Best Selling Books in Biographies & Memoirs - Regional U.S.

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release date: Jun 06, 2017
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Mean Dads for a Better America: The Generous Rewards of an Old-Fashioned Childhood

From the stand-up comedian and popular host on the Fox News Network, a nostalgic look back at his childhood and the simple American values that shaped his worldview—a portrait of growing up in 1970s America.

As a comedian and conservative thinker, whip-smart funny Tom Shillue grounds his ideas about our current culture and political climate in stories from his childhood. Growing up as one of five kids in a devout Irish Catholic family in a small town outside of Boston, Tom sincerely believes that the rough-and-tumble, rules-dominated world in which he came of age was a better America—a time and place that made him into the well-adjusted, happy, successful man he is today.

In Mean Dads for a Better America, Tom reminisces about his childhood, his family, and the traditional values he cherishes. He takes us back to a time when neighbors disciplined each other’s children without fear of being sued, when kids made it to the family table for dinner, when parents’ rules were gospel, when the occasional fistfight was considered a fair way to solve a problem, and when children were free to roam, make mistakes, and experience the first tastes of independence.

On the Fox News Network, Tom debates, debunks, and entertains with his hilarious approach to issues of the day. Here, he brings that talent and wisdom to the page, tackling the issues that confound many Americans, like our hypersensitive culture and overzealous parenting. As Tom celebrates the stability of family life and the sanity of days gone by, he encourages us to hold on to our sense of humor and look back at our own lives, as we work towards creating a better future for ourselves and our kids, all while making us laugh.

release date: Apr 21, 2009
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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Here is a book as joyous and painful, as mysterious and memorable, as childhood itself. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings captures the longing of lonely children, the brute insult of bigotry, and the wonder of words that can make the world right. Maya Angelou’s debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide.
 
Sent by their mother to live with their devout, self-sufficient grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother, Bailey, endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local “powhitetrash.” At eight years old and back at her mother’s side in St. Louis, Maya is attacked by a man many times her age—and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime. Years later, in San Francisco, Maya learns that love for herself, the kindness of others, her own strong spirit, and the ideas of great authors (“I met and fell in love with William Shakespeare”) will allow her to be free instead of imprisoned.
 
Poetic and powerful, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings will touch hearts and change minds for as long as people read.
 
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings liberates the reader into life simply because Maya Angelou confronts her own life with such a moving wonder, such a luminous dignity.”—James Baldwin
release date: May 23, 2017
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A Speck in the Sea: A Story of Survival and Rescue
The harrowing adventure-at-sea memoir recounting the 2013 search-and-rescue mission for lost Montauk fisherman John Aldridge - first a New York Times Magazine feature story, now in priority development as a major motion picture from The Weinstein Company.

"A Speck in the Sea is a terrific read--harrowing and inspiring at the same time. In the end it's a moving testament both to our individual will to survive and to our collective will to come to the aid of others in distress. I couldn't put it down." --Daniel James Brown, author of The Boys in the Boat


In the dead of night on July 24, 2013, John Aldridge was thrown off the back of the Anna Mary while his fishing partner, Anthony Sosinski, slept below. As desperate hours ticked by, Sosinski, the families, the local fishing community, and the U.S. Coast Guard in three states mobilized in an unprecedented search effort that culminated in a rare and exhilarating success.

A tale of survival, perseverance, and community, A Speck in the Sea tells of one man's struggle to survive as friends and strangers work separately, and together, to bring him home. Aldridge's wrenching first-person account intertwines with the narrative of the massive, constantly evolving rescue operation designed to save him.
release date: Mar 09, 2008
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Same Kind of Different As Me: A Modern-Day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together

A dangerous, homeless drifter who grew up picking cotton in virtual slavery. An upscale art dealer accustomed to the world of Armani and Chanel. A gutsy woman with a stubborn dream. A story so incredible no novelist would dare dream it.

It begins outside a burning plantation hut in Louisiana . . . and an East Texas honky-tonk . . . and, without a doubt, in the heart of God. It unfolds in a Hollywood hacienda . . . an upscale New York gallery . . . a downtown dumpster . . . a Texas ranch.

Gritty with pain and betrayal and brutality, this true story also shines with an unexpected, life-changing love.

release date: Mar 08, 2011
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Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison
NOW A NETFLIX ORIGINAL SERIES • #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
 
With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money ten years before. But that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate #11187–424—one of the millions of people who disappear “down the rabbit hole” of the American penal system. From her first strip search to her final release, Kerman learns to navigate this strange world with its strictly enforced codes of behavior and arbitrary rules. She meets women from all walks of life, who surprise her with small tokens of generosity, hard words of wisdom, and simple acts of acceptance. Heartbreaking, hilarious, and at times enraging, Kerman’s story offers a rare look into the lives of women in prison—why it is we lock so many away and what happens to them when they’re there.
 
Praise for Orange Is the New Black
 
“Fascinating . . . The true subject of this unforgettable book is female bonding and the ties that even bars can’t unbind.”People (four stars)
 
“I loved this book. It’s a story rich with humor, pathos, and redemption. What I did not expect from this memoir was the affection, compassion, and even reverence that Piper Kerman demonstrates for all the women she encountered while she was locked away in jail. I will never forget it.”—Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love
 
“This book is impossible to put down because [Kerman] could be you. Or your best friend. Or your daughter.”Los Angeles Times
 
“Moving . . . transcends the memoir genre’s usual self-centeredness to explore how human beings can always surprise you.”USA Today
 
“It’s a compelling awakening, and a harrowing one—both for the reader and for Kerman.”—Newsweek.com
 
Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.
release date: Sep 06, 2016
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The Red Bandanna: A life, A Choice, A Legacy
A New York Times bestseller

What would you do in the last hour of your life?

