Joining us after a long career as an attorney in CA, Jim offers us a unique glimpse of the absurdity of life. He may have missed his chance as a stand-up comic, but we love him as a bookseller.
Barbra Streisand's memoir is a must-read, captivating account of her life and career. Her early attempts to land a job as an actress are at times hilarious, and the ease with which she became a singing superstar is astonishing. She dishes on co-stars, producers, and directors, plus behind the scenes events while shooting each movie. There are many surprises, including shocking sexual harassment while playing Funny Girl on stage, her deep personal relationship with Marlon Brando, and her friendship with Judy Garland. She discusses her work promoting causes that concerned her but never preaches on them. The book (penned entirely by her) reads like a conversation among chatty friends, with side comments, quips, and diversions that always circle back to the point she is making. ~Jim
The scope of this book is vast, its rewards rich. Anthropological and sociological studies have amassed new evidence over the last hundred years or more that has not been incorporated into our assumptions about human society and potential. This is the very task that Graeber and Wengrow address in this deeply researched and thoroughly documented tome. Fascinating and inspiring. ~McNevin & Jim
Ten years earlier, serial con artist Meg put young Kat in a situation that ended her investigative journalism career. Now Meg is suddenly back in town, this time targeting a rising California politician. Kat, now stuck writing web-content articles, plans her revenge. The two women meet, and for reasons pertinent to both their schemes, become friends. Meg soon suspects Kat is after her. Kat is sure Meg is the hacker who is causing havoc with her financial accounts. Yet, they need each other if their plans are to succeed. Who is conning who? Who is telling the truth? Which is the villain? With plot twists, crises and gas-lighting that come from all angles, you won’t be able to put the book down. And yes, author Julie Clark delivers a very satisfying ending that resolves everything – for the moment. (I see a sequel here). A perfect summer read!
Olga, stuck in a lucrative but intellectually vacant career as a wedding planner for the one percent, is sleepwalking through life. Olga’s conscience is awakened by a series of events: a new lover who has a bad habit of asking very personal questions about core values, her militant absentee mother’s impending return, and a devastating hurricane that sweeps across Puerto Rico. Xochitl (Shoshill) Gonzalez’s debut novel tackles questions of family, abandonment, racism, and ultimately, love. Gonzalez’ prose is confident, filled with humor and uncomfortable truths, and surprisingly mature for a new author. The characters are witty, conflicted, hilarious at times and keep the story moving at a rapid pace. A perfect read for those seeking an intelligent story with meaningful questions and a happy ending. ~Jim
Anthropologist Margaret Willson had such a wealth of detailed, even intimate historical documentation available to her that her book reads more like a novel than an historical biography. Woman, Captain Rebel tells the story of Thurídur, a woman born into poverty in 1777 Iceland, who against all odds became one of Iceland's best fishing captains as well as a leader in the fight for equality and women's rights. What I love about this book is its peek into Iceland's unique and often terrifying 18th and 19th-century history. Far better than any travel guide or textbook, Woman, Captain, Rebel gives you the details on how folks interacted with one another under the threat of constant natural disasters and the oppressive rules under which they lived. You must read this book if you are planning a trip to Iceland (or even if you're not!). ~James
When five-year-old Qian Julie Wang’s father angered the Chinese government (again) her family was forced to flee China for New York City. Julie was thrown into a dismal world of poverty, prejudice, and unscrupulous employers eager to exploit undocumented workers – and their children. The family’s fortunes changed when Julie found a children’s book and taught herself English. Assisted by a few helpful teachers and the New York Public Library, Julie gradually found a new world of opportunity and promise. Julie’s memoir describes the despair of her family’s situation with beautiful, descriptive prose flowing through the pen of a true storyteller, and you will emerge with a new understanding of the plight of immigrants, particularly Asian-Americans, in the United States. ~James
An elderly woman whose son vanished decades ago, a young man lost and struggling since his parents abandoned him as a child, and a remarkably bright octopus suffering through his 3,1OOst day of captivity at the local aquarium all meet one summer. Kindness ensues. The octopus, being the party with the brains here, provides both humans with answers that allow their healing to begin. This is a novel about kind people (and creatures) rebuilding their lives through compassion, concern, and mutual respect. A pleasure to read from start to finish, with a host of eccentric characters and just enough plot twists to keep you smiling (until the tears begin at the end of the book). Fear not, the octopus creates a beautiful ending! ~Jim
What? Practical, feasible solutions exist to solve our most intractable societal problems? Author Rowan Hooper identifies often surprisingly simple proposals and programs currently in place that experts believe will end poverty, vastly reduce disease, stabilize the climate, and empower women, among other achievements. Finding the money isn’t the holdup; the US Government found $2.2 trillion to fund the initial covid-19 relief package within days. What we lack are leaders with imagination (and, well, leadership traits) and a populace willing to invest in our, and our children’s, future. Rowan sets forth the proposals and programs in language that is easy to comprehend and backs up his assertions with citations to actual evidence. It’s a fascinating and uplifting read that shows we have real solutions available now.