Whether you screamed with delight at her unfiltered caustic commentary or found her a grating loudmouth, Joan Rivers was a unique figure who paved the way for other female comedians. “The Queen of Mean,” who died at age 81 on Sept. 4 in New York following complications from an outpatient procedure, always saved her harshest barbs for herself — her supposed lack of sex appeal, her obsession with plastic surgery, the endless indignities of aging.
By the time we reach 50, most Americans realize that the pursuit of happiness isn't quite the same thing as attaining it. Yes, many if not most folks in the U.S. live lives rich with friends, family, careers, pets, hobbies, book clubs, not to mention technology's 21st-century bounty: cars, computers, cellphones, AC, GPS, TV, 24/7 streaming entertainment.
Jessye Norman's once-in-a-century voice has carried her from 1960s segregated Augusta, Ga., to the opera houses and recital halls of Europe, Asia and America. Norman tells her extraordinary story in a just-published memoir, Stand Up Straight and Sing!
On the surface, Mist er Owit a's Guide to Gardening: How I Learned the Unexpected Joy of a Green Thumb and an Open Heart by Carol Wall, is a gentle memoir about a friendship between a white woman in Roanoke, Virginia and her gardener from Kenya. But that description fails to capture the book's depth, its sometimes-raw emotions, nor its many surprising twists.
In 2011, Yale Law School professor Amy Chua ignited a firestorm with Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. Excerpted in The Wall Street Journal, it described how Chua demanded that her two daughters get straight As in school (they did-then later got into Harvard and Yale).
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