 
The story of Welles Crowther, whose actions on 9/11 offer a lasting lesson on character, calling and courage
  
One Sunday morning before church, when Welles Crowther was a young boy, his father gave him a red handkerchief for his back pocket. Welles kept it with him that day, and just about every day to come; it became a fixture and his signature.

A standout athlete growing up in Upper Nyack, NY, Welles was also a volunteer at the local fire department, along with his father. He cherished the necessity and the camaraderie, the meaning of the role. Fresh from college, he took a Wall Street job on the 104th floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center, but the dream of becoming a firefighter with the FDNY remained.

When the Twin Towers fell, Welles’s parents had no idea what happened to him. In the unbearable days that followed, they came to accept that he would never come home. But the mystery of his final hours persisted. Eight months after the attacks, however, Welles’s mother read a news account from several survivors, badly hurt on the 78th floor of the South Tower, who said they and others had been led to safety by a stranger, carrying a woman on his back, down nearly twenty flights of stairs.  After leading them down, the young man turned around.  “I’m going back up,” was all he said.

The survivors didn’t know his name, but despite the smoke and panic, one of them remembered a single detail clearly: the man was wearing a red bandanna.  

Tom Rinaldi’s The Red Bandanna is about a fearless choice, about a crucible of terror and the indomitable spirit to answer it. Examining one decision in the gravest situation, it celebrates the difference one life can make.
release date: Jan 09, 2007
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Kitchen Confidential Updated Edition: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly (P.S.)

A deliciously funny, delectably shocking banquet of wild-but-true tales of life in the culinary trade from Chef Anthony Bourdain, laying out his more than a quarter-century of drugs, sex, and haute cuisine—now with all-new, never-before-published material.

release date: Apr 25, 2017
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Sometimes Amazing Things Happen: Heartbreak and Hope on the Bellevue Hospital Psychiatric Prison Ward
From the Chief of Psychiatry for Correctional Health Services in New York City comes a revelatory and deeply compassionate memoir that takes readers inside Bellevue Hospital’s forensic psychiatry unit and brings to life the world—the system, the staff, and the haunting cases—that shaped one young psychiatrist as she learned about respect, survival and our shared humanity.

Elizabeth Ford went through medical school unsure of where she belonged. It wasn’t until she did her psychiatry rotation that she found her calling—to care for one of the most vulnerable populations of mentally ill people, the inmates of New York City's jails, including Rikers Island, who are so sick that they are sent to the Bellevue Hospital Prison Ward for care.

These men were broken, without resources or support, and very ill. They could be violent, unpredictable, but they could also be funny and tender and needy. Mostly, they were human and they awakened in Ford a boundless empathy. Her patients made her a great doctor and a better person. 

While Ford was a psychiatrist at Bellevue she became a wife and a mother. In her book she shares her struggles to balance her personal and professional lives, to care for her children and her patients, and to maintain the empathy that is essential to her practice—all in the face of a complex institution, an exhausting workload, and the deeply emotionally taxing nature of her work. 

Ford brings humor, grace, and humanity to the lives of the patients in her care and in beautifully rendered prose illuminates the inner workings (and failings) of our mental health and criminal justice systems.
release date: Apr 23, 1989
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The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts

In her award-winning book The Woman Warrior, Maxine Hong Kingston created an entirely new form—an exhilarating blend of autobiography and mythology, of world and self, of hot rage and cool analysis. First published in 1976, it has become a classic in its innovative portrayal of multiple and intersecting identities—immigrant, female, Chinese, American. 

As a girl, Kingston lives in two confounding worlds: the California to which her parents have immigrated and the China of her mother’s “talk stories.” The fierce and wily women warriors of her mother’s tales clash jarringly with the harsh reality of female oppression out of which they come. Kingston’s sense of self emerges in the mystifying gaps in these stories, which she learns to fill with stories of her own. A warrior of words, she forges fractured myths and memories into an incandescent whole, achieving a new understanding of her family’s past and her own present.

release date: Jun 06, 2006
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Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board
In this moving personal account of faith and fortitude, internationally ranked surfer Bethany Hamilton tells how she survived a shark attack that cost her arm--but not her spirit.

They say Bethany Hamilton has saltwater in her veins. How else could one explain the passion that drives her to surf? How else could one explain that nothing—not even the loss of her arm—could come between her and the waves? That Halloween morning in Kauai, Hawaii, Bethany responded to the shark’s stealth attack with the calm of a girl with God on her side. Pushing pain and panic aside, she began to paddle with one arm, focusing on a single thought: “Get to the beach....” And when the first thing Bethany wanted to know after surgery was “When can I surf again?” it became clear that her spirit and determination were part of a greater story—a tale of courage and faith that this soft-spoken girl would come to share with the world.

Soul Surfer is a moving account of Bethany’s life as a young surfer, her recovery after the attack, the adjustments she’s made to her unique surfing style, her unprecedented bid for a top showing in the World Surfing Championships, and, most fundamentally, her belief in God. It is a story of girl power and spiritual grit that shows the body is no more essential to surfing—perhaps even less so—than the soul.
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