- May 26 & 27 - All libraries CLOSED for Memorial Day
This extraordinary book describes the life of Jean-Dominique Bauby after he wakes up from a debilitating stroke and discovers the only control he has left over his body is the ability to blink his left eye. Once the editor of Elle magazine in Europe, he becomes determined to write a book. With the help of a therapist who devises an alphabet he can blink to, and the aid of an editor who writes each letter down, Jean-Dominique succeeds in producing a memoir of his life with "locked in syndrome".
Two days after publication of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Frenchman Bauby died at the age of 45.
The book was later made into a remarkable film by Julian Schnabel, which has won many awards worldwide. This movie, Le Scaphandre et le Papillon, (subtitled in English), brings the book to life.
Check out "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" in both book and movie form from the San Jose Public Library.
The Pregnancy Project by Gaby Rodriguez created a firestorm for the author when it was revealed that she had faked a pregnancy for her senior project. The book is an inspiring read about a teen who sought a way to give voice to a group of people who are often looked down upon by peers, teachers, and their families.
Teens are taught by adults that teen pregnancy should be frowned upon. Gaby has grown up in an economically-disadvantaged household where all of her immediate family have been teen parents. Gaby has seen first-hand how difficult it is to raise children as a teen through her mother and seven siblings. However, she also wonders if the very stereotypes about teens who become parents perpetuates the problem from generation to generation.
Gaby comes up with an innovative solution to this problem. She decides to fake a pregnancy to see how her family, friends, and teachers treat her, after they find out she is pregnant. Once she is done with the project, she will reveal the stereotypes she has seen and hopefully help teens who become pregnant.
As an honor student, she has been viewed as the hope for her family. However, there have been naysayers who say she will probably end up a teen mom as well. What happens when Gaby supposedly becomes pregnant? How will her friends and teachers react? How will her family react when they think that their one hope for future salvation is dashed?
Fans of 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live will appreciate Bossypants, a witty and insightful new memoir by comedian and writer Tina Fey.
From her childhood in Chicago to her rise in fame, Tina Fey takes us through the backroads of her life in and out of the spotlight. Delightfully awkward, and sarcastic, Fey turns the routine memoir on its head with her rendition. Written as a series of essays detailing various aspects of her life, Fey lets down her guard. Her breezy writing style and one-liner jokes has the feel of an intimate side-by-side chat with the actress. For an added kick of humor, make sure to request Bossypants in the audio version, read by Tina Fey herself.
If this book isn't enough, make sure to check out these additional Tina Fey comedies:
Patti Smith recently received the 2010 National Book Award for her nonfiction memoir Just Kids. This memoir features her youth spent in New York City, living with the artist/photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. Mapplethorpe, who died in 1989, was known for his controversial photos, which sparked much debate regarding art and censorship in the late 1980s. Patti Smith was his closest friend throughout the 1970s and 80s. She is known for her incomparable poetry and performance art, as well as being considered a pioneer of the NYC punk rock movement. We have quite a bit of her work available in the San José Public Library catalog.
Just Kids - a memoir of life in New York City, with Robert Mapplethorpe. Includes her thoughts on being one of the first performers at the CBGB club.
Horses [sound recording] - powerful and poetic songs
Gung Ho [sound recording] -a more recent offering
Keep in mind that this recommendation is for adults, as her memoir and her lyrics deal with issues of a mature nature.
Graphic Novels aren’t just for kids and geeks. I read a great one called Forget Sorrow by local artist and author Belle Yang. She lives in
Promises I Made My Mother
by Sam Haskell
Sometimes, you may find it easier to listen to someone else’s mother than your own. For one, you can always ignore her, and for another, her counsel may be worth your while. After all, see how her son, Sam Haskell, turned out. Sam Haskell may not be a household name, but his clientele needs no introduction – Ray Romano, Prince Edward of the U.K., Dolly Parton and many more. But this book is not about them (even though they get honorary mention). It is about the indelible imprint Sam’s mother left on his life; and how he has kept faith with her. Sam Haskell grew up in Amory, Mississippi (pop. 7,000) and made his name in Beverley Hills, CA. He started in the mailroom and ended up as the Worldwide Head of Television at the renowned William Morris Agency. He credits his rise to the wisdom of his mother which he shares entertainingly with his readers in Promises I Made My Mother. This inspirational memoir has a bit of everything in it – small town intrigue, cosmopolitan machinations, human frailties, struggles, joys, sadness, drama. Peppered with sagacity and interesting anecdotes, mellifluously melding society column with words to live by, it is delightful reading that packs a powerful punch.
Reviewed by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library staff member