DREAM CALLED HOME, by Grande NOTE: Meeting Online

Women's Biography
Monday, June 8, 7:30 pm

The Women's Biography Book Group is led by Doris Feinsilber and meets the 2nd Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m. The book group is meeting online. Please contact bookgroups@politics-prose for information.

A Dream Called Home: A Memoir By Reyna Grande Cover Image

A Dream Called Home: A Memoir (Paperback)

$17.99


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“Here is a life story so unbelievable, it could only be true.” —Sandra Cisneros, bestselling author of The House on Mango Street

From bestselling author of the remarkable memoir The Distance Between Us comes an inspiring account of one woman’s quest to find her place in America as a first-generation Latina university student and aspiring writer determined to build a new life for her family one fearless word at a time.

As an immigrant in an unfamiliar country, with an indifferent mother and abusive father, Reyna had few resources at her disposal. Taking refuge in words, Reyna’s love of reading and writing propels her to rise above until she achieves the impossible and is accepted to the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Although her acceptance is a triumph, the actual experience of American college life is intimidating and unfamiliar for someone like Reyna, who is now estranged from her family and support system. Again, she finds solace in words, holding fast to her vision of becoming a writer, only to discover she knows nothing about what it takes to make a career out of a dream.

Through it all, Reyna is determined to make the impossible possible, going from undocumented immigrant of little means to “a fierce, smart, shimmering light of a writer” (Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild); a National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist whose “power is growing with every book” (Luis Alberto Urrea, Pultizer Prize finalist); and a proud mother of two beautiful children who will never have to know the pain of poverty and neglect.

Told in Reyna’s exquisite, heartfelt prose, A Dream Called Home demonstrates how, by daring to pursue her dreams, Reyna was able to build the one thing she had always longed for: a home that would endure.
Reyna Grande is an award-winning author, motivational speaker, and writing teacher. As a young girl, she crossed the US–Mexico border to join her family in Los Angeles, a harrowing journey chronicled in The Distance Between Us, a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. Her other books include the novels A Ballad of Love and GloryAcross a Hundred Mountains, and Dancing with Butterflies, the memoirs The Distance Between Us: Young Readers Edition, and Dream Called Home, and the anthology Somewhere We Are Human: Authentic Voices on MigrationSurvival, and New Beginnings. She lives in Woodland, California, with her husband and two children. Visit ReynaGrande.com for more information.
Product Details ISBN: 9781501171437
ISBN-10: 1501171437
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Publication Date: July 2nd, 2019
Pages: 336
Language: English
“Grande (The Distance Between Us) writes with strength and passion of her life’s journey….This uplifting story of fortitude and resilience looks deeply into the complexities of immigration and one woman’s struggle to adapt and thrive in America.”
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Candid and emotionally complex, Grande's book celebrates one woman's tenacity in the face of hardship and heartbreak while offering hope to other immigrants as they "fight to remain" and make their voices heard in a changing America. A heartfelt, inspiring, and relevant memoir."
— Kirkus Reviews

"Reyna Grande’s A Dream Called Home is a moving memoir about building a family, becoming a writer, and redefining America. Writers in need of inspiration should read this book."
— Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times bestselling author of The Sympathizer

"Reyna Grande is a fearless writer and a tireless warrior for the unrepresented and silenced. Her power is growing with every book."
— Luis Alberto Urrea, Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of The Devil's Highway

"Reyna Grande’s march towards her brilliant career astonishes me. She makes seemingly-disastrous choices, but bobs and floats through as buoyant as cork. Her mistakes are familiar, but her recovery is unique. Here is a life story so unbelievable, it could only be true."
— Sandra Cisneros, bestselling author of The House on Mango Street

“Grande's engaging and frank narrative flows painlessly, leaving no stones unturned…She carries off these scenes and the accompanying interior dialogues with humor and panache.”
— Booklist

