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.

 

The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit

By Michael Finkel.

Documents the true story of a man who endured a hardscrabble, isolated existence in a tent in the Maine woods, never speaking with others and surviving by stealing supplies from nearby cabins, for 27 years, in a portrait that illuminates the survival means he developed and the reasons behind his solitary life.


For readers of Jon Krakauer and The Lost City of Z, a remarkable tale of survival and solitude–the true story of a man who lived alone in a tent in the Maine woods, never talking to another person and surviving by stealing supplies from nearby cabins for twenty-seven years.

Books For Living

books-for-livingFrom the author of the best-selling and beloved The End of Your Life Book Club–a wonderfully engaging new book: both a celebration of reading in general and an impassioned recommendation of specific books that can help guide us through our daily lives.

Nobody’s Son

nobodys-sonFor readers of W. G. Sebald and Daniel Mendelsohn, by a writer whose storytelling is ‘devastatingly agile’ (New York Times Book Review). Born in Czechoslovakia, Mark Slouka’s parents survived the Nazis only to be forced to then escape the Communist purges after the war. Smuggled out of their own country, the newlyweds joined a tide of refugees moving from Innsbruck to Sydney to New York, dragging with them a history of blood and betrayal that their son would be born into. From World War I to the present, Slouka pieces together a remarkable story of refugees and war, displacement and denial, admitting into evidence memories, dreams, stories, the lies we inherit and the lies we tell — in an attempt to reach his mother, the figure at the center of the labyrinth. Her story — the revelation of her life-long burden and the forty-year love affair that might have saved her — shows the way out of the maze.

Join us for an evening with Peter Selgin on Saturday June 4th at 6:30pm

the InventorsWelcome home Bethel native Peter Selgin as he joins us to reveal his new book, The Inventors: A Memoir on Saturday June 4th at 6:30p.m.

About the book:

“This book is mainly about two men who were very important to me.

“The first was there at my conception; the second came along 13 years later. Both men shaped my personality . . .

“The first man was my father, Paul Selgin, who, it so happens, was an inventor. The second was my eighth grade English teacher.”

Both Selgin’s father and the man he calls the teacher” led remarkable lives. Among other things, Paul Selgin invented the first dollar billchanging-machine and helped design the so-called proximity fuse, which hastened the end of World War II. As for the teacher, he became a forceful advocate for human rights and diversity, championing the cause of indigenous peoples and refuges from Southeast Asia, while insisting that they not forget their history ironically, since the teacher did everything he could to obliterate his own. As Selgin discovers only after their deaths, for very different reasons both men felt compelled to reinvent themselves.

The Inventors is the story of how these two charismatic men shaped the author’s life. It’s also the story of a relationship between a boy and his teacher, a relationship that was equal parts inspiring and destructive.

About the author:

Peter Selgin is the author of Drowning Lessons, winner of the Flannery O Connor Award for Fiction, a novel, two books on fiction writing, and several children s books. Confessions of a Left-Handed Man, his memoir-in-essays, was short-listed for the William Saroyan International Prize. His novel, The Water Master, won the Wisdom/Faulkner Society Prize for Best Novel. His essays have won many awards and honors, including six citations and two selections for the Best American anthologies, in which the title essay of his collection appears.
Selgin’s drama, A God in the House, based on Dr. Kevorkian and his suicide machine, was staged at the Eugene O Neill National Playwright s Conference in 1991. Other plays of his have won the Charlotte Repertory New Play Festival Competition, the Mill Mountain New Plays Competition, and the Stage 3 Theater Festival of New Plays. His paintings have been featured in The New Yorker, Gourmet, Outside, Forbes, and The Wall Street Journal, and exhibited nationally.
Selgin is the prose editor of Alimentum: The Literature of Food, and nonfiction editor and art director of Arts & Letters. He is Assistant Professor of English at Georgia College and an associate faculty member of Antioch University s Creative Writing MFA program in Los Angeles.

To register to save a spot and pre-order the book at a discounted price, click HERE.

You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)

You're Never Weird on the InternetYou’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost): A Memoir
By Felicia Day

From online entertainment pioneer, actress, and “queen of the geeks” Felicia Day, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) is a “relentlessly funny and surprisingly inspirational” (Forbes.com), memoir about her unusual upbringing, her rise to internet stardom, and embracing her weirdness to find her place in the world.

