Biographies

Going There

By Couric, Katie

For more than forty years, Katie Couric has been an iconic presence in the media world. In her brutally honest, hilarious, heartbreaking memoir, she reveals what was going on behind the scenes of her sometimes tumultuous personal and professional life - a story she's never shared, until now. Of the medium she loves, the one that made her a household name, she says, "Television can put you in a box; the flat-screen can flatten. On TV, you are larger than life but smaller, too. It is not the whole story, and it is not the whole me. This book is."

Beginning in early childhood, Couric was inspired by her journalist father to pursue the career he loved but couldn't afford to stay in. Balancing her vivacious, outgoing personality with her desire to be taken seriously, she overcame every obstacle in her way: insecurity, an eating disorder, being typecast, sexism . . . challenges, and how she dealt with them, setting the tone for the rest of her career. Couric talks candidly about adjusting to sudden fame after her astonishing rise to co-anchor of the TODAY show, and guides us through the most momentous events and news stories of the era, to which she had a front-row seat: Rodney King, Anita Hill, Columbine, the death of Princess Diana, 9/11, the Iraq War . . . In every instance, she relentlessly pursued the facts, ruffling more than a few feathers along the way. She also recalls in vivid and sometimes lurid detail the intense pressure on female anchors to snag the latest "get"--often sensational tabloid stories like Jon Benet Ramsey, Tonya Harding, and OJ Simpson.

Couric's position as one of the leading lights of her profession was shadowed by the shock and trauma of losing her husband to stage 4 colon cancer when he was just 42, leaving her a widow and single mom to two daughters, 6 and 2. The death of her sister Emily, just three years later, brought yet more trauma--and an unwavering commitment to cancer awareness and research, one of her proudest accomplishments.

Couric is unsparing in the details of her historic move to the anchor chair at the CBS Evening News--a world rife with sexism and misogyny. Her "welcome" was even more hostile at 60 Minutes, an unrepentant boys club that engaged in outright hazing of even the most established women. In the wake of the MeToo movement, Couric shares her clear-eyed reckoning with gender inequality and predatory behavior in the workplace, and downfall of Matt Lauer--a colleague she had trusted and respected for more than a decade.

Couric also talks about the challenge of finding love again, with all the hilarity, false-starts, and drama that search entailed, before finding her midlife Mr. Right. Something she has never discussed publicly--why her second marriage almost didn't happen.

If you thought you knew Katie Couric, think again. Going There is the fast-paced, emotional, riveting story of a thoroughly modern woman, whose journey took her from humble origins to superstardom. In these pages, you will find a friend, a confidante, a role model, a survivor whose lessons about life will enrich your own.

Hello, Molly!

By Shannon, Molly

A candid, compulsively readable, hilarious, and heartbreaking memoir of resilience and redemption by comedic genius Molly Shannon

At age four, Molly Shannon's world was shattered when she lost her mother, baby sister, and cousin in a car accident with her father at the wheel. Held together by her tender and complicated relationship with her grieving father, Molly was raised in a permissive household where her gift for improvising and role-playing blossomed alongside the fearlessness that would lead her to become a celebrated actress.

From there, Molly ventured into the wider world of New York and Los Angeles show business, where she created her own opportunities and developed her daring and empathetic comedy. Filled with behind-the-scenes stories involving everyone from Whitney Houston to Adam Sandler to Monica Lewinsky, many told for the first time here, Hello, Molly! spans Molly's time on Saturday Night Live--where she starred alongside Will Ferrell, Adam Sandler, Cheri Oteri, Tracy Morgan, and Jimmy Fallon, among many others. At the same time, it explores with humor and candor her struggle to come to terms with the legacy of her father, a man who both fostered her gifts and drive and was left with the impossible task of raising his kids alone after the loss of her mother.

Witty, winning, and told with tremendous energy and heart, Hello, Molly!, written with Sean Wilsey, sheds new and revelatory light on the life and work of one of our most talented and free-spirited performers.

The Palace Papers: Inside the House of Windsor--The Truth and the Turmoil

By Brown, Tina

"Never again" became Queen Elizabeth II's mantra shortly after Princess Diana's tragic death. More specif­ically, there could never be "another Diana"--a mem­ber of the family whose global popularity upstaged, outshone, and posed an existential threat to the Brit­ish monarchy.

Picking up where Tina Brown's masterful The Diana Chronicles left off, The Palace Papers reveals how the royal family reinvented itself after the trau­matic years when Diana's blazing celebrity ripped through the House of Windsor like a comet.

