memoir

Senator Al Franken has represented the State of Minnesota in the US Senate since 2009. Before entering politics, he was one of the original writers and performers on Saturday Night Live.

He is also a best-selling author. His new book is Al Franken, Giant of the Senate where he tells the story of an award-winning comedian who decided to run for office and discovered why award-winning comedians tend not to do that. 

Journalist and cultural critic Kate Bolick is back with another season of Touchstones: Conversations at The Mount in Lenox, MA. On Thursday afternoon, Kate will be having an intimate conversation with author Lee Siegel about his memoir, The Draw.

The book tells the story of the unforgiving sovereignty of money. Hoping to make a killing in New Jersey real estate, Lee’s dad Monroe Siegel, takes a draw from his employer against unearned commission. When the recession hits in the 1970s, Monroe finds himself owing a small fortune to his firm.

He sinks toward divorce and bankruptcy, while Lola, Lee's mother, suffers a nervous breakdown that turns her into a different person. Shamed and enraged by his father's fate, Lee grows up wondering what society owes a person who has failed materially but preserved his humanity.

Journalist and cultural critic Kate Bolick is back with another season of Touchstones: Conversations at The Mount. This Thursday - May 25th – Kate will have an intimate conversation with author Ariel Levy about her new work, The Rules Do Not Apply: A Memoir.

Ariel Levy joined The New Yorker as a staff writer in 2008, and received the National Magazine Award for Essays and Criticism in 2014 for her piece “Thanksgiving in Mongolia.” She is the author of the book Female Chauvinist Pigs, and was a contributing editor at New York for twelve years.

On January 14, 2015, rock climber Tommy Caldwell, along with his partner Kevin Jorgeson, summited what is widely regarded as the hardest climb in history - Yosemite’s nearly vertical 3,000-foot Dawn Wall.

After an arduous nineteen-day ascent, Caldwell and Jorgeson were the first to summit it without the assistance of ropes, other than to catch their falls. Caldwell’s odds-defying feat was the culmination of an entire lifetime of pushing himself to his limits as an athlete. In his new memoir The Push, he shares his story.

Mark Lukach is a teacher and freelance writer. His work has been published in the New York Times, The Atlantic, Pacific Standard, Wired, and other publications. He is currently the ninth grade dean at The Athenian School, where he also teaches history.

Mark and Giulia’s life together began as a storybook romance. They fell in love at eighteen, married at twenty-four, and were living their dream life in San Francisco. When Giulia was twenty-seven, she suffered a terrifying and unexpected psychotic break that landed her in the psych ward for nearly a month. One day she was vibrant and well-adjusted; the next she was delusional and suicidal, convinced that her loved ones were not safe.

Mark recounts their experience in My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward: A Memoir.

The Jewish Federation Connecting with Community series presents The Butcher's Daughter: Echoes of the Shoah with author and published poet, Florence Grende on Monday April 24th.

Grende offers a gripping, at times haunting, family history by the daughter of a Holocaust survivor. The Butchers Daughter is an account of the devastation of war and the marks left on the succeeding generation. 

John Oates was born at the perfect time, paralleling the birth of rock ‘n roll. Raised in a small Pennsylvania town, he was exposed to folk, blues, soul, and R&B. Meeting and teaming up with Daryl Hall in the late 1960s, they developed a style of music that was uniquely their own but never abandoned their roots.

In Change of Seasons: A Memoir, John uncovers the grit and struggle it took to secure a recording contract with the legendary Atlantic Records and chronicles the artistic twists and turns that resulted in a DJ discovering an obscure album track that would become their first hit record.

In her memoir, Whip Smart, Melissa Febos laid bare the intimate world of the professional dominatrix, turning an honest examination of her life into a study of power, desire, and fulfillment.

Abandon Me explores the bonds of love and the need for connection -- with family, lovers, and oneself. First, her birth father, who left her with only an inheritance of addiction and Native American blood, its meaning a mystery. Meanwhile, she remains closely tied to the sea captain who raised her, his parenting ardent but intermittent as his work took him away for months at a time.

Woven throughout is the hypnotic story of an all-consuming, long-distance love affair with a woman, marked equally by worship and withdrawal. Abandon Me draws on childhood stories, religion, psychology, mythology, popular culture, and the intimacies of one writer's life to reveal intellectual and emotional truths that feel startlingly universal. Melissa Febos has two events in our region and joins us this morning.

John Simpson is the former chief editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, where he helped take the dictionary online.

His new book, The Word Detective: Searching for the Meaning of It All at the Oxford English Dictionary, is an intensely personal memoir and a joyful celebration of English, he weaves a story of how words come into being (and sometimes disappear), how culture shapes the language we use, and how technology has transformed not only the way we speak and write but also how words are made.

When Stéphane Gerson’s eight year old son, Owen, died in a rafting accident, he found himself in uncharted territory. In the weeks that followed, he started to write about life without his son. Eventually, those writings took shape as the new book, Disaster Falls: A Family Story. 

