Memoir

Notes from a Small Island

By Bill Bryson

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Suddenly, in the space of a moment, I realized what it was that I loved about Britain--which is to say, all of it. Every last bit of it, good and bad--old churches, country lanes, people saying 'Mustn't grumble' and 'I'm terribly sorry but,' people apologizing to me when I conk them with a careless elbow, milk in bottles, beans on toast, haymaking in June, seaside piers, Ordinance Survey maps, tea and crumpets, summer showers and foggy winter evenings--every bit of it.

"After nearly two decades in Britain, Bill Bryson, the acclaimed author of such bestsellers as The Mother Tongue and Made in America, decided it was time to move back to the United States for a while. This was partly to let his wife and kids experience life in Bryson's homeland--and partly because he had read that 3.7 million Americans believed that they had been abducted by aliens at one time or another. It was thus clear to him that his people needed him.

"But before leaving his much-loved home in North Yorkshire, Bryson insisted on taking one last trip around Britain, a sort of valedictory tour of the green and kindly island that had so long been his home. His aim was to take stock of modern-day Britain, and to analyze what he loved so much about a country that had produced Marmite, zebra crossings, and place names like Farleigh Wallop, Titsey, and Shellow Bowells."

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My Love Affair with England: A Traveler's Memoir

By Susan Allen Toth

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"Journalist and memoirist Susan Allen Toth brings her special England vivdly to life as she recalls her many trips there over the years, where she explored the countryside, traveled both second-class and in luxury, theatre-hopped, hunted for ghosts, and honeymooned. Humorous, bittersweet, and wonderfully eccentric, this is a delightful remembrance to be savored by those who love to travel or just dream of it."
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Frankie's Place: A Love Story

By James Sterba

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The author, a writer for The Wall Street Journal, recounts his adventures over the course of an extended summer at his wife's family home on Mt. Desert Island off the coast of Maine. Especially fun to read if you have visited Acadia National Park or anywhere else on MDI.

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A Year in the Maine Woods

By Bernd Heinrich

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A professor of zoology and his pet raven spend a year in what we might call "minimalist" surroundings. His phone was in a neighbor's privy! We can enjoy a full and fascinating year outdoors in Maine without leaving the comforts of our living rooms!
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A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail

By Bill Bryson

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Bryson and an estranged and strange college chum decide to hike the Appalachian Trail...in their 40s without almost no physical preparation. If that's not humorous enough, the picture of the bear on the cover is connected to a passage in the book guaranteed to generate snorts for years to come.

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Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World

By Anthony Doerr

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"Anthony Doerr has received many awards -- from the New York Public Library, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the American Library Association. Then came the Rome Prize, one of the most prestigious awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and with it a stipend and a writing studio in Rome for a year. Doerr learned of the award the day he and his wife returned from the hospital with newborn twins.Exquisitely observed, Four Seasons in Rome describes Doerr's varied adventures in one of the most enchanting cities in the world. He reads Pliny, Dante, and Keats -- the chroniclers of Rome who came before him -- and visits the piazzas, temples, and ancient cisterns they describe. He attends the vigil of a dying Pope John Paul II and takes his twins to the Pantheon in December to wait for snow to fall through the oculus. He and his family are embraced by the butchers, grocers, and bakers of the neighborhood, whose clamor of stories and idiosyncratic child-rearing advice is as compelling as the city itself.This intimate and revelatory book is a celebration of Rome, a wondrous look at new parenthood, and a fascinating story of a writer's craft -- the process by which he transforms what he sees and experiences into sentences."

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Halfway to Each Other: How a Year in Italy Brought Our Family Home

By Susan Pohlman

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"Tired, empty, and disillusioned with married life, Susan Pohlman was ready to call it quits. As soon as she and husband Tim wrap up a business trip in Italy, she planned to end their eighteen-year marriage. During their last day as they walked along the Italian Riviera, Tim fantasizes aloud that, perhaps, they could live there. Susan initially dismisses the notion as nonsense but is inexplicably overwhelmed with a desire to give the marriage another try. Defying all logic, the couple find a school for their children and sign a lease for an apartment. Maybe a life in such a charmed setting could help them find their way back to each other. Together with their children, they trade in their breakneck Los Angeles pace for adventure and a slower, more intimate lifestyle. This is the remarkable story of an ordinary American family that inspires and offers hope that all of us who find the courage to listen to our hearts and follow our dreams can experience a new beginning."
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Beyond the Homestretch: What I've Learned from Saving Racehorses

By Lynn Reardon

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"Racehorses that are not great money winners, or who suffer career-ending injuries, are frequently relegated to lives of neglect, abuse, or demise. Lynn Reardon founded Lonestar Outreach to Place Ex-Racers (LOPE) to give these also-ran horses a second chance at a decent life. This book documents her experiences, challenges, and triumphs through personal anecdotes."
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Long Shot: My Bipolar Life and the Horses that Saved Me

By Sylvia Harris with Eunetta T. Boone and William H. Boulware.

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The author describes her battle with bipolar disorder, the surprisingly calming effect that grooming, caring for, and eventually racing horses had on her condition.
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A Year at the Races: Reflections on Horses, Humans, Love, Money, and Luck

By Jane Smiley

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"The Pulitzer Prize--winning author of  A Thousand Acres gallops into territory she first explored in her acclaimed best-selling novel, Horse Heaven with this irresistible account of her lifelong love affair with horses. Smiley draws upon her firsthand knowledge of horses, as well as the wisdom of trainers, vets, jockeys, and even a real-life horse whisperer, to examine the horse on all levels-practical, theoretical, and emotional. She shares not only 'cute stories' about her own horses, but also fascinating and original insights into horse-and human-behavior. To all this she adds an element of drama and suspense as two of her own horses begin their careers at the racetrack. As the sexy black filly Waterwheel and the elegant gray colt Wowie aspire to the winner's circle, we are enchanted, enthralled-and informed about what it's really like to own, train, and root for a Thoroughbred."

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