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Choosing Your Family

A successful ad rep was walking down the street in Manhattan. A young boy begged her for money for food. He hadn’t eaten in two days. The woman kept walking…until something made her stop, turn around and ask the boy to go to McDonald’s with her. For the next four years, the two met every Monday so the young boy could have a meal. After that, their bond kept growing. In An Invisible Thread, Laura Schroff tells the story of how a homeless panhandler became her son.

By Readers' Advisor on March 2, 2013 Categories: Books, Nonfiction, Web Video

Continuing to Live After Vicious Crimes Happen

Louise Erdrich is no stranger to literary acclaim. Most recently, her novel The Round House won the National Book Award. Set in the 1980s on a reservation in North Dakota, 13-year-old Joe deals with the emotional and political aftermath of his mother being assaulted. The Round House explores crime, justice, and jurisdiction issues between Native Americans and the people living around their reservations.

Here is a thoughtful discussion between Erdrich and Terry Tazioli, host of the Washington-state-based book show, Well Read.

By Readers' Advisor on February 23, 2013 Categories: Books, Web Video

When a Beautiful Woman Died

Glorette is found dead behind the taqueria. Her son needs to be located and told, so does her Uncle Enrique, who will hunt down her killer. Meanwhile, the ground is ice hard out in the orange groves and her body can’t be immediately buried. Susan Straight’s Between Heaven and Here is the story of a community and its secrets framed around the passing of one woman.

Here Susan Straight gives a TED Talk about why she tells stories.

By Readers' Advisor on February 16, 2013 Categories: Books, Web Video

You Don’t Have to Wear Make-Up, but If You Do…

Wearing make-up is not a requirement of being a beautiful woman. Going natural is great, but if you do want to wear make-up, Bobbi Brown wants to help you find your style, rather than following a trend. Her newest book Pretty Powerful: Beauty Stories to Inspire Confidence gives techniques and recommendations for everyday and evening looks, along with interviewing famous women – from actresses to athletes – about what beauty means to them.

By Readers' Advisor on February 9, 2013 Categories: Books, Nonfiction, Web Video

Oprah’s Latest Book Club 2.0 Pick!

Hattie Shepherd leaves the Jim Crow South during the Great Migration for, hopefully, a better life in Philadelphia. The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, by Ayana Mathis, follows Hattie over five decades of hard life in raising nine children and one grandchild.

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is Oprah’s newest Book Club 2.0 choice. In addition to seeing her interview Ayana Mathis on Super Bowl Sunday, you can join the online discussion and see fabulously detailed book discussion materials on Oprah’s website.

By Readers' Advisor on February 2, 2013 Categories: Books, Historical Fiction, Web Video

A Law Professor Examines Drug Laws

“The fate of millions of people – indeed the future of the black community itself – may depend on the willingness of those who care about racial justice to re-examine their basic assumptions about the role of the criminal justice system in our society.”

To begin that examination, check out Michelle Alexander’s nonfiction bestseller, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.

By Readers' Advisor on January 26, 2013 Categories: Books, Nonfiction, Web Video

A Seamstress and Five Orphans

Chintana is a struggling seamstress going through a divorce. She accidentally ends up at her husband’s mistress’ house for a birthday party. A storyteller has been brought in to entertain the children, but his story is a dark one. You see, there is a sword – a sword that might even be in the long black box set before the audience – that only causes harm to its victims after they have aged to 50. The Fifty Year Sword is an experimental novella by Mark Z. Danielewski. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because Danielewski has a major cult following for his first novel, House of Leaves.

By Readers' Advisor on January 19, 2013 Categories: Books, Fantasy & Sci-Fi, Web Video

Joe Hill’s Favorite Key

Joe Hill has won acclaim by creating dark, disturbing stories, like Heart-Shaped Box, and most notably, Horns – which is being made into a movie starring Daniel Radcliffe. In addition to his fiction, Joe Hill writes comics. Locke and Key follows Tyler, Kinsey, and Bode  after the murder of their father, when they are forced to move into Keyhouse, a supernatural estate located in Lovecraft, Massachusetts.

By Readers' Advisor on January 12, 2013 Categories: Books, Horror, Web Video

From Wagnerian Operas to Arena Rock

In How Music Works, David Byrne examines the joy, physics, and business of music, often through the lens of his own diverse career. Most people know David Byrne as the shy, awkward lead singer of the Talking Heads. He is also an author, painter, photographer, producer, and uber-talented eccentric.

Here’s Byrne giving a TED Talk about how architecture helped music evolve, a topic he writes about in How Music Works.

By Readers' Advisor on January 5, 2013 Categories: Books, Music, Nonfiction, Web Video

More Than a Hundred Thousand Photos Hidden Away

Vivian Maier is the Emily Dickinson of photography. Dickinson didn’t publish her poetry; she tucked it away in drawers. Similarly, Maier received no acclaim in her own lifetime for her captivating street photography – not because her work wasn’t any good, but because the world didn’t know it existed. Maier’s photos were hidden away, mostly as undeveloped film, in storage lockers. Maier worked as a nanny in Chicago for near forty years. On her days off, she walked the streets taking pictures. Richard Cahan and Michael Williams collected a gorgeous sampling of her black and white work in Vivian Maier: Out of the Shadows.

By Readers' Advisor on December 29, 2012 Categories: Art, Nonfiction, Web Video