Memoir

A Celtic Childhood

By Bill Watkins

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"A Celtic Childhood is the lyrical narrative of a gifted and animated storyteller. With humor and charm, Watkins blends history, song, and Celtic identity into a wonderful tale of misadventure and merriment. With this collection of colorful characters and humorous memories, a lucid picture of one man's history and identity is shaped. When asked how memory played a role--or played tricks--in writing his book, Watkins replied, 'When you're young you're like blottin' paper and you soak everything up. Sitting around the kitchen table, I heard these same stories and songs over and over again. Of course, part of the Celtic psyche is the ability to have memories that you've never had.'"

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Sharing a Robin's Life

By Linda Johns

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"This is a true story of two unusual individuals: County, a robin who chooses to share her life with a human, and Linda Johns, an artist, who was happy to accommodate her. Through the pages of this book, the reader shares the mysterious realm of an intelligent and responsive creature of the wind."

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The Feather Quest: A North American Birder's Year

By Pete Dunne

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When a flash of pink was spotted in a cloud of gray gulls over Newburyport, Massachusetts, ten thousand people descended on the town in hopes of seeing a rare Ross's gull from Siberia. Among them were Pete and Linda Dunne, who set off from there on a year-long odyssey. Dunne had poured the most remarkable stories, birds, and characters into this unforgettable book about their once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

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Illumination in the Flatwoods: A Season with the Wild Turkey

By Joe Hutto

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Turkeys are not stupid. The author spent a year studying a flock of wild turkeys in the loblolly pine woods of Florida, having hatched wild turkey eggs and imprinting the poults on himself. Turkeys are masters of disguise, blending in with their surroundings in ways so subtle as to make the work of hunters and predators difficult. Hutto is a wildlife artist, and the book is illustrated with his sketches and color photographs.

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Kingbird Highway: The Biggest Year in the Life of an Extreme Birder

By Kenn Kaufman

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"At sixteen, Kenn Kaufman dropped out of the high school where he was student council president and hit the road, hitching back and forth across America, from Alaska to Florida, Maine to Mexico. Maybe not all that unusual a thing to do in the seventies, but what Kenn was searching for was a little different: not sex, drugs, God, or even self, but birds. A report of a rare bird would send him hitching nonstop from Pacific to Atlantic and back again. When he was broke he would pick fruit or do odd jobs to earn the fifty dollars or so that would last him for weeks.

"His goal was to set a record - most North American species seen in a year - but along the way he began to realize that at this breakneck pace he was only looking, not seeing. What had been a game became a quest for a deeper understanding of the natural world. Kingbird Highway is a unique coming-of- age story, combining a lyrical celebration of nature with wild, and sometimes dangerous, adventures, starring a colorful cast of characters."

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The Year of Yes: A Memoir

By Maria Dahvana Headley

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"Like many young people everywhere, playwright Maria Headley had had her fill of terrible dates. Discouraged and looking for love, she decided the time had come for her to eliminate her own (clearly not adequately discriminating) taste from the equation. Instead--as she vowed to her roommates one frustrated morning--she would date every person who asked her out for an entire year, regardless of circumstances. It would be her Year of Yes. Leaving her judgment and predispositions at the door, our heroine ventured into a world suddenly brimming with opportunity and found herself saying yes to:

  • The Microsoft Millionaire who still lived with his mom.
  • An actor she had previously sworn off as gay.
  • And finally the significantly older man, divorced with kids, whom she never would have looked at twice before the Year of Yes--and to whom she is now happily married.

"Hilariously funny and ultimately inspirational, The Year of Yes will appeal to every person who has turned down a date for the wrong reason."

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Shelf Life: Romance, Mystery, Drama, and Other Page-Turning Adventures from a Year in a Bookstore

By Suzanne Strempek Shea

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"Two years ago, while recovering from radiation therapy, Shea heard from a friend who was looking for help at her bookstore. Shea volunteered, seeing it as nothing more than a way to get out of her pajamas and back into the world. But over next twelve months, from St. Patrick’s Day through Poetry Month, graduation/Father’s Day/summer reading/Christmas and back again to those shamrock displays, Shea lived and breathed books in a place she says sells 'ideas, stories, encouragement, answers, solace, validation, the basic ammunition for daily life.' Her work was briefly interrupted by an author tour that took her to other great bookstores. Descriptions of these and her memories of book-lined rooms reaching all the way back to childhood visits to the Bookmobile are scattered throughout this charming, humorous, and engrossing account of reading and rejuvenation."

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Thinking in Pictures: And Other Reports from My Life with Autism

By Temple Grandin

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Temple Grandin, Ph.D., is a gifted animal scientist who has designed one third of all the livestock-handling facilities in the United States. She also lectures widely on autism because she is autistic--a woman who thinks, feels, and experiences the world in ways that are incomprehensible to the rest of us. In this unprecedented book, Grandin writes from the dual perspectives of a scientist and an autistic person. She tells us how she managed to breach the boundaries of autism to function in the outside world. What emerges is the document of an extraordinary human being, one who gracefully bridges the gulf between her condition and our own while shedding light on our common identity. Other titles by Dr. Grandin are Emergence: Labeled Autistic and Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior. Her life story has also been made into an award-winning film starring Claire Danes.

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Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant

By Daniel Tammet

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"...a journey into one of the most fascinating minds alive today -- guided by its owner himself. Daniel Tammet sees numbers as shapes, colors, and textures, and he can perform extraordinary calculations in his head. He can learn to speak new languages fluently, from scratch, in a week. In 2004, he memorized and recited more than 22,000 digits of pi, setting a record. He has savant syndrome, an extremely rare condition that gives him almost unimaginable mental powers, much like those portrayed by Dustin Hoffman in the film Rain Man. Daniel has a compulsive need for order and routine -- he eats the same precise amount of cereal for breakfast every morning and cannot leave the house without counting the number of items of clothing he's wearing. When he gets stressed or is unhappy, he closes his eyes and counts. But in one crucial way Daniel is not at all like the Rain Man: he is virtually unique among people who have severe autistic disorders in that he is capable of living a fully independent life.

"He has emerged from the 'other side' of autism with the ability to function successfully -- he is even able to explain what is happening inside his head. Born on a Blue Day is a triumphant and uplifting story, starting from early childhood, when Daniel was incapable of making friends and prone to tantrums, to young adulthood, when he learned how to control himself and to live independently, fell in love, experienced a religious conversion to Christianity, and most recently, emerged as a celebrity. The world's leading neuroscientists have been studying Daniel's ability to solve complicated math problems in one fell swoop by seeing shapes rather than making step-by-step calculations. Here he explains how he does it, and how he is able to learn new languages so quickly, simply by absorbing their patterns."

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Southern Fried Divorce: A True Story

By Judy Conner

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"Quirky Southern humor brings the ridiculous to light in this narrative of a woman's battles with marriage, divorce, and motherhood. Judy Conner's ex-husband, referred to only as 'That X,' figures prominently through anecdotes that attempt to humiliate him, but that also reveal the passionate beginnings of a relationship turned sour. Hilarious vignettes that provide a window into down-home culture include the rules to Redneck Roulette, instructions on how to cook the best Christmas roast south of the Mason-Dixon line, and tips for synchronized swimming at the World's Fair with your dog. Tragedy and comedy intertwine in this piquant tale of lost love with a Southern accent."

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