Tag Archives: Atria Books

Danny Trejo’s new role: As author of his autobiography, revealing the good, the bad, the ugly, the success

He’s Hollywood’s Bad Guy with a Heart of Gold. And fans of Danny Trejo, known for his roles in films such as Machete, Heat, From Dusk Till Dawn and Con Air, has a new starring role beginning July 6, 2012.  That’s when Atria Books released Trejo: My Life of Crime, Redemption, and Hollywood ($27). The book follows the actor’s unforgettable and inspirational journey through crime, prison, addiction, loss and unexpected fame as Hollywood icon.

Trejo, who has played a baddie in more than 300 films and, at the age of 76, still books between 10 and 20 film and television roles a year, may be one of the most familiar faces in Hollywood.  His memes are some of the most shared of all time on Instagram.  In the summer of 2020, he was the subject of a viral Pete Davidson tribute on Saturday Night Live. But if you ask Danny, as popular as he is, no one has ever really captured the gritty, emotional journey that brought him to where he is today.

Trejo first used heroin at only 12 years old, learning that loyalty only came through violence and peace was found in oblivion. For a period of time, he did stints in some of America’s most notorious prisons, including San Quentin, Folsom, and Soledad. Then he was offered a part as a boxer in Runaway Train, giving him the opportunity to choose a new path. In Trejo, he describes how the difficult lessons he learned in childhood both saved his professional life and hindered his personal one, offering an inspirational and brutally honest look at his fascinating life. He shares how he rebuilt his life after finding sobriety and spirituality in solitary confinement and went on to become a success, hobnobbing with A-list celebrities and using his memories of his adrenaline-fueled robbing heists to inspire him as an actor.

“Danny Trejo is more than an actor for the millions of Mexican Americans, like me, who love him,” says Michelle Herrera Mulligan, senior editor, Atria Books. “He is a legend. A role model. The first Chicano action star. Someone we can always hold up as a hero who made it. One of my proudest acquisitions to date, this book shows us the difficult path it took to get him there, in unforgettable, literary detail.”

In this startlingly honest and intimate memoir, for the first time, Trujo explores his journey from an abusive childhood, a life in prison, a struggle with addiction, and a redemptive journey from recovery to love and loss, in a the warm, funny, brutal, gritty voice everyone has come to love.

“At seventy-six, this memoir was an opportunity for me to be fearlessly honest for the first time about the terrifying brutality of my experiences in the hardest prisons in the world, the family secrets that tore lives apart, my personal bottom while I was in the hole in Soledad facing a possible death penalty charge and the role God played in turning my life around, ” Trejo confesses. “There’s my acting career that started at the age of forty by simply showing up to a set to help another addict in need, and how all of it shaped the person I am.  I hope by sharing my experiences they can somehow be of benefit to others and let them know that where you start doesn’t matter, it’s how you finish. “

Trejo is cowriting his memoir with his best friend of 20 years, actor Donal Logue  to craft a revealing, intimate portrait of an extraordinary life, rife with never-revealed details of his transformative experience.

“A special thank you to Donal, who is not only an incredible actor, but a beautiful writer,” Trujo adds. “We’ve been on sets together for everything from Reindeer Games to Sons of Anarchy, but the three years we spent working on this book brought us closer than ever.  “He’s talented in so many ways, but the way he crafted my story really brought it to life. I wouldn’t have trusted anyone else. He’s my best friend.”

PETRUCELLI PICKS: GIFT GUIDE 2019: THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR (PART ONE)

Doris Day once reminded us that “four legged animals are much nicer than the two-legged ones”. 
We have always agreed. And how we relish Extraordinary Dogs: Stories from Search and Rescue Dogs, Comfort Dogs, and Other Canine Heroes (St. Martin’s Press, $27.99), which portrays more than 50 working dogs, along with the police officers, firefighters, veterans and other trained volunteer handlers who serve side-by-side with them.
Extraordinary Dogs: Stories from Search and Rescue Dogs, Comfort Dogs, and Other Canine HeroesTheir moving stories and beautiful photographs are an unprecedented glimpse at Comfort Dogs and Search and Rescue Dogs, along with bomb-detecting TSA dogs and canine ambassadors from across the United States.
Extraordinary Dogs is both a portrait of what love, hope, courage, and heroism look like in their purest forms and a tribute to the eternal and impactful bonds we forge with our furry friends.
We can’t be catty about What I Lick Before Your Face and Other Haikus By Dogs (Atria Books, $14.99), an adorable tiny tome that filled with picture-perfect photos of dogs as each  shares its innermost feelings in poetic form.
This book confirms what we’ve all long suspected: Inside every dog is the soul of a poet.

