A beautiful, “deeply affecting” (Kirkus Reviews) novel from the bestselling, award-winning author of Sister of My Heart and The Mistress of Spices about three generations of mothers and daughters who must discover their greatest source of strength in one another.
Sweeping across the twentieth century, from the countryside of Bengal, India, to the streets of Houston, Texas, Before We Visit the Goddess takes readers on an extraordinary journey through the lives of three unforgettable women: Sabitri, Bela, and Tara. As the young daughter of a poor rural baker, Sabitri yearns to get an education, but schooling is impossible on the meager profits from her mother’s sweetshop. When a powerful local woman takes Sabitri under her wing, her generous offer soon proves dangerous after Sabitri makes a single, unforgiveable misstep. Years later, Sabitri’s own daughter, Bela, haunted by her mother’s choices, flees to America with her political refugee lover—but the world she finds is vastly different from her dreams. As the marriage crumbles and Bela decides to forge her own path, she unwittingly teaches her little girl, Tara, indelible lessons about freedom and loyalty that will take a lifetime to unravel.
Told through a sparkling symphony of voices—those of the women themselves and the men who loved them—Before We Visit the Goddess captures the gorgeous complexity of these multi-generational and transcontinental relationships, showing the deep threads of love and hope and bravery that define a family and a life. This is a “gracefully insightful, dazzlingly descriptive, and covertly stinging tale [that] illuminates the opposition women must confront, generation by generation, as they seek both independence and connection” (Booklist, starred review).
When Abigail Thomas’s husband, Rich, was hit by a car, his brain shattered. Subject to rages, terrors, and hallucinations, he must live the rest of his life in an institution. He has no memory of what he did the hour, the day, the year before. This tragedy is the ground on which Abigail had to build a new life. How she built that life is a story of great courage and great change, of moving to a small country town, of a new family composed of three dogs, knitting, and friendship, of facing down guilt and discovering gratitude. It is also about her relationship with Rich, a man who lives in the eternal present, and the eerie poetry of his often uncanny perceptions. This wise, plainspoken, beautiful book enacts the truth Abigail discovered in the five years since the accident: You might not find meaning in disaster, but you might, with effort, make something useful of it.
The New York Times bestseller from the beloved author of A Three Dog Life—an exhilarating, superbly written memoir on friendship, family, creativity, tragedy, and the richness of life: “If you only read one book this year, make it this one” (Ann Patchett).
In her bestselling memoir A Three Dog Life, Abigail Thomas wrote about the devastating loss of her husband. In What Comes Next and How to Like It, “a keenly observed memoir…Thomas writes of the changes aging brings us all and of coping through love: of family, dogs, a well-turned phrase. She is superb company” (People).
Thomas was startled to overhear herself described as “a nice old lady with a tattoo,” because she thinks of herself as not nice, not old, nor a lady. But she has wondered: what comes next? What comes after the death of a spouse? What form does a lifelong friendship take after deepest betrayal? How does a mother cope with her child’s dire illness? Or the death of a cherished dog?
And how to like it? How to accept, appreciate, enjoy? How to find solace and pleasure? How to sustain and be sustained by our most trusted, valuable companions? At its heart, What Comes Next and How to Like It is about the complicated friendship between Thomas and a man she met thirty-five years ago—a rich bond that has lasted through marriages, child-raising, and the vicissitudes and tragedies of life. “After all,” she writes, “there are those people we love, and then there are those we recognize. These are the unbreakable connections.”
Exquisitely observed, lush with sentences you will read over and over again, What Comes Next and How to Like It “is a beautifully felt, deeply moving memoir, the best work yet by a woman who has already done some of the best work in the field. Abigail Thomas is the Emily Dickinson of memoirists, and so much of this book’s wisdom is between the lines and in the white spaces. It may only take you two days to read, but the impact will stay with you for a long, long time” (Stephen King). This is a glorious guide to living imperfectly and exuberantly.
Empower yourself and the latest generation of girls with this collection of inspiring reflections from notable, highly accomplished women in politics, academia, athletics, the arts, and business, including Madeleine Albright, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and more.
In What I Told My Daughter, a powerful, diverse group of women reflect on the best advice and counsel they have given their daughters either by example, throughout their lives, or in character-building, teachable moments between parent and child.
A college president teachers her daughter, by example, the importance of being a leader who connects with everyone—from the ground up, literally—in an organization.
