Thompson, Neal. Kickflip Boys: A Memoir of Freedom, Rebellion, and the Chaos of Fatherhood. Ecco, 2018.
What makes a good father, and what makes one a failure? Does less-is-more parenting inspire independence and strength, or does it encourage defiance and trouble? Kickflip Boys is the story of a father’s struggle to understand his willful skateboarder sons, challengers of authority and convention, to accept his role as a vulnerable “skate dad,” and to confront his fears that the boys are destined for an unconventional and potentially fraught future.
Cumming, Alan. Not My Father's Son: A Memoir. Dey Street Books, 2014.
When television producers approached Alan Cumming to appear on a popular celebrity genealogy show, he hoped to solve the mystery of his maternal grandfather's disappearance that had long cast a shadow over his family. But this was not the only mystery laid before Alan. Alan grew up in the grip of a man who held his family hostage, someone who meted out violence with a frightening ease, who waged a silent war with himself that sometimes spilled over onto everyone around him.
McClelland, Edward. Nothin' But Blue Skies: The Heyday, Hard Times, and Hopes of America's Industrial Heartland. Bloomsbury Press, 2013.
Nothin' but Blue Skies tells the story of how the country's industrial heartland grew, boomed, bottomed, and hopes to be reborn. Through a propulsive blend of storytelling and reportage, celebrated writer Edward McClelland delivers the rise, fall, and revival of the Rust Belt and its people.
Hooks, Bell. All About Love: New Visions. HarperCollins, 2000.
As bell hooks uses her incisive mind and razor-sharp pen to explore the question “What is love?” her answers strike at both the mind and heart. In thirteen concise chapters, hooks examines her own search for emotional connection and society’s failure to provide a model for learning to love. Razing the cultural paradigm that the ideal love is infused with sex and desire, she provides a new path to love that is sacred, redemptive, and healing for individuals and for a nation.
Coates, Ta-Nehisi. Between the World and Me. Penguin Random House, 2015.
In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?
Novak, Brandon and Joe Frantz. Dreamseller: An Addiction Memoir. Citadel, 2009.
At seven, Brandon was a skateboard prodigy. By the time he was fourteen, he was living the dream. Discovered by skate legends Bucky Lasek and Tony Hawk. Touring the U.S. with the elite Powell-Peralta team. Signing autographs and appearing in films and magazines. Brandon had it all. Then he got hooked on heroin. Soon the up-and-coming star was living a down-and-out life in a garage, begging for change, and hustling to score his next fix. He stole from his family and friends. He pushed the fantasy that everything was okay, that he was going to rehab, getting help, and getting better. But it was all a lie. This is the story of an addict—a dreamseller who stopped believing the lies he was selling and started believing in himself.