 


For a look at another dog, try MacTrump: A Shakespearean Tragicomedy of the Trump Administration, Part I (Quirk Books, $15.99). The clever satire, written in iambic pentameter in the style of Shakespeare, wittily fictionalizes the events of the first two years of the Frump administration.
MacTrump: A Shakespearean Tragicomedy of the Trump Administration, Part INo one thought that MacTrump—Lord of MacTrump Towers, Son of New York—would ascend to the highest position in the kingdom. Yet with the help of his unhappy but dutiful wife Lady MacTrump, his clever daughter Dame Desdivanka, and his coterie of advisers, MacTrump is comfortably ensconced in the White Hold as President of the United Fiefdoms, free to make proclamations to his subjects through his favorite messenger, McTweet.
MacTrump soon realizes he has no true allies. Will he be able to hold on to his throne? Only time will tell in this tragicomic tale of ambition, greed, and royal ineptitude.


We can’t wait to try Bull Penis Soup. That recipe (yes, it’s real, from Bolivia) is one of the tasty tidbits found in Bizarre World: A Collection of the World’s Creepiest, Strangest, and Sometimes Most Hilarious Traditions (Adams Media, $15.99), a survey of the most bizarre, creepy, and sometimes hilarious customs from cultures around the world.
Bizarre World: A Collection of the World's Creepiest, Strangest, and Sometimes Most Hilarious TraditionsJourney across the globe to understand how various cultures approach everything from grief, beauty standards, food, parenting, death, stress management, happiness and more. Try the soup. Delicious!


The Little Book of Outdoor Wisdom (Falcon Guides, $24.95) is a collection of all-new essays from legendary climber and outdoor writer John Long, an exploration of what connects us fundamentally to the outdoors and of why we return again and again.
Through evocative anecdotes and sketches, told in Long’s visceral yet poignant style, readers will rediscover their love for nature and glean a deeper appreciation for its rejuvenating effect.


Blending biology, chemistry, and physics basics with accessible—and witty—prose, The Science of Rick and Morty: The Unofficial Guide to Earth’s Stupidest Show (Atria Books, $17) equips you with the scientific foundation to thoroughly understand Rick’s experiments from the hit Adult Swim show, such as how we can use dark matter and energy, just what is intelligence hacking, and whether or not you can really control a cockroach’s nervous system with your tongue.
The Science of Rick and Morty: The Unofficial Guide to Earth's Stupidest ShowPerfect for longtime and new fans of the show, this is the ultimate segue into discovering more about our complicated and fascinating universe.


Two mysteries that kept us up way beyond bedtime: Lieutenant Eve Dallas fights to save the innocent―and serve justice to the guilty―on the streets of New York in Connections in Death ( St. Martin’s Press, $28.99) the gritty and gripping new In Death novel from author J.D. Robb. Nope, we cannot give away anything else.
Connections in Death: An Eve Dallas Novel (In Death, Book 48)Everyone knows Mary Higgins Clark has superb skills at the cut and paste keys, but we enjoyed Kiss the Girls and Make Them Cry (Simon & Schuster, $26.99). When investigative journalist Gina Kane receives an email from a “CRyan” describing her “terrible experience” while working at REL, a high-profile television news network, including the comment “and I’m not the only one,” Gina knows she has to pursue the story. But when Ryan goes silent, Gina is shocked to discover the young woman has died tragically in a Jet Ski accident.
Kiss the Girls and Make Them Cry: A NovelGina realizes someone—or some people—will go to depraved lengths to keep the story from seeing the light. Nope, we cannot give away anything else.


