2015 Memoir/Biography




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Eqbal Ahmad: Critical Outsider Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780231171564
Availability: Not in Stock
Published: Columbia University Press - September 15th, 2015

Some of us in the Pioneer Valley were lucky to have known and learned from the great Eqbal Ahmad, who taught at Hampshire College in the 80s and 90s. This new book, written by long-time friend and collaborator Stuart Schaar, is an intimate and engrossing testament to his life and legacy.  Eulogized by Edward Said as “faultlessly kind,” a “prodigious talker and lecturer,” and “perhaps the shrewdest and most original anti-imperialist analyst of Asia and Africa,” Ahmad was a political scientist and peace activist, born in India and raised in Pakistan. Noam Chomsky wrote of his friend’s accomplishments of “demolishing self-serving dogmas about the cold war . . . bringing Indians and Pakistanis together in a search for an amicable settlement of a tragic conflict, and far too much more even to try to mention.” Schaar’s extensive research and unique personal perspective brings us this account of a remarkable life and vision. ~ Batya

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Between the World and Me Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812993547
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Published: One World - July 14th, 2015

National Book Award winner for Nonfiction Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote this book for his teenage son, but it is probably at least, if not more, important that white America read this book. For white America this is not only an eye opening book, but one of the clearest statements on what are the daily consequences and confrontations of being black in America.  Others have called him the James Baldwin of our era and the analogy is accurate. Coates brilliantly weaves together America’s violent and disgraceful history of racism with his personal experiences to present a devastating portrayal of how America has exploited the black body throughout centuries. Required reading for all of us. ~ Joan

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We Were Brothers Cover Image
ISBN: 9781616204136
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Algonquin Books - October 20th, 2015

With his new memoir, local artist Barry Moser proves without a doubt that his storytelling skills are something indeed to be reckoned with. Chronicling his childhood in pre-Civil Rights era Tennessee, Moser alternately shocks and moves the reader with his family vignettes, all told with a direct and simple style that is lush with creative metaphor. Much of the book delineates the violent falling out, and later reconciliation, of Moser and his brother Tommy, perfectly capturing the complications and complexities of sibling relationships. ~Emily *Signed copies*

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A House of My Own: Stories from My Life Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385351331
Availability: Not in Stock - Hard to Find
Published: Knopf - October 6th, 2015

 I’ll admit, Sandra Cisneros has always been on my list of favorites for fiction and poetry, but never before an author on my non-fiction radar. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t heard of her; her novel, A House of My Own, is inspirational and hers is a life you would want to read about. Cisneros describes her rented house in Greece, on an island called Hydra, where she finished her first novel, and it made me nostalgic for her home—the little jasmine flowers, the views of the sea, the whitewashed walls that reflected moonlight. In the introduction, she says, “I have no children to tell the following stories, and even if I did, they wouldn’t want to hear them. And so I offer them to you, my readers.” I interpret that line to mean, that just for a few hours, each reader gets the chance to have an intimacy with the author—and that’s pretty amazing. ~ Jordan  

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The Art of Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062223067
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Published: Harper - September 15th, 2015

As someone who reads mostly fiction with the occasional collection of essays thrown in, I wasn’t sure what to expect from a book about writing a memoir—something I know very little about. Karr is the teacher we all wished to have; a fantastic sense of humor with a wicked intellect and the ability to convey her lessons through the page. She mentions many times that although she is paid to write about the “art of memoir,” she could not do so without the help of many others, whom she acknowledges and references throughout the book. Mary Karr describes the arduous process of committing to recollections and then publishing them. She points out early that she feels strongly about memoirists recording the closest truth that they can find in order to honor their readers and their own memories. After closing The Art of Memoir, I feel like I’ve been missing out on an entire, wonderful genre that I now have the opportunity to enjoy.  ~ Jordan *Signed copies*

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Underground in Berlin: A Young Woman's Extraordinary Tale of Survival in the Heart of Nazi Germany Cover Image
By Marie Jalowicz Simon, Anthea Bell (Translated by), Hermann Simon (Foreword by), Hermann Simon (Afterword by)
ISBN: 9780316382090
Availability: Not in Stock
Published: Little, Brown and Company - September 8th, 2015

An amazing memoir that is somehow both terrifying and funny at the same time. Born into a comfortable middle-class German-Jewish family in 1922, Marie Jalowicz makes an extraordinary decision as a 20-year-old in Berlin in 1942. Being orphaned in the early years of World War II, she sees family and friends being deported and makes the decision to remove her yellow star and begin a treacherous period of living underground, surviving through her wits and the kindness of others, including committed communists and dedicated Nazis. More than just a wartime memoir, she brings to life the struggles of any young person trying to make it in the world, albeit a world of strange and struggle, and she tells her story with grace and humor.  ~ Mitch