Life stories can entertain; they can teach, amaze, and if you’ve ever been trapped in a corner at a cocktail party having your ear bent, you know they can bore.
But when people write books, and publishers publish them, we can expect to be taken along, sometimes on an adventure, as in After Woodstock: The True Story of a Belgian Movie, an Israeli Wedding, and a Manhattan Breakdown, Elliot Tiber’s final installment in his trilogy that started when he was living with his parents in their Catskills motel. Edmund White, the unabashedly gay literary writer, self-described as an “archeologist of gossip,” follows his second memoir, the juicy City Boy set in hedonistic pre-AIDS New York, with tales of his 15 years abroad in Inside a Pearl: My Years in Paris. With Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life, author Tom Robbins, known for his comedic, poetic, socially conscious novels, like Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, looks back on his wild and crazy life.
Barbara Ehrenreich, who’s muckraked her way up bestseller lists with exposés like Nickeled and Dimed, about America’s working poor, rekindles her search for “the meaning of life” after discovering her adolescent journal documenting her early desire for “answers” in Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever’s Search for the Truth about Everything. Deborah Feldman left the Satmar community in Williamsburg Brooklyn and continues the quest she began in her first memoir, Unorthodox, with Exodus, in which she’s an independent woman searching for a personal Jewish identity.
Often we are unwitting participants in the events that change our lives. When Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Ron Suskind’s son Owen stops communicating at age three, Suskind discovers that the boy can relate through animated Disney movies and chronicles the family’s 20-year journey through autism in Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism. Real-life hero Jess Bauman lost both his legs in the attack on the Boston marathon as he stood at the finish line cheering on his girlfriend. His story, Stronger: Fighting Back After the Boston Marathon Bombing, was written with Bret Witter about his experience, recovery, and how the involvement of the city of Boston helped him to heal. A Sliver of Light: Three Americans Imprisoned in Iran is told in the interweaving of their three voices. Captured in 2009 and accused of espionage after unknowingly crossing the border from Iraqi Kurdistan, friends Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd, and Josh Fattal were sent to Tehran’s infamous Evin prison where, despite confinement and interrogation, they forged unexpected alliances.
And once in a while, a savior has four legs. James Bowen, an English busker with some serious problems, including heroin addiction, found a ginger stray who literally followed him around everywhere. Bob the cat is an international celebrity; the first book, A Street Cat Named Bob, has sold over a million copies. There’s been a sequel and another is on its way: The World According to Bob: the Further Adventures of One Man and His Street-Wise Cat.
In the political arena, Hillary Clinton is back on the literary scene with Hillary Rodham Clinton New Memoir, in which she recounts her stint as secretary of state. Beyond straight reflections, she shares her ideas for dealing with the challenges facing our country and the world. Might Clinton be looking forward to the White House in 2016? Speculation is running high. Writing a book has worked before.
PW’s Top 10: Memoir
After Woodstock: The True Story of a Belgian Movie, an Israeli Wedding, and a Manhattan Breakdown. Elliot Tiber. Square One, Apr. 1
Inside a Pearl: My Years in Paris. Edmund White. Bloomsbury USA, Feb. 11
Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life. Tom Robbins. Ecco, May 27
Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever’s Search for the Truth About Everything. Barbara Ehrenreich. Twelve, Apr. 8
Exodus. Deborah Feldman. Blue Rider, Mar. 25
Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism. Ron Suskind. Disney, Apr. 22
Stronger: Fighting Back After the Boston Marathon Bombing. Bret Witter and Jeff Bauman. Grand Central, Apr. 8
A Sliver of Light: Three Americans Imprisoned in Iran. Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd, and Joshua Fattal. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Eamon Dolan, Mar. 18
The World According to Bob: The Further Adventures of One Man and His Street-Wise Cat. James Bowen. St. Martin’s/Thomas Dunne, May 27
Hillary Rodham Clinton New Memoir. Hillary Rodham Clinton. Simon & Schuster, June 1
Allen & Unwin
(dist. by IPG)
Not Your Ordinary Housewife: How the Man I Loved Led Me into a World I Had Never Imagined by Nikki Stern (May 1, paper, $19.95, ISBN 978-1743313398). The story of how a young woman from a privileged background found herself drawn into a dark world of petty prostitution and pornography by the troubled man she loved.
Things I Should Have Told My Daughter: Lies, Lessons & Love Affairs by Pearl Cleage (Apr. 8, hardcover, $23.99, ISBN 978-1451664690). The award-winning playwright and bestselling author reminisces on the art of juggling marriage, motherhood, and politics while becoming a writer.
