Between the Lines – February 2020


Stroke Survivor to Share his Life-Changing Story

    David Talbot, author of Seasons of the Witch and three other books, is a best-selling author, journalist and digital media pioneer. He’s also a stroke survivor.
    In his latest book, Between Heaven and Hell: The Story of My Stroke, Talbot turns his journalist’s eye inward. This is an intimate account of the life-changing effects of his stroke and how such a significant health crisis can profoundly alter one’s perspective on life.
    Orinda Books hosts Talbot Feb. 4 for the first Literary Luncheon of 2020. Tickets are $30 and include a copy of Talbot’s new book. The event is expected to sell out so those interested should stop by the store or visit to sign up in advance.
    Looking at the current slate of presidential primary hopefuls, it seems that to run for higher office you need a book. It turns out that this is not something new. Throughout history, U.S. presidents have donned their writer’s caps.
    Most people are familiar with Barack Obama’s Dreams of My Father and John F. Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage, but who recalls Calvin Coolidge’s autobiography?
    Historian Craig Fehrman spent 10 years combing through the writings of the nation’s presidents. His new book, Author In Chief – The Untold Story of Our Presidents and The Books They Wrote, is a fascinating look at these men – and American history – through the books they wrote.
    I’ve been anxiously awaiting the release of Fehrman’s book since I read an advance copy several months ago. It’s a great read for anyone interested in American history or who’s the least bit curious about the human side of our vaunted presidents.
    If you’re looking for a break from politics, Anna Weiner’s memoir, Uncanny Valley, provides an insider’s view of the start-up tech industry culture. Hers is an unflinching account of companies with a messianic zeal to do something “big.”
    This single-minded pursuit to change the world often comes with damaging effects, as we’ve seen with Russian interference in the 2012 election. Before heading west, Weiner worked for a New York publishing house. Her first Silicon Valley start-up job was short lived, but she soon found another at a data analytics firm. Here is where she comes to learn that back side of social media is anything but social. Hers is as much a coming-of-age memoir as it is a searing look behind the dazzle of Silicon Valley.
    Resilience of the human spirit is on full display in Adrienne Brodeur’s memoir Wild Game – My Mother, Her Lover, and Me.
    To the outside world, it would appear that Brodeur lived a charmed life growing up with the wealth and privilege bestowed upon those who flit between homes in Boston, New York and Cape Cod, but all is not as it seems in this rarified world. Brodeur’s charming and effusive mother is a case study in narcissism. When she awakens a 14-year-old Adrienne in the middle of the night to recruit her daughter to help keep the secret of her extramarital affair, we learn how easy it is for those we love to hurt us the most.

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