This Tender Land (Atria Books , $27) is a magnificent novel about four orphans on a life-changing odyssey during the Great Depression. The Lincoln School is a pitiless place where hundreds of Native American children, forcibly separated from their parents, are sent to be educated. It is also home to an orphan named Odie O’Banion, a lively boy whose exploits earn him the superintendent’s wrath. Forced to flee, he and his brother Albert, their best friend Mose, and a brokenhearted little girl named Emmy steal away in a canoe, heading for the mighty Mississippi and a place to call their own.
This Tender Land: A NovelOver the course of one unforgettable summer, these four orphans will journey into the unknown and cross paths with others who are adrift, from struggling farmers and traveling faith healers to displaced families and lost souls of all kinds. With the feel of a modern classic, William Kent Krueger’s tome is an en­thralling, big-hearted epic that shows how the magnificent American landscape connects us all, haunts our dreams, and makes us whole.


In May 1974, as President Richard Nixon faced impeachment following the Watergate scandal, the House Judiciary Committee commissioned a historical account of the misdeeds of past presidents. .
The account, compiled by leading presidential historians of the day, reached back to George Washington’s administration and was designed to provide a benchmark against which Nixon’s misdeeds could be measured.
Yes Adolph Frump will be added.
Presidential Misconduct: From George Washington to TodayOne reason why Presidential Misconduct: From George Washington to Today (The New Press, $29.99) is a must. What the report found was that, with the exception of William Henry Harrison (who served less than a month), every American president has been accused of misconduct: James Buchanan was charged with rigging the election of 1856; Ulysses S. Grant was reprimanded for not firing his corrupt staffer, Orville Babcock, in the “Whiskey Ring” bribery scandal; and Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration faced repeated charges of malfeasance in the Works Progress Administration.
Now, as the Asshole and his subordinates face an array of charges on a wide range of legal and constitutional offenses, a group of presidential historians has come together under the leadership of James M. Banner, Jr.—one of the historians who contributed to the original report—to bring the 1974 account up to date through Barack Obama’s presidency.
This new edition is designed to serve the same purpose as the original 1974 report: to provide the historical context and metric against which the actions of the current administration may be assessed.


Hands down, Handful of Stars: A Palmistry Guidebook and Hand-Printing Kit (Harper Design , $39.99)  is a beautifully illustrated, step-by-step guide to the ancient art of palmistry with a novel twist. Pre-printed perforated sheets designed by hand analyst Helene Saucedo especially for the book—along with a a nontoxic ink pad, ink roller and gel pen—enable readers to create a palm print and record notations on a single sheet of paper.
This unique volume, housed in a deluxe slipcase box,  appeals to novice hand analysts and makes a great gift for inquisitive minds of all ages.


When you think back to Christmases past, what (if anything) made it magical? Looking towards the future, what would your perfect Christmas be? What would you change? What should we all change?
Last ChristmasLast Christmas (Quercus Publishing, $26.99) is a beautiful, funny and soulful collection of personal essays about the meaning of Christmas,  featuring the writing of such people as Meryl Streep, Bill Bailey, Emilia Clarke, Olivia Colman, Caitlin Moran, Richard Ayoade and Emily Watson. This gem of a book, introduced and curated by Emma Thompson and Greg Wise, celebrates the importance of kindness and generosity, acceptance and tolerance, and shows us that these values are not just for Christmas.


Adam Savage—star of Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters and one of the most beloved figures in science and tech—shares his golden rules of creativity, from finding inspiration to following through and successfully making your idea a reality.
Every Tool's a Hammer: Life Is What You Make ItAs he says: “Every Tools a Hammer (Atria Books , $27) is a chronicle of my life as a maker. It’s an exploration of making and of my own productive obsessions, but it’s also a permission slip of sorts from me to you. Permission to grab hold of the things you’re interested in, that fascinate you, and to dive deeper into them to see where they lead you. This book is meant to be a toolbox of problem solving, complete with a shop’s worth of notes on the tools, techniques and materials that I use most often. And if everything goes well, we will hopefully save you a few mistakes (and maybe fingers) as well as help you turn your curiosities into creations.”


