Politics, Art, & Grief | Memoir Previews, Aug./Sept. 2017

Ausiello, Michael. Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies; A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Other Four-Letter Words. Atria. Sept. 2017. 256p. ISBN 9781501134968. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781501134982. MEMOIR
A longtime entertainment journalist, now founder and editor in chief of TVLine.com, Ausiello knows how to write. But here he’s set himself a tough task: discussing what happened after his husband, Kit Cowan, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of neuroendrocrine cancer, dying 11 months later in February 2015. Certainly, love and loss, and as the title suggests, there’s dark humor, too.

Dingell, John David with David Bender. The Dean: The Best Seat in the House, from FDR to Obama. Harper. Sept. 2017. 320p. ISBN 9780062571991. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780062572004. MEMOIR
The son of a congressman, Dingell became a house page in 1938 and was elected to the U.S. dingellHouse of Representatives in 1955, ultimately serving for 59 consecutive years and twice chairing the Energy and Commerce Committee. Clearly, his story is also America’s, and he’s still out there tweeting. With a 50,000-copy first printing.

Fraser-Cavassoni, Natasha. After Andy: Adventures in Warhol Land. Blue Rider. Aug. 2017. NAp. ISBN 9780399183539. $28. MEMOIR/ART
A daughter of Antonia Fraser, Fraser-Cavassoni was the last person hired by Andy Warhol to work at the Warhol Studio, and this account details not just her experiences there and her fascination with America’s art, music, and entertainment but Warhol’s ongoing influence. Glimpses of Mick Jagger, Jerry Hall, Edie Sedgwick, Karl Lagerfeld, David Bowie, Jack Nicholson, Lorne Michaels, Yoko Ono, John Belushi, and more.

Harpham, Heather. Happiness: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After. Holt. Aug. 2017. 320p. ISBN 9781250131560. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781250131577. MEMOIR
An award-winning writer, performer, and teacher of physical theater/improvisation, Harpham tells a heartrending story of young love, getting pregnant, her partner’s lack of interest in having children, returning home alone, then discovering hours after giving birth that something was dangerously wrong with her baby. There are terrible choices to make and a crooked little road to follow toward happiness_jacket_NEW_front_only.inddsome kind of radiant happiness.

Khan, Daisy. Pomegranate Dreams. Spiegel & Grau. Sept. 2017. 224p. ISBN 9780812995268. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780812995275. Downloadable: Random Audio. MEMOIR/RELIGION
Executive director of the Women’s Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equality (WISE), which aims to empower Muslim women, Khan braids an account of her advocacy work with the story of her life. She grew up in Kashmir, became a designer in New York, and after a period of disinterest returned to her faith and married a Sufi imam.

Kurshan, Ilana. If All the Seas Were Ink: A Memoir. St. Martin’s. Sept. 2017. 320p. ISBN 9781250121264. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250121271. MEMOIR/RELIGION
Kurshan, who has a publishing background and has published in venues like Tablet, Lilith, and the Jewish Week, washed up in Jerusalem in her late twenties after a difficult divorce. To save herself, she turned to daf yomi, the rigorous day-by-day study of the Talmud. After seven and a half years, during which she remarried and had three children, her work was complete.

LeFavour, Cree. Lights On, Rats Out: A Memoir. Grove. Aug. 2017. 244p. ISBN 9780802125965. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780802189158. CD: Blackstone. MEMOIR
Before LeFavour became a James Beard Award–nominated cookbook author, she was a troubled college graduate with the disquieting habit of lighting a cigarette and applying the sizzling tip to her skin. Here she explains both her darkened world at the time and how dangerously important her psychiatrist became to her. Look for promotion at BEA.

Litt, David. Thanks, Obama: My Hopey Changey White House Years. Ecco. Sept. 2017. 256p. ISBN 9780062568458. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062568465. MEMOIR
Litt entered the White House in 2011 and by age 24 had become one of the youngest presidential littspeechwriters ever. When he left in 2016, he was a special assistant to the president and senior presidential speechwriter, having covered topics ranging from climate change to criminal justice reform. He was also President Obama’s special comedy writer (he started contributing jokes to the president’s speeches in 2009), and it’s that comic touch that surfaces here. With a 60,000-copy first printing.

McDermott, Zach. Gorilla and the Bird. Little, Brown. Sept. 2017. 288p. ISBN 9780316315142. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780316315111. CD: Hachette Audio. MEMOIR
McDermott has worked as a public defender and published in placed like This American Life and Morning Edition. He’s also bipolar, and a particularly scary episode, where he believed he was being filmed for a TV pilot and dashed about Manhattan half-dressed, saw him admitted to Bellevue Hospital. Here, this self-styled gorilla recounts his experiences with bipolar disorder and how he has been pulled through the worst moments by his tough, devoted mother, whom he nicknames the bird. Optioned for film; with a 40,000-copy first printing.

