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Biography & Autobiography

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  1. 6.0 hrs • 3/21/2017 • Unabridged

    If your funny older sister were the former deputy chief of staff to President Barack Obama, her behind-the-scenes political memoir would look something like this. Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? is an intimate and admiring portrait of a president, a candid book of advice for young women, and a promising debut from a savvy political star.

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    Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?

    By Alyssa Mastromonaco with Lauren Oyler
    6.0 hrs • 3/21/17 • Unabridged
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  2. 4.1 hrs • 3/15/2017 • Unabridged

    "The real war will never get in the books," Walt Whitman wrote in this diary he kept during the Civil War. Whitman chronicled his visits to Washington, D.C. hospitals where he comforted wounded men and assisted nurses and doctors. This journal, written by one of America's greatest poets and writers, captures the details and ironies of war.

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    Memoranda During the War

    4.1 hrs • 3/15/17 • Unabridged
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  3. 5.6 hrs • 3/14/2017 • Unabridged

    In 1967, US Air Force fighter pilot James Shively was shot down over North Vietnam. After ejecting from his F-105 Thunderchief aircraft, he landed in a rice paddy and was captured by the North Vietnamese Army. For the next six years, Shively endured brutal treatment at the hands of the enemy in Hanoi prison camps. Back home, his beloved girlfriend Nancy eventually moved on and married another man. Bound in iron stocks at the Hanoi Hilton, unable to get home to his loved ones, Shively contemplated suicide. Yet somehow he found hope—and he became determined to help his fellow POWs survive. In a newspaper interview several years after his release, Shively said, “I had the opportunity to be captured, the opportunity to be interrogated, the opportunity to be tortured and the experience of answering questions under torture. It was an extremely humiliating experience. I felt sorry for myself. But I learned the hard way life isn’t fair. Life is only what you make of it.” Written by Shively’s stepdaughter Amy Hawk—whose mother Nancy ultimately reunited with and married Shively in a triumphant love story—and based on extensive audio recordings and Shively’s own journals, Six Years at the Hanoi Hilton is a haunting, riveting portrayal of life as an American prisoner of war trapped on the other side of the world.

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    Six Years in the Hanoi Hilton by Amy Shively Hawk

    Six Years in the Hanoi Hilton

    Foreword by Senator John McCain
    5.6 hrs • 3/14/17 • Unabridged
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  4. 4.9 hrs • 3/14/2017 • Unabridged

    A gorgeous, darkly humorous memoir about a woman overcoming dramatic loss and finding reinvention—for readers of Cheryl Strayed and Joan Didion When thirty-eight-year-old New Yorker writer Ariel Levy left for a reporting trip to Mongolia in 2012, she was pregnant, married, financially secure, and successful on her own terms. A month later, none of that was true. Levy picks you up and hurls you through the story of how she built an unconventional life and then watched it fall apart with astonishing speed. Like much of her generation, she was raised to resist traditional rules—about work, about love, and about womanhood. “I wanted what we all want: everything. We want a mate who feels like family and a lover who is exotic, surprising. We want to be youthful adventurers and middle-aged mothers. We want intimacy and autonomy, safety and stimulation, reassurance and novelty, coziness and thrills. But we can’t have it all.” In this profound and beautiful memoir, Levy chronicles the adventure and heartbreak of being “a woman who is free to do whatever she chooses.” Her own story of resilience becomes an unforgettable portrait of the shifting forces in our culture, of what has changed—and of what is eternal. Advance praise for The Rules Do Not Apply“I read The Rules Do Not Apply in one long, rapt sitting. Unflinching and intimate, wrenching and revelatory, Ariel Levy’s powerful memoir about love, loss, and finding one’s way shimmers with truth and heart on every page.”—Cheryl Strayed “Every deep feeling a human is capable of will be shaken loose by this profound book. Ariel Levy has taken grief and made art out of it.”—David Sedaris “Ariel Levy is a writer of uncompromising honesty, remarkable clarity, and surprising humor gathered from the wreckage of tragedy. Her account of life doing its darnedest to topple her, and her refusal to be knocked down, will leave you shaken and inspired. I am the better for having read this book.”—Lena Dunham “A great memoir is not a trip through someone else’s life but a series of long looks into your own. Ariel Levy’s book—grieving, hopeful, painful, funny—is that.”—Amy Bloom “It’s become a truism that feminists are living out our mothers’ unlived lives. But Ariel Levy seems to be living out the unlived lives of an entire generation of women, simultaneously. Free to do whatever she chooses, she chooses everything. While reinventing work, marriage, family, pregnancy, sex, and divorce for herself from the ground up, Levy experiences devastating loss. And she recounts it all here with searing intimacy and an unsentimental yet openhearted rigor.”—Alison Bechdel “The Rules Do Not Apply is heartbreaking, brilliant, and disarming, the kind of book that may change you. Ariel Levy writes with a beauty that is ferociously honest and with the fervor of an explorer. No one else has written so insightfully about the current legacy of feminism’s ‘lavish gift’ of freedom. Levy has a voice unlike any other. This is a devastating and inspired book.”—René Steinke

