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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The riveting, unlikely story of Dr. Bennet Omalu, the pathologist who first identified CTE in professional football players, a discovery that challenges the existence of America’s favorite sport and puts Omalu in the crosshairs of football’s most powerful corporation: the NFL
 
Jeanne Marie Laskas first met the young forensic pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu in 2009, while reporting a story for GQ that would go on to inspire the movie Concussion. Omalu told her about a day in September 2002, when, in a dingy morgue in downtown Pittsburgh, he picked up a scalpel and made a discovery that would rattle America in ways he’d never intended. Omalu was new to America, chasing the dream, a deeply spiritual man escaping the wounds of civil war in Nigeria. The body on the slab in front of him belonged to a fifty-year-old named Mike Webster, aka “Iron Mike,” a Hall of Fame center for the Pittsburgh Steelers, one of the greatest ever to play the game. After retiring in 1990, Webster had suffered a dizzyingly steep decline. Toward the end of his life, he was living out of his van, tasering himself to relieve his chronic pain, and fixing his rotting teeth with Super Glue. How did this happen?, Omalu asked himself. How did a young man like Mike Webster end up like this? The search for answers would change Omalu’s life forever and put him in the crosshairs of one of the most powerful corporations in America: the National Football League. What Omalu discovered in Webster’s brain—proof that Iron Mike’s mental deterioration was no accident but a disease caused by blows to the head that could affect everyone playing the game—was the one truth the NFL wanted to ignore.
 
Taut, gripping, and gorgeously told, Concussion is the stirring story of one unlikely man’s decision to stand up to a multibillion-dollar colossus, and to tell the world the truth.
 
Praise for Concussion
 
“A gripping medical mystery and a dazzling portrait of the young scientist no one wanted to listen to . . . a fabulous, essential read.”—Rebecca Skloot, author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

“The story of Dr. Bennet Omalu’s battle against the NFL is classic David and Goliath stuff, and Jeanne Marie Laskas—one of my favorite writers on earth—makes it as exciting as any great courtroom or gridiron drama. A riveting, powerful human tale—and a master class on how to tell a story.”—Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit
 
“Bennet Omalu forced football to reckon with head trauma. The NFL doesn’t want you to hear his story, but Jeanne Marie Laskas makes it unforgettable. This book is gripping, eye-opening, and full of heart.”—Emily Bazelon, author of Sticks and Stones
Jeanne Marie Laskas had dreams of life on a farm that she couldn't get out of her head. A dream of fleeing her otherwise happy urban life for fresh air and open space. A dream she would discover was about something more profound than that. A dream she never ever expected to come true. Until a hot summer afternoon led to a drive in the country, where a place that had existed only in her fantasies turned out to be real--and for sale.

Fifty Acres And A Poodle

The place is almost too perfect to be believed, but there it is: a pretty-as-a-picture-postcard farm, with an Amish barn, a chestnut grove, and vistas so beautiful, they take her breath away. And in that moment she knows that this is the spot where her future begins. So she drags her boyfriend Alex, a committed urban dweller with zero agricultural awareness who owns a poodle, into her scheme, hoping that love will somehow conquer all.

But buying a postcard--fifty acres of scenery--and living on it are two entirely different matters. The questions seem endless: How long before the barn roof collapses? Should they buy sheep? Will the place be good for her writing, and for her relationship with Alex? And is there any way to keep Betty the mutt and Marley the poodle from rolling in mud, leaves, and unidentified smelly remains?

In this funny yet tender tale, Laskas shares what happens when you follow your dream--and what happens when it's almost snatched away.

Fifty Acres and a Poodle is a charming and surprisingly poignant memoir of Jeanne Marie Laskas's first year on Sweetwater Farm. It is a journey peopled by unforgettable characters: Billy, the local contractor who bulldozes her briars, takes her shopping for tractors, and advises her on buying a mule; Tim, the FedEx driver whose truck becomes Marley's obsession and nearly his downfall; the local hunters who present her with an entire wardrobe of blaze-orange hats; and Bob the cat, whose valiant fight for life gives her the courage to love.

Jeanne Marie Laskas writes with exhilarating wit and extraordinary wisdom about life, love, and finding your true self on a farm.

It's hard to say how a dream forms. Especially one like mine, which at first seemed so utterly random. It could have been a sailing-a-boat-to-Tahiti dream, a quit-your-job-and-hitchhike-to-Alaska dream. It was a fill-in-the-blank dream, born of an urge, not content. An urge for something new.

I was thirty-seven years old. I lived on Eleventh Street, the last house on the right,in South Side, a gentrified old mill town on the banks of the Monongahela River. I rented an office in downtown Pittsburgh, a fifteen-minute bike ride away, which is where I spent my days writing stories and magazine articles. I had a garden.
I had a cat. I had a dog.

And I had a farm dream, a fantasy swirling around in my head about moving to the country. Where in the world was this coming from? That's what I wondered. It might have made sense if I was a miserable person, sick of my life. But I was not.I had a good life; it had taken me a long time to get it that way.

A farm dream would have made sense, I supposed, if I was at least the farm dream type. A person with some deep personal longing to churn butter. A person who had had city life forced upon her and now was determined to go be true to herself and live among the haystacks. A person who wore her hair in long braids, used Ivory soap, and liked to stencil her walls with pictures of little chickens and cows. A person who, at minimum, had a compost pile in her yard where she diligently threw lawn clippings and coffee grounds and eggshells and earned the right to use the word organic a lot.