For the first time ever, 75 beloved songs from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and The Children’s Corner are collected in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: The Poetry of Mister Rogers (Quirk Books, $19.99), a charmingly illustrated treasury. 
From funny to sweet, silly to sincere, the lyrics of Mister Rogers explore such universal topics as feelings, new siblings, everyday life, imagination, and more.
Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood: Wonderful Wisdom from Everyone's Favorite NeighborA Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: The Poetry of Mister RogersThrough these songs—as well as endearing puppets and honest conversations—Mister Rogers instilled in his young viewers the values of kindness, self-awareness, and self-esteem. But most of all, he taught children that they are loved, just as they are.
A second fun book: Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood: Wonderful Wisdom from Everyone’s Favorite Neighbor (Clarkson Potter, $15) that shows how the wisdom of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood is as relevant for adults as it is for children.
Revisit some of Mister Rogers’ greatest guidance that we learned alongside Daniel Tiger, X the Owl, King Friday the XIII and Henrietta Pussycat.


In the Carnival days leading up Mardi Gras, Detective Caleb Rooney comes under investigation for a murder he is accused of committing in the line of duty, as a Major Crimes detective for the New Orleans Police Department. Has his sideline at the Killer Chef food truck given him a taste for murder?
While fighting the charges against him, Rooney makes a pair of unthinkable discoveries. His beloved city is under threat of attack. And these would-be terrorists may be local.
As crowds of revelers gather, Rooney follows a fearsome trail of clues, racing from outlying districts into city center. He has no idea what-or who-he’ll face in defense of his beloved hometown, only that innocent lives are at stake.
The Chef (Grand Central Publishing, $16.99) is James Patterson at her bet. And most thrilling.

Based on Michelle Obama’s bestselling memoir, the gorgeous Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice (Clarkson Potter, $19.99) features an intimate and inspiring introduction by the former First Lady and more than 150 inspiring questions and quotes to help you discover—and rediscover—your story.
Printed on cream writing paper, with a grosgrain ribbon, foil-stamped cover and removable half-jacket, the journal includes thought-provoking prompts designed to help you reflect on your personal and family history; your goals, challenges, and dreams; what moves you and brings you hope; and what future you imagine for yourself and your community.
Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice
Writes Mrs. Obama in the Introduction to the Becoming journal, “I hope you’ll use this journal to write down your experiences, thoughts, and feelings, in all their imperfections, and without judgment. . . . We don’t have to remember everything. But everything we remember has value.”


Elvis has not left the building. The conventional wisdom is that Las Vegas is what destroyed Elvis Presley, launching him on a downward spiral of drugs, boredom, erratic stage behavior, and eventually his fatal overdose. But in Elvis in Vegas: How the King Reinvented the Las Vegas Show (Simon & Schuster, $28), Richard Zoglin takes an alternate view, arguing that Vegas is where the King resurrected his career, reinvented himself as a performer, and created the most exciting show in Vegas history.
Elvis’ 1969 opening night in Vegas was his first time back on a live stage in more than eight years. His career had gone sour—bad movies, and mediocre pop songs that no longer made the charts. He’d been dismissed by most critics as over the hill. But in Vegas he played the biggest showroom in the biggest hotel in the city, drawing more people for his four-week engagement than any other show in Vegas history. His performance got rave reviews, “Suspicious Minds” gave him his first number-one hit in seven years, and Elvis became Vegas’s biggest star.


In an age when living in a modern society often equates to comfort and ease, why is it that we are so interested in these primal aspects of being human when they are no longer really necessary? Why are we still so fascinated with making fire or stone tools in this social media-driven digital age? Why are we urging our children to run back out into the wild?
The answer to all of these questions—to why we seek out the natural world—can be found Primal (Falcon Guides, $18.95), and stares us in the mirror every day: We long to fulfill our natural destiny as upright-walking hunter-gatherer-nomads. It’s who we are.
Primal: Why We Long to Be Wild and Free PaperbackFrom the telling of anecdotes and stories from author Nate Summers’ 20 years as a survival specialist to conversations with world-renown survival and human nature specialists to digging into the rewilding and free-range parenting trends, Summer explores how humans have—and continue to—pursue “survival” situations to fulfill their deep, soulful longings.


A book about trash . . . for holiday giving? And why not Much has been written about landfills and the monumentality of rubbish, but little attention has been paid to “litter,” the small trash that soils the urban pavement, like the bits of chewing gum that some artists decorate.
Talking Trash: Cultural Uses for Trash (Yale University Press, $35) looks at refuse in its early stages, when it is still tiny and unassuming, still lives in the city, and has yet to grow, leave the metropolis, and accumulate in landfills.

