The Theft of Memory

TyphoidIn a riveting biography that reads like a crime novel, a Sibert Medalist and Newbery-Honor winner uncovers the true story of Mary Mallon, a.k.a. Typhoid Mary, one of the most notorious and misunderstood women in American history. (yes, it is a book for 9-11 year olds, but it is awesome!)

Empire of Deception: The Incredible Story of a Master Swindler Who Seduced a City and Captivated the Nation

Empire of DeceptionDocuments the multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme of charismatic lawyer Leo Koretz in Roaring Twenties Chicago, the subsequent international manhunt by an ambitious state attorney, and Leo’s mysterious death in prison.

Unbroken (Young Readers’ Edition)

UnbrokenUnbroken
By Laura Hillenbrand

The #1 New York Times bestseller, which is also a major motion picture directed by Angelina Jolie, has now been adapted by the author for young adults. Beautifully illustrated throughout, this riveting biography includes more than 100 black-and-white photos, as well as exclusive content, In Conversation, with Laura Hillenbrand and Louie Zamperini.

“Every young person should have the chance to read this book. It’s easy to think, growing up, that bravery is for other people, who are simply born heroic. But nothing about Louis marked him out for greatness. He started out as a misfit and troublemaker, but became a great man because of his choices. His story shows that everyone has the potential to rise above obstacles. It is not where you start out in life that counts the most, it is how you choose to face it.” —Angelina Jolie

On a May afternoon in 1943, an American military plane crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary sagas of the Second World War.

The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini. As a boy, he had been a clever delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and stealing. As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a supreme talent that carried him to the Berlin Olympics. But when war came, the athlete became an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.

Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a sinking raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would respond to desperation with ingenuity, suffering with hope and humor, brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would hang on the fraying wire of his will.

In this captivating young adult edition of her award-winning #1 New York Times bestseller, Laura Hillenbrand tells the story of a man’s breathtaking odyssey and the courage, cunning, and fortitude he found to endure and overcome. Lavishly illustrated with more than one hundred photographs and featuring an exclusive interview with Zamperini, Unbroken will introduce a new generation to one of history’s most thrilling survival epics.

I was published in the New York Times!

New York TimesAs part of our Writer’s Workshops with Judith Marks-White, we were asked to write from a selection of prompts. I wrote a “Dear Santa” letter and submitted it, at Judith’s suggestion, to the Metropolitan Diary section of the New York Times. It was printed on December 23, 2014 and the comments that followed are as wonderful as seeing my name in print.

Here it is:

Dear Diary:

Dear Santa,

I would really like you to keep the New York of my youth. You know, the one without all the crowds of people.

I want the New York when my grandparents took me downstairs from their apartment to get ice cream at Schrafft’s.

I want the New York when my mom took me to the Plaza’s Palm Court for my birthday because I loved Eloise so much.

I want the Rockefeller Center where I run into my college buddies — no matter how often and when I visit.

I want the Pan Am Building back.

I want the New York where my other grandmother, thinking I would like opera, took me to “The Barber of Seville” before there were subtitles.

I want the New York where I can walk right up to Saint Patrick’s without a line and find peace in the quiet back chapel where the old ladies pray to Mary — even though I am not a Catholic.

So, knowing that my old New York is faded, could you please take care of the horses that pull the carriages until I get the chance to fulfill my dream to get a ride through Central Park?

I still believe,

Alice

P.S. Thank you for not letting them wreck the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Terminal and for keeping the Metropolitan Museum.

Not My Father’s Son

Not My Father's SonA memoir by Alan Cumming

In his unique and engaging voice, the acclaimed actor of stage and screen shares the emotional story of his complicated relationship with his father and the deeply buried family secrets that shaped his life and career.

A beloved star of stage, television, and film–“one of the most fun people in show business” (Time magazine)–Alan Cumming is a successful artist whose diversity and fearlessness is unparalleled. His success masks a painful childhood growing up under the heavy rule of an emotionally and physically abusive father–a relationship that tormented him long into adulthood.

When television producers in the UK approached him to appear on a popular celebrity genealogy show in 2010, Alan enthusiastically agreed. He hoped the show would solve a family mystery involving his maternal grandfather, a celebrated WWII hero who disappeared in the Far East. But as the truth of his family ancestors revealed itself, Alan learned far more than he bargained for about himself, his past, and his own father.

With ribald humor, wit, and incredible insight, Alan seamlessly moves back and forth in time, integrating stories from his childhood in Scotland and his experiences today as a film, television, and theater star. At times suspenseful, deeply moving, and wickedly funny, Not My Father’s Son will make readers laugh even as it breaks their hearts.

The Pilot and the Little Prince

PilotLittlePrinceThe Pilot and the Little Prince: The Life of Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Written & illustrated by Peter Sis

Antoine de Saint-Exupery was born in France in 1900, when airplanes were just being invented. Antoine dreamed of flying and grew up to be a pilot–and that was when his adventures began. He found a job delivering mail by plane, which had never been done before. He and his fellow pilots traveled to faraway places and discovered new ways of getting from one place to the next. Antoine flew over mountains and deserts. He battled winds and storms. He tried to break aviation records, and sometimes he even crashed. From his plane, Antoine looked down on the earth and was inspired to write about his life and his pilot-hero friends in memoirs and in fiction. Peter Sis’s remarkable biography celebrates the author of The Little Prince, one of the most beloved books in the world.

