Biographies & Memoirs at Top Ten Books

EDITORS CHOICE - Paul Newman: A Life

Paul Newman: A Life by Shawn Levy
- Paul Newman, the Oscar-winning actor with the legendary blue eyes, achieved superstar status by playing charismatic renegades, broken heroes, and winsome antiheroes in such revered films as The Hustler, Cool Hand Luke, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Verdict, The Color of Money, and Nobody’s Fool. But Newman was also an oddity in Hollywood: the rare box-office titan who cared about the craft of acting, the sexy leading man known for the staying power of his marriage, and the humble celebrity who made philanthropy his calling card long before it was cool.

The son of a successful entrepreneur, Newman grew up in a prosperous Cleveland suburb. Despite fears that he would fail to live up to his father’s expectations, Newman bypassed the family sporting goods business to pursue an acting career. After struggling as a theater and television actor, Newman saw his star rise in a tragic twist of fate, landing the role of boxer Rocky Graziano in Somebody Up There Likes Me when James Dean was killed in a car accident. Though he would joke about instances of “Newman’s luck” throughout his career, he refused to coast on his stunning boyish looks and impish charm. Part of the original Actors Studio generation, Newman demanded a high level of rigor and clarity from every project. The artistic battles that nearly derailed his early movie career would pay off handsomely at the box office and earn him critical acclaim.

He applied that tenacity to every endeavor both on and off the set. The outspoken Newman used his celebrity to call attention to political causes dear to his heart, including civil rights and nuclear proliferation. Taking up auto racing in midlife, Newman became the oldest driver to ever win a major professional auto race. A food enthusiast who would dress his own salads in restaurants, he launched the Newman’s Own brand dedicated to fresh ingredients, a nonprofit juggernaut that has generated more than $250 million for charity.

In Paul Newman: A Life, film critic and pop culture historian Shawn Levy gives readers the ultimate behind-the-scenes examination of the actor’s life, from his merry pranks on the set to his lasting romance with Joanne Woodward to the devastating impact of his son’s death from a drug overdose. This definitive biography is a fascinating portrait of an extraordinarily gifted man who gave back as much as he got out of life and just happened to be one of the most celebrated movie stars of the twentieth century.
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EDITORS CHOICE - The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life

The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder
- Here is THE book recounting the life and times of one of the most respected men in the world, Warren Buffett. The legendary Omaha investor has never written a memoir, but now he has allowed one writer, Alice Schroeder, unprecedented access to explore directly with him and with those closest to him his work, opinions, struggles, triumphs, follies, and wisdom. The result is the personally revealing and complete biography of the man known everywhere as “The Oracle of Omaha.”

Although the media track him constantly, Buffett himself has never told his full life story. His reality is private, especially by celebrity standards. Indeed, while the homespun persona that the public sees is true as far as it goes, it goes only so far. Warren Buffett is an array of paradoxes. He set out to prove that nice guys can finish first. Over the years he treated his investors as partners, acted as their steward, and championed honesty as an investor, CEO, board member, essayist, and speaker. At the same time he became the world’s richest man, all from the modest Omaha headquarters of his company Berkshire Hathaway. None of this fits the term “simple.”

When Alice Schroeder met Warren Buffett she was an insurance industry analyst and a gifted writer known for her keen perception and business acumen. Her writings on finance impressed him, and as she came to know him she realized that while much had been written on the subject of his investing style, no one had moved beyond that to explore his larger philosophy, which is bound up in a complex personality and the details of his life. Out of this came his decision to cooperate with her on the book about himself that he would never write.

Never before has Buffett spent countless hours responding to a writer’s questions, talking, giving complete access to his wife, children, friends, and business associates—opening his files, recalling his childhood. It was an act of courage, as The Snowball makes immensely clear. Being human, his own life, like most lives, has been a mix of strengths and frailties. Yet notable though his wealth may be, Buffett’s legacy will not be his ranking on the scorecard of wealth; it will be his principles and ideas that have enriched people’s lives. This book tells you why Warren Buffett is the most fascinating American success story of our time.


From the Hardcover edition.
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Top Ten Biographies & Memoirs

Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson, David Oliver Relin - The astonishing, uplifting story of a real-life Indiana Jones and his humanitarian campaign to use education to combat terrorism in the Taliban’s backyard

Anyone who despairs of the individual’s power to change lives has to read the story of Greg Mortenson, a homeless mountaineer who, following a 1993 climb of Pakistan’s treacherous K2, was inspired by a chance encounter with impoverished mountain villagers and promised to build them a school. Over the next decade he built fifty-five schools—especially for girls—that offer a balanced education in one of the most isolated and dangerous regions on earth. As it chronicles Mortenson’s quest, which has brought him into conflict with both enraged Islamists and uncomprehending Americans, Three Cups of Tea combines adventure with a celebration of the humanitarian spirit.
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My Life in France (Movie Tie-In Edition) (Random House Movie Tie-In Books) by Julia Child, Alex Prud'Homme - Julia Child single handedly awakened America to the pleasures of good cooking with her cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking and her television show The French Chef, but as she reveals in this bestselling memoir, she didn't know the first thing about cooking when she landed in France.

Indeed, when she first arrived in 1948 with her husband, Paul, she spoke no French and knew nothing about the country itself. But as she dove into French culture, buying food at local markets and taking classes at the Cordon Bleu, her life changed forever. Julia's unforgettable story unfolds with the spirit so key to her success as as a cook and teacher and writer, brilliantly capturing one of the most endearing American personalities of the last fifty years.Book Description

Julia Child single handedly awakened America to the pleasures of good cooking with her cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking and her television show The French Chef, but as she reveals in this bestselling memoir, she didn't know the first thing about cooking when she landed in France.

Indeed, when she first arrived in 1948 with her husband, Paul, she spoke no French and knew nothing about the country itself. But as she dove into French culture, buying food at local markets and taking classes at the Cordon Bleu, her life changed forever. Julia's unforgettable story unfolds with the spirit so key to her success as a cook and teacher and writer, brilliantly capturing one of the most endearing American personalities of the last fifty years.

Julie & Julia is now a major motion picture (releasing in August 2009) starring Meryl Streep as Julia Child. It is partially based on her memoir, My Life in France. Enjoy these images from the film, and click the thumbnails to see larger images.




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In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan - The companion volume to The New York Times bestseller The OmnivoreÂ’s Dilemma

Michael PollanÂ’s lastbook , The OmnivoreÂ’s Dilemma, launched a national conversation about the American way of eating; now In Defense of Food shows us how to change it, one meal at a time. Pollan proposes a new answer to the question of what we should eat that comes down to seven simple but liberating words: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. PollanÂ’s bracing and eloquent manifesto shows us how we can start making thoughtful food choices that will enrich our lives, enlarge our sense of what it means to be healthy, and bring pleasure back to eating.Amazon Significant Seven, January 2008: Food is the one thing that Americans hate to love and, as it turns out, love to hate. What we want to eat has been ousted by the notion of what we should eat, and it's at this nexus of hunger and hang-up that Michael Pollan poses his most salient question: where is the food in our food? What follows in In Defense of Food is a series of wonderfully clear and thoughtful answers that help us omnivores navigate the nutritional minefield that's come to typify our food culture. Many processed foods vie for a spot in our grocery baskets, claiming to lower cholesterol, weight, glucose levels, you name it. Yet Pollan shows that these convenient "healthy" alternatives to whole foods are appallingly inconvenient: our health has a nation has only deteriorated since we started exiling carbs, fats--even fruits--from our daily meals. His razor-sharp analysis of the American diet (as well as its architects and its detractors) offers an inspiring glimpse of what it would be like if we could (a la Humpty Dumpty) put our food back together again and reconsider what it means to eat well. In a season filled with rallying cries to lose weight and be healthy, Pollan's call to action—"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."--is a program I actually want to follow. --Anne Bartholomew


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A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity by Bill O'Reilly -

The year was 1957, the month September, and I had just turned eight years old. Dwight Eisenhower was President, but in my life it was the diminutive, intense Sister Mary Lurana who ruled, at least in the third-grade class where I was held captive. For reasons you will soon understand, my parents had remanded me to the penal institution of St. Brigid’s School in Westbury, New York, a cruel and unusual punishment if there ever was one.