One of the country’s only female police chiefs teaches her daughter the meaning of courage, how to respond to danger but more importantly how not to let fear stop her from experiencing all that life has to offer.
A bestselling writer, who has deliberated for years on empowering girls, wonders if we’re unintentionally leading them to believe they can never make mistakes, when “resiliency is more important than perfection.”
In a time when childhood seems at once more fraught and more precious than ever, What I Told My Daughter is a book anyone who wishes to connect with a young girl cannot afford to miss.
From the award-winning author of Mistress of Spices, the bestselling novel about the extraordinary bond between two women, and the family secrets and romantic jealousies that threaten to tear them apart.
Anju is the daughter of an upper-caste Calcutta family of distinction. Her cousin Sudha is the daughter of the black sheep of that same family. Sudha is startlingly beautiful; Anju is not. Despite those differences, since the day on which the two girls were born, the same day their fathers died--mysteriously and violently--Sudha and Anju have been sisters of the heart. Bonded in ways even their mothers cannot comprehend, the two girls grow into womanhood as if their fates as well as their hearts were merged.
But, when Sudha learns a dark family secret, that connection is shattered. For the first time in their lives, the girls know what it is to feel suspicion and distrust. Urged into arranged marriages, Sudha and Anju's lives take opposite turns. Sudha becomes the dutiful daughter-in-law of a rigid small-town household. Anju goes to America with her new husband and learns to live her own life of secrets. When tragedy strikes each of them, however, they discover that despite distance and marriage, they have only each other to turn to.
Set in the two worlds of San Francisco and India, this exceptionally moving novel tells a story at once familiar and exotic, seducing readers from the first page with the lush prose we have come to expect from Divakaruni. Sister of My Heart is a novel destined to become as widely beloved as it is acclaimed.
A life-enhancing tour through classic and contemporary poems that have made men cry: “The Holdens remind us that you don’t have to be an academic or a postgraduate in creative writing to be moved by verse….It’s plain fun” (The Wall Street Journal).
Grown men aren’t supposed to cry…Yet in this fascinating anthology, one hundred men—distinguished in literature and film, science and architecture, theater and human rights—confess to being moved to tears by poems that continue to haunt them. Although the majority are public figures not prone to crying, here they admit to breaking down, often in words as powerful as the poems themselves.
Their selections include classics by visionaries, such as Walt Whitman, W.H. Auden, and Philip Larkin, as well as modern works by masters, including Billy Collins, Seamus Heaney, Derek Walcott, and poets who span the globe from Pablo Neruda to Rabindranath Tagore. The poems chosen range from the sixteenth century to the twenty-first, with more than a dozen by women, including Mary Oliver, Elizabeth Bishop, and Gwendolyn Brooks. Their themes range from love in its many guises, through mortality and loss, to the beauty and variety of nature. All are moved to tears by the exquisite way a poet captures, in Alexander Pope’s famous phrase, “what oft was thought, but ne’er so well express’d.”
From J.J. Abrams to John le Carré, Salman Rushdie to Jonathan Franzen, Daniel Radcliffe to Nick Cave to Stephen Fry, Stanley Tucci to Colin Firth to the late Christopher Hitchens, this collection delivers private insight into the souls of men whose writing, acting, and thinking are admired around the world. “Everyone who reads this collection will be roused: disturbed by the pain, exalted in the zest for joy given by poets” (Nadine Gordimer, winner of the Nobel Prize for literature).
A classic work of magical realism, this bestselling novel by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni tells the story of Tilo, a young woman from another time who has a gift for the mystical art of spices.
Now immortal, and living in the gnarled and arthritic body of an old woman, Tilo has set up shop in Oakland, California, where she administers curatives to her customers. But when she's surprised by an unexpected romance with a handsome stranger, she must choose between everlasting life and the vicissitudes of modern society. Spellbinding and hypnotizing, The Mistress of Spices is a tale of joy, sorrow, and one special woman's magical powers.
The internationally bestselling collection of poetry so powerful that it has moved readers to tears. “Anthony and Ben Holden remind us that you don’t have to be an academic or a postgraduate in creative writing to be moved by verse” (The Wall Street Journal).