But I was not that person. I was not even sure what hay was, or why anyone would stack it. And if I composted anything, it was only by mistake.
“An insightful study of a president who listened to even his harshest critics with grace and humility.”—The Washington Post

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY GLAMOUR

Every evening for eight years, at his request, President Obama was given ten handpicked letters written by ordinary American citizens—the unfiltered voice of a nation—from his Office of Presidential Correspondence. He was the first president to interact daily with constituent mail and to archive it in its entirety. The letters affected not only the president and his policies but also the deeply committed people who were tasked with opening and reading the millions of pleas, rants, thank-yous, and apologies that landed in the White House mailroom.

In To Obama, Jeanne Marie Laskas interviews President Obama, the letter writers themselves, and the White House staff who sifted through the powerful, moving, and incredibly intimate narrative of America during the Obama years: There is Kelli, who saw her grandfathers finally marry—legally—after thirty-five years together; Bill, a lifelong Republican whose attitude toward immigration reform was transformed when he met a boy escaping MS-13 gang leaders in El Salvador; Heba, a Syrian refugee who wants to forget the day the tanks rolled into her village; Marjorie, who grappled with disturbing feelings of racial bias lurking within her during the George Zimmerman trial; and Vicki, whose family was torn apart by those who voted for Trump and those who did not.

They wrote to Obama out of gratitude and desperation, in their darkest times of need, in search of connection. They wrote with anger, fear, and respect. And together, this chorus of voices achieves a kind of beautiful harmony. To Obama is an intimate look at one man’s relationship to the American people, and at a time when empathy intersected with politics in the White House.

Praise for To Obama

“I cried several times.”—Pete Souza

“Beautifully researched and written . . . A moving and inevitably nostalgic or even elegiac read, redolent of the human grace and statesmanship of the Obama presidency.”—The Guardian

“These stories, when you read them all together, tell the American story. They’re inspirational, they’re frustrating, they’re angry, they’re grateful, they’re resilient.”—Valerie Jarrett
Award-winning author Jeanne Marie Laskas has charmed and delighted readers with her heartwarming and hilarious tales of life on Sweetwater Farm. Now she offers her most personal and most deeply felt memoir yet as she embarks on her greatest, most terrifying, most rewarding endeavor of all….

A good mother, writes Jeanne Marie Laskas in her latest report from Sweetwater Farm, would have bought a house in the suburbs with a cul-de-sac for her kids to ride bikes around instead of a ramshackle house in the middle of nowhere with a rooster. With the wryly observed self-doubt all mothers and mothers-to-be will instantly recognize, Laskas offers a poignant and laugh-out-loud-funny meditation on that greatest–and most impossible–of all life’s journeys: motherhood.

What is it, she muses, that’s so exhausting about being a mom? You’d think raising two little girls would be a breeze compared to dealing with the barely controlled anarchy of “attack” roosters, feuding neighbors, and a scheme to turn sheep into lawn mowers on the fifty-acre farm she runs with her bemused husband Alex. But, as any mother knows, you’d be wrong.

From struggling with the issues of race and identity as she raises two children adopted from China to taking her daughters to the mall for their first manicures, Jeanne Marie captures those magic moments that make motherhood the most important and rewarding job in the world–even if it’s never been done right. For, as she concludes in one of her three a.m. worry sessions, feeling like a bad mother is the only way to know you’re doing your job.

Whether confronting Sasha’s language delay, reflecting on Anna’s devotion to a creepy backwards-running chicken, feeling outclassed by the fabulous homeroom moms, or describing the rich, secret language each family shares, these candid observations from the front lines of parenthood are filled with love and laughter–and radiant with the tough, tender, and timeless wisdom only raising kids can teach us.
In Fifty Acres and a Poodle, Jeanne Marie Laskas described how she survived her first hilariously tumultuous year at Sweetwater Farm. Now she returns with a funny, touching, and personal new memoir of what happens after your dream comes true...

With a picture-postcard farm, a wonderful marriage, two mules, and a new refrigerator that spits crushed ice, what more can a girl ask for? That’s precisely the question Jeanne Marie asks herself as she and Alex settle into their new life at Sweetwater Farm. Two years ago they left the city behind for a life filled with the practical, often comical, lessons of living close to the land—and they never looked back. Yet when her strong-willed mom is hospitalized with a sudden and mysterious paralysis, Jeanne Marie rushes home to Philadelphia and her extended, sometimes chaotic, but always loving family. It’s there that she realizes what is still missing from her life: a family of her own. Now it’s a matter of bringing up the subject to her husband, Alex, fifteen years older and with adult children of his own, who seems terrified that she’s thinking of adopting a Chihuahua.

With warmth, wisdom, and unfailing humor, Laskas tells the poignant story of her search for motherhood—and what happens when a woman risks happily-ever-after for something even more precious. As she tends to her own ailing mother, Jeanne Marie discovers that the challenges and rewards of living with Mother Nature pale in comparison to those awakened by the nature of mothering.

The Exact Same Moon is filled with hilarious and heartwarming vignettes of people and a way of life you’ll be glad you met. From "borrowing" sheep to help mow the lawn and sitting in on the racy hay jokes at the Agway Equine Clinic, to befriending the notorious old lady who holds the water rights to their future pond, corrupting the neighbors with satellite TV, and learning the fine art of going a-calling, Laskas proves once again that laughter, love, and wisdom are truly homegrown.
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