In 2008, after a record-breaking career as a D1 college baseball player, Emil DeAndreis' life seemed set: He was twenty-three, in great shape, and had just been offered a contract to pitch professionally in Europe. Then his body fell apart. It started with elbow stiffness, then swelling in his wrist. Soon, his fingers were too bloated to grip a baseball. He had Rheumatoid Arthritis, a disease that causes swelling and eventual deterioration of the joints, mostly targeting old people and women. Hard To Grip tells the story of a young man's body giving out when he needs it most. It chronicles an ascending sports career, the ups and downs of life in the NCAA, and the challenges of letting go of pro baseball due to a dehumanizing condition. In a series of humorous anecdotes, Emil takes the reader on his bittersweet journey of a young man's having to grapple with an "old woman's disease." From striking out future major leaguer All Stars, to sitting in support groups; from breaking university records, to barely making it up the stairs; from language barriers with Chinese healers to figuring out how to be employed as a vegetable, this book unveils the disease with humor and fearless honesty through the eyes of an unlikely victim. This memoir is an honest, rueful and at times hilarious story about learning to come to terms with a new reality, and an inspiring account of how Emil learned to run with the disease and not from it.
Welcome to the wonderful world of public education, as seen through the eyes of seasoned substitute teacher, Horton Hagardy. It's a time you might recall with great fondness if you were a student-a day to escape the oppressive existence of your everyday tormentors. If you're a substitute, however, these dark, funny, and often poignant stories, take you to a very real place. In Emil DeAndreis's new book, Beyond Folly, we are on the front lines of the education system, in the trenches, so to speak, of what it feels like to face the everyday challenges of being a teacher on call. These thoughtful and insightful linked-together tales give the reader a behind-the-scenes peek into the life and mind of a substitute teacher, an isolated, underpaid, and underappreciated professional.
Author: Stacey May Fowles
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Release Date: 2017-04-11
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
A passionate ode to baseball, its culture, and its community, which both celebrates and challenges the game – and reminds us why it really matters. What is it about a man hitting a small white ball with a slim wooden bat out of a park that’s so beautiful? In this entertaining and thoughtful book, Stacey May Fowles gives us a refreshingly candid and personal perspective on subjects ranging from bat flips to bandwagoners, from the romance of spring training to the politics of booing, from the necessity of taking a hard look at players’ injuries and mental health issues to finding solace at the ballpark. Fowles confronts head-on the stereotype that female fans lack real knowledge about the game, and calls out the “boys will be boys” attitude and its implications both on and off the field. She also offers exhilarating snapshots of the Toronto Blue Jays’ 2015 and 2016 seasons. With remarkable humanity, intelligence, and an unabashed enthusiasm for the game, Fowles explores how we can use the lens of baseball to examine who we are. A must-read for both diehard and casual fans.
Author: Leo Durocher
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Release Date: 2009-09-15
Genre: Sports & Recreation
“I believe in rules. Sure I do. If there weren't any rules, how could you break them?” The history of baseball is rife with colorful characters. But for sheer cantankerousness, fighting moxie, and will to win, very few have come close to Leo “the Lip” Durocher. Following a five-decade career as a player and manager for baseball’s most storied franchises, Durocher teamed up with veteran sportswriter Ed Linn to tell the story of his life in the game. The resulting book, Nice Guys Finish Last, is baseball at its best, brimming with personality and full of all the fights and feuds, triumphs and tricks that made Durocher such a success—and an outsized celebrity. Durocher began his career inauspiciously, riding the bench for the powerhouse 1928 Yankees and hitting so poorly that Babe Ruth nicknamed him “the All-American Out.” But soon Durocher hit his stride: traded to St. Louis, he found his headlong play and never-say-die attitude a perfect fit with the rambunctious “Gashouse Gang” Cardinals. In 1939, he was named player-manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers—and almost instantly transformed the underachieving Bums into perennial contenders. He went on to manage the New York Giants, sharing the glory of one of the most famous moments in baseball history, Bobby Thomson’s “shot heard ’round the world,” which won the Giants the 1951 pennant. Durocher would later learn how it felt to be on the other side of such an unforgettable moment, as his 1969 Cubs, after holding first place for 105 days, blew a seemingly insurmountable 8-1/2-game lead to the Miracle Mets. All the while, Durocher made as much noise off the field as on it. His perpetual feuds with players, owners, and league officials—not to mention his public associations with gamblers, riffraff, and Hollywood stars like George Raft and Larraine Day—kept his name in the headlines and spread his fame far beyond the confines of the diamond. A no-holds-barred account of a singular figure, Nice Guys Finish Last brings the personalities and play-by-play of baseball’s greatest era to vivid life, earning a place on every baseball fan’s bookshelf.
