memoir

In the 1990s, a “purity industry” emerged out of the white evangelical Christian culture. Purity rings, purity pledges, and purity balls came with a dangerous message: girls are potential sexual “stumbling blocks” for boys and men, and any expression of a girl’s sexuality could reflect the corruption of her character. This message traumatized many girls—resulting in anxiety, fear, and experiences that mimicked the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder—and trapped them in a cycle of shame.

Linda Kay Klein sits down to discuss her new book "Pure: Inside The Evangelical Movement That Shamed A Generation Of Young Women And How I Broke Free".

"Grant & Twain" At PS21

Sep 24, 2018

"Grant & Twain," a new play by playwright Elizabeth Diggs will have its debut at PS21Chatham this Thursday, September 27th. The play tells the story of a remarkable friendship.

At age 62, Ulysses Grant is bankrupted in a Wall Street swindle. His only hope to restore his honor and save his family is an offer to write his memoirs of the war. News of Grant’s calamity brings his friend Mark Twain to his side. Twain is infuriated by the terms offered by the prestigious publisher.

He makes an audacious proposal: he himself will publish Grant’s book and make it the biggest bestseller in American history. When Grant finally agrees, he is faced with a double enemy: he is diagnosed with terminal cancer and writes in a race with death, and he discovers an enemy close to home.

To tell us more, we welcome playwright Elizabeth Diggs and actor Michael Sean McGuiness who is playing Ulysses Grant in the production.

For years, Michelle LeClair, former President of Scientology's international humanitarian organization, tried to reconcile her sexual orientation with the anti-gay ideology of the church. Michelle finally ended her marriage, found the love of her life, a woman, and ultimately left the Church.

But the split comes at a price. Her once pristine reputation is publicly dragged through the mud, the police raid her home, her ex-husband tries to gain full custody of their children, and the multi-million dollar business she built from scratch is destroyed.

In her new memoir, "Perfectly Clear," Michelle LeClair offers an insider's perspective on Scientology's pervasive influence, secret rituals, and ruthless practices for keeping members in line.

On a summer day in New York Jonathan Santlofer discovers his wife, Joy, gasping for breath on their living room couch. After a frenzied 911 call, an ambulance race across Manhattan, and hours pacing in a hospital waiting room, a doctor finally delivers the fateful news.

Consumed by grief, Jonathan desperately tries to pursue life as he always had--writing, social engagements, and working on his art--but finds it nearly impossible to admit his deep feelings of loss to anyone, not even his to beloved daughter, Doria, or to himself.

Jonathan Santlofer is a writer and artist. His debut novel, "The Death Artist," was an international bestseller, translated into seventeen languages, and is currently in development for screen adaptation. His fourth novel, "Anatomy of Fear," won the Nero Award for best novel of 2009. His short stories have appeared in numerous anthologies. He is also the creator and editor of several anthologies including "It Occurs to Me That I Am America," a collection of original stories and art. His paintings and drawings are included in many public and private collections.

Jonathan will be a featured speaker at the Albany Book Festival on Saturday, September 29th @ 1-1:15. His talk is titled “How We Grieve.” And then on Sunday, September 30, Yaddo Presents Jonathan Santlofer at the Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga Springs at 5 p.m.

Kristi Coulter inspired and incensed the internet when she wrote about what happened when she stopped drinking. "Nothing Good Can Come from This" is her debut essay collection by a keen-eyed observer no longer numbed into complacency.

When Kristi stopped drinking, she started noticing things. Like when you give up a debilitating habit, it leaves a space, one that can’t easily be filled by mocktails or ice cream or sex or crafting. And when you cancel "Rosé Season" for yourself, you’re left with just Summer, and that’s when you notice that the women around you are tanked, that alcohol is the oil in the motors that keeps them purring when they could be making other kinds of noise.

In the book, Coulter reveals a portrait of a life in transition. Kristi will be part of the Volume Reading Series at Spotty Dog Books and Ale on September 8 at 7 p.m.

Author Mara Altman's volatile and apprehensive relationship with her body has led her to wonder about a lot of stuff over the years. Like, who decided that women shouldn't have body hair? And how sweaty is too sweaty? These questions and others like them have led to the comforting and sometimes smelly revelations that constitute the new book, “Gross Anatomy: Dispatches from the Front (and Back.)”

