The Undertaker’s Daughter
by: Gallery Books
Product rating: 4.4 with 98 reviews
“The Undertaker’s Daughter
is a wonderfully quirky, gem of a book beautifully written by Kate Mayfield.…Her compelling, complicated family and cast of characters stay with you long after you close the book” (Monica Holloway, author of Cowboy & Wills
and Driving With Dead People
How does one live in a house of the dead? Kate Mayfield explores what it meant to be the daughter of a small-town undertaker in this fascinating memoir evocative of Six Feet Under
and The Help
, with a hint of Mary Roach’s Stiff
After Kate Mayfield was born, she was taken directly to a funeral home. Her father was an undertaker, and for thirteen years the family resided in a place nearly synonymous with death, where the living and the dead entered their house like a vapor. In a memoir that reads like a Harper Lee novel, Mayfield draws the reader into a world of haunting Southern mystique.
In the turbulent 1960s, Kate’s father set up shop in sleepy Jubilee, Kentucky, a segregated, god-fearing community where no one kept secrets—except the ones they were buried with. By opening a funeral home, Frank Mayfield also opened the door to family feuds, fetishes, murder, suicide, and all manner of accidents. Kate saw it all—she also witnessed the quiet ruin of her father, who hid alcoholism and infidelity behind a cool and charismatic façade. As Kate grows from trusting child to rebellious teen, the enforced sobriety of the funeral home begins to chafe, and she longs for the day she can escape the confines of Jubilee and her place as the undertaker’s daughter.
“Mayfield fashions a poignant send-off to Jubilee in this thoughtfully rendered work” (Publishers Weekly
Posted in Memoirs Tagged with: Daughter, Gallery Books, Undertaker's
30 Years, 30,000 Miles: What I Learned from God While Running
Product rating: 5.0 with 1 reviews
Like it or not, we are all running a race called life, and we all have the exact same finish line. How we run our course matters, but even if we stumble and fall, there is always an opportunity to learn to race in a better way. Runners and nonrunners alike will appreciate the lessons on such topics as rest and waiting while drawing inspiration to look at life from the viewpoint of seeing what God reveals.
With humor and a compelling storytelling style, Tretter allows you to accompany her on a journey covering thirty years and 30,000 miles. You will encounter the extraordinary people and events that can impact an ordinary life. With intimate looks at subjects such as winning, infertility, forgiveness, and healing, you are sure to be inspired on your own spiritual journey. Or at the very least, you will be able to make perfect Crème Brulée and Thai Sticky Rice!
Posted in Memoirs Tagged with: from, Learned, Miles, Running, WestBowPress, What, While, years
More Than A Bird
by: Salthouse Publishing
Product rating: 5.0 with 7 reviews
Scared, abused and taken to the limit of a person’s capacity to endure tragedy, Elizabeth “Liz” Huntley reveals the perils of a childhood that would lead most to a broken life or premature death. Liz, now a successful attorney at a prestigious southern law firm, recounts her journey from unimaginable darkness to radiance thanks to the early intervention of teachers, a pastor and caring people, strategically placed in her life by God. Decidedly unembellished, inherently poignant, More Than a Bird gives a glimpse of horror yet leaves only hope. Through her life story, Liz proves that on the wings of God, there is no height she cannot reach.
Posted in Memoirs Tagged with: Bird, More, Salthouse Publishing, than
All Dogs Go to Kevin: Everything Three Dogs Taught Me (That I Didn’t Learn in Veterinary School)
by: Grand Central Publishing
Product rating: 4.8 with 48 reviews
ALL DOGS GO TO KEVIN is a humorous and touching memoir that will appeal to anyone who has ever loved an animal or lost hours in James Herriot’s classic veterinary stories.
You can’t always count on people, but you can always count on your dog. No one knows that better than veterinarian Jessica Vogelsang.
With the help of three dogs, Jessica is buoyed through adolescence, veterinary school, and the early years of motherhood. Taffy, the fearsome Lhasa; Emmett, the devil-may-care Golden; and Kekoa, the neurotic senior Labrador, are always by her side, educating her in empathy and understanding for all the oddballs and misfits who come through the vet clinic doors. Also beside her is Kevin, a human friend who lives with the joie de vivre most people only dream of having.
