A major, best-selling novelist and former magazine editor, long married to a handsome and successful stockbroker with whom she has a beautiful daughter and son, Benilde Little once had every reason to feel on top of the world. But as illness, the aging of her parents, and other hurdles interrupted her seemingly perfect life, she took a tailspin into a pit of clinical depression. Told in her own fearless and wise voice, Welcome to My Breakdown chronicles a cavern of depression so dark that Benilde didn't know if she'd ever recover.
This article profiles author J. D. Robb. The name J. D. Robb is a pseudonym for best-selling author Nora Roberts. Listen to this article now to find out how Roberts became a best-selling author and how her career has developed.
If Billie Holiday wanted to become a jazz singer, she chose the best of all eras in which to attempt it. A wave of great jazz and jazz/pop crossover artists swept over the United States from the 1920s through the 1950s, generating a golden age for the genre. Emerging from such a powerful group of talented vocalists was not easy. The woman who has come to represent a model of great, instinctive jazz singing came from nowhere, had nothing, and virtually had no one. She was raw and untrained, but went forward with limited and quirky vocal gifts.
This article profiles Daniel Silva. One of the world's best-selling spy novelists, Silva is best known for his Gabriel Allon novels. Find out how he became a writer, and how his career has developed.
This article profiles Catherine Ryan Hyde. She became well known after publishing 1999's Pay It Forward, which became the basis for a popular film of the same name. Hear this article now to find out how she became a writer and how her career has developed.
This article profiles R. J. Palacio. Her first novel, Wonder, made her a best seller overnight. Find out how Palacio became a writer and how her career has developed.
Maggie Nelson's The Argonauts is a genre-bending memoir, a work of "autotheory" offering fresh, fierce, and timely thinking about desire, identity, and the limitations and possibilities of love and language. At its center is a romance: the story of the author's relationship with the artist Harry Dodge. This story, which includes Nelson's account of falling in love with Dodge, who is fluidly gendered, as well as her journey to and through a pregnancy, is an intimate portrayal of the complexities and joys of (queer) family making.
This article profiles best-selling author James Dashner. His Maze Runner series has made him a household name. Listen to this article now to find out how he became a writer and how his career has developed.
In her celebrated fiction, Shirley Jackson explored the darkness lurking beneath the surface of small-town America. But in Life Among the Savages, she takes on the lighter side of small-town life. In this witty and warm memoir of her family's life in rural Vermont, she delightfully exposes a domestic side in cheerful contrast to her quietly terrifying fiction. With a novelist's gift for character, an unfailing maternal instinct, and her signature humor, Jackson turns everyday family experiences into brilliant adventures.
Riff-Raff, Rebels & Rock Gods chronicles the rise of the most exciting generation of British music and musicians the world has ever seen - before or since. In rapid succession came Ska, New Mod, anarcho-punk, Oi, and the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. A firestorm of incendiary music, created and performed by geniuses and madmen. What a time to be a music journalist! At the heart of this rock tsunami was SOUNDS magazine. And at the heart of SOUNDS was your narrator, Garry Bushell.
On paper Steve Katz's career rivals anyone's except the 1960s' and '70s' biggest stars: the Monterey Pop Festival with the legendary Blues Project; Woodstock with Blood, Sweat & Tears; and even producing rock's most celebrated speed addict, Lou Reed. There were world tours, and his résumé screams "Hall of Fame" - it won't be long before BS&T are on that ballot.
Former SNL writer and The New Yorker staffer Patty Marx employs the weapon she wields best - not that weapon; Patty believes in gun control. Instead she uses her sharp-edged humor to tackle the most difficult facet of aging: the mind's decline. From forgetting her brother-in-law's name while he was wearing a nametag to hanging up the phone to look for her phone, Marx confesses to her failures and not only to make you feel better about yourself.
"Snarky and repetitive"
Near the end of the 20th century, the American Film Institute ranked the greatest actors and actresses who worked during the Golden Era of Hollywood and the first half of the 1900s, and Sidney Poitier was ranked 22nd among the men. Given the company he was surrounded by, such a distinction could be considered honor enough, but Poitier also happened to be the only minority on the list, an accomplishment made all the more incredible given the systematic discrimination he faced within the industry and the land where he grew up.
In 1948, American polls rated Bing Crosby "the most admired man alive", and it's no surprise given how popular he was across every major form of entertainment during the decade. With a string of major hits, Crosby was the most popular singer in the country during that era, with classic songs like "White Christmas" helping pave the way for other singers as varied as Bob Hope, Dean Martin, and Frank Sinatra. In fact, young Sinatra modeled his clothing and style after Crosby, who was his idol growing up.
