Book picks similar to
Kipling, Storyteller of East and West by Gloria Kamen


Center of Attention: A True Crime Memoir

Jami D. Brown Martin - 2020
    The photo looks completely out of place on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list where it’s been since December, 8, 2007. For eight of those years, Jason appeared directly beside Osama Bin Laden. Bin Laden is long gone, but Jason is still wanted for armed robbery and murder.For years, his sister, Jami D. Brown Martin has watched the true crime programs and read the amateur investigative blogs devoted to Jason, his crime, and the efforts to apprehend him knowing the story wasn’t as simple, nor was it just Jason’s. To be the sister, brother, or relative of one of the world’s most wanted men is to live every day with the horrible truth and many consequences of his brutal act.CENTER OF ATTENTION is the story of a former Mormon missionary turned murderer. It is also a riveting look behind the facade of the genetically blessed, seemingly prominent and pious Brown family of Laguna Beach, California. It is a tale of the family patriarch, John Brown, who disappeared without a trace ten years before his son. More important, it is the gripping and ultimately hopeful story of the sister of one of the world’s most wanted fugitives and her journey to accept that despite being a product of the same crazy environment as her brother, her life and path are her own.

Struck: A Husband’s Memoir of Trauma and Triumph

Douglas Segal - 2018
    Miraculously, his daughter was unharmed, but his wife faced a series of life-threatening injuries, including the same one that famously left Christopher Reeve paralyzed. Following the accident, Segal began sending regular email updates to their circle of friends and family—a list that continued to grow as others heard of the event and were moved by the many emotional and spiritual issues it raised. Segal's compelling memoir is an intimate and honest chronicle built around these email updates, and is a profound example of how people show up for one another in times of crisis.Alternatingly harrowing, humorous, heartbreaking, and hopeful, this is an uplifting tribute to love, determination, and how the compassion of community holds the power to heal, serving as an inspiring testament to the resilience of the human spirit when faced with pain and adversity.

A Simple Life: Living off grid in a wooden cabin in France

Mary-Jane Houlton - 2021
    They were already used to a simple life, having spent the last three years living on their boat in France for the summer seasons, and returning to the UK and their caravan for the winters. This tiny cabin would now be their new home for the winter months, taking them a step further along the road to self-sufficiency. They had no electricity, no kitchen, no bathroom or bedroom and the loo was a bucket in a shed, but the property came with five acres of field and woodland.From now on their lives would be simple, pared back to the basics, but they found that an off-grid lifestyle was by no means an uncomfortable experience. Responsibilities didn’t disappear but they changed, becoming less onerous. There was more time to think, and to appreciate the natural world around them. Living in such rural isolation, each day brought something new to marvel at: deer browsing in the field at dusk, salamanders on the doorstep, owls calling by night.If their own world felt increasingly magical, the outside world was far from it. They had moved to a foreign country at an historic time, living through a pandemic and adapting to the day-to-day implications of Brexit.A Simple Life doesn’t just follow Mary-Jane and Michael as they settle into their new lives, it also raises questions about what really matters to people. What makes us happy? How does it feel to have few possessions? Will life become unbearable without a flushing toilet?Thought-provoking and amusing, this book opens a window onto a different way of living. Mary-Jane shares a wealth of information and, if you have ever found yourself longing for a simpler life, this might tempt you to take those first tentative steps on the journey.

Stories I've Heard, Characters I've Met, & Lies We've Told in My 44 Alaskan Years

Tom Brion - 2016
    An Off the Grid lodge owner in Fish Lakes, Alaska, Tom enthralls roomfuls of guests every year from the Lower 48 and around the world with tales of his adventures, foibles, and SNAFUs in 44 years living in the Alaskan wilderness. From his start as a Pennsylvania farmboy who ran off to join the United States Air Force, to his arrival in Alaska with less than a hundred dollars in his wallet and a growing family in his back seat, to his forty years as a Bush pilot and his accidental introduction to the fishing lodge business, to his multiple brushes with death, hardship, and questionable characters, Tom Brion has a story to cover it all. A pioneer in sustainable homesteading and off-the-Grid living, Tom Brion built his first lodge in Alaska on five acres in the Lake Creek area, in 1979, and continues to this day building and working heavy machinery 60 miles from any road. Born in 1941, Tom has collected 74 years of humorous, heart-wrenching, and sometimes mind-blowing stories of traveling, hunting, and exploring the backcountry of Alaska in the pilot’s seat of a Vietnam-era Cessna Birddog. A biography in the form of short life stories, Tom Brion’s memoir takes us to a rural Bush life where people live off the land, drill their own wells, put out their own forest fires, and depend on their neighbors to pick up their mail. Surrounded by nature, Tom continues to fly, plow, run his bulldozer, and wrangle his subsistence fishwheel up the river every year in the Skwentna area of Alaska, where temperatures in winter drop to 45 below zero and summers can see entire months without rain. Follow him in this (mostly) nonfiction anthology of (somewhat) true stories from the Last Frontier as he gives the straight scoop about bears, outhouses, farming, flooding, fishing, moose, guns, and aviation in the 49th State.An avid hunter, outdoorsman, fisherman, and jack of all trades, Tom documents his life with photos and illustrations that detail an epic adventure from start to finish.