Already, I had barely survived my first two years at St. Brigid’s because I was, well, a little nitwit. Not satisfied with memorizing the Baltimore Catechism’s fine prose, which featured passages like “God made me to show his goodness and to make me happy with him in heaven,” I was constantly annoying my classmates and, of course, the no-nonsense Sister Lurana. With sixty overactive students in her class, she was understandably short on patience. For survival, she had also become quick on the draw.

Then it happened. One day I blurted out some dumb remark, and Sister Lurana was on me like a panther. Her black habit blocked out all distractions as she leaned down, looked me in the eye, and uttered words I have never forgotten: “William, you are a bold, fresh piece of humanity.”

And she was dead-on.

One day in 1957, in the third-grade classroom of St. Brigid’s parochial school, an exasperated Sister Mary Lurana bent over a restless young William O’Reilly and said, “William, you are a bold, fresh piece of humanity.” Little did she know that she was, early in his career as a troublemaker, defining the essence of Bill O’Reilly and providing him with the title of his brash and entertaining issues-based memoir.

And this time it’s personal. In his most intimate book yet, O’Reilly goes back in time to examine the people, places, and experiences that launched him on his journey from working-class kid to immensely influential television personality and bestselling author. Readers will learn how his traditional outlook was formed in the crucible of his family, his neighborhood, his church, and his schools, and how his views on America’s proper role in the world emerged from covering four wars on five continents over three-plus decades as a news correspondent. What will delight his numerous fans and surprise many others is the humor and self-deprecation with which he handles one of his core subjects: himself, and just how O’Reilly became O’Reilly.


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The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch, Jeffrey Zaslow -
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Michael Jackson: The Magic, The Madness, The Whole Story, 1958-2009 by J. Randy Taraborrelli - So much has how been said and written about the life and career of Michael Jackson that it has become almost impossible to disentangle the man from the myth. This book is the fruit of over 30 years of research and hundreds of exclusive interviews with a remarkable level of access to the very closest circles of the Jackson family - including Michael himself. Cutting through tabloid rumours, J. Randy Taraborrelli traces the real story behind Michael Jackson, from his drilling as a child star through the blooming of his talent to his ever-changing personal appearance and bizarre publicity stunts. This major biography includes the behind-the-scenes story to many of the landmarks in Jackson's life: his legal and commercial battles, his marriages to Lisa Marie Presley and Debbie Rowe, his passions and addictions, his children. Objective and revealing, it carries the hallmarks of all of Taraborrelli's best-sellers: impeccable research, brilliant storytelling and definitive documentation.
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The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science by Richard Holmes - A riveting history of the men and women whose discoveries and inventions at the end of the eighteenth century gave birth to the Romantic Age of Science.

When young Joseph Banks stepped onto a Tahitian beach in 1769, he hoped to discover Paradise. Inspired by the scientific ferment sweeping through Britain, the botanist had sailed with Captain Cook on his first Endeavour voyage in search of new worlds. Other voyages of discovery—astronomical, chemical, poetical, philosophical—swiftly follow in Richard Holmes’s original evocation of what truly emerges as an Age of Wonder.

Brilliantly conceived as a relay of scientific stories, The Age of Wonder investigates the earliest ideas of deep time and space, and the explorers of “dynamic science,” of an infinite, mysterious Nature waiting to be discovered. Three lives dominate the book: William Herschel and his sister Caroline, whose dedication to the study of the stars forever changed the public conception of the solar system, the Milky Way, and the meaning of the universe; and Humphry Davy, who, with only a grammar school education stunned the scientific community with his near-suicidal gas experiments that led to the invention of the miners’ lamp and established British chemistry as the leading professional science in Europe. This age of exploration extended to great writers and poets as well as scientists, all creators relishing in moments of high exhilaration, boundary-pushing and discovery.

Holmes’s extraordinary evocation of this age of wonder shows how great ideas and experiments—both successes and failures—were born of singular and often lonely dedication, and how religious faith and scientific truth collide. He has written a book breathtaking in its originality, its storytelling energy, and its intellectual significance.Amazon Exclusive: Oliver Sacks on The Age of Wonder

Oliver Sacks is the author of Musicophilia, Awakenings,The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, and many other books, for which he has received numerous awards, including the Hawthornden Prize, a Polk Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and lives in New York City, where he is a practicing neurologist. Read his exclusive guest review of The Age of Wonder:


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Unmasked: The Final Years of Michael Jackson by Ian Halperin - In late December 2008, Ian Halperin told the world that Michael Jackson had only six months to live. His investigations into Jackson's failing health made headlines around the globe. Six months later, the King of Pop was dead.

Whatever the final autopsy results reveal, it was greed that killed Michael Jackson. Friends and associates paint a tragic picture of the last years and days of his life as Jackson made desperate attempts to prepare for the planned concert series at London's 02 Arena in July 2009. These shows would have earned millions for the singer and his entourage, but he could never have completed them, not mentally, and not physically. Michael knew it and his advisors knew it. Anyone who caught even a fleeting glimpse of the frail old man hiding beneath the costumes and cosmetics would have understood that the London tour was madness. Why did it happen this way? After an intense five year investigation, New York Times bestselling author Ian Halperin uncovers the real story of Michael Jackson's final years, a suspenseful and surprising thriller.
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The 8th Confession (The Women's Murder Club) by James Patterson, Maxine Paetro - When a preacher with a message of hope for the homeless is found brutally executed, reporter Cindy Thomas knows the story could be huge. Probing deeper into the victim's history, she discovers he may not have been as saintly as everyone thought...

Rich, beautiful, and powerful, Isa and Ethan Bailey were living in the spotlight as San Francisco's perfect couple--until they are found dead in their luxurious home.

As the hunt for two criminals tests the skills of the entire Women's Murder Club, sparks begin to fly between Detective Lindsay Boxer and her partner, Rich Conklin, making it difficult to stay focused on the case. The electrifying new chapter in the Women's Murder Club series, THE 8TH CONFESSION serves up the mile-a-minute twists that only James Patterson can deliver.
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The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America by Douglas Brinkley -

In this groundbreaking epic biography, Douglas Brinkley draws on never-before-published materials to examine the life and achievements of our "naturalist president." By setting aside more than 230 million acres of wild America for posterity between 1901 and 1909, Theodore Roosevelt made conservation a universal endeavor. This crusade for the American wilderness was perhaps the greatest U.S. presidential initiative between the Civil War and World War I. Roosevelt's most important legacies led to the creation of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and passage of the Antiquities Act in 1906. His executive orders saved such treasures as Devils Tower, the Grand Canyon, and the Petrified Forest.