The author of the immortal Lolita and Pale Fire, born to an eminent Russian family, conjures the apotheosis of the high modernist artist: cultured, refined - as European as they come. But Vladimir Nabokov, who came to America fleeing the Nazis, came to think of his time here as the richest of his life. Indeed, Nabokov was not only happiest here, but his best work flowed from his response to this exotic land.
He was Disney's Haunted Mansion Ghost Host, Boris Badenov, Professor Ludwig von Drake, Pillsbury Dougboy, Toucan Sam, the Green Lama, and thousands of voices you have heard on records, radio, and television and in films. He was voice acting genius Paul Frees.
J. D. Salinger might have been one of America's greatest 20th century authors, but only he knows for sure. As a young adult, Salinger wrote a number of short stories that were published during the 1940s in Story Magazine and his story "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" appeared in The New Yorker magazine to wide praise. Salinger followed that up with his most famous work, the 1951 novel The Catcher in the Rye, which was popular among adults and adolescents alike.
This fascinating biography reveals the untold story of the legendary New Yorker profile writer - author of Joe Gould's Secret and Up in the Old Hotel - and unravels the mystery behind one of literary history's greatest disappearing acts.
"Excellent Biography of Fascinating Writer"
One of the towering figures of the age was Jean Jacques Rousseau, whose works were essential to the ideological developments of the 18th century. The prestige of French literature in the 18th century resides especially in its revolutionary character; while the writers of the previous century used to support the social order through their works and showed sympathy and even attempted to explain the political order of the time.
The Enlightenment is looked upon fondly, and it serves to reinforce the notion that the present is superior to the past, but things did not change as rapidly or as completely as many believe. In fact, some recent historians have challenged the belief that the Enlightenment was responsible for the French Revolution, which is a vital issue when it comes to Voltaire. After all, Voltaire, as his contemporaries and as most of his modern listeners know him, is widely regarded as the pinnacle of Enlightenment thought.
Before Liz Lemon, before "Weekend Update," before "Sarah Palin," Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV. She has seen both these dreams come true. At last, Tina Fey's story can be told....
"Tina Fey broke my new SUV"
Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck–impersonating Off-Broadway performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence “Can I just say one last thing about this, and then I swear I’ll shut up about it?”
"If you like Mindy, you'll enjoy this listen."
Bestselling author Leonard Shlain explores the life, art, and mind of Leonardo da Vinci, seeking to explain his singularity by looking at his achievements in art, science, psychology, and military strategy (yes), and then employing state of the art left-right brain scientific research to explain his universal genius. Shlain shows that no other person in human history has excelled in so many different areas as Da Vinci and he peels back the layers to explore the how and the why.
"Varied Approach with Surprising Results"
Once again, David Sedaris brings together a collection of essays so uproariously funny and profoundly moving that his legions of fans will fall for him all over again. He tests the limits of love when Hugh lances a boil from his backside, and pushes the boundaries of laziness when, finding the water shut off in his house in Normandy, he looks to the water in a vase of fresh cut flowers to fill the coffee machine.
From the unique perspective of David Sedaris comes a new collection of essays taking his listeners on a bizarre and stimulating world tour. From the perils of French dentistry to the eating habits of the Australian kookaburra, from the squat-style toilets of Beijing to the particular wilderness of a North Carolina Costco, we learn about the absurdity and delight of a curious traveler's experiences.
"Devout Fan Disappointed"
Now at last Keith Richards pauses to tell his story in the most anticipated autobiography in decades. And what a story! Listening obsessively to Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters records in a coldwater flat with Mick Jagger and Brian Jones, building a sound and a band out of music they loved. Finding fame and success as a bad-boy band, only to find themselves challenged by authorities everywhere....
"Ins and outs"
In The 50th Law, hip hop and pop culture icon 50 Cent (aka Curtis Jackson) joins forces with Robert Greene, best-selling author of The 48 Laws of Power, to write a "bible" for success in life and work based on a single principle: fear nothing. With intimate stories from 50 Cent's life on the streets and in the boardroom as he rose to fame after the release of his album Get Rich or Die Tryin', as well as examples of others who have overcome adversity through understanding and practicing the 50th Law.
"A solid and well thought out book."