When Felicia Day was a girl, all she wanted was to connect with other kids (desperately). Growing up in the Deep South, where she was “home-schooled for hippie reasons,” she looked online to find her tribe. The internet was in its infancy and she became an early adopter at every stage of its growth – finding joy and unlikely friendships in the emerging digital world. Her relative isolation meant that she could pursue passions like gaming, calculus, and 1930’s detective novels without shame. Because she had no idea how “uncool” she really was.

But if it hadn’t been for her strange background –  the awkwardness continued when she started college at sixteen, with Mom driving her to campus every day – she might never have had the naive confidence to forge her own path. Like when she graduated as valedictorian with a math degree and then headed to Hollywood to pursue a career in acting despite having zero contacts. Or when she tired of being typecast as the crazy cat-lady secretary and decided to create her own web series before people in show business understood that online video could be more than just cats chasing laser pointers.

Felicia’s rags-to-riches rise to internet fame launched her career as one of the most influential creators in new media. Ever candid, she opens up about the rough patches along the way, recounting battles with writer’s block, a full-blown gaming addiction, severe anxiety and depression – and how she reinvented herself when overachieving became overwhelming.

Showcasing Felicia’s “engaging and often hilarious voice” (USA TODAY), You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) is proof that everyone should celebrate what makes them different and be brave enough to share it with the world, because anything is possible now – even for a digital misfit.

SuperBetter

SuperBetterSuperBetter
By Jane McGonigal

An innovative guide to living gamefully, based on the program that has already helped nearly half a million people achieve remarkable personal growth.

In 2009, internationally renowned game designer Jane McGonigal suffered a severe concussion. Unable to think clearly or work or even get out of bed, she became anxious and depressed, even suicidal. But rather than let herself sink further, she decided to get better by doing what she does best: she turned her recovery process into a resilience-building game. What started as a simple motivational exercise quickly became a set of rules for post-traumatic growth that she shared on her blog. These rules led to a digital game and a major research study with the National Institutes of Health. Today nearly half a million people have played SuperBetter to get stronger, happier, and healthier.

But the life-changing ideas behind SuperBetter are much bigger than just one game. In this book, McGonigal reveals a decade’s worth of scientific research into the ways all games including videogames, sports, and puzzles change how we respond to stress, challenge, and pain. She explains how we can cultivate new powers of recovery and resilience in everyday life simply by adopting a more gameful mindset. Being gameful means bringing the same psychological strengths we naturally display when we play games such as optimism, creativity, courage, and determination to real-world goals.

Drawing on hundreds of studies, McGonigal shows that getting superbetter is as simple as tapping into the three core psychological strengths that games help you build: your ability to control your attention, and therefore your thoughts and feelings; your power to turn anyone into a potential ally, and to strengthen your existing relationships; and your natural capacity to motivate yourself and super-charge your heroic qualities, like willpower, compassion, and determination.

SuperBetter contains nearly 100 playful challenges anyone can undertake in order to build these gameful strengths. It includes stories and data from people who have used the SuperBetter method to get stronger in the face of illness, injury, and other major setbacks, as well as to achieve goals like losing weight, running a marathon, and finding a new job.

As inspiring as it is down to earth, and grounded in rigorous research, SuperBetter is a proven game plan for a better life. You’ll never say that something is just a game again.

Enchanted Air

Enchanted AirEnchanted Air
By Margarita Engle

In this poetic memoir, Margarita Engle, the first Latina woman to receive a Newbery Honor, tells of growing up as a child of two cultures during the Cold War.

Margarita is a girl from two worlds. Her heart lies in Cuba, her mother’s tropical island country, a place so lush with vibrant life that it seems like a fairy tale kingdom. But most of the time she lives in Los Angeles, lonely in the noisy city and dreaming of the summers when she can take a plane through the enchanted air to her beloved island. Words and images are her constant companions, friendly and comforting when the children at school are not.

Then a revolution breaks out in Cuba. Margarita fears for her far-away family. When the hostility between Cuba and the United States erupts at the Bay of Pigs Invasion, Margarita’s worlds collide in the worst way possible. How can the two countries she loves hate each other so much? And will she ever get to visit her beautiful island again?

Between the World and Me

BetweenThe author presents a history of racial discrimination in the United States and a narrative of his own personal experiences of contemporary race relations, offering possible resolutions for the future. Told through the author’s own evolving understanding of the subject over the course of his life comes a bold and personal investigation into America’s racial history and its contemporary echoes.

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