In the Midnight Hour: The Life & Soul of Wilson Pickett by Tony FletcherDynamic soul singer "Wicked" Wilson Pickett was raised singing in the church, an experience that can likely be at least partially credited with his musical success, but didn't seem to influence his troubled life offstage. Providing plenty of details with regards to both Pickett's family and the labels he worked with, author Tony Fletcher provides not just a biography of a talented singer, but a history of the music Pickett helped create. "Pickett's energy, creativity, and genius shine" (Library Journal) in this well-researched, compassionate biography of a legendary man.
George Lucas: A Life by Brian Jay JonesStar Wars. Indiana Jones. American Graffiti. Howard the Duck. Well, they can't all be winners, but filmmaker George Lucas has had such astounding success that the live-action fowl is barely a blip on the radar. In this exacting and engaging biography, well-known writer Brian Jay Jones (Jim Henson) addresses Lucas' entry into film-making, his many triumphs, his professional and personal relationships, his vision, and his business acumen. Offering insight into Lucas' creative process and his legacy, Jones proves that Lucas' popularity is well deserved.
Dust Bowl Girls: The Inspiring Story of the Team that Barnstormed Its Way to... by Lydia ReederIn the middle of the Great Depression, Oklahoma Presbyterian College coach Sam Babb decided to attempt the impossible: create and maintain a championship women's basketball team. Despite major obstacles (including lack of financial support and the prevailing attitude that the sport wasn't "ladylike"), he succeeded. In this inspiring sports history, author Lydia Reeder (Babb's grandniece) traces his incredible efforts to recruit and train a team that -- by dint of a lot of hard work --actually did win the 1932 national championship.
Spider from Mars: My Life with Bowie by Woody WoodmanseyWhat's Woody Woodmansey's connection to David Bowie? Rock fans will know right off that he was the drummer for Bowie’s 1970s backing band The Spiders From Mars, which helped launch his Ziggy Stardust persona and made him a star. Here, Woodmansey shares stories and photographs from his time with Bowie at the beginning of Bowie's career. He also shares details of the album sessions and the wild tours, eccentric characters, and rock 'n' roll excesses that ultimately drove the band apart. Fans of Woodmansey himself will also appreciate hearing about his work elsewhere, such as with his band U-Boat.
Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me: The Pursuit of Happiness, One Celebrity at a Time by Rachel BertschePart memoir, part research and reflection, Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me recounts the author's attempts to reach perfection (and therefore be happier) by doing what celebrities do. That meant: exercising like Jennifer Aniston, cooking like Gwyneth Paltrow, dressing like Sarah Jessica Parker, and being in general more like Beyoncé. (All on a journalist's paycheck.) Her efforts (by turns humorous and embarrassing) also give her a chance to reflect on celebrity culture. For more stories of people emulating celebrities in search of happiness, try Robyn Okrant's Living Oprah or Rebecca Harrington's I'll Have What She's Having.
My Year of Running Dangerously: A Dad, a Daughter, and a Ridiculous Plan by Tom ForemanThe last thing that Emmy Award-winning CNN correspondent Tom Foreman figured he'd be doing with his teenage daughter was run a marathon in his fifties, but that's exactly what he did. Once a regular runner, he recounts his journey from an inflexible, aging couch potato to being spellbound by the roads and trails. Told with a great deal of self-deprecating humor ("I had the flexibility of a stepladder"), his stories of running five half-marathons, three marathons, and one ultra-marathon may inspire you to do something equally challenging.
The Gratitude Diaries: How a Year Looking on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life by Janice KaplanDuring her participation in a study on gratitude, journalist Janice Kaplan learned that fewer than 50% of those surveyed regularly expressed gratitude. Motivated by that sad number, she vowed one New Year's Eve to practice being grateful for one full year, and found that this focus on thankfulness improved not only her own outlook but those of people around her. For The Gratitude Diaries, Kaplan drew on her own journal entries (in addition to interviews with experts, scientific research, and anecdotal data) to offer an account of her practice of thankfulness that very well may inspire others to follow her lead.
Year of the Dunk: A Modest Defiance of Gravity by Asher PriceAs author Asher Price approached his mid-thirties, he gave himself one year to learn how to dunk a basketball. At 6'2" with self-described "orangutan arms," you'd think it would be, well, a slam dunk (sorry), but Price felt that a strict diet, plentiful exercise, and specific training were called for. He narrates his efforts to lose his love handles and dunk that ball with humor -- and in conjunction with investigations into the history of fitness and physical education in the U.S. The resulting memoir is "by turns informative, entertaining, and endearing" (Publishers Weekly).
Year of No Sugar: A Memoir by Eve O. SchaubAfter learning the role that sugar can play in one's health (and the near-ubiquity of sugar in processed foods), author Eve Schaub challenged her family (herself, her husband, and two young daughters) to go a year without sugar (with small exceptions). It...did not go smoothly at first, especially as they began to tire of sweetening everything with bananas or dates. But by the end of the year, Schaub had noticed distinct changes in their health and well-being. Their experimental year is outlined with levity; for more life-improvement experiments from Schaub, keep an eye out for her new book, Year of No Clutter.
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