Billy Crystal is 65, and he's not happy about it. With his trademark wit and heart, he outlines the absurdities and challenges that come with growing old, from insomnia to memory loss to leaving dinners with half your meal on your shirt. In humorous chapters like ""Buying the Plot"" and ""Nodding Off,"" Crystal not only catalogues his physical gripes, but offers a road map to his 77 million fellow baby boomers who are arriving at this milestone age with him. He also looks back at the most powerful and memorable moments of his long and storied life, from entertaining his relatives as a kid in Long Beach, Long Island, and his years doing stand-up in the Village, up through his legendary stint at Saturday Night Live, When Harry Met Sally, and his long run as host of the Academy Awards. Listeners get a front-row seat to his one-day career with the New York Yankees (he was the first player to ever ""test positive for Maalox""), his love affair with Sophia Loren, and his enduring friendships with several of his idols, including Mickey Mantle and Muhammad Ali. He lends a light touch to more serious topics like religion (""the aging friends I know have turned to the Holy Trinity: Advil, bourbon, and Prozac""); grandparenting; and, of course, dentistry. As wise and poignant as they are funny, Crystal's reflections are an unforgettable look at an extraordinary life well lived.
Kafka is one of 161 inspired-and inspiring-minds, among them, novelists, poets, playwrights, painters, philosophers, scientists, and mathematicians, who describe how they subtly maneuver the many (self-inflicted) obstacles and (self-imposed) daily rituals to get done the work they love to do, whether by waking early or staying up late; whether by self-medicating with doughnuts or bathing, drinking vast quantities of coffee, or taking long daily walks.
"Good book, Bad narrator"
Sent by their mother to live with their devout, self-sufficient grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother, Bailey, endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local “powhitetrash.” At eight years old, Maya is attacked by a man many times her age - and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime. But years later, she learns about love for herself and the kindness of others, her own strong spirit, and the ideas of great authors.
"Really good book!"
Nineteen-year-old Greg Sestero met Tommy Wiseau at an acting school in San Francisco. Wiseau's scenes were rivetingly wrong, yet Sestero, hypnotized by such uninhibited acting, thought, "I have to do a scene with this guy." That impulse changed both of their lives. The Disaster Artist is Greg Sestero's laugh-out-loud funny account of how Tommy Wiseau defied every law of artistry, business, and friendship to make "the Citizen Kane of bad movies" (Entertainment Weekly), which is now an international phenomenon.
"As Funny As The Room, and Surprisingly Touching"
The secret behind France's astonishingly well-behaved children is here. When American journalist Pamela Druckerman has a baby in Paris, she doesn't aspire to become a "French parent". French parenting isn't a known thing, like French fashion or French cheese. Even French parents themselves insist they aren't doing anything special. But French children are far better behaved and more in command of themselves than American kids....
Fat Girl Walking is a collection of stories from my life, my thoughts about the issues that I have faced as a woman, wife, mom, daughter, daughter-in-law, and Internet personality in regards to my weight. I have tried to be as honest as I possibly could - apologies in advance to my husband and parents, but hopefully any discomfort you feel is quickly replaced by laughter.
"One Woman's Body; One Woman's Story"
In their first in-depth autobiography, pop sensations Niall, Zayn, Liam, Harry, and Louis tell the story of their lives. From nervously auditioning for The X Factor and meeting one another for the first time, to filming their hit movie This Is Us and releasing their best-selling third album, Midnight Memories, it really has been one incredible journey.
"This book is so bomb!"
The Greater Journey is the enthralling, inspiring—and until now, untold—story of the adventurous American artists, writers, doctors, politicians, architects, and others of high aspiration who set off for Paris in the years between 1830 and 1900, ambitious to excel in their work.
"Priceless! Best book I've read in years"
Though they have the vote and the Pill and haven't been burned as witches since 1727, life isn't exactly a stroll down the catwalk for modern women. They are beset by uncertainties and questions: Why are they supposed to get Brazilians? Why do bras hurt? Why the incessant talk about babies? And do men secretly hate them? Caitlin Moran interweaves provocative observations on women's lives with laugh-out-loud funny scenes from her own, from adolescence to her development as a writer, wife, and mother.
"Hysterical manual for the 21st century woman"
Just Kids begins as a love story and ends as an elegy. It serves as a salute to New York City during the late 60s and 70s and to its rich and poor, its hustlers and hellions. A true fable, it is a portrait of two young artists' ascent, a prelude to fame.
"Exceptional. Deeply honest and thoughtful."