PETRUCELLI PICKS: GIFT GUIDE 2019: THE BEST CELEBRITY TELL-ALLS OF THE YEAR (PART DEUX)

Oh! We so love tattletales, books that reveal the underbellies of stars and singers and criminals and musicians and authors and politicians . . . even if they are written by the celebs themselves.
Our picks for the best of 2019 continue. . .

Herman and Joe Mankiewicz wrote, produced, and directed more than 150 pictures, including triumphs as diverse as the Marx Brothers’ Monkey Business, Pride of the Yankees, the infamous Burton-Taylor Cleopatra and Guys and Dolls. But the witty, intellectual brothers spent their Hollywood years deeply discontented
and yearning for what they did not have, a career in theater.
The Brothers Mankiewicz: Hope, Heartbreak, and Hollywood Classics (Hollywood Legends Series) Herman gambled away his prodigious earnings, got himself fired from all the
major studios, and drank himself to death at the age of 55. Joe was a
critical and financial success, but his philandering with stars like Joan Crawford and Judy Garland distressed his wives, one of whom committed suicide. He wrecked his own health using uppers and
downers in order to direct Cleopatra by day and write it at night, only to be very publicly fired by Darryl F. Zanuck, a humiliation from which he never fully recovered.
What lives! What stories! What delicious drama! It can be found in The Brothers Mankiewicz: Hope, Heartbreak, and Hollywood Classics (University Press of Mississippi, $35).


Blue: The Color of Noise (St. Martin’s Press, $27.99) is the remarkable story―in pictures and words―of Steve Aoki, the superstar DJ/producer who started his career as a vegan straightedge hardcore music kid hellbent on defying his millionaire father, whose unquenchable thirst to entertain―inherited from his dad, Rocky Aoki, founder of Benihana―led him to global success and two Grammy nominations.
Aoki–also known for his outrageous stage antics (cake throwing, champagne spraying, and the ‘Aoki Jump’) and his endearing personality–recounts the epic highs of music festivals, clubs and pool parties around the world, as well as the lows of friendships lost to drugs and alcohol, and his relationship with his flamboyant father. Illustrated with candid photos gathered throughout his life, the book reveals how Aoki became a force of nature as an early social media adopter, helping to turn dance music into the phenomenon it is today.


Throughout her rise to fame and during some of the most pivotal moments of her life, Demi Moore battled addiction, body image issues and childhood trauma that would follow her for years―all while juggling a skyrocketing career and at times negative public perception.  As her success grew, Demi found herself questioning if she belonged in Hollywood, if she was a good mother, a good actress―and, always, if she was simply good enough.
As much as her story is about adversity, it is also about tremendous resilience. In the deeply candid and reflective memoir Inside Out (Harper, $27.99),  Demi pulls back the curtain and opens up about her career and personal life―laying bare her tumultuous relationship with her mother, her marriages, her struggles balancing stardom with raising a family, and her journey toward open heartedness.


In an arresting mix of visceral, soulful storytelling and stunning visuals, Face It (Dey Street Books, $32.50) upends the standard music memoir while delivering a truly prismatic portrait. With all the grit, grime, and glory recounted in intimate detail, the book re-creates the downtown scene of 1970s New York City,
where Blondie–a band that forged a new sound that brought together the worlds of rock, punk, disco, reggae and hip-hop to create some of the most beloved pop songs of all time– played alongside the Ramones, Television, Talking Heads, Iggy Pop and David Bowie. Aesthetically dazzling, and including never-before-seen photographs, bespoke illustrations and fan art installations, Face It brings Debbie Harry’s world and artistic sensibilities to life.


Rollicking but intimate, Still Here (Farrar, Straus and Giroux , $28) tracks one of Broadway’s more outlandish and direct personalities, Elaine Stritch.  We accompany Stritch through her jagged rise to fame, to Hollywood and London, and across her later years, when she enjoyed a stunning renaissance, punctuated by a turn on the popular television show 30 Rock. We explore the influential―and often fraught―collaborations she developed with Noël Coward, Tennessee Williams and above all Stephen Sondheim, as well as her courageous yet flawed attempts to control a serious drinking problem. And we see the entertainer triumphing over personal turmoil with the development of her Tony –winning one-woman show, Elaine Stritch at Liberty, which established her as an emblem of spiky independence and Manhattan life for an entirely new generation of admirers. I’ll drink to that, and one for Mahler!


