If you’re a parent—even one who gave birth before the really cool strollers were invented—you’ll find infinite insight, brilliant advice, and plenty of laughter here. Ingall performs a high-wire act, blending history, personal anecdotes, theology, and high and low culture to illustrate strategies for raising children who are both accomplished and kind. She discusses the importance of humor, a healthy distrust of authority, nurturing a love of storytelling and literacy, celebrating geekiness, and more. This is more than a parenting book. It’s a guide for living. It asks hard questions like “Who do you want to be?” and “Who do you want your child to be?” while keeping you smiling—and occasionally laughing out loud—as you read.
In American History class you probably learned that women stepped in to fill the labor shortage during World War II, but did you know that a team of black female mathematicians helped keep the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (a precursor to NASA) afloat? Using first-hand accounts, correspondence, and reporting from the era, Shetterly shares the little-told story of the women who were recruited, many from segregated schools in the South, to work as “human computers” at the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory in Hampton, Virginia. Shetterly celebrates the smarts and strength of Dorothy Vaughn, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and others, who took one giant leap for womankind by making the calculations that eventually launched man into space. The book has already been adapted into a feature film starring Octavia Spencer and Taraji P. Henson, which will open in theaters on Christmas Day.
Glennon Doyle Melton bares all in this moving memoir. In 2002, the author of Carry On, Warrior and the founder of Momastery.com found herself staring at a positive pregnancy test. Seeing this as an invitation to face her demons and battle her history of bulimia and addiction, Doyle Melton becomes sober and embarks on the journey of marriage and motherhood. When, ten years later, her husband’s infidelity threatens to disrupt it all, the mother of three turns to writing to save her. The result: an incredible, dark, poignant, vulnerable personal account about surviving rock bottom and finding a better life. You will be inspired by her resilience, strength, and womanhood.
Love knows no bounds. Not even language barriers. New Yorker writer (and monolingual American) Collins is living in London when she falls for Olivier, a Frenchman who speaks excellent English. As their relationship grows entirely in English, Collins begins to wonder if there are things she doesn’t fully understand about Olivier because she doesn’t speak his native language. Do “I love you” and “je t’aime” really mean the same thing? Would she be a different person if she spoke French? When the couple marries and relocates to French-speaking Geneva, Collins, for fear she will never fully understand her future children, decides to learn the language. Part memoir, part cultural exploration, this heartwarming read will appeal to romantics and lovers of language alike.
This essay collection gets its title from Boggs’s viral Orion essay, in which she shared her despair and fear as she realized that she might never conceive a child. It’s a situation that is all too familiar for many women. In fact, one in eight couples in the U.S. are affected by infertility. Boggs is deeply empathetic as she explores not only her personal challenges with starting a family, but how culture treats the childless, the complex decision between adoption and trying to conceive, the additional hurdles facing LGBT couples, and the financial and legal complications that come with facing alternative means of childbearing.
The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, by Amy Schumer
In the opening note to her readers, Amy Schumer vows that her book offers “NO SELF-HELP INFO OR ADVICE.” Many will beg to differ. In a series of personal essays, the Inside Amy Schumer star unflinchingly recounts her relationship with an abusive boyfriend, her mother’s affair that forever changed their bond, and her father’s fight with multiple sclerosis. Of course, there are plenty of hilarious passages as well (2016 footnotes added to 90s journal entries provide more than a few laugh-out-loud moments). But perhaps what the comedian, who has made a career of self-deprecating and effacing humor, does best is prove that self-love is a skill, one that we must learn and work at for ourselves.
On a quiet February night in 1974, a ragtag radical group kidnapped Patricia “Patty” Hearst from her college apartment. By April, the 19-year-old media heiress had joined her captors, the Symbionese Liberation Army, on their nonsensical mission to “destroy the capitalist state.” Journalist Jeffery Toobin (The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson) revisits one of the most bizarre FBI cases of all time in his latest page-turner. Car chases, bank robberies, and police shoot-outs make for a thrilling read, but the real story Toobin tells is the often-forgotten violent turn America takes in the decade following the peaceful protests of the 1960s.