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The Woman Who Can't Forget by Jill Price with Bart Davis

The Woman Who Can’t Forget by Jill Price with Bart Davis (2008)
Jill Price remembers everything she’s ever done since 1970 – in minute detail. If she heard about events happening around the country or the world, she can tell you about those too. Sounds great, right? For Jill, her astounding memory is both a blessing and a curse. Her memories constantly play through her head, triggered by a sound, a smell, or something else. The emotions of the memory – both good and bad – remain strong.

Follow Jill’s story from her childhood to the present. See how her extraordinary memory impacted her life and kept her mired in the past. Find out what researchers have discovered about her memory. Listen to this CD – when Jill introduces medical jargon, it’s nice to have the correct pronunciation.

View the ABC News story and video and read the 2006 Orange County Register article about the scientists' study.

Mistaken Identity by Don Van Ryn Family and Newell Cerak Family

Mistaken Identity by Van Ryn and Cerak Families (2008)
This book was written by the families involved in the much-publicized, tragic incident in which two college students involved in a car accident were mistakenly identified for one another. One girl was killed in the accident; the other survived, but was in a coma for many weeks. For five weeks, one family kept a constant vigil at their daughter’s bedside, only to discover that she was not, in fact, their daughter. The other family memorialized, buried, and grieved for their daughter, then learned five weeks later that she was alive.

Both families tell of the incredible outpouring of love, support and prayer that family, friends, and strangers provided. Their deep faith and trust in God enable them to gracefully cope with these almost unimaginable events. The grace with which these families deal with this tragedy is truly awe-inspiring.

Read an excerpt, watch a video clip, or listen to an audio clip at the publisher's website; read reviews at Amazon.com.

Audition by Barbara Walters

Audition by Barbara Walters (2008)
Barbara Walters "tells all" in this biography/memoir and doesn't come across as being exemplary in her personal life with her parents, sibling, daughter and husbands. But oh, what a life she has lead! Her retelling of her travels and the multitude of interviews she has done is mesmerizing. This woman has lived a full life and has taken us on her journey through the pages of this book. It was a great read.

On ABC's website, read an article about the book and view her photo album, which details various stages of her life. Read the New York Times review or listen to the NPR interview.

Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller

Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood by Alexandra Fuller (2001)
Fuller describes her African childhood in detail, from the death of her sibling to playing in the wild. Her British parents rather liked living in remote locations such as Zimbabwe and brought their daughters with them. At some points in the book, it is hard to believe that the story of Fuller’s very amazing upbringing is true.

Visit the publisher's site for more about the book and the author, an excerpt, and a reader's guide. See what The New Yorker says about the book. On Minnesota Public Radio's website, you can listen to an interview with the author and a reading by the author.

The Liars' Club by Mary Karr

The Liars' Club by Mary Karr (1995)
This is a coming of age memoir about a young girl growing up in what most would consider to be a dysfunctional family. The family itself, however, cares about each other in their own offbeat way. Proof of the power of love, the book is humorous and touching at the same time.

Visit Reading Group Guides for more about the book, discussion questions, and an interview with the author.

Lost in America by Sherwin Nuland

Lost in America: A Journey with My Father by Sherwin Nuland (2003)
National Book Award winner (for How We Die) and renowned surgeon, Nuland recounts his anguished relationship with his debilitated, angry, Jewish father. At one time, Nuland was so embarrassed by his father, he even changed his name. But as Nuland ages, the depth of his love and his empathy for his immigrant father surface. Nuland is a good writer, and this book helps him come to terms with his relationship with his now deceased father.

Read a BookPage interview or a New York Times review.

Enchantment by Donald Spoto

Enchantment: the life of Audrey Hepburn by Donald Spoto (2006)
I enjoyed listening to this intelligent and respectful biography of the elegant actress who charmed us with performances in many classic movies, including her first US film, Roman Holiday, for which she won an Oscar (watch her acceptance speech). We learn about her difficult life during WWII, and there is the expected “dish” about her romantic life, but it doesn’t come across as a tell-all. My only complaint: the narrative moves too quickly through the important work she did with UNICEF and the illness that took her life.