From the clueless canine who inadvertently reveals a boyfriend’s wandering ways to the companion who sees through a new mother’s smiling facade, Jessica’s stories from the clinic and life show how her love for canines lifts her up and grounds her, too.
Above all, this book reminds us, with gentle humor and honesty, why we put up with the pee on the carpet, the chewed-up shoes, and the late-night trips to the vet: because the animals we love so much can, in fact, change our lives.
Posted in Memoirs Tagged with: Didn't, Dogs, Everything, Grand Central Publishing, Kevin, Learn, School, Taught, That, Three, Veterinary
CHARTER PILOT: Rare Adventures In Aviation
by: Booklocker.com, Inc.
Product rating: 5.0 with 2 reviews
Anyone interested in general aviation, its history, and the funny and sometimes-scary adventures of a professional pilot will enjoy Mark Burgess’ stories. With wry humor, he takes us on his journey from an airplane-happy small-town youth, to certified 17-year-old pilot, to instructor and inspector of other pilots. He has flown donated organs, fire patrol, and the rich and famous, and today is a successful entrepreneur with a rapidly growing company employing nine pilots.
Posted in Memoirs Tagged with: Adventures, Aviation, Booklocker.com, CHARTER, Inc., Pilot, Rare
Driving Hungry: A Memoir
Product rating: 4.2 with 22 reviews
A delicious memoir that takes us from Buenos Aires to New York to Berlin as the author, driven by wanderlust and an unrelenting appetite, finds purpose, passion, and unexpected flavor.
After putting her dream of opening her own restaurant on hold, Layne Mosler moves to Buenos Aires to write about food. But she is also in search of that elusive something
that could give shape to her life. One afternoon, fleeing a tango club following a terrible turn on the dance floor, she impulsively asks her taxista to take her to his favorite restaurant. Soon she is savoring one of the best steaks of her life and, in the weeks that follow, repeating the experiment with equally delectable results. So begins the gustatory adventure that becomes the basis for Mosler’s cult blog, Taxi Gourmet
. It eventually takes her to New York City, where she continues her food quests, hailing cabs and striking up conversations from the back seat, until she meets a pair of extraordinary lady cab drivers who convince her to become a taxi driver herself. Between humbling (and hilarious) episodes behind the wheel, Mosler reads about the taxi drivers in Berlin, who allegedly know as much about Nietzsche as they do about sausage. Intrigued, she travels to the German capital, where she develops a passion for the city, its restlessness, its changing flavors, and a certain fellow cab driver who shares her love of the road.
With her vivid descriptions of places and people and food, Mosler has given us a beguiling book that speaks to the beauty of chance encounters and the pleasures of not always knowing your destination.
Posted in Memoirs Tagged with: Driving, Hungry, Memoir, Pantheon
Epic Survival: Extreme Adventure, Stone Age Wisdom, and Lessons in Living From a Modern Hunter-Gatherer
by: Gallery Books
Product rating: 5.0 with 6 reviews
Matt Graham, star of the Discovery Channel s Dual Survival
and Dude, You re Screwed
, details the physical, mental, and emotional joys and harrowing struggles of his life as a modern-day hunter-gatherer.
Early on in his life, Matt craved a return to nature. When he became an adult, he set aside his comfortable urban life and lived entirely off the land to learn from the smallest and grandest of all things. In this riveting narrative that brings together epic adventure and spiritual quest, he shows us what extraordinary things the human body is capable of when pushed to its limits.
In Epic Survival
, written with Josh Young, coauthor of five New York Times
bestsellers, Matt relays captivating stories from his life to show just how terrifying and gratifying living off the grid can be. He learns the secrets of the Tarahumara Indians that helped him run the 1,600-mile Pacific Crest Trail in just fifty-eight days and endure temperature swings of 100 degrees. He takes us with him as he treks into the wilderness to live alone for half a year, armed with nothing but a loincloth, a pair of sandals, a stone knife, and chia seeds. He recounts near-death experiences of hiking alone through the snowdrifts at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, and tells us about the time he entered a three-day Arabian horse race on foot and finished third.