"When the spark of a fierce intelligence touches a soul deep and true, an entire world is born. Writers like Reyna Grande give us more than a story, more than a book, more than just a slice of their experience or their imagination; they give us a world in which to dwell, a place we can always return to when we need to make sense of the chaos that surrounds us. A Dream Called Home is such a place."
— Valeria Luiselli, award-winning author of Tell Me How It Ends

"A Dream Called Home is a deeply moving, beautifully written portrait of a young woman's journey to her own best life against the odds. Reyna Grande is a national treasure; her vision is not only singular, but essential to our contemporary culture. This is a beacon of a book."
— Carolina De Robertis, award-winning author of The Gods of Tango

Praise for The Distance Between Us

“In this poignant memoir about her childhood in Mexico, Reyna Grande skillfully depicts another side of the immigrant experience—the hardships and heartbreaks of the children who are left behind. Through her brutally honest firsthand account of growing up in Mexico without her parents, Grande sheds light on the often overlooked consequence of immigration—the disintegration of a family.”
— Sonia Nazario, Pulitzer Prize winner, and author of Enrique's Journey

Grande captivates and inspires in her memoir. She deftly evokes the searing sense of heartache and confusion. Tracing the complex and tattered relationships binding the family together, especially the bond she shared with her older sister, the author intimately probes her family’s history for clues to its disintegration. Recounting her story without self-pity, she gracefully chronicles the painful results of a family shattered by repeated separations and traumas.
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A brutally honest book…akin to being the Angela’s Ashes of the modern Mexican immigrant experience.”
— LA Times

“Reyna Grande is a fierce, smart, shimmering light of a writer with an important story to tell.”
— Cheryl Strayed, New York Times bestselling author of Wild

“I’ve been waiting for this book for decades. The American story of the new millennium is the story of the Latino immigrant, yet how often has the story been told by the immigrant herself? What makes Grande’s beautiful memoir all the more extraordinary is that, through this hero’s journey, she speaks for millions of immigrants whose voices have gone unheard.”
— Sandra Cisneros, bestselling author of The House on Mango Street

“Grande consistently displays a fierce willingness to ask tough questions, accept startling answers, and candidly render emotional and physical violence.”
— Kirkus Reviews

“The poignant yet triumphant tale Grande tells of her childhood and eventual illegal immigration puts a face on issues that stir vehement debate.”
— Booklist

“Powerful, harrowing.”
— San Antonio Express News

“Eloquent, honest storytelling. This book would be fabulous required reading for college freshmen or, even better, for freshman members of Congress,”
— Washington Independent Review of Books

“An important piece of America’s immigrant history.”
— BookPage

“Grande never flinches in describing her surroundings and feelings, while her resilience and ability to empathize allow her to look back with a compassion that makes this story one that everyone should read.”
— School Library Journal

ALL YOU CAN EVER KNOW, by Chung NOTE: Meeting Online

Women's Biography
Monday, May 11, 7:30 pm

The Women's Biography Book Group is led by Doris Feinsilber and meets the 2nd Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m. The book group is meeting online. Please contact bookgroups@politics-prose for information.

All You Can Ever Know: A Memoir By Nicole Chung Cover Image

All You Can Ever Know: A Memoir (Paperback)

$16.95


In Stock—Click for Locations
Politics and Prose at 5015 Connecticut Avenue NW
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Politics and Prose at The Wharf (610 Water St SW)
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A NATIONAL BESTSELLER

This beloved memoir "is an extraordinary, honest, nuanced and compassionate look at adoption, race in America and families in general" (Jasmine Guillory, Code Switch, NPR)

What does it means to lose your roots—within your culture, within your family—and what happens when you find them?