Author: Bill Lee
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2011-02-03
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
A gripping, true story of one man’s forty-year struggle with compulsive gambling and his hard-won recovery. "My history of gambling really began before I was born." So opens Born to Lose, Bill Lee's self-told story of gambling addiction, set in San Francisco's Chinatown and steeped in a culture where it is not unheard of for gamblers (Lee's grandfather included) to lose their children to a bet. From wagering away his beloved baseball card collection as a youngster to forfeiting everything he owned at black jack tables in Las Vegas, Lee describes what gambling addiction feels like from the inside and how recovery is possible through the Twelve Step program.
Author: Alex Lemon
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2009-12-29
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
His freshman year of college, Alex Lemon was supposed to be the star catcher on the Macalester College baseball team. He was the boy getting every girl, the hard-partying kid everyone called Happy. In the spring of 1997, he had his first stroke. For two years Lemon coped with his deteriorating health by sinking deeper into alcohol and drug abuse. His charming and carefree exterior masked his self-destructive and sometimes cruel behavior as he endured two more brain bleeds and a crippling depression. After undergoing brain surgery, he is nursed back to health by his free-spirited artist mother, who once again teaches him to stand on his own. Alive with unexpected humor and sensuality, Happy is a hypnotic self-portrait of a young man confronting the wreckage of his own body; it is also the deeply moving story of a mother’s redemptive and healing powers. Alex Lemon’s Technicolor sentences pop and sing as he writes about survival—of the body and of the human spirit.
A haunting collection of lyrically-intense persona poems, "Black Crow Dress" is at once about the emancipation of slaves in their myriad voices as well as a meditation on the self. The collection's lush imagery takes us from church yard to church, chanting the old spirituals, as Johnson seeks to embody the spirits of the dead: Clea, Caroline and Zebedee. Original.
Author: Frank McCourt
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 1998-12-17
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
A Pulitzer Prize–winning, #1 New York Times bestseller, Angela’s Ashes is Frank McCourt’s masterful memoir of his childhood in Ireland. “When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I managed to survive at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood.” So begins the luminous memoir of Frank McCourt, born in Depression-era Brooklyn to recent Irish immigrants and raised in the slums of Limerick, Ireland. Frank’s mother, Angela, has no money to feed the children since Frank’s father, Malachy, rarely works, and when he does he drinks his wages. Yet Malachy—exasperating, irresponsible, and beguiling—does nurture in Frank an appetite for the one thing he can provide: a story. Frank lives for his father’s tales of Cuchulain, who saved Ireland, and of the Angel on the Seventh Step, who brings his mother babies. Perhaps it is story that accounts for Frank’s survival. Wearing rags for diapers, begging a pig’s head for Christmas dinner and gathering coal from the roadside to light a fire, Frank endures poverty, near-starvation and the casual cruelty of relatives and neighbors—yet lives to tell his tale with eloquence, exuberance, and remarkable forgiveness. Angela’s Ashes, imbued on every page with Frank McCourt’s astounding humor and compassion, is a glorious book that bears all the marks of a classic.
