memoir

  What is it like to grow up with a terrorist in your home? Zak Ebrahim was only seven years old when, on November 5th, 1990, his father El-Sayyid Nosair shot and killed the leader of the Jewish Defense League. While in prison, Nosair helped plan the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993. In one of his infamous video messages, Osama bin Laden urged the world to “Remember El-Sayyid Nosair.”

For Zak Ebrahim, a childhood amongst terrorism was all he knew. After his father’s incarceration, his family moved often, and as the perpetual new kid in class, he faced constant teasing and exclusion. Yet, though his radicalized father and uncles modeled fanatical beliefs, to Ebrahim something never felt right. His story is told in The Terrorist's Son: A Story of Choice.

    

  Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, Blake Bailey has been hailed as “addictively readable” (New York Times) and praised for his ability to capture lives “compellingly and in harrowing detail” (Time).

The Splendid Things We Planned is his darkly funny account of growing up in the shadow of an erratic and increasingly dangerous brother, an exhilarating and sometimes harrowing story that culminates in one unforgettable Christmas.

  Charles M. Blow has been a columnist at the New York Times since 2008. He is known for penning intensely personal pieces and now tells his extraordinary life story in his memoir, Fire Shut Up in My Bones.

The book explores racial, spiritual and sexual complexities and is Blow’s coming of age story of psychic survival and self invention.

  Danny Aiello admits that he backed into his acting career by mistake. That’s easy to see when you begin at the beginning: Raised by his loving and fiercely resilient mother in the tenements of Manhattan and the South Bronx, and forever haunted by the death of his infant brother, Danny struggled early on to define who he was and who he could be. Shoeshine boy, numbers runner, and pool hustler were among the first identities he tried on.

After getting into trouble on the streets, he enlisted in the army at seventeen, served in Germany, and was honorably discharged. Later, as an unemployed high school dropout raising a family of his own, Danny was burdened with serious depression by the time he landed a job as a bouncer at a Hell’s Kitchen comedy club. Taking to the stage in the wee hours to belt out standards, Danny Aiello found his voice and his purpose: He was born to act.

He write about all that and more in his new memoir, I Only Know Who I Am When I Am Somebody Else: My Life on the Street, On the Stage, and in the Movies.

    

    In Timeless, a literary memoir, Lucinda Franks, a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist, tells the intimate story of her marriage to Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, one of the great men of our time.

  Timothy Shriver’s journey begins close to home, where the quiet legacy of his aunt Rosemary, a Kennedy whose intellectual disability kept her far from the limelight, inspired his family to devote their careers to helping the most vulnerable. He plays alongside the children of Camp Shriver, his mother’s revolutionary project, which provided a space for children with intellectual disabilities to play, and years later he gains invaluable wisdom from the incredible athletes he befriends as chairman of the organization it inspired, Special Olympics.

His book is Fully Alive: Discovering What Matters Most.

  If you're an Indo-Muslim-British-American actor who has spent more time in bars than mosques over the past few decades, turns out it's a little tough to explain who you are or where you are from.

In No Land's Man, Aasif Mandvi explores this and other conundrums through stories about his family, ambition, desire, and culture that range from dealing with his brunch-obsessed father, to being a high-school-age Michael Jackson impersonator, to joining a Bible study group in order to seduce a nice Christian girl, to improbably becoming America's favorite Muslim/Indian/Arab/Brown/Doctor correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Herbie Hancock

Oct 30, 2014

  Herbie Hancock is a true icon of modern music: a jazz pianist and composer whose illustrious career has spanned seven decades, fourteen Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, and most recently, a Kennedy Center Honor.

In his new memoir, Herbie Hancock: Possibilities, he reflects on his life and thriving career. Hancock has had an enormous influence on both acoustic and electric jazz, R&B and hip-hop.

From his beginnings as a child prodigy to his work in Miles Davis’s second great quintet; from his innovations as the leader of his own groundbreaking sextet to his collaborations with everyone from Wayne Shorter to Joni Mitchell and Stevie Wonder; he tells us what made those possibilites possible.

    Christopher Hill was on the front lines in the Balkans at the breakup of Yugoslavia. In Outpost: Life on the Frontlines of American Diplomacy: A Memoir, he takes us from one-on-one meetings with the dictator Milosevic, to Bosnia and Kosovo, to the Dayton conference, where a truce was brokered.

He draws upon lessons learned as a Peace Corps volunteer in Cameroon early on in his career and details his prodigious experience as a US ambassador. He was the first American Ambassador to Macedonia; Ambassador to Poland, where he also served in the depth of the cold war; Ambassador to South Korea and chief disarmament negotiator in North Korea; and Hillary Clinton’s hand-picked Ambassador to Iraq.

  Azar Nafisi, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Reading Lolita in Tehran, is here to tell us about her new book: The Republic of Imagination: America in Three Books.

Ten years ago, Nafisi wrote Reading Lolita in Tehran, which told the story of how she taught American literature to eager students in Iran, revealing how fiction can be a liberating force in a totalitarian society.

Blending memoir with close readings of four of her favorite novels—Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Sinclair Lewis’s Babbitt, Carson McCullers’s The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter and James Baldwin’s Another Country—Azar describes how she first discovered America and its fictional landscape as a young girl in Tehran and reminds us of the crucial role that literature played in the lives of the founding fathers.

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