Blood, Bones, and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef


Gabrielle Hamilton - 2001
    Blood, Bones & Butter follows an unconventional journey through the many kitchens Hamilton has inhabited through the years: the rural kitchen of her childhood, where her adored mother stood over the six-burner with an oily wooden spoon in hand; the kitchens of France, Greece, and Turkey, where she was often fed by complete strangers and learned the essence of hospitality; Hamilton’s own kitchen at Prune, with its many unexpected challenges; and the kitchen of her Italian mother-in-law, who serves as the link between Hamilton’s idyllic past and her own future family—the result of a prickly marriage that nonetheless yields lasting dividends. By turns epic and intimate, Gabrielle Hamilton’s story is told with uncommon honesty, grit, humor, and passion.

Three Weeks With My Brother


Nicholas Sparks - 2004
    With a wife and five small children, a hectic schedule, and a new book due to his publishers, Nicholas Sparks was busy with his usual routine. The colorful mailer, however, described something very different: a tour to some of the most exotic places on Earth. Slowly, an idea took hold in Nicholas's mind and heart. In January 2003, Nicholas Sparks and his brother, Micah, set off on a three-week trip around the globe. It was to mark a milestone in their lives, for at thirty-seven and thirty-eight respectively, they were now the only surviving members of their family. And as they voyaged to the lost city of Machu Picchu high in the Andes. . . to mysterious Easter Island. . . to Ayers Rock in the Australian outback. . . and across the vast Indian subcontinent, the ultimate story of their lives would unfold. Against the backdrop of the wonders of the world and often overtaken by their feelings, daredevil Micah and the more serious, introspective Nicholas recalled their rambunctious childhood adventures and the tragedies that tested their faith. And in the process, they discovered startling truths about loss, love and hope. Narrated with irrepressible humor and rare candor, and including personal photographs, Three Weeks with my Brother reminds us to embrace life with all its uncertainties. . . and most of all, to cherish the joyful times, both small and momentous, and the wonderful people who make them possible.Did You Know?---Three Weeks With My Brother is Nicholas's second work of non-fiction? (The first was Wokini, written with Olympic Gold Medalist Billy Mills.)Nicholas and Micah Sparks wrote the book together from separate coasts by talking on the phone and faxing drafts back and forth?The trip around the world was part of a Notre Dame alumni package?

Aftershocks


Nadia Owusu - 2021
    Nadia Owusu grew up all over the world—from Rome and London to Dar-es-Salaam and Kampala. When her mother abandoned her when she was two years old, the rejection caused Nadia to be confused about her identity. Even after her father died when she was thirteen and she was raised by her stepmother, she was unable to come to terms with who she was since she still felt motherless and alone. When Nadia went to university in America when she was eighteen she still felt as if she had so many competing personas that she couldn’t keep track of them all without cracking under the pressure of trying to hold herself together. A powerful coming-of-age story that explores timely and universal themes of identity, Aftershocks follows Nadia’s life as she hauls herself out of the wreckage and begins to understand that the only ground firm enough to count on is the one she writes into existence.

A Story Lately Told: Coming of Age in Ireland, London, and New York


Anjelica Huston - 2013
    Every morning, Anjelica and her brother visited their father while he took his breakfast in bed. “What news?” he’d ask. “I’d seen him the night before,” Anjelica recalls. “There wasn’t much to report.” So she became a storyteller.In London, where she lives with her mother and brother in the early sixties when her par­ents separate, Huston encounters the Rolling Stones and Fleetwood Mac. She understudies Marianne Faithfull in Hamlet. Seventeen, striking, precocious, but still young and vulnerable, she is devastated when her mother dies in a car crash.Months later she moves to New York, falls in love with the much older, brilliant but disturbed photographer Bob Richardson, and becomes a model. Living in the Chelsea Hotel, working with Richard Avedon and other photographers, she navigates a volatile relationship and the dynamic cultural epicenter of New York in the seventies.A Story Lately Told ends as Huston launches her Hollywood life. The second part of her story—Watch Me—opens in Los Angeles in 1973 and will be published in Fall 2014. Beguiling and beautifully written, Huston’s memoir is a treasure.

Small Fry: A Memoir


Lisa Brennan-Jobs - 2018
    When she was young, Lisa's father was a mythical figure who was rarely present in her life. As she grew older, her father took an interest in her, ushering her into a new world of mansions, vacations, and private schools. His attention was thrilling, but he could also be cold, critical and unpredictable. When her relationship with her mother grew strained in high school, Lisa decided to move in with her father, hoping he'd become the parent she'd always wanted him to be.Small Fry is Lisa Brennan-Jobs's poignant story of a childhood spent between two imperfect but extraordinary homes. Scrappy, wise, and funny, young Lisa is an unforgettable guide through her parents' fascinating and disparate worlds. Part portrait of a complex family, part love letter to California in the seventies and eighties, Small Fry is an enthralling book by an insightful new literary voice.

