Biography

Marie Antoinette's Head : The Royal Hairdresser, the Queen, and the Revolution

Marie Antoinette's Head : The Royal Hairdresser, the Queen, and the Revolution

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Marie Antoinette has remained atop the popular cultural landscape for centuries for the daring in style and fashion that she brought to 18th century France. For the better part of the queen's reign, one man was entrusted with the sole responsibility of ensuring that her coiffure was at its most ostentatious best. Who was this minister of fashion who wielded such tremendous influence over the queen's affairs? Winner of the Adele Mellen Prize for Distinguished Scholarship, Marie Antoinette's Head: The Royal Hairdresser, The Queen, and the Revolution charts the rise of Leonard Autie from humble origins as a country barber in the south of France to the inventor of the Pouf and premier hairdresser to Queen Marie-Antoinette. By unearthing a variety of sources from the 18th and 19th centuries, including memoirs (including Léonard's own), court documents, and archived periodicals the author, French History professor and expert Will Bashor, tells Autie's mostly unknown story. Bashor chronicles Leonard's story, the role he played in the life of his most famous client, and the chaotic and history-making world in which he rose to prominence. Besides his proximity to the queen, Leonard also had a most fascinating life filled with sex (he was the only man in a female dominated court), seduction, intrigue, espionage, theft, exile, treason, and possibly, execution.
MEAN

MEAN

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True crime, memoir, and ghost story, Mean is the bold and hilarious tale of Myriam Gurba's coming of age as a queer, mixed-race Chicana. Blending radical formal fluidity and caustic humor, Gurba takes on sexual violence, small towns, and race, turning what might be tragic into piercing, revealing comedy. This is a confident, intoxicating, brassy book that takes the cost of sexual assault, racism, misogyny, and homophobia deadly seriously.

We act mean to defend ourselves from boredom and from those who would cut off our breasts. We act mean to defend our clubs and institutions. We act mean because we like to laugh. Being mean to boys is fun and a second-wave feminist duty. Being mean to men who deserve it is a holy mission. Sisterhood is powerful, but being mean is more exhilarating.

Being mean isn't for everybody.

Being mean is best practiced by those who understand it as an art form.

These virtuosos live closer to the divine than the rest of humanity. They're queers.

Myriam Gurba is a queer spoken-word performer, visual artist, and writer from Santa Maria, California. She's the author of Dahlia Season (2007, Manic D) which was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, Wish You Were Me (2011, Future Tense Books), and Painting Their Portraits in Winter (2015, Manic D). She has toured with Sister Spit and her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach. She lives in Long Beach, where she teaches social studies to eighth-graders.
MEMOIR OF A RACE TRAITOR

MEMOIR OF A RACE TRAITOR

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Back in print after more than a decade, the singular chronicle of life at the forefront of antiracist activism, with a new introduction and afterword by the author

Mab Segrest's book is extraordinary. It is a 'political memoir' but its language is poetic and its tone passionate. I started it with caution and finished it with awe and pleasure. --Howard Zinn

In 1994, Mab Segrest first explained how she had become a woman haunted by the dead. Against a backdrop of nine generations of her family's history, Segrest explored her experiences in the 1980s as a white lesbian organizing against a virulent far-right movement in North Carolina.

Memoir of a Race Traitor became a classic text of white antiracist practice. bell hooks called it a courageous and daring [example of] the reality that political solidarity, forged in struggle, can exist across differences. Adrienne Rich wrote that it was a unique document and thoroughly fascinating. Juxtaposing childhood memories with contemporary events, Segrest described her journey into the heart of her culture, finally veering from its trajectory of violence toward hope and renewal. Now, amid our current national crisis driven by an increasingly apocalyptic white supremacist movement, Segrest returns with an updated edition of her classic book. With a new introduction and afterword that explore what has transpired with the far right since its publication, the book brings us into the age of Trump--and to what can and must be done.

Called a true delight and a must-read (Minnesota Review), Memoir of a Race Traitor is an inspiring and politically potent book. With brand-new power and relevance in 2019, this is a book that far transcends its genre.

Memoirs of a Russian Lady: Drawings and Tales of Life Before the Revolution (USED)

Memoirs of a Russian Lady: Drawings and Tales of Life Before the Revolution

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The work's subtitle describes it well. Dax, the editor, has prepared for publication the manuscripts of a distant relative, Davydoff. This Russian aristocratic lady spent her life up to the Revolution in the Ukraine on the large estates of the gentry. Privately educated and trained in watercoloring, she wrote and painted for her heirs from memory after fleeing the Revolution. As published, the stories and drawings are wonderfully matched, sharing a simplicity and wistfulness for a lost society, while vividly portraying a sense of life and leisure. The watercolors combine detail with whimsy. A lovely addition to subject collections and for those interested in the cultural and social life of the era. Rena Fowler, Northern Michigan Univ. Lib., Marquette (Library Journal, 1986)

1st edition; dust jacket has only minor scuffs; blue cloth with gilt lettering on spine; binding tight; text clean and bright. VG/VG

Men We Reaped

Men We Reaped

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Named one of the Best Books of the Century by New York Magazine

Two-time National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward (Salvage the Bones, Sing, Unburied, Sing) contends with the deaths of five young men dear to her, and the risk of being a black man in the rural South.