Tracing the role that nature played in Roosevelt's storied career, Brinkley brilliantly analyzes the influence that the works of John James Audubon and Charles Darwin had on the young man who would become our twenty-sixth president. With descriptive flair, the author illuminates Roosevelt's bird watching in the Adirondacks, wildlife obsession in Yellowstone, hikes in the Blue Ridge Mountains, ranching in the Dakota Territory, hunting in the Big Horn Mountains, and outdoor romps through Idaho and Wyoming. He also profiles Roosevelt's incredible circle of naturalist friends, including the Catskills poet John Burroughs, Boone and Crockett Club cofounder George Bird Grinnell, forestry zealot Gifford Pinchot, buffalo breeder William Hornaday, Sierra Club founder John Muir, U.S. Biological Survey wizard C. Hart Merriam, Oregon Audubon Society founder William L. Finley, and pelican protector Paul Kroegel, among many others. He brings to life hilarious anecdotes of wild-pig hunting in Texas and badger saving in Kansas, wolf catching in Oklahoma and grouse flushing in Iowa. Even the story of the teddy bear gets its definitive treatment.

Destined to become a classic, this extraordinary and timeless biography offers a penetrating and colorful look at Roosevelt's naturalist achievements, a legacy now more important than ever. Raising a Paul Revere–like alarm about American wildlife in peril—including buffalo, manatees, antelope, egrets, and elk—Roosevelt saved entire species from probable extinction. As we face the problems of global warming, overpopulation, and sustainable land management, this imposing leader's stout resolution to protect our environment is an inspiration and a contemporary call to arms for us all.

Amazon Best of the Month, August 2009: "The movement for the conversation of wild life and the larger movement for the conservation of all our natural resources are essentially democratic in spirit, purpose, and method." So wrote Theodore Roosevelt, known as the "naturalist President" for his efforts in protecting wildlife and wilderness, merging preservation and patriotism into a quintessential American ideal. The Wilderness Warrior, Douglas Brinkley's massive(ly readable) new biography, intrepidly explores the wilderness of influences (Audubon and Darwin), personal relationships (Muir and Pinchot), and frontier adventures (too many to mention) that shaped Roosevelt's proto-green views. Topping 800 pages (ironically, one wonders how many trees fell for the first printing), The Wilderness Warrior makes an excellent companion to Timothy Egan's The Big Burn and Ken Burns's The National Parks: America's Best Idea. --Jon Foro
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Reference & Collections

A Writer's Reference by Diana Hacker - A proven success. The best-selling college textbook of any kind. Thoroughly class tested and enthusiastically endorsed by millions of students and their instructors at more than 1300 colleges and universities across the country. Updated with MLA's 1999 guidelines. Spiral.
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Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin - Edited, with an Introduction, by R.J. Wilson
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Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time by Dava Sobel - Anyone alive in the 18th century would have known that "the longitude problem" was the thorniest scientific dilemma of the day - and had been for centuries. Lacking the ability to measure their longitude, sailors throughout the great ages of exploration had been literally lost at sea as soon as they lost sight of land. The quest for a solution had occupied scientists, and their patrons for the better part of two centuries when, in 1714, England's Parliament upped the ante by offering a king's ransom to anyone whose method or device proved successful. The scientific establishment throughout Europe had mapped the heavens in both hemispheres in its certain pursuit of a celestial answer. In stark contrast, one man, John Harrison, dared to imagine a mechanical solution - a clock that would keep precise time at sea, something no clock had been able to do on land. This work tells the story of this epic scientific quest, and of Harrison's 40-year obsession with building his perfect timekeeper, known today as the chronometer. It also provides a brief history of astronomy, navigation and clockmaking.The thorniest scientific problem of the eighteenth century was how to determine longitude. Many thousands of lives had been lost at sea over the centuries due to the inability to determine an east-west position. This is the engrossing story of the clockmaker, John "Longitude" Harrison, who solved the problem that Newton and Galileo had failed to conquer, yet claimed only half the promised rich reward.
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Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson - Benjamin Franklin is the founding father who winks at us, the one who seems made of flesh rather than marble. In this authoritative and engrossing full-scale biography, Walter Isaacson shows how the most fascinating of America's founders helped define our national character.

In a sweeping narrative that follows Franklin's life from Boston to Philadelphia to London and Paris and back, Isaacson chronicles the adventures of the spunky runaway apprentice who became, during his 84-year life, America's best writer, inventor, media baron, scientist, diplomat, and business strategist, as well as one of its most practical and ingenious political leaders. He explores the wit behind Poor Richard's Almanac and the wisdom behind the Declaration of Independence, the new nation's alliance with France, the treaty that ended the Revolution, and the compromises that created a near-perfect Constitution.

Above all, Isaacson shows how Franklin's unwavering faith in the wisdom of the common citizen and his instinctive appreciation for the possibilities of democracy helped to forge an American national identity based on the virtues and values of its middle class.Benjamin Franklin, writes journalist and biographer Walter Isaacson, was that rare Founding Father who would sooner wink at a passer-by than sit still for a formal portrait. What's more, Isaacson relates in this fluent and entertaining biography, the revolutionary leader represents a political tradition that has been all but forgotten today, one that prizes pragmatism over moralism, religious tolerance over fundamentalist rigidity, and social mobility over class privilege. That broadly democratic sensibility allowed Franklin his contradictions, as Isaacson shows. Though a man of lofty principles, Franklin wasn't shy of using sex to sell the newspapers he edited and published; though far from frivolous, he liked his toys and his mortal pleasures; and though he sometimes gave off a simpleton image, he was a shrewd and even crafty politician. Isaacson doesn't shy from enumerating Franklin’s occasional peccadilloes and shortcomings, in keeping with the iconoclastic nature of our time--none of which, however, stops him from considering Benjamin Franklin "the most accomplished American of his age," and one of the most admirable of any era. And here’s one bit of proof: as a young man, Ben Franklin regularly went without food in order to buy books. His example, as always, is a good one--and this is just the book to buy with the proceeds from the grocery budget. --Gregory McNamee
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How to Say It: Choice Words, Phrases, Sentences, and Paragraphs for Every Situation, Revised Edition by Rosalie Maggio - The best-selling How to Say It® is now better than ever. The second edition of this one-of-a-kind book has been updated with ten new chapters-that’s fifty chapters in all-offering readers even more material for quickly and effortlessly constructing original, effective letters.

How to Say It® provides short lists of what to say, and sometimes more importantly, what not to say when writing business or personal letters. It begins with examples of why and when certain letters are appropriate, tips on writing the letter, and advice for special situations. It then offers sample words and phases for each type of correspondence, as well as examples of sentences and paragraphs that are best suited for the task. Finally, it provides full sample letters giving readers a sense of what to look for in the final product. Includes appendices offering tips on etiquette, formatting, and grammar.
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Brave Companions: Portraits in History by David McCullough -

David McCullough, author of Truman, has collected his favorite pieces -- profiles of exceptional men and women past and present who have not only shaped the course of history or changed how we see the world but whose stories express much that is timeless about the human condition.

Here are Alexander von Humboldt, whose epic explorations of South America surpassed the Lewis and Clark expedition; Harriet Beecher Stowe, "the little woman who made the big war"; Frederic Remington; the extraordinary Louis Agassiz of Harvard; Charles and Anne Lindbergh, and their fellow long-distance pilots, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and Beryl Markham; Harry Caudill, the Kentucky lawyer who awakened the nation to the tragedy of Appalachia; David Plowden, a present-day photographer of vanishing America.

Different as they are from each other, McCullough's subjects have in common a rare vitality and sense of purpose. These are brave companions: to each other, to David McCullough, and to the reader, for with rare storytelling ability McCullough brings us into the times they knew, and their very uncommon lives.
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The Fellowship of the Ring (Isis Clear Type Classic) (Vol 1) by J. R. R. Tolkien - Considered to be J.R.R. Tolkien's great masterpiece of imaginative fiction - in the invented world of Middle-Earth, Tolkien created a new mythology and a vast epic story which has proved timeless in its appeal.
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Possible Side Effects by Augusten Burroughs -
From the million-copy bestselling author of Running with Scissors comes Augusten Burroughs’s most provocative collection yet.
This audiobook is approved for consumption by those seeking pleasure, escape, amusement, enlightenment, or general distraction. This audiobook is not approved to treat disorders such as eBay addiction or incessant blind dating.
 