One hundred women—distinguished in literature and film, science and law, theater and human rights—share poems that have stayed with them long after reading. The poems here range from the eighth century to today, from Rumi and Shakespeare to Sylvia Plath, W.H. Auden to Carol Ann Duffy, Pablo Neruda, and Derek Walcott to Imtiaz Dharker and Warsan Shire. Their themes range from love and loss, through mortality and mystery, war and peace, to the beauty and variety of nature. From Yoko Ono to Judi Dench, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie to Elena Ferrante, Tina Brown, Michelle Williams, and Sarah Waters to Kaui Hart Hemmings and Joan Baez to Nikki Giovanni, this unique collection delivers private insights into the minds of women whose writing, acting, and thinking are admired around the world. Their selections include classics by visionaries, such as Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, and Pablo Neruda as well as contemporary works by masters, including Seamus Heaney, Adrienne Rich, and Warsan Shire, with introductions to their work as powerful as the poems themselves.
Poems That Make Grown Women Cry is a collection which represents a variety of aesthetic sensibilities and the full spectrum of human emotion. It is also a reminder of how poetry can touch minds and hearts, and how easily it will do so for readers of all stripes if they turn the first page.
“[E]ntertaining, bracingly honest and, yes, thought-provoking.”–The New York Times Book Review
At once provocative and laugh-out-loud funny, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother ignited a global parenting debate with its story of one mother’s journey in strict parenting. Amy Chua argues that Western parenting tries to respect and nurture children’s individuality, while Chinese parents typically believe that arming children with skills, strong work habits, and inner confidence prepares them best for the future. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother chronicles Chua’s iron-willed decision to raise her daughters, Sophia and Lulu, the Chinese way – and the remarkable, sometimes heartbreaking results her choice inspires. Achingly honest and profoundly challenging, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is one of the most talked-about books of our times.
“Few have the guts to parent in public. Amy [Chua]'s memoir is brutally honest, and her willingness to share her struggles is a gift. Whether or not you agree with her priorities and approach, she should be applauded for raising these issues with a thoughtful, humorous and authentic voice.” –Time Magazine
“[A] riveting read… Chua's story is far more complicated and interesting than what you've heard to date -- and well worth picking up… I guarantee that if you read the book, there'll undoubtedly be places where you'll cringe in recognition, and others where you'll tear up in empathy.” –San Francisco Chronicle
“Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother hit the parenting hot button, but also a lot more, including people's complicated feelings about ambition, intellectualism, high culture, the Ivy League, strong women and America's standing in a world where China is ascendant. Chua's conviction that hard work leads to inner confidence is a resonant one.” –Chicago Tribune
“Readers will alternately gasp at and empathize with Chua's struggles and aspirations, all the while enjoying her writing, which, like her kid-rearing philosophy, is brisk, lively and no-holds-barred. This memoir raises intriguing, sometimes uncomfortable questions about love, pride, ambition, achievement and self-worth that will resonate among success-obsessed parents… Readers of all stripes will respond to [Battle Hymn of the] Tiger Mother.” –The Washington Post
“Elizabeth Isadora Gold writes vividly and humorously about the trials and trip-outs of new-motherhood.” —The New Yorker
“If you only read one parenting book this year, make it The Mommy Group...This book is incisive, insightful, and downright delightful. I did not mean for that to rhyme” —Adam Mansbach, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Go the F*ck to Sleep
In 2010, seven women met in Brooklyn, New York, to form a Mommy Group. Over coffee, croissants, wine, and the occasional baby carrot, they commiserated about typical new-mother issues: difficult births, babies who slept in ten-minute increments, and breast pumps that talked back in the middle of the night. And then things got complicated.
Elizabeth and Melissa suffered from postpartum depression and anxiety. Jane’s daughter was diagnosed with developmental delays. Anna’s husband left her when their baby was two weeks old. Through it all, the Mommy Group laughed, supported, and learned lessons from one another that the myriad “experts” hadn’t delivered.
The journalist of the bunch—author Elizabeth Isadora Gold—reached out to other Mommy Groups around the country and found that similar bonds were forming far beyond brownstone Brooklyn. In fact, mothers across all class, geographic, and racial boundaries appear to be searching for the same thing: a way to be strong, loving, engaged parents “while retaining—or remaking—our Selves.”
A witty, relatable, and honest look at the realities of parenthood today, The Mommy Group is a companion that will help any mom feel understood and empowered, and keep her laughing all the way.
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