Forgotten Country, by Author. Riverhead, 2012. Print Length: 304 p. NOVEL. Amazon customer rating: 4 1/2 stars (20 reviews). People's slant: "...in her gorgeous debut Chung offers a heartbreaking story about sisters, family and keeping traditions alive." - Lisa Kay Greissinger. Kindle edition $12.99. Text-to-Speech: Enabled.
"On the night Janie waits for her sister, Hannah, to be born, her grandmother tells her a story: Since the Japanese occupation of Korea, their family has lost a daughter in every generation, so Janie is charged with keeping Hannah safe. Years later, when Hannah inexplicably cuts all ties and disappears, Janie embarks on a mission to find her sister and finally uncover the truth beneath her family's silence. To do so, she must confront their history, the reason for her parents' sudden move to America twenty years earlier, and ultimately her conflicted feelings toward her sister and her own role in the betrayal behind their estrangement. Weaving Korean folklore within a modern narrative of immigration and identity, Forgotten Country is a fierce exploration of the inevitability of loss, the conflict between obligation and freedom, and a family struggling to find its way out of silence and back to one another." - Publisher.
King Peggy: An American Secretary, Her Royal Destiny, and the Inspiring Story of How She Changed an African Village, by Peggielene Bartels and Eleanor Herman. Doubleday, 2012. Print Length: 372 p. MEMOIR. Amazon customer rating: 5 stars (34 reviews). People's slant: "...a heart-warming, spirited tale that will lift reader's hearts and leave them cheering." - Meredith Maran. Kindle edition $12.99. Text-to-Speech: Enabled.
"...the astonishing journey of an American secretary who suddenly finds herself king to a town of 7,000 souls on Ghana's central coast, half a world away. Upon arriving for her crowning ceremony in beautiful Otuam, she discovers the dire reality: there's no running water, no doctor, and no high school, and many of the village elders are stealing the town's funds. To make matters worse, her uncle (the late king) sits in a morgue awaiting a proper funeral in the royal palace, which is in ruins. The longer she waits to bury him, the more she risks incurring the wrath of her ancestors. Peggy's first two years as king of Otuam unfold in a way that is stranger than fiction. In the end, a deeply traditional African town has been uplifted by the ambitions of its headstrong, decidedly modern female king." - Publisher.
Talking with My Mouth Full: My Life as a Professional Eater, by Gail Simmons. Hyperion, 2012. Print Length: 288 p. MEMOIR. Amazon customer rating: 4 1/2 stars (17 reviews). Kindle edition $11.69. Text-to-Speech: Enabled.
"When Gail Simmons first graduated from college, she felt hopelessly lost. All her friends were going to graduate school, business school, law school...but what was she going to do? Fortunately, a family friend gave her some invaluable advice - make a list of what you love to do, and let that be your guide. Gail wrote down four words: Eat. Write. Travel. Cook. Little did she know, those four words would become the basis for a career as a professional eater, cook, food critic, magazine editor, and television star. Talking with My Mouth Full follows her unusual and inspiring path to success, step-by-step and bite-by-bite. It takes the reader from her early years, growing up in a household where her mother ran a small cooking school, her father made his own wine, and family vacation destinations included Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East; through her adventures at culinary school in New York City and training as an apprentice in two of New York's most acclaimed kitchens; and on to her time spent assisting Vogue's legendary food critic Jeffrey Steingarten, working for renowned chef Daniel Boulud, and ultimately landing her current jobs at Food & Wine and on Top Chef.
Blue Monday, by Nicci French. Viking, 2012. Print Length: 336 p. THRILLER. Amazon customer rating: 4 1/2 stars (13 reviews). People's slant: "...entertains...and it leaves readers with the promise of intriguing tales to come." - Ellen Shapiro. Kindle edition $12.99. Text-to- Speech: Enabled.
"Frieda Klein is a solitary, incisive psychotherapist who spends her sleepless nights walking along the ancient rivers that have been forced underground in modern London. She believes that the world is a messy, uncontrollable place, but what we can control is what is inside our heads. This attitude is reflected in her own life, which is an austere one of refuge, personal integrity, and order. The abduction of five-year-old Matthew Farraday provokes a national outcry and a desperate police hunt. And when his face is splashed over the newspapers, Frieda cannot ignore the coincidence: one of her patients has been having dreams in which he has a hunger for a child. A red-haired child he can describe in perfect detail, a child the spitting image of Matthew." - Publisher.
Mentioned Briefly: Memoirs
No Cheating, No Dying, by Elizabeth Well. Scribner, 2012. Print Length: 194 p. MEMOIR. Amazon customer rating: 4 1/2 stars (5 reviews). Kindle edition $11.99. Text-to-Speech: Disabled.
"Elizabeth Weil and her husband Dan have two basic ground rules for their marriage: no cheating, no dying. For ten years it’s worked fine, but Elizabeth started to wonder if it could be better. Elizabeth Weil believes that you don’t get married in a white dress, in front of all your future in-laws and ex-boyfriends but gradually, over time, through all the road rage incidents and pre-colonoscopy enemas, good and bad dinners, and all the small moments you never expected to happen or much less endure. In this book, Weil examines the major universal marriage issues - sex, money, mental health, in-laws, children - through bravely recounting her own hilarious, messy, and sometimes difficult relationship. She seeks out the advice of financial planners, psychoanalysts, therapists, household management consultants, priests, rabbis, and the United States government. Woven into this funny and forthright narrative is Weil's extensive research on marriage and marriage improvement." - Publisher.
Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet, by Heather Poole. Harper, 2012. Print Length: 272 p. MEMOIR. Amazon customer rating: 4 stars (35 reviews). Kindle edition $9.99. Text-to-Speech: Enabled.
"In her more than fifteen years as an airline flight attendant, Heather Poole has seen it all. She's witnessed all manner of bad behavior at 35,000 feet and knows what it takes for a traveler to become the most hated passenger onboard. She's slept in flight attendant crashpads in "Crew Gardens," Queens - sharing small bedrooms crammed with bunk beds with a parade of attractive women who come and go at all hours, prompting suspicious neighbors to jump to the very worst conclusions. She's watched passengers and coworkers alike escorted off the planes by police. She can tell you why it's a bad idea to fall for a pilot but can be a very good one (in her case) to date a business-class passenger. Heather knows everything about flying in a post-9/11 world - and she knows what goes on behind the scenes, things the passengers would never dream." - Publisher.
By the Iowa Sea, by Joe Blair. Scribner, 2012. Print Length: 288 p. MEMOIR. Amazon customer rating: 4 1/2 stars (3 reviews). Kindle edition $10.99. Text-to-Speech: Disabled.
"After his first cross-country motorcycle trip, Joe Blair believed he had discovered his true calling. He would travel. He would never cave in to convention. He would never settle down. Fifteen years later, Joe finds himself living in Iowa, working as an air-conditioning repairman and spending his free time cleaning gutters, taxiing his children, and contemplating marital infidelity. 'Our history,' he writes, 'gains more weight day by day. And the future seems more and more unlikely to be anything cool at all.' Joe believes it would take an act of great faith or courage to revive in him the passion and promise that once seemed so easy to come by. What it takes, he discovers, is a disaster. When the Iowa River floods, transforming the familiar streets and manicured lawns of his neighborhood into a terrible and beautiful sea, he begins to question the path that led him to this place. Exquisitely observed and lyrically recounted, this is a compelling and often humorous account of an ordinary man’s struggle to live an extraordinary life." - Publisher.
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