In studies, some people reported inappropriate, convulsive laughter, a tingling sensation in the limbs, and sudden gasping. Fewer than 1 percent reported narcolepsy.
 
Doll collectors may experience special sensitivity, as may discourteous drivers, candy-company brand managers, and nicotine-gum users.
 
This audiobook has been shown to be especially helpful to those with parents, grandparents, life partners, and incontinent dogs. People with dry, cracked skin have responded well to this audiobook, as have people with certain heart conditions.
 
Do not operate heavy machinery while listening to this book, until you know what effects it may have on you.
 
This audiobook is contraindicated in those suffering from certain psychiatric disorders, including---but not limited to---listeners afflicted with anhedonia, which is the inability to experience pleasure.
 
Ask your doctor about Possible Side Effects.

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Up From Slavery: An Autobiography (including Industrial Education for the Negro) by Booker T. Washington - NOTE: This edition has a linked "Table of Contents" and has been beautifully formatted to work on your Amazon e-book reader.

This is the acclaimed 1901 autobiography of Booker T. Washington detailing his slow and steady rise from a slave child during the Civil War, to the difficulties and obstacles he overcame to get an education at the new Hampton University, to his work establishing vocational schools—most notably the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. He was also appointed to lead a teachers' college for blacks. From this position of leadership he rose into a nationally prominent role as spokesman for African Americans. Washington in 1901 was the first African-American ever invited to the White House as the guest of President Theodore Roosevelt.

This special edition also includes his essay, "Industrial Education for the Negro."

His main goal in life was to help black people and other disadvantaged minorities learn useful, marketable skills and work to pull themselves, as a race, up by the bootstraps. He describes his efforts to instill manners, breeding, health and a feeling of dignity to students, and the futility of teaching only intellectual, classical subjects as later espoused by W. E. B. Du Bois and others.

These issues (and this book) are just as relevant today as they were in the early 20th century.

Booker T. Washington on the idea of success: "I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed."Nineteenth-century African American businessman, activist, and educator Booker Taliaferro Washington's Up from Slavery is one of the greatest American autobiographies ever written. Its mantras of black economic empowerment, land ownership, and self-help inspired generations of black leaders, including Marcus Garvey, Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X, and Louis Farrakhan. In rags-to-riches fashion, Washington recounts his ascendance from early life as a mulatto slave in Virginia to a 34-year term as president of the influential, agriculturally based Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. From that position, Washington reigned as the most important leader of his people, with slogans like "cast down your buckets," which emphasized vocational merit rather than the academic and political excellence championed by his contemporary rival W.E.B. Du Bois. Though many considered him too accommodating to segregationists, Washington, as he said in his historic "Atlanta Compromise" speech of 1895, believed that "political agitation alone would not save [the Negro]," and that "property, industry, skill, intelligence, and character" would prove necessary to black Americans' success. The potency of his philosophies are alive today in the nationalist and conservative camps that compose the complex quilt of black American society.
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Because They Hate by Brigitte Gabriel - Brigitte Gabriel lost her childhood to militant Islam. In 1975 she was ten years old and living in Southern Lebanon when militant Muslims from throughout the Middle East poured into her country and declared jihad against the Lebanese Christians. Lebanon was the only Christian influenced country in the Middle East, and the Lebanese Civil War was the first front in what has become the worldwide jihad of fundamentalist Islam against non-Muslim peoples. For seven years, Brigitte and her parents lived in an underground bomb shelter. They had no running water or electricity and very little food; at times they were reduced to boiling grass to survive.
 
Because They Hate is a political wake-up call told through a very personal memoir frame. Brigitte warns that the US is threatened by fundamentalist Islamic theology in the same way Lebanon was -- radical Islam will stop at nothing short of domination of all non-Muslim countries. Gabriel saw this mission start in Lebanon, and she refuses to stand silently by while it happens here. Gabriel sees in the West a lack of understanding and a blatant ignorance of the ways and thinking of the Middle East. She also points out mistakes the West has made in consistently underestimating the single-mindedness with which fundamentalist Islam has pursued its goals over the past thirty years. Fiercely articulate and passionately committed, Gabriel tells her own story as well as outlines the history, social movements, and religious divisions that have led to this critical historical conflict.
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Leaders & Notable People

Michael Jackson: The Magic, The Madness, The Whole Story, 1958-2009 by J. Randy Taraborrelli - So much has how been said and written about the life and career of Michael Jackson that it has become almost impossible to disentangle the man from the myth. This book is the fruit of over 30 years of research and hundreds of exclusive interviews with a remarkable level of access to the very closest circles of the Jackson family - including Michael himself. Cutting through tabloid rumours, J. Randy Taraborrelli traces the real story behind Michael Jackson, from his drilling as a child star through the blooming of his talent to his ever-changing personal appearance and bizarre publicity stunts. This major biography includes the behind-the-scenes story to many of the landmarks in Jackson's life: his legal and commercial battles, his marriages to Lisa Marie Presley and Debbie Rowe, his passions and addictions, his children. Objective and revealing, it carries the hallmarks of all of Taraborrelli's best-sellers: impeccable research, brilliant storytelling and definitive documentation.
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The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America by Douglas Brinkley -

In this groundbreaking epic biography, Douglas Brinkley draws on never-before-published materials to examine the life and achievements of our "naturalist president." By setting aside more than 230 million acres of wild America for posterity between 1901 and 1909, Theodore Roosevelt made conservation a universal endeavor. This crusade for the American wilderness was perhaps the greatest U.S. presidential initiative between the Civil War and World War I. Roosevelt's most important legacies led to the creation of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and passage of the Antiquities Act in 1906. His executive orders saved such treasures as Devils Tower, the Grand Canyon, and the Petrified Forest.

Tracing the role that nature played in Roosevelt's storied career, Brinkley brilliantly analyzes the influence that the works of John James Audubon and Charles Darwin had on the young man who would become our twenty-sixth president. With descriptive flair, the author illuminates Roosevelt's bird watching in the Adirondacks, wildlife obsession in Yellowstone, hikes in the Blue Ridge Mountains, ranching in the Dakota Territory, hunting in the Big Horn Mountains, and outdoor romps through Idaho and Wyoming. He also profiles Roosevelt's incredible circle of naturalist friends, including the Catskills poet John Burroughs, Boone and Crockett Club cofounder George Bird Grinnell, forestry zealot Gifford Pinchot, buffalo breeder William Hornaday, Sierra Club founder John Muir, U.S. Biological Survey wizard C. Hart Merriam, Oregon Audubon Society founder William L. Finley, and pelican protector Paul Kroegel, among many others. He brings to life hilarious anecdotes of wild-pig hunting in Texas and badger saving in Kansas, wolf catching in Oklahoma and grouse flushing in Iowa. Even the story of the teddy bear gets its definitive treatment.

Destined to become a classic, this extraordinary and timeless biography offers a penetrating and colorful look at Roosevelt's naturalist achievements, a legacy now more important than ever. Raising a Paul Revere–like alarm about American wildlife in peril—including buffalo, manatees, antelope, egrets, and elk—Roosevelt saved entire species from probable extinction. As we face the problems of global warming, overpopulation, and sustainable land management, this imposing leader's stout resolution to protect our environment is an inspiration and a contemporary call to arms for us all.

