After eight commanding works of fiction, Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Russo now turns to memoir in a hilarious, moving, and always surprising account of his life, his parents, and the upstate New York town they all struggled variously to escape.

Anyone familiar with Richard Russo's acclaimed novels will recognize Gloversville - once famous for producing gloves and anything else made of leather. This is where the author grew up, the only son of an aspirant mother and a charming, feckless father who were born into this close-knit community. But by the time of his childhood in the 1950s, prosperity was replaced by poverty and illness (often tannery-related), with everyone barely scraping by.

    James Braly is the first two-time winner of The Moth GrandSlam, a contributor to This American Life, and currently touring the country with his Off-Broadway hit Life In a Marital Institution (20 Years of Monogamy in One Terrifying Hour).

His new memoir is also entitled: Life In a Marital Institution.

    When journalist Becky Aikman was widowed in her 40s, she felt unmoored. But she couldn’t find the kind of help that she needed, so she dug into the data and eventually created her own unique support system.

Her book, Saturday Night Widows: The Adventures of Six Friends Remaking Their Lives, details the trials and triumphs following tragedy — and new research about what really helps the bereaved.

    On Horseback and Healing is the memoir of an abused, neglected girl-child who finds escape and healing through her relationships with her horses. On the back of her pony, and later on her horses, she finds comfort and solace in the nourishing bounty of the natural world.

Sharon Miller Blake’s quest for a life beyond mere survival takes her all over this continent. She has many adventures and some misadventures as she wrestles with dark passages and mental instability, but she has an inner spark, which keeps her seeking the light and a vibrant connectedness.

    To Anne Serling, the imposing figure the public saw hosting The Twilight Zone each week, intoning cautionary observations about fate, chance, and humanity, was not the father she knew. Her fun-loving dad, Rod Serling, would play on the floor with the dogs, had nicknames for everyone in the family.

After his unexpected death at 50, Anne, just 20, was left stunned. Gradually, she found solace for her grief by talking to his friends, poring over old correspondence, and recording her childhood memories.

Now she shares personal photos, eloquent, revealing letters, and beautifully rendered scenes of his childhood, war years, and their family's time together. Her new book is: As I Knew Him: My Dad, Rod Serling.

    At age 17, Dylan Dethier couldn’t help but think he’d never really done anything with his life. So, two months before his freshman year was set to begin, he deferred admission to Williams College. With the reluctant blessing of his parents, Dylan set out on his idea of the Great American Road Trip: to play a round of golf in each of the lower forty-eight states.


  Jacqueline Kellachan from The Golden Notebook in Woodstock, NY joins us with this week's Book Picks. 

List after the break.

    In his new memoir, Bad Boy, renowned American artist Eric Fischl explores his coming of age as an artist, and his search for a fresh narrative style in the highly charged and competitive New York art world in the 1970s and 1980s.

  Today's Book Picks come from Matt Tennenbaum from The Bookstore in Lenox.

List after the break.

    Mary Williams was born to Black Panther parents during the heart of the Black Power movement in Oakland, Calif., in the 1970s. She was just a toddler when her father went to San Quentin prison.

Her mother, struggled to support the family on her own, turning to alcohol, as her oldest sister turned to crack and prostitution. But when Williams was sent to spend the summer at a camp run by Jane Fonda, her life began to change.

Over the course of several summers, Fonda and Williams grew close, and eventually, the Hollywood star invited Williams, at age 16, to come live with her in Santa Monica. This was the beginning of a journey, which she chronicles in her new memoir, The Lost Daughter.