Tippett calls herself a person who listens for a living: this is her distillation of several decades worth of wisdom gleaned from probing interviews with a wide array of guests. She hones in on five "raw materials" for living well: words, flesh, love, faith, and hope, and hopefully explores how they can be channeled toward compassion, forgiveness, and love. If it all sounds a bit esoteric, you can trust that the same curiosity that makes her show On Being so addictive serves her well in this format. Deep, thoughtful, profound: Even if you're the sort who usually finishes a book in a few days' time, this would be wonderful read a few pages a day, all summer long. Pair with The Light of the World. Published April 5 2016.
This inspirational memoir's epigraph bears quotes from Maya Angelou and Christina from Grey's Anatomy, which gives you a good idea of what you'll find inside. Rhimes is the queen of Thursday night tv, creating and producing smash hits like Grey's and Scandal. This time she's telling her own story of how her sister issued her a six-word wake-up call—You never say yes to anything—and the year of YES that followed. I saw parts of myself all over this and absolutely loved the last chapter when the author discovers what her big year was really about. Heads up for audio lovers: Rhimes reads her own work for the audio version. Published November 10 2015.
In Alexander's words: "The story seems to begin with catastrophe but in fact began earlier and is not a tragedy but rather a love story." The author's husband died just four days after his fiftieth birthday. A few years later, Alexander looks back on their life together, their love, and the impact of that loss in her life. The author is a poetry professor at Yale, which is obvious in the story's richness and language. Her source material is fantastic: Alexander is an American, born in Harlem. Her husband was born in Eritrea, in East Africa, and came to New Haven as a refugee from war. Both were artists—that’s his painting on the cover of the book—and their home sounds like this amazing, vibrant, multicultural extravaganza with food and friends and music and art. I could barely put this down, and while sad, it exudes joy. Heads up for audiophiles: Alexander's narration of her own work is magnificent. Published April 15 2015.
- by Hope Jahren
You've probably never heard the words "science memoir" and "sparkle" in the same sentence before, but this genre-busting tale from one of TIME magazine’s "100 Most Influential People" absolutely does. In alternating chapters, Jahren tells the story of her own development—life, career, love, friendship, and always, always budgetary woes—and a little about her surprisingly fascinating (well, to non-paleobotanists) field of research. It's a terrific read, and as a bonus it's completely inspiring to get this inside look at the life someone who's doggedly pursuing the work she loves, convention be damned. For fans of Annie Dillard, Michael Pollan, and Mary Roach.
In this examination of the internet as cultural phenomenon, Heffernan does for the internet what Marshall McLuhan did for media and Chuck Klosterman did for villains. If you've ever been extraordinarily depressed after reading The Shallows or the latest inflammatory think piece in The Atlantic, take heart. Heffernan puts the internet in a broader, enduring cultural context, examining its obvious benefits (magic) and less obvious downsides (loss), and if that sounds boring I'm describing it all wrong. I could not stop myself from reading this aloud to my husband. Make sure to get your hands on the book book, not the kindle version: the hardcover has one of the season's best covers. A must read for fans of Chuck Klosterman. Publication date June 7 2016.