Amazon Best of the Month, August 2009: "The movement for the conversation of wild life and the larger movement for the conservation of all our natural resources are essentially democratic in spirit, purpose, and method." So wrote Theodore Roosevelt, known as the "naturalist President" for his efforts in protecting wildlife and wilderness, merging preservation and patriotism into a quintessential American ideal. The Wilderness Warrior, Douglas Brinkley's massive(ly readable) new biography, intrepidly explores the wilderness of influences (Audubon and Darwin), personal relationships (Muir and Pinchot), and frontier adventures (too many to mention) that shaped Roosevelt's proto-green views. Topping 800 pages (ironically, one wonders how many trees fell for the first printing), The Wilderness Warrior makes an excellent companion to Timothy Egan's The Big Burn and Ken Burns's The National Parks: America's Best Idea. --Jon Foro
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Same Kind of Different As Me: A Modern-Day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together by Ron Hall, Denver Moore -

A dangerous, homeless drifter who grew up picking cotton in virtual slavery.

An upscale art dealer accustomed to the world of Armani and Chanel.

A gutsy woman with a stubborn dream.

A story so incredible no novelist would dare dream it.

It begins outside a burning plantation hut in Louisiana . . . and an East Texas honky-tonk . . . and, without a doubt, in the heart of God. It unfolds in a Hollywood hacienda . . . an upscale New York gallery . . . a downtown dumpster . . . a Texas ranch.

Gritty with pain and betrayal and brutality, this true story also shines with an unexpected, life-changing love.


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Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10 by Marcus Luttrell - Four US Navy SEALS departed one clear night in early July 2005 for the mountainous Afghanistan-Pakistan border for a reconnaissance mission. Their task was to document the activity of an al Qaeda leader rumored to be very close to Bin Laden with a small army in a Taliban stronghold. Five days later, only one of those Navy SEALS made it out alive.

This is the story of the only survivor of Operation Redwing, SEAL fire team leader Marcus Luttrell, and the extraordinary firefight that led to the largest loss of life in American Navy SEAL history. His squadmates fought valiantly beside him until he was the only one left alive, blasted by an RPG into a place where his pursuers could not find him. Over the next four days, terribly injured and presumed dead, Luttrell crawled for miles through the mountains and was taken in by sympathetic villagers who risked their lives to keep him safe from surrounding Taliban warriors.

A born and raised Texan, Marcus Luttrell takes us from the rigors of SEAL training, where he and his fellow SEALs discovered what it took to join the most elite of the American special forces, to a fight in the desolate hills of Afghanistan for which they never could have been prepared. His account of his squadmates' heroism and mutual support renders an experience that is both heartrending and life-affirming. In this rich chronicle of courage and sacrifice, honor and patriotism, Marcus Luttrell delivers a powerful narrative of modern war.
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Bobby and Jackie: A Love Story by C. David Heymann -
From the New York Times bestselling author of American Legacy, RFK, and A Woman Named Jackie, an in-depth look at the much talked-about -- but never fully revealed -- relationship between Jackie Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy

Few writers have immersed themselves in the world of the Kennedys as completely or successfully as C. David Heymann, whose biographies of Jackie, Robert, John F. Kennedy Jr., and Caroline together have sold millions of copies and have shed light on the private lives of the most prominent members of this iconic American family. Now he draws on more than two decades' worth of personal interviews, as well as previously unavailable reports and briefs from the Secret Service and the FBI, to create a complete picture of the complex relationship that existed between two of the most heralded figures of the twentieth century.

Americans have long been fascinated by the rumored love affair between Jackie Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy. With Bobby and Jackie they will finally get more than a glimpse of their emotional and romantic connection. An open secret for decades among family insiders, their affair began as a result of their shared grief over the assassination of the president in 1963 and lasted until Bobby began his run for the Demo-cratic presidential nomination in 1968.

Readers will gain behind-closed-doors access to Bobby and Jackie's liaison, from late-night trysts at Jackie's Fifth Avenue apartment to fervent embraces at the Kennedy estate in Palm Beach. They will also learn more about the deep friendship that grew out of the couple's shared tragedies, their family loyalty, and their overflowing ambition.

It was "perhaps the most normal relationship either one ever had," Truman Capote observed. "In retrospect, it seems hard to believe that it happened, but it did." Poignant, illuminating, and enormously entertaining, Bobby and Jackie is a glorious account of a legendary romance.
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A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah -
This is how wars are fought now by children, hopped up on drugs, and wielding AK-47s. In the more than fifty violent conflicts going on worldwide, it is estimated that there are some 300,000 child soldiers.
 
Ishmael Beah used to be one of them. How does one become a killer? How does one stop? Child soldiers have been profiled by journalists, and novelists have struggled to imagine their lives. But it is rare to find a  first-person account from someone who endured this hell and survived.
 
In A Long Way Gone Beah, now twenty-six years old, tells a riveting story in his own words: how, at the age of twelve, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By thirteen, he’d been picked up by the government army, and Beah, at heart a gentle boy, found that he was capable of truly terrible acts. This is a rare and mesmerizing account, told with real literary force and heartbreaking honesty.
 

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sTORI Telling by Tori Spelling - She was television's most famous virgin -- and, as Aaron Spelling's daughter, arguably its most famous case of nepotism. Portraying Donna Martin on Beverly Hills, 90210, Tori Spelling became one of the most recognizable young actresses of her generation, with a not-so-private personal life every bit as fascinating as her character's exploits. Yet years later the name Tori Spelling too often closed -- and sometimes slammed -- the same doors it had opened.

sTORI telling is Tori's chance to finally tell her side of the tabloid-worthy life she's led, and she talks about it all: her decadent childhood birthday parties, her nose job, her fairy-tale wedding to the wrong man, her so-called feud with her mother. Tori has already revealed her flair for brilliant, self-effacing satire on her VH1 show So NoTORIous and Oxygen's Tori & Dean: Inn Love, but her memoir goes deeper, into the real life behind the rumors: her complicated relationship with her parents; her struggles as an actress after 90210; her accident-prone love life; and, ultimately, her quest to define herself on her own terms.

From her over-the-top first wedding to finding new love to her much-publicized -- and misunderstood -- "disinheritance," sTORI telling is a juicy, eye-opening, enthralling look at what it really means to be Tori Spelling.She was television's most famous virgin--and, as Aaron Spelling's daughter, arguably its most famous case of nepotism. Portraying Donna Martin on Beverly Hills, 90210, Tori Spelling became one of the most recognizable young actresses of her generation, with a not-so-private personal life every bit as fascinating as her character's exploits. Yet years later the name Tori Spelling too often closed--and sometimes slammed--the same doors it had opened.

sTORI Telling is Tori's chance to finally tell her side of the tabloid-worthy life she's led, and she talks about it all: her decadent childhood birthday parties, her nose job, her fairy-tale wedding to the wrong man, her so-called feud with her mother. Tori has already revealed her flair for brilliant, self-effacing satire on her VH1 show So NoTORIous and Oxygen's Tori & Dean: Inn Love, but her memoir goes deeper, into the real life behind the rumors: her complicated relationship with her parents; her struggles as an actress after 90210; her accident-prone love life; and, ultimately, her quest to define herself on her own terms.

From her over-the-top first wedding to finding new love to her much-publicized--and misunderstood--"disinheritance," sTORI Telling is a juicy, eye-opening, enthralling look at what it really means to be Tori Spelling.



Amazon.com Exclusive
A Bonus Story and Family Photo from Tori Spelling

The Manor

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Renegade: The Making of a President by Richard Wolffe - Before the White House and Air Force One, before the TV ads and the enormous rallies, there was the real Barack Obama: a man wrestling with the momentous decision to run for the presidency, feeling torn about leaving behind a young family, and figuring out how to win the biggest prize in politics.