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    The Rules Do Not Apply

    4.9 hrs • 3/14/17 • Unabridged
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  5. 5.5 hrs • 3/14/2017 • Unabridged

    From the veteran comedian and actor from The Wrestler and Louie comes a hilarious book of travel essays from his time on tour through secondary markets in the US, Canada, and Israel.Hello. It’s Todd Barry. Yes, the massively famous comedian. I have billons of fans all over the world, so I do my fair share of touring. While I love doing shows in the big cities (New York, Chicago, Cleveland), I also enjoy a good secondary market (Rochester, Springfield, Toledo). There’s something great about performing in a place where they don’t expect to see you. They’re appreciative. They say things like “Thank you for coming to Hattiesburg” as much as they say “Nice show.” And almost every town has their version of a hipster coffee shop, so I can get in my comfort zone. My original plan was to book one secondary market show in all fifty states, in about a year, but that idea was funnier than anything in my act. So, instead of all fifty states in a year, my agent booked multiple shows in a lot of states, plus Israel and Canada. Thank You For Coming to Hattiesburg is part tour diary, part travel guide, and part memoir (Yes, memoir. Just like the thing presidents and former child stars get to write). Follow me on my journey of small clubs, and the occasional big amphitheater. Watch me make a promoter clean the dressing room toilet in Connecticut, see me stare at beached turtles in Maui, and see how I react when Lars from Metallica shows up to see me at a rec center in Northern California. I’d love to tell you more, but I need to go book a flight to Evansville, Indiana.

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    Thank You for Coming to Hattiesburg

    5.5 hrs • 3/14/17 • Unabridged
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  6. 5.5 hrs • 3/7/2017 • Unabridged

    The playful, epic adventure of a 160-pound English Mastiff and the twentysomething girl who grew up alongside her—Marley & Me for a whole new generation.Lauren Watt took her 160-pound English Mastiff to college—so of course after graduation, Gizelle followed Lauren to her first, tiny apartment in New York. Because Gizelle wasn’t just a dog; she was a roommate, sister, confidante, dining companion, and everything in between. Together, Gizelle and Lauren went through boyfriends, first jobs, a mother’s struggle with addiction, and the ups and downs of becoming an adult in the big city. But when Gizelle got sick and Lauren realized her best friend might not be such a constant after all, she designed an epic bucket list to make the absolute most of the time they had left. Bursting with charm, this unique, coming-of-age story of a girl making her way through life is a testament to the special way pets inspire us to live better, love better, and appreciate the simple pleasures. Gizelle’s Bucket List is the humorous, poignant lesson our pets teach us: to embrace adventure, love unconditionally, and grow into the people we want to be.

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    Gizelle's Bucket List

    by Lauren Watt and Lauren Fern Watt
    5.5 hrs • 3/7/17 • Unabridged
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  7. 5.0 hrs • 3/7/2017 • Unabridged

    Leah Carroll lives in Brooklyn, NY. She graduated from Emerson College, received an MFA in Fiction from the University of Florida, and was a Dean’s Fellow in the Columbia University Graduate Writing Program. She is the recipient of fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the MacDowell Colony. Her work has been published in the New York Times, the Atlantic, New York magazine, Maxim, Interview, and Guernica. She was one of the founding staff writers at Café.com.

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    Down City

    5.0 hrs • 3/7/17 • Unabridged
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  8. 3.5 hrs • 2/28/2017 • Unabridged

    A vibrant collection of oil paintings and stories by President George W. Bush honoring the sacrifice and courage of America’s military veterans, with forewords written and read by former First Lady Laura Bush and General Peter Pace, sixteenth chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Growing out of President Bush’s own outreach and the ongoing work of the George W. Bush Institute’s Military Service Initiative, Portraits of Courage brings together sixty-six full-color portraits and a four-panel mural painted by President Bush of members of the United States military who have served our nation with honor since 9/11—and whom he has come to know personally. Our men and women in uniform have faced down enemies, liberated millions, and in doing so showed the true compassion of our nation. Often, they return home with injuries—both visible and invisible—that intensify the challenges of transitioning into civilian life. In addition to these burdens, research shows a civilian-military divide. Seventy-one percent of Americans say they have little understanding of the issues facing veterans, and veterans agree: eighty-four percent say that the public has “little awareness” of the issues facing them and their families. Each painting in this volume is accompanied by the inspiring story of the veteran depicted, written by President Bush. Listeners can hear about those who answered the call and learn from their bravery on the battlefield, their journeys to recovery, and the continued leadership and contributions they are making as civilians. It is President Bush’s desire that these stories of courage and resilience will honor our men and women in uniform, highlight their family and caregivers who bear the burden of their sacrifice, and help Americans understand how we can support our veterans and empower them to succeed. President Bush is donating his net author proceeds from Portraits of Courage to the George W. Bush Presidential Center, a nonprofit organization whose Military Service Initiative works to ensure that post-9/11 veterans and their families make successful transitions to civilian life with a focus on gaining meaningful employment and overcoming the invisible wounds of war.