Nicole Chung was born severely premature, placed for adoption by her Korean parents, and raised by a white family in a sheltered Oregon town. From childhood, she heard the story of her adoption as a comforting, prepackaged myth. She believed that her biological parents had made the ultimate sacrifice in the hope of giving her a better life, that forever feeling slightly out of place was her fate as a transracial adoptee. But as Nicole grew up—facing prejudice her adoptive family couldn’t see, finding her identity as an Asian American and as a writer, becoming ever more curious about where she came from—she wondered if the story she’d been told was the whole truth.

With warmth, candor, and startling insight, Nicole Chung tells of her search for the people who gave her up, which coincided with the birth of her own child. All You Can Ever Know is a profound, moving chronicle of surprising connections and the repercussions of unearthing painful family secrets—vital reading for anyone who has ever struggled to figure out where they belong.
Nicole Chung is the author of the national bestseller All You Can Ever Know. Named a Best Book of the Year by NPR, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Time, Library Journal, and many other outlets, All You Can Ever Know was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, a semifinalist for the PEN Open Book Award, an Indies Choice Honor Book, and an official Junior Library Guild selection. Chung is a contributing writer and editor at The Atlantic, and her writing has also appeared in The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, GQ, Time, The Guardian, and Vulture, among others. In 2021, she was named to the Good Morning America AAPI Inspiration List honoring those “making Asian American history right now.”
Product Details ISBN: 9781948226370
ISBN-10: 1948226375
Publisher: Catapult
Publication Date: October 15th, 2019
Pages: 256
Language: English
Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography
Long-listed for the PEN Open Book Award
Finalist for the ABA Indies Choice Adult Nonfiction Book of the Year Award
A Finalist for the 2019 NAIBA Book of the Year in Nonfiction
Named a Best Book of the Year by The Washington Post, NPR, TimeThe Boston Globe, and more

"[A] deeply moving and profound account of [Chung's] life as a Korean American adoptee, as she grows up and strives to understand her identity . . . All You Can Ever Know honors the grand complexity of love, family, and identity, while showing us how these things can save us and break us with devastating clarity and beauty." ―Today

"Chung’s memoir is more than a thoughtful consideration of race and heritage in America. It is the story of sisters finding each other, overcoming bureaucracy, abuse, separation, and time." ―The New Yorker

"Chung’s search for her biological roots . . . has to be one of this year’s finest books, let alone memoirs . . . Chung has literary chops to spare and they’re on full display in descriptions of her need, pain and bravery." ―The Washington Post

"The book is an extraordinary, honest, nuanced and compassionate look at adoption, race in America and families in general. It's also such an engaging read. I stayed up way too late one night reading it because the story just pulled me in. I read it months ago, and I still think about it and quote some of the lines in this book at least weekly." ―Jasmine Guillory, Code Switch, NPR

" Revisits her coming of age with a deep melancholy, favoring clarity over sentimentality . . . Chung emotionally relays her journey to becoming a writer―her path of negotiating and asserting her identity―and to learning about her birth family’s rather traumatic past. Yet her empathetic, graceful prose shines brightest when she casts her gaze elsewhere: on her adoptive parents―their warmth and their secrets, their struggle to talk about race―or on her birth sister, Cindy, who opens Chung’s eyes in adulthood, while similarly trying to find herself. Through them, Chung reveals a family story of heartbreaking truth―personal in its detail, universal in its complexity." ―Entertainment Weekly

"The honesty with which Chung grapples with this kind of racial erasure is a hallmark of her stunning debut memoir, a book that confronts enormous pain with precision, clarity, and grace . . . In addition to being deeply thoughtful and moving, the book is a fiercely compelling page-turner . . . But what shines through this beautiful book is her clear-eyed compassion for all her relations, her powerful desire for connection, her bold pursuit of her own identity, and the sheer creative energy it took to build her own family tree, to 'discover and tell another kind of story.'" ―The Boston Globe

" A landmark in the literature of adoption, and will be of enduring value to people looking for advice about raising a child of a different race." ―Marion Winik, Critical Mass: The Blog of the National Book Critics Circle Board of Directors

