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In this quick and hysterical read you will meet all of the customers that you love to hate.  It will also remind you why you love to work in retail.  Despite the crazy hours and the angry customers, working in retail is an addiction.  Freeman will make you laugh out loud and want to read passages to your coworkers.    

Freeman worked at Nordstrom's in the handbag(never the purse) department for years.  He tells you about all of his regulars- the good, the bad, and the ugly.  He recalls the people that made his job the best and worst thing that ever happened to him.  

If you like the writing that Jen Lancaster brought to the table you will love Retail Hell.

Categories: biography, humor

Bitter is the New Black

Status: Bookseller Picks


Sarcastic, witty, and fun; Jen Lancaster brings humor to the unemployment line in pearls. Never before have I read such an entertainingly playful memoir with an actual story. From the rise of the dot com era to the fall of the industry and Jen right onto her self proclaimed smart-ass, this book will have your attention. Endless e-mails, job applications, interviews, phone calls, the unemployment office, an awkward proposal, a wedding, pet adoption, not being able to make rent, and a blog; this book has it all. I've never laughed out loud so hard while reading a book in my life and with this quick and witty read, you'll be cracking up in no time.



If You Need a Laugh

Status: Bookseller Picks

After a night of heavy drinking with some buddies, British comedian Tony Hawks awoke to find a note pinned to his shirt stating that he had accepted a bet to hitchhike the circumference of Ireland with a refrigerator in tow. Part memoir and part travel journal, Tony takes us on his adventure 'round Ireland as he and his mini-fridge attempt to win this bet. You will laugh out loud every chapter as events unfold that could only happen in Ireland and be moved as those events start to take on significant meaning in Tony's life. If you are someone who loves to laugh and values a unique perspective then I highly recommend this book for you.

Categories: biography, humor, travel

Beauty Beyond Words

Status: Bookseller Picks

As one who values a unique perspective, this memoir is the epitome of beauty and perfection. With enchanting language, painstakingly constructed, Bauby's writing transcends my capabilities of description. Written literally by blinking, this short story tells of his experience with Locked-In Syndrome, an unfortunate condition where your entire body is paralyzed while your mind is perfectly in tact. Straightforward and honest, without becoming too depressing or overly optimistic, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is a literary jewel that will be the treasure of your library. 

Categories: biography



When Brown University student Kevin Rouse applied to Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, he wasn’t just a liberal Ivy Leaguer slumming in a fundamentalist “Bible boot camp.” As The Unlikely Disciple demonstrates, he was making an honest leap across a giant gaping cultural and religious chasm. What he learned in his “sinner’s semester” at this stern Christian institution (no sex, no kisses, no protracted hugs) should convince would-be warriors on both sides of the great divide that they can learn something from other viewpoints; but even if you read this book as just a brave anthropological experiment, it’s worth your time and its price.



Message Edited by PaulH on 05-28-2009 07:58 AM

In the Sanctuary of Outcasts

Status: Bookseller Picks


Neil White had it made. He had a beautiful family, lovely home, and fancy cars, all afforded to him by his career as a magazine publisher and journalist. Eventually the price of the luxe life caught up with him, and he schemed and cheated just to keep up appearances. It seemed a small offence, but his world was turned upside down when the FBI caught him kiting checks.


Neil was sent to a low security prison in Carville Louisiana. Little did he know that this isolated prison also served as a leper colony, where all known cases of leprosy in the US were quarantined. Of course, when he realized that "patients" also resided at Carville he had the same reaction that every other ignorant prisoner had—horror struck him. He didn't want to see them, be near them, or even breathe the same air as them. However, like any avaricious intellectual, he couldn't stand to waste his days in prison, so he found work...and the work led him to the lepers.


Here, Neil met Ella, a kind-hearted African American double amputee who contracted leprosy as a child and had been "incarcerated" in Carville for most of her eighty years. Ultimately, his relationship with Ella allowed him to refocus. He violated the "no socializing" policy to spend hours talking to her and other patients, as well as watch them truly enjoy life for what it was. He rediscovered the simple things in life—friends, trust, compassion. Although his marriage crumbled and he lost his wealth, he was released feeling like he had a new lease on life.


In the Sanctuary of Outcasts is an eye-opening memoir laden with heartache, humor, and hope.

Categories: biography, inspiration

True survival guides from those who've been there...