Brown takes readers on a tour de force journey through the scandals, love affairs, power plays, and betrayals that have buffeted the monarchy over the last twenty-five years. We see the Queen's stoic re­solve after the passing of Princess Margaret, the Queen Mother, and Prince Philip, her partner for seven decades, and how she triumphs in her Jubilee years even as family troubles rage around her. Brown explores Prince Charles's determination to make Camilla Parker Bowles his wife, the tension between William and Harry on "different paths," the ascend­ance of Kate Middleton, the downfall of Prince An­drew, and Harry and Meghan's stunning decision to step back as senior royals. Despite the fragile monar­chy's best efforts, "never again" seems fast approaching.

Tina Brown has been observing and chronicling the British monarchy for three decades, and her sweeping account is full of powerful revelations, newly reported details, and searing insight gleaned from remarkable access to royal insiders. Stylish, witty, and erudite, The Palace Papers will irrevoca­bly change how the world perceives and under­stands the royal family.

Growing Up Biden: A Memoir

By Owens, Valerie Biden
A memoir from Valerie Biden Owens, Joe Biden's younger sister, trusted confidante and lifelong campaign manager. Valerie, one of the first female campaign managers in United States history, writes of the role of family, faith, and fate in shaping her life, and the power of empathy and kindness in the face of turmoil and division.

Growing Up Biden details Valerie's decades-long professional career in politics, and the central role she played in her brother's life as an insightful adviser, an ever-loyal advocate and best friend.

This memoir, full of candor and warmth, brings readers into the Biden home and shares stories from growing up in Delaware as the only daughter of the close-knit Irish Catholic family. Valerie writes in a compelling, relatable way about the challenges she faced breaking through gender barriers, the elusive nature of confidence, and navigating professional responsibilities while raising children.

Miss Chloe: A Memoir of a Literary Friendship with Toni Morrison

By Verdelle, A. J.

"Passionate, personal, insightful, testy, and unique." --Kirkus (starred review)

Verdelle offers us testimony in praise and consideration of life as a literary citizen and Black woman alongside the guiding light of Toni Morrison. This is a holy testimony, indeed, one that deserves to be amen'd forever." --Jason Reynolds, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author

Verdelle gives us the greatest gift--our beloved ancestor returned to us--generous and alive, remembered and revered. So grateful for this book in the world." --Jacqueline Woodson, author of Another Brooklyn

If you let a black girl loose in a library, you may not recognize the woman who emerges.

--from Miss Chloe

Toni Morrison, born Chloe A Wofford, was a towering figure in the world of literature when she entered A.J. Verdelle's life. Their literary friendship was a young writer's dream--simultaneously exhilarating, intimidating, fulfilling, and challenging. The relationship crossed generations, spanned several cycles in life, exhibited high and low notes, reached and dipped and found its way. Like many women friends, these two writers imagined and built a relationship that was responsive, inventive, and engaged.

Miss Chloe powerfully situates the risks writers face and the freedom they find when they put Black women's lives into words. Verdelle chronicles her grief at Morrison's passing, and finds comfort in Morrison's astute advice--wisdom Verdelle didn't always recognize at the time. In this pensive and intricately lyrical book, Verdelle honors Morrison among the cultural greats, while illuminating and celebrating the power of language, legacy, and genius.

A. J. Verdelle is the award-winning author of the novel, The Good Negress. She teaches Creative Writing at Morgan State University and at the MFA program at Lesley University.

Red Paint: The Ancestral Autobiography of a Coast Salish Punk

By Lapointe, Sasha

Sasha LaPointe has always longed for a sense of home. When she was a child, her family moved around frequently, often staying in barely habitable church attics and trailers, dangerous places for young Sasha.

With little more to guide her than a passion for the thriving punk scene of the Pacific Northwest and a desire to live up to the responsibility of being the namesake of her beloved great-grandmother--a linguist who helped preserve her Indigenous language of Lushootseed--Sasha throws herself headlong into the world, determined to build a better future for herself and her people.

Set against a backdrop of the breathtaking beauty of Coast Salish ancestral land and imbued with the universal spirit of punk, Red Paint is ultimately a story of the ways we learn to find our true selves while fighting for our right to claim a place of our own.

Examining what it means to be vulnerable in love and in art, Sasha offers up an unblinking reckoning with personal traumas amplified by the collective historical traumas of colonialism and genocide that continue to haunt native peoples. Red Paint is an intersectional autobiography of lineage, resilience, and, above all, the ability to heal.

Charlie Murphy: The Iconoclastic Showman Behind the Chicago Cubs

By Cannon, Jason

You don't know the history of the Chicago Cubs until you know the story of Charles Webb Murphy, the ebullient and mercurial owner of this historic franchise from 1905 through 1914. Originally a sportswriter in Cincinnati, he joined the New York Giants front office as a press agent--the game's first--in 1905. That season, hearing the Cubs were for sale, he secured a loan from Charles Taft, the older half-brother of the future president of the United States, to buy a majority share and become the team's new owner. In his second full season, the Cubs won their first World Series. They won again in 1908, but soon thereafter Murphy's unconventional style invited ill will from the owners, his own players, and the press, even while leading the team through their most successful period in team history.