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    Portraits of Courage

    By George W. Bush, with Laura Bush and General Peter Pace
    3.5 hrs • 2/28/17 • Unabridged
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  9. 4.4 hrs • 2/28/2017 • Unabridged

    Winston Churchill possessed an iron will and a subtle conscience. His staunch patriotism, tenacity, appetite for a fight, and, above all, his towering rhetoric inspired the British people to mount a gallant defense of their island nation. Having set a new bar for national heroism, he earned a place in the pantheon of the world’s greatest leaders. Churchill, a fearless soldier, was a veteran of countless battles and a rider in one of Britain’s last cavalry charges. He was also a gifted writer, a winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, whose war reporting made his name and whose books outlived him. A bon vivant who loved his brandy and cigars, he was also a devoted husband whose marriage was a lifelong love affair. By any measure, Churchill was a giant. But the man was far from perfect. He was a hero, yes, but a human one. He could be petty, irascible, and self-centered; it was bred in his bone that white Englishmen were born to lead the world and all others to be led. His mistakes cost billions of dollars and thousands of lives, but he had courage and a born politician’s sense of the public stage. In the end, Churchill became a regal figure whose life came to symbolize defiance of tyranny in the face of impossible odds. Here is his story.

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    Churchill by Jacob Bannister

    Churchill

    4.4 hrs • 2/28/17 • Unabridged
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  10. 4.1 hrs • 2/21/2017 • Unabridged

    This famous memoir by John McCorkle is the best published account by a scout who “rode with Quantrill.” John McCorkle was a young Missouri farmer of Southern sympathies. After serving briefly in the pro-Confederate Missouri State Guard, he became a prominent member of William Clarke Quantrill’s infamous guerrillas, who took advantage of the turmoil in the Missouri-Kansas borderland to prey on pro-Union people. McCorkle displayed an unflinchingly violent nature while he participated in raids and engagements including the massacres at Lawrence and Baxter Springs, Kansas, and Centralia, Missouri. In 1865 he followed Quantrill into Kentucky, where the notorious leader was killed and his followers, McCorkle among them, surrendered and were paroled by Union authorities. Early in this century, having returned to farming, McCorkle told his remarkable Civil War experiences to O. S. Barton, a lawyer, who wrote this book, first published in 1914.

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    Three Years with Quantrill by John McCorkle, O. S. Barton

    Three Years with Quantrill

    4.1 hrs • 2/21/17 • Unabridged
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  11. 4.6 hrs • 2/19/2017 • Unabridged

    Diagnosed with a disease that can’t be reversed? Learn how to keep living life to the fullest. Have you received a terminal or chronic diagnosis? Is your mind succumbing to age or illness? Can you ever find joy, peace, or fulfillment in these challenging conditions? The answer is a resounding YES. Author Jarem Sawatsky saw the countless guides out there for those caring for the ill and healing the curable, but when he was diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease he found there was nothing for those living with incurable illness. He quit his job as a professor and devoted his life to exploring the possibilities of living with chronic conditions. Now he’s bringing his findings and insights to you. In Dancing With Elephants, you’ll discover: Simple practices to bring healing to your heart and life to your new outlookHumorous (and occasionally heart-wrenching) stories of Sawatsky’s own journeyMultiple ways to build confidence in yourself, even when you’ve been shaken to the coreA new perspective to cut some of the pain and renew your spiritPractical tools to face your seemingly inescapable fears, and much, much more! Based on the popular blog of the same name, Dancing With Elephants includes insightful interviews with chronic disease experts Toni Bernhard, Lucy Kalanithi, and Patch Adams. Sawatsky’s landmark book provides support that only a fellow traveler down this road can offer. If you like touching stories, mindful wisdom, and a touch of irreverent humor, then you’ll love Sawatsky’s life-changing book. Buy Dancing With Elephants today to discover a new way to live!

