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Fox and I: An Uncommon Friendship

Fox and I: An Uncommon Friendship

$28.00
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INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!

A Christian Science Monitor Best Book of the Year * 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

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

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

$27.00
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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.

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 (
In the Country of Women: A Memoir

In the Country of Women: A Memoir

$26.00
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One of NPR's Best Books of the Year

"Straight's memoir is a lyric social history of her multiracial clan in Riverside that explores the bonds of love and survival that bind them, with a particular emphasis on the women's stories . . . The aftereffect of all these disparate stories juxtaposed in a single epic is remarkable. Its resonance lingers for days after reading." --San Francisco Chronicle

In the Country of Women is a valuable social history and a personal narrative that reads like a love song to America and indomitable women. In inland Southern California, near the desert and the Mexican border, Susan Straight, a self-proclaimed book nerd, and Dwayne Sims, an African American basketball player, started dating in high school. After college, they married and drove to Amherst, Massachusetts, where Straight met her teacher and mentor, James Baldwin, who encouraged her to write. Once back in Riverside, at driveway barbecues and fish fries with the large, close-knit Sims family, Straight--and eventually her three daughters--heard for decades the stories of Dwayne's female ancestors. Some women escaped violence in post-slavery Tennessee, some escaped murder in Jim Crow Mississippi, and some fled abusive men. Straight's mother-in-law, Alberta Sims, is the descendant at the heart of this memoir. Susan's family, too, reflects the hardship and resilience of women pushing onward--from Switzerland, Canada, and the Colorado Rockies to California.

A Pakistani word, biraderi, is one Straight uses to define a complex system of kinship and clan--those who become your family. An entire community helped raise her daughters. Of her three girls, now grown and working in museums and the entertainment industry, Straight writes, "The daughters of our ancestors carry in their blood at least three continents. We are not about borders. We are about love and survival."

"Certain books give off the sense that you won't want them to end, so splendid the writing, so lyrical the stories. Such is the case with Southern California novelist Susan Straight's new memoir, In the Country of Women . . . Her vibrant pages are filled with people of churned-together blood culled from scattered immigrants and native peoples, indomitable women and their babies. Yet they never succumb . . . Straight gives us permission to remember what went before with passion and attachment." --Los Angeles Times

Irrational Season

Irrational Season

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This journal follows the church year from Advent to Advent, reflecting on its seasons and spiritual rhythms reflected in the life of the church and the author's own life.
Life in the Twentieth Century: Innocent Beginnings, 1917-1950

Life in the Twentieth Century: Innocent Beginnings, 1917-1950

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From America's most celebrated living historian comes this sprightly, straightforward account of the first third of an active and charmed life (New York Times). Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. turns a studied eye on a personal past and reconstructs the history that has made him such an iconic figure for generations of readers. A LIFE IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY offers rare and revealing access to both the private world of a great American writer and the fine-grained texture of the American century.
Ranging from a fondly remembered childhood in the Midwest to a fascinating, storied academic and political life, this volume is an important addition to Schlesinger's body of work, every bit as well written as anything Schlesinger has done (Providence Sunday Journal) and sure to be used by students of the times for years to come (Boston Globe). With style and humor and a master historian's deft blending of personal detail with epic events (Wall Street Journal), Schlesinger evokes the struggles, the questions, the paradoxes, and the triumphs that shaped our era as only he can do.
Miracle Country: A Memoir

Miracle Country: A Memoir

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WINNER OF THE SIGURD F. OLSON NATURE WRITING AWARD

"Blending family memoir and environmental history, Kendra Atleework conveys a fundamental truth: the places in which we live, live on--sometimes painfully--in us. This is a powerful, beautiful, and urgently important book."
--Julie Schumacher, author of Dear Committee Members and The Shakespeare Requirement

Kendra Atleework grew up in Swall Meadows, in the Owens Valley of the Eastern Sierra Nevada, where annual rainfall averages five inches and in drought years measures closer to zero.

Kendra's parents taught their children to thrive in this beautiful, if harsh, landscape, prone to wildfires, blizzards, and gale-force winds. Above all, they were raised on unconditional love and delight in the natural world. After Kendra's mother died of a rare autoimmune disease when Kendra was just sixteen, however, her once-beloved desert world came to feel empty and hostile, as climate change, drought, and wildfires intensified. The Atleework family fell apart, even as her father tried to keep them together. Kendra escaped to Los Angeles, and then Minneapolis, land of tall trees, full lakes, water everywhere you look.

