Books to Get You Thinking

Biographies and memoirs can make fascinating reading – a step back into history, to a different world, a different era. Through them we are witness to the lives of the writers, their sorrows, their joys, and their innermost reflections. Here are some picks from our collection you may enjoy:

American Irish author and Pulitzer Prize winner Frank McCourt passed away on July 19, 2009. He leaves behind chronicles of his life in the form of three notable memoirs that have made an indelible mark on contemporary literature: Angela’s Ashes, ’Tis and Teacher Man. Set in Ireland of the 1930s and 1940s, Angela’s Ashes is a compelling, heart wrenching story of the author’s poverty stricken childhood, of his alcoholic father, his siblings who died from starvation and his mother Angela who struggled to take care of her family amidst the poverty and destitution surrounding them. The book won the 1997 Pulitzer, staying in the best sellers list for two consecutive years. In an equally engaging sequel, ’Tis, McCourt continues his story as he moves to America at age nineteen. From his days as a bell hop and cleaner to his enlisting in the military, leaving for the Korean War and then joining New York University to study literature, McCourt leaves the readers entranced with the wit, richness and intensity of his stories. In the final memoir, Teacher Man, McCourt shares his thirty years experience of teaching in New York City schools, his unorthodox teaching methods and his attempts to reach out to the City teenagers and urban immigrant youths.
Reserve these McCourt books:
Angela’s Ashes

Teacher Man

Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon by Buzz Aldrin.
1969 was the golden year in the history of American space exploration. Millions worldwide tuned into radio and television to witness Neil Armstrong, and minutes later, Buzz Aldrin step out of the Apollo 11 space shuttle and walk on the moon. On the 40th Anniversary of this historical event, Buzz Aldrin takes us back to those magical moments. However this memoir is more than just a recap of the first manned mission to the moon - the author shares with readers the years that followed the completion of this Space mission when a space hero returns from journeying to the moon to face life back on earth. The memoir is a story of the astronaut’s struggles, trials and triumphs as he battles with depression and alcohol, eventually reinventing himself once more as an American hero. His skillfully crafted stories about his experiences working with NASA and the Air Force, and his appeal to both present and future generations to keep alive the dream of exploring the galaxies and beyond, keep the readers captivated and turning the pages to the very last.
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The beautifully penned memoir, The House at Sugar Beach: In Search of a Lost African Childhood by Helen Cooper is set in Liberia, a small country in Africa, where the author spent her childhood in a beautiful mansion overlooking the pristine waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Born to the privileged upper class, Helen enjoys an idyllic life in her family’s mansion at Sugar Beach with her sisters Marlene who was younger, and Eunice who had been adopted from a poor local family as a companion for her. Civil war forces the family to flee to America leaving behind the adopted sister, Eunice. The poetic memoir gives a unique perspective on war torn Liberia as well as the author’s tribulations and experiences as she tries to find her place in a new country. Her passion for languages leads her to emerge as journalist and reporter who travels extensively. Constantly haunted by her past she returns to her former homeland of Liberia twenty five years later. Finding her way back to her house at Sugar Beach and reuniting with Eunice she finally comes to terms with her past and with herself.
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There are many more exciting titles on our shelves so be sure to check back for more books to get you thinking!

- Nita Mathur


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