Clean: A story of addiction, recovery and the removal of stubborn stains

Michele Kirsch - 2019
    And yet, when she finally does have something like that life, as a wife and mother in 1980s London, she is the one blaring music from her room, necking vodka and valium and making an almighty mess of her home and family.Cleaning other people’s houses, eventually, is the only option left. At 50 years old, post rehab, living alone in a Hackney bedsit, Michele finds herself finishing her working life as she had begun, “in a dumb job that you do when you can’t really do anything else...”This is a remarkable, powerful, and often unbearably funny memoir in which cleaning and getting clean intertwine as a strange and magical form of redemption. Michele Kirsch is a Nora Ephron for the modern age.


Norman Ollestad - 2015
    Anton, a remote village nestled in the glittering and dangerous peaks of the Austrian Alps. There, he befriends the local clique of ski bums and fills his days with endless, exhilarating skiing, and his nights flirting with the prettiest girls at the bars. But in the quiet moments, Norman cannot escape the painful memories of his challenging, adrenaline-addicted father who took him to St. Anton fifteen years earlier, and who died in a terrible plane crash of which Norman, at the age of eleven, was the sole survivor. In Gravity, Ollestad transports us to those thrilling days in the Alps, and reveals how his search to find greater meaning in his rudderless life helped him discover the relationships that make life worth living.Norman Ollestad was born in Los Angeles in 1967 and grew up in Malibu. He studied creative writing at UCLA and attended UCLA’s undergrad Film School. His writing has appeared in Outside, Men’s Journal and Time. He is married and has two children—a son and daughter—and lives in Venice, California.Cover design by Adil Dara

The NYPD’s Flying Circus: Cops, Crime & Chaos (Tell All NYPD Books)

Vic Ferrari - 2019
    A police force that large is going to have more than a few colorful characters and unbelievable stories. Retired NYPD Detective Vic Ferrari takes you behind the scenes as he peels back the onion, revealing the good, the bad, and the ugly of the New York City Police Department. The NYPD's Flying Circus picks up where NYPD: Through the Looking Glass left off in this controversial tell-all sequel. The NYPD’s Flying Circus is an introspective, behind-the-scenes look into the New York City Police Department. Cops, crime and chaos are sarcastically woven together through the eyes of a retired NYPD detective, exposing the funnier side of the NYPD—a fascinating history lesson wrapped in personal anecdotes covering a twenty-year law enforcement career. If you enjoy Live PD, are fascinated with police work, or ever wondered what it was like to be a member of the NYPD, you’ve picked up the right book.

The Royal W.E. Unique Glimpses of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor

Victoria Martinez - 2011
    The truth is: politics and innuendo clouded that story from the very beginning, with the result that few people really understand who The Duke and Duchess of Windsor were and what forces propelled them to their infamous fate. The Royal W.E. examines the individual and intertwined lives of Wallis and Edward – or “W.E.” as they referred to themselves – and provides readers with unique glimpses of the real people, as opposed to the sensationalized characters, that were The Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Through careful study of more than 75 years of rhetoric and scholarship, Victoria Martínez takes on the most controversial charges lodged against the couple (Was Wallis a hermaphrodite? Were the Duke and Duchess Nazi sympathizers?) with candor and evenhandedness. In analyzing the early lives of Wallis and the ex-king and their later relationships with other members of the Royal Family, her approach is to deal with all parties as human beings, whose true faults – though significant – were far less sinister than history has led us to believe. Ms. Martínez also addresses the ever-popular subject of the Duchess’s jewels, including new research on the famous 1946 Ednam Lodge jewel heist to dispel the long-held rumors that the Duke and Duchess committed jewel theft and insurance fraud. The subjects in this book are not always mainstream, well-known, or even consistent with “popular” opinion, and the objective is not to make anyone “like” the couple. Instead, readers will find refreshingly honest and accurate portrayals of W.E. that will help them understand the real people behind the myth and hype. “Prejudice and preconception are difficult things to set aside, particularly after so many years of negative stories and sordid rumor, but I think readers here will discover an alternative and convincing look at the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. I am sure they would approve and perhaps, just perhaps, the future may be a little bit kinder to Edward and Wallis because of the efforts of people like Ms. Martínez.” -Greg King, author of The Duchess of Windsor: The Uncommon Life of Wallis Simpson

