This week, memoirs take center stage in New Arrivals at Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester with STRAIGHT SHOOTER: A MEMOIR OF SECOND CHANCES AND FIRST TAKES by Stephen A. Smith, a popular sports media figure who rose from being a poor son of Caribbean immigrants having an obsession with sports to having a role on a network TV’s flagship morning sports program.
BLACK FOUNDER: THE HIDDEN POWER OF BEING AN OUTSIDER by Stacy Spikes is a memoir about the Black founder of MoviePass. In this book he reveals the tools he’s used to persevere in the face of adversity, defy stereotypes, and shatter glass ceilings.
CALL ME ANNE by Anne Heche is the sequel to Heche’s first book, Call Me Crazy. It is a memoir consisting of personal anecdotes of her rise to fame.
Fiction is next on the list with THE MITFORD AFFAIR by Marie Benedict. This is a WWII historical fiction book about a woman who has to make a very tough decision – whether to choose family over country.
The next fiction book is REALLY GOOD, ACTUALLY by Monica Heisey, a family life fiction book that hilariously and painfully delves into the life of a 28 year old woman’s journey to find joy after a divorce.
The token mystery this week is CARAMEL PECAN ROLL MURDER: A DELICIOUS CULINARY COZY MYSTERY by Joanne Fluke. Cozy mysteries always have a bit of humor and lighthearted fun associated with them, and this one has exactly that, with lots of cookie recipes built into it.
The last genre today is the thriller/suspense genre. In this category, we have THE DEVIL’S RANSOM: A PIKE LOGAN NOVEL by Brad Taylor. In the latest explosive thriller from New York Times bestselling author and former special forces officer Brad Taylor, Pike Logan races to stop an insidious attack orchestrated by a man who knows America’s most treasured secrets. This could be taken from today’s headlines! The last book (and the second thriller) is THE SHARDS: A NOVEL by Bret Easton Ellis. Bret Easton Ellis’s masterful new novel is a story about the end of innocence, and the perilous passage from adolescence into adulthood, set in a vibrantly fictionalized Los Angeles in 1981 as a serial killer begins targeting teenagers throughout the city.
As always, thank you for making our shelves your destination.
STRAIGHT SHOOTER: A MEMOIR OF SECOND CHANCES AND FIRST TAKES by Stephen A. Smith
America’s most popular sports media figure tells it like it is in this surprisingly personal book, not only dishing out his signature, uninhibited opinions but also revealing the challenges he overcame in childhood as well as at ESPN, and who he really is when the cameras are off.
Stephen A. Smith has never been handed anything, nor was he an overnight success. Growing up poor in Queens, the son of Caribbean immigrants and the youngest of six children, he was a sports-obsessed kid who faced a number of struggles, from undiagnosed dyslexia to getting enough cereal to fill his bowl. As a basketball player at Winston-Salem State University, he got a glimmer of his true calling when he wrote a newspaper column arguing for the retirement of his own Hall of Fame coach, Clarence Gaines.
Smith hustled and rose up from a high school reporter at Daily News (New York) to a general sports columnist at The Philadelphia Inquirer in the 1990s, before getting his own show at ESPN in 2005. After he was unceremoniously fired from the network in 2009, he became even more determined to fight for success. He got himself rehired two years later and, with his razor-sharp intelligence and fearless debate style, found his role on the show he was destined to star in: First Take, the network’s flagship morning program.
In Straight Shooter, Smith writes about the greatest highs and deepest lows of his life and career. He gives his thoughts on Skip Bayless, Ray Rice, Colin Kaepernick, the New York Knicks, the Dallas Cowboys, and former President Donald Trump. But he also pulls back the curtain and talks about life beyond the set, sharing authentic stories about his negligent father, his loving mother, being a father himself, his battle with life-threatening COVID-19, and what he really thinks about politics and social issues. He does it all with the same intelligence, humor, and charm that has made him a household name.
Provocative, moving, and eye-opening, this book is the perfect gift for lovers of sports, television, and anyone who likes their stories delivered straight to the heart.
BLACK FOUNDER: THE HIDDEN POWER OF BEING AN OUTSIDER by Stacy Spikes
At the intersection of power, technology, and race, Stacy Spikes, award-winning entrepreneur and founder of MoviePass, reveals the tools he’s used to persevere in the face of adversity, defy stereotypes, and shatter glass ceilings. BLACK FOUNDER is both an empowering memoir of a trailblazing business leader and an unflinching look at what it means to be Black and ambitious in the upper echelons of record labels, movie studios and tech startups – with practical steps on how to overcome prejudice and build your own success.
