Spend some time in someone else’s shoes
“Night” by Elie Wiesel. The next Oprah book is this haunting Holocaust memoir by Wiesel – a book that everyone should read. The author’s experience is recounted without excess sentimentality or wordiness, making the story even more tragic and moving. This book is also appropriate for younger readers. Although the subject matter is disturbing (to say the least), it is a necessary chapter in history. Good job, Oprah.
“Coming Home to Myself” by Wynonna Judd. Wynonna candidly discusses her dependency on food; financial problems; divorce; single parenthood; her relationship with her mother, Naomi; and a 30-year secret her family kept from her. Illustrated with photos, this riveting autobiography also celebrates others who touched her life in a positive way. Her strength and spirit are inspiring.
“His Oldest Friend: The Story of an Unlikely Bond” by Sonny Kleinfield. Dominican teenager Elvis Checo is hired by Margaret Oliver’s daughter to be a companion to the elderly woman. Both the young man and the old woman luck out as each finds a soulmate of sorts. This is a joyous book about friendship. Like “Tuesdays with Morrie,” it should have no trouble reaching a broad range of readers.
“Seduction: A Portrait of Anais Nin” by Margot Beth Duxler, Ph.D. This isn’t, technically speaking, a biography of Anais Nin. Instead, Duxler uses her experience as both a friend of Nin’s and a psychotherapist to attempt to understand her subject’s complex psychology. The author was clearly deeply touched on a very personal level by the real Nin. In the end, one is left with an Anais who is terribly human – and an author who has been transformed by the process of analyzing the fascinating poet.
“No Excuses: The True Story Of a Congenital Amputee Who Became a Champion In Wrestling and In Life” by Kyle Maynard. Author Kyle Maynard was born a congenital amputee, with his arms ending at his elbows and his legs at his knees: he seemed a most unlikely candidate to become an athlete – yet he did, against seemingly impossible odds. Truly inspirational.
“Scribbling the Cat: Travels with an African Soldier” by Alexandra Fuller. The author’s descriptions of the people, the attitudes and the land is brilliant. Anyone involved in the South African conflicts would recognize parts of themselves or their friends in the different characters that are described in the book. This book is an accurate depiction of Southern Africa and its people who have been affected by 40 years of tribal conflict.
“We are all the Same: A Story of a Boy’s Courage and a Mother’s Love” by Jim Wooten. “We are all the same” was the closing line of young AIDS sufferer Nkosi Johnson’s message to participants of an AIDS conference in Durban. In Africa, AIDS is a heterosexual disease and a children’s disease. Nkosi fought for the rights of all persons with AIDS. He had tremendous courage, and his mantra was to do all he could in the time he had. This remarkable story of courage and love will warm your heart.
“Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star” by Tab Hunter. The 1950s’ heartthrob has penned a brave, surprising and sad memoir about depression (his mother’s), repression (his homosexuality) and redemption (a career revival and meeting his partner of 20-plus years). This is an illuminating, emotionally charged and important piece of Hollywood’s hidden history.
“The Long Goodbye” by Patti Davis. As Ronald Reagan’s youngest daughter, Davis is best known as a peace activist who forcefully disagreed with her father’s policies. This graceful memoir demonstrates that she is also a gifted writer. The focus of the journal-style book is her father’s descent into Alzheimer’s disease, but Davis deftly weaves family history and childhood memories into the surprisingly vibrant fabric of her story.
“How To Lose Your Ass and Regain Your Life: Reluctant Confessions of a Big-Butted Star” by Kirstie Alley. Alley has penned a self-deprecating Hollywood tell-all in the disguise of “note-to-self”-style diary entries ala Bridget Jones. We learn such things as she has the hots for John Travolta, Kid Rock and Ben Affleck, and she blames her weight gain for a long period of unplanned celibacy. A hilarious, quick read.
Compiled by Donna Cobb of Odyssey Books 989 Sutton Way, Grass Valley (530) 477-2856 Hours: Mon.-Sat.: 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Sun.: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
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