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One of the New York Times’ 20 Books to Read in 2020 “A tonic . . . Splendid . . . A respite . . . A summer cocktail of a book.”—Washington Post “Unforgettable . . . Behind her brilliantly witty and uplifting message is a remarkable vulnerability and candor that reminds us that we are not alone in our struggles—and that we can, against all odds, get through them.”—Lori Gottlieb, New York Times best-selling author of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone Part memoir and part joyful romp through the fields of imagination, the story behind a beloved pseudonymous Twitter account reveals how a writer deep in grief rebuilt a life worth living. Becoming Duchess Goldblatt is two stories: that of the reclusive real-life writer who created a fictional character out of loneliness and thin air, and that of the magical Duchess Goldblatt herself, a bright light in the darkness of social media. Fans around the world are drawn to Her Grace’s voice, her wit, her life-affirming love for all humanity, and the fun and friendship of the community that’s sprung up around her. @DuchessGoldblat (81 year-old literary icon, author of An Axe to Grind) brought people together in her name: in bookstores, museums, concerts, and coffee shops, and along the way, brought real friends home—foremost among them, Lyle Lovett. “The only way to be reliably sure that the hero gets the girl at the end of the story is to be both the hero and the girl yourself.” — Duchess Goldblatt

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Genre: Biography & Autobiography
Author: Anonymous
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release: 2020-07-07
File: 240 Pages
ISBN-13: 9780358216797

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Part memoir and part joyful romp through the fields of imagination, the story behind a beloved pseudonymous Twitter personality reveals how a writer deep in grief rebuilt a life worth living.

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Genre: Biography & Autobiography
Author: Anonymous
Publisher: Mariner Books
Release: 2021-04-13
File: 240 Pages
ISBN-13: 0358569834

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A dark romance evolves between a high schooler and her English teacher in this breathtakingly powerful memoir about a young woman who must learn to rewrite her own story. “Have you ever read Lolita?” So begins seventeen-year-old Alisson’s metamorphosis from student to lover and then victim. A lonely and vulnerable high school senior, Alisson finds solace only in her writing—and in a young, charismatic English teacher, Mr. North. Mr. North gives Alisson a copy of Lolita to read, telling her it is a beautiful story about love. The book soon becomes the backdrop to a connection that blooms from a simple crush into a forbidden romance. But as Mr. North’s hold on her tightens, Alisson is forced to evaluate how much of their narrative is actually a disturbing fiction. In the wake of what becomes a deeply abusive relationship, Alisson is faced again and again with the story of her past, from rereading Lolita in college to working with teenage girls to becoming a professor of creative writing. It is only with that distance and perspective that she understands the ultimate power language has had on her—and how to harness that power to tell her own true story. Being Lolita is a stunning coming-of-age memoir that shines a bright light on our shifting perceptions of consent, vulnerability, and power. This is the story of what happens when a young woman realizes her entire narrative must be rewritten—and then takes back the pen to rewrite it.

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Genre: Biography & Autobiography
Author: Alisson Wood
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Release: 2020-08-04
File: 304 Pages
ISBN-13: 9781250217226

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A moving memoir from the mother of a child with Treacher Collins Syndrome, with a foreword by R.J. Palacio, author of Wonder For Magda Newman, normal was a goal—she wanted her son Nathaniel to be able to play on the playground, swim at the beach, enjoy the moments of childhood that are often taken for granted. But Nathaniel’s severe Treacher Collins syndrome—a craniofacial condition—meant that other concerns came first. Could he eat without the aid of a gastrointestinal tube? Could he hear? Would he ever be able to breathe effortlessly? In this moving memoir, Newman, with the help of her son, tells the story of raising Nathaniel, from the shock she and her husband faced when he was born, to the inspiration of Nathaniel’s own strength and quirky humor. All this while also facing both non-Hodgkins and Hodgkins lymphoma diagnoses of her own. This uplifting story of a family tackling complex and terrifying circumstances with love and resilience is a true testament to Magda and her family, and to families everywhere who quietly but courageously persist.