This book is the previously untold and epic story of how a political newcomer with no money and an alien name grew into the world’s most powerful leader. But it is also a uniquely intimate portrait of the person behind the iconic posters and the Secret Service code name Renegade.

Drawing on a dozen unplugged interviews with the candidate and president, as well as twenty-one months covering his campaign as it traveled from coast to coast, Richard Wolffe answers the simple yet enduring question about Barack Obama: Who is he?

Based on Wolffe’s unprecedented access to Obama, Renegade reveals the making of a president, both on the campaign trail and before he ran for high office. It explains how the politician who emerged in an extraordinary election learned the personal and political skills to succeed during his youth and early career. With cool self-discipline, calculated risk taking, and simple storytelling, Obama developed the strategies he would need to survive the onslaught of the Clintons and John McCain, and build a multimillion-dollar machine to win a historic contest.

In Renegade, Richard Wolffe shares with us his front-row seat at Obama’s announcement to run for president on a frigid day in Springfield, and his victory speech on a warm night in Chicago. We fly on the candidate’s plane and ride in his bus on an odyssey across a country in crisis; stand next to him at a bar on the night he secures the nomination; and are backstage as he delivers his convention speech to a stadium crowd and a transfixed national audience. From a teacher’s office in Iowa to the Oval Office in Washington, we see and hear Barack Obama with an immediacy and honesty never witnessed before.

Renegade provides not only an account of Obama’s triumphs, but also examines his many personal and political trials. We see Obama wrestling with race and politics, as well as his former pastor Reverend Jeremiah Wright. We see him struggling with life as a presidential candidate, a campaign that falters for most of its first year, and his reaction to a surprise defeat in the New Hampshire primary. And we see him relying on his personal experience, as well as meticulous polling, to pass the presidential test in foreign and economic affairs.

Renegade is an essential guide to understanding President Barack Obama and his trusted inner circle of aides and friends. It is also a riveting and enlightening first draft of history and political psychology.
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Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama - Nine years before the Senate campaign that made him one of the most influential and compelling voices in American politics, Barack Obama published this lyrical, unsentimental, and powerfully affecting memoir, which became a #1 New York Times bestseller when it was reissued in 2004. Dreams from My Father tells the story of Obama’s struggle to understand the forces that shaped him as the son of a black African father and white American mother—a struggle that takes him from the American heartland to the ancestral home of his great-aunt in the tiny African village of Alego.

Obama opens his story in New York, where he hears that his father—a figure he knows more as a myth than as a man—has died in a car accident. The news triggers a chain of memories as Barack retraces his family’s unusual history: the migration of his mother’s family from small-town Kansas to the Hawaiian islands; the love that develops between his mother and a promising young Kenyan student, a love nurtured by youthful innocence and the integrationist spirit of the early sixties; his father’s departure from Hawaii when Barack was two, as the realities of race and power reassert themselves; and Barack’s own awakening to the fears and doubts that exist not just between the larger black and white worlds but within himself.

Propelled by a desire to understand both the forces that shaped him and his father’s legacy, Barack moves to Chicago to work as a community organizer. There, against the backdrop of tumultuous political and racial conflict, he works to turn back the mounting despair of the inner city. His story becomes one with those of the people he works with as he learns about the value of community, the necessity of healing old wounds, and the possibility of faith in the midst of adversity.

Barack’s journey comes full circle in Kenya, where he finally meets the African side of his family and confronts the bitter truth of his father’s life. Traveling through a country racked by brutal poverty and tribal conflict, but whose people are sustained by a spirit of endurance and hope, Barack discovers that he is inescapably bound to brothers and sisters living an ocean away—and that by embracing their common struggles he can finally reconcile his divided inheritance.

A searching meditation on the meaning of identity in America, Dreams from My Father might be the most revealing portrait we have of a major American leader—a man who is playing, and will play, an increasingly prominent role in healing a fractious and fragmented nation.



Pictured in lefthand photograph on cover: Habiba Akumu Hussein and Barack Obama, Sr. (President Obama's paternal grandmother and his father as a young boy). Pictured in righthand photograph on cover: Stanley Dunham and Ann Dunham (President Obama's maternal grandfather and his mother as a young girl).
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The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli - The Prince, by Niccolo Machiavelli is arguably the best known political treatise of all time. This edition is formatted specifically for the kindle, with a hyperlinked table of contents. The text was translated by W.K. Marriott, and contains explanatory footnotes, a biographical sketch of Machiaveli, and the complete text of two related works by Machiavelli:

Description of the methods adopted by the Duke Valentino.

and

The life of Castruccio Castracani of Lucca.

This edition was formatted specifically for the Kindle and includes a hyperlinked table of contents,When Lorenzo de' Medici seized control of the Florentine Republic in 1512, he summarily fired the Secretary to the Second Chancery of the Signoria and set in motion a fundamental change in the way we think about politics. The person who held the aforementioned office with the tongue-twisting title was none other than Niccolò Machiavelli, who, suddenly finding himself out of a job after 14 years of patriotic service, followed the career trajectory of many modern politicians into punditry. Unable to become an on-air political analyst for a television network, he only wrote a book. But what a book The Prince is. Its essential contribution to modern political thought lies in Machiavelli's assertion of the then revolutionary idea that theological and moral imperatives have no place in the political arena. "It must be understood," Machiavelli avers, "that a prince ... cannot observe all of those virtues for which men are reputed good, because it is often necessary to act against mercy, against faith, against humanity, against frankness, against religion, in order to preserve the state." With just a little imagination, readers can discern parallels between a 16th-century principality and a 20th-century presidency. --Tim Hogan
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Memoirs

Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson, David Oliver Relin - The astonishing, uplifting story of a real-life Indiana Jones and his humanitarian campaign to use education to combat terrorism in the Taliban’s backyard

Anyone who despairs of the individual’s power to change lives has to read the story of Greg Mortenson, a homeless mountaineer who, following a 1993 climb of Pakistan’s treacherous K2, was inspired by a chance encounter with impoverished mountain villagers and promised to build them a school. Over the next decade he built fifty-five schools—especially for girls—that offer a balanced education in one of the most isolated and dangerous regions on earth. As it chronicles Mortenson’s quest, which has brought him into conflict with both enraged Islamists and uncomprehending Americans, Three Cups of Tea combines adventure with a celebration of the humanitarian spirit.
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My Life in France (Movie Tie-In Edition) (Random House Movie Tie-In Books) by Julia Child, Alex Prud'Homme - Julia Child single handedly awakened America to the pleasures of good cooking with her cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking and her television show The French Chef, but as she reveals in this bestselling memoir, she didn't know the first thing about cooking when she landed in France.

Indeed, when she first arrived in 1948 with her husband, Paul, she spoke no French and knew nothing about the country itself. But as she dove into French culture, buying food at local markets and taking classes at the Cordon Bleu, her life changed forever. Julia's unforgettable story unfolds with the spirit so key to her success as as a cook and teacher and writer, brilliantly capturing one of the most endearing American personalities of the last fifty years.Book Description

Julia Child single handedly awakened America to the pleasures of good cooking with her cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking and her television show The French Chef, but as she reveals in this bestselling memoir, she didn't know the first thing about cooking when she landed in France.

Indeed, when she first arrived in 1948 with her husband, Paul, she spoke no French and knew nothing about the country itself. But as she dove into French culture, buying food at local markets and taking classes at the Cordon Bleu, her life changed forever. Julia's unforgettable story unfolds with the spirit so key to her success as a cook and teacher and writer, brilliantly capturing one of the most endearing American personalities of the last fifty years.