Author: Carolina De Robertis
Release Date: 2017-05-02
Genre: Political Science
Radical Hope is a collection of letters—to ancestors, to children five generations from now, to strangers in grocery lines, to any and all who feel weary and discouraged—written by award-winning novelists, poets, political thinkers, and activists. Provocative and inspiring, Radical Hope offers readers a kaleidoscopic view of the love and courage needed to navigate this time of upheaval, uncertainty, and fear, in view of the recent US presidential election. Including letters by Junot Díaz, Alicia Garza, Roxana Robinson, Lisa See, Jewelle Gomez, Hari Kunzru, Faith Adiele, Parnaz Foroutan, Chip Livingston, Mohja Kahf, Achy Obejas, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Cherríe Moraga, Kate Schatz, Boris Fishman, Karen Joy Fowler, Elmaz Abinader, Aya de León, Jane Smiley, Luis Alberto Urrea, Mona Eltahawy, Jeff Chang, Claire Messud, Meredith Russo, Reyna Grande, Katie Kitamura, iO Tillett Wright, Francisco Goldman, Celeste Ng, Peter Orner, and Cristina García.
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Release Date: 2017-09-19
Genre: Social Science
The end of retirement? From the beet fields of North Dakota to the National Forest campgrounds of California to Amazon’s CamperForce program in Texas, employers have discovered a new, low-cost labor pool, made up largely of transient older Americans. Finding that social security comes up short, often underwater on mortgages, these invisible casualties of the Great Recession have taken to the road by the tens of thousands in late-model RVs, travel trailers, and vans, forming a growing community of nomads: migrant laborers who call themselves “workampers.” On frequently traveled routes between seasonal jobs, Jessica Bruder meets people from all walks of life: a former professor, a McDonald’s vice president, a minister, a college administrator, and a motorcycle cop, among many others—including her irrepressible protagonist, a onetime cocktail waitress, Home Depot clerk, and general contractor named Linda May. In a secondhand vehicle she christens “Van Halen,” Bruder hits the road to get to know her subjects more intimately. Accompanying Linda May and others from campground toilet cleaning to warehouse product scanning to desert reunions, then moving on to the dangerous work of beet harvesting, Bruder tells a compelling, eye-opening tale of the dark underbelly of the American economy—one that foreshadows the precarious future that may await many more of us. At the same time, she celebrates the exceptional resilience and creativity of these quintessential Americans who have given up ordinary rootedness to survive. Like Linda May, who dreams of finding land on which to build her own sustainable “Earthship” home, they have not given up hope.
Last Things is the true and intensely personal story of how one woman coped with the devastating effects of a catastrophic illness in her family. Using her trademark mix of words and pictures to sharp effect, Marissa Moss presents the story of how she, her husband, and her three young sons struggled to maintain their sense of selves and wholeness as a family and how they continued on with everyday life when the earth shifted beneath their feet. After returning home from a year abroad, Marissa's husband, Harvey, was diagnosed with ALS. The disease progressed quickly, and Marissa was soon consumed with caring for Harvey while trying to keep life as normal as possible for her young children. ALS stole the man who was her husband, the father of her children, and her best friend in less than 7 months. This is not a story about the redemptive power of a terminal illness. It is a story of resilience - of how a family managed to survive a terrible loss and grow in spite of it. Although it's a sad story, it's powerfully told and ultimately uplifting as a guide to strength and perseverance, to staying connected to those who matter most in the midst of a bleak upheaval. If you've ever wondered how you would cope with a dire diagnosis, this book can provide a powerful example of what it feels like and how to come through the darkness into the light. Last Things is one of the most amazingly poignant and honest memoirs - graphic or otherwise -- I've ever encountered. This book - which I read in one insatiable sitting -- tore my heart in two. Moss handles the material with such a delicate sensibility, both with her drawings and her text, I couldn't help but let her carry me along on her journey of love and loss. ---Katie Hafner, contributing writer to The New York Times and author of Mother, Daughter, Me: A Memoir
The first Hispanic and third woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor has become an instant American icon. Now, with a candor and intimacy never undertaken by a sitting Justice, she recounts her life from a Bronx housing project to the federal bench, a journey that offers an inspiring testament to her own extraordinary determination and the power of believing in oneself. Here is the story of a precarious childhood, with an alcoholic father (who would die when she was nine) and a devoted but overburdened mother, and of the refuge a little girl took from the turmoil at home with her passionately spirited paternal grandmother. But it was when she was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes that the precocious Sonia recognized she must ultimately depend on herself. She would learn to give herself the insulin shots she needed to survive and soon imagined a path to a different life. With only television characters for her professional role models, and little understanding of what was involved, she determined to become a lawyer, a dream that would sustain her on an unlikely course, from valedictorian of her high school class to the highest honors at Princeton, Yale Law School, the New York County District Attorney’s office, private practice, and appointment to the Federal District Court before the age of forty. Along the way we see how she was shaped by her invaluable mentors, a failed marriage, and the modern version of extended family she has created from cherished friends and their children. Through her still-astonished eyes, America’s infinite possibilities are envisioned anew in this warm and honest book, destined to become a classic of self-invention and self-discovery.
