The loss of a parent is an experience that we all face without any training - relating to a parent through old age and illness; going through the actual death in different circumstances and whether we can help parents to have a good death; the emotional aftermath - shock, grief, relief, the effect on families; funerals, wills and other rituals; clearing out the house and keeping memories alive; recovery and carrying on with life; the longer-term changes in us and our relationship with our parents. Edited by Sydney Morning Herald literary editor, journalist and writer Susan Wyndham, My Mother, My Fatheris a collection of stories from 14 remarkable Australian writers, sharing what it is to feel loss, and all the experiences and memories that create the image of our parents. Contributors include Helen Garner, David Marr, Tom Keneally, Gerard Windsor, Susan Duncan and Caroline Baum. These stories are intimate, honest, moving, sometimes funny, never sentimental, and always well written.
An intense, refractory memoir by a major poet Misgivings is C. K. Williams's searing recollection of his family's extreme dynamics and of his parents' deaths after years of struggle, bitterness, and inner conflict. Like Kafka's self-revealing Letter to His Father, Misgivings is full of doubt, both philosophical and personal, but as a work of art it is sure and true. Williams's father was an "ordinary businessman"--angry, demanding, addicted to the tension he created with the people he loved; a man who could read the Greek myths aloud to his son yet vowed never to apologize to anybody. His mother was a housewife, a woman with a great capacity for pleasure, who was stoical about the family's dire early poverty yet remained affected by it even when they became well-off. Together, these two formed what Williams calls the "conspiracy that made me who I am." His account of their life together and their deaths--his father's with suicidal despair, and his mother's with calm resignation--is a literary form of the reconciliation the family achieved at the end of his parents' lives. And as literary form it is novel, a series of brilliant short takes, a double helix of experience and recollection. Few contemporary writers have understood their origins so acutely, or so eloquently.
"There's no news like hearing irrefutable proof that you're not the sole cause of your parents' woes, your father's drinking, your unshakable feeling that you're not put together quite right and finding out the problem all along was your father's unrequited yearning for angora." —Noelle Howey from Dress Codes Throughout her childhood in suburban Ohio, Noelle struggled to gain love and affection from her distant father. In compensating for her father's brusqueness, Noelle idolized her nurturing tomboy mother and her conservative grandma who tried to turn her into "a little lady." At age 14, Noelle's mom told her the family secret straight out: "Dad likes to wear women's clothes." As Noelle copes with a turbulent adolescence, further confused by the male and female role models she had as a girl, her father begins to metamorphose into the loving parent she had always longed for—only now outfitted in pedal pushers and pink lipstick. Could becoming a woman make her father a completely different person? With edgy humor, courage, and remarkable sensitivity, Noelle Howey challenges all of our beliefs in what constitutes gender and a "normal" family.
To the Navajo, sandpaintings are sacred, living entities that reflect the interconnectedness of all living beings--humans, plants, stars, animals, and mountains. This book, now available in paperback, explores the circularity of Navajo thought in sandpaintings, Navajo chantway myths, and stories reflected in the celestial constellations. Beautifully illustrated by the author, this well-documented book explores the spiritual world of the Navajo, their ceremonial practices, and their conceptions of time and stellar motion. Griffin-Pierce shows how the images of sacred sandpaintings not only communicate the temporal and spatial dimensions of the Navajo universe but also present, in visual form, Navajo ideas about relationships among nature, self, and society. "Griffin-Pierce's approach is highly original, bringing this material together in an innovative and creative manner while grounding it holistically within the context of Navajo world view."--M. Jane Young, author ofSigns from the Ancestors: Zuni Cultural Symbolism and Perceptions of Rock Art
The fairy tale lives again in this book of forty new stories by some of the biggest names in contemporary fiction. Neil Gaiman, “Orange” Aimee Bender, “The Color Master” Joyce Carol Oates, “Blue-bearded Lover” Michael Cunningham, “The Wild Swans” These and more than thirty other stories by Francine Prose, Kelly Link, Jim Shepard, Lydia Millet, and many other extraordinary writers make up this thrilling celebration of fairy tales—the ultimate literary costume party. Spinning houses and talking birds. Whispered secrets and borrowed hope. Here are new stories sewn from old skins, gathered by visionary editor Kate Bernheimer and inspired by everything from Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen” and “The Little Match Girl” to Charles Perrault’s “Bluebeard” and “Cinderella” to the Brothers Grimm’s “Hansel and Gretel” and “Rumpelstiltskin” to fairy tales by Goethe and Calvino and from China, Japan, Vietnam, Russia, Norway, and Mexico. Fairy tales are our oldest literary tradition, and yet they chart the imaginative frontiers of the twenty-first century as powerfully as they evoke our earliest encounters with literature. This exhilarating collection restores their place in the literary canon.