The book is an examination of the female body, from the tip of the hairiest chin to the bottom of the, well, bottom. Mara mixes memoir with reporting to shed light on some of society’s most taboo topics. In her essay collection, Altman turns her unflinching gaze from the mirror to society at large, revealing what today’s beauty obsessions might say about oneself and the world.

Sean Spicer has served as White House press secretary and communications director as well as Republican National Committee communications director and chief strategist. He also worked for the United States Trade Representative and several members of Congress.

In his new political memoir, "The Briefing," Spicer talks about some of the biggest news stories of our time, and offers a glimpse into what it’s like to stand at the press secretary’s podium.

World-renowned writing teacher Natalie Goldberg’s new memoir, “Let the Whole Thundering World Come Home” shares her experience with cancer grounded in her practice of writing and Zen. It is a reflection on being in love with your life even when life brings illness.

Lidia Matticchio Bastianich is a successful restaurateur, the author of many best-selling cookbooks, and the Emmy award-winning host of public television's "Lidia's Kitchen," which also airs internationally. She is also a judge on MasterChef Junior Italy and Italy's highly rated daily program "La Prova del Cuoco." 

Lidia's story begins with her upbringing in Pula, a formerly Italian city turned Yugoslavian under Tito's communist regime. She enjoys a childhood surrounded by love and security, despite the family's poverty, learning everything about Italian cooking from her beloved grandmother, Nonna Rosa. When the communist regime begins investigating the family, they flee to Trieste, Italy, where they spend two years in a refugee camp waiting for visas to enter the United States -- an experience that will shape Lidia for the rest of her life.

Her new memoir is "My American Dream: A Life of Love, Family, and Food."

Jamie Bernstein
Steve J. Sherman / Star Tribune

The composer of "On the Town" and "West Side Story," chief conductor of the New York Philharmonic, television star, humanitarian, and inveterate partygoer Leonard Bernstein was a massive celebrity during one of the headiest periods of American cultural life, and perhaps the most talented musician in American history.

To his eldest daughter, Jamie Bernstein, he was all that and more. She writes about her father in the new memoir, "Famous Father Girl."

She joins us to talk about the book, all of the international events celebrating Leonard Bernstein's Centennial this year -- including two very special events at Tanglewood in Lenox, Massachusetts. She’s directing "Trouble in Tahiti" on July 12 and hosting the Young People’s Concert on August 10.

Seymour Hersh's fearless reporting has earned him fame, front-page bylines in virtually every major newspaper in the free world, honors galore, and no small amount of controversy.

Now in this memoir, "Reporter," he describes what drove him and how he worked as an independent outsider, even at the nation's most prestigious publications.

James J. Florio is best known as governor of New Jersey from 1990 to 1994. But his career in local, state, and national government is far more varied, and his achievements as a progressive reformer are more substantial than most realize. 

His political memoir, "Standing on Principle: Lessons Learned in Public Life," tells the remarkable story of how Florio, a high school dropout who left to join the Navy as a teenager, went on to become an attorney, a state assemblyman, a congressman, and a governor. A passionate defender of the environment, Florio played a crucial role in the enactment of 1980s-era Superfund laws, which helped to clean up toxic waste sites in New Jersey and around the country.

Christie Watson was a registered nurse for twenty years before writing full time. Her first novel, "Tiny Sunbirds Far Away," won the Costa First Novel Award and her second novel, "Where Women Are Kings," was also published to international critical acclaim.

In "The Language of Kindness: A Nurse's Story," she opens the doors of the hospital and shares its secrets. She takes us by her side down hospital corridors to visit the wards and meet her unforgettable patients.

Richard M. Cohen is the author of two New York Times bestsellers: a memoir, "Blindsided," detailing his struggles with MS and cancer and his controversial career in the news business; and "Strong at the Broken Places," following the lives of five individuals living with serious chronic illnesses. His distinguished career in network news earned him numerous awards, including three Emmys and a Peabody.

After more than four decades living with multiple sclerosis, New York Times bestselling author Richard M. Cohen finds a flicker of hope in a groundbreaking medical procedure. His new book is "Chasing Hope."

When Jonathan Cain and the iconic band Journey were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cain could say he had finally arrived. But Cain's journey wasn't always easy and his true arrival in life had more to do with faith than fame.