Sous Chef: 24 Hours on the Line by Michael Gibney (Mar. 25, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0804177870). Twenty-four hours in the life of a sous chef from a 15-year veteran of New York restaurant kitchens.
(dist. by Random House)
Love and Fury: A Memoir by Richard Hoffman (June 3, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-0807044711). The author reflects on his upbringing in a post-WWII blue-collar family and his struggles to come to terms with the nature of American masculinity.
Prison Baby: A Memoir by Deborah Jiang Stein (Mar. 4, paper, $14, ISBN 978-0807098103). One woman struggles—beginning with her birth in prison—to find self-acceptance.
(dist. by St. Martin’s)
S Street Rising: Crack, Murder, and Redemption in D.C. by Ruben Castaneda (July 1, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1620400043). An award-winning journalist’s gritty, redeeming, page-turning memoir of a city on the brink.
Inside a Pearl: My Years in Paris by Edmund White (Feb. 11, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1608195824). The chronicler of gay life continues his flamboyant and literary series of memoirs, this time in Paris.
Central Recovery Press
(dist. by Consortium)
Dark Wine Waters: My Husband of a Thousand Joys and Sorrows by Frances Simone (July 15, paper, $15.95, ISBN 978-1937612641) recounts Simone’s struggle with her husband’s addiction and her path to recovery as a result of the tragic outcome.
Gene Everlasting: A Contrary Farmer’s Thoughts on Living Forever by Gene Logsdon (Feb. 12, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-1603585392). A farmer considers nature, death, pigweed, interest rates, and eternity.
Over Our Dead Bodies: Undertakers Lift the Lid by Ken McKenzie and Todd Harra (June 1, paper, $15.95, ISBN 978-0806536644). Real stories from morticians and funeral directors across America.
Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism by Ron Suskind (Apr. 22, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-1423180364). Pulitzer Prize–winning author Suskind tells how his autistic son was able to regain the ability to speak through the medium of Disney animated films. 50,000-copy announced first printing.
Romance Is My Day Job: A Memoir of Finding Love at Last by Patience Bloom (Feb. 6, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0525954385). Harlequin editor Bloom writes her own, not-so-conventional story of tossing love to the side and then returning to it at the least expected moment.
Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life by Tom Robbins (May 27, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-0062267405) offers an unparalleled peek into the life—and mind—of a zany American author. 150,000-copy announced first printing.
My Usual Table: A Life in Restaurants by Colman Andrews (Mar. 18, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0062136473). Andrews, James Beard Award–winner and co-founder of Saveur, offers a charming history of the way we eat out, as told through reminiscences of 20 restaurants, from legendary Hollywood hangout Chasen’s to the revolutionary el Bulli. 25,000-copy announced first printing.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
(dist. by St. Martin’s)
Lost and Found in Johannesburg: A Memoir by Mark Gevisser (Apr. 15, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0374176761). An inner life of Johannesburg that turns on the author’s fascination with maps, boundaries, and transgressions.
The Owl Who Liked Sitting on Caesar: Living with a Tawny Owl by Martin Windrow (June 10, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0374228460). Here’s an odd couple: a British military historian and the tawny owl with whom he lived for 15 years.
Margarita Wednesdays: Making a New Life by the Mexican Sea by Deborah Rodriguez (June 10, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1476710662) answers the question of what happened to Rodriguez after her New York Times bestseller Kabul Beauty School.
Gallaudet Univ. Press
The Art of Being Deaf: A Memoir by Donna McDonald (Mar. 15, paper, $29.95, ISBN 978-1563685972). In this 10th volume in the Deaf Lives series, McDonald traces her long, arduous pursuit of finding out exactly who she is.
Globe Pequot Press/Lyons Press
Freezing People Is (Not) Easy: My Adventures in Cryonics by Bob Nelson, Kenneth Bly, and Sally Magana (Mar. 1, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0762792955). Nelson, a former TV repairman who founded the Cryonics Society of California and froze the first man in 1967 recounts his adventures in the field.
Globe Pequot Press/Skirt!
Promise: A Tragic Accident, a Paralyzed Bride, and the Power of Love, Loyalty, and Friendship by Rachelle Friedman (May 1, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-0762792948). Paralyzed from the chest down after being pushed into a pool on the night of her bachelorette party, Rachelle Friedman and her four best friends decide never to reveal the name of the friend who pushed her in.
Things a Little Bird Told Me: Confessions of the Creative Mind by Biz Stone (Apr. 1, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1455528714). The cofounder of Twitter talks about the power of creativity. 75,000-copy announced first printing.