"A tender, unsentimental memoir . . . All You Can Ever Know has the patient pacing of a mystery and the philosophical heft of a skeptic’s undertaking." ―Newsday

"What gives All You Can Ever Know its power is the emotional honesty in every line, essential to the telling of a story so personal . . . All You Can Ever Know, sometimes painfully and always beautifully, explores what it means to be adopted, to be a different race from the family you grew up in, and to later create a family of your own." ―The Seattle Times

"Chung’s dynamic prose tackles identity and the forces that shape it . . . What Chung painstakingly unearths about her birth family is thrilling and unsettling, and her articulation of her findings averts tropish feel-good stereotypes. Here, the open wound at the heart of this exquisite narrative heals slightly skewed, exactly as it should." ―Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

"Raw, open, forthright, Chung’s personal odyssey is an intimate journey toward self-understanding and acceptance." ―The Christian Science Monitor

"This touching memoir explores issues of identity, racism, motherhood, and sisterhood with eloquence and grace. Highly recommended." ―Library Journal (starred review)

"[A] stunning memoir . . . Chung’s writing is vibrant and provocative as she explores her complicated feelings about her transracial adoption (which she 'loved and hated in equal measure') and the importance of knowing where one comes from." ―Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Highly compelling for its depiction of a woman's struggle to make peace with herself and her identity, the book offers a poignant depiction of the irreducibly complex nature of human motives and family ties. A profound, searching memoir about 'finding the courage to question what I'd always been told.'" ―Kirkus Reviews

"This book moved me to my very core. As in all her writing, Nicole Chung speaks eloquently and honestly about her own personal story, then widens her aperture to illuminate all of us. All You Can Ever Know is full of insights on race, motherhood, and family of all kinds, but what sets it apart is the compassion Chung brings to every facet of her search for identity and every person portrayed in these pages. This book should be required reading for anyone who has ever had, wanted, or found a family―which is to say, everyone." ―Celeste Ng, author of Little Fires Everywhere

“Adoption is neither an incident nor a process―it is an evergreen story of lives growing and resisting simple definitions. Chung’s All You Can Ever Know takes the grammar of adoption―nouns, verbs, and direct object―and with extraordinary integrity remakes them into a narrative about what it means to be a subject. A primary document of witness, Chung writes her memoir as a transracial adoptee with honesty, wisdom, and love. Her search and what she discovers offer us life’s meaning and purpose of the very highest order.” ―Min Jin Lee, author of Free Food for Millionaires and Pachinko

OLD IN ART SCHOOL, by Painter

Women's Biography
Monday, April 13, 7:30 pm

The Women's Biography Book Group is led by Doris Feinsilber and meets the 2nd Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m.

Old In Art School: A Memoir of Starting Over By Nell Painter Cover Image

Old In Art School: A Memoir of Starting Over (Paperback)

$17.95


In Stock—Click for Locations
Politics and Prose at 5015 Connecticut Avenue NW
1 on hand, as of Mar 2 9:24am
A finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, this memoir of one woman's later in life career change is “a smart, funny and compelling case for going after your heart's desires, no matter your age” (Essence).

Following her retirement from Princeton University, celebrated historian Dr. Nell Irvin Painter surprised everyone in her life by returning to school––in her sixties––to earn a BFA and MFA in painting. In Old in Art School, she travels from her beloved Newark to the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design; finds meaning in the artists she loves, even as she comes to understand how they may be undervalued; and struggles with the unstable balance between the pursuit of art and the inevitable, sometimes painful demands of a life fully lived.

How are women and artists seen and judged by their age, looks, and race? What does it mean when someone says, “You will never be an artist”? Who defines what an artist is and all that goes with such an identity, and how are these ideas tied to our shared conceptions of beauty, value, and difference?

