11 06, 2015

THE YEAR MY MOTHER CAME BACK by Alice Eve Cohen

By | Thursday, June 11, 2015|5 Comments

THE YEAR MY MOTHER CAME BACK by Alice Eve Cohen

THE YEAR MY MOTHER CAME BACK by Alice Eve CohenThe Year My Mother Came Back by Alice Eve Cohen
Published by Algonquin Books on March 31st 2015
Pages: 288
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Death, Grief, Bereavement, Family & Relationships, Motherhood, Parenting, Personal Memoirs
Hardcover provided by BookSparks

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For the first time in decades I'm remembering Mom, all of her--the wonderful and terrible things about her that I've cast out of my thoughts for so long. I'm still struggling to prevent these memories from erupting from their subterranean depths. Trying to hold back the flood. I can't, not today. The levees break.

Thirty years after her death, Alice Eve Cohen's mother appears to her, seemingly in the flesh, and continues to do so during the hardest year Alice has had to face: the year her youngest daughter needs a harrowing surgery, her eldest daughter decides to reunite with her birth mother, and Alice herself receives a daunting diagnosis. As it turns out, it's entirely possible for the people we've lost to come back to us when we need them the most.

Although letting her mother back into her life is not an easy thing, Alice approaches it with humor, intelligence, and honesty. What she learns is that she must revisit her childhood and allow herself to be a daughter once more in order to take care of her own girls. Understanding and forgiving her mother's parenting transgressions leads her to accept her own and to realize that she doesn't have to be perfect to be a good mother.

I didn’t know what I was getting into when I picked this book up. Most memoirs have a yawn factor that this book was lacking. The Year My Mother Came Back was so close to home for me. Not that I am mourning my mother, but that I think every woman can relate […]

4 06, 2015

NOT FROM HERE: A Memoir by Allan Johnson

By | Thursday, June 4, 2015|2 Comments

NOT FROM HERE: A Memoir by Allan JohnsonNot from Here by Allan Johnson
Published by Temple University Press on June 26th 2015
Pages: 176
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Discrimination & Race Relations, Personal Memoirs, Social Science
eARC provided by Copy provided by publisher via NetGalley

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When Allan Johnson asked his dying father where he wanted his ashes to be placed, his father replied—without hesitation—that it made no difference to him at all. In his poignant, powerful memoir, Not from Here, Johnson embarks on an extraordinary, 2,000-mile journey across the Upper Midwest and Northern Plains to find the place where his father’s ashes belonged.

As a white man with Norwegian and English lineage, Johnson explores both America and the question of belonging to a place whose history holds the continuing legacy of the displacement, dispossession, and genocide of Native peoples.

More than a personal narrative, Not from Here illuminates the national silence around unresolved questions of accountability, race, and identity politics, and the dilemma of how to take responsibility for “a past we did not create.” Johnson’s story—about the past living in the present; of redemption, fate, family, tribe, and nation; of love and grief—raises profound questions about belonging, identity, and place.

Allan is on a quest to find the perfect place for his father’s ashes. His father told him it didn’t matter at all where his ashes went. To Allen, this just wasn’t good enough. He sets out to find the perfect place for his father’s ashes. Not From Here is his quest and […]

13 05, 2015

My Life on the Swingset by Cooper S. Beckett

By | Wednesday, May 13, 2015|8 Comments

My Life on the Swingset by Cooper S. BeckettMy Life on the Swingset: Adventures in Swinging & Polyamory by Cooper S. Beckett
Published by Createspace Independent Pub on January 12th 2015
Pages: 354
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Non-Fiction, Personal Memoirs, Sexual Instruction, Sexuality, Social Issues
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Starting with a first date with a couple of swingers, followed by working through social anxiety and shyness, recognizing the importance of touch in life, evolving feelings about love and expectations, having threesomes, orgies, and prostate orgasms, going through a divorce, and leveling up in life and sexuality. For five years, Cooper S. Beckett has written for Life on the Swingset. The website was born out of the feeling that he'd learned enough in his whole year of swinging to tell other people how to live their non-monogamous lives. His hubris can be seen from space. Here he has collected personal essays, stories, erotica, and prescriptive "how-tos" into this memoir of his life on The Swingset. He may be biased when it comes to swinging, polyamory, and other forms of ethical non-monogamy (in fact, he most certainly is) but he doesn't sugar-coat it. He speaks honestly and earnestly about a unique way to live life, one that allows for sexual and loving growth and experimentation, a strong sense of community, and the ability to do what we all crave whether we know it or not: Be honest with ourselves and others about what we want sexually. And out of life.

