Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Boswellians Recommend New Nonfiction Titles from Mardi Jo Link, Lily Koppel, Jen Lancaster, Brandon Baltzley, Paul Farmer, and Wendy Jehanara Tremayne.

As I walked in this morning to receive the rest of our twelve-carton Melissa and Doug order, Jason said to me, "It's not a great week for new releases, particularly for Boswell's Best. All that seems to be out that we're promoting is Curtis Sittenfeld's Sisterland. Well we've had two great reads on Sisterland, but alas, we have no recommendation yet except my fallback, "it's great." I'm hoping I'll have something for later in the week. Instead for today, I'm going to share some nonfiction staff recommendations from relatively new releases.

From Hannah: Bootstrapper: From Broke to Badass on a Northern Michigan Farm (Knopf), by Mardi Jo Link.
"When Mardi Jo kicks her husband out, she suddenly has to run her farm in Northern Michigan, raise her three boys, and pay all of her bills on her own. This is a story of badass bootstrapping that is honest, witty, and straightforward." I would also like to add that Ms. Link will be at Books and Company on Monday, July 15, 7 pm.

From Halley: The Astronaut Wives Club: A True Story (Grand Central), by Lily Koppel.
"Anyone familiar with NASA and the Space Race of the second half of the 20th century knows the names Alan Shepard, John Glenn, Neil Armstrong, and Buzz Aldrin. Who they probably don't know are the amazing women who stood behind them throughout their journey as astronauts. The Astronaut Wives Club chronicles the hectic lives of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo wives as they experience elation, heartbreak, sorrow, and the pressures of newfound fame. Koppel brings the wives to the reader in a way that makes you feel along with them (some of their husbands were real dogs, cheating on them with the Cape Cookies), it's as if you're one of their exclusive club and in on all of the gossip and angst. I loved this book and I want everyone in the world to read this. Is that too much to ask?"

From Sharon: The Tao of Martha: My Year of Living; Or, Why I'm Never Getting All That Glitter Off of the Dog (NAL), by Jen Lancaster.
"Jen Lancaster is back in the genre that she does best, with a humorous personal memoir. She is taking a year to follow the way of Martha Stewart, her style icon. The results of this experiment are pure Jen, profane, irreverent, and very, very funny. Whether she is gardening, baking, knitting gifts for friends, or stockpiling supplies in her basement for the zombie apocalypse, nothing goes quite according to Martha’s grand plan. Settle in with this book, and find out what Jen, Fletch, Maisie, and the Thundercats have been up to in the suburbs of Chicago."

From Nick: Nine Lives: A Chef's Journey From Chaos To Control (Gotham), by Brandon Baltzley. "Today it seems we hear the word all too often: prodigy. Well, make no mistake, Brandon Baltzley is the real deal. Raised in the deep south, it was in his single mother's modest restaurant kitchen in the back of a local gay bar that Baltzley got his start. At just nine years of age, he already showed serious talent and extraordinary imagination. By twenty, he was working in the kitchens of culinary giants like Paula Deen and Grant Achatz (editor's note--that's quite the combination). Then, at twenty-six, he was offered the opportunity of a lifetime: leading the kitchen of the nation's hottest new restaurant...but he walked away. You see, it wasn't just success and talent that found Baltzey at a young age, it was also drugs and alcohol--and their influence upon him was greater than any fame or fortune. Addiction has plagued the chef his entire life, and in his memoir, Baltlzey lets bare every personal detail of his struggle. The book of course remains unfinished, as Baltzley is currently undergoing treatment for his dependence. Such an extraordinary and inspiring, but especially heartbreaking story deserves a happy ending, and I hope Chef Baltzley can dig deep and earn it for himself. I will be rooting for him!"

Also from Hannah: To Repair the World: Paul Farmer Speaks to the Next Generation (University of California), by Paul Farmer. "Paul Farmer speaks justice in an approachable, inspiring fashion befitting the modern day change maker who walks his talk that he is. Viewed through a lens of public health, Farmer reminds those of us with privilege of the people who are easiest to forget, those stricken with poverty, disease, and violence and calls us to take action on their behalf."

And in case you are not on Facebook, here's one from Mel. It's not a hardcover either, but a paperback original, and one thing you don't get from the review is the beauty of the package. It has a stitched binding, instead of glued, and the way the created the book, the binding becomes integral to its look.

From Mel: The Good Life Lab: Radical Experiments in Hands-On Living (Storey), by Wendy Jehanara Tremayne.
"In this powerful collection, you will learn how to make kombucha tea, your own homemade soap, various electronic devices, and the secret to a gift economy. All hail the power of repurposed everything, of sustainable communities built on relationships in which people don't take more than they need and everything they want is abundant. This kind of life is possible right here and right now: The Good Life Lab will teach you how to get there one simple, purposeful step at a time

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