AbeBooks' Reading Copy » memoir http://www.abebooks.com/blog AbeBooks book blog Wed, 23 Jul 2014 18:48:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 Louis Zamperini Dies at 97 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/07/03/louis-zamperini-dies-at-97/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2014/07/03/louis-zamperini-dies-at-97/#comments Thu, 03 Jul 2014 16:30:51 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=21267 Unbroken

Louis Zamperini, the subject of Laura Hillenbrand’s bestseller Unbroken, died on July 2 at the age of 97.

At age 19, Zamperini participated in the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games as a long-distance runner. When WWII broke out, he joined the US Army Air Forces and served as a bombadier in the South Pacific. In April, 1943, his plane crashed in the Pacific, killing eight of the eleven crew members on board.

One of the three survivors, Francis McNamara, died after 37 days at sea. Fourteen days later, Zamperini and fellow survivor, Russel Allen, landed on the Marshall Islands and were immediately captured by Japanese forces. They remained in captivity, enduring sevedevilre mistreatment, until the war ended in August, 1945.

Zamperini went on to become an inspirational speaker and wrote two memoirs detailing his experiences, both titled Devil at My Heels. The first was published in 1956 and as of this writing, is still available. The second, published in 2003, was completely rewritten and contains a significant amount of new material.

In 2010, Seabiscuit author Laura Hillenbrand, published a biography of Zamperini called Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption. An international bestseller, copies of Unbroken signed by Zamperini still regularly appear on AbeBooks Bestselling Signed Books list. A movie based on the book, adapted by Joel and Ethan Coen and directed by Angelina Jolie, is set for release in late 2014.

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Stories of the Notorious http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/05/31/stories-of-the-notorious/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/05/31/stories-of-the-notorious/#comments Fri, 31 May 2013 18:46:30 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=19231

People have a grim fascination with shocking stories – and the more outrageous, the better. From gambling and gunmen to insider trading and infidelity, we find it difficult to turn away from a spectacle. The publishing industry has always appreciated the value of guilty pleasures, as has the news media. These books about the darker aspects of human life (and death) satisfy morbid curiosity, and many have become collectible.

With that in mind, while attempting to remain within the bounds of good taste, AbeBooks presents books and ephemera showcasing the notorious, infamous and scandalous. Enjoy!

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Call The Midwife Was a Book First http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/05/17/call-the-midwife-was-a-book-first/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/05/17/call-the-midwife-was-a-book-first/#comments Fri, 17 May 2013 21:43:16 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=19170 call-the-midwife-worth

My husband and I are expecting our first baby. It’s an exciting, wonderful, strange and occasionally terrifying time, as anyone who has been through it will remember. Both medically and emotionally, it’s an absolutely fascinating process that is affecting parts of my body and both of our hearts that neither of us ever expected.

To alterately comfort and alarm myself, I’ve become totally immersed in the PBS Series Call The Midwife. Originally a BBC drama (and apparently, the highest-rated in BBC history), the show is utterly engrossing and fantastic.

If you’ve never seen it, the series is set in tjhe 1950s, in the poor East End of London. It centers on a convent known as Nonnatus House, which is home to nuns, nurses and midwives. The main character and protagonist is young Nurse Jenny Lee, who arrives at Nonnatus at the beginning of the series, and is initially quite squeamish and a bit prissy. But that soon changes. The series follows Nurse Lee and her fellow young nurses, as well as the sisters of Nonnatus led by chief nun Sister Julienne, as they host midwifery clinics, attend births, tend to the sick working class people of the area, and generally do the best they can with limited resources, often in squalid or surprising conditions.

The births depicted are incredibly realistic and well done, the characters and settings are fully realized and believable, and the show works extraordinarily well on the whole. My only complaint is that the first two seasons were only six and eight episodes respectively, and I went through them very quickly. Which is why I am so excited to learn that it was a book first! Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth was originally published in 2002, after Worth retired. I was even more excited to learn that the book is a memoir, and based on her own, real-life experiences working in the same scenarios and conditions described. And the happy news and things to look forward to continue – it’s a trilogy! Books two and three are called Shadows of the Workhouse and Farewell to the East End.

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Books on The Madness of Mental Illness http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/03/18/books-on-the-madness-of-mental-illness/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/03/18/books-on-the-madness-of-mental-illness/#comments Mon, 18 Mar 2013 20:56:55 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=18686 According to the World Health Organization, over 450 million people worldwide suffer from mental illness of some variety. From depression and mood disorders to paranoid schizophrenia and obsessive compulsive disorder, countless books have been written about the subject in an effort to explore, understand or cope with it.

From informational texts like the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (The DSM) to autobiographies, to fiction, there is a fascinating array of books about mental illness to delve into. This list is just the beginning.

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Winston Churchill: The Author Who Saved Britain http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2012/10/10/winston-churchill-the-author-who-saved-britain/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2012/10/10/winston-churchill-the-author-who-saved-britain/#comments Wed, 10 Oct 2012 19:01:30 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=17545 Hold on, we hear you say – author? But Winston Churchill was a politician!

True. But while Churchill had two stints as prime minister and is most famous for his wartime leadership, many people don’t realize that his real passion was writing. That should come as no surprise, really; his oft-quoted, inspiring and impassioned speeches were a clear and obvious indication of his talent for and love of the English language. He was a genius with words.

His books also paid his rather substantial bills. Discover more about a remarkable writing career that began in 1898.

Winston Churchill, author.

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Fred Armisen as Penny Marshall: “My Mother Was Nuts” http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2012/09/18/fred-armisen-as-penny-marshall-my-mother-was-nuts/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2012/09/18/fred-armisen-as-penny-marshall-my-mother-was-nuts/#comments Tue, 18 Sep 2012 15:50:27 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=17384 I came across this trailer for Penny Marshall’s new memoir on the Omnivoracious blog today. I admit I am occasionally a little weirded out by the new trend of filming trailers to advertise books. It seems strange to hire actors and all that to get people hyped for a book. But then, I am proved wrong time and time again when the trailers actually work to make me excited. Such is the case here – this trailer combines Penny Marshall, Carrie Fisher and the one-man hilarity that is Fred Armisen. How can I lose? Too much goodness to pass up. I shall try to foist it upon one of my book clubs.

My Mother Was Nuts by Penny Marshall is available as of today.

If the trailer doesn’t fully sell you, try this synopsis:

“Most people know Penny Marshall as the director of Big and A League of Their Own. What they don’t know is her trailblazing career was a happy accident. In this funny and intimate memoir, Penny takes us from the stage of The Jackie Gleason Show in 1955 to Hollywood’s star-studded sets, offering up some hilarious detours along the way. My Mother Was Nuts is an intimate backstage pass to Penny’s personal life, her breakout role on The Odd Couple, her exploits with Cindy Williams and John Belushi, and her travels across Europe with Art Garfunkel on the back of a motorcycle. We see Penny get married. And divorced. And married again (the second time to Rob Reiner). We meet a young Carrie Fisher, whose close friendship with Penny has spanned decades. And we see Penny at work with Tom Hanks, Mark Wahlberg, Whoopi Goldberg, Robert De Niro, and Whitney Houston. Throughout it all, from her childhood spent tap dancing in the Bronx, to her rise as the star of Laverne & Shirley, Penny lived by simple rules: “try hard, help your friends, don’t get too crazy, and have fun.” With humor and heart, My Mother Was Nuts reveals there’s no one else quite like Penny Marshall.”

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