Stronger: Fighting Back After the Boston Marathon Bombing by Bret Witter and Jeff Bauman (Apr. 8, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1455584376). The inspirational story by a 27-year-old survivor of the Boston Marathon bombings who lost both his legs in the attack. 250,000-copy announced first printing.
Insatiable: Porn — A Love Story by Asa Akira (May 6, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0802122599). A memoir from an adult film actress who, from her teen years at an elite Manhattan private school, eschewed traditional academics in favor of stripping.
(dist. by Random House)
My Gentle Barn: Creating a Sanctuary Where Animals Heal and Children Learn to Hope by Ellie Laks (Mar. 25, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0385347662). The story of a Los Angeles animal rescue that has saved hundreds of creatures.
Whipping Boy: The Forty-Year Search for My Twelve-Year-Old Bully by Allen Kurzweil (June 24, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-0062269485). The author looks for the childhood nemesis who has haunted his life for more than 40 years. 40,000-copy announced first printing.
North of Normal: A Memoir of My Wilderness Childhood, My Unusual Family, and How I Survived Both by Cea Sunrise Person (June 24, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0062289865). Sex, drugs, and... bug stew? A dysfunctional counterculture family in the Canadian wilderness. 25,000-copy announced first printing.
I Didn’t Come Here to Make Friends: Confessions of a Reality Show Villain by Courtney Robertson (June 24, hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-0062326652). A dishy, behind-the-scenes look at the massively successful reality TV show, The Bachelor. 100,000-copy announced first printing.
A Farm Dies Once a Year: A Memoir by Arlo Crawford (Apr. 1, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0805098167). An observation about family and farming forms a powerful lesson in what makes life worth living.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Struck by Genius: How a Brain Injury Made Me a Mathematical Marvel by Jason Padgett and Maureen Ann Seaberg (Apr. 22, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0544045606). A traumatic brain injury results in an extraordinary mathematical gift. 100,000-copy announced first printing.
Big Little Man: In Search of My Asian Self by Alex Tizon (June 10, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0547450483). A look at the mythology, experience, and psyche of the Asian-American male. 30,000-copy announced first printing.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Eamon Dolan
A Sliver of Light: Three Americans Imprisoned in Iran by Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd, and Joshua Fattal (Mar. 18, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0547985534). Three Americans captured by Iranian forces reveal their story. 50,000-copy announced first printing.
(dist. by IPG)
The Cheese and I: An Englishman’s Voyage Through the Land of Fromage by Matt Feroze (Apr. 1, hardcover, $22.95, ISBN 978-1782431572). A British accountant goes on sabbatical to chase a cheese dream, and ends up France’s most talented cheesemaker.
A Garden of Marvels: How We Discovered that Flowers Have Sex, Leaves Eat Air, and Other Secrets of Plants by Ruth Kassinger (Feb. 25, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0062048998). A history of the first botanists is interwoven with stories of today’s extraordinary plants. 25,000-copy announced first printing.
U.S. Marshals: Inside America’s Most Storied Law-Enforcement Service by Mike Earp and David Fisher (May 13, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-0062227232). Retired U.S. Marshal Mike Earp—a descendent of the legendary lawman Wyatt Earp—looks at America’s storied law enforcement agency. 50,000-copy announced first printing.
Plenty of Time When We Get Home: Love and Recovery in the Aftermath of War by Kayla Williams (Feb. 10, hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-0393239362). Two U.S. Army veterans battle for a future together.
The Madwoman in the Volvo: My Year of Raging Hormones by Sandra Tsing Loh (May 5, hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-0393088687). A hilarious memoir of middle age from an imaginatively twisted and fearless Los Angeles Times writer.
(dist. by Random House)
Not I: Memoirs of a German Childhood by Joachim C. Fest (Feb. 11, paper, $16.95, ISBN 978-1590516102). German historian Fest, born in 1926, witnessed the Nazis, WWII, and a catastrophically defeated Germany.
The Unlikely Settler by Lipika Pelham (Mar. 25, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-1590516836). A portrait of the city of Jerusalem.
The Bosnia List: A Memoir of War, Exile, and Return by Kenan Trebincevic and Susan Shapiro (Feb. 25, paper, $16, ISBN 978-0143124573). A young survivor of the Bosnian War returns to his homeland to confront the people who betrayed his family.
Penguin/Blue Rider Press
Exodus: A Memoir by Deborah Feldman (Mar. 25, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0399162770). Feldman follows up her memoir of leaving the Hasidic community with her search for an authentic and personal Jewish identity.