His new memoir is "Don't Stop Believin': The Man, the Band, and the Song that Inspired Generations."

Journey's 58-city North American tour with Def Leppard will be in Albany at The Times Union Center on Wednesday, May 23.

Suzy Fincham-Gray is a veterinarian and board-certified small-animal internal medicine specialist. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of California, Riverside–Palm Desert.

In her first book, "My Patients and Other Animals," is a moving memoir of a life spent in the company of animals.

Ken Langone started as a hard-working teenager who dug ditches and collected used cardboard. Now, he’s a billionaire and business icon: a co-founder of Home Depot, a former director of the New York Stock Exchange, and a world-class philanthropist.

It wasn’t easy for an Italian-American kid from a blue-collar family to break into the clubby, WASP-dominated world of Wall Street in the late 1950s. But Langone pulled it off as he explains in his new book, "I Love Capitalism!: An American Story."

H. Jon Benjamin
Ben Denzer

H. Jon Benjamin is a comedian and actor - best known for voicing the title characters on Fox’s "Bob’s Burgers" and FXX’s "Archer."

His new attempted memoir, “Failure is an Option,” is a chronicle of  defeats and losses beating a steady drum throughout his life. It begins with the inscription “For all of you failures out there. You CAN do worse.” He is, by all accounts, a pretty successful guy -- the lead of two popular television shows. But he points out: voiceover only takes a few hours on any given workday and often he fills the rest of his time with failing -- and that’s ok.

Allison Pataki is the author of the bestselling novels "Sisi," "The Traitor’s Wife," and "The Accidental Empress," as well as the co-author of "Where the Light Falls," with her brother Owen Pataki, and two children’s books.

Her new book marks a departure from her fiction writing. In "Beauty in the Broken Places: A Memoir of Love, Faith, and Resilience," Pataki tells the personal story of her husband Dave's rare and life-threatening stroke and the unfathomable experiences that unfolded around her and her family as he recovered.

For decades, actress and director Christine Lahti has captivated the hearts and minds of her audience through iconic roles in "Chicago Hope," "Running on Empty," "Housekeeping," "And Justice for All," "Swing Shift," "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," "God of Carnage," and "The Blacklist." Now, in "True Stories from an Unreliable Eyewitness," this acclaimed performer channels her creativity inward to share her own story for the first time on the page.

In this poignant essay collection, Lahti focuses on three major periods of her life: her childhood, her early journey as an actress and activist, and the realities of her life as a middle-aged woman in Hollywood today.

Bestselling YA author Andrea Buchanan lost her mind while crossing the street one blustery March morning. The cold winter air triggered a coughing fit, and she began to choke.

She was choking on a lot that day. A sick son. A pending divorce. The guilt of failing as a partner and as a mother. When the coughing finally stopped, she thought it was over. She could not have been more wrong. Her new memoir is "The Beginning of Everything: The Year I Lost My Mind and Found Myself."

The youngest of thirteen children in a devout Catholic family, Tina Alexis Allen grew up in 1980s suburban Maryland in a house ruled by her stern father, Sir John, an imposing, British-born authoritarian who had been knighted by the Pope. Sir John supported his large family running a successful travel agency that specialized in religious tours to the Holy Land and the Vatican for pious Catholics.

But his daughter, Tina, was no sweet and innocent Catholic girl. A smart-mouthed high school basketball prodigy, she harbored a painful secret: she liked girls. When Tina was eighteen her father discovered the truth about her sexuality. Instead of dragging her to the family priest and lecturing her with tearful sermons about sin and damnation, her father shocked her with his honest response. He, too, was gay.

The secret they shared about their sexuality brought father and daughter closer, and the two became trusted confidants and partners in a relationship that eventually spiraled out of control.

Tina Alexis Allen’s new book is "Hiding Out: A Memoir of Drugs, Deception, and Double Lives."

Larry Ruhl’s new book, “Breaking the Ruhls,” is a profoundly personal account of the impact of complex trauma on a man’s life. Larry’s father sought comfort from his only son, blurring critical boundaries that would prove deeply debilitating. Larry’s mother, with her spiraling, ever-changing mental illness kept the family in a constant state of anxiety.