Author: Robert Thomas Winn
Publisher: Humanix Books
Release Date: 2016-11-22
Genre: Health & Fitness
"Dr. Winn’s story is remarkably open, unguarded and intimate. I believe that almost any physician, staff member, patient, patient family member or friend will come away with new insights and understanding after reading this moving memoir." —Frederick R. Appelbaum, M.D. Director, Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Little does he know that an unexpected call that interrupts an early Spring bike ride in the Wasatch mountains above Park City will change his life forever. A day later, when Dr. Robert Winn’s beloved wife Nancy is diagnosed with the life-threatening disease acute myeloid leukemia (AML), he is too devastated and emotionally shattered to communicate with family and their many friends. For many months he can’t even speak without getting choked up or crying. At the nadir of her illness Nancy is given a 5% chance of survival and Winnie (the name lovingly bestowed upon Dr. Winn by his many patients and friends) commits to always be by the side of his soul mate and to never leave Nancy alone at night. As a result, during the entire two years his wife is gravely ill and, at times, near death, he sits in the quiet of Nancy’s hospital room late into the evening and writes to their family and friends. These trials and tribulations are movingly and remarkably captured for posterity in Night Reflections: A True Story of Friendship, Love, Cancer, and Survival. Life with cancer, a devastating disease for any patient and family, is a constant struggle and fight for survival that demands that you learn to live through the entire day, each hour, and every minute. Night Reflections chronicles an inspirational story of courage, love, devotion, struggle, and ultimately triumph. Night Reflections will help anyone suffering from a devastating illness, their loved ones, caregivers, and the medical community alike and the strength to face even the darkest of days.
Author: Dan Barry
Release Date: 2016-05-17
Genre: Social Science
With this Dickensian tale from America’s heartland, New York Times writer and columnist Dan Barry tells the harrowing yet uplifting story of the exploitation and abuse of a resilient group of men with intellectual disability, and the heroic efforts of those who helped them to find justice and reclaim their lives. In the tiny Iowa farm town of Atalissa, dozens of men, all with intellectual disability and all from Texas, lived in an old schoolhouse. Before dawn each morning, they were bussed to a nearby processing plant, where they eviscerated turkeys in return for food, lodging, and $65 a month. They lived in near servitude for more than thirty years, enduring increasing neglect, exploitation, and physical and emotional abuse—until state social workers, local journalists, and one tenacious labor lawyer helped these men achieve freedom. Drawing on exhaustive interviews, Dan Barry dives deeply into the lives of the men, recording their memories of suffering, loneliness and fleeting joy, as well as the undying hope they maintained despite their traumatic circumstances. Barry explores how a small Iowa town remained oblivious to the plight of these men, analyzes the many causes for such profound and chronic negligence, and lays out the impact of the men’s dramatic court case, which has spurred advocates—including President Obama—to push for just pay and improved working conditions for people living with disabilities. A luminous work of social justice, told with compassion and compelling detail, The Boys in the Bunkhouse is more than just inspired storytelling. It is a clarion call for a vigilance that ensures inclusion and dignity for all.
Author: John Green
Release Date: 2017-10-10
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
“A wrenching and revelatory novel.” – The New York Times “Green finds the language to describe the indescribable. . . . A must-read for those struggling with mental illness, or for their friends and family.” —San Francisco Chronicle #1 New York Times Bestseller • #1 Wall Street Journal Bestseller • #1 International Bestseller • USA Today Bestseller It’s quite rare to find someone who sees the same world you see. Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis. Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts. In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.