Above all, Epic Survival
is a book about growing closer to the land that nurtures us. No matter how far our modern society takes us from the wilderness, the call remains. Whether you re an armchair survivalist or have taken the plunge yourself, Matt s story is both inspiration and invigoration, teaching even the most urbane among us important and breathtaking lessons.
Posted in Memoirs Tagged with: Adventure, Epic, Extreme, from, Gallery Books, Hunter-Gatherer, Lessons, Living, Modern, Stone, Survival, Wisdom
Guardian of the Golden Gate: Protecting the Line Between Hope and Despair
by: Ascend Books LLC
Product rating: 5.0 with 3 reviews
The wind was gusting around the Golden Gate Bridge on a March afternoon in 2005 when a 22-year-old man climbed the railing, convinced he and this world would be better without each other. He put himself on a thin beam 220 feet above the Pacific Ocean. The man had just lost his job and felt overwhelmed as a new father. Kevin Berthia wanted to die, and he had come to the world’s most effective suicide destination to make that happen. That’s when he met a highway patrolman, a former Army soldier and San Quentin State Prison guard named Kevin Briggs. ‘I know you must be in tremendous pain,’ Briggs said over the railing. ‘If you want to talk, I m here to listen.’ The next 90 minutes saved Berthia’s life. ‘I opened up about stuff I d never dealt with before,’ he recalls. ‘Kevin gave me a reason to try again.’ Berthia is one of hundreds of Americans to come within inches of ending their lives with a jump off the Golden Gate Bridge, only to meet Briggs and decide to give life another chance. Out of those hundreds who have talked with Briggs on the bridge, only two have jumped. As he told the San Francisco Chronicle, ‘I’ve talked to people from ten minutes to seven hours. I very much despise losing. I do whatever I can to get that person back over the rail. I play to win.’ Before his days at the Golden Gate, Briggs spent three years in the Army before being discharged after a cancer diagnosis. He beat cancer and then entered law enforcement as a correctional officer. He was Charles Manson’s prison guard, among others, at San Quentin. His own personal story includes heart issues and dealing with divorce and depression in his family. The bulk of Briggs career was with the California State Highway Patrol, including more than two decades with the Marin County office. There, he worked predominately on the Golden Gate Bridge, which every month produces four to six suicidal subjects, multiple traffic collisions, and dozens of other law enforcement calls. After 9-11, security was heightened even more. Briggs had no training with suicide prevention or mental illness before taking the job but has since become such a respected expert that he’s helped train the FBI and several major corporations. He’s been called ‘a true American hero’ by Robert Gebbia, director of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and is among the country’s most active speakers in promoting crisis management, leadership skills, and suicide intervention and prevention worldwide. His TED Talk has been viewed well over a million times. More Americans die of suicide than homicide every year. Nine percent of Americans are dealing with depression at any particular time, many of them with major depression that can last a lifetime. Depression is the leading cause of disability for Americans age 15 to 44. These are underappreciated problems in the United States, at least in part, because they’re usually hidden and often come with a stigma of shame. In Guardian of the Golden Gate, Briggs shares his experiences with the help of people who credit their lives to him. His inspiring story will help shine a light on a killer that lurks in the darkness and show readers signs to look for and the value of hope. You will gain insight into this steadfast hero that will allow you to see why he’s known as the Golden Gate’s guardian. Kevin Briggs aims to promote mental illness awareness and ultimately break the stigmas associated with it. By reading this book, you join him in that pursuit. Suicide is preventable. There is hope. There is help.
Posted in Memoirs Tagged with: Ascend Books LLC, Between, Despair, Gate, Golden, Guardian, Hope, Line, Protecting
Never Turn Your Back on an Angus Cow: My Life as a Country Vet
Product rating: 4.8 with 300 reviews
The star of The Incredible Dr. Pol shares his amusing, and often poignant, tales from his four decades as a vet in rural Michigan.
Dr. Jan Pol is not your typical veterinarian. Born and raised the Netherlands on a dairy farm, he is the star of Nat Geo Wild’s hit show The Incredible Dr. Pol
and has been treating animals in rural Michigan since the 1970s. Dr. Pol’s more than 20,000 patients have ranged from white mice to 2600-pound horses and everything in between.