But after years of avoiding her troubled hometown, she realized that she needed to come to terms with its past and present and had to go back. Miracle Country is a moving and unforgettable memoir of flight and return, emptiness and bounty, the realities of a harsh and changing climate, and the true meaning of home. For readers of Cheryl Strayed, Terry Tempest Williams, and Rebecca Solnit, this is a breathtaking debut by a remarkable writer.

More Was Lost: A Memoir

More Was Lost: A Memoir

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Set in a Hungarian estate on the edge of the Carpathian Mountains, this "lucid and crisp" memoir is a clear-eyed elegy to a country--and a marriage--torn apart by World War II (The New Yorker)

Best known for her classic book Green Thoughts: A Writer in the Garden, Eleanor Perényi led a worldly life before settling down in Connecticut. More Was Lost is a memoir of her youth abroad, written in the early days of World War II, after her return to the United States.

In 1937, at the age of nineteen, Perényi falls in love with a poor Hungarian baron and in short order acquires both a title and a struggling country estate at the edge of the Carpathians. She throws herself into this life with zeal, learning Hungarian and observing the invisible order of the Czech rule, the resentment of the native Ruthenians, and the haughtiness of the dispossessed Hungarians. In the midst of massive political upheaval, Perényi and her husband remain steadfast in their dedication to their new life, an alliance that will soon be tested by the war. With old-fashioned frankness and wit, Perényi recounts this poignant tale of how much was gained and how much more was lost.

My Wife Said You May Want to Marry Me: A Memoir

My Wife Said You May Want to Marry Me: A Memoir

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An inspiring memoir of life, love, loss, and new beginnings by the widower of bestselling children's author and filmmaker Amy Krouse Rosenthal, whose last of act of love before her death was setting the stage for her husband's life without her in the viral New York Times Modern Love column, "You May Want to Marry My Husband."

On March 3, 2017, Amy Krouse Rosenthal penned an op-ed piece for the New York Times' "Modern Love" column --"You May Want to Marry My Husband." It appeared ten days before her death from ovarian cancer. A heartbreaking, wry, brutally honest, and creative play on a personal ad--in which a dying wife encouraged her husband to go on and find happiness after her demise--the column quickly went viral, reaching more than five million people worldwide.

In My Wife Said You May Want to Marry Me, Jason describes what came next: his commitment to respecting Amy's wish, even as he struggled with her loss. Surveying his life before, with, and after Amy, Jason ruminates on love, the pain of watching a loved one suffer, and what it means to heal--how he and their three children, despite their profound sorrow, went on. Jason's emotional journey offers insights on dying and death and the excruciating pain of losing a soulmate, and illuminates the lessons he learned.

As he reflects on Amy's gift to him--a fresh start to fill his empty space with a new story--Jason describes how he continues to honor Amy's life and her last wish, and how he seeks to appreciate every day and live in the moment while trying to help others coping with loss. My Wife Said You May Want to Marry Me is the poignant, unreserved, and inspiring story of a great love, the aftermath of a marriage ended too soon, and how a surviving partner eventually found a new perspective on life's joys in the wake of tremendous loss.

Carrie: If you missed Amy Krouse Rosenthal's essay "You May Want to Marry My Husband" published in the NYT Modern Love column in 2017, right before she died, start there. With Kleenex.  (online but also included in the book pgs. 102-105) This book will make much more sense! Her intention was to give her husband Jason space to move forward and that is the theme and focus of this book. Thankfully it was not about his foray back into the dating world! Instead it was about his efforts to live without the love of his life. Amy and Jason were married for 26 years (me too, this month! which feels timely, but hopefully a different trajectory) and raised 3 kids together and had great plans to proceed with an empty nest when Amy was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. This book is both a chronicle of their love story and an examination of grief and death in our culture. Jason frequently repeats his intention to be honest and open in speaking about his experience and does a good job narrating through illness, caretaking and the three years after Amy's death of trying to regain equilibrium. What is so endearing (besides their amazing relationship) is all the little artifacts that are included here: notes and photos and captions and drawings that show the deeply personal level of sharing with the world they were both accustomed to. Chicago connection is a plus too! And I am a big fan of AKR's children's book Little Pea and her memoir TextBook. This rounded out the picture for me. 

Natural Mother of the Child: A Memoir of Nonbinary Parenthood

Natural Mother of the Child: A Memoir of Nonbinary Parenthood

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Krys Malcolm Belc's visual memoir-in-essays explores how the experience of gestational parenthood--conceiving, birthing, and breastfeeding his son Samson--eventually clarified his gender identity.

