Welcome to this week’s edition of Friday Book Round-Up. It’s finally Spring and my preferred genre switches to memoirs. I love reading about people’s lives, especially celebrities. I love hearing about their journey and the lessons they’ve learned along the way. Here are some upcoming biographies/memoirs I’m looking forward to reading:
I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons by Kevin Hart (Author), Neil Strauss (Contributor)
Superstar comedian and Hollywood box office star Kevin Hart turns his immense talent to the written word by writing some words. Some of those words include: the, a, for, above, and even even. Put them together and you have the funniest, most heartfelt, and most inspirational memoir on survival, success, and the importance of believing in yourself since Old Yeller.
The question you’re probably asking yourself right now is: What does Kevin Hart have that a book also has?
According to the three people who have seen Kevin Hart and a book in the same room, the answer is clear:
A book is compact. Kevin Hart is compact.
A book has a spine that holds it together. Kevin Hart has a spine that holds him together.
A book has a beginning. Kevin Hart’s life uniquely qualifies him to write this book by also having a beginning.
It begins in North Philadelphia. He was born an accident, unwanted by his parents. His father was a drug addict who was in and out of jail. His brother was a crack dealer and petty thief. And his mother was overwhelmingly strict, beating him with belts, frying pans, and his own toys.
The odds, in short, were stacked against our young hero, just like the odds that are stacked against the release of a new book in this era of social media (where Hart has a following of over 100 million, by the way).
But Kevin Hart, like Ernest Hemingway, JK Rowling, and Chocolate Droppa before him, was able to defy the odds and turn it around. In his literary debut, he takes the reader on a journey through what his life was, what it is today, and how he’s overcome each challenge to become the man he is today.
And that man happens to be the biggest comedian in the world, with tours that sell out football stadiums and films that have collectively grossed over $3.5 billion.
He achieved this not just through hard work, determination, and talent: It was through his unique way of looking at the world. Because just like a book has chapters, Hart sees life as a collection of chapters that each person gets to write for himself or herself.
“Not only do you get to choose how you interpret each chapter, but your interpretation writes the next chapter,” he says. “So why not choose the interpretation that serves your life the best?”
How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life by Lilly Singh (Author)
From the 2017 People’s Choice Award winner for Favorite YouTube Star comes the definitive guide to being a bawse: a person who exudes confidence, hustles relentlessly and smiles genuinely because he or she has fought through it all and made it out the other side.
Lilly Singh isn’t just a superstar. She’s Superwoman—which is also the name of her wildly popular YouTube channel. Funny, smart and insightful, the actress and comedian covers topics ranging from relationships to career choices to everyday annoyances. It’s no wonder she’s garnered more than a billion views. But Lilly didn’t get to the top by being lucky—she had to work for it. Hard.
Now Lilly wants to share the lessons she learned while taking the world by storm, and the tools she used to do it. How to Be a Bawse is the definitive guide to conquering life. Make no mistake, there are no shortcuts to success, personal or professional. World domination requires real effort, dedication and determination. Just consider Lilly a personal trainer for your life—with fifty rules to get you in the game, including:
• Let Go of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out): Temptation will try to steer you away from your goals. FOMO is just a test of your priorities, a test that a bawse is ready to pass.
• Be Nice to People: Treat niceness like an item on your daily to-do list. People will go out of their way to help and support you because you make them feel good.
• Schedule Inspiration: Lack of motivation isn’t permanent or a sign of weakness. Expect it and proactively schedule time to be creative.
• Be the Dumbest: Challenge yourself by surrounding yourself with people who know more than you do. It’s a vital way to learn and improve.
Told in Lilly’s hilarious, bold voice and packed with photos and candid stories from her journey to the top, How to Be a Bawse will make you love your life and yourself—even more than you love Beyoncé. (Yes, we said it!)
WARNING: This book does not include hopeful thoughts, lucky charms or cute quotes. That’s because success, happiness and everything else you want in life need to be worked for, not wished for. In Lilly’s world, there are no escalators, only stairs. Get ready to climb.
