This memoir from the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Oscar Hijuelos tells the story of his Cuban-American upbringing in New York City as his immigrant parents charted their own path in a new country. One fascinating subtext of Thoughts Without Cigarettes (Gotham, $27.50) deals with a serious illness Hijuelos experienced as a child and the pressures his condition exerted on a family already under strain. Hijuelos is best when describing how, trapped for years in a stifling job at an advertising agency, he latched onto his passion for writing, along with a few mentors who shepherded him along. I loved the honesty of the book, and the vivid and unvarnished memories Hijuelos shares even if, at times, I felt there were holes in the story.

Thoughts without Cigarettes: A Memoir Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781592407187
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Avery - June 5th, 2012

Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life With John F. Kennedy: Interviews with Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. (Hyperion, $60) is a must-read (and listen-to) for American history and Kennedy buffs who want unfiltered commentary from the former First Lady. In interviews recorded only months after President Kennedy was assassinated, Jackie Kennedy reveals a deep grasp of political issues, offers her own insights into foreign leaders and domestic politicians, and describes some of the everyday experiences of life in the White House. The tapes were meant to be sealed for almost 50 years, but were released a few years early by Caroline Kennedy to coincide with the 50th anniversary of her father’s presidency. Listening to the tapes reminded me of how rarely we heard from Mrs. Kennedy during her husband’s presidency and for the rest of her life, even as she was and remained an iconic figure worldwide. Caroline Kennedy’s foreword and Michael Beschloss’s introduction and annotations of the text are also worth reading.

Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy Cover Image
By Caroline Kennedy (Foreword by), Michael Beschloss (Introduction by)
$60.00
ISBN: 9781401324254
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Hyperion - September 14th, 2011

I have yet to figure out how Dorothy Wickenden, managing editor of The New Yorker, found time to delve so deeply into her grandmother’s trove of letters from the early part of the 20th century and piece together the entertaining and enlightening Nothing Daunted (Scribner, $26). From letters and interviews, Wickenden recounts how, after graduating from college, two upscale young women from Auburn, New York (one of them Dorothy’s grandmother) ignored the conventions of the day (to marry and have children) and became teachers in what was still the American frontier. The book traces their experiences of life in a homestead community on the western slope of the Rockies. Artfully written, Nothing Daunted is a story of adventure, independence, geography, romance, and social adaptability. A great read!

Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781439176580
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Scribner - June 21st, 2011

Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781439176597
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Scribner - April 24th, 2012

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