At once a powerful evocation of his early life in Harlem and a disturbing examination of the consequences of racial injustice to both the individual and the body politic, James Baldwin galvanized the nation in the early days of the civil rights movement with this eloquent manifesto. The Fire Next Time stands as one of the essential works of our literature.
"Still as bold as ever"
In David Lipsky's view, David Foster Wallace was the best young writer in America. Wallace's pieces for Harper's magazine in the '90s were, according to Lipsky, like hearing for the first time the brain voice of everybody I knew: Here was how we all talked, experienced, thought. It was like smelling the damp in the air, seeing the first flash from a storm a mile away. You knew something gigantic was coming.
"Leapin' Over That Wall of Self"
On their 50th anniversary comes a groundbreaking rock-and-roll memoir by one of the founding members of the Grateful Dead. The Grateful Dead are perhaps the most legendary American rock band of all time. For 30 years, beginning in the hippie scene of San Francisco in 1965, they were a musical institution, the original jam band that broke new ground in so many ways.
"Passes the test"
How to Be Like is a "character biography" series: biographies that also draw out important lessons from the life of their subjects. In this new book - by far the most exhaustive in the series - Pat Williams tackles one of the most influential people in recent history. While many recent biographies of Walt Disney have reveled in the negative, this audiobook takes an honest but positive look at the man behind the myth. For the first time, the book pulls together all the various strands of Disney's life into one straightforward, easy-to-listen-to tale.
"One of the best books I've heard yet!"
In Catch a Wave, Peter Ames Carlin pulls back the curtain on Brian Wilson, one of popular music's most revered luminaries, as well as its biggest mystery. Drawing on hundreds of interviews and never-before heard studio recordings, Carlin follows the Beach Boys from their earliest days through Brian's deepening emotional problems to his triumphant re-emergence with the release of Smile, the legendarily unreleased album he had originally shelved.
"for fans, in depth research and good storytelling"
In less than a year, Neil Peart lost both his 19-year-old daughter, Selena, and his wife, Jackie. Faced with overwhelming sadness and isolated from the world in his home on the lake, Peart was left without direction. That lack of direction lead him on a 55,000 mile journey by motorcycle across much of North America, down through Mexico to Belize, and back again.
"Not happy, but fascinating"
As soon as she graduated from high school, Pamela Des Barres headed for the Sunset Strip, where she knocked on rock stars' backstage doors and immersed herself in the drugs, danger, and ecstasy of the freewheeling 1960s. Over the next 10 years she had affairs with Mick Jagger, Jimmy Page, Keith Moon, Waylon Jennings, Chris Hillman, Noel Redding, and Jim Morrison, among others. She traveled with Led Zeppelin; lived in sin with Don Johnson; turned down a date with Elvis Presley; and was close friends with Robert Plant, Gram Parsons, Ray Davies, and Frank Zappa.
"Dont waste your money...........please"
Ralph Waldo Emerson is one of the most important figures in the history of American thought, religion, and literature. The vitality of his writings and the unsettling power of his example continue to influence us more than a hundred years after his death. Now Robert D. Richardson Jr. brings to life an Emerson very different from the old stereotype of the passionless Sage of Concord.
"Entertaining, erudite, engaging"
Long before Oliver Sacks became a distinguished neurologist and best-selling writer, he was a small English boy fascinated by metals - also by chemical reactions (the louder and smellier the better), photography, squids and cuttlefish, H.G. Wells, and the periodic table. In this endlessly charming and eloquent memoir, the he chronicles his love affair with science and the magnificently odd and sometimes harrowing childhood in which that love affair unfolded.
Speak, Memory, first published in 1951 as Conclusive Evidence and then assiduously revised in 1966, is an elegant and rich evocation of Nabokov’s life and times, even as it offers incisive insights into his major works, including Lolita, Pnin, Despair, The Gift, The Real Life of Sebastian Knight, and The Luhzin Defense.
"this inspired me to read Nabokov's novels"
First published in 1979, The White Album records indelibly the upheavals and aftermaths of the 1960s. Examining key events, figures, and trends of the era - including Charles Manson, the Black Panthers, and the shopping mall - through the lens of her own spiritual confusion, Joan Didion helped to define mass culture as we now understand it. Written with a commanding sureness of tone and linguistic precision, The White Album is a central example of American reportage and a classic of American autobiography.
"Everybody Remembers Their First Didion!"
In the tradition of John Richardson's Picasso, a commanding new biography of the Italian master's tumultuous life and mysterious death. For four hundred years Caravaggio's (1571-1610) staggering artistic achievements have thrilled viewers, yet his volatile personal trajectory - the murder of Ranuccio Tomasini, the doubt surrounding Caravaggio's sexuality, the chain of events that began with his imprisonment on Malta and ended with his premature death - has long confounded historians.