The Lost by Daniel Mendelsohn

The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million by Daniel Mendelsohn (2006)
Author Mendelsohn searches out the history of his great uncle, aunt, and their four daughters who perished in the Holocaust. His travels take him to the Ukraine, Israel, Australia, and Scandinavia trying to locate survivors of the small town where his family lived. Finally, the author does find out what were the likely deaths of his six relatives, even standing in the root cellar some of them had hidden in. Mendelsohn believes that these personal stories must be told; otherwise these individual lives are lost to us forever.

Read an excerpt, listen to an interview on Boston's local NPR, get more details from NPR's Fresh Air, and read a New York Times review.

H. H. Holmes: America’s First Serial Killer

H. H. Holmes: America’s First Serial Killer (2003)
A 64 minute biography of Herman Mudgett, focusing mainly on the murders committed while Mudgett used the name H. H. Holmes, but still describing Mudgett’s early life and later his trial and execution. In the late 19th century, Mudgett built what was then called a “castle,” but in what was more reminiscent of a spider web, he captured and killed visitors thronging to the Columbian Exposition of 1893. This could be thought of as the movie version of the book Depraved by Harold Schechter and could accompany a reading of The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson.

Teacher Man by Frank McCourt

Teacher Man by Frank McCourt (2005)
A “must read” for every teacher and for anyone wanting a rich, well written story of classroom life in the trenches in the New York school system. My favorite Frank McCourt book.

Check out the author's appearance on CBS' The Early Show, or listen to an interview or read an excerpt on NPR.

Margot Fonteyn by Meredith Daneman

Margot Fonteyn by Meredith Daneman (2004)
This biography provides an up-close look at England’s prima ballerina. Margot Fonteyn had it all: great fame, love, a career, and a long life. Daneman provides a behind-the-scenes look at what makes a prima ballerina and the toll it takes.

Check out reviews from The Guardian (UK) and The Daily Telegraph (UK), listen to a BBC interview with the author, and read Fonteyn's 1991 obituary in the New York Times.

An Ordinary Man by Paul Rusesabigina

An Ordinary Man by Paul Rusesabigina (2006)
Paul Rusesabagina, in powerfully simple prose and with the effective use of repetition, recounts the background and horrific facts of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, including how he sheltered—and thus saved--1200 of the Tutsi people. Don Cheadle played Rusesabagina in the motion picture Hotel Rwanda. I listened to the CD of this and highly recommend it.

Listen to an interview with Rusesabagina and hear an excerpt from the book at NPR.

The Game of My Life by Jason “J-Mac” McElwain

The Game of My Life: a true story of challenge, triumph, and growing up autistic by Jason “J-Mac” McElwain with Daniel PaisnerHis friends call him J-Mac. His mom prefers Jason. Sounds like your typical teenager, right? Not quite.

Jason “J-Mac” McElwain is considered a high functioning autistic. And in February 2006, J-Mac accomplished something that any “normal” person would have difficulty accomplishing: he scored 20 points – including six 3s – in the last FOUR minutes of a high school basketball game.

Read this inspirational story of a boy who didn’t talk till he was five. Read about how he became practically obsessed with basketball and how he was the team manager for three years. Read about how the coach let him dress for Senior Night – and how his unimaginable feat made him an instant celebrity across the country.



Martha Washington by Patricia Brady

Martha Washington by Patricia Brady (2005)
It was a good read – well written. It’s about a beautiful, elegant young woman who marries George Washington. It’s a good combination of social history and biography.

Visit the publisher's website for a discussion guide that has a description of the book, an author biography, an interview with Brady, and discussion questions.

John Adams by David McCullough

John Adams by David McCullough (2001)
One of America’s best loved biographers, David McCullough, gives us an intimate picture of one of America’s overshadowed presidents. Adams’ life of integrity, heroism, and warmth shine through is this personal story.

Starting on Sunday, March 16, HBO will air a seven part miniseries based on the book. The drama stars Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney, with Tom Hanks serving as executive producer. Go to the movie's website to watch video previews, listen to conversations with the actors or with Tom Hanks and David McCullough, and read descriptions of each of the seven parts of the series.

For more on this Pulitzer Prize-winning book, visit the publisher's website to read a Q&A about the book, listen to a podcast, check out a reading guide, read an excerpt, and much more. The News Hour on PBS has video, audio, and text of McCullough's July 4, 2001, appearance. The New York Times website includes a book review and a list of articles and books about John Adams.