All Over the Place: Adventures in Travel, True Love, and Petty Theft


Geraldine DeRuiter - 2017
    And some people have no sense of direction, are terrified of pigeons, and get motion sickness from tying their shoes. These people are meant to stay home and eat nachos. Geraldine DeRuiter is the latter. But she won't let that stop her. Hilarious, irreverent, and heartfelt, All Over the Place chronicles the years Geraldine spent traveling the world after getting laid off from a job she loved. Those years taught her a great number of things, though the ability to read a map was not one of them. She has only a vague idea of where Russia is, but she now understands her Russian father better than ever before. She learned that what she thought was her mother's functional insanity was actually an equally incurable condition called "being Italian." She learned what it's like to travel the world with someone you already know and love -- how that person can help you make sense of things and make far-off places feel like home. She learned about unemployment and brain tumors, lost luggage and lost opportunities, and just getting lost in countless terminals and cabs and hotel lobbies across the globe. And she learned that sometimes you can find yourself exactly where you need to be -- even if you aren't quite sure where you are.

In Pieces


Sally Field - 2018
    Powerful and unforgettable, In Pieces is an inspiring account of life as a woman in the second half of the twentieth century.

Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good: A Memoir of Food and Love from an American Midwest Family


Kathleen Flinn - 2014
    Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good explores the very beginnings of her love affair with food and its connection to home. It is the story of her midwestern childhood, its memorable home cooks, and the delicious recipes she grew up with. Flinn shares tales of her parents’ pizza parlor in San Francisco, where they sold Uncle Clarence’s popular oven-fried chicken, as well as recipes for the vats of chili made by her former army cook Grandpa Charles, fluffy Swedish pancakes from Grandma Inez, and cinnamon rolls for birthday breakfasts. Through these dishes, Flinn came to understand how meals can be memories, and how cooking can be a form of communication. Brimming with warmth and wit, this book is sure to appeal to Flinn’s many fans as well as readers of Marcus Samuelsson, Ruth Reichl, and Julie Powell.

Picnic in Provence: A Memoir with Recipes


Elizabeth Bard - 2015
    Ten years ago, New Yorker Elizabeth Bard followed a handsome Frenchman up a spiral staircase to a love nest in the heart of Paris. Now, with a baby on the way and the world's flakiest croissant around the corner, Elizabeth is sure she's found her "forever place." But life has other plans. On a last romantic jaunt before the baby arrives, the couple take a trip to the tiny Provencal village of Céreste. A chance encounter leads them to the wartime home of a famous poet, a tale of a buried manuscript and a garden full of heirloom roses. Under the spell of the house and its unique history, in less time than it takes to flip a crepe, Elizabeth and Gwendal decide to move-lock, stock and Le Creuset-to the French countryside.When the couple and their newborn son arrive in Provence, they discover a land of blue skies, lavender fields and peaches that taste like sunshine. Seduced by the local ingredients, they begin a new adventure as culinary entrepreneurs, starting their own artisanal ice cream shop and experimenting with flavors like saffron, sheep's milk yogurt and fruity olive oil. Filled with enticing recipes for stuffed zucchini flowers, fig tart and honey & thyme ice cream, Picnic in Provence is the story of everything that happens after the happily ever after: an American learning the tricks of French motherhood, a family finding a new professional passion, and a cook's initiation into classic Provencal cuisine. With wit, humor and scoop of wild strawberry sorbet, Bard reminds us that life-in and out of the kitchen-is a rendez-vous with the unexpected.

Dear Mr. You


Mary-Louise Parker - 2015
    You renders the singular arc of a woman’s life through letters Mary-Louise Parker composes to the men, real and hypothetical, who have informed the person she is today. Beginning with the grandfather she never knew, the letters range from a missive to the beloved priest from her childhood to remembrances of former lovers to an homage to a firefighter she encountered to a heartfelt communication with the uncle of the infant daughter she adopted. Readers will be amazed by the depth and style of these letters, which reveal the complexity and power to be found in relationships both loving and fraught.

My Southern Journey: True Stories from the Heart of the South


Rick Bragg - 2015
    Keenly observed and written with his insightful and deadpan sense of humor, he explores enduring Southern truths about home, place, spirit, table, and the regions' varied geographies, including his native Alabama, Cajun country, and the Gulf Coast. Everything is explored, from regional obsessions from college football and fishing, to mayonnaise and spoonbread, to the simple beauty of a fish on the hook.Collected from over a decade of his writing, with many never-before-published essays written specifically for this edition, My Southern Journey is an entertaining and engaging read, especially for Southerners (or feel Southern at heart) and anyone who appreciates great writing.

