Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama, by Alison Bechdel. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012. Print length: 304 p. Available only for the Kindle Fire and Kindle for Android. GRAPHIC MEMOIR. EW's slant: "The flaw of most memoirs is that the author, whether because of a lack of skill or maturity or humor, gets lost in a tunnel. Bechdel's triumph is not just that she's emerged from her tunnel, with weary but clear eyes, but that she's brought her mother with her." - Karen Valby. Amazon customer rating: 4 1/2 stars (4 reviews). Text-to-Speech: Disabled.
"Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home was a pop culture and literary phenomenon. Now, a second thrilling tale of filial sleuthery, this time about her mother: voracious reader, music lover, passionate amateur actor. Also a woman, unhappily married to a closeted gay man, whose artistic aspirations simmered under the surface of Bechdel's childhood...and who stopped touching or kissing her daughter good night, forever, when she was seven. Poignantly, hilariously, Bechdel embarks on a quest for answers concerning the mother-daughter gulf. It's a richly layered search that leads readers from the fascinating life and work of the iconic twentieth-century psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott, to one explosively illuminating Dr. Seuss illustration, to Bechdel’s own (serially monogamous) adult love life. And, finally, back to Mother..." - Publisher.
Home, by Toni Morrison. Knopf 2012. Print length: 164 p. NOVEL. EW's slant: "...a moving testament to taking responsibility for your own life - especially the parts you'd like to look away from" - Melissa Maerz. Amazon customer rating: none yet. Text-to-Speech: Enabled.
"An angry and self-loathing veteran of the Korean War, Frank Money finds himself back in racist America after enduring trauma on the front lines that left him with more than just physical scars. His home - and himself in it - may no longer be as he remembers it, but Frank is shocked out of his crippling apathy by the need to rescue his medically abused younger sister and take her back to the small Georgia town they come from, which he's hated all his life. As Frank revisits the memories from childhood and the war that leave him questioning his sense of self, he discovers a profound courage he thought he could never possess again." - Publisher.
The Passage of Power (The Years of Lyndon Johnson), by Robert A. Caro. Knopf, 2012. Print length: 736 p. BIOGRAPHY. EW's slant: "...an addictive read, written in glorious prose that suggests the world's most diligent beat reporter channeling William Faulkner." - Darren Franich. Amazon customer rating: 3 1/2 stars (11 reviews). Text-to-Speech: Enabled. This is book four in the author's series The Years of Lyndon Johnson. The first three volumes - all available in Kindle editions - are The Path to Power (1982), Means of Ascent (1990), Master of the Senate (2002).
"...follows Lyndon Johnson through both the most frustrating and the most triumphant periods of his career - 1958 to 1964. It is a time that would see him trade the extraordinary power he had created for himself as Senate Majority Leader for what became the wretched powerlessness of a Vice President in an administration that disdained and distrusted him. Yet it was, as well, the time in which the presidency, the goal he had always pursued, would be thrust upon him in the moment it took an assassin’s bullet to reach its mark. For the first time, in Caro’s breathtakingly vivid narrative, we see the Kennedy assassination through Lyndon Johnson’s eyes. We watch Johnson step into the presidency, inheriting a staff fiercely loyal to his slain predecessor; a Congress determined to retain its power over the executive branch; and a nation in shock and mourning. We see how within weeks—grasping the reins of the presidency with supreme mastery - he propels through Congress essential legislation that at the time of Kennedy’s death seemed hopelessly logjammed and seizes on a dormant Kennedy program to create the revolutionary War on Poverty. Caro makes clear how the political genius with which Johnson had ruled the Senate now enabled him to make the presidency wholly his own." - Publisher.
A Land More Kind Than Home, by Wiley Cash. William Morrow, 2012. Print length: 320 p. NOVEL. EW's slant: "...absorbing Southern-fried tale..." - Thom Geier. Amazon customer rating: 4 1/2 stars (37 reviews). Text-to-Speech: Enabled.
"For a curious boy like Jess Hall, growing up in Marshall means trouble when your mother catches you spying on grown-ups. Adventurous and precocious, Jess is enormously protective of his older brother, Christopher, a mute whom everyone calls Stump. Though their mother has warned them not to snoop, Stump can't help sneaking a look at something he's not supposed to - an act that will have catastrophic repercussions, shattering both his world and Jess's...A Land More Kind Than Home is a haunting tale of courage in the face of cruelty and the power of love to overcome the darkness that lives in us all." - Publisher.
The Presidents Club: Inside the World's Most Exclusive Fraternity, by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy. Simon & Schuster, 2012. Print length: 656 p. NONFICTION. EW's slant: "Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy reveal the clout of past presidents." - Tina Jordan. Amazon customer rating: 4 stars (19 reviews). Text-to-Speech: Disabled.
"The first history of the private relationships among modern American presidents - their backroom deals, rescue missions, secret alliances, and enduring rivalries. The Presidents Club, established at Dwight Eisenhower’s inauguration by Harry Truman and Herbert Hoover, is a complicated place: its members are bound forever by the experience of the Oval Office and yet are eternal rivals for history’s favor. Among their secrets: How Jack Kennedy tried to blame Ike for the Bay of Pigs. How Ike quietly helped Reagan win his first race in 1966. How Richard Nixon conspired with Lyndon Johnson to get elected and then betrayed him. How Jerry Ford and Jimmy Carter turned a deep enmity into an alliance. The letter from Nixon that Bill Clinton rereads every year. The unspoken pact between a father and son named Bush. And the roots of the rivalry between Clinton and Barack Obama." - Publisher.
These Girls, by Sarah Pekkanen. Washington Square Press, 2012. Print Length: 340 p. NOVEL. Amazon customer rating: 4 1/2 stars (25 reviews). EW's slant: "...deftly weaves together the lives of roommates and friends, the very different Cate, Renee, and Abby - each battling demons, professional and otherwise - and within a few pages you'll find yourself emotionally invested in all of them." - Sara Vilkomerson. Text-to-Speech: Disabled.
"Cate, Renee, and Abby have come to New York for very different reasons, and in a bustling city of millions, they are linked together through circumstance and chance. Cate has just been named the features editor of Gloss, a high-end lifestyle magazine. It’s a professional coup, but her new job comes with more complications than Cate ever anticipated. Her roommate Renee will do anything to nab the plum job of beauty editor at Gloss. But snide comments about Renee’s weight send her into an emotional tailspin. Soon she is taking black market diet pills...Then there’s Abby, whom they take in as a third roommate. Once a joyful graduate student working as a nanny part time, she abruptly fled a seemingly happy life in the D.C. suburbs. No one knows what shattered Abby - or why she left everything she once loved behind. Pekkanen’s most compelling, true-to-life novel yet tells the story of three very different women as they navigate the complications of careers and love..." - Publisher.
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