My Life on the Swingset is a fun first person account of non-monogamy & swinging. Cooper S. Beckett is a fun writer who always includes wit and humor while keeping things honest. I enjoyed this series of articles about all things non-monogamy. Cooper has loads of advice for any couple curious about the […]

16 03, 2015

MOLLY’S GAME by Molly Bloom

By | Monday, March 16, 2015|3 Comments

MOLLY’S GAME by Molly BloomMolly's Game: From Hollywood's Elite to Wall Street's Billionaire Boys Club, My High-Stakes Adventure in the World of Underground Poker by Molly Bloom
Published by Dey Street Books, HarperCollins on January 20th 2015
Pages: 272
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Crime, Non-Fiction
Paperback provided by TLC Book Tours

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Molly Bloom reveals how she built one of the most exclusive, high-stakes underground poker games in the world--an insider's story of excess and danger, glamour and greed.

In the late 2000s, Molly Bloom, a twentysomething petite brunette from Loveland Colorado, ran the highest stakes, most exclusive poker game Hollywood had ever seen--she was its mistress, its lion tamer, its agent, and its oxygen. Everyone wanted in, few were invited to play.

Hundreds of millions of dollars were won and lost at her table. Molly's game became the game for those in the know--celebrities, business moguls, and millionaires. Molly staged her games in palatial suites with beautiful views and exquisite amenities. She flew privately, dined at exclusive restaurants, hobnobbed with the heads of Hollywood studios, was courted by handsome leading men, and was privy to the world's most delicious gossip, until it all came crashing down around her.

Molly's Game is a behind the scenes look at Molly's game, the life she created, the life she lost, and what she learned in the process.

This was a great story. The Poker Princess totally has won me over. Her life makes for a very entertaining read. Between the action of the game and the celebrity names involved, Molly’s Game is one hell of a ride. Molly starts off with a life of privilege. Her father pushes her and […]

14 03, 2015

B & Me: A True Story of Literary Arousal by J.C. Hallman

By | Saturday, March 14, 2015|2 Comments

B & Me: A True Story of Literary Arousal by J.C. HallmanB & Me: A True Story of Literary Arousal by J.C. Hallman
Published by Simon & Schuster on March 10th 2015
Pages: 288
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Books & Reading, General, Literary, Literary Criticism
eARC provided by Copy provided by publisher via NetGalley

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A funny, frisky, often outrageous book about love, literature, and modern life—and a wink of the eye to U and I, Nicholson Baker’s classic book about John Updike—by an award-winning author called “wonderfully bright” by The New York Times Book Review.

Nearly twenty-five years ago, Nicholson Baker published U and I, the fretful and handwringing—but also groundbreaking—tale of his literary relationship with John Updike. U and I inspired a whole sub-genre of engaging, entertaining writing about reading, but what no story of this type has ever done is tell its tale from the moment of conception, that moment when you realize that there is writer out there in the world that you must read—so you read them. B & Me is that story, the story of J. C. Hallman discovering and reading Nicholson Baker, and discovering himself in the process.

Our relationship to books in the digital age, the role of art in an increasingly commodified world, the power great writing has to change us, these are at the core of Hallman’s investigation of Baker—questions he’s grappled with, values he’s come to doubt. But in reading Baker’s work, Hallman discovers the key to overcoming the malaise that had been plaguing him, through the books themselves and what he finds and contemplates in his attempts to understand them and their enigmatic author: sex, book jackets, an old bed and breakfast, love, Monica Lewinsky, Paris, marriage, more sex, the logistics of libraries. In the spirit of Geoff Dyer’s Out of Sheer Rage and Elif Batuman’s The Possessed, B and Me is literary self-archaeology: a funny, irreverent, brilliant, incisive story of one reader’s desperate quest to restore passion to literature, and all the things he learns along the way.

