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Memoir

Dirt: Adventures in Lyon as a Chef in Training, Father, and Sleuth Looking for the Secret of French Cooking

Dirt: Adventures in Lyon as a Chef in Training, Father, and Sleuth Looking for the Secret of French Cooking

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"You can almost taste the food in Bill Buford's Dirt, an engrossing, beautifully written memoir about his life as a cook in France." --The Wall Street Journal

What does it take to master French cooking? This is the question that drives Bill Buford to abandon his perfectly happy life in New York City and pack up and (with a wife and three-year-old twin sons in tow) move to Lyon, the so-called gastronomic capital of France. But what was meant to be six months in a new and very foreign city turns into a wild five-year digression from normal life, as Buford apprentices at Lyon's best boulangerie, studies at a legendary culinary school, and cooks at a storied Michelin-starred restaurant, where he discovers the exacting (and incomprehensibly punishing) rigueur of the professional kitchen.

With his signature humor, sense of adventure, and masterful ability to bring an exotic and unknown world to life, Buford has written the definitive insider story of a city and its great culinary culture.

Dragons, the Giant, the Women: A Memoir

Dragons, the Giant, the Women: A Memoir

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FINALIST FOR THE 2020 NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FOR AUTOBIOGRAPHY

An engrossing memoir of escaping the First Liberian Civil War and building a life in the United States


When Wayétu Moore turns five years old, her father and grandmother throw her a big birthday party at their home in Monrovia, Liberia, but all she can think about is how much she misses her mother, who is working and studying in faraway New York. Before she gets the reunion her father promised her, war breaks out in Liberia. The family is forced to flee their home on foot, walking and hiding for three weeks until they arrive in the village of Lai. Finally, a rebel soldier smuggles them across the border to Sierra Leone, reuniting the family and setting them off on yet another journey, this time to the United States.

Spanning this harrowing journey in Moore's early childhood, her years adjusting to life in Texas as a black woman and an immigrant, and her eventual return to Liberia, The Dragons, the Giant, the Women is a deeply moving story of the search for home in the midst of upheaval. Moore has a novelist's eye for suspense and emotional depth, and this unforgettable memoir is full of imaginative, lyrical flights and lush prose. In capturing both the hazy magic and the stark realities of what is becoming an increasingly pervasive experience, Moore shines a light on the great political and personal forces that continue to affect many migrants around the world, and calls us all to acknowledge the tenacious power of love and family.

Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader

Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader

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Anne Fadiman is--by her own admission--the sort of person who learned about sex from her father's copy of Fanny Hill, whose husband buys her 19 pounds of dusty books for her birthday, and who once found herself poring over her roommate's 1974 Toyota Corolla manual because it was the only written material in the apartment that she had not read at least twice.

This witty collection of essays recounts a lifelong love affair with books and language. For Fadiman, as for many passionate readers, the books she loves have become chapters in her own life story. Writing with remarkable grace, she revives the tradition of the well-crafted personal essay, moving easily from anecdotes about Coleridge and Orwell to tales of her own pathologically literary family. As someone who played at blocks with her father's 22-volume set of Trollope ("My Ancestral Castles") and who only really considered herself married when she and her husband had merged collections ("Marrying Libraries"), she is exquisitely well equipped to expand upon the art of inscriptions, the perverse pleasures of compulsive proof-reading, the allure of long words, and the satisfactions of reading out loud. There is even a foray into pure literary gluttony--Charles Lamb liked buttered muffin crumbs between the leaves, and Fadiman knows of more than one reader who literally consumes page corners. Perfectly balanced between humor and erudition, Ex Libris establishes Fadiman as one of our finest contemporary essayists.

Find a Way: The Inspiring Story of One Woman's Pursuit of a Lifelong Dream

Find a Way: The Inspiring Story of One Woman's Pursuit of a Lifelong Dream

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Hillary Clinton said that Find a Way would stay with her through the general election: "When you're facing big challenges in your life, you can think about Diana Nyad getting attacked by the lethal sting of box jellyfishes. And nearly anything else seems doable in comparison."