The Orchard


Theresa Weir - 2011
    Married after only three months, young Theresa finds life with Adrian on the farm far more difficult and dangerous than she expected. Rejected by her husband's family as an outsider, she slowly learns for herself about the isolated world of farming, pesticides, environmental destruction, and death, even as she falls more deeply in love with her husband, a man she at first hardly knew and the land that has been in his family for generations. She becomes a reluctant player in their attempt to keep the codling moth from destroying the orchard, but she and Adrian eventually come to know that their efforts will not only fail but will ultimately take an irreparable toll.

No One Tells You This


Glynnis MacNicol - 2018
    Despite a successful career as a writer, and an exciting life in New York City, Glynnis was constantly reminded she had neither of the things the world expected of a woman her age: a partner or a baby. She knew she was supposed to feel bad about this. After all, single women and those without children are often seen as objects of pity, relegated to the sidelines, or indulgent spoiled creatures who think only of themselves.Glynnis refused to be cast into either of those roles and yet the question remained: What now? There was no good blueprint for how to be a woman alone in the world. She concluded it was time to create one.Over the course of her fortieth year, which this memoir chronicles, Glynnis embarks on a revealing journey of self-discovery that continually contradicts everything she’d been led to expect. Through the trials of family illness and turmoil, and the thrills of far-flung travel and adventures with men, young and old (and sometimes wearing cowboy hats), she is forced to wrestle with her biggest hopes and fears about love, death, sex, friendship, and loneliness. In doing so, she discovers that holding the power to determine her own fate requires a resilience and courage that no one talks about, and is more rewarding than anyone imagines.Intimate and timely, No One Tells You This is a fearless reckoning with modern womanhood and an exhilarating adventure that will resonate with anyone determined to live by their own rules.

Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality


Jacob Tomsky - 2012
    Jacob Tomsky never intended to go into the hotel business. As a new college graduate, armed only with a philosophy degree and a singular lack of career direction, he became a valet parker for a large luxury hotel in New Orleans. Yet, rising fast through the ranks, he ended up working in “hospitality” for more than a decade, doing everything from supervising the housekeeping department to manning the front desk at an upscale Manhattan hotel. He’s checked you in, checked you out, separated your white panties from the white bed sheets, parked your car, tasted your room-service meals, cleaned your toilet, denied you a late checkout, given you a wake-up call, eaten M&M's out of your minibar, laughed at your jokes, and taken your money. In Heads in Beds he pulls back the curtain to expose the crazy and compelling reality of a multi-billion-dollar industry we think we know. Heads in Beds is a funny, authentic, and irreverent chronicle of the highs and lows of hotel life, told by a keenly observant insider who’s seen it all. Prepare to be amused, shocked, and amazed as he spills the unwritten code of the bellhops, the antics that go on in the valet parking garage, the housekeeping department’s dirty little secrets—not to mention the shameless activities of the guests, who are rarely on their best behavior. Prepare to be moved, too, by his candor about what it’s like to toil in a highly demanding service industry at the luxury level, where people expect to get what they pay for (and often a whole lot more). Employees are poorly paid and frequently abused by coworkers and guests alike, and maintaining a semblance of sanity is a daily challenge.Along his journey Tomsky also reveals the secrets of the industry, offering easy ways to get what you need from your hotel without any hassle. This book (and a timely proffered twenty-dollar bill) will help you score late checkouts and upgrades, get free stuff galore, and make that pay-per-view charge magically disappear. Thanks to him you’ll know how to get the very best service from any business that makes its money from putting heads in beds. Or, at the very least, you will keep the bellmen from taking your luggage into the camera-free back office and bashing it against the wall repeatedly.

How to Be a Family: The Year I Dragged My Kids Around the World to Find a New Way to Be Together


Dan Kois - 2019
    Busy professionals living in the D.C. suburbs, they scheduled their children's time wisely, and when they weren't arguing over screen time, the Kois family-Dan, his wife Alia, and their two pre-teen daughters-could each be found searching for their own happiness. But aren't families supposed to achieve happiness together?In this eye-opening, heartwarming, and very funny family memoir, the fractious, loving Kois' go in search of other places on the map that might offer them the chance to live away from home-but closer together. Over a year the family lands in New Zealand, the Netherlands, Costa Rica, and small-town Kansas. The goal? To get out of their rut of busyness and distractedness and to see how other families live outside the East Coast parenting bubble.HOW TO BE A FAMILY brings readers along as the Kois girls-witty, solitary, extremely online Lyra and goofy, sensitive, social butterfly Harper-like through the Kiwi bush, ride bikes to a Dutch school in the pouring rain, battle iguanas in their Costa Rican kitchen, and learn to love a town where everyone knows your name. Meanwhile, Dan interviews neighbors, public officials, and scholars to learn why each of these places work the way they do. Will this trip change the Kois family's lives? Or do families take their problems and conflicts with them wherever we go?A journalistic memoir filled with heart, empathy, and lots of whining, HOW TO BE A FAMILY will make readers dream about the amazing adventures their own families might take.