In this fierce and poignant book, the author, drawing on sources that include her grandmother's richly erotic diaries, unveils intimate details of the Acton dynasty in Florence, the illicit love affair of Arthur and Elsie, and the controversial legal aftermath that continues to this day. A true family saga played out against the backdrop of Florence's celebrated Villa La Pietra. The struggle over the billion dollar estate of one of the 20th century's most notable aesthetes, Harold Acton, pitted New York University, against first Liana Beacci, Acton's illegitimate half-sister, and since her death in 2000 her daughter, Princess Dialta Alliata di Montereale, who lives in Honolulu. It began its progress through the Italian legal system soon after Acton's death in 1994 with more downs than ups for the family. But a recent reworking of Italian inheritance laws, to make them internally coherent and to bring them into accord with European protocols ,promises a dramatic conclusion – and sooner rather than later. It was always a story in which reality was more colourful than fiction. You will find it in My Mother, My Father and His Wife Hortense: The True Story of the Villa La Pietra (Amazon), a vivid book by Dialta, published under her family name, Dialta Lensi Orlandi, who is now Princess Dialta di Montereale. In fifty chapters, against the historical and social backdrop of art, glamour, war, and international intrigue, the lives of the Beaccis and the Actons are woven together through the eyes of a third-generation family member, Dialta Lensi Orlandi, granddaughter of Arthur Acton and daughter of Liana Beacci.The tale encompasses the fate of Acton's estate, an appalling betrayal, and the continuing fight to restore justice and dignity to Acton's legacy and the Beacci family name. Arthur Acton, Dialta's grandfather, was an art dealer, married to Hortense Mitchell, a Chicago heiress, but who came to dislike both art and her husband's home in Florence. Dialta's mother was born to Arthur Acton's lifelong mistress, Ersilia. Her half-brother, Harold Acton, the model for Anthony Blanche in Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited, and who had been host at La Pietra to Princess Diana and Pablo Picasso, was acquainted with his relations and tried to thwart their inheritance.In 2003 the court of Florence allowed the bodies of Liana and Arthur to be dug up for DNA tests. These established with “the highest degree of probability” that Liana was Arthur Acton's daughter and a surprise ending.
Acclaimed 60 Minutes commentator and true-crime author Shana Alexander turns her journalist’s eye to her own unconventional family—and herself—in this fascinating, moving memoir Shana Alexander spent most of her life trying to figure out her enigmatic parents. Milton Ager was a famous songwriter whose creations included “Ain’t She Sweet” and “Happy Days Are Here Again.” Cecelia Ager was a film critic and Variety columnist. They were a glamorous Jazz Age couple that moved in charmed circles with George and Ira Gershwin, Dorothy Parker, and Jerome Kern. They remained together for fifty-seven years, and yet they lived separate lives. This wise, witty, unflinchingly candid memoir is also a revealing account of Alexander’s own life, from her successful career as a writer and national-news commentator to her troubled marriages and emotionally wrenching love affairs. She shares insights about growing up with a cold, hypercritical mother, her relationship with her younger sister, the suicide of her adopted daughter, and her reconciliation with her parents after a twenty-year estrangement. “I had to do a lot of detective work to uncover the truth about my parents’ lives,” Alexander said. “I knew almost nothing about them as people. But by the end they really did become my best friends.”
CHILDREN'S BOOKS/AGES 4-8
With warmth, lucidity and good humour, Pagnol, a boy from the city, recounts the glorious summer days he spent exploring the sun-baked Provençal countryside. He vividly captures the atmosphere of a childhood filled with the simple pleasures: a meal, a joke, an outing shared with his close-knit and loving family. These heart-warming stories remind us of how children can invest the smallest event or statement with incredible significance, how mysterious the workings of the adult world can seem to them and how painful the learning process can often prove. However, Pagnol’s writing is filled with enormous optimism and delight. And his triumph in these classic memoirs is to have created that rare thing, a work suffused with joy. ‘Pagnol’s place in the history of French culture is secure. The Prousts and Sartres may be admired, but Pagnol is loved’ Times Literary Supplement
Eleven-year-old Cynthia and her six-year-old sister try to adjust to their parents' separation and divorce.
P.J. Fisk has mothered six children and now grandmothers twelve. She raised her daughters within the context of a fundamental Christian church, based in the patriarchal systems of Bible and religion. Paula has been an avid student on the topic of women and religion for over thirty years. She has pursued research into the history of ancient religions up to current times in an effort to understand the plight of the female in a predominant male system of religion. Her personal stories are candid and relevant for women today in the 21st century. She speaks wisely about the gift that is female, and correlates profoundly the evolution of religious beliefs to the evolution of women within historical societies. Paula lives in Colorado with her husband, Loren, at the foothills of the beautiful Rocky Mountains. If God is My Father, Who is My Mother? is a spiritual journey out of the depths of conservative patriarchy to the enlightenment of a Mother/Father God. Paula takes care to tell a story of family and church secrets without condemnation or blame. She traveled this journey with many other sisters searching for truth and fulfillment in lives bound by age-old traditions of religious thought. Misogyny found in her home, church, and the schools she served, caused questioning that she could not satisfy. Her story is about the education and guidance of female students at both the high school and college levels. It was during these tenures that Paula began to recognize the conditioning of females by a patriarchal society. She dedicated herself first to healing, and then to discovery and enlightenment. Paula knows first-hand how research produces more questions, which lead to more study. Journey with her through this memoir of revelations, questions, and proposed answers.
"Many know Kimberly Williams-Paisley as the bride in the popular Steve Martin remakes of the Father of the Bride movies, the calculating Peggy Kenter on Nashville, or the wife of country megastar Brad Paisley. But in 2014, Williams-Paisley revealed a ... secret: her mother had been diagnosed with a rare form of dementia called Primary Progressive Aphasia at the age of sixty-one. In [this memoir], Williams-Paisley tells the full story of her mother's illness, from diagnosis through the present-day, drawing on her memories of her relationship with the fascinating, complicated, and successful woman who raised her"--
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