Imagine, at the age of 30, discovering you're not typical — or rather, not neurotypical. What could have been a scary diagnosis turned out to be very empowering for David Finch. His personal story of coping with Asperger Syndrome and saving his marriage paints a picture of hard-earned possibility. Finch may be at the milder end of the Asperger/autism spectrum, but for a neurotypical like myself, I learned a lot about the life of someone whose brain works very differently from my own.
Belinda Carlisle seems to have lived the quintessential rocker’s life—starting off poor and dreaming of a magical life, being in love with music at a young age, starting a band almost on a whim, seeing her band rise to fame, drowning in drugs. Belinda’s story, Lips Unsealed, is one of brutal honesty about how her own shortcomings and insecurities kept her in the grip of addiction even while her life seemed perfect and almost fairy-tale like to those on the outside. Her life reads as an inspiring
Food critic Frank Bruni reveals his personal struggle to overcome a love-hate relationship with food, and how he achieved self-control in the most unlikely circumstances.
Elisabeth Tova Bailey has a mysterious illness that lasts for many years. At one point during this illness she is confined to her bed. She can only sit up or hold a book for minutes at a time. She has been removed from her beloved farmhouse to a condo in the city so that she can be cared for around the clock. One day a friend brings Elisabeth a snail that is nestled in a pot of violets. This is the story of how a snail ferries one woman through countless hours of suffering into a place of wonder-induced healing.
Kitty lovers will appreciate Caroline Paul's humor, devotion and manic-depressive curiosity in Lost Cat.
I'm not a writer but Anne Lamott makes me believe that I could be a great one. Bird by Bird is a writing manual that reads like a memoir, a very funny, life affirming, let's get real memoir. She reminds me a bit of Cheryl Strayed in her clarity and insight not only about writing but about relationships and priorities. Lamott says, "if you want to know your characters, you have to hang out with them for awhile." I highly recommend hanging out with Lamott.
This memoir explores the life of Waris Dirie, recognized by many for her work as a model, and by others for her advocacy for human rights and a battle against female genital mutilation. The reader follows her from her early life as a nomad in the deserts of Somalia, to her difficult and sometimes dangerous journey to Mogadishu and eventually London. Working there as an underappreciated maid for her own family, she is "discovered", and sets off on an equally nomadic life as a model. Throughout her journey, Waris has to face the world with her own wits and tenacity.
This memoir recounts the story of Malika Oufkir, whose father was the closest aide to the King of Morocco. We follow Malika from the age of five, as she is raised in the palace as the princess’ companion. While life in the harem is a kind of imprisonment itself, it is nothing compared to what awaits her, her mother, and her siblings after her father is executed for an attempt to assassinate the King.
Naoki Higashida is a thirteen-year-old boy with autism so severe that he cannot speak aloud. But using an alphabet grid, he--letter by letter--has composed this missive from the depths of autism, revealing that a clever mind and keen perception lie behind the limits of his disorder.
In his new book, Scott Stossel describes his harrowing experience with clinical anxiety as well as its origins as a psychiatric disease. He looks at the philosophical and biological underpinnings of anxiety and the amazing response from pharmacology, both as a benefit for those who suffer from the illness and as an industry that pathologizes normal emotions upon the arrival of drugs that can alter them.