March 4, 2016 | madame librarian
In celebration of National Women's History Month, five biographies of women who have made their mark.
Shirley Jones is an American film legend of the first order, having starred in Oklahoma!, Carousel, and The Music Man, as well as playing her Oscar-winning role as a prostitute in Elmer Gantry long before The Partridge Family. On that iconic show, she portrayed the epitome of American motherhood, a symbol to generations of families in the 1970s, and she remains a cult icon today.But for those who only think of Shirley as the prim and proper Marian the librarian or the chaste and demure Mrs. Partridge, a massive surprise is in store. Here, in this candid memoir, the real flesh-and-blood Shirley Jones is revealed at last in this hilarious and heartwarming, shocking and intimate memoir.
Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, were thrust into the world spotlight when Gabby miraculously survived an assassination attempt. Now, as her health continues to improve, the couple shares their story. Told in Mark's voice and from Gabby's heart, this is an unflinching look at the challenges of brain injury, the responsibilities that fall to a loving spouse, and the healing power of deeply shared love and courage.
Shortly after 9/11, Los Angeles Times journalist Megan K. Stack was thrust into Afghanistan and Pakistan, where she dodged gunmen and prodded warlords for information. From there, she traveled to war-ravaged Iraq, Lebanon and other countries scarred by violence. Every Man in This Village is a Liar is Megan K. Stack's electrifying account of what she saw in the combat zones and beyond. She relates her initial wild excitement and her slow disillusionment. She reports from under bombardment in Lebanon; records the raw pain of suicide bombings in Israel and Iraq; and marks the deaths and disappearances of those she has interviewed. Beautiful, savage, and unsettling, this is an unforgettable narrative about the wars of the 21st century - a shattering account from a reporter on the front lines.
March 1, 2016 | madame librarian
"Each time a girl opens a book and reads a womanless history, she learns she is worth less." ~ Myra Pollack Sadker. March is National Women's History Month. History helps us learn who we are, but when we don’t know our own history, our power and dreams are immediately diminished. Throughout the centuries, women have been strong contributors to our world, but received no written recognition for their accomplishments.
"West with the Night" is the story of Beryl Markham--aviator, racehorse trainer, beauty--and her life in the Kenya of the 1920s and '30s. During the pioneer days of aviation, she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic from east to west.
A lively and provocative double biography of first cousins Eleanor Roosevelt and Alice Roosevelt Longworth, two extraordinary women whose tangled lives provide a sweeping look at the twentieth century. When Theodore Roosevelt became president in 1901, his beautiful and flamboyant daughter was transformed into "Princess Alice," arguably the century's first global celebrity. Thirty-two years later, her first cousin Eleanor moved into the White House as First Lady. Born eight months and twenty blocks apart from each other in New York City, Eleanor and Alice spent a large part of their childhoods together and were far more alike than most historians acknowledge. But their politics and temperaments couldn't have been more distinct. Do-gooder Eleanor was committed to social justice but hated the limelight; acid-tongued Alice, who became the wife of philandering Republican congressman Nicholas Longworth, was an opponent of big government who gained notoriety for her cutting remarks (she famously quipped that dour President Coolidge "looked like he was weaned on a pickle"). While Eleanor revolutionized the role of First Lady with her outspoken passion for human rights, Alice made the most of her insider connections to influence politics, including doing as much to defeat the League of Nations as anyone in elective office.
"Inspired by the critically acclaimed Netflix documentary What Happened, Miss Simone?, an intimate and vivid look at the legendary life of Nina Simone, the classically trained pianist who evolved into a chart-topping chanteuse and committed civil rights activist. From music journalist and former Spin and Vibe editor-in-chief Alan Light comes a biography of incandescent soul singer and Black Power icon Nina Simone, one of the most influential, provocative, and least understood artists of our time. Drawn from a trove of rare archival footage, audio recordings and interviews (including Simone's remarkable private diaries), this nuanced examination of Nina Simone's life highlights her musical inventiveness and unwavering quest for equality, while laying bare the personal demons that plagued her from the time of her Jim Crow childhood in North Carolina to her self-imposed exile in Liberia and Paris later in life. Harnessing the singular voice of Miss Simone herself and incorporating candid reflections from those who knew her best, including her only daughter, Light brings us face to face with a legend, examining the very public persona and very private struggles of one of our greatest artists"--.
February 23, 2016 | daviscrl
"The life and times of the wealthiest man who ever lived--Jacob Fugger--the Renaissance banker who revolutionized the art of making money and established the radical idea of pursuing wealth for its own sake. Jacob Fugger lived in Germany at the turn of the sixteenth century, the grandson of a peasant. By the time he died, his fortune amounted to nearly two percent of European GDP. Not even John D. Rockefeller had that kind of wealth. Most people become rich by spotting opportunities, pioneering new technologies, or besting opponents in negotiations. Fugger did all that, but he had an extra quality that allowed him to rise even higher: nerve. In an era when kings had unlimited power, Fugger had the nerve to stare down heads of state and ask them to pay back their loans--with interest. It was this coolness and self-assurance, along with his inexhaustible ambition, that made him not only the richest man ever, but a force of history as well. Join us Saturday, March 19 at 10 AM.