Julie & Julia is now a major motion picture (releasing in August 2009) starring Meryl Streep as Julia Child. It is partially based on her memoir, My Life in France. Enjoy these images from the film, and click the thumbnails to see larger images.




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A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity by Bill O'Reilly -

The year was 1957, the month September, and I had just turned eight years old. Dwight Eisenhower was President, but in my life it was the diminutive, intense Sister Mary Lurana who ruled, at least in the third-grade class where I was held captive. For reasons you will soon understand, my parents had remanded me to the penal institution of St. Brigid’s School in Westbury, New York, a cruel and unusual punishment if there ever was one.

Already, I had barely survived my first two years at St. Brigid’s because I was, well, a little nitwit. Not satisfied with memorizing the Baltimore Catechism’s fine prose, which featured passages like “God made me to show his goodness and to make me happy with him in heaven,” I was constantly annoying my classmates and, of course, the no-nonsense Sister Lurana. With sixty overactive students in her class, she was understandably short on patience. For survival, she had also become quick on the draw.

Then it happened. One day I blurted out some dumb remark, and Sister Lurana was on me like a panther. Her black habit blocked out all distractions as she leaned down, looked me in the eye, and uttered words I have never forgotten: “William, you are a bold, fresh piece of humanity.”

And she was dead-on.

One day in 1957, in the third-grade classroom of St. Brigid’s parochial school, an exasperated Sister Mary Lurana bent over a restless young William O’Reilly and said, “William, you are a bold, fresh piece of humanity.” Little did she know that she was, early in his career as a troublemaker, defining the essence of Bill O’Reilly and providing him with the title of his brash and entertaining issues-based memoir.

And this time it’s personal. In his most intimate book yet, O’Reilly goes back in time to examine the people, places, and experiences that launched him on his journey from working-class kid to immensely influential television personality and bestselling author. Readers will learn how his traditional outlook was formed in the crucible of his family, his neighborhood, his church, and his schools, and how his views on America’s proper role in the world emerged from covering four wars on five continents over three-plus decades as a news correspondent. What will delight his numerous fans and surprise many others is the humor and self-deprecation with which he handles one of his core subjects: himself, and just how O’Reilly became O’Reilly.


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Mommywood by Tori Spelling -
If you thought Tinseltown was tough...

Tori Spelling might have grown up with everything a girl could wish for, but these days she's just another suburban working mom...whose toddler regularly recognizes her in the pages of Us Weekly. Welcome to Mommywood, where the stars are two feet tall and your neighbors know who you are before you move in.

Like most parents, Tori wants her children to have the one thing she didn't have as a kid -- a normal family. On their hit Oxygen reality show, Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood, the starlet and her husband Dean McDermott regularly wrestle dirty diapers, host the neighborhood block party, and tackle temper tantrums on the red carpet. But when the cameras aren't rolling, Tori's still having awkward run-ins with a former 90210 costar at a laser tag birthday party, scooping rogue poo out of the kiddie pool on a resort vacation, and racing to win back her pre-baby body before the media starts calling her fat. For all her suburban fantasies, Tori Spelling is no June Cleaver.

With the same down-to-earth wit that made her entertaining memoir sTORI telling a #1 New York Times bestseller, Tori tells the hilarious and humbling stories of life as a mom in the limelight. From learning to be the kind of parent her own mother never was to revealing what it's like to raise a family while everyone is watching, Mommywood is an irresistible snapshot of celebrity parenthood that you won't get from the paparazzi.


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Same Kind of Different As Me: A Modern-Day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together by Ron Hall, Denver Moore -

A dangerous, homeless drifter who grew up picking cotton in virtual slavery.

An upscale art dealer accustomed to the world of Armani and Chanel.

A gutsy woman with a stubborn dream.

A story so incredible no novelist would dare dream it.

It begins outside a burning plantation hut in Louisiana . . . and an East Texas honky-tonk . . . and, without a doubt, in the heart of God. It unfolds in a Hollywood hacienda . . . an upscale New York gallery . . . a downtown dumpster . . . a Texas ranch.

Gritty with pain and betrayal and brutality, this true story also shines with an unexpected, life-changing love.


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Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell - Julie & Julia, the bestselling memoir that's "irresistible....A kind of Bridget Jones meets The French Chef" (Philadelphia Inquirer), is now a major motion picture. Julie Powell, nearing thirty and trapped in a dead-end secretarial job, resolves to reclaim her life by cooking in the span of a single year, every one of the 524 recipes in Julia Child's legendary Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Her unexpected reward: not just a newfound respect for calves' livers and aspic, but a new life-lived with gusto. The film is written and directed by Nora Ephron and stars Amy Adams as Julie and Meryl Streep as Julia.
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Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert - This beautifully written, heartfelt memoir touched a nerve among both readers and reviewers. Elizabeth Gilbert tells how she made the difficult choice to leave behind all the trappings of modern American success (marriage, house in the country, career) and find, instead, what she truly wanted from life. Setting out for a year to study three different aspects of her nature amid three different cultures, Gilbert explored the art of pleasure in Italy and the art of devotion in India, and then a balance between the two on the Indonesian island of Bali. By turns rapturous and rueful, this wise and funny author (whom Booklist calls "Anne Lamott’s hip, yoga- practicing, footloose younger sister") is poised to garner yet more adoring fans.
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Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10 by Marcus Luttrell - On a clear night in late June 2005, four U.S. Navy SEALs left their base in northern Afghanistan for the mountainous Pakistani border. Their mission was to capture or kill a notorious al Qaeda leader known to be ensconced in a Taliban stronghold surrounded by a small but heavily armed force. Less then twenty-four hours later, only one of those Navy SEALs remained alive.


This is the story of fire team leader Marcus Luttrell, the sole survivor of Operation Redwing, and the desperate battle in the mountains that led, ultimately, to the largest loss of life in Navy SEAL history. But it is also, more than anything, the story of his teammates, who fought ferociously beside him until he was the last one left-blasted unconscious by a rocket grenade, blown over a cliff, but still armed and still breathing. Over the next four days, badly injured and presumed dead, Luttrell fought off six al Qaeda assassins who were sent to finish him, then crawled for seven miles through the mountains before he was taken in by a Pashtun tribe, who risked everything to protect him from the encircling Taliban killers.


A six-foot-five-inch Texan, Leading Petty Officer Luttrell takes us, blow-by-blow, through the brutal training of America's warrior elite and the relentless rites of passage required by the Navy SEALs. He transports us to a monstrous battle fought in the desolate peaks of Afghanistan, where the beleaguered American team plummeted headlong a thousand feet down a mountain as they fought back through flying shale and rocks. In this rich , moving chronicle of courage, honor, and patriotism, Marcus Luttrell delivers one of the most powerful narratives ever written about modern warfare-and a tribute to his teammates, who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
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My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands by Chelsea Handler -
In this raucous collection of true-life stories, actress and comedian Chelsea Handler recounts her time spent in the social trenches with that wild, strange, irresistible, and often gratifying beast: the one-night stand.

You've either done it or know someone who has: the one-night stand, the familiar outcome of a night spent at a bar, sometimes the sole payoff for your friend's irritating wedding, or the only relief from a disastrous vacation. Often embarrassing and uncomfortable, occasionally outlandish, but most times just a necessary and irresistible evil, the one-night stand is a social rite as old as sex itself and as common as a bar stool.

