In spring of 1955, 67-year-old Emma Gatewood walked away from her Ohio home and caught a flight to Atlanta to begin hiking the Appalachian Trail. Starting from the southernmost point of the trail, Emma told no one where she was headed, simply telling her eleven grown children that she was going for a walk. Months …
Long before Romantic poets such as Wordsworth and Coleridge made the Lake District a celebrated landscape, generation after generation of shepherds were farming this mountainous region of northwest England. These “nobodies,” as The Shepherd’s Life author James Rebanks likes to say, are “the great forgotten silent majority of people who live, work, love and die without leaving much of a trace that they were ever here.” Rebanks can no longer claim to be a nobody. On his popular Twitter account (@herdyshepherd1), he shares picturesque scenes from his Lake District sheep farm with his 68,000 followers, and now he’s written a best-selling book about the cycles of the shepherding year, his deep roots in Cumbria, and the farming culture of the region.
Devastated by the sudden death of her beloved father, H is for Hawk author Helen Macdonald attempts to deal with her grief by acquiring and training a goshawk named Mabel, intending, like the famous British author and falconer T.H. White, to become “ferocious, feral and free.” H is for Hawk is a seamless blend of memoir, nature writing, and literary criticism: not only does it chronicle the development of Macdonald’s extraordinary relationship with Mabel , but it also follows the arc of the author’s grief and examines White’s process of training his own goshawk, drawing from his aptly named classic The Goshawk.
If you have an interest in memoirs about addicts, alcoholics, the mentally ill, or anyone who is just generally self-destructive, this book has it all! In Splendid Things, author Blake Bailey, known for his biographies of John Cheever and Richard Yates, tells the story of his own family. While Bailey is truly open and honest in his depiction of both his own chaotic life and that of his parents; his father Burck, a lawyer from Oklahoma and his narcissistic, German born mother Marlies, the memoir primarily focuses around his brother Scott, an undiagnosed, mentally ill addict and alcoholic.
Warning – do not read this giggle-inducing book on a plane if you’re easily embarrassed. Jenny Lawson, journalist and author of Thebloggess.com, is hilariously honest and inappropriate in telling the story of her outlandish childhood and life. Much of Lawson’s experiences seems too strange to be true yet will somehow remind you of someone you know.
Imagine yourself having a drink with friends in a public tavern. The next thing you know you’re chained to a floor awaiting transport to an undisclosed location. Is this the Middle East? No. This was the United States in 1841.
Solomon Northup was a freely born African American traveling in New York when he was abducted and sold into slavery. Solomon spent twelve years on the plantations of southern Louisiana.
In Four Blue Stars in the Window, Nebraska native Barbara Eymann Mohrman, writes a poignant memoir of her family’s greatest generation. Inspired by mementos and interviews with her family, she tells their stories of rural Nebraska life beginning in the 1920s. Her grandparents, immigrants from Sweden, settled in Oakdale on a farm where they raised 10 children.
In 1964, merely months after losing her husband, Jacqueline Kennedy was interviewed by close friend Arthur Schlesinger about her memories of John F. Kennedy. Released to the public nearly 50 years later, Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy is a window into the personal thoughts and aspirations of JFK, and the remarkable life of a First Lady.