Nonfiction Previews, Jan. 2014, Pt. 5: Humor, Memoir, Sports, & More

Barry, Dave. You Can Date Boys When You’re Forty: Dave Barry on Parenting and Other Topics He Knows Very Little About. Putnam. Jan. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9780399165948. $26.95. CD: Penguin Audio. HUMOR
Pulitzer Prize winner Barry is always funny, and here he is being funny about the trials of parenthood, including having to accompany his daughter to a Justin Bieber concert: “It turns out that the noise teenaged girls make to express happiness is the same noise they would make if their feet were being gnawed off by badgers.” You ain’t seen nothin’ yet, Mr. Barry. With a national tour.

Davis, Seth. Wooden: A Coach’s Life. Times Bks: Holt. Jan. 2014. 608p. ISBN 9780805092806. $35. BIOGRAPHY/SPORTS
A senior writer at Sports Illustrated with one New York Times best seller to his name (When March Went Mad), Davis offers an account of legendary UCLA coach John Wooden, who led his teams to ten NCAA championships in 12 seasons and an 88-game winning streak—records that go unchallenged. Portraits of folks like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton, too. Not a lot out there on Wooden, so this will be welcome; with a 60,000-copy first printing.

Levine, Alison. On the Edge. Grand Central. Jan. 2014. 228p. ISBN 9781455544875. $27. BUSINESS/SELF-HELP
Aha, another book that applies metaphor to today’s demanding business environment, but at least Levine earns her edgy title. A world-class mountain climber who served as team captain of the first American Women’s Everest Expedition, Levine knows what it’s like to solve problems on precipices 8000 meters in the sky. So her leadership tips, polished by years of speaking to Fortune 500 companies, could make a difference.

MacLean, David Stuart. The Answer to the Riddle Is Me: A Memoir of Amnesia. Houghton Harcourt. Jan. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9780547519272. $25. MEMOIR/MEDICAL
MacLean was traveling in 2008 when he needed to take a standard malarial medication—and had a shocking but apparently not unprecedented reaction. Coming to in a train station in India (“It was darkness darkness darkness, then snap. Me. Now awake”), he had no memory whatsoever—and his passport was missing. After days spent hallucinating at a mental hospital, he began piecing together his identity—and wasn’t entirely pleased with the good-time guy he had been. Now he’s a PEN/American award-winning author with this memoir on the way.

O’Rourke, P.J. Baby Boom. Atlantic Monthly. Jan. 2014. 272p. ISBN 9780802121974. $25. HUMOR
Baby boomers, time to tune in, turn on, and drop out for a little reminiscing with funnyman O’Rourke, who brings not only his particular brand of humor but his own experiences to this account. Yes, it’s sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll and wearing white Levis to school as a supreme form of rebellion. How did we get from all that to retirement?

Strub, Sean. Body Counts: A Memoir of Politics, Sex, AIDS and Survival. Scribner. Jan. 2013. 320p. ISBN 9781451661958. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781451661972. MEMOIR
Founder of POZ magazine, a longtime activist in the LGBT and AIDS movements, the first openly HIV-positive candidate for U.S. Congress, and a man near death until the advent of a new class of drugs in 1996, Strub has come a long way since running the Senate elevator part-time as a confused Georgetown freshman. Any story that takes in all that, plus Studio 54 and Andy Warhol’s Factory, Bill Clinton and Yoko Ono, has to be interesting.

Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @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.