cover image The Stories We Tell: Every Piece of Your Story Matters

The Stories We Tell: Every Piece of Your Story Matters

Joanna Gaines. Harper Select, $31.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-400-33387-5

In this touching memoir, designer and Magnolia Network cofounder Gaines (Magnolia Table, Vol. 2: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering) details how she learned self-acceptance. Growing up in 1980s small-town Kansas as the daughter of a white Vietnam War veteran father and a Korean mother, Gaines was a shy girl who didn’t see many other mixed-race families. In high school, Gaines and her family moved to Texas, and in the summer of 2000, 21-year-old Gaines interned at CBS News in New York City, where the city’s diversity encouraged her to embrace “the beauty of being different and the thrill of being unique.” The narrative foregrounds Gaines’s commitment to uplifting people (“I’ve come to see that a huge piece of my place in this world is to highlight passionate people who are doing beautiful things”), and she advocates for the power of empathy, or the ability to recognize “the burden someone is bearing.” As well, Gaines’s love for her husband and five kids is a throughline, as is her belief in moving forward through trying times (“There’s no space anymore for anchors that threaten healing”). Readers will be inspired by Gaines’s desire to find strength in self-discovery. Agent: Byrd Leavell, United Talent Agency. (Nov.)