Zero Dial: The Dangerous World Of Informers

Jyotirmoy Dey - 2015

The 20-Month Legend: My Baby Boy's Fight with Cancer

Steve Tate - 2018
    The once-star collegiate football player finds himself fighting for his son’s life. This memoir takes you through the various challenges of raising a family of six kids and balancing a career, all while his son battles to defeat the odds of survival. Both Steve and his high school sweetheart, Savanna, found hope and happiness through the example of their 20-month-old son Hayes.

The Athlete Inside: The Transforming Power of Hope, Tenacity, and Faith

Sue Reynolds - 2020
    After being on yo-yo diets almost all her life, she tried one more time without much hope for positive results. But this time was different. She was fed up with not being able to do things because of her size. She was tired of not being able to tie her own shoes, fit in restaurant booths, or walk more than a few feet. She was ready.The Athlete Inside follows Reynolds's journey as she lost 200 pounds and found an athlete hiding inside her body. From her first walk to the neighbor's mailbox to finishing sixth in the world at the Triathlon World Championship, Reynolds discovered the joy of conquering fear and pride to find that the best version of herself had been there all along.A world-class triathlete and a grandmother, Reynolds is proof that you can transform your life at any age. Her story is one of hope, tenacity, and faith, as she committed to doing whatever it took to be among the best triathletes in the world.

Chasing Understanding in the Jungles of Vietnam: My Year as a Black Scarf

Douglas Beed - 2017
    After two years of college he couldn't afford to continue so he was forced to relinquish his student deferment and enter the draft. He tried various strategies to get a non-combat job; nevertheless he ended up in the infantry and was assigned to Vietnam. The stories in this book depict the year Doug spent in Alpha Company where he spent days on patrols finding and killing North Vietnamese soldiers along the hundreds of miles of trails heading for the Saigon. These stories range from funny to tragic, from uplifting to extremely frustrating and from touching to horrifying. This book gives the reader a sense of life in the infantry in 1968 and 1969.

Killer Kids Volume 8: 22 Shocking True Crime Cases of Kids Who Kill

Robert Keller - 2021

Rock Bottom: A Music Writer's Journey into Madness

Michael Odell - 2017
    He has a public meltdown while chaperoning Oasis at an awards ceremony; he’s lost joy in his bathroom full of rock’n’roll memorabilia; and his young son is in trouble at school for emulating rock star behaviour.Reluctantly Michael consults Mrs Henckel, a no-nonsense therapist with zero experience of pop culture. As Michael addresses his feelings about the past, in particular his failed teenage band, Mental Elf, he’s forced to confront the question: is it finally time to grow up and forget rock’n’roll?Michael Odell is a former contributing editor to Q magazine and has written about music for NME, the Guardian, the Independent and Spin, among others. Currently he does interviews and writes on family matters for The Times. He lives in Bristol."Please don't put your life in the hands of a rock 'n' roll band, who'll throw it all away." So advised Noel Gallagher in 1995 and Michael Odell ignored him anyway.One of Britain's most fearless rock interrogators, Odell turns his merciless searchlight on himself in this wry, compelling odyssey into the heart of his own - and rock n roll's - madness. Larks with the legends are all here (Bowie, McCartney, Mick `n' Keef ... Michael Buble) but it's his inner life which illuminates, his psyche traumatically crumbling as he confronts his chaotic past. Hilarious, tragic and timely, this is high farce in high (and low) places, uncovering why rock's lost highway is littered with the bodies of the righteous dreamers. Could it be because "the music people are all mad?" (Clue: yes.)' -- Sylvia Patterson, author of I'm Not with the Band `Hilarious and disarmingly honest; a journey into the neurosis of rock fame, but through doors you don't expect.' -- Rachel Joyce, author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry `Rock Bottom is one of the best music books ever written, because Michael Odell knows music isn't about the musicians - it's about what it does to the listener, even if what it does ends up being wholly disastrous. It's sad, funny, fascinating and wise. And everyone who ever claimed a record changed their life should read it, and then think again.' -- Michael Hann, former Guardian music editor

The Lost Child by David Pelzer

Dave Pelzer - 1997
    It is a story about a boy lost in life, the system and finally found. It is a moving and troubling sotry to read