Henry David Thoreau has long been an intellectual icon and folk hero. In this strikingly original profile, Michael Sims reveals how the bookish, quirky young man evolved into the patron saint of environmentalism and nonviolent activism. Working from 19th-century letters and diaries, Sims charts Henry’s course from his time at Harvard through the years he spent living in a cabin beside Walden Pond. Sims uncovers a previously hidden Thoreau - the rowdy boy reminiscent of Tom Sawyer, the sarcastic college iconoclast, the devoted son who kept imitating his beloved older brother’s choices in life.
For Bob Dylan's 70th birthday, a revised and updated new edition of Howard Sounes' classic biography of the legend. This new edition of Howard Sounes' definitive biography of Bob Dylan, first published to international critical acclaim in 2001, gives a complete picture of the man as well as of the artist and performer.
"An inspiring insight"
The living embodiment of the Beatles, a musical juggernaut without parallel, Paul McCartney is undoubtedly the senior figure in pop music today. In this authoritative biography, journalist and acclaimed author Howard Sounes leaves no stone unturned in building the most accurate and extensive profile yet of music's greatest living legend. He is one of the biggest stars that has ever existed, the only key member left from the unquestioned 'biggest band of all time'.
"Quite Long But Good.."
The Eagles are the bestselling, and arguably the tightest-lipped, American group ever. Now band member and guitarist Don Felder finally breaks the Eagles years of public silence to take fans behind the scenes. He shares every part of the bands wild ride, from the pressure-packed recording studios and trashed hotel rooms to the tension-filled courtrooms, and from the joy of writing powerful new songs to the magic of performing in huge arenas packed with roaring fans.
"Don Felder is an interesting dude"
In Will Eisner: A Dreamer's Life in Comics, Michael Schumacher delves beneath Eisner's public persona to draw connections between his life and his art. Eisner's career spanned a remarkable eight decades, from his scrappy survival at the dawn of comics' Golden Age in the late 1930s to the beginning of the 21st century, when Pulitzers began going to graphic novels (a term Eisner is widely credited with creating).
Ever since he joined the sports department of the Boston Globe in 1968, sports enthusiasts have been blessed with the writing and reporting of Bob Ryan. Tony Kornheiser calls him the "quintessential American sportswriter". For the past 25 years, he has also been a regular on various ESPN shows, especially The Sports Reporters, spreading his knowledge and enthusiasm for sports of all kinds.
"Entertaining sports reflections"
Over the course of his 60 years, Christopher Hitchens has been a citizen of both the United States and the United Kingdom. He has been both a socialist opposed to the war in Vietnam and a supporter of the U.S. war against Islamic extremism in Iraq. He has been both a foreign correspondent in some of the world's most dangerous places and a legendary bon vivant with an unquenchable thirst for alcohol and literature.
"MASTERFUL & REVEALING"
John Eliot Gardiner grew up passing one of the only two authentic portraits of Bach every morning and evening on the stairs of his parents’ house, where it hung for safety during World War II. He has been studying and performing Bach ever since, and is now regarded as one of the composer's greatest living interpreters. The fruits of this lifetime's immersion are distilled in this remarkable book, grounded in the most recent Bach scholarship but moving far beyond it.
"A Deep History of Bach"
Yngwie Malmsteen's revolutionary guitar style - combining elements of classical music with the speed and volume of heavy metal - made him a staple of the 80s rock scene. Decades later, he's still a legend among guitarists, having sold 11 million albums and influenced generations of rockers since. In Relentless, Malmsteen shares his personal story, from the moment he burst onto the scene seemingly out of nowhere in the early 80s to become a household name in the annals of heavy metal.
"Autobiography of Yngwie J. Malmsteen."
For 30 years, drummer, author, and songwriter Neil Peart had wanted to write a book about "the biggest journey of all in my restless existence: the life of a touring musician." Finally, the right time, and the right tour. In the summer of 2004, after three decades, 20 gold albums, and thousands of performances spanning four continents, the band Rush embarked on a celebratory 30th Anniversary World Tour. The "R30" tour traveled to nine countries, where the band performed 57 shows in front of more than half a million fans. Uniquely, Peart chose to do his between-show traveling by motorcycle, riding 21,000 miles of back roads.
"Enjoyable, even for a non-fan of Rush"