Enter Chelsea Handler. Gorgeous, sharp, and anything but shy, Chelsea loves men and lots of them. My Horizontal Life chronicles her romp through the different bedrooms of a variety of suitors, a no-holds-barred account of what can happen between a man and a sometimes very intoxicated, outgoing woman during one night of passion. From her short fling with a Vegas stripper to her even shorter dalliance with a well-endowed little person, from her uncomfortable tryst with a cruise ship performer to her misguided rebound with a man who likes to play leather dress-up, Chelsea recalls the highs and lows of her one-night stands with hilarious honesty. Encouraged by her motley collection of friends (aka: her partners in crime) but challenged by her family members (who at times find themselves a surprise part of the encounter), Chelsea hits bottom and bounces back, unafraid to share the gritty details. My Horizontal Life is one guilty pleasure you won't be ashamed to talk about in the morning.

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My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey by Jill Bolte Taylor - Unabridged CDs • 5 CDs, 5 1?2 hours

A brain scientist’s personal experience with a stroke and her journey to a full recovery.A brain scientist's journey from a debilitating stroke to full recovery becomes an inspiring exploration of human consciousness and its possibilities

On the morning of December 10, 1996, Jill Bolte Taylor, a thirty-seven-year-old Harvard-trained brain scientist, experienced a massive stroke when a blood vessel exploded in the left side of her brain. A neuroanatomist by profession, she observed her own mind completely deteriorate to the point that she could not walk, talk, read, write, or recall any of her life, all within the space of four brief hours. As the damaged left side of her brain--the rational, grounded, detail- and time-oriented side--swung in and out of function, Taylor alternated between two distinct and opposite realties: the euphoric nirvana of the intuitive and kinesthetic right brain, in which she felt a sense of complete well-being and peace; and the logical, sequential left brain, which recognized Jill was having a stroke, and enabled her to seek help before she was lost completely.

In My Stroke of Insight, Taylor shares her unique perspective on the brain and its capacity for recovery, and the sense of omniscient understanding she gained from this unusual and inspiring voyage out of the abyss of a wounded brain. It would take eight years for Taylor to heal completely. Because of her knowledge of how the brain works, her respect for the cells composing her human form, and most of all an amazing mother, Taylor completely repaired her mind and recalibrated her understanding of the world according to the insights gained from her right brain that morning of December 10th.

Today Taylor is convinced that the stroke was the best thing that could have happened to her. It has taught her that the feeling of nirvana is never more than a mere thought away. By stepping to the right of our left brains, we can all uncover the feelings of well-being and peace that are so often sidelined by our own brain chatter. A fascinating journey into the mechanics of the human mind, My Stroke of Insight is both a valuable recovery guide for anyone touched by a brain injury, and an emotionally stirring testimony that deep internal peace truly is accessible to anyone, at any time.

Questions for Jill Bolte Taylor

Amazon.com: Your first reaction when you realized what was happening to your body was one you would expect: "Oh my gosh, I'm having a stroke!" Your second, though, was a little more surprising: "Wow, this is so cool!" What could be cool about a stroke?

Taylor: I grew up to study the brain because I have a brother who is only 18 months older than I am. He was very different in the way he perceived experiences and then chose to behave. As a result, I became fascinated with the human brain and how it creates our perception of reality. He was eventually diagnosed with the brain disorder schizophrenia, and I dedicated my career to the postmortem investigation of the human brain in an attempt to understand, at a biological level, what are the differences between my brain and my brother’s brain. On the morning of the stroke, I realized that my brain was no longer functioning like a "normal" brain and this insight into my brother's reality excited me. I was fascinated to intimately understand what it might be like on the inside for someone who would not be diagnosed as normal. Through the eyes of a curious scientist, this was an absolutely rare and fascinating experience for me to witness the breakdown of my own mind.

Amazon.com: What did you learn about the brain from your stroke and your recovery that your scientific training hadn't prepared you for?

Taylor: My scientific training did not teach me anything about the human spirit and the value of compassion. I had been trained as a scientist, not as a clinician. I can only hope that we are teaching our future physicians about compassion in medicine, and I know that some medical schools, including the Indiana University School of Medicine, have created a curriculum with this intention.

My training as a scientist, however, did provide me with a roadmap to how the body and brain work. And although I lost my left cognitive mind that thinks in language, I retained my right hemisphere that thinks in pictures. As a result, although I could not communicate with the external world, I had an intuitive understanding about what I needed to do in order to create an environment in which the cells in my brain could be happy and healthy enough that they could regain their function. In addition, because of my training, I had an innate trust in the ability of my brain to be able to recover itself and my mother and I respected the organ by listening to it. For example, when I was tired, I allowed my brain to sleep, and when I was fresh and capable of focusing my attention, we gave me age-appropriate toys and tools with which to work.

Amazon.com: Your stroke affected functions in your left brain, leaving you to what you call the "la-la land" of your right hemisphere. What was it like to live in your right brain, and then to rebuild your left?

Taylor: When the cells in my left brain became nonfunctional because they were swimming in a pool of blood, they lost their ability to inhibit the cells in my right hemisphere. In my right brain, I shifted into the consciousness of the present moment. I was in the right here, right now awareness, with no memories of my past and no perception of the future. The beauty of La-la land (my right hemisphere experience of the present moment) was that everything was an explosion of magnificent stimulation and I dwelled in a space of euphoria. This is great way to exist if you don't have to communicate with the external world or care whether or not you have the capacity to learn. I found that in order for me to be able to learn anything, however, I had to take information from the last moment and apply it to the present moment. When my left hemisphere was completely nonfunctional early on, it was impossible for me to learn, which was okay with me, but I am sure it was frustrating for those around me. A simple example of this was trying to put on my shoes and socks. I eventually became physically capable of putting my shoes and socks on, but I had no ability to understand why I would have to put my socks on before my shoes. To me they were simply independent actions that were not related and I did not have the cognitive ability to figure out the appropriate sequencing of the events. Over time, I regained the ability to weave moments back together to create an expanse of time, and with this ability came the ability to learn methodically again. Life in La-la land will always be just a thought away, but I am truly grateful for the ability to think with linearity once again.

Amazon.com: What can we learn about our brains and ourselves from your experience, even if we haven't lived through the kind of brain trauma you have?

Taylor: I learned that I have much more say about what goes on between my ears than I was ever taught and I believe that this is true for all of us. I used to understand that I had the ability to stop thinking about one thing by consciously choosing to preoccupy my mind with thinking about something else. But I had no idea that it only took 90 seconds for me to have an emotional circuit triggered, flush a physiological response through my body and then flush completely out of me. We can all learn that we can take full responsibility for what thoughts we are thinking and what emotional circuitry we are feeling. Knowing this and acting on this can lead us into feeling a wonderful sense of well-being and peacefulness.

Amazon.com: You are the "Singin' Scientist" for Harvard's Brain Bank (just as you were before your stroke). Could you tell us about the Brain Bank (in song or not)?

Taylor: There is a long-term shortage of brain tissue donated for research into the severe mental illnesses. Most people don’t realize that when you sign the back of your license as an organ donor, the brain is not included. If you would like to donate your brain for research, you must contact a brain bank directly. There is also a shortage of "normal control" tissue for research. The bottom line reality is that if there were more tissue available for research, then more scientists would be dedicating their careers to the study of the severe mental illnesses and we would have more answers about what is going on with these disorders. The numbers of mentally ill individuals in our society are staggering. The most serious and disabling conditions affect about 6 percent--or one in 17--adults and 9-13 percent of children in the United States. Half of all lifetime conditions of mental illness start by age 14 years, and three-fourths by age 24 years.

For more information about brain donation to the Harvard brain bank, please call 1-800-BRAINBANK or visit them at: www.brainbank.mclean.org

If you would like to hear me sing the brain bank jingle, please visit www.drjilltaylor.com!


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