The Big Tiny: A Built-It-Myself Memoir by Dee Williams (Apr. 22, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0399166174). A pioneer in sustainable living builds a very tiny house from scratch and discovers a true sense of self.
A Long Way Home: A Memoir by Saroo Brierley (June 17, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0399169281). Lost on a train in India at five and adopted to Australia, Brierley used Google Earth to find his long-lost family.
Putnam/Amy Einhorn Books
Mister Owita’s Guide to Gardening: How I Learned the Unexpected Joy of a Green Thumb and an Open Heart by Carol Wall (Mar. 4, hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-0399157981). A friendship between two people who had nothing—and ultimately everything—in common.
Cathedral of the Wild: An African Journey Home by Boyd Varty (Mar. 4, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-1400069859). Personal transformation, set against one of the most famous game reserves in the world, Londolozi, in South Africa.
Save the Date: The Occasional Mortifications of a Serial Wedding Guest by Jen Doll (May 1, hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-1594631986) examines the search for love and the meaning of marriage in a time of anxiety, independence, and indecision.
Perfectly Miserable: Guilt, God and Real Estate in a Small Town by Sarah Payne Stuart (June 12, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-1594631818) looks at the pillars of New England WASP culture: class, history, family, money, envy, perfection, and, of course, real estate through the lens of mothers and daughters.
The Hard Way on Purpose: Essays and Dispatches from the Rust Belt by David Giffels (Mar. 18, paper, $15, ISBN 978-1451692747). Journalist Giffels explores the meaning of identity and place in this collection of essays reflecting on Midwestern culture and life.
Simon & Schuster
Hillary Rodham Clinton New Memoir by Hillary Rodham Clinton (June 1, hardcover, $40, ISBN 978-1476751443). Clinton’s new memoir recounts her time as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.
Take This Man: A Memoir by Brando Skyhorse (June 10, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1439170878) observes a boy’s turbulent childhood growing up with five stepfathers and the mother who was determined to give her son everything but the truth.
(dist. by Perseus Books)
Money Sucks: A Memoir on Why Too Much or Too Little Can Ruin You by Michael Baughman (June 3, hardcover, $16.95, ISBN 978-1628736298). How to live a good life and how money can complicate it all.
Falling in Honey: How a Tiny Greek Island Stole My Heart by Jennifer Barclay (Mar. 4, paper, $14.99, ISBN 978-1402285103). Finding happiness in spanakopita and the sea, billed as Eat, Pray, Love meets My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
Shooting Stars: My Life as a Paparazza by Jennifer Buhl (Apr. 1, hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-1402297007). Celeb anecdotes blend with a personal story for a new perspective on star-chasing cameramen—and women.
After Woodstock: The True Story of a Belgian Movie, an Israeli Wedding, and a Manhattan Breakdown by Elliot Tiber (Apr. 1, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-0757003929). Tiber chronicles a series of madcap adventures that take him around the world over three passionate decades. 30,000-copy announced first printing.
Falling Through Clouds: A Story of Survival, Love, and Liability by Damian Fowler (Apr. 29, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-1250026224). A dramatic narrative of a father, two little girls, and the devastating plane crash that pitted them against a multibillion dollar company.
St. Martin’s/Thomas Dunne Books
The World According to Bob: The Further Adventures of One Man and His Street-Wise Cat by James Bowen (May 27, hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-1250046321). The sequel to A Street Cat Named Bob, about an English street musician and his stray ginger tabby.
Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever’s Search for the Truth About Everything by Barbara Ehrenreich (Apr. 8, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1455501762) a quest, started in adolescence, to discover the Truth about the universe and everything else. 50,000-copy announced first printing.
Univ. of Nebraska Press
Young Widower: A Memoir by John Evans (Mar. 1, paper, $19.95, ISBN 978-0803249523). A young couple who meet in the Peace Corps are working for a year when tragedy strikes on a hike into the Carpathian Mountains.
(dist. by Random House)
Discovering the World: A Political Awakening in the Shadow of Mussolini by Luciana Castellina (July 8, hardcover, $21.95, ISBN 978-1781682869). One of Italy’s prominent left intellectuals writes of coming-of-age as a teenage girl in Fascist Italy.
(dist. by Perseus Books)
Daughter of the King: Growing Up in Gangland by Sandra Lansky and William Stadiem (Mar. 4, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1602862159). The only daughter of Meyer Lansky, the man who was considered the “brains of the Mob,” opens the door on her glamorous and tragic life, breaking her 50-year silence.