Status: Bookseller Picks


Free for All: Oddballs, Geeks, and Gangstas in the Public Library is the memoir of Don Borchert, a library assistant in the suburban Los Angeles public library system. As a library assistant, he is not actually a professional librarian (the publisher reversed these words on the dust jacket, causing a great deal of whinging among library professionals), but because of the light staffing at his branch, he ends up doing just about everything except actually running the library. Filled with stories that run the gamut from hilarious to disturbing to heartbreaking, Borchert strips away the fantasies about a librarian's life being one of intellectual stimulation and quiet. His library is a raucous building where homeless people come to sleep, latchkey kids come to hang out, and oddballs come to congregate (one of the patrons spends his days surfing the internet looking for mail-order brides from South America; on my side of the country, they're doing the same thing, but looking across the Atlantic to Russia). Despite the insanity, it's clear from Free for All that Borchert loves his work, and knows he and his coworkers are providing a valuable, if underappreciated, service. I've recommended this book to several people contemplating a library career, not to scare them off, but just so they have a more rounded picture of what they're getting themselves into. To their credit, not one of them turned away after reading it.




Dalia Jurgenson has lived out the life of most foodies’ dreams: She quit her dreary office job; went through the hard fire and burnt cakes of training; and emerged as the pastry chef of a well-known three-star restaurant. Along the way, she picked up a full menu of kitchen secrets and stories of staff escapades (including her own). Spiced is a spicy, entertaining read; a Kitchen Confidential from a woman’s perspective; less profane, but sometimes more profound.



Message Edited by BN_Buyers on 03-30-2009 10:49 AM
Message Edited by PaulH on 05-28-2009 08:05 AM
Categories: biography, cooking
Picking Cotton   is a story about a rape and its legal aftermath, but it’s really about so much more. Jennifer Thompson was a college student when, with a knife at her throat, she was startled from her sleep, and then attacked by an angry rapist. Terrified, but apparently at least partly unfazed, this former homecoming queen escaped from this predator, but not before she made clear note of his face. Several days later, she picked Ronald Cotton out of a lineup. Several months later, she testified against him at the trial. Two years later, when he won an appeal, she took the stand again and again he was convicted, sent to a North Carolina prison for life. There he remained incarcerated for eleven years; then a DNA test confirmed what Cotton already knew: He was innocent. With his release, the deeper story begins. After this long, intense ordeal victim Ronald and victim/former accuser Jennifer somehow become not only friends, but also committed partners in the fight against future injustices. While I was reading this book, I came upon Edith Wharton’s description of a good story. She called it, “a shaft driven straight into the heart of human experience.” This is such a story.
Categories: biography, law


Status: Bookseller Picks

I love the Real Housewives shows. NYC, New Jersey, Orange County-I can't get enough! So when I passed by the "New In Biography" section and saw a book by Danielle Staub, I was too curious to not give it a try.



The Naked Truth




Danielle has recently been the main drama maker on The Real Housewives of New Jersey and in last season's finale, a lot of information came out about her. The Naked Truth is her explanation of what actually happened when she was younger.


The book is an extremely quick read and while Danielle did go through a lot in her life, I was left wondering how many liberties she took in her story telling. She writes about her childhood after she was adopted and up through to her divorce from the father of her children. What comes in between is drama, drama, drama.


I was actually disappointed Danielle didn't tell more stories about her interactions with the other housewives. I was more interested in that than her time spent in Florida as a young woman. She explains a lot so read The Naked Truth if you want to know about her backstory.




Categories: biography

My Mother's Clothes

Status: Bookseller Picks


My Mother's Clothes




This book first caught my eye because I love fashion and how can a person resist a zebra print-covered book?? Going through the pages was exciting as I saw fashions of years and years ago and there are even pictures from as far back as the 1940s.


This book is more than just about clothes, though. Well-known photographer Jeanette Montgomery Barron began taking pictures of her mother's clothes and personal items as Alzheimers began to take her mother's memory. The undertone of the book is definitely sad, but it was still special and lovely to read about a woman's life as told through photographs and captions. While reading the book, I thought I should begin a scrapbook of the same nature for my own memories.


This book may be appropriate as a Mother's Day gift, but keep in mind that while full of happy memories, the overall tone is one that evokes a feeling of loss. Perhaps keep this in mind for a fashionista who will appreciate the fashions of decades past.

Categories: biography

"Dandelions, like humans, don't always have a strategic growth plan."

