Graduation: a special time when feelings of joy and celebration collide with a healthy dose of sheer terror. All of those hours of hard work have finally paid off in the form of a high school diploma or a university degree . . . but what’s next? How to make it in the real world is a big question with no easy answers. Whether your grad needs some level-headed advice on living well from some of our greatest authors, a few first-job stories or a collection of essays from much-admired leaders, four new books offer plenty of calming wisdom.
Does photographer Sally Mann really have a bulging file called “Maternal Slights,” as she writes in her courageous and visually ravishing memoir, Hold Still?
Teddy Todd, who first appeared in Kate Atkinson’s thrilling Life After Life (2013), served as a British pilot in World War II. As a young man in the throes of a brutal war, he “didn’t expect to see the alchemy of spring, to see the dull brown earth change to bright green and then pale gold.”
Willie Nelson was born to be a rambling man, but he was also born to be a gifted songwriter and storyteller. In his rambunctious and meandering memoir, It’s a Long Story, Nelson regales readers with stories of his life, from his childhood in Abbott, Texas, to his now-famous run-in with the IRS over back taxes in the 1990s.
Clearly it’s not just cats that have nine lives. In Robert Weintraub’s exceptionally well researched and engaging No Better Friend, we meet Judy, a purebred English pointer and hero of World War II.
A young boy heads to Coney Island for a birthday outing, his mother treating him to ice cream once they arrive. The word “cream” shows through a die-cut hole (“‘Ice cream,’ I say, my birthday surprise!”), and on the next spread, after the boy drops his snack, we read: “‘Oh no!’ I scream, with tears in my eyes.”
In the summer of 1859, a recently orphaned girl named Nell arrives on the doorstep of Aunt Kitty, whose "pickled onion" face offers her sorrowful niece a less-than-warm welcome. But when Nell discovers her aunt is a detective for Pinkerton’s National Detective Agency, the two end up tracking down thieves and murderers in this fun historical tale. The character of Aunt Kitty is based on real-life Kate Warne, the first female detective in the U.S. Chicago author and former journalist Kate Hannigan shares a bit more behind her new book, The Detective's Assistant.
Clad in Starfleet regulation red and black, Kate Mulgrew helmed the USS Voyager for seven seasons as Captain Kathryn Janeway in “Star Trek: Voyager.” In the hit series “Orange Is the New Black” she co-stars as take-no-guff Galina “Red” Reznikov, who shrewdly navigates the echelons of a minimum security federal women’s prison. Now, Mulgrew proves equally commanding as a storyteller—with a new memoir that is equal parts triumph and heartbreak.
Dan Simmons is known for big, serious books like Drood and The Terror that mix real-life history with genre fiction. And while The Fifth Heart is certainly big, it’s also brisk, funny and a hell of a good time.
Sometimes being the smartest kid in your class doesn’t make you any friends. Sometimes the way you see the world is so different from “normal” that you’re not sure anyone can understand you. So it is for Nicholas Funes, the 11-year-old hero of If You Find This.