Devil at My Heels by Louis Zamperini
Last year, one of our most popular non-fiction books was Laura Hillenbrand's Unbroken -- the story of a juvenile delinquent turned Olympic track star, World War II airman, POW, and finally a survivor and man of faith. Louis Zamperini had written his own memoir, Devil At My Heels, years before Hillenbrand's book. Even if you've read Unbroken, these are his own words and thoughts: running the 1936 Berlin Olympics, adrift for 47 days on a rubber raft after his plane crashes in the Pacific, and two-plus years of torture in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. Coming home after the war wasn't the end of his story, either. It almost seems unbelievable that at age 95, Zamperini is still alive and has silenced his stormy past. Devil At My Heels is a story of brutality and endurance that is simply unforgettable.
Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs
A.J. Jacobs is a master of the "gimmick memoir" -- he's previously written about reading the Encyclopedia Britannica from A to Z and living by strict Biblical guidelines for a year -- and his new book Drop Dead Healthy chronicles his quest to become the healthiest person on the planet. Now middle-aged, he's alarmed that his body is starting to resemble "a python that swallowed a goat." So, body part by body part, he tries to improve himself...with extreme chewing, sleep clinics, noise-cancelling headphones, caveman workouts, and nutritional make-overs. You'll laugh out loud (and find out that laughing actually burns calories) and even pick up a hint or two about keeping fit and healthy!
The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
30-something year old Pat Peoples has recently been released from a mental institution into the custody of his mother. Although his father and doctor are against his release, Pat is thrilled to be let out of “the bad place” because it means that “apart time” might finally be ending and he will be reunited with his wife, Nikki. Pat thinks he’s been in the institution for months, but he’s actually been in there for years. The world he comes home to is not the world he left. As he reunites with old friends and searches for his silver lining, he meets a woman named Tiffany who is recovering from her own mental issues. Together, they strike up a friendship which may the silver lining Pat is looking for. The movie adaptation of this book comes out in November and stars Robert DeNiro, Bradley Cooper, and The Hunger Game’s Jennifer Lawrence. Check out the trailer!
Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
The sequel to Deborah Harkness’ bestseller A Discovery Of Witches was released yesterday. A Discovery of Witches tells the story of Dr. Diana Bishop, a historian currently taking a sabbatical for research at Oxford, and her forbidden bond with Dr. Matthew Clairemont, a professor at Oxford. Why is their relationship forbidden? Because Matthew is a vampire and Diana is a witch. Lest you think this is a typical wimpy vampire book, Entertainment Weekly said it was a “thoroughly grown-up novel packed with gorgeous historical detail and a gutsy, brainy heroine to match.” The sequel picks one minute after the previous novel ended, resolving a cliff-hanger that drove me crazy for a year!