Stories I Only Tell My Friends

by Rob Lowe |


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If Lowe had simply tracked his transformation from starstruck midwestern drama geek to the prettiest of the Brat Pack actors to the wry, serious, easy-to-underestimate star we knew on The West Wing, it would have been pretty cool. But Stories is a little more ambitious; here Lowe has written a fresh pop-culture history of Hollywood in the ’70s and ’80s from the point of view of the man who lived it. It’s all here, from his days in Malibu shooting home movies with his little school pals-who happened to be Sean and Chris Penn-to his booze-fueled St. Elmo’s Fire years, to his romances with both the ladies (remember Princess Stephanie?) and the politics (remember Michael Dukakis?). Lowe, who says he wrote this book without a coauthor, is as funny as he is thoughtful. This is the best type of celeb memoir, because its author is as interested in the world as the world is interested in him.

Planting Dandelions

by Kyran Pittman |



“I believe ardently that you should drop everything and run toward your true self,” writes Good Housekeeping contributor Kyran Pittman in her hilarious, searing essay collection. The twist: This child of bohemians found her true self in a Little Rock ranch house, where she lives in unexpected bliss with her family. Her tales of modern motherhood are fearless and addictive.

The Long Goodbye

by Meghan O’Rourke |



Sometimes, writes journalist O’Rourke in this raw, powerful memoir, she feels “off-kilter, thinking, I need something; what is it? And I realize: my mother.” O’Rourke, 35, details the pain she felt when her mom died of cancer at 55. Time helps, but the grief never heals. Every day, “my mother [crosses] my mind like a spring cardinal,” O’Rourke writes, “luminous, lovely, gone.”

The Watery Part of the World

by Michael Parker |


One of three remaining inhabitants living on a remote North Carolina island in the 1970s is Theo Whaley, the great-great-great granddaughter of Theodosia Burr Alston (Vice President Aaron Burr’s daughter). Using parallel narratives, Parker imagines the lives of both Alston, who disappeared at sea in 1813, and Whaley, who shares the island with her sister and a male African-American neighbor more than a century later. Parker slices open each isolated life with humor and gentleness, and the familiar battles with loss and loneliness she chronicles make even this remotest of locations feel close to home.

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