Today I wanted to set myself a few goals for Non Fic November. As I’ve mentioned before, I have TONS of books lining my shelves (and walls, and floors, and sofas) and a lot of these are works of non-fiction. I could decide to be ridiculous and promise to read all of these over the course of the next month, but that would just be silly. I have a job, a life, a degree, a BEDN and a cat to keep me occupied – I need manageable targets, if I reach them and up doing more, that’s great. If not, I’ll be content just to have read:
Mama Rose’s Turn by Carolyn Quinn
Hers is the show business saga you think you already know–but you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Rose Thompson Hovick, mother of June Havoc and Gypsy Rose Lee, went down in theatrical history as “The Stage Mother from Hell” after her immortalization on Broadway in “Gypsy: A Musical Fable.” Yet the musical was 75 percent fictionalized by playwright Arthur Laurents and condensed for the stage. Rose’s full story is even more striking. Rose followed her own star and created two more in dramatic and colorful style: “Baby June” became a child headliner in vaudeville, and Louise grew up to be the well-known burlesque star Gypsy Rose Lee. The rest of Mama Rose’s remarkable story included love affairs with both men and women, the operation of a “lesbian pick-up joint” where she sold homemade bathtub gin, wild attempts to extort money from Gypsy and June, two stints as a chicken farmer, and three allegations of cold-blooded murder–all of which was deemed unfit for the script of “Gypsy.” Here, at last, is the rollicking, wild saga that never made it to the stage.
What Falls Away by Mia Farrow
In an exquisitely written memoir, Mia Farrow introduces us to the landscapes of her extraordinary life. Moving from her earliest memories of the walled gardens and rocky shores of Western Ireland and her Hollywood childhood to her career as an actress, she writes of these experiences and her struggle to protect her children in a painful custody battle with Woody Allen. It was the crisis that led her to reflect upon the incidents that had brought her to a place so incomprehensible.
Granny is my Wingman by Kayli Stollak
Granny Is My Wingman chronicles Kayli’s and Granny’s misadventures in online dating. What ensues is a hilarious tour through the obstacles of modern love: drunken hookups, late-night Facebook stalking, breathy phone calls with geriatric suitors, and the occasional rude dude. While Kayli powers through a marathon of OkCupid dates—the corporate drone married to his BlackBerry, the nail-biting thirty-three-year-old who still lives at home with his mom, the serial online dater—we learn about Granny’s romantic past and the bittersweet affair she carried on, even while married, for more than thirty years. The two women cheer each other on and become even closer as they share their dating exploits, learning that the hunt for happiness is the same whether you’re twenty-five or seventy-five.
The Three Sisters Indian Cookbook by Sereena, Alexa and Priya Kaur
As girls, Sereena, Priya, and Alexa Kaul loved rushing home from school to watch their mother make delicious dahl, korma, and rogan josh with fresh spices brought from Kashmir. When they had families of their own they longed for a spice box like their mother’s, full of all the spices needed to make the recipes they craved from their childhood. Now they have created that box with 13 essential spices, and collected 100 family recipes that can easily made at homejust add ingredients from the local grocery store. Traditional cooks, creative cooks, and cooks with busy lifestyles will all enjoy making and creating these delicious recipes. There is a detailed section on how to identify and use fresh spices, and plenty of information about the medical and culinary uses of ginger, cardamom, turmeric, and more. Nearly all the dishes can be made in advance and frozen, so no more take-out – anyone can make their own fresh versions of this favorite cuisine with real Indian flavors and spices.
Fairy Tale Interrupted by Rosemarie Terenzio
Working Girl meets What Remains, this is the behind-the-scenes story of an unlikely friendship between America’s favorite First Son, John F. Kennedy, Jr. and his personal assistant, a blue-collar girl from the Bronx. Upon first meeting, RoseMarie was not immediately impressed with JFK, Jr. In an awkward yet comedic encounter, she walked into her office to find that John had begun dismissively boxing up her personal belongings and moving them to a smaller office, including her prized, autographed Howard Stern photo. As she gave him a piece of her mind, people stood around gaping that she would dare speak to JFK, Jr. that way. But John loved her moxie and eventually asked her to become his personal assistant and publicist—and years later she would become one of his closest confidantes, as well as Carolyn’s. For five years RoseMarie witnessed John’s dating, politics, his marriage to Carolyn, and his untimely death. In her memoir, she blends her own story of a young woman who rose from an embattled childhood to follow her dream with amazing revelations about the man who has been the subject of unparalleled attention, sensationalism, adoration, and speculation. Offering readers a rare access to the epicenter of American royalty, this funny, moving, and truthful work is a breath of fresh air in the legacy of writing about the Kennedys.
Bossypants by Tina Fey
Before Liz Lemon, before “Weekend Update,” before “Sarah Palin,” Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV. She has seen both these dreams come true. At last, Tina Fey’s story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon—from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence. Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we’ve all suspected: you’re no one until someone calls you bossy.
Eleanor of Aquitaine by Marion Meade
“Marion Meade has told the story of Eleanor, wild, devious, from a thoroughly historical but different point of view: a woman’s point of view.”—Allene Talmey, Vogue.
[All blurbs borrowed from GoodReads]
So what do you think? Varied, right? To be honest, even this many may be slightly ambitious (especially as I’ve just discovered Grey’s Anatomy and *accidentally* watched the first season over the past two days…) If you’re playing along with Non Fic November, don’t forget to share what you’ll be reading in our upcoming Twitter chat (next Tuesday, at 7pm GMT)!