From the time he was twelve years old and helped deliver a litter of piglets on his family’s farm to the incredible moments captured on his hit TV show, Dr. Pol has amassed a wealth of stories of what it’s like caring for this menagerie of animals. He shares his own story of growing up surrounded by animals, training to be a vet in the Netherlands, and moving to Michigan to open his first practice in a pre fab house. He has established himself as an empathetic yet no-nonsense vet who isn’t afraid to make the difficult decisions in order to do what’s best for his patients—and their hard-working owners. A sick pet can bring heartache, but a sick cow or horse could threaten the very livelihood of a farmer whose modest profits are dependent on healthy livestock.
Reminiscent of the classic books of James Herriot, Never Turn Your Back on an Angus Cow is a charming, fascinating, and funny memoir that will delight animal lovers everywhere.
Posted in Memoirs Tagged with: Angus, Back, Country, Gotham, Life, Never, Turn, Your
Undocumented: A Dominican Boy’s Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League
by: Penguin Press
Product rating: 5.0 with 4 reviews
An undocumented immigrant’s journey from a New York City homeless shelter to the top of his Princeton class
Dan-el Padilla Peralta has lived the American dream. As a boy, he came here legally with his family. Together they left Santo Domingo behind, but life in New York City was harder than they imagined. Their visas lapsed, and Dan-el’s father returned home. But Dan-el’s courageous mother was determined to make a better life for her bright sons.
Without papers, she faced tremendous obstacles. While Dan-el was only in grade school, the family joined the ranks of the city’s homeless. Dan-el, his mother, and brother lived in a downtown shelter where Dan-el’s only refuge was the meager library. There he met Jeff, a young volunteer from a wealthy family. Jeff was immediately struck by Dan-el’s passion for books and learning. With Jeff’s help, Dan-el was accepted on scholarship to Collegiate, the oldest private school in the country.
There, Dan-el thrived. Throughout his youth, Dan-el navigated these two worlds: the rough streets of East Harlem, where he lived with his brother and his mother and tried to make friends, and the ultra-elite halls of a Manhattan private school, where he could immerse himself in a world of books and where he soon rose to the top of his class.
From Collegiate, Dan-el went to Princeton, where he thrived, and where he made the momentous decision to come out as an undocumented student in a Wall Street Journal profile a few months before he gave the salutatorian’s traditional address in Latin at his commencement.
Undocumented is a classic story of the triumph of the human spirit. It also is the perfect cri de coeur for the debate on comprehensive immigration reform.
Praise for Undocumented
“Dan-el Padilla Peralta’s story is as compulsively readable as a novel, an all-American tall tale that just happens to be true. From homeless shelter to Princeton, Oxford, and Stanford, through the grace not only of his own hard work but his mother’s discipline and care, he documents the America we should still aspire to be.” —Dr. Anne-Marie Slaughter, President of the New America Foundation
Posted in Memoirs Tagged with: Boy's, Dominican, from, Homeless, League, Odyssey, Penguin Press, Shelter, Undocumented
Girl in Glass: How My “Distressed Baby” Defied the Odds, Shamed a CEO, and Taught Me the Essence of Love, Heartbreak, and Miracles
by: Bloomsbury USA
Product rating: 4.4 with 17 reviews
Deanna Fei was just five-and-a-half months pregnant when she inexplicably went into labor. Minutes later, she met her tiny baby who clung to life support inside a glass box. Fei was forced to confront terrifying questions: How to be the mother of a child she could lose at any moment. Whether her daughter would survive another day–and whether she should. But as she watched her daughter fight for her life, Fei discovered the power of the mother-child bond at its most elemental.
A year after she brought her daughter home from the hospital, the CEO of AOL–her husband’s employer–blamed the beautiful, miraculously healthy little girl for a cut in employee benefits and attached a price tag to her life, using a phrase, “distressed babies,” that set off a national firestorm.