When feminist writer Susan Faludi learned that her 76-year-old father ― long estranged and living in Hungary ― had undergone sex reassignment surgery, she was set on an investigation that would turn personal and urgent.

How was this new parent who identified as “a complete woman now” connected to the silent, explosive, and ultimately violent father she had known, the photographer who’d built his career on the alteration of images?

Elizabeth Lesser, cofounder of Omega Institute and the Omega Women's Leadership Center, is author of The Seeker's Guide and Broken Open.

Her new memoir is Marrow, a visceral and profound memoir of two sisters who, in the face of a bone marrow transplant—one the donor and one the recipient—begin a quest for acceptance, authenticity, and most of all, love.

Matt Haig is a British author for children and adults. His memoir Reasons to Stay Alive was a number one bestseller, staying in the British top ten for 46 weeks. His children's book A Boy Called Christmas was a runaway hit in his own country and is translated in over 25 languages.

We also speak with him about Reasons to Stay Alive - his memoir about how he came through crisis, triumphed over an illness that almost destroyed him and learned to live again. 

Following on the heels of his New York Times bestselling Telegraph Avenue, Michael Chabon – who won the Pulitzer Prize for The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay – delivers his latest, Moonglow, a novel of truth and lies, family legends, and existential adventure. 

Peak Joel McHale

Dec 13, 2016

For years, Joel McHale’s stand-up performances have sold out venues across the country, and his role in the beloved cult series Community and as the host of E!’s The Soup have made him a household name in comedy and pop culture.

He currently stars in the new CBS comedy The Great Indoors which is about an adventure reporter for an outdoor magazine when he becomes the desk-bound boss to a team of millennials in the magazine's digital department. 

McHale's submission to the vast world of celebrity tell-all books is Thanks for the Money: How to Use My Life Story to Become the Best Joel McHale You Can Be.

Tara Clancy was raised in three wildly divergent homes: a converted boat shed in working class Queens, a geriatric commune of feisty, Brooklyn-born Italians, and a sprawling Hamptons estate she visited every other weekend.

This childhood triptych comes to life in her new memoir, The Clancys of Queens.

Former three-time major league baseball all-star Ralph Branca has died at 90. Branca had an 11-year career in the bigs including stints with the Tigers and Yankees, but he is best remembered for a landmark moment in New York baseball. Pitching for the Brooklyn Dodgers in a 1951 playoff, Branca gave up the “Shot Heard Round The World” — Bobby Thomson’s home run that sent the New York Giants to the World Series. Years later, Branca and Thomson made peace. But as Branca explained in an interview with WAMC in 2011, it eventually emerged that Thomson had received help stealing the Dodgers’ signs in an elaborate scheme. We spoke with him about his memoir A Moment in Time: An American Story of Baseball, Heartbreak, and Grace.

Young, searching, fresh out of business school, Phil Knight borrowed fifty dollars from his father and launched a company with one simple mission: import high-quality, low-cost running shoes from Japan. Selling the shoes from the trunk of his Plymouth Valiant, Knight grossed eight thousand dollars that first year, 1963.

Today, Nike’s annual sales top $30 billion. In this age of start-ups, Knight’s Nike is the gold standard, and its swoosh is more than a logo. A symbol of grace and greatness, it’s one of the few icons instantly recognized in every corner of the world.

Phil Knight's new book is Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike.

Alan Cumming is an award-winning actor, writer, activist, and photographer.

In his new book, You Gotta Get Bigger Dreams, he shares real life stories of late-night parties; backstage anecdotes; cross-country road-trips with his dog, Honey; and poignant memories of his life, loves, family, fellow actors, and friends. 

  Jennifer Weiner is many things: a #1 "New York Times "bestselling author, a Twitter phenomenon, and an unlikely feminist enforcer (The New Yorker). She's also a mom, a daughter, and a sister; a former rower and current cyclist; a best friend and a reality TV junkie. In her first foray into nonfiction, Hungry Heart, she takes the raw stuff of her personal life and spins into a collection of essays on modern womanhood.

Jennifer Weiner will be interviewed live on stage by Elaina Richardson of Yaddo at Congregation Shaara Tfille in Saratoga Springs, NY on Sunday, October 16 at 1:00 p.m. in an event presented by Northshire Bookstore.

As a founding member of The Beach Boys, Mike Love has spent an extraordinary fifty-five years, and counting, as the group's lead singer and one of its principal lyricists.

The Beach Boys, from their California roots to their international fame, are a unique American story -- one of overnight success and age-defying longevity; of musical genius and reckless self-destruction; of spirituality, betrayal, and forgiveness -- and Love is the only band member to be part of it each and every step.

Love’s story has never been fully told, of how a sheet-metal apprentice became the quintessential front man for America's most successful rock band, singing in more than 5,600 concerts in 26 countries. He writes about it all in his new memoir: Good Vibrations: My Life as a Beach Boy. 

The co-founder of The Omega Institute Elizabeth Lesser’s new book Marrow tells her story of sisters who in the face of a bone-marrow transplant – one the donor, one the recipient – begin a quest for acceptance, authenticity, and – most of all – love.