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Genre: Biography & Autobiography
Author: Magdalena Newman
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release: 2020-01-14
File: 272 Pages
ISBN-13: 9781328592354

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‘Every so often a novel comes along which transcends whimsy with the beauty of its writing. Elizabeth McCracken's small masterpiece is one of these' Guardian A powerful and unique story about connection, showing that miracles can happen – even across a library circulation desk. The year is 1950, and in a small town on Cape Cod twenty-eight year old librarian Peggy Cort feels as if love and life have stood her up. That is, until the day James Carlson Sweatt – the 'over-tall' eleven year old boy who's the talk of the town – walks into her library and changes her life for ever. Two misfits whose lonely paths cross at the circulation desk, Peggy and James are odd candidates for friendship. In James, Peggy discovers the one person who's ever really understood her, and as he grows – six foot five at age twelve, then seven foot, then eight – so does their most singular romance. *Perfect for readers who loved Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine*

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Genre: Fiction
Author: Elizabeth McCracken
Publisher: Random House
Release: 2013-01-31
File: 320 Pages
ISBN-13: 9781409039679

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Now a documentary narrated by Common, produced by Grant Hill, Dwyane Wade, and 9th Wonder, from filmmaker Mary Mazzio The moving true story of a group of young men growing up on Chicago's West side who form the first all-black high school rowing team in the nation, and in doing so not only transform a sport, but their lives. Growing up on Chicago’s Westside in the 90’s, Arshay Cooper knows the harder side of life. The street corners are full of gangs, the hallways of his apartment complex are haunted by drug addicts he calls “zombies” with strung out arms, clutching at him as he passes by. His mother is a recovering addict, and his three siblings all sleep in a one room apartment, a small infantry against the war zone on the street below. Arshay keeps to himself, preferring to write poetry about the girl he has a crush on, and spends his school days in the home-ec kitchen dreaming of becoming a chef. And then one day as he’s walking out of school he notices a boat in the school lunchroom, and a poster that reads “Join the Crew Team”. Having no idea what the sport of crew is, Arshay decides to take a chance. This decision to join is one that will forever change his life, and those of his fellow teammates. As Arshay and his teammates begin to come together to learn how to row--many never having been in water before--the sport takes them from the mean streets of Chicago, to the hallowed halls of the Ivy League. But Arshay and his teammates face adversity at every turn, from racism, gang violence, and a sport that has never seen anyone like them before. A Most Beautiful Thing is the inspiring true story about the most unlikely band of brothers that form a family, and forever change a sport and their lives for the better.

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Genre: Biography & Autobiography
Author: Arshay Cooper
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Release: 2020-06-30
File: 256 Pages
ISBN-13: 9781250754752

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“Two kindred spirits find each other in this beautifully written memoir about the human-animal bond” (Temple Grandin, author of Animals in Translation). When Susan Richards agreed to take on the care of one of the abused horses just rescued by the local SPCA, she didn’t know it was about to open a new chapter in her life. Things had not always been easy for Susan—she had lost her mother at the age of five and was raised by uncaring relatives, married unhappily and divorced, and suffered from alcoholism. But while Susan is trying to capture the horse assigned to her, a skeletal mare named Lay Me Down walks into her trailer of her own volition. Susan already owns one mare and two geldings—the diva-like Georgia, boyish Tempo, and hopelessly romantic Hotshot—but it is with Lay Me Down that she forges a special, healing relationship that alters her life. Poignant and evocative, Chosen by a Horse is a book for anyone who has ever loved a horse, and for everyone who has ever lost a loved one.

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Genre: Biography & Autobiography
Author: Susan Richards
Publisher: Soho Press
Release: 2006-06-01
File: 256 Pages
ISBN-13: 9781569474860

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One of Vogue's Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2020, one of the Wall Street Journal's Nine Best Books to Read This Spring, one of BuzzFeed's Most Anticipated Books of 2020, one of Vulture's Books We Can't Wait to Read in 2020, one of Refinery29's 25 Books You'll Want to Read This Summer, and one of The Millions Most Anticipated Books of the First Half of 2020 A figure with no discernible identity appears in a small, religious town, throwing its inhabitants into a frenzy In a small, unnamed town in the American South, a church congregation arrives for a service and finds a figure asleep on a pew. The person is genderless and racially ambiguous and refuses to speak. One family takes in the strange visitor and nicknames them Pew. As the town spends the week preparing for a mysterious Forgiveness Festival, Pew is shuttled from one household to the next. The earnest and seemingly well-meaning townspeople see conflicting identities in Pew, and many confess their fears and secrets to them in one-sided conversations. Pew listens and observes while experiencing brief flashes of past lives or clues about their origin. As days pass, the void around Pew’s presence begins to unnerve the community, whose generosity erodes into menace and suspicion. Yet by the time Pew’s story reaches a shattering and unsettling climax at the Forgiveness Festival, the secret of who they really are—a devil or an angel or something else entirely—is dwarfed by even larger truths. Pew, Catherine Lacey’s third novel, is a foreboding, provocative, and amorphous fable about the world today: its contradictions, its flimsy morality, and the limits of judging others based on their appearance. With precision and restraint, one of our most beloved and boundary-pushing writers holds up a mirror to her characters’ true selves, revealing something about forgiveness, perception, and the faulty tools society uses to categorize human complexity.