With her second memoir, Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years (Hachette Books, $30), Julie Andrews picks up the story with her arrival in Hollywood and her years in the film industry, from the incredible highs to the challenging lows.
Not only does she discuss her work in now-classic films and her collaborations with giants of cinema and television, she also unveils her personal story of adjusting to a new and often daunting world, dealing with the demands of unimaginable success, being a new mother, the end of her first marriage, embracing two stepchildren, adopting two more children, and falling in love with the brilliant and mercurial Blake Edwards. Co-written with her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, and told with Andrews’s trademark charm and candor, Home Work takes us on a rare and intimate journey into an extraordinary life that is funny, heartrending and inspiring.


With candor, humor and warmth, Olivia writes about her life and career and cancer in the must-have Don’t Stop Believin’ (Gallery Books, $28). Available for the first time in the United States, this edition includes a new afterword by Olivia.
She speaks about her childhood, her father’s role in breaking German Enigma codes during World War II,  her feeling about about stardom,her beloved daughter Chloe, meeting the love of her life, and her passion and unwavering advocacy for health and wellness.
“I hope this story of my life from my early years up to today will bring some inspiration and positivity to the reader,” Olivia says. “We all share so many experiences in our own unique way.”
Olivia was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992; the diagnosis “came the same weekend my father died of cancer, so you can imagine the shock”, she remembers. Learn more @ onjcancercentre.org.
Olivia has always radiated joy, hope and compassionate.
She continues to be a force for love, for goodness, for strength, throughout the world.
“I also  believe that when you go through something difficult, even something as dramatic as cancer, that something positive will come of it,” she says.
Don’t stop believin’.


As a young man Frederick Douglass escaped from slavery. He was fortunate to have been taught to read by his slave owner mistress, and he would go on to become one of the major literary figures of his time. His very existence gave the lie to slave owners: with dignity and great intelligence he bore witness to the brutality of slavery.
Douglass spoke widely, using his own story to condemn slavery. By the Civil War, Douglass had become the most famed and widely travelled orator in the nation. In his unique and eloquent voice, written and spoken, Douglass was a fierce critic of the United States as well as a radical patriot.
In Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom (Simon & Schuster, $37.5), David Blight has drawn on new information held in a private collection that few other historian have consulted, as well as recently discovered issues of Douglass’s newspapers. This is an important, compelling biography, the winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in history.


Condé Nast’s life and career was as high profile and glamourous as his magazines. Moving to New York in the early 20th century with just the shirt on his back, he soon became the highest paid executive in the United States, acquiring Vogue in 1909 and Vanity Fair in 1913. Alongside his editors, he built the first-ever international magazine empire, introducing European modern art, style, and fashions to an American audience. Conde Nast: The Man and His Empire (St. Martin’s Press, $32.50) was written with the cooperation of his family on both sides of the Atlantic and a dedicated team at Condé Nast Publications; here Susan Ronald reveals the life of an extraordinary American success story.


Recalling pivotal moments from her dynamic career on the front lines of American diplomacy and foreign policy, Susan E. Rice—National Security Advisor to President Barack Obama and US Ambassador to the United Nations—reveals her surprising story with unflinching candor in Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For (Simon & Schuster, $30).
Rice provides an insider’s account of some of the most complex issues confronting the United States over three decades, ranging from “Black Hawk Down” in Somalia to the genocide in Rwanda and the East Africa embassy bombings in the late ’90s, and from conflicts in Libya and Syria to the Ebola epidemic, a secret channel to Iran, and the opening to Cuba during the Obama years.
Intimate, sometimes humorous, but always candid, Tough Love makes an urgent appeal to the American public to bridge our dangerous domestic divides in order to preserve our democracy and sustain our global leadership.


Before he stole our hearts as the grooming and self-care expert on Netflix’s hit show Queer Eye, Jonathan Van Ness was growing up in a small Midwestern town that didn’t understand why he was so over the top. From choreographed carpet figure skating routines to the unavoidable fact that he was Just. So. Gay., Jonathan was an easy target and endured years of judgement, ridicule and trauma—yet none of it crushed his uniquely effervescent spirit.
Over the Top: A raw Journey to Self-Love  (HarperOne, $27.99) uncovers the pain and passion it took to end up becoming the model of self-love and acceptance that Jonathan is today. In this revelatory, raw, and rambunctious memoir, Jonathan shares never-before-told secrets and reveals sides of himself that the public has never seen.