Joyce Carol Oates has won the highest honors in American fiction, ranging from the National Book Award to being awarded the National Humanities Medal from President Obama in 2010. She is also a 5-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. She has a pair of new books out – one a memoir, one a meditation on writing. 

We spoke to Joyce Carol Oates her as part of The Creative Life: A Conversation Series at The University at Albany. Our conversation was taped in September before a live audience in the University’s Performing Arts Center. 

Living on a homestead in Homer, Alaska, singer-songwriter Jewel learned to yodel at age five, and joined her parents’ entertainment act, working in hotels, honky-tonks, and biker bars. Behind a strong-willed family life with an emphasis on music and artistic talent, however, there was also instability, abuse, and trauma.

At age fifteen, she moved out and tasked herself with a mission: to see if she could avoid being the kind of statistic that her past indicated for her future. Soon after, she was accepted to the prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, and there she began writing her own songs as a means of expressing herself and documenting her journey to find happiness.

Jewel was eighteen and homeless in San Diego when a radio DJ aired a bootleg version of one of her songs and it was requested into the top-ten countdown, something unheard-of for an unsigned artist. By the time she was twenty-one, her debut had gone multiplatinum.

Jewel’s memoir Never Broken: Songs Are Only Half the Story is out in paperback.

A former child actor best known for her starring roles in Matilda and Mrs. Doubtfire, Mara Wilson has always felt a little young and out of place: as the only kid on a film set full of adults, the first daughter in a house full of boys, a Valley girl in New York and a neurotic in California, and a grown-up the world still remembers as a little girl.

Tackling everything from what she learned about sex on the set of Melrose Place, to discovering in adolescence that she was no longer “cute” enough for Hollywood, her book, Where Am I Now?: True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame, charts her journey from accidental fame to relative (but happy) obscurity.

  Ariel Leve is an award-winning journalist who has written for the Guardian, Financial Times Magazine, the Telegraph, the Observer, and the London Sunday Times Magazine, where she was a senior writer and a columnist.

Ariel Leve grew up in Manhattan with an eccentric mother she describes as “a poet, an artist, a self-appointed troublemaker and attention seeker.” Leve learned to become her own parent, taking care of herself and her mother’s needs. There would be uncontrolled, impulsive rages followed with denial, disavowed responsibility, and then extreme outpourings of affection. How does a child learn to feel safe in this topsyturvy world of conditional love?

She writes about her life and her mother in he memoir, An Abbreviated Life.

  Nora Ephron was a phenomenal personality, journalist, essayist, novelist, playwright, Oscar-nominated screenwriter, and movie director (Sleepless in SeattleYou’ve Got MailWhen Harry Met SallyHeartburnJulie & Julia). She wrote a slew of bestsellers (I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman; I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections; Scribble, Scribble: Notes on the Media; Crazy Salad: Some Things About Women). She was celebrated by Hollywood, embraced by literary New York, and adored by legions of fans throughout the world.

Award-winning journalist Richard Cohen, writes about about his friend in his “third-person memoir,” She Made Me Laugh.

  In 1979, Liz Pryor was a seventeen-year-old girl from a good family in the wealthy Chicago suburbs. Halfway through her senior year of high school, she discovered she was pregnant—a fact her parents are determined to keep a secret from her friends, siblings, and community forever.

One snowy January day, after driving across three states, her mother dropped her off at what Liz thinks is a Catholic home for unwed mothers—but which is, in truth, a locked government-run facility for delinquent and impoverished pregnant teenage girls.

Liz Pryor has written her story in the new book, Look at You Now. Pryor has written a deeply moving story and she share with us this morning. Liz Pryor is an author, speaker, parenting columnist, and life advice expert. She currently serves as ABC’s Good Morning America on-air life advice guru. 

The Silence Of War

Aug 23, 2016

  Terry McGowan had been a beat cop, a Marine captain, and a Special Agent for the FBI before retiring at the age of fifty. But when tragedy struck the United States on September 11th, 2001, Terry felt a sense of duty to protect and serve his country.

McGowan became a Special Advisor to the Marines and was immediately put to use on the frontline of battle in Afghanistan. He later celebrated his 59th birthday dodging bullets at a Marine base nicknamed “the Alamo.”

In his new memoir, The Silence of War: An Old Marine in a Young Marine’s War, Terry McGowan details his return to combat three decades after leaving the corps. 

  "Whoever said you can't get sober for someone else never met my mother, Mama Jean. When I came to in a Manhattan emergency room after an overdose to the news that she was on her way from Texas, I panicked. She was the last person I wanted to see on that dark September morning, but the person I needed the most."

So begins this astonishing memoir ― by turns both darkly comic and deeply poignant ― about this native Texan's long struggle with alcohol, his complicated relationship with Mama Jean, and his sexuality. The book is listed as “Required Reading” in Mary Karr’s bestselling The Art of Memoir and was a Book Chase Top 10 Nonfiction Book of 2015.

Pages