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  12. 5.1 hrs • 2/14/2017 • Unabridged

    From the popular YouTube tastemaker Eva Gutowski comes a unique lifestyle and advice book on the ups and downs of life in her hilarious and earnest voice.What’s up guys? It’s me, Eva! You may know me from my YouTube channel, MyLifeasEva. If that’s the case, then you might also know that I have a munchkin cat named Paris, a weird obsession with patterned sock collecting, and the tendency to say “HOLY SCHNITZEL!” at all the wrong moments. Like...embarrassing moments. I’m so lucky to have my fans—over seven million besties and counting! It has been amazing to meet so many of you since I started making videos. Growing up, books are what got me through life—a lot of the good times, and the really really bad times. And no matter how challenging life got, I promised myself that I would get through it, in hopes that someday I’d have the chances to help people who need that one piece of great advice, at just the right time. So here’s a book by me, totally for you. I’ll tell you a ton of my secrets, a lot of fail stories, and how I made it through—and you can too! Think of my book like a best friend you can turn to at any time. Xo Eva

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    My Life as Eva

    5.1 hrs • 2/14/17 • Unabridged
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  13. 3.1 hrs • 2/14/2017 • Unabridged

    How much of our memory is constructed by imagination? And how does memory shape our lives? As a nine-year old, Elizabeth Farnsworth struggled to understand the loss of her mother. On a cross-country trip with her father, the heartsick child searches for her mother at train stations along the way. Even more, she confronts mysteries: death, time, and a mysteriously locked compartment on the train. Weaving a child’s experiences with memories from reporting in danger zones like Cambodia and Iraq, Farnsworth explores how she came to cover mass death and disaster. While she never breaks the tone of a curious investigator, she easily moves between her nine-year-old self and the experienced journalist. Imagination is at play in her childhood adventures and in her narrative control, always with great purpose. She openly confronts the impact of her childhood on the route her life has taken. And, as she provides one beautifully crafted depiction after another, we share her journey, coming to know the acclaimed reporter as she discovers herself. Farnsworth’s curiosity lingers on every page of A Train through Time: A Life, Real and Imagined, and so does the making of a powerfully driven woman.

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    A Train through Time by Elizabeth Farnsworth

    A Train through Time

    3.1 hrs • 2/14/17 • Unabridged
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  14. 5.8 hrs • 2/9/2017 • Unabridged

    "From the poverty and obscurity in which I was born I have raised myself up." In his own words Benjamin Franklin steps off the pages of history, brimming with candor, bright ideas, and common sense, and with something of an eye for the ladies.

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  15. 3.2 hrs • 2/9/2017 • Unabridged

    Words of Wisdom from America’s shrewdest observer of mankind and its ways. Includes: Choice of a Mistres; Reflections on Love and Marriage; Treaty with a Lady Polly Baker; Ephemera; Apology for Printers; Politeness of Savages; On Wine; Emigrants; Cold Air Baths

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    Benjamin Franklin

    3.2 hrs • 2/9/17 • Unabridged
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  16. 3.4 hrs • 2/7/2017 • Unabridged

    The prizewinning memoir of one of the world’s great writers, about coming of age and finding her voice amid the hardships of Stalinist Russia   Born across the street from the Kremlin in the opulent Metropol Hotel—the setting of the New York Times bestselling novel A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles—Ludmilla Petrushevskaya grew up in a family of Bolshevik intellectuals who were reduced in the wake of the Russian Revolution to waiting in bread lines. In The Girl from the Metropol Hotel, her prizewinning memoir, she recounts her childhood of extreme deprivation—of wandering the streets like a young Edith Piaf, singing for alms, and living by her wits like Oliver Twist, a diminutive figure far removed from the heights she would attain as an internationally celebrated writer. As she unravels the threads of her itinerant upbringing—of feigned orphandom, of sleeping in freight cars and beneath the dining tables of communal apartments, of the fugitive pleasures of scraps of food—we see, both in her remarkable lack of self-pity and in the two dozen photographs throughout the text, her feral instinct and the crucible in which her gift for giving voice to a nation of survivors was forged.“From heartrending facts Petrushevskaya concocts a humorous and lyrical account of the toughest childhood and youth imaginable. . . . It [belongs] alongside the classic stories of humanity’s beloved plucky child heroes: Edith Piaf, Charlie Chaplin, the Artful Dodger, Gavroche, David Copperfield. . . . The child is irresistible and so is the adult narrator who creates a poignant portrait from the rags and riches of her memory.” —Anna Summers, from the IntroductionFrom the Trade Paperback edition.

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    The Girl from the Metropol Hotel

    Read by Kate Mulgrew
    Translated by Anna Summers
    3.4 hrs • 2/7/17 • Unabridged
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