Twyla Tharp is revered not only for the dances she makes—but for her astounding regime of exercise and non-stop engagement. She is famed for religiously hitting the gym each morning at daybreak, and utilizing that energy to propel her breakneck schedule as a teacher, writer, creator and lecturer. This book grew out of the question she was asked most frequently: “How do you keep working?”
Keep It Moving: Lessons for the Rest of Your Life (Simon & Schuster,  $27) is a series of no-nonsense mediations on how to live with purpose as time passes.
From the details of how she stays motivated to the stages of her fitness routine, Tharp models how fulfillment depends not on fortune—but on attitude, possible for anyone willing to try and keep trying. Culling anecdotes from her life and the lives of other luminaries, each chapter is accompanied by an exercise that helps anyone develop a more hopeful and energetic approach to the everyday.


Common, the man who owns a Grammy, Oscar and Golden Globe, follows up his best-selling memoir One Day It’ll All Make Sense with Let Love Have the Last Word (Atria Books, $26), an inspiring exploration of how love and mindfulness can build communities and allow you to take better control of your life through actions and words.
Common believes that the phrase “let love have the last word” is not just a declaration; it is a statement of purpose, a daily promise. Love is the most powerful force on the planet and ultimately, the way you love determines who you are and how you experience life. He explores the core tenets of love to help others understand what it means to receive and, most important, to give love.  He knows there’s no quick remedy for all of the hurt in the world, but love, for yourself and for others, is where the healing begins.


As part of Motown’s legendary songwriting and production team of Holland-Dozier-Holland, Lamont Dozier is responsible for such classics as “You Can’t Hurry Love;” “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch);” “Stop! In the Name of Love;” “Heat Wave;” “Baby Love;”  “You Keep Me Hanging On;” and on . . . and on.
After leaving Motown, he continued to make his mark as an influential songwriter, artist and producer with hits such as “Give Me Just a Little More Time,” “Band of Gold,” and “Two Hearts,” a chart-topping Phil Collins single that earned the pair a grammy and an Oscar nomination.
In How Sweet It Is: A Songwriter’s Reflections on Music, Motown and the Mystery of the Muse (BMG Books, $27.99) Lamont takes us behind the scenes of the Motown machine, sharing personal stories of his encounters with such icons as Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and Berry Gordy. He reveals the moments that inspired some of his timeless songs—and pulls back the curtain on the studio secrets that helped him and his colleagues create “the sound of young America.”


P. T. Barnum is the greatest showman the world has ever seen. As a creator of the Barnum & Baily Circus and a champion of wonder, joy, trickery and “humbug,” he was the founding father of American entertainment—and as Robert Wilson argues in Barnum: An American Life (Simon & Schuster, $28), one of the most important figures in American history.
Wilson’s vivid new biography captures the full genius, infamy and allure of the ebullient showman, who, from birth to death, repeatedly reinvented himself. He learned as a young man how to wow crowds, and built a fortune that placed him among the first millionaires in the United States. He also suffered tragedy, bankruptcy, and fires that destroyed his life’s work, yet willed himself to recover and succeed again. As an entertainer, Barnum courted controversy throughout his life—yet he was also a man of strong convictions, guided in his work not by a desire to deceive, but an eagerness to thrill and bring joy to his audiences. He almost certainly never uttered the infamous line, “There’s a sucker born every minute,” instead taking pride in giving crowds their money’s worth and more.


Why shouldn’t we despise the asshole who’s about to be impeached? Protect your wives and daughters since Frump’s proclaimed his  seduction technique is to “grab ’em by the pussy.”  In Golden Handcuffs: The Secret of Trump’s Women (Gallery Books, $28), Nina Burleigh, explores his attitudes toward women by providing in-depth analysis and background on the women who have had the most profound influence on his life—the mother and grandmother who raised him, the wives who lived with him and the ugly daughter who is poised to inherit it all.
Has any president in the history of the United States had a more fraught relationship with women than Donald Trump? He flagrantly cheated on all three of his wives, brushed off multiple accusations of sexual assault, publicly ogled his eldest daughter, bought the silence of a porn star and a Playmate. The books proves is one sick motherfucker.