I am completely at a loss as to how to review this book. This is a book about a man dissecting the writings of Nicholas Baker. He reflects on the writings real and inferred meanings. He laments his actions in life as he is discovering. He quips about the meaninglessness and righteousness of […]

28 01, 2015

THE RELUCTANT PSYCHIC by Suzan Saxman

By | Wednesday, January 28, 2015|0 Comments

THE RELUCTANT PSYCHIC by Suzan SaxmanThe Reluctant Psychic by Suzan SaxmanPerdita Finn
Published by St. Martin's Press on January 27th 2015
Pages: 352
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Body, Mind & Spirit, Channeling & Mediumship, Personal Memoirs
eARC provided by Copy provided by publisher via NetGalley

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We all, as children, saw imaginary friends and heard monsters in the closet. But for Suzan Saxman, those friends and monsters didn’t go away—and they weren’t imaginary. They were the dead who came to her from the time she was a little girl with urgent messages for the living. Raised in a house filled with secrets, she saw and spoke the truth as soon as she could talk, alarming the nuns in her convent school with her revelations and terrifying her own mother with her strange visions. Each night she woke to see a man with no eyes watching her, and each day she kept watch by the window while her father was at work and Steve, her real father, a swarthy drifter, rendezvoused with her mother. It was the 1960s in suburban Staten Island and she tried to hide it all, and be a daughter her mother could love. Always skeptical of her tremendous gift, she struggled to come to terms with her calling even as she revealed the destinies of everyone, from housewives to hit men, stockbrokers to rock-and-rollers. She could witness everyone’s future—everyone’s but her own. Why was she visited by angels and demons? Could she ever escape this strange fate? Where was her own soul mate?Now Suzan tells the story of her journey and tries to make sense of her family’s buried secrets. Through powerful readings of others’ destinies interwoven with compelling narrative, a reluctant psychic emerges from the shadows.

This was such an honest biography, I almost felt like a voyeur for reading it. Suzan tells all in this book of her frightful childhood and her coming into her own, for the moment. As much as think The Reluctant Psychic is about her abilities and realizing this made her special, this is […]

20 09, 2014

Review: People I Want to Punch in the Throat by Jen Mann

By | Saturday, September 20, 2014|0 Comments

Review: People I Want to Punch in the Throat by Jen MannPeople I Want to Punch in the Throat by Jen Mann
Published by Random House Publishing Group on September 9th 2014
Pages: 224
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Essays, Form, Humor, Marriage & Family, Personal Memoirs, Topic
eARC provided by Copy provided by publisher via NetGalley

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NATIONAL BESTSELLERA debut collection of witty, biting essays laced with a surprising warmth, from Jen Mann, the writer behind the popular blog People I Want to Punch in the Throat   People I want to punch in the throat: • anyone who feels the need to bling her washer and dryer • humblebraggers • people who treat their pets like children   Jen Mann doesn’t have a filter, which sometimes gets her in trouble with her neighbors, her fellow PTA moms, and that one woman who tried to sell her sex toys at a home shopping party. Known for her hilariously acerbic observations on her blog, People I Want to Punch in the Throat, Mann now brings her sharp wit to bear on suburban life, marriage, and motherhood in this laugh-out-loud collection of essays. From the politics of joining a play group, to the thrill of mothers’ night out at the gun range, to the rewards of your most meaningful relationship (the one you have with your cleaning lady), nothing is sacred or off-limits. So the next time you find yourself wearing fuzzy bunny pajamas in the school carpool line or accidentally stuck at a co-worker’s swingers party, just think, What would Jen Mann do? Or better yet, buy her book.Advance praise for People I Want to Punch in the Throat   “People I Want to Punch in the Throat is so good that it’ll make you want to adopt all the cats in the world. I’m not sure about the correlation, but it’s that good. It should come with a warning.”—Jenny Lawson, author of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened   “Jen Mann has an amazing way of telling stories that will make you cringe and burst out laughing at the same time. From swinger parties to racist toddlers, she makes the suburbs unbelievably funny.”—Karen Alpert, author of I Heart My Little A-Holes   “Jen Mann says the things we’re all too afraid to say. Her honest and hilarious writing style reminds me of David Sedaris and Tina Fey.”—Robin O’Bryant, author of Ketchup Is a Vegetable: And Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves   “Jen Mann’s shrewd and unrelenting assault on the absurdity of suburban life is an honest peek into the occasional nightmare that is part of living the American dream. I love Jen. I wish she was my neighbor. It’s so refreshing to know that I’m not the only one who wants to punch almost everyone in the f***ing throat.”—Nicole Knepper, author of Moms Who Drink And SwearFrom the Trade Paperback edition.

I stalked followed a certain facebook page. (me and like over a million other people, seriously.) I found it to be witty and full of dry sarcasm. I can totally relate to that. I love this page, and eventually I found my way over to the blog. I liked the blog, not enough […]

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