Advance praise for How to Be a Bawse:
“Lilly is a bona fide #girlboss, boss and bawse. Her meteoric rise has come with so many incredible lessons that we are all lucky to have access to. This book is a must-have for the hustler in all of us.” —Sophia Amoruso, founder and CEO, Girlboss
Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002) by David Sedaris (Author)
One of the most anticipated books of 2017: Boston Globe, New York Times Book Review, New York‘s “Vulture”, The Week, Bustle, BookRiot
David Sedaris tells all in a book that is, literally, a lifetime in the making
It’s no coincidence that the world’s best writers tend to keep diaries. If you faithfully record your life in a journal, you’re writing every day–and if you write every day, you become a better writer. David Sedaris has kept a diary for forty years. This means that if you’ve kept a diary for a year of your life or less, Sedaris is at least forty times better at writing than you are.
In his diaries, he’s recorded everything that has captured his attention–overheard comments, salacious gossip, soap opera plot twists, secrets confided by total strangers. These observations are the source code for his finest work, and with them he has honed his self-deprecation and learned to craft his cunning, surprising sentences.
Now, for the first time, Sedaris shares his private writings with the world in Theft By Finding: Diaries 1977-2002. This is the first-person account of how a drug-abusing dropout with a weakness for the International House of Pancakes and a chronic inability to hold down a real job became one of the funniest people on the planet.
Most diaries — even the diaries of great writers — are impossibly dull, because they generally write about their emotions, or their dreams, or their interior life. Sedaris’s diaries are unique because they face outward. He doesn’t tell us his feelings about the world, he shows us the world instead, and in so doing he shows us something deeper about himself.
Written with a sharp eye and ear for the bizarre, the beautiful, and the uncomfortable, and with a generosity of spirit that even a misanthropic sense of humor can’t fully disguise, Theft By Finding proves that Sedaris is one of our great modern observers. It’s a potent reminder that there’s no such thing as a boring day–when you’re as perceptive and curious as Sedaris, adventure waits around every corner.
Ballplayer by Chipper Jones (Author), Carroll Rogers Walton (Author), Bobby Cox (Foreword)
Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones—one of the greatest switch-hitters in baseball history—shares his remarkable story, while capturing the magic nostalgia that sets baseball apart from every other sport.
Before Chipper Jones became an eight-time All-Star who amassed Hall of Fame–worthy statistics during a nineteen-year career with the Atlanta Braves, he was just a country kid from small town Pierson, Florida. A kid who grew up playing baseball in the backyard with his dad dreaming that one day he’d be a major league ballplayer.
With his trademark candor and astonishing recall, Chipper Jones tells the story of his rise to the MLB ranks and what it took to stay with one organization his entire career in an era of booming free agency. His journey begins with learning the art of switch-hitting and takes off after the Braves made him the number one overall pick in the 1990 draft, setting him on course to become the linchpin of their lineup at the height of their fourteen-straight division-title run.
Ballplayer takes readers into the clubhouse of the Braves’ extraordinary dynasty, from the climax of the World Series championship in 1995 to the last-gasp division win by the 2005 “Baby Braves”; all the while sharing pitch-by-pitch dissections of clashes at the plate with some of the all-time great starters, such as Clemens and Johnson, as well as closers such as Wagner and Papelbon. He delves into his relationships with Bobby Cox and his famous Braves brothers—Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz, among them—and opponents from Cal Ripken Jr. to Barry Bonds. The National League MVP also opens up about his overnight rise to superstardom and the personal pitfalls that came with fame; his spirited rivalry with the New York Mets; his reflections on baseball in the modern era—outrageous money, steroids, and all—and his special last season in 2012.
Ballplayer immerses us in the best of baseball, as if we’re sitting next to Chipper in the dugout on an endless spring day.
Cork Dork: A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste by Bianca Bosker (Author)
“A marvelous journey through the mad, manic, seductive subculture of wine and wine lovers.” –Susan Orlean
“The Kitchen Confidential of wine.” –Madeline Puckette, WineFolly.com
“I loved this book.” -Mary Roach
Professional journalist and amateur drinker Bianca Bosker didn’t know much about wine—until she discovered an alternate universe where taste reigns supreme, a world of elite sommeliers who dedicate their lives to the pursuit of flavor. Astounded by their fervor and seemingly superhuman sensory powers, she set out to uncover what drove their obsession, and whether she, too, could become a “cork dork.”