From the award-winning entrepreneur USA Today named one of the 21 most influential Blacks in technology comes an empowering, bracingly honest, entertaining blueprint for success in life and work—including the true story of what really happened to MoviePass, the nation’s groundbreaking first-ever theatrical subscription service—straight from the co-founder and former CEO himself.
Stacy Spikes knows what’s it like to be an outsider. He certainly knew he didn’t fit the mold of a successful future tech entrepreneur. But he marshaled his resilience and ultimately set out to shatter that mold—along with the glass ceiling that came with it. Finding his footing in the tech world was an education in the complexities of being an outsider—but as Stacy came to see, rather than a hindrance, it afforded him a unique position of power.
Beginning as a film studio gopher, Spikes quickly rose through the industry ranks, being named one of the Hollywood Reporter’s 30 Under 30. Still, he was an outsider looking in. So he set out to make his own dreams a reality. Defying expectations, Spikes effectively disrupted the status quo and reinvented himself from junior executive to CEO Tech Founder. What ensued was an escalating adventure with bigger stages, bigger risks, and a roller-coaster ride of exhilarating ascent—unpredictable collapse—and a story book return.
Now Spikes shares his challenges, pitfalls, and keys to personal and professional fulfillment. He shows how the seemingly impossible can be overcome by having faith in oneself and creating from a place of confidence. Taking readers inside the battles of the boardroom and beyond, Black Founder is a business memoir that will inspire every outsider who has a dream.
CALL ME ANNE by Anne Heche
This memoir by Anne Heche is as personal as it gets, offering a peek inside the mind of the late Emmy-award winning actress, director and author of the New York Times bestseller Call Me Crazy.
Call Me Anne is the sequel to Heche’s first book, Call Me Crazy. It is a memoir consisting of personal anecdotes of her rise to fame: how Harrison Ford became her on-set mentor, her relationship with Ellen Degeneres, her encounter with Harvey Weinstein, her history of childhood sexual abuse, her relationship with God, her journey to love herself, and more. Part memoir and part self-acceptance workbook, Anne’s personal stories are interwoven with poems, prompts, and exercises that got Anne through tough times. Readers are encouraged to try them as they navigate their own journey to self-love, acceptance, forgiveness, and faith.
THE MITFORD AFFAIR by Marie Benedict
From New York Times bestselling author Marie Benedict—an explosive novel of history’s most notorious sisters, one of whom will have to choose: her country or her sisters?
Between the World Wars, the six Mitford sisters—each more beautiful, brilliant, and eccentric than the next—dominate the English scenes. Though they’ve weathered scandals before, the family falls into disarray when Diana divorces her wealthy husband to marry a fascist leader and Unity follows her sister’s lead all the way to Munich, inciting rumors that she’s become Hitler’s mistress.
As the Nazis rise in power, novelist Nancy Mitford grows suspicious of her sisters’ constant visits to Germany and the high-ranking fascist company they keep. When she overhears alarming conversations and uncovers disquieting documents, Nancy must make excruciating choices as Great Britain goes to war with Germany.
Probing the torrid political climate in the lead-up to WWII and the ways that seemingly sensible people can be sucked into radical action, The Mitford Affair follows Nancy’s valiant efforts to stop the Nazis from taking over Great Britain, choosing between loyalty to her country and allegiance to her family, and forcing her to learn exactly how personal is the political.
FAMILY LIFE FICTION:
REALLY GOOD, ACTUALLY by Monica Heisey
A hilarious and painfully relatable debut novel about one young woman’s messy journey to find joy in the wake of a devastating breakup, from comedian, essayist, and award-winning screenwriter Monica Heisey.
Maggie is fine. She’s doing really good, actually. Sure, she’s broke, her graduate thesis on something obscure is going nowhere, and her marriage only lasted 608 days (not that she’s counting) . . . but at the ripe old age of twenty-nine, Maggie is determined to embrace her new life as a Surprisingly Young Divorcée™.
Now she has time to take up nine hobbies, eat hamburgers at 4 am, and “get back out there” sex-wise. With the support of her tough-loving academic advisor, Merris; her newly divorced friend, Amy; and her group chat (naturally), Maggie barrels through her first year of singledom, intermittently dating, and asking tough questions along the way.