Picking Dandelions 


In Sara Cunningham’s latest book, each chapter begins with a fact about the pesky weed as the author effortlessly uses them as a metaphor for a life of ongoing transformation.


Readers will find an exuberant mix of passion, insight, and humor wound up in a narrative spiced with stories, diatribes, laughter, tears, and what at times seems far too much self-deprecating humor.  However her real genius lies in capturing the indescribable, revealing how faith does not grow out of perfect moments, but imperfect ones. . .


Cunningham uses down-to-earth metaphors of growth and renewal, planting and reaping, flowers and weeds mixed with stories from her days of  her conservative childhood as  the daughter of a Baptist minister to her current roles as a public school teacher and mother. Along the way she recognizes that faith isn't a "one and done" event to be marked on the calendar, but involves a lifetime of growing changing and growing some more. Her journey to and through this understanding is full of imagery that challenges readers to examine their own spiritual journey as well.


The narrative begins with a childhood filled with jumping from rock to rock to avoid the lava in the yard, competitiveness for bragging rights at bible school games, eraser dust thievery, WWJD bracelets, voicing her opinion during "grown-up" meetings,  pilgrim shirt debacles, and playground confrontations for being audacious enough to wear pants to a Christian school. Ramona Quimby never had this much fun.


The Book turns more serious as the author describes going to Ground Zero within days of the attacks on the Twin Towers, "I'm convinced God was there somewhere too, browsing about the tents and the conversations, reuniting with people he had not talked to in ages and lapping up quality time with others before the moment passed and our to-do lists invited us back into oblivion, to routine tasks like picking up dry cleaning and washing our cars. But for the moment, in the skeleton of life left in the tower rubble, everyone had the time to reflect about life. We had, as a generation, been detached from the comfort of our past in just one day. And now we were drifting, fallen seeds learning to grow in even life's hardest soil."


Cunningham describes how she outgrew laissez-faire Christianity, and began moving into mature faith, because in the end the Christian life is about, becoming the person you were created to be, not the person the worlds troubles and toils try to shape you into.


What does it mean to change? Does it matter if your faith is stale? How do you go about dealing with spiritual weeds? The author pointedly asks asks these questions of herself with beauty and clarity, all while somehow never getting preachy at the rest of us who may not have yet had the boldness to ask these questions of ourselves.


"I had been faithfully weeding for a while, attacking my flaws left and right, knowing that they must die, but I had no idea how to grow a healthier, fuller life in the extra space I was creating. I needed a blueprint, the layout of a master."


In the end this is a memoir of a conversion and a realization that live as a follower of Jesus is to recognize life is a constant growth process. It is a great read for anyone wishing to explore spiritual things but unwilling to accept status quo faith.

Picking Dandelions  


The arresting story of how a single woman’s struggle to keep a small cottage evolved into a landmark case before the U.S. Supreme Court.


The little pink house on this book’s cover belonged to Suzette Kelo; or at least, so she believed. In 1997, this strong-minded EMT left a troubled marriage and bought this modest cottage in working class New London, Connecticut. She was still settling in when the city’s development corporation threatened to invoke its right to eminent domain to force home owners to make way for a giant Pfizer research complex. Refusing to abandon her newfound home, Kelo joined neighbors in legal actions that eventually landed her case in the United States Supreme Court. Even a historic decision in that high court, however, did not bring final resolution. In fact, as award-winning journalist Jeff Benedict notes in this powerful book, the saga of the single little pink house has implications that none of us can ignore.

Message Edited by Kevin on 02-19-2009 10:20 PM

The Accountant's Story

Status: Bookseller Picks

This book was an amazing recount of the boom in the cocaine industry and distribution. This real-life account by Roberto Escobar, brother of Pablo Escobar, will have you second guessing your perception of drug traffickers. Roberto tells the tale of his Robinhood-like brother who truly was a man of the people who wanted nothing more than to work in politics. He tells the tale of exotic palaces with animals from all over the world and of the rise and fall of the Medellin Cartel. This book takes you through Columbia, the jungles, drug laboratories, even prison. This book was easy to read, easy to follow, and had such an amazing content. This story definitely makes you take a better look at what is behind the drug and the people who brought it to the world on a platter, sometimes 15 tons a day.