Maynard, Joyce. The Best of Us: A Memoir. Bloomsbury USA. Sept. 2017. 304p. ISBN 9781635570342. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781635570366. MEMOIR
New York Times best-selling author Maynard recalls her one true partner, a man she met in her late fifties who asked her questions, wanted her to triumph, and didn’t mind how sloppy she was in the kitchen. They married, but it was no happily-ever-after; her husband was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer shortly after their first anniversary, and here Maynard recounts the following 19 months, as she learned what it meant to be a couple. With a five-city tour; featured at BEA.

Rienks, Meghan. You’re Not Special: It’s Okay, Neither Am I. Dey Street: HarperCollins. Sept. 2017. 240p. ISBN 9780062657893. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062657916. MEMOIR
In 2010, Rienks launched a comedy and lifestyle YouTube channel that has made her digital star; her big-sister advice has since attracted 2.3 million subscribers and claims over 170 million views. Her aim: to tell fans how to grow up to be a perfectly average human being—though at 100,000 copies, her print run is anything but. Big promotion targeting the college crowd and beyond.mirvis

Mirvis, Tova. The Book of Separation: A Memoir. Houghton Harcourt. Sept. 2017. 320p. ISBN 9780544520523. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780544520547. MEMOIR
Novelist Mirvis (e.g., Visible City, The Ladies Auxiliary) was born and raised in an Orthodox Jewish family and married a man of the faith, but by age 40 she finally acknowledged her doubts and her discomfort with such a confining existence and left it all behind. Here she explains what that has meant for her family and herself.

Scott, Jonathan & Drew Scott. Untitled. Houghton Harcourt. Sept. 2017. NAp. ISBN 9781328771476. $NA. MEMOIR
Better known as the Property Brothers, the Scott twins have fans galore for their popular HGTV home renovation shows Property Brothers, Property Brothers at Home, Buying & Selling, and Brother vs. Brother, not to mention their New York Times best-selling Dream Home. Now they tell the story of their lives, from their early years as competitive bagpipers and struggling actors (really) to their buying their first house when they were just 17. A grand career followed.

Sharapova, Maria. Sharapova: An Autobiography. Sarah Crichton: Farrar. Sept. 2017. 304p. ISBN 9780374279790. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780374715311. CD: Macmillan Audio. MEMOIR
Ranked number one by age 18 and the winner of five Grand Slam titles to date, Russian tennis player Sharapova also stars on the fashion pages and is notable for her charity work. Her career has zigged and zagged, particularly with the recent two-year ban (now reduced) after testing positive for a banned drug. This book should give us the big picture.

Wainwright, Loudon III. Liner Notes: On Parents, Children, Exes, Excess, Death, Decay & a Few More of My Favorite Things. Blue Rider. Sept. 2017. 288p. ISBN 9780399177026. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780698413085. MEMOIR
Up close and personal in his songs, Grammy Award–winning singer and actor Wainwright is just the same in this intermeshed memoir. He tells us what it’s like not only to be a famous performer but also the son of a famous journalist, former husband of Kate McGarrigle and Suzzy Roche, and father of performers Rufus Wainwright, Martha Wainwright, Lucy Wainwright Roche, and Lexie Kelly rabbitWainwright. Art and family interact here, with sometimes explosive results.

Williams, Patricia & Jeannine Amber. Rabbit: The Autobiography of Ms. Pat. Dey Street: HarperCollins. Aug. 2017. ISBN 9780062407306. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062407320. MEMOIR
Discovered and mentored by Roseanne Barr, comedian Williams performs as Ms. Pat. But she went by the street name Rabbit while growing up poor in a tough Atlanta neighborhood gutted by crack, where her alcoholic mother taught her to roll drunks for money at age seven. Pregnant by 13 and the mother of two by 15, Williams decided to find a better life for her children, and humor was the answer. With a 100,000-copy first printing; originally scheduled for June 2016.

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Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (bhoffert@mediasourceinc.com, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.

Comments

  1. Karl Helicher says:

    Will be interesting to compare Litt’s book with Mark Katz’s 2004 CLINTON AND ME. Katz was Clinton’s joke writer or Secretary of Mirth as he called himself. That book was laugh-out-loud funny; hopefully, Litt will have the same mojo. Wonder who will assume this role in the current administration. Likely a job with a lot of gallows humor.

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