When Diana Nyad arrived on the shore of Key West after fifty-three hours of grueling swimming across an epic ocean, she not only set a world record--becoming the first person to swim the shark-infested waters between Cuba and Florida with no cage for protection--she also succeeded in fulfilling a dream she first chased at age twenty-eight and at long last achieved when she was sixty-four.

Now, in a riveting memoir, Diana shares a spirited account of what it takes to face one's fears, engage one's passions, and never ever give up. For no matter what life may throw at you, or how many times you may have experienced defeat, it is always possible--as long as you commit to living life to the nth degree, no regrets--to "find a way.

Finding Freedom: A Cook's Story; Remaking a Life from Scratch

Finding Freedom: A Cook's Story; Remaking a Life from Scratch

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**New York Times Bestseller**

From Erin French, owner of the critically acclaimed The Lost Kitchen, a TIME world dining destination, a life-affirming memoir about survival, renewal, and finding a community to lift her up

Long before The Lost Kitchen became a world dining destination with every seating filled the day the reservation book opens each spring, Erin French was a girl roaming barefoot on a 25-acre farm, a teenager falling in love with food while working the line at her dad's diner and a young woman finding her calling as a professional chef at her tiny restaurant tucked into a 19th century mill. This singular memoir--a classic American story--invites readers to Erin's corner of her beloved Maine to share the real person behind the "girl from Freedom" fairytale, and the not-so-picture-perfect struggles that have taken every ounce of her strength to overcome, and that make Erin's life triumphant.

In Finding Freedom, Erin opens up to the challenges, stumbles, and victories that have led her to the exact place she was ever meant to be, telling stories of multiple rock-bottoms, of darkness and anxiety, of survival as a jobless single mother, of pills that promised release but delivered addiction, of a man who seemed to offer salvation but in the end ripped away her very sense of self. And of the beautiful son who was her guiding light as she slowly rebuilt her personal and culinary life around the solace she found in food--as a source of comfort, a sense of place, as a way of bringing goodness into the world. Erin's experiences with deep loss and abiding hope, told with both honesty and humor, will resonate with women everywhere who are determined to find their voices, create community, grow stronger and discover their best-selves despite seemingly impossible odds. Set against the backdrop of rural Maine and its lushly intense, bountiful seasons, Erin reveals the passion and courage needed to invent oneself anew, and the poignant, timeless connections between food and generosity, renewal and freedom.

Fox and I: An Uncommon Friendship

Fox and I: An Uncommon Friendship

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INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!
2021 Summer Reading Pick by * BUZZFEED * NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW * KIRKUS * TIME MAGAZINE * GOOD MORNING AMERICA * PEOPLE MAGAZINE * THE WASHINGTON POST

"The book everyone will be talking about ... full of tenderness and understanding." - The New York Times

An "extraordinary" (Oprah Daily) memoir about the friendship between a solitary woman and a wild fox.

When Catherine Raven finished her PhD in biology, she built herself a tiny cottage on an isolated plot of land in Montana. She was as emotionally isolated as she was physically, but she viewed the house as a way station, a temporary rest stop where she could gather her nerves and fill out applications for what she hoped would be a real job that would help her fit into society. In the meantime, she taught remotely and led field classes in nearby Yellowstone National Park.

Then one day she realized that a mangy-looking fox was showing up on her property every afternoon at 4:15 p.m. She had never had a regular visitor before. How do you even talk to a fox? She brought out her camping chair, sat as close to him as she dared, and began reading to him from The Little Prince. Her scientific training had taught her not to anthropomorphize animals, yet as she grew to know him, his personality revealed itself and they became friends.

From the fox, Catherine learned the single most important thing about loneliness: we are never alone when we are connected to the natural world. Friends, however, cannot save each other from the uncontained forces of nature.

Fox and I is a poignant and remarkable tale of friendship, growth, and coping with inevitable loss--and of how that loss can be transformed into meaning. It is both a timely tale of solitude and belonging as well as a timeless story of one woman whose immersion in the natural world will change the way we view our surroundings--each tree, weed, flower, stone, or fox.