Girl in Glass is the riveting story of one child’s harrowing journey and a powerful distillation of parenthood. With incandescent prose and an unflinching eye, Fei explores the value of a human life: from the spreadsheets wielded by cost-cutting executives to the insidious notions of risk surrounding modern pregnancy; from the wondrous history of medical innovation in the care of premature infants to contemporary analyses of what their lives are worth; and finally, to the depths of her own struggle to make sense of her daughter’s arrival in the world. Above all, Girl in Glass is a luminous testament to how love takes hold when a birth defies our fundamental beliefs about how life is supposed to begin.
Posted in Memoirs Tagged with: "Distressed, Baby, Bloomsbury USA, Defied, Essence, Girl, Glass, Heartbreak, Love, Miracles, Odds, Shamed, Taught
Does This Beach Make Me Look Fat?: True Stories and Confessions
by: St. Martin’s Press
Product rating: 4.4 with 24 reviews
The unstoppable, irreverent mother-daughter team presents a new collection of funny stories and true confessions that every woman can relate to. From identity theft to the hazards of bicycling to college reunions and eating on the beach, Lisa and Francesca tackle the quirks, absurdities, and wonders of everyday life with wit and warmth. As Lisa says, “More and more, especially in the summertime when I’m sitting on the beach, I’m learning not to sweat it. To go back to the child that I used to be. To see myself through the loving eyes of my parents. To eat on the beach. And not to worry about whether every little thing makes me look fat. In fact, not to worry at all.”
So put aside your worries and join Lisa and Francesca as they navigate their way through the crazy world we live in, laughing along the way.
Posted in Memoirs Tagged with: Beach, Confessions, Does, Fat?, Look, Make, St. Martin's Press, Stories, this, True
Barefoot to Avalon
by: Atlantic Monthly Press
Product rating: 5.0 with 11 reviews
A defining voice for his generation
Payne is extraordinarily giftedBoston Globe
In 2000, while moving his household from Vermont to North Carolina, author David Payne watched from his rearview mirror as his younger brother, George A., driving behind him in a two-man convoy of rental trucks, lost control of his vehicle, fishtailed and flipped over in the road. David’s life hit a downward spiral. From a cocktail hour indulgence, his drinking became a full-blown addiction. His career entered a standstill. His marriage disintegrated. He found himself haunted not only by George A.’s death, but also by his brother’s manic depression, a condition that overlaid a dark family history of mental illness, alcoholism and suicide, an inherited past that now threatened David’s and his children’s futures. The only way out, he found, was to write about his brother.
Barefoot to Avalon is Payne’s earnest and unflinching account of George A. and their boyhood footrace that lasted long into their adulthood, defining their relationship and their lives. As universal as it is intimate, this is an exceptional memoir of brotherhood, of sibling rivalries and sibling love, and of the torments a family can hold silent and carry across generations. Barefoot to Avalon is a brave and beautifully wrought gift, a true story of survival in the face of adversity.
An Amazon Best Book of August 2015: Imagine Mary Karr’s best poetic prose superimposed on material reminiscent of Pat Conroy and you begin to get an idea of what you’re in for with Barefoot to Avalon, a deeply moving memoir of brotherly love and loss. Payne, a novelist, settles his story around the horrific death of his brother, George A., a death he witnessed from his rear view mirror as the two caravanned from Vermont to North Carolina. In this case, George A. – the initial is always used, in direct address as well as exposition, because it always was used in the Payne family; this is one of the many tiny details that marks the memoir as authentic and heartbreaking – had come north to help his big brother move. The norm, however, at least in the years immediately prior, was the other way around; David, while a struggling writer, usually took care of George A., whose long-undiagnosed mental illness had led him to lose friends, family, and a promising career. (But make no mistake: David was no angel and admits to envying George A. and competing with him every step of the way.) By looping back and forth in time – with more than a few chilling scenes of both brothers’ adolescent struggles with their alcoholic, violent father and denial-champion of a mother – Payne paints a portrait of dysfunction that is both sad and infuriating: George A’s death might have been an accident, but he’d been suffering so mightily for so long, it seemed predetermined. What happened to those boys as children – and how guilt- and grief-ridden David spins out of control once his brother is gone – will make every reader cringe, and many cry. – Sara Nelson
Posted in Memoirs Tagged with: Atlantic Monthly Press, Avalon, Barefoot