With boundless curiousity, humor, and a healthy dose of skepticism, Bosker takes the reader inside underground tasting groups, exclusive New York City restaurants, California mass-market wine factories, and even a neuroscientist’s fMRI machine as she attempts to answer the most nagging question of all: What’s the big deal about wine? What she learns will change the way you drink wine–and, perhaps, the way you live–forever.
Named one of the Best Books of Early 2017 by Brightly
Named one of the 20 Best Nonfiction Books Coming in March 2017 by Bustle
Named one of The Best Drink Books of Spring and Summer 2017 by Punch
Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg (Author), Adam Grant (Author)
From Facebook’s COO and Wharton’s top-rated professor, the #1 New York Times best-selling authors of Lean In and Originals: a powerful, inspiring, and practical book about building resilience and moving forward after life’s inevitable setbacks.
After the sudden death of her husband, Sheryl Sandberg felt certain that she and her children would never feel pure joy again. “I was in ‘the void,’” she writes, “a vast emptiness that fills your heart and lungs and restricts your ability to think or even breathe.” Her friend Adam Grant, a psychologist at Wharton, told her there are concrete steps people can take to recover and rebound from life-shattering experiences. We are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. It is a muscle that everyone can build.
Option B combines Sheryl’s personal insights with Adam’s eye-opening research on finding strength in the face of adversity. Beginning with the gut-wrenching moment when she finds her husband, Dave Goldberg, collapsed on a gym floor, Sheryl opens up her heart—and her journal—to describe the acute grief and isolation she felt in the wake of his death. But Option B goes beyond Sheryl’s loss to explore how a broad range of people have overcome hardships including illness, job loss, sexual assault, natural disasters, and the violence of war. Their stories reveal the capacity of the human spirit to persevere . . . and to rediscover joy.
Resilience comes from deep within us and from support outside us. Even after the most devastating events, it is possible to grow by finding deeper meaning and gaining greater appreciation in our lives. Option B illuminates how to help others in crisis, develop compassion for ourselves, raise strong children, and create resilient families, communities, and workplaces. Many of these lessons can be applied to everyday struggles, allowing us to brave whatever lies ahead. Two weeks after losing her husband, Sheryl was preparing for a father-child activity. “I want Dave,” she cried. Her friend replied, “Option A is not available,” and then promised to help her make the most of Option B.
We all live some form of Option B. This book will help us all make the most of it.
Teammate: My Journey in Baseball and a World Series for the Ages by David Ross (Author), Theo Epstein (Foreword)
Foreword by Theo Epstein
An inspiring memoir from David Ross, the veteran catcher dubbed “Grandpa Rossy,” who became the heart and soul of the Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series championship team.
In 2016 the Cubs snapped a 108-year curse, winning the World Series in a history-making, seven-game series against the Cleveland Indians. Of the many storylines to Chicago’s fairytale season, one stood out: the late-career renaissance of David Ross, the 39-year-old catcher who had played back-up for 13 of his 15 pro seasons.
Beyond Ross’s remarkably strong play, he became the ultimate positive force in the Cubs locker room, mentoring and motivating his fellow players, some of them nearly twenty years his junior. Thanks to Cubs Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, “Grandpa Rossy” became a social media sensation. No one, however, could have predicted that Ross’s home run in his final career at bat would help seal the Cubs championship.
Now, in Teammate, Ross shares the inspiring story of his life in baseball, framed by the events of that unforgettable November night.
Change of Seasons: A Memoir by John Oates (Author), Chris Epting (Author)
Includes an exclusive EP as a companion to the book!
John Oates was born at the perfect time, paralleling the birth of rock ‘n roll. Raised in a small Pennsylvania town, he was exposed to folk, blues, soul, and R&B. Meeting and teaming up with Daryl Hall in the late 1960s, they developed a style of music that was uniquely their own but never abandoned their roots. John uncovers the grit and struggle it took to secure a recording contract with the legendary Atlantic Records and chronicles the artistic twists and turns that resulted in a DJ discovering an obscure album track that would become their first hit record. This is not your typical rock and roll story. John was focused creating great music. Along the way he achieved incredible success, battling the ever-changing pop music landscape and coming to terms with complex managerial, business, and personal challenges.
Daryl Hall and John Oates have over 20 albums together, more than 60 million records sold, and 29 Top 40 hits. They are the most successful pop duo in the world and members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And yet John’s story has never been told. Relying on his many hand-written journals, he brings to light many fascinating stories spanning his entire life with a journalist’s eye and a poet’s heart.