Ooooh, this one. Every single person I’ve recommended this to has made it a point to circle back and tell me … well sometimes they are speechless -- that’s how great it is. One of the many many many reasons I love this book is that if it weren’t IN A BOOK you’d never never get Catherine Raven’s story. How lucky then, we clever readers are to hold it in our hands. As she describes it: "A long time ago, I had arrived at the prudent and logical conclusion that when your own parents don't want you, no one else will. So I had been living a solitary life." And later adds: "I might have a week without seeing another person, but contact with a slug was all I needed to keep from feeling alone."


And yet this introverted, even damaged woman truly has changed the way I think of the outdoors. Not to mention what quiet people might be thinking. Raven fled an abusive home at age 15, entering college at 16. Following her passion for nature, she moved to the mountains of Montana, where she worked as a park ranger before eventually learning her doctorate in biology, urged forward by co-workers in rather an Eleanor Oliphant fashion. Lovely. She then built a small cottage in a valley and began leading a solitary life, working for the National Park Service and teaching classes online and in the field. According to the author she never felt lonely, but she did long to fit in somewhere. One day, she noticed that a fox would show up outside her cottage at the same time each day, 4:15pm. But wait - scientists aren’t allowed to humanize wild animals; and yet, there was something special about this fox, and the two soon developed a bond. At first, Raven felt the need to defend their relationship to her colleagues and students, fielding their frequent and targeted sciencey questions. She also continually pondered relocation to a city where she could obtain a good-paying academic job with health insurance. But the more time she and the fox spent with each other, the more the author learned about herself and was able to let go of many of the conventional ideas that had been ingrained in her mind by society. Here’s my favorite: She also includes relevant references from literature that have inspired her views (she reads passages out loud to the fox): who KNEW the wide impact of the personal story of WWI AND WWII ace pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupery and his philosophical Little Prince (and oh my gosh, Melville’s Moby Dick) in the way she does? Truly, Raven has changed my life. Talk to me later about how. - Sandy

Girl with Seven Names

Girl with Seven Names

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

An extraordinary insight into life under one of the world's most ruthless and secretive dictatorships - and the story of one woman's terrifying struggle to avoid capture/repatriation and guide her family to freedom.

As a child growing up in North Korea, Hyeonseo Lee was one of millions trapped by a secretive and brutal communist regime. Her home on the border with China gave her some exposure to the world beyond the confines of the Hermit Kingdom and, as the famine of the 1990s struck, she began to wonder, question and to realise that she had been brainwashed her entire life. Given the repression, poverty and starvation she witnessed surely her country could not be, as she had been told "the best on the planet"?

Aged seventeen, she decided to escape North Korea. She could not have imagined that it would be twelve years before she was reunited with her family.

Group: How One Therapist and a Circle of Strangers Saved My Life

Group: How One Therapist and a Circle of Strangers Saved My Life

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A REESE'S BOOK CLUB PICK AND INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"Often hilarious and ultimately very touching." --People

"Have you ever read a book that made you want to hug the author?" --Reese Witherspoon

"This unrestrained memoir is a transporting experience and one of the most startlingly hopeful books I have ever read." --Lisa Taddeo, New York Times bestselling author of Three Women

The refreshingly original debut memoir of a guarded, over-achieving, self-lacerating young lawyer who reluctantly agrees to get psychologically and emotionally naked in a room of six complete strangers--her psychotherapy group--and in turn finds human connection, and herself.

Christie Tate had just been named the top student in her law school class and finally had her eating disorder under control. Why then was she driving through Chicago fantasizing about her own death? Why was she envisioning putting an end to the isolation and sadness that still plagued her despite her achievements?

Enter Dr. Rosen, a therapist who calmly assures her that if she joins one of his psychotherapy groups, he can transform her life. All she has to do is show up and be honest. About everything--her eating habits, childhood, sexual history, etc. Christie is skeptical, insisting that that she is defective, beyond cure. But Dr. Rosen issues a nine-word prescription that will change everything: "You don't need a cure. You need a witness."

