Tuesday, April 22, 2014

New and Noteworthy Tuesday--Nonfiction Titles For Moms and Daughters, Scientists and Black Holes, Beer and Beer Drinkers

Having recapped Mother's Day cards with Jen on Saturday, it's got me keeping an eye out on Mother-themed books too. The obvious candidate is Labor Day: True Birth Stories by Today's Best Women Writers (FSG). The editors are Eleanor Henderson and Anna Solomon, with Henderson best known for her novel Ten Thousand Saints (my nephew and I were just talking about that book this past weekend) and Solomon the author of The Little Bride. I could just list the contributors whose books I read and that would fill up the paragraph: Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum, Lan Samantha Chang, Julia Glass, Lauren Groff, Danzey Senna, Dani Shapiro and so forth. A lot of the supportive quotes in the front (Molly Ringwald, Mayim Bialik) say this is a great collection for the mother to be, so I'll go with that.

We had mentioned earlier that Kelly Corrigan's Glitter and Glue would like have a Mother's Day pop, so I it's no wonder that other memoirs about mother-daughter relationships come out in April. Listen to the Squawking Chicken: When a Mother Knows Best, What's a Daughter to Do?, a Memoir (Sort of), by Elain Lui (Amy Einhorn/Putnam) is about a girl growing up in Hong Kong whose mom raised her using elements of Chinese fortune telling, feng shui, blackmail, ghost stories, and shame. The publisher notes that while friends received financial support from their parents, her Mom would demand, "Where's my money?" My friend from Singapore had a similar relationship with her mom. Lui is the voice behind the Lainey Gossip blog.

A variation on the mommy memoir is the menopause memoir, and that's how they are positioning The Madwoman in the Volvo: My Year of Raging Hormones (Norton), by Sandra Tsing Loh. I read her first collection, Depth Takes a Holiday and thought it was quite funny. I believe I was obsessed on reading Southern California books and the subtitle was "Essays from Lesser Los Angeles." Cheryl Strayed, who has a selection in Labor Day, called this "blazingly vulnerable, socrchingly smart, and funny as hell." And while the story veers into the end of her marriage, it is also, per the publisher, a tale of her life as "a mother, a daughter, and an artist." See? We're still on topic.

After all that drama, I think at least some of my moms might want The Cosmic Cocktail: Three Parts Dark Matter (Princeton), by Katherine Freese, only to find out it's a science book about the hunt for dark matter, no less. Freese is the George E. Uhlenbeck Professor of Physics at the University of Michigan. Of her new book, Brian Schmidt, 2011 Nobel Laureate in physics says: "Freese tells her trailblazing and very personal story of how the worlds of particle physics and astronomy have come together to unveil the mysterious ingredients of the cosmic cocktail that we call our universe." This snappy looking volume still makes a smart gift for a geeky mom with its glossy blue-black jacket, hefty weight (signaling high quality paper) and would be remiss if I didn't mention that her author photo that offers a modern, science-savvy Zsa Zsa Gabor. Yes, that's a feather boa. One day when Freese writes her trade book (this is definitely hard core), she'll be running with the Tysons and Kakus.

Since we knowingly teased you in that last entry about the false presence of alcohol in that last book, perhaps The Craft Beer Revolution: How a Band of Microbrewers is Transforming the World's Favorite Drink (Palgrave Macmillan), by Steve Hindy will revive your spirits. Using the old adage, it ain't a trend till it happens in New York, Hind is the cofounder of Brooklyn Brewery, and his story is that of how new business like New Belgium and Dogfish Head have challenged the beer giants. If you're wondering if Wisconsin has a seat at the table in this story, my first pass through says nay, except as former home of many of the evil giants.  Though they are not in the index, Jason told me the story behind Minhas, who operate the former Joseph Huber brewery in Monroe

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