Saturday, July 13, 2013

5 books from the July Biography & Memoir eNewsletter with unusual titles

“I sold the memoirs of my sex life to a publisher - they are going to make a board game out of it”
- Woody Allen

I moved into public libraries for two reasons: 1) books and 2) I wanted to see if I had what it took to work with any and all kinds of queries and people. Appallingly cliche, right? And yet true. I wanted to be able to see and read ALL OF THE THINGS. My first day on the job I was asked by a customer how much it would cost to send a letter to Tunisia. And every day during my time in the branches was like that. It was a hoot. The variety of questions ensured that I never got bored. Ten years later, I haven't read all of the things, but I've given it a damn good try. At the heart of it, those reasons above are still valid today. I would, though, like to add a third thing to the list: 3) unusual book titles. That must be a thing. Surely? I mean, I come across so many during my work day - whether it's editing eNewsletters, following up on eBook/eAudiobook queries, updating our tweetstream or Facebook page, or even just in conversation with family, friends, and colleagues - they're just THERE. Waiting to be discovered. I think it's my superpower that I manage to find them without even trying. As we all know, with great power comes great responsibility, and it's my duty to share them with you all. Whether you want them or not. Today's five are rounded up from the July Biography & Memoir eNewsletter. Which, by the way, you can read online OR subscribe to for free because BOOKS GOOD is the best philosophy ever. (Followed very closely by CHOCOLATE GOOD, admit it).

Aprons and silver spoons : the heartwarming memoirs of a 1930s kitchen maid / Mollie Moran
When young Mollie became a 'skivvy' in a stately London townhouse aged just 14, she quickly learned that a large amount of elbow grease and a sense of humour would be tantamount to surviving there. Through Mollie's eyes we are offered a fascinating glimpse into London's invisible 'downstairs', a world that has long-since vanished: cooking huge roast dinners, polishing doorknobs, scrubbing steps - and covering up her employers' scandals. Going to dances with her fellow servants and flirting with Harrods' errand boys, she had no idea that the oncoming war in 1939 would change her world, and that of those she served, forever...

Everything is perfect when you're a liar / Kelly Oxford
With more than 300,000 followers on Twitter, and frequent retweets from heavy-hitting fans such as Diablo Cody and Kevin Nealon, one of the funniest voices ever to hit the Internet uses her trademark blend of biting wit and self-deprecation to find hilarity in everyday life.

The world's strongest librarian : a memoir of Tourette's, faith, strength, and the power of family / Joshua Hanagarne
An inspiring story of how a Mormon kid with Tourette's found salvation in books and weight-lifting. Josh Hanagarne couldn't be invisible if he tried. Although he wouldn't officially be diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome until his freshman year of high school, Josh was six years old and onstage in a school Thanksgiving play when he first began exhibiting symptoms. By the time he was twenty, the young Mormon had reached his towering adult height of 6'7" when -- while serving on a mission for the Church of Latter Day Saints -- his Tourette's tics escalated to nightmarish levels. Determined to conquer his affliction, Josh underwent everything from quack remedies to lethargy-inducing drug regimes to Botox injections that paralyzed his vocal cords and left him voiceless for three years. Undeterred, Josh persevered to marry and earn a degree in library science. At last, an eccentric, autistic strongman -- and former Air Force Tech Sergeant and guard at an Iraqi prison -- taught Josh how to "throttle" his tics into submission through strength-training. Today, Josh is a librarian in the main branch of Salt Lake City's public library and founder of a popular blog about books and weight lifting -- and the proud father of four-year-old Max, who has already started to show his own symptoms of Tourette's.

A dog walks into a nursing home : lessons in the good life from an unlikely teacher / Sue Halpern
A layabout mutt turned therapy dog leads her owner to a new understanding of the good life. At loose ends with her daughter leaving home and her husband on the road, Sue Halpern decided to give herself and Pransky, her under-occupied Labradoodle, a new leash--er, lease--on life by getting the two of them certified as a therapy dog team. Smart, spirited, and instinctively compassionate, Pransky turned out to be not only a terrific therapist but an unerring moral compass. In the unlikely sounding arena of a public nursing home, she led her teammate into a series of encounters with the residents that revealed depths of warmth, humor, and insight Halpern hadn't expected. And little by little, their adventures expanded and illuminated Halpern's sense of what virtue is and does--how acts of kindness transform the giver as well as the given-to. Funny, moving, and profound, A Dog Walks into a Nursing Home is the story of how one faithful, charitable, loving, and sometimes prudent mutt--showing great hope, fortitude, and restraint along the way (the occasional begged or stolen treat notwithstanding)--taught a well-meaning woman the true nature and pleasures of the good life.

A bit mental : one man's mission to lilo the Waikato and live more awesome / Jimi Hunt
Jimi Hunt is a man who has spent most of his life doing ridiculous things for his own amusement. Things like building the country’s biggest Slip ‘n’ Slide; playing golf through the streets of downtown Auckland; and holding an alternative Summer Olympics including events such as sandcastle building and rhythmic gymnastics. But what none of this successful entrepreneur’s friends knew was that Jimi had been silently battling with depression. Not one to sit on his backside, he decided to do something mad about it…like Lilo the Waikato! His crazy story of travelling 425 kilometres down NZ’s longest river on a $7 inflatable mattress, followed by over 20,000 Facebook fans, intertwines pearls of wisdom and the odd puncture with plenty of hilarity and hijinks…and the Huka Falls. The adventure was something a little different, something that ended up capturing the imagination of the nation. It was the first time someone was raising awareness for depression that didn’t revolve around something depressing!

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