Krys Malcolm Belc has thought a lot about the interplay between parenthood and gender. As a nonbinary, transmasculine parent, giving birth to his son Samson clarified his gender identity. And yet, when his partner, Anna, adopted Samson, the legal documents listed Belc as "the natural mother of the child."

By considering how the experiences contained under the umbrella of "motherhood" don't fully align with Belc's own experience, The Natural Mother of the Child journeys both toward and through common perceptions of what it means to have a body and how that body can influence the perception of a family. With this visual memoir in essays, Belc has created a new kind of life record, one that engages directly with the documentation often thought to constitute a record of one's life--childhood photos, birth certificates--and addresses his deep ambivalence about the "before" and "after" so prevalent in trans stories, which feels apart from his own experience.

The Natural Mother of the Child is the story of a person moving past societal expectations to take control of his own narrative, with prose that delights in the intimate dailiness of family life and explores how much we can ever really know when we enter into parenting.

No Ordinary Life: Awakenings in the Final Days of Apartheid

No Ordinary Life: Awakenings in the Final Days of Apartheid

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Love, war, espionage, NO ORDINARY LIFE is a thrilling inside account of marriage and diplomatic life seen through the eyes of a newlywed in Cape Town during one of the most dangerous periods in South Africa's modern history. When Mary, who dreams of travel and adventure, meets Patrick, who has dedicated his life to Foreign Service, the two are a perfect match. The couple marry and set off for their first diplomatic assignment to South Africa. The year is 1992. Nelson Mandela is free, his course set to end apartheid. Patrick's post at the U.S. Embassy in Cape Town is to keep the American diplomatic community safe during what will be two years of political turmoil. Instead of her dream of adventure, Mary struggles with the restrictions imposed by diplomatic life during times of high risk. The stress on Patrick is tremendous. When the embassy denies Mary's request to seek local employment due to security concerns, she gets a job at the embassy. Happy to be working in Foreign Service, the exotic setting Mary dreamed of turns out to be a pressure cooker that undermines her freedom, her friendships, and ultimately, her marriage. Based an true stories during an assignment at the U.S. Embassy in Cape Town, South Africa, 1992-1994.
Nobody Will Tell You This But Me

Nobody Will Tell You This But Me

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NATIONAL BESTSELLER

ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR:
VOGUE - FORBES - BOOKPAGE - NEW YORK POST - WIRED

"I have not been as profoundly moved by a book in years." --Jodi Picoult

Even after she left home for Hollywood, Emmy-nominated TV writer Bess Kalb saved every voicemail her grandmother Bobby Bell ever left her. Bobby was a force--irrepressible, glamorous, unapologetically opinionated. Bobby doted on Bess; Bess adored Bobby. Then, at ninety, Bobby died. But in this debut memoir, Bobby is speaking to Bess once more, in a voice as passionate as it ever was in life.

Recounting both family lore and family secrets, Bobby brings us four generations of indomitable women and the men who loved them. There's Bobby's mother, who traveled solo from Belarus to America in the 1880s to escape the pogroms, and Bess's mother, a 1970s rebel who always fought against convention. But it was Bobby and Bess who always had the most powerful bond: Bobby her granddaughter's fiercest supporter, giving Bess unequivocal love, even if sometimes of the toughest kind. Nobody Will Tell You This But Me marks the creation of a totally new, virtuosic form of memoir: a reconstruction of a beloved grandmother's words and wisdom to tell her family's story with equal parts poignancy and hilarity.

OOh this one. Perfect for Mother’s Day Bess Kalb honors her grandma Bobby’s inimitable character in this endearing and fresh take on the family memoir (with photos just where your curiosity wants them). Bobby helped raise Kalb and their relationship was immensely close; to capture Bobby’s voice Kalb interviews her mother and grandfather, quotes beloved Bobby-voicemails, and sorts through nostalgic memorabilia to bring her to life. Bobby was at once brash and beloved and you will love every minute of her life-story; she was the child of a Russian immigrant escaping anti-Semitism and yet she rises from the tenements to a summer house on the Vineyard “My mother fled through Europe,” Bobby marvels, “and half a century later I danced through it, Kir Royale in hand. How do you like that?” You’ll delight in Bobby’s joy and shake your head when she says things like -- after Kalb gets a job writing for Jimmy Kimmel: “get a blowout for your hair. The rest you can handle.” One of a kind. - Sandy