, the soil on which every life-form depends? How much undeveloped, untrodden ground do we even have left?

Paul Bogard set out to answer these questions in The Ground Beneath Us, and what he discovered is astounding.

From New York (where more than 118,000,000 tons of human development rest on top of Manhattan Island) to Mexico City (which sinks inches each year into the Aztec ruins beneath it), Bogard shows us the weight of our cities’ footprints. And as we see hallowed ground coughing up bullets at a Civil War battlefield; long-hidden remains emerging from below the sites of concentration camps; the dangerous, alluring power of fracking; the fragility of the giant redwoods, our planet’s oldest living things; the surprises hidden under a Major League ballpark’s grass; and the sublime beauty of our few remaining wildest places, one truth becomes blazingly clear: The ground is the easiest resource to forget, and the last we should.

The New York Times Book of Crime: More Than 166 Years of Covering the Beat

By Kevin Flynn.
For 164 years, TheNew York Times has been a rich source of information about crime, its reporters racing alongside tabloids to track the shocking incidents that disrupt daily life. This fascinating compilation, edited by seasoned Times crime-beat veteran Kevin Flynn, captures the full sweep of the newspaper’s coverage of the subject—from the assassinations of icons like Lincoln, President Kennedy, and Malcolm X to the deadly trails left behind by serial killers like H. H. Holmes (America’s first recognized serial killer), the Son of Sam, and Jeffrey Dahmer. This comprehensive review examines issues like incarceration, organized crime, and vice—from the Attica riot to the powerful Medellin Cartel—as well as the infamous crimes that riveted the world. The kidnappings of Elizabeth Smart and the Lindbergh baby. The Manson murders. The robberies that exasperated law enforcement, from bank heists by Dillinger to the enduring mystery of the greatest art heist in American history at Boston’s Gardner Museum. White-collar crimes from Ponzi to Madoff. Crimes of passion, such as Harry Thaw’s dramatic shooting of Stanford White, his rival for the charms of the beautiful Evelyn Nesbit. Chapters are organized by topic and include explanatory material by Flynn to provide context. The book features approximately 40 photographs as well as reproductions of front-page stories. Although the focus is on the US, important international stories are included.

Our Short History

By Lauren Grodstein. New York Times bestselling author Lauren Grodstein returns with a deeply compelling and heartfelt story about the depths of a parent’s love and the struggle between keeping the past at bay and protecting a child’s future.

Karen Neulander, a successful New York political consultant, has always been fiercely protective of her son, Jacob, now six. She’s had to be: when Jacob’s father, Dave, found out Karen was pregnant and made it clear that fatherhood wasn’t in his plans, Karen walked out of the relationship, never telling Dave her intention was to raise their child alone.

But now Jake is asking to meet his dad, and with good reason: Karen is dying. Worried that he’ll break Jake’s heart, Karen finally makes the call, and is shocked to find Dave ecstatic about the news. First, he can’t meet Jake fast enough, and then, he can’t seem to leave him alone.

Terrified that Dave is trying to insinuate himself into Jake’s life, Karen is carrying a much larger burden: she has just a few more months to live. As she tries to play out her last days in the “right” way, she struggles with knowing that the only thing she cannot bring herself to do for her son–let his father become a permanent part of his life–is the thing he needs from her the most.

With heart-wrenching poignancy, unexpected wit, and mordant humor, Lauren Grodstein has created an unforgettable story about parenthood, sacrifice, and life itself.

Most Wanted

By Lisa Scottoline. Christine Nilsson and her husband, Marcus, are desperate for a baby. Unable to conceive, they find themselves facing a difficult choice they had never anticipated. After many appointments with specialists, endless research, and countless conversations, they make the decision to use a donor.

Two months pass, and Christine is happily pregnant. But one day, she is shocked to see a young blond man on the TV news being arrested for a series of brutal murders—and the blond man bears an undeniable and uncanny resemblance to her donor.

Delving deeper to uncover the truth, Christine must confront a terrifying reality and face her worst fears. Riveting and fast-paced with the depth of emotionality that has garnered Lisa Scottoline legions of fans, Most Wanted poses and ethical and moral dilemma: What would you do if the biological father of your unborn child was a serial killer?

The Orphan’s Tale

By Pam Jenoff. Sixteen-year-old Noa, forced to give up her baby fathered by a Nazi soldier, snatches a Jewish infant bound for a concentration camp from a boxcar and takes refuge with a traveling circus, where Astrid, a Jewish aerialist, becomes her mentor.

A Piece of the World

By Christina Baker Kline. From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the smash bestseller Orphan Train, a stunning and atmospheric novel of friendship, passion, and art, inspired by Andrew Wyeth’s mysterious and iconic painting Christina’s World.

“Later he told me that he’d been afraid to show me the painting. He thought I wouldn’t like the way he portrayed me: dragging myself across the field, fingers clutching dirt, my legs twisted behind. The arid moonscape of wheatgrass and timothy. That dilapidated house in the distance, looming up like a secret that won’t stay hidden.”

To Christina Olson, the entire world was her family’s remote farm in the small coastal town of Cushing, Maine. Born in the home her family had lived in for generations, and increasingly incapacitated by illness, Christina seemed destined for a small life. Instead, for more than twenty years, she was host and inspiration for the artist Andrew Wyeth, and became the subject of one of the best known American paintings of the twentieth century.

As she did in her beloved smash bestseller Orphan Train, Christina Baker Kline interweaves fact and fiction in a powerful novel that illuminates a little-known part of America’s history. Bringing into focus the flesh-and-blood woman behind the portrait, she vividly imagines the life of a woman with a complicated relationship to her family and her past, and a special bond with one of our greatest modern artists.

Told in evocative and lucid prose, A Piece of the World is a story about the burdens and blessings of family history, and how artist and muse can come together to forge a new and timeless legacy.

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