Biography/Memoir

American on purpose: The improbable adventures of an unlikely patriot

Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Craig Ferguson

I really like Craig Ferguson.  I liked him as the annoying Mr. Wick on The Drew Carey Show, and I like him as the host of The Late Late Show.  His monologue preceding the 2008 Presidential Election entitled “If You Don’t Vote, you’re a Moron,” should be required watching on YouTube. 
In American on Purpose, Craig Ferguson delivers a moving and funny memoir of living the American dream as he journeys from the mean streets of Glasgow, Scotland, to the comedic promised land of Hollywood. Along the way he stumbles through several attempts to make his mark—as a punk rock musician, a construction worker, a bouncer, and, tragically, a modern dancer.

To numb the pain of failure, Ferguson found comfort in drugs and alcohol, addictions that eventually led to an aborted suicide attempt. (He forgot to do it when someone offered him a glass of sherry.) But his story has a happy ending: success on the hit sitcom The Drew Carey Show, and later as the host of CBS's Late Late Show. By far Ferguson's greatest triumph was his decision to become a U.S. citizen, a milestone he achieved in early 2008.
In American on Purpose, Craig Ferguson talks a red, white, and blue streak about everything our Founding Fathers feared:

“As I dozed on the farty rattly airplane on the way home, I though about my short conversation with the president. We had been talking about Scotland; he had visited for a while when he was younger and expressed a sort of puzzled awe at the amount of drinking that was done there, hinting he’d taken part in a fairly major way.  We talked a bit about the dangers of booze.  I’ve been sober for 17 years, and according to rumor, he himself a little longer then that.

“It’s a long way from where I’ve been to standing here talking to the president.” I told him

“It’s a long way from where I could’ve ended up to being the president,” he replied.

“Only in America,” he chuckled.  We clinked our glasses of sparkling water.
“Damn straight, Mr. President,” I said.  And I believe it.”

Diane, Administration

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This Time Together

Thursday, June 24, 2010
Carol Burnett

Reading this book is like sitting down for a chat with an old friend.  It's filled with lovely and humorous stories about Carol's rise in show business and those she's worked with along the way, from Gary Moore to Harvey Korman.  An easy, enjoyable read for a summer afternoon.

Sue A., Reference

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Just Kids

Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Patti Smith

Just Kids is a tender story about Smith's relationship with another young artist, Robert Maplethorpe and the world around them. They found each other on the streets of New York city during the late '60s. They were young and determined; they had each other's backs. Through thick and thin, they stayed "together" untll each "made it" Not only does Smith tell about their relationship, but also paints an interesting picture of who and what was going on around them. I loved it.

Donna O., Adult/Technical Services

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The Woman Who Can't Forget (Book on CD)

Saturday, December 20, 2008
Jill Price
The incredible story of a woman who can't forget anything. Sometimes it is a gift and other times a burden, but Jill tells her life story and how her remarkable memory influenced her life. She has no control of what is swirling around in her head since memories, good and bad, just are there all the time. I highly recommend this as a great read or listen.
 
 
Sue Neff, Youth Services

The White Masai

Friday, December 12, 2008
Corinne Hofmann

I read this book when I returned from Africa last year and it was so good, I reread it. Corinne met a Masai on a trip to Africa and immediately knew she had to marry him. She closed up her life in Switzerland, moved into a mud hut with him and tried to make a go of it but eventually he because so jealous and sure that she was cheating on him, that she had to give up. The cultures were just too different. It gives a true picture of how the native Masai live and how someone like us finds it very hard to accept. I recommend it.

Sue N., Youth Services

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Running With the Bulls; My years with the Hemingways

Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Valerie Hemingway

An interesting look at a life style that is so different from my own. As a teenager, Valerie Danby-Smith gets a job working for Ernest Hemingway during his years in Spain and Cuba (about 1959-1961). Her relationship with the Hemingways is what this book is all about. She does have a lot of insight and revelations about the years spent with them and tells her story in a interesting way. I didn't care for all the name dropping but it was probably necessary to tell the story of their lives. After Ernest death, Valerie marries Gregory, his son. This was one roller-coaster of a marriage and a tragic story itself. It was brave of her to tell it.

Margaret, Reference

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Manic: a Memoir

Monday, April 14, 2008
Terri Chaney
So, the book wasn't about Dick Chaney's daughter. I was wrong about that. Even still, I was hooked from the 1st page.Manic, a Memoir, by Terri Chaney is a no-holds-barred insight into the mind of a manic depressive Vassar alum, high-powered LA entertainment attorney. WOW. I couldn't put it down; I was glad it was a short read. No wonder it's a best seller.
 
Donna O., Reference
 

The Long Goodbye

Monday, April 14, 2008
Patti Davis
Okay, I admit it. I picked up this book because of the beautiful photo on the cover of Ronald Reagan riding a horse. But I remembered reading some of Patti Davis' articles about her father in a magazine and that I liked her writing style. I wasn't disappointed. If you have ever been estranged from a family member, suffered the loss of a parent, or are caregiving for someone with Alzheimer’s disease, I think you would find this book comforting.
 
Margaret, Reference
 

End of the Spear

Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Steve Saint

Steve Saint was 5 years old when his father was killed by a tribe of warriors in Ecuador. Eventually Steve came to know them - even the very ones who had driven spears into his father's body. He and his family left their comfortable life in the U.S. and lived with the Waodani people in the jungle. It is an adventure full of challenges, losses and rewards. He had spoken all over the world about his experience and a motion picture has been made about this true story. It is quite an eye-opener into another culture and way of life. The library owns the DVD and the storywould make a great book discussion.

Sue N, Youth Services

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The Glass Castle

Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Jeanette Walls

Initially, I was horrified as I read the account of Jeannette’s highly dysfunctional family. Neither of her parents were willing to hold a job for any length of time (although her mother was a college graduate with a teaching degree) and the deplorable conditions of the numerous shacks the Walls children called home made my skin crawl. They were almost always hungry (to the point of regularly searching through the trash of others for food) and, as they made their way east across the U.S., spent many freezing days and nights. There is a particularly memorable scene in the book as Jeannette describes a very rare trip to the laundry mat where she and her sisters and brother huddle around the dryers to try to warm themselves. What I can’t deny is that three of the four Walls children amazingly became hard-working, very creative and useful members of society. The three oldest children are as close a family as any I’ve ever heard of, and their personal triumphs made my soul sing. This book is a testament to the resilience of children, and an inspiration to those of us who did not come from a “storybook” background. Loved it.

Kathleen M., Administration

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