Inspired by the real hardscrabble lives of a set of Parisian sisters, this story begins in 1878 as the Van Goethem children are mourning the death of their father and the boozy antics of their absinthe-loving mother. Antoinette, the oldest, is a sharp-tongued but soft-hearted actress who is drawn into the City of Light’s seedy underworld by a dodgy fellow actor. Her talented younger sister, Marie, is making her way up the ranks of the famed Paris ballet, but finds herself distracted by a side job as the half-dressed muse of a crabby artist. Family bonds are tested—and nearly broken—by murder, romance, betrayal and desperation, but ultimately, the greatest survival instinct may be keeping the faith and sticking by your sister.
Still Points North: One Alaskan Childhood, One Grown-up World, One Long Journey Home
I like to think of this as a girl’s guide to hunting, fishing and latchkey childhoods. Author Leigh Newman writes about her mischief-filled Alaskan youth flying single-propeller planes, hunting grizzly bears and catching salmon alongside her father. When her parents divorce, she moves to Baltimore. There, she makes a half-hearted attempt at being a focused student under the not-so-watchful gaze of a mother working more jobs than Damon Wayans in the old "Hey Mon" sketches on In Living Color. As an adult, Newman’s work as a travel writer keeps her on the road just enough to outrun a loving marriage to the man of her dreams. But an impressive list of global misadventures, patient parents and a cute dog named Leonard may be the trick to helping Newman find a place to truly call home.
Let’s imagine for a moment that every person whose life included earning a PhD, touring with the Grateful Dead, a job as a cleric, a gig as a paranormal librarian and a perennial perch in bars around the world wrote a memoir. How many of these stories would exist? Just one, and it's penned by Rosie Schaap. Drinking With Men begins with a description of Schaap's days as a teenage tarot card reader hustling drinks in exchange for clairvoyance in the boxcar of a New York City commuter rail. That experience launches her decades-long journey through bars in Dublin, Montreal, Vermont and New York, plus one night in Santa Cruz involving so many shots of Jack Daniel's that I got a little drunk just reading the chapter. Along the way, she clinks glasses with a wildly loveable stream of characters: artists, poets, professors, tender barkeeps and a motley crew of pubmates who don’t mind reciting Shakespeare…in the pub. Consider this Schaap’s friendly tutorial in drinking your spirits with spirit.