In Charlie Murphy: The Iconoclastic Showman behind the Chicago Cubs, Jason Cannon explores Murphy's life both on and off the field, painting a picture of his meteoric rise and precipitous downfall. Readers will get to know the real Murphy, not the simplified caricature created by his contemporaries that has too frequently been perpetuated through the years, but the whirling dervish who sent the sport of baseball spinning and elevated Chicago to the center of the baseball universe.

Cannon recounts Murphy's rise from the son of Irish immigrants to sports reporter to Cubs president, charting his legacy as one of the most important but overlooked figures in the National League's long history. Cannon explores how Murphy's difficult teenage years shaped his love for baseball; his relationship with the Tafts, one of America's early twentieth-century dynastic families; his successful and tumultuous years as a National League executive; his last years as an owner before the National League Board of Directors ousted him in 1914; and, finally, Murphy's attempt to rewrite his legacy through the construction of the Murphy Theater in his hometown of Wilmington, Ohio.

Back to the Prairie: A Home Remade, a Life Rediscovered

By Gilbert, Melissa
 

Known for her childhood role as Laura Ingalls Wilder on the classic NBC show Little House on the Prairie, Melissa Gilbert has spent nearly her entire life in Hollywood. From Dancing with the Stars to a turn in politics, she was always on the lookout for her next project. She just had no idea that her latest one would be completely life changing.

When her husband introduces her to the wilds of rural Michigan, Melissa begins to fall back in love with nature. And when work takes them to New York, they find a rustic cottage in the Catskill Mountains to call home. But "rustic" is a generous description for the state of the house, requiring a lot of blood, sweat, and tears for the newlyweds to make habitable.

When the pandemic descends on the world, it further nudges Melissa out of the spotlight and into the woods. She trades Botox treatments for DIY projects, power lunching for gardening and raising chickens, and soon her life is rediscovered anew in her own little house in the Catskills.

Diamonds & Deadlines: A Tale of Greed, Deceit, and a Gilded Age Female Tycoon

By Prioleau, Betsy

The first major biography of the glamorous and scandalous Miriam Leslie, titan of publishing and an unsung hero of women's suffrage

Among the fabled tycoons of the Gilded Age--Carnegie, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt--is a forgotten figure: Mrs. Frank Leslie. For twenty years she ran the country's largest publishing company, Frank Leslie Publishing, which chronicled postbellum America in dozens of weeklies and monthlies. A pioneer in an all-male industry, she made a fortune and became a national celebrity and tastemaker in the process. But Miriam Leslie was also a byword for scandal: She flouted feminine convention, took lovers, married four times, and harbored unsavory secrets that she concealed through a skein of lies and multiple personas. Both before and after her lifetime, glimpses of the truth emerged, including an illegitimate birth and a checkered youth.

Diamonds & Deadlines reveals the unknown, sensational life of the brilliant and brazen "empress of journalism," who dropped a bombshell at her death: She left her entire multimillion-dollar estate to women's suffrage--a never-equaled amount that guaranteed passage of the Nineteenth Amendment. In this dazzling biography, cultural historian Betsy Prioleau draws from diaries, genealogies, and published works to provide an intimate look at the life of one of the Gilded Age's most complex, powerful women and unexpected feminist icons. Ultimately, Diamonds and Deadlines restores Mrs. Frank Leslie to her rightful place in history, as a monumental businesswoman who presaged the feminist future and reflected, in bold relief, the Gilded Age, one of the most momentous, seismic, and vivid epochs in American history.

His Name Is George Floyd: One Man's Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice

By Samuels, Robert

The events of that day are now tragically familiar: on May 25, 2020, George Floyd became the latest Black person to die at the hands of the police, murdered outside of a Minneapolis convenience store by white officer Derek Chauvin. The video recording of his death set off the largest protest movement in the history of the United States, awakening millions to the pervasiveness of racial injustice. But long before his face was painted onto countless murals and his name became synonymous with civil rights, Floyd was a father, partner, athlete, and friend who constantly strove for a better life.

His Name Is George Floyd tells the story of a beloved figure from Houston's housing projects as he faced the stifling systemic pressures that come with being a Black man in America. Placing his narrative within the context of the country's enduring legacy of institutional racism, this deeply reported account examines Floyd's family roots in slavery and sharecropping, the segregation of his schools, the overpolicing of his community amid a wave of mass incarceration, and the callous disregard toward his struggle with addiction--putting today's inequality into uniquely human terms. Drawing upon hundreds of interviews with Floyd's closest friends and family, his elementary school teachers and varsity coaches, civil rights icons, and those in the highest seats of political power, Washington Post reporters Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa offer a poignant and moving exploration of George Floyd's America, revealing how a man who simply wanted to breathe ended up touching the world.