A Boy and a Jaguar

Boy & JaguarAs a child, Alan Rabinowitz stuttered uncontrollably–except when he spoke to animals, then he was fluent. Follow the world-renowned wild cat conservationist Dr. Rabinowitz’s remarkable life as he finds a voice to speak for those who can’t speak for themselves. (biography, nature, special needs, ages 8-12)

Pope Francis: The Pope From the End of the Earth by Thomas Craughwell

About the book:

On March 13, 2013, the world waited in hushed anticipation, eyes fixed on a small chimney atop the Sistine Chapel. Just after 7 p.m. Rome time, a billow of white smoke erupted and Catholics the world over rejoiced. Habemus Papam! We have a pope!

An hour later, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the humble Cardinal from Argentina emerged onto the loggia and chose the name Francis, in honor of St. Francis of Assisi. Pope Francis

After taking in the scene of Saint Peter’s Square, Pope Francis greeted the pilgrims:

“You know that the work of the conclave is to give a bishop to Rome,” the new Pontiff said. “It seems as if my brother cardinals went to find him from the end of the earth, but here we are. Thank you for the welcome.”

These words encapsulate the humility, gentleness, and humor of the Church’s newest pontiff. In Pope Francis: The Pope from the End of the Earth, best-selling author Thomas J. Craughwell gives a first look at the life and journey of the first pope from the New World and offers a glimpse of what his pontificate could mean for the Church.

About The Author

Thomas J. Craughwell is author of more than two dozen published works. Among them are his highly acclaimed Saints Behaving Badly(Doubleday, 2006) and Saints Preserved: An Encyclopedia of Relics(Image, 2011). His book, Stealing Lincoln’s Body (Harvard University Press, 2007), has been adapted into a History Channel documentary. His articles have been printed by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Inside the Vatican, and Our Sunday Visitor. A popular speaker, Professor Craughwell has appeared on EWTN, CNN, and Ave Maria radio to discuss saints, the canonization process, and Catholic history. He writes out of his home in Bethel, Connecticut.

Eighty Days

Eighty DaysEighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s History-Making Race Around the World

By Matthew Goodman

On November 14, 1889, Nellie Bly, the crusading young female reporter for Joseph Pulitzer’s World newspaper, left New York City by steamship on a quest to break the record for the fastest trip around the world. Also departing from New York that day–and heading in the opposite direction by train – was a young journalist from The Cosmopolitan magazine, Elizabeth Bisland. Each woman was determined to outdo Jules Verne’s fictional hero Phileas Fogg and circle the globe in less than eighty days. The dramatic race that ensued would span twenty-eight thousand miles, captivate the nation, and change both competitors’ lives forever.

The two women were a study in contrasts. Nellie Bly was a scrappy, hard-driving, ambitious reporter from Pennsylvania coal country who sought out the most sensational news stories, often going undercover to expose social injustice. Genteel and elegant, Elizabeth Bisland had been born into an aristocratic Southern family, preferred novels and poetry to newspapers, and was widely referred to as the most beautiful woman in metropolitan journalism. Both women, though, were talented writers who had carved out successful careers in the hypercompetitive, male-dominated world of big-city newspapers. Eighty Days brings these trailblazing women to life as they race against time and each other, unaided and alone, ever aware that the slightest delay could mean the difference between victory and defeat.

A vivid real-life re-creation of the race and its aftermath, from its frenzied start to the nail-biting dash at its finish, Eight Days is history with the heart of a great adventure novel. Here’s the journey that takes us behind the walls of Jules Verne’s Amiens estate, into the back alleys of Hong Kong, onto the grounds of a Ceylon tea plantation, through storm-tossed ocean crossings and mountains blocked by snowdrifts twenty feet deep, and to many more unexpected and exotic locales from London to Yokohama. Along the way, we are treated to fascinating glimpses of everyday life in the late nineteenth century – an era of unprecedented technological advances, newly remade in the image of the steamship, the railroad, and the telegraph. For Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland – two women ahead of their time in every sense of the word – were not only racing around the world. They were also racing through the very heart of the Victorian age.

The Black Count

Black CountThe Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss

Here is the remarkable true story of the real Count of Monte Cristo – a stunning feat of historical sleuthing that brings to life the forgotten hero who inspired such classics as The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers.

The real-life protagonist of The Black Count, General Alex Dumas, is a man almost unknown today yet with a story that is strikingly familiar, because his son, the novelist Alexandre Dumas, used it to create some of the best loved heroes of literature.

Yet, hidden behind these swashbuckling adventures was an even more incredible secret: the real hero was the son of a black slave – who rose higher in the white world than any man of his race would before our own time.

Born in Saint-Domingue (now Haiti), Alex Dumas was briefly sold into bondage but made his way to Paris where he was schooled as a sword-fighting member of the French aristocracy. Enlisting as a private, he rose to command armies at the height of the Revolution, in an audacious campaign across Europe and the Middle East – until he met an implacable enemy he could not defeat.

The Black Count is simultaneously a riveting adventure story, a lushly textured evocation of 18th-century France, and a window into the modern world’s first multi-racial society. But it is also a heartbreaking story of the enduring bonds of love between a father and son.

The Black Count is currently a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in biography.

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