Fascinating Folks

Couldn't Keep it to Myself: Testimonies from Our Imprisoned Sisters

By Wally Lamb

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This is a riveting set of contemporary autobiographical stories about female prisoners and ex-prisoners. The women talk about their lives before and during prison, many of which will curdle your blood. This is a compelling look at a side of life most of us (hopefully) never experience first-hand.
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Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood

By Alexandra Fuller

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Fuller's memoir of a childhood dominated by the Rhodesian civil war of 1971-1979 captures the fascinating life of a white family living in one of the most remote regions of Africa.

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Elegy for Iris

By John Bayley

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Iris Murdoch's husband guides us through the contemporary writer's early life, her brilliant career, and her battle with Alzheimer's disease. This is truly a poignant love story as well as a biography of a remarkable woman. This book was also made into a film starring Judi Dench and Kate Winslet.

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Falling Leaves: The True Story of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter

By Adeline Yen Mah

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"Born in 1937 in a port city a thousand miles north of Shanghai, Adeline Yen Mah was the youngest child of an affluent Chinese family who enjoyed rare privileges during a time of political and cultural upheaval. But wealth and position could not shield Adeline from a childhood of appalling emotional abuse at the hands of a cruel and manipulative Eurasian stepmother. Determined to survive through her enduring faith in family unity, Adeline struggled for independence as she moved from Hong Kong to England and eventually to the United States to become a physician and writer. A compelling, painful, and ultimately triumphant story of a girl's journey into adulthood, Adeline's story is a testament to the most basic of human needs: acceptance, love, and understanding."

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Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation

By Cokie Roberts

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"...an intimate and illuminating look at the fervently patriotic and passionate women whose tireless pursuits on behalf of their families -- and their country -- proved just as crucial to the forging of a new nation as the rebellion that established it. While much has been written about the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, battled the British, and framed the Constitution, the wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters they left behind have been little noticed by history. Roberts brings us the women who fought the Revolution as valiantly as the men, often defending their very doorsteps. While the men went off to war or to Congress, the women managed their businesses, raised their children, provided them with political advice, and made it possible for the men to do what they did.

"The behind-the-scenes influence of these women -- and their sometimes very public activities -- was intelligent and pervasive.Drawing upon personal correspondence, private journals, and even favored recipes, Roberts reveals the often surprising stories of these fascinating women, bringing to life the everyday trials and extraordinary triumphs of individuals like Abigail Adams, Mercy Otis Warren, Deborah Read Franklin, Eliza Pinckney, Catherine Littlefield Green, Esther DeBerdt Reed, and Martha Washington -- proving that without our exemplary women, the new country might never have survived."

Also available on audio and in large print.

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Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

By John Berendt

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Shots rang out in Savannah's grandest mansion in the misty, early morning hours of May 2, 1981. Was it murder or self-defense? For nearly a decade, the shooting and its aftermath reverberated throughout this hauntingly beautiful city of moss-hung oaks and shaded squares.
Available on audio as well as in a movie version starring Kevin Spacey and John Cusack.

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Mountains Beyond Mountains

By Tracy Kidder

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This biography of physician and medical anthropologist Paul Farmer focuses on his work to fight TB in Haiti, Peru, and the countries that used to be part of the USSR. A driven and dedicated man, Dr. Farmer fights obstacles virtually every day of his life on behalf of the people he is trying so hard to help.

Also available in large print.

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My Sergei: A Love Story

By Ekaterina Gordeeva with E.M. Swift

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A heartwarming story of two young Soviet iceskaters who were a team both on and off the ice. The wife, Ekaterina Gordeeva, became a widow very suddenly and at a very young age. This is her story of their life.

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No Place for a Lady: Tales of Adventurous Women Travelers

By Barbara Hodgson

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Hodgson profiles adventurous women who sacrificed personal comfort and respectability to pursue experiences traditionally open only to men. Filled with fascinating portraits, historical maps, and intricate drawings, this is at once a beautifully illustrated exploration of early travel and a spirited celebration of women.
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Poker Face: A Girlhood Among Gamblers

By Katy Lederer

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"Katy Lederer grew up on the bucolic campus of an exclusive East Coast boarding school where her father taught English, her mother retreated into crosswords and scotch, and her much older siblings played 'grown-up' games like gin rummy and chess. But Katy faced much more than the typical trials of childhood. Within the confines of the Lederer household an unlikely transformation was brewing, one that would turn this darkly intellectual and game-happy group into a family of professional gamblers.

"Poker Face is Katy Lederer’s perceptive account of her family’s lively history. From the long kitchen table where her mother played what seemed an endless game of solitaire, to the seedy New York bars where her brother first learned to play poker, to the glamorous Bellagio casino in Las Vegas, where her sister and brother wager hundreds of thousands of dollars a night at the tables, Lederer takes us on a tragicomic journey through a world where intelligence and deceit are used equally as currency."

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