Laugh-out-loud funny and filled with sharp observations, Really Good, Actually is a surprisingly tender and bittersweet anti-romantic comedy that lays bare the uncertainties of modern love and friendship and that thing we like to call “happiness”—and marks the debut of an unforgettable new voice.
CARAMEL PECAN ROLL MURDER: A DELICIOUS CULINARY COZY MYSTERY by Joanne Fluke
Packed with recipes and now in paperback, in this scrumptious culinary mystery from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Joanne Fluke, Minnesota’s favorite professional baker and amateur sleuth, Hannah Swensen, is tempted by a high-profile tournament that quickly turns deadly . .
Embracing a sweet escape from her usual routine at The Cookie Jar, Hannah gets asked for her help in baking pastries at the local inn for a flashy fishing competition with big prizes and even bigger names. But the fun stops when she spots a runway boat on the water and, on board, the lifeless body of the event’s renowned celebrity spokesperson…
Famed TV show host Sonny Bowman wasn’t humble about his ability to reel in winning catches, and no one knew that better than his tragically overworked sidekick, Joey. Did Joey finally take bloody revenge on his pompous boss—or was Sonny killed by a jealous contestant?
With goodies to bake and a mess of fresh challenges mixed into her personal life, it’s either sink or swim as Hannah joins forces with her sister, Andrea, to catch a clever culprit before another unsuspecting victim goes belly up…
Features Over a Dozen Cookie and Dessert Recipes from The Cookie Jar!
THE DEVIL’S RANSOM: A PIKE LOGAN NOVEL by Brad Taylor
In the latest explosive thriller from New York Times bestselling author and former special forces officer Brad Taylor, Pike Logan races to stop an insidious attack orchestrated by a man who knows America’s most treasured secrets.
Conducting a routine cover development trip to Tajikistan, Pike and Jennifer learn that Afghanistan has fallen, and there’s a man on the run. One that has done more for the United States in Afghanistan than anyone else. Pulled in to extract him, Pike collides headlong into a broader mystery: His covert company, along with every other entity in the Taskforce, has been hit with a ransomware attack, and there’s some connection between the Taliban and the hack. Given the order to track down the perpetrators, he has no idea that the problem set is much, much larger and more dangerous than a simple attack on his organization. That hack was just a test-run, and the real one is coming soon, engendered by a former NSA specialist in the U.S. government.
A man who wants to return to the bipolar world of the Cold War, the turncoat has cloaked his attack behind hackers from Serbia and Russia, and if successful, his target will alter the balance of power on the global stage. So far, the specialist has remained one step ahead of the Taskforce, but he has just made one massive mistake: hitting Pike Logan.
THE SHARDS: A NOVEL by Bret Easton Ellis
A novel of sensational literary and psychological suspense from the best-selling author of Less Than Zero and American Psycho that tracks a group of privileged high school friends in a vibrantly fictionalized 1980s Los Angeles as a serial killer strikes across the city
Bret Easton Ellis’s masterful new novel is a story about the end of innocence, and the perilous passage from adolescence into adulthood, set in a vibrantly fictionalized Los Angeles in 1981 as a serial killer begins targeting teenagers throughout the city.
Seventeen-year-old Bret is a senior at the exclusive Buckley prep school when a new student arrives with a mysterious past. Robert Mallory is bright, handsome, charismatic, and shielding a secret from Bret and his friends even as he becomes a part of their tightly knit circle. Bret’s obsession with Mallory is equaled only by his increasingly unsettling preoccupation with the Trawler, a serial killer on the loose who seems to be drawing ever closer to Bret and his friends, taunting them—and Bret in particular—with grotesque threats and horrific, sharply local acts of violence. The coincidences are uncanny, but they are also filtered through the imagination of a teenager whose gifts for constructing narrative from the filaments of his own life are about to make him one of the most explosive literary sensations of his generation. Can he trust his friends—or his own mind—to make sense of the danger they appear to be in? Thwarted by the world and by his own innate desires, buffeted by unhealthy fixations, he spirals into paranoia and isolation as the relationship between the Trawler and Robert Mallory hurtles inexorably toward a collision.
Set against the intensely vivid and nostalgic backdrop of pre-Less Than Zero L.A., The Shards is a mesmerizing fusing of fact and fiction, the real and the imagined, that brilliantly explores the emotional fabric of Bret’s life at seventeen—sex and jealousy, obsession and murderous rage. Gripping, sly, suspenseful, deeply haunting, and often darkly funny, The Shards is Ellis at his inimitable best.