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Genre: Fiction
Author: Catherine Lacey
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Release: 2020-07-21
File: 224 Pages
ISBN-13: 9780374720131

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A lyrical coming-of-age memoir, Down from the Mountaintop chronicles a quest for belonging. Raised in northwestern Montana by Pentecostal homesteaders whose twenty-year experiment in subsistence living was closely tied to their faith, Joshua Doležal experienced a childhood marked equally by his parents’ quest for spiritual transcendence and the surrounding Rocky Mountain landscape. Unable to fully embrace the fundamentalism of his parents, he began to search for religious experience elsewhere: in baseball, books, and weightlifting, then later in migrations to Tennessee, Nebraska, and Uruguay. Yet even as he sought to understand his place in the world, he continued to yearn for his mountain home. For more than a decade, Doležal taught in the Midwest throughout the school year but returned to Montana and Idaho in the summers to work as a firefighter and wilderness ranger. He reveled in the life of the body and the purifying effects of isolation and nature, believing he had found transcendence. Yet his summers tied him even more to the mountain landscape, fueling his sense of exile on the plains. It took falling in love, marrying, and starting a family in Iowa to allow Doležal to fully examine his desire for a spiritual mountaintop from which to view the world. In doing so, he undergoes a fundamental redefinition of the nature of home and belonging. He learns to accept the plains on their own terms, moving from condemnation to acceptance and from isolation to community. Coming down from the mountaintop means opening himself to relationships, grounding himself as a husband, father, and gardener who learns that where things grow, the grower also takes root.

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Genre: Biography & Autobiography
Author: Joshua Dolezal
Publisher: University of Iowa Press
Release: 2014-03
File: 181 Pages
ISBN-13: 9781609382391

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“The perfect summer read” (USA TODAY) begins with a shocking tragedy that results in three generations of the Adler family grappling with heartbreak, romance, and the weight of family secrets across the course of one summer. “Rachel Beanland is a writer of uncommon wit and wisdom, with a sharp and empathetic eye for character. She’ll win you over in the most old fashioned of ways: She simply tells a hell of a story.” —Rebecca Makkai, Pulitzer Finalist for The Great Believers Atlantic City, 1934. Every summer, Esther and Joseph Adler rent their house out to vacationers escaping to “America’s Playground” and move into the small apartment above their bakery. Despite the cramped quarters, this is the apartment where they raised their two daughters, Fannie and Florence, and it always feels like home. Now Florence has returned from college, determined to spend the summer training to swim the English Channel, and Fannie, pregnant again after recently losing a baby, is on bedrest for the duration of her pregnancy. After Joseph insists they take in a mysterious young woman whom he recently helped emigrate from Nazi Germany, the apartment is bursting at the seams. Esther only wants to keep her daughters close and safe but some matters are beyond her control: there’s Fannie’s risky pregnancy—not to mention her always-scheming husband, Isaac—and the fact that the handsome heir of a hotel notorious for its anti-Semitic policies, seems to be in love with Florence. When tragedy strikes, Esther makes the shocking decision to hide the truth—at least until Fannie’s baby is born—and pulls the family into an elaborate web of secret-keeping and lies, bringing long-buried tensions to the surface that reveal how quickly the act of protecting those we love can turn into betrayal. Based on a true story and told in the vein of J. Courtney Sullivan’s Saints for All Occasions and Anita Diamant’s The Boston Girl, Beanland’s family saga is a breathtaking portrait of just how far we will go to in order to protect our loved ones and an uplifting portrayal of how the human spirit can endure—and even thrive—after tragedy.

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Genre: Fiction
Author: Rachel Beanland
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release: 2020-07-07
File: 320 Pages
ISBN-13: 9781982132484

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