David Leite’s New memoir is “Notes On a Banana”

Please join us when David returns for a book discussion of this book on Thursday June 15th with our Book Group.

Byrd’s Books welcomed back author David Leite in celebration of his memoir, “Notes on a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love, and Manic Depression”. 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.

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.

Would like a signed book? Click HERE, and pick it up at the store.

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

 

The Lion in the Living Room: How House Cats Tamed Us and Took Over the World

By Abigail Tucker. Discusses the natural history of domesticated felines and how they achieved global domination, despite offering humans no practical benefits, through visiting researchers who discovered feline bones in the first human settlements and searching for house cats on the loose in Florida.

Navel Gazing: True Tales of Bodies, Mostly Mine (but Also My Mom’s, Which I Know Sounds Weird)

Navel GazingThe New York Times best-selling author (and Connecticut author!) and stand-up comedian, in a candid and humorous memoir, reexamines his life as a middle-aged guy and confronts his genetic legacy as he enters his 40s.

Maple Syrup Talk & Taste with David K. Leff

Maple SugaringOn Friday February 26th at 7:00pm, joined us for an evening of Maple Syrup! Connecticut author David K. Leff will walk us through the differences in maple syrups as we taste the different grades of sweet syrup on waffle pieces! Ever wonder what the differences in “grade” mean? How easy is it to make your own syrup? What time of year is the best for maple syrup?

 

Healing Without Hurting with Jenn Kozek on March 1st at 7:00pm

Byrd’s Books welcomed Jenn Kozek on Tuesday March 1st at 7:00pm as she discussed her new book, “Healing Without Hurting:  Treating ADHD, Apraxia and Autism Spectrum Disorders Naturally and Effectively Without Harmful Medications”.

About the book:

CoverUsing her candid parenting experiences with her son as a backdrop, Giustra-Kozek provides others with a practical reference guide for naturally treating ADD/ADHD, autism spectrum disorders and their co-morbid conditions such as sleep issues, depression, impulsivity, and anxiety. As both a parent and mental health professional, Giustra-Kozek examines the mistakes some conventional physicians make when it comes to treating these disorders. “Healing Without Hurting” provides a methodical approach to understanding the underlying causes and offers non-pharmaceutical solutions that work.

About the author:

Jenn KozekJennifer Kozek has a Master’s Degree in Community Counseling, and a Bachelor’s Degree in English/Criminal Justice from Western Connecticut State University. She is an accomplished licensed psychotherapist in private practice. She has over 15 years of clinical experience treating clients with an array of health disorders including Asperger’s, depression, anxiety, OCD and ADHD.

Connecticut author Melanie Barnum and Psychic Vision

Psychic visionMelanie Barnum’s new book, “Psychic Vision: Developing Your Clairvoyant and Remote Viewing Skills” is a must-read.

About the book:
Imagine being able to see people, landmarks, or objects in a far away location without physically going there! Offering a unique combination of intuitive and analytical guidance, Psychic Vision includes everything you need to know about using clairvoyance and remote viewing to enhance your life. With chapter-by-chapter exercises created specifically to take you on a clairvoyant journey–as well as instructions for the exact protocols used by government intelligence agencies–Psychic Vision is an indispensible guide to developing your psychic sight. Sharing true stories of actual remote viewing events, this book provides practical applications for clairvoyance and introduces you to an extraordinary and inspiring spiritual awareness.

About the author:
MelanieBarnumMelanie Barnum (Bethel, CT) is a psychic medium, intuitive counselor, life coach, and hypnotist who has been practicing professionally for more than fifteen years. She was a VIP Reader at Psych Out, a gathering of the nation’s foremost psychics, organized by Court TV. Barnum is also an Angelspeake Facilitator, a member of the National Guild of Hypnotists (NGH), and the International Association of Counselors and Therapists (IACT). Visit her online at MelanieBarnum.com.

The Magical World of Strega Nona: A Treasury

Magical World of Strega NonaThe Magical World of Strega Nona: A Treasury
Written & illustrated by Connecticut author Tomie dePaola!

Enter the marvelous, magical world of Strega Nona!

This wonderful treasury features six favorite stories about Strega Nona and her sidekick, the bumbling Big Anthony including the original Strega Nona, as well as Strega Nona Meets Her Match, Strega Nona: Her Story, Strega Nona Takes a Vacation, Strega Nona s Harvest, and Strega Nona’s Gift. Tomie s brand-new introductions to each story take readers behind the scenes to see how Strega Nona s world has developed through the years. Also including an original lullaby with sheet music and a CD a map of Strega Nona s town, and some fun recipes, this collection will give readers and music lovers much to savor.

Strega Nona, Tomie dePaola’s beloved grandmother witch, has been enchanting readers since the publication of the Caldecott Honor Award winning Strega Nona in 1975. Strega Nona’s gentle humor, irrepressible spirit, and matter-of-fact approach to life have won her legions of fans young and old, and the American Library Association called her an enduring character who has charmed generations of children.

Maple Sugaring: Keeping It Real in New England by David K. Leff

Maple SugaringWe celebrate David Leff’s new book, “Maple Sugaring: Keeping It Real in New England”.

About the book:

Maple Sugaring gives readers an intimate look at the art and science of America’s favorite sweet. These stories, told by real-life sugarmakers, reveal how this ancient industry has continued into the twenty-first century. Thanks to the newest technology, and patience, New England sugarmakers are still keeping it real. A former maple sugarmaker and board member of the Maple Syrup Producers’ Association of Connecticut, David Leff takes us on a journey into the very heart of New England’s character. Along the way he talks with the sugar gurus, who share their expertise, insights, and anecdotes about their experiences in the business. What makes maple sugaring such a beloved tradition? Is it marketing savvy, family tradition, or something deeper–and harder to tap? This book is for anyone with a sweet tooth who is curious about the science, or who simply enjoys a good story. Maple Sugaring is full of wisdom, quirky characters, and recipes.

About the author: David K. Leff

Leff, author of numerous essays and stories for the Hartford Courant and other periodicals, is former Deputy Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. He has served as chairman of the Collinsville Historic District Commission, and as a volunteer firefighter, among other civic activities.

Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers

Sally AllenSally Allen brought us “Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers” on November 21st.

About the book:

Award-winning writer and teacher Sally Allen knows that good books don’t just draw us in; they talk to us, shape us, and transport us to times, places, and minds different from our own. In Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers, Allen deftly weaves personal stories with fifteen thematized, annotated, and illustrated reading lists for what to read next. By sharing some of the treasures in her library and the secret lives they reveal, she gives us permission to embrace the shameless book lover inside each of us. Unlocking Worlds is a testament to how reading passionately-and compassionately-can unlock the world beyond our back yard. Celebrating books and those who read them, Allen shows how the solitary act of reading can be a powerful thread that creates community and connection. Thought-provoking and eloquent, Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers is a must-have for anyone who can’t leave the house without a book in hand.

About the author: Unlocking W

Sally Allen is an award-winning writer and teacher. She holds a Ph.D. from New York University in English Education, with an emphasis in writing and rhetoric, and a M.A. in English Language and Literature. The founder and editor of Books, Ink at HamletHub, she leads book group discussions and teaches writing and communication. About the Illustrator Ha Pham is a designer and illustrator. Since graduating from Hanoi University of Industrial Fine Arts in Vietnam, she has worked as a freelancer for authors around the world.

To read an interview click here.

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Big MagicBy Elizabeth Gilbert

From the worldwide bestselling author of Eat Pray Love, the path to the vibrant, fulfilling life you’ve dreamed of.

Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the strange jewels that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.

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