So begins her entry into the strange, terrifying, and ultimately life-changing world of group therapy. Christie is initially put off by Dr. Rosen's outlandish directives, but as her defenses break down and she comes to trust Dr. Rosen and to depend on the sessions and the prescribed nightly phone calls with various group members, she begins to understand what it means to connect.

Group is a deliciously addictive read, and with Christie as our guide--skeptical of her own capacity for connection and intimacy, but hopeful in spite of herself--we are given a front row seat to the daring, exhilarating, painful, and hilarious journey that is group therapy--an under-explored process that breaks you down, and then reassembles you so that all the pieces finally fit.

Heart Berries: A Memoir

Heart Berries: A Memoir

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A powerful, poetic memoir of an Indigenous woman's coming of age on the Seabird Island Band in the Pacific Northwest--this New York Times bestseller and Emma Watson Book Club pick is "an illuminating account of grief, abuse and the complex nature of the Native experience . . . at once raw and achingly beautiful (NPR).

Having survived a profoundly dysfunctional upbringing only to find herself hospitalized and facing a dual diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder and bipolar II disorder, Terese Marie Mailhot is given a notebook and begins to write her way out of trauma. The triumphant result is Heart Berries, a memorial for Mailhot's mother, a social worker and activist who had a thing for prisoners; a story of reconciliation with her father―an abusive drunk and a brilliant artist―who was murdered under mysterious circumstances; and an elegy on how difficult it is to love someone while dragging the long shadows of shame.

Mailhot trusts the reader to understand that memory isn't exact, but melded to imagination, pain, and what we can bring ourselves to accept. Her unique and at times unsettling voice graphically illustrates her mental state. As she writes, she discovers her own true voice, seizes control of her story, and, in so doing, reestablishes her connection to her family, to her people, and to her place in the world.

Heavy: An American Memoir

Heavy: An American Memoir

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*Named a Best Book of 2018 by the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, NPR, Broadly, Buzzfeed (Nonfiction), The Undefeated, Library Journal (Biography/Memoirs), The Washington Post (Nonfiction), Southern Living (
Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs

Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs

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This National Book Award finalist is a revealing and beautifully written memoir and family history from acclaimed photographer Sally Mann.

In this groundbreaking book, a unique interplay of narrative and image, Mann's preoccupation with family, race, mortality, and the storied landscape of the American South are revealed as almost genetically predetermined, written into her DNA by the family history that precedes her.

Sorting through boxes of family papers and yellowed photographs she finds more than she bargained for: deceit and scandal, alcohol, domestic abuse, car crashes, bogeymen, clandestine affairs, dearly loved and disputed family land . . . racial complications, vast sums of money made and lost, the return of the prodigal son, and maybe even bloody murder.

In lyrical prose and startlingly revealing photographs, she crafts a totally original form of personal history that has the page-turning drama of a great novel but is firmly rooted in the fertile soil of her own life.

How to Be a Muslim: An American Story

How to Be a Muslim: An American Story

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A young Muslim leader's memoir of his struggles to forge an American Muslim identity

Haroon Moghul was thrust into the spotlight after 9/11, becoming an undergraduate leader at New York University's Islamic Center forced into appearances everywhere: on TV, before interfaith audiences, in print. Moghul was becoming a prominent voice for American Muslims even as he struggled with his relationship to Islam. In high school he was barely a believer and entirely convinced he was going to hell. He sometimes drank. He didn't pray regularly. All he wanted was a girlfriend.

But as he discovered, it wasn't so easy to leave religion behind. To be true to himself, he needed to forge a unique American Muslim identity that reflected his beliefs and personality. How to Be a Muslim reveals a young man coping with the crushing pressure of a world that fears Muslims, struggling with his faith and searching for intellectual forebears, and suffering the onset of bipolar disorder. This is the story of the second-generation immigrant, of what it's like to lose yourself between cultures and how to pick up the pieces.