Gretchen Rubin worries that she’s becoming a bit of a happiness bully. “I don’t want to be a bore that everyone runs away from!” she says from her apartment on New York’s Upper East Side. “It’s very hard for me not to overwhelm everyone with research and suggestions and thoughts. That I find effortless. Not talking about it—that I find hard. I have such strong ideas.”
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.
When Gillian Flynn learned in June that her new novel, Gone Girl, had debuted at number two on the New York Times bestseller list, it was not exactly a glamorous moment in publishing. “I was in Scottsdale by myself,” Flynn recalls. “I got the phone call while wading in the hotel pool.”
On its surface, Kristen Iversen’s childhood in suburban Denver was idyllic. She and her three younger siblings had horses to ride, a local lake and a neighborhood filled with kids.But just under the surface lurked dangers that Iversen doesn’t fully understand until she is much older. Her Scandinavian parents believe in a stiff upper lip. They rarely acknowledge Iversen’s...
Looking for a blow-by-blow account of Condoleezza Rice’s years as George W. Bush’s secretary of state? You would do well to find one of the many Rice biographies already on the shelves. In this remarkably clear-eyed and candid autobiography, Rice focuses instead on her fascinating coming-of-age during the stormy civil rights years in Birmingham, Alabama.Extraordinary, Ordinary...
It seems somehow inappropriate to call a book so mired in war and misery magical, but in the case of When the Elephants Dance, there's no other word for it. Tess Uriza Holthe's first novel is a collection of supernatural Filipino legends recounted in her family for generations. Even with a backdrop of a brutal World War II battle during which women are raped, malaria is rampant and the lush...