If you’re searching for a gift for dear ol’ dad, two celebrity memoirs and two accounts of unusual personal quests are among our recommendations for a Father’s Day reading list.
When Mimi Baird was 6 years old, her father, prominent Boston dermatologist Perry Baird, didn’t come home. In that moment, Baird effectively disappeared forever from his daughter’s life, for her mother told her only that he was “away.” Baird saw her father once in the 15 years between his disappearance and his death in 1959.
Grandparents who love their only grandchild fiercely, but haven’t spoken since their divorce 50 years ago, incite her urgent question: What happened? As she writes in A Fifty-Year Silence: Love, War, and a Ruined House in France, Miranda Richmond Mouillot hopes to recreate a fairy tale of love found, and somehow lost, amid the turmoil of World War II. But her grandparents, Armand and Anna, are growing frail and their memories of fleeing Nazi-occupied France are painful.
Suki Kim, author of the highly regarded novel The Interpreter, went to North Korea to teach English under doubly false pretenses. Her fellow instructors at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) were evangelical Christians pretending to be nonreligious teachers. (“North Korea was the evangelical Christian Holy Grail, the hardest place to crack in the whole world,” she writes.) To be accepted into the program, Kim pretended to be an evangelical pretending to be a nonreligious teacher. She feared exposure on all sides.
BookPage Nonfiction Top Pick, April 2014
Frances Mayes’ lyrical memoir of growing up Southern was a long time coming. Worried about upsetting her family, she stopped and started Under Magnolia many times over: “Anytime I felt the impulse to start my Southern opus again, I instead headed for a movie or a new Thai restaurant,” she writes. “I’d go jogging or read a novel until the impulse faded.”
In a frank and richly evocative memoir, the author of Under the Tuscan Sun recalls growing up in the Deep South.
Why did you feel now was the right time to write a memoir of your coming-of-age?
Moving from California (where I lived and worked for decades) back to the South reconnected me on many levels with the land I came from originally. Some of the connections were simple and primitive—the fecund and flowery smells, the cheerful sounds of the tree frogs, the grating drama of cicadas, the grand sunsets and the intense humidity.
Madhulika Sikka's new book, A Breast Cancer Alphabet, is here "for anyone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer and needs a companion."
In 1974, at the age of 10, Anya von Bremzen immigrated to Philadelphia with her mother, leaving behind a nation forever underfed: the USSR. Her first trip to an American supermarket should’ve been like stepping into heaven. Young Anya, however, hates the place. Back home in Moscow, obtaining food meant standing in a queue for hours, but it was often an adventure. In contrast, the...
Father’s Day 2013 brings with it memoirs, nostalgia pieces, books on child-rearing (specifically from Dad’s POV) and also interesting volumes related to golf’s singular, imaginative hold on the father-son bond. We can’t review every item that made it over the transom, but here’s a sampler of our favorites.SEEKING TO UNDERSTANDIn an epic mix of sprawling journalism...
Confessions of a Sociopath opens on a disturbing scene. Author M.E. Thomas (a pseudonym) finds a baby opossum in her swimming pool. Fetching the skimmer, she uses it to hold the animal underwater; when it escapes, she leaves it to drown, returning later to toss the body over her neighbor’s fence. Does this sound like you or anyone you know? If it did, would you admit it?Confessions of a...