In Change of Seasons, John shares his highs, lows, triumphs, and failures. He takes the reader on a wild ride through all the eras, personalities and music that has shaped him into what he is.
An Outlaw and a Lady: A Memoir of Music, Life with Waylon, and the Faith that Brought Me Home by Jessi Colter (Author)
Renowned songwriter, singer, and wife of Waylon Jennings writes an intimate, enormously entertaining memoir of American music, of life with Waylon and the Outlaws, and of faith lost and found.
The daughter of a Pentecostal evangelist and a race-car driver, Jessi Colter played piano and sang in church before leaving Arizona to tour with rock-n-roll pioneer Duane Eddy, whom she married. Colter became a successful recording artist, appearing on American Bandstand and befriending stars such as the Everly Brothers and Chet Atkins, while her songs were recorded by Nancy Sinatra, Dottie West, and others. Her marriage to Eddy didn’t last, however, and in 1969 she married the electrifying Waylon Jennings. Together, they made their home in Nashville which, in the 1970s, was ground zero for roots music, drawing Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Shel Silverstein, and others to the Nashville Sound. And Jessi was at the center of it all, the only woman on the landmark Wanted: The Outlaws album, therecord that launched the Outlaw Country genre and was the first country album to go platinum. She also tasted personal commercial success with the #1-single “I’m Not Lisa.”
But offstage, life was a challenge, as Waylon pursued his addictions and battled his demons. Having drifted from the church as a young woman, Jessi returned to her faith and found in it a source of strength in the turmoil of living with Waylon. In the 1980s, Waylon helped launch the super group The Highwaymen with Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and Kris Kristofferson, and the hits kept rolling, as did Waylon’s reckless living. Amid it all, Jessi faithfully prayed for her husband until finally, at Thanksgiving 2001, Waylon found Jesus, just months before he died.
An Outlaw and a Lady is a powerful story of American music, of love in the midst of heartache, and of faith that sustains.
Papi: My Story by David Ortiz (Author), Michael Holley (Author)
An entertaining, unfiltered memoir by one of the game’s greatest, most clutch sluggers and beloved personalities
David “Big Papi” Ortiz is a baseball icon and one of the most popular figures ever to play the game. As a key part of the Boston Red Sox for 14 years, David has helped the team win 3 World Series, bringing back a storied franchise from “never wins” to “always wins.” He helped them upend the doubts, the naysayers, the nonbelievers and captured the imagination of millions of fans along the way, as he launched balls into the stands again, and again, and again. He made Boston and the Red Sox his home, his place of work, and his legacy. As he put it: This is our f*&#ing city.
Now, looking back at the end of his legendary career, Ortiz opens up fully for the first time about his last two decades in the game. Unhindered by political correctness, Ortiz talks colorfully about his journey, from his poor upbringing in the Dominican Republic to when the expansion Florida Marlins passed up a chance to sign him due to what was essentially tennis elbow. He recalls his days in Peoria, Arizona, his first time in the United States; tense exchanges with Twins manager Tom Kelly in Minnesota; and his arrival in Boston. Readers go behind the scenes for the many milestones of his Red Sox career— from the huge disappointment of the Red Sox losing to the Yankees in 2003, ending the curse in 2004 with the infamous “band of idiots,” including his extraordinary clutch hitting to overcome a 3-0 series deficit against the Yankees, to earning a second title in 2007 and a third in 2013. Along the way, he was tainted by the infamous banned substances list in 2009; he used his passion and place to fortify a city devastated by the Boston Marathon bombings; and he dominated pitchers right up through his retirement season at age 40. Papi, as he became so affectionately called, gave his fans big hits when they needed them most. He was an even bigger presence: He was a champion who rallied a team, a city, and a sport in a way that no one will ever forget.
In Papi, his ultimate memoir, Ortiz opens up as never before about his life in baseball and about the problems he sees in Major League Baseball, about former teammates, opponents, coaches, and executives, and about the weight of expectation whenever he stepped up to the plate. The result is a revelatory, fly-on-the wall story of a career by a player with a lot to say at the end of his time in the game, a game to which he gave so much and which gave so much to him.
Have an upcoming biography/memoir to recommend? Share in the comments below. Happy Reading!
MRS N, Book Addict