Book Cover - My Adventures With God
Amazon

From legendary character actor Stephen Tobolowsky, who currently appears on "The Goldbergs" and HBO’s "Silicon Valley," and Norman Lear’s new "One Day at a Time," author of "The Dangerous Animals Club" and The Tobolowsky Files podcast; "My Adventures with God" is a funny, introspective collection about love, catastrophe, and triumph, all told through the lens of his evolving relationship with the mystery that is “God.”

As Tobolowsky explains, “It’s hard to believe in nothing. Even cats believe in suppertime. As much as we love certainty, we are often shaped by the invisible, the unexplainable—something we call faith. We are inclined to acknowledge the holy. Even if it is only a paper heart we find in an old suitcase.”

Sandra Allen did not know her uncle Bob very well. As a child, she had been told he was “crazy,” that he had spent time in mental hospitals while growing up in Berkeley in the 60s and 70s. But Bob had lived a hermetic life in a remote part of California for longer than she had been alive, and what little she knew of him came from rare family reunions or odd, infrequent phone calls.

Then in 2009 Bob mailed her his autobiography. Typewritten in all caps, a stream of error-riddled sentences over sixty, single-spaced pages, the often incomprehensible manuscript proclaimed to be a “true story” about being “labeled a psychotic paranoid schizophrenic,” and arrived with a plea to help him get his story out to the world.

In "A Kind of Mirraculas Paradise," Allen translates her uncle’s autobiography, creating a gripping coming-of-age story while sticking faithfully to the facts as he shared them.

Jimmy Webb’s words have been sung to his music by a rich and deep roster of pop artists, including Glen Campbell, Art Garfunkel, Frank Sinatra, Donna Summer and Linda Ronstadt. He’s the only artist ever to win Grammy Awards for music, lyrics, and orchestration, and his chart-topping career has, so far, lasted fifty years, most recently with a Kanye West rap hit and a new classical nocturne.

He joined us to talk about his memoir, "The Cake and The Rain." 

Mamrie Hart is an actress, comedian, and New York Times bestselling author who established a presence in the pop culture zeitgeist with her hit YouTube channel, You Deserve a Drink.

Reaching more than three million followers across her social media channels and more than eighty-four million views on YouTube, Mamrie's influence as a creator earned her a position on Variety's annual list of Hollywood's New Leaders 2016 and a spot on The Hollywood Reporter's 2017 Digital Disrupters list.

Mamrie’s new essay collection is "I’ve Got This Round: More Tales of Debauchery."

  Anjali Kumar, a pragmatic lawyer for Google, was part of a rapidly growing population in America: highly spiritual but religiously uncommitted. But when her daughter was born, she became compelled to find God - or at least some kind of enlightenment. 

Convinced that traditional religions were not a fit for her, and knowing that she couldn't simply Google an answer to "What is the meaning of life?", Kumar set out on a spiritual pilgrimage, looking for answers--and nothing was off limits or too unorthodox. She headed to the mountains of Peru to learn from the shamans, attended the techie haunt of Burning Man, practiced transcendental meditation, convened with angels, and visited saints, goddesses, witches, and faith healers.

Her book is "Stalking God: My Unorthodox Search for Something to Believe In."

Through his roles as a "Daily Show" Correspondent, Deranged Millionaire, the PC to Justin Long’s Mac, and his own bestselling books, the real John Hodgman has always remained hidden: a mystery wrapped beneath his signature dry, absurdist wit (and a moustache or beard, depending on the year).

But now -- for the first time -- he turns to the truth, exposing his real-life roles as a father, husband, and hater of fudge. He’s the first to admit that his path to success has been a strange one, and he’s the best person to explain why. 

His new book: "Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches," follows his journeys as a very citified only child nerd, navigating wildernesses where he does not belong. 

Finding Magic

Nov 21, 2017

Author, journalist, television commentator, and longtime Washington insider Sally Quinn reflects on the spiritual quest that has brought deeper meaning to her life—and kept her grounded within the high-powered political world of Washington, D.C.’s elite—her renowned writing career, her celebrity marriage, and her legendary role as doyenne of the capital’s social scene.

In this emotionally involving, illuminating memoir, the legendary Washington Post journalist talks candidly about her life at the white-hot center of power and the surprising spiritual quest that has driven her for more than half a century.

Her newest book is Finding Magic: A Spiritual Memoir. 

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