Bringing to bear incisive insights from two careers, Painter weaves a frank, funny, and often surprising tale of her move from academia to art in this "glorious achievement––bighearted and critical, insightful and entertaining. This book is a cup of courage for everyone who wants to change their lives" (Tayari Jones, author of An American Marriage).
Nell Irvin Painter is the Edwards Professor of American History, Emerita, at Princeton University. Her acclaimed works of history include Standing at Armageddon, Sojourner Truth, and the New York Times bestseller The History of White People, which have received widespread attention for their insights into how we have historically viewed and translated ideas of gender, value, hierarchy, and race. She holds an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and a BFA from Mason Gross School of the Arts. Her visual artwork has been shown at numerous galleries and in many collections, including the San Angelo Museum of Fine Art, the Brooklyn Historical Society, and Gallery Aferro. She lives in Newark, New Jersey and the Adirondacks.
Product Details ISBN: 9781640092006
ISBN-10: 1640092005
Publisher: Counterpoint
Publication Date: August 27th, 2019
Pages: 352
Language: English
A New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice
A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year


“Candid and cheerfully irreverent . . . Bringing new energy and insight to questions that have long preoccupied the art world . . . One of the most enjoyable aspects of Old in Art School is seeing her relax her historian’s grip on social meaning and open up to new ways of seeing.” —The New York Times

“After years of writing history, Painter has become a visual artist, but she also discovers that she does not need to leave history behind. In this book, a memoir, she brings the two 'truths' together––the personal and the collective, the artistic and the historical––and the result is a heartening coming–of–age story for the retired set.” —The Washington Post

“Historian Nell Painter was 64 when she stepped down from her job at Princeton to attend the Rhode Island School of Design. She chronicles that experience in her memoir Old in Art School, bringing her fierce intelligence to questions not just of age but also race and what it means to be an artist.” —Los Angeles Times

“Twelve years ago, at the age of 64, Princeton history professor emerita and best–selling author Nell Painter decided to reinvent herself as an artist, an avocation she had always longed to pursue but never had the confidence or opportunity to commit to . . . She tells her story with wit, honesty and insight as she learns to see her art, and herself, all over again.” —The Wall Street Journal

“This feisty and delightfully irreverent memoir is a coming–of–age story for the over–60 set . . . The most impressive portrait that she achieves here is her own—an unstoppable force tethered to an iron will.” —The Boston Globe

“I was struck by the joyousness in its pages; this is an unexpected love story, written with a creative, passionate irreverence––like a painting rendered in words. Old in Art School is a vivid lesson in learning not to see ourselves through other’s eyes, and in following dreams.” —The Seattle Times

"I was full of admiration for Painter’s willingness to take herself out of a world in which her currency—scholarly accomplishment—commanded respect and put herself into a different one where that coin often went unrecognized altogether, all out of exultation in the art-making itself." —Margaret Talbot, The New Yorker 

“In this sweet, nuanced memoir, revered historian Painter recounts her late–in–life (and post–retirement) decision to earn a BFA and MFA in painting, and how getting an up–close view to all things art changed her life.” —Entertainment Weekly

“A smart, funny and compelling case for going after your heart's desires, no matter your age or what your critics say.” —Essence

“Painter, most famous for her book The History of White People, now addresses the equally ambitious question of what it takes to be an artist—and whether or not she has it . . . If this book were a novel, the artist would have been exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art by now, but Art School arrives at a messier, braver conclusion. Painter is a painter because she studied it, works hard at it and keeps doing it. Being able to paint is one kind of gift, this book suggests, but learning to paint is another, and just as precious.” —Time

Old in Art School is a glorious achievement—bighearted and critical, insightful and entertaining. This book is a cup of courage for everyone who wants to change their lives. This is not a story about starting over; it’s about continuing on the journey. Nell Painter has taken the coming of age story to a new level—this is what you get when a wise person gets even wiser, when a true artist spreads her wings.” —Tayari Jones, author of An American Marriage and Silver Sparrow

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