Private Life - Jane Smiley

With great economy of words, Jane Smiley gives us a rich glimpse into the Private Life (Anchor, $15.95) of her novel’s protagonist.  Margaret’s story spans a number of important periods in American history, including the San Francisco earthquake, both World Wars, the age of westward expansion, and the late-18th/early-19th century’s explosion of ideas in science and technology.  Through it all, she navigates the difficult terrain of family life, friendships, and marriage over the long haul.  This is a skillful, beautifully rendered tale of one woman’s loves, losses, disappointments, and the inevitable bitterness that occurs after years of emotional isolation.  Read this gorgeous book to enjoy a fine writer at the top of her craft.

Private Life By Jane Smiley Cover Image
ISBN: 9781400033195
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Anchor - June 14th, 2011

Louisa May Alcott: A Personal Biography - Susan Cheever

Susan Cheever profiles a well-loved American author in her biography LOUISA MAY ALCOTT (Simon & Schuster, $26). Louisa was much influenced by her father­–a brilliant philosopher and progressive educator, but an ineffectual provider.  In fact, much of her writing was fueled by the family’s need for money.  She used her own life as inspiration for her most famous book, Little Women; her mother, sisters, and many friends became models for the characters.   Louisa was clearly a product of the fertile literary environment in which she dwelled; the Alcotts counted Emerson, Hawthorne, and Thoreau as friends and neighbors.  Of course, she was also inspired by the times; the Civil War, industrialization, westward expansion, immigration, and the beginnings of the Women’s Suffrage movement informed Alcott’s thinking and writing.  Cheever’s book builds to the eventual success of this beloved author, a triumph after years of hardship and rejection.

Louisa May Alcott: A Personal Biography By Susan Cheever Cover Image
ISBN: 9781416569923
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - November 8th, 2011

First Family: Abigail and John Adams - Joseph J. Ellis

I was utterly charmed from the earliest pages of FIRST FAMILY: Abigail and John Adams (Knopf, $27.95).  Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Joseph J. Ellis, provides us with an intimate portrait of our nation’s first “power couple.”  In many ways, John and Abigail Adams were a very modern team, not only discussing family concerns, but also sharing ideas and discourse about politics.  Abigail provided unconditional love and support to her husband, often putting aside her own wishes to fulfill her role as helpmate.  John, in response, leaned on his wife, acknowledging her intellect and superiority in many areas, and often exclaiming that he could do nothing without her.  What comes through in this book is the genuine passion, honesty, loyalty, and respect they felt toward each other.  Ellis has given us a warm and affectionate history of married partners shaping American history. 

First Family: Abigail and John Adams By Joseph J. Ellis Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307389992
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Vintage - September 6th, 2011