Tara Westover was raised by survivalist and devout Mormon parents in remote Idaho. Tara had no birth certificate, never went to school, nor did she ever receive medical care from a doctor. She survived so many accidents and near-death experiences in her childhood but finally escaped that life by teaching herself enough to be accepted to BYU where she learned of the Holocaust, the Civil Rights Movement, and slavery for the first time. Eventually she earned a PhD in history. If you’re a fan of the memoir, think Liar’s Club, Glass Castle and Hillbilly Elegy all rolled into one story.
Chances are pretty good that if you’ve watched any TV comedy shows over the past 30 years, you’ve laughed at a line written by Nell Scovell. In Just the Funny Parts, Scovell recounts how she came to Hollywood as a bookish, Harvard-educated New Englander and worked her way up from low-level comedy writer to major contributor on some prominent shows, taking on additional roles along the way as creator, producer, and director. While she generally stayed behind the scenes, she stepped forward nine years ago, at the time of the David Letterman scandal, and spoke out about gender bias on late-night TV writing staffs. A couple of years later, she collaborated with Sheryl Sandberg on Lean In, helping to further public debate about diversity in male-dominated work environments. She continues that discussion in her candid, engaging, instructive, and very funny memoir. Nell has compared her book to Unbroken, only “funnier and with slightly less torture.”
Khan-Cullers is one of the three founders of the #blacklivesmatter movement. In this memoir she reveals that her activism started long before the unfortunate killing of Treyvon Martin and others like him. Her personal story is driven by a passion to help those in the black community and reminds us why the American government has a duty to serve its people.