"We saw the lightning and that was the guns; and then we heard the thunder and that was the big guns; and then we heard the rain falling and that was the blood falling; and when we came to get in the crops, it was dead men that we reaped." --Harriet Tubman

In five years, Jesmyn Ward lost five young men in her life--to drugs, accidents, suicide, and the bad luck that can follow people who live in poverty, particularly black men. Dealing with these losses, one after another, made Jesmyn ask the question: Why? And as she began to write about the experience of living through all the dying, she realized the truth--and it took her breath away. Her brother and her friends all died because of who they were and where they were from, because they lived with a history of racism and economic struggle that fostered drug addiction and the dissolution of family and relationships. Jesmyn says the answer was so obvious she felt stupid for not seeing it. But it nagged at her until she knew she had to write about her community, to write their stories and her own.

Jesmyn grew up in poverty in rural Mississippi. She writes powerfully about the pressures this brings, on the men who can do no right and the women who stand in for family in a society where the men are often absent. She bravely tells her story, revisiting the agonizing losses of her only brother and her friends. As the sole member of her family to leave home and pursue higher education, she writes about this parallel American universe with the objectivity distance provides and the intimacy of utter familiarity. A brutal world rendered beautifully, Jesmyn Ward's memoir will sit comfortably alongside Edwidge Danticat's Brother, I'm Dying, Tobias Wolff's This Boy's Life, and Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

Mike Belkin : Socks, Sports, Rock and Art

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My Family and Other Animals

My Family and Other Animals

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The first book Gerald Durrell's Corfu Trilogy a bewitching account of a rare and magical childhood on the island of Corfu, now the inspiration for The Durrells in Corfu on Masterpiece PBS

When the unconventional Durrell family can no longer endure the damp, gray English climate, they do what any sensible family would do: sell their house and relocate to the sunny Greek isle of Corfu. My Family and Other Animals was intended to embrace the natural history of the island but ended up as a delightful account of Durrell's family's experiences, from the many eccentric hangers-on to the ceaseless procession of puppies, toads, scorpions, geckoes, ladybugs, glowworms, octopuses, bats, and butterflies into their home.
My Time Will Come

My Time Will Come

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The inspiring story of activist and poet Ian Manuel, who at the age of fourteen was sentenced to life in prison. He survived eighteen years in solitary confinement--through his own determination and dedication to art--until he was freed as part of an incredible crusade by the Equal Justice Initiative.

"Ian is magic. His story is difficult and heartbreaking, but he takes us places we need to go to understand why we must do better. He survives by relying on a poetic spirit, an unrelenting desire to succeed, to recover, and to love. Ian's story says something hopeful about our future." --Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy

The United States is the only country in the world that sentences thirteen- and fourteen-year-old offenders, mostly youth of color, to life in prison without parole. In 1991, Ian Manuel, then fourteen, was sentenced to life without parole for a non-homicide crime. In a botched mugging attempt with some older boys, he shot a young white mother of two in the face. But as Bryan Stevenson, attorney and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, has insisted, none of us should be judged by only the worst thing we have ever done.

Capturing the fullness of his humanity, here is Manuel's powerful testimony of growing up homeless in a neighborhood riddled with poverty, gang violence, and drug abuse--and of his efforts to rise above his circumstances, only to find himself, partly through his own actions, imprisoned for two-thirds of his life, eighteen years of which were spent in solitary confinement. Here is the story of how he endured the savagery of the United States prison system, and how his victim, an extraordinary woman, forgave him and bravely advocated for his freedom, which was achieved by an Equal Justice Initiative push to address the barbarism of our judicial system and bring about "just mercy."

Full of unexpected twists and turns as it describes a struggle for redemption, My Time Will Come is a paean to the capacity of the human will to transcend adversity through determination and art--in Ian Manuel's case, through his dedication to writing poetry.

No Life But This: A Novel of Emily Warren Roebling

No Life But This: A Novel of Emily Warren Roebling

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No Life But This: A Novel of Emily Warren Roebling, is based on the life of Emily Roebling, considered to be the first woman field engineer, and highly instrumental in the building of the Brooklyn Bridge. It is the perfect time to bring this remarkable woman's story to light in an era when women continue to fight for equality and to be included in STEM careers.


Emily Roebling became a liaison for her husband, chief engineer of the Brooklyn Bridge, when he fell ill in 1869. Gifted in math and science, she participated in all aspects of the construction. After the bridge she went on to stunning achievements of her own, attending law school, and traveling the world as an outspoken feminist and writer.

No Walls and the Recurring Dream

No Walls and the Recurring Dream

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A memoir by the celebrated singer-songwriter and social activist Ani DiFranco

In her memoir, No Walls and the Recurring Dream, Ani DiFranco recounts her early life from a place of hard-won wisdom, combining personal expression, the power of music, feminism, political activism, storytelling, philanthropy, entrepreneurship, and much more into an inspiring whole. In these frank, honest, passionate, and often funny pages is the tale of one woman's eventful and radical journey to the age of thirty. Ani's coming of age story is defined by her ethos of fierce independence--from being an emancipated minor sleeping in a Buffalo bus station, to unwaveringly building a career through appearances at small clubs and festivals, to releasing her first album at the age of 18, to consciously rejecting the mainstream recording industry and creating her own label, Righteous Babe Records. In these pages, as in life, she never hesitates to question established rules and expectations, maintaining a level of artistic integrity that has inspired and challenged more than a few. Ani continues to be a major touring and recording artist as well as a celebrated activist and feminist, standing as living proof that you can overcome all personal and societal obstacles to be who you are and to follow your dreams.