The Glass Castle

Status: Bookseller Picks


Join Jeannette Walls in the story of her upbringing. Living as almost vagabonds, her family was always on the run. Follow her family across the USA while her parents somehow make life seem like a game...for awhile that is. At 3 years old, Jeannette finds herself on fire as she was cooking herself hotdogs, as an adult on the way to a dinner party, she sees her mother rummaging through a garbage can, each chapter will have you wondering what could possibly come next. This story will have you locked in and won't let up until it's over. It's amazing how strong people can really be and how the lives that each of us lead can be so much deeper than we imagine. If you're looking for a book that you will not be able to put down, this is it.

Categories: biography, social sciences



Heather Armstrong, the author of It Sucked and Then I Cried, describes her award-winning blog as “talking a lot about poop, boobs, her dog and her daughter.” As the book’s title suggests, that earthiness is omnipresent in Armstrong’s very candid memoir about her pregnancy, new motherhood, and a post-partum depression so severe that she wound up in a mental hospital. As you read, you will need tissues for both tears of laughter as well as sniffles of sadness. By the end, you’ll wish Heather was a friend you wish you could have over for lunch, and you’ll be almost as in love with her husband, daughter, and two wacky dogs as Heather herself clearly is.



Message Edited by PaulH on 05-28-2009 08:13 AM
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12 defining days in American history

Status: Bookseller Picks

Manhunt is the incredible story of the plot to kill a group of top government officials, the assassination of a president, the dramatic escape of the conspirators and the national manhunt that ensued. It may sound like the latest Brad Thor thriller, but it is in fact the true story of the Lincoln assassination and the manhunt for John Wilkes Booth.


Author, James L. Swanson, wholeheartedly admits his obsession with the topic and his lifelong pursuit of all things related to this important event. This passion, combined with historical records, newspaper articles from 1865 and thousand of recorded first-hand accounts of each facet of this 12-day portion of American history, makes Manhunt the most comprehensive and intimate work to date on the Lincoln assassination and its surrounding events.


Swanson paints an emotional and very tangible description of all the players in this drama and gives you a real sense of being there, whether it is along side the doctor resuscitating an already- dead Lincoln, knowing that he was only delaying the inevitable, or tensely hiding in a dense woods with a wounded, but jubilant assassin.


A great book for fans of Erik Larson (Isaac's Storm, Devil in the White City), Lincoln and Civil War aficionados or anyone who loves history.

Categories: biography, history
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There is something so graceful and neighborly about Katrina Kenison's writing that while reading this memoir, I often fell into thinking that I wouldn't mind living her life. When I snapped to, I realized, of course, that was sheer delusion: I didn't want to be the mother of two teenage sons; I didn't want to be suddenly fired; I didn't want to live with my husband's parents; and so on. What I did want to do was to live at the sane, perceptive pace of Kenison; to find a nesting place where troubles no longer distract me from being the person I can be. This sequel to Mitten Strings for God has a feel best understood perhaps by people who know first-hand what a changing experience mid-life can be.


Categories: biography
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Meet one amazing kitty

Status: Bookseller Picks


When a tiny black kitten was brought into a vet's office at two weeks of age, with a severe eye infection, the couple that found him wanted him put down.  The brave vet thought he could survive, just without his eyes.  


Meet Homer, an amazing cat that had his eyes surgically removed.  This little boy can catch a fly in mid air.  He can distinguish between a can of soup and a can of tuna, before they are open.  He even saved his owner from a burglar.  


This is a great read for any animal lover.  It reminds you that anything is possible if you want it to happen.  A warm and fuzzy book.

Categories: biography, pets
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When David Byrne auctioned off his weathered old bike this August, he parted with a faithful longtime traveling companion. In his eBay description, Byrne admitted that twenty-five years and four trips around the world had left its mark on the folding Montague: "It's scratched up, rusty in spots and there are pieces of travel stickers all over the center post (Manila and Roma are still pretty much intact.)" Of course, only one well-heeled bidder could win this rolling piece of nostalgia, but fortunately, the former lead singer of the Talking Heads is sharing with all of us another keepsake from his cycling travels; his infinitely more engaging (and less inexpensive) Bicycle Diaries. These entries about Paris, Istanbul, Buenos Aires, and numerous other cities are much more than just fragmented backpack jottings; Byrne approaches each new urban setting as a fresh opportunity to sort out his ideas on class, human interaction, city planning, marketplaces, cultural institutions, art, and much more. Like any other veteran biker, this versatile visual artist knows that alertness and good breaks are the name of the game. But, honestly, you don't have to be a biker, a rock fan, or an eco-friendly world traveler to enjoy this book. Bicycle Diaries takes you places where no car or average book could go.


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