Winston Churchill called him World War II’s “organizer of victory.” Harry Truman said he was “the greatest military man that this country ever produced.” George Catlett Marshall was America’s most distinguished soldier-statesman since George Washington, whose selfless leadership and moral character influenced the course of two world wars and helped define the American century.
Long seen as a stoic, almost statuesque figure, he emerges in the pages of George Marshall: Defender of the Republic (Dutton Caliber, $34) as a man both remarkable and deeply human, thanks to newly discovered sources.
Set against the backdrop of five major conflicts—two world wars, Palestine, Korea, and the Cold War—Marshall’s education in military, diplomatic and political power, replete with their nuances and ambiguities, runs parallel with America’s emergence as a global superpower. The result is a defining account of one of our most consequential leaders.


In 1975 Andrew Ridgeley took a shy new boy at school under his wing. They instantly hit it off, and their boyhood escapades at Bushy Meads School built a bond that was never broken. As Wham!, R and George Michael, found themselves riding an astonishing roller coaster of success, taking them all over the world. They made and broke iconic records, they were treated like gods, but they stayed true to their friendship and ultimately to themselves. It was a party that seemed as if it would never end.
Wham!, George Michael and Me: A Memoir Hardcover And then it did, in front of tens of thousands of tearful fans at Wembley Stadium in 1986.
With WHAM!, George Michael and Me, (Dutton, $28), one half of one of the most famous bands in the world, tells the inside story of  his lifelong friendship with George Michael, and the formation of a band that changed the shape of the music scene in the early ’80s. Ridgeley ‘s memoir covers in wonderful detail those years, up until that last iconic concert: the scrapes, the laughs, the relationships, the good, and the bad. It’s a unique and one-and-only time to remember that era, that band, and those boys.


 

Oh! We love Guy Branum. Chubby, gay and fucking funny as hell!

Oh, we do love Guy Branum. The openly gay man has written for The Mindy Project and Billy on the Street, as well The New York Times and Slate. We’ve seen him on Chelsea, Lately and is currently the host and star of Talk Show the Game Show on TruTV.

Welcome his debut book, My Life as a Goddess: A Memoir Through (Un)Popular Culture (Atria Books, $26). Branum always felt as if he were on the outside looking in, especially being gay and overweight. While other boys played outside, he stayed indoors reading Greek mythology. In this collection of personal essays, Branum writes about finding his way out of the darkness of his insular upbringing and finding himself as a stand-up comedian and TV show writer.

The book is about “the life I was supposed to lead as a sad, fat,
closeted bumpkin and my decision to be something thoroughly more fabulous,” Branum writes. “My life has not been practical, it has not been meaningful . . . but it has at least stayed interesting. Because a goddess’s job isn’t to be good, it’s to have compelling stories lyre players can tell about her at the courts of kings and princes.”

My Life as a Goddess: A Memoir through (Un)Popular Culture

These essays read like a dance re-mix of Hillbilly Elegy and David Sedaris’ Nakedthey’re really, really good. We pissed in our pants reading his trademark comic takes on pop culture phenomenon and sacred cows—from Bewitched to The Devil Wears Prada, Entourage to This is Us.

Others rave about the work:

  • Tiffany Haddish: “Guy Branum is one the funniest men I know.  He is Smart, Fast, Clever, and Funny!  (As Fuck!!) Go ahead and buy his book Cuz….He Ready!”
  • Billy Eicher: “Guy Branum not only makes you laugh out loud, his perspective is singular, genuinely ballsy, and essential.”
  • Ali Wong: “Empowering, funny and so incredibly different than anything you’ve ever read.
  • Lindy West: “Guy Branum knows everything. A lot of people are funny, though few are as funny as Guy, but his intellectual curiosity and moral sure-footedness make him not just a comic but a lifeline. Long live our Patron Saint of Too Much.
  • Jon Lovett “Generous and withering, hilarious and precisely observed, putting his incredible talent toward trying to understand what it means to feel apart from the world. I wish I could give this book to the fourteen year-old version of myself, who probably wouldn’t have appreciated how much he needed it. You’ll devour every story and be struck by how lucky we all are to have Guy’s gay voice. Just buy this fucking book you idiots.”