As the weather starts to turn cool, now is a good time to find a book to curl up with on those chilly, overcast days. Local author releases this season offer a wide array of subjects from which to choose, such as history, fiction, psychology and memoir. Here are some highlights:
Lisa Jakub, Not Just Me: Anxiety, Depression, and Learning to Embrace Your Weird
Jakub, whose first book, You Look Like That Girl, recounted her adventures in Hollywood as a child actor and her decision to leave that life, explores mental health in her sophomore effort—part memoir, part research journey. Yet she writes with an irreverence and levity that creates a comfortable space for exploring weighty subjects.
“I wanted to write the book that I most needed when my anxiety and depression was at its worst,” she says. “I wanted to explore my experience with mental wellness, offer a space for other people to share their stories and look at the science and research behind these issues.” The title arises from the fact that “We think no one else feels like this and we need to go it alone. And that’s just not true,” she says.
Donna M. Lucey Sargent’s Women: Four Lives Behind the Canvas
In this biography of the late 19th century, Lucey details the lives of Elsie Palmer, Lucia Fairchild, Elizabeth Chanler and Isabella Stewart Gardner—all painted by American portraitist John Singer Sargent. “I’ve always loved the Gilded Age,” Lucey says, “that giddy era of excess and opulence that spawned the most wonderfully eccentric characters.” While writing her last book, Archie and Amélie, she stumbled upon the story of Chanler, Archie’s sister. After she learned that Chanler had been a subject of one of Sargent’s portraits, she “began to wonder about the lives of other women he’d painted,” and a book revealed itself.
Jan Karon, To Be Where You Are: A Mitford Novel (September 19)
The 14th novel in Karon’s beloved Mitford Years series follows the Kavanagh family through an identity crisis caused by retirement, a financial challenge for a newly married couple, a death and a birth. The recurring cast of characters will be familiar to faithful fans of the series. Karon, who won the Library of Virginia’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015, told the Charlotte Observer this spring that she began writing the series to “give readers a safe place to go.”
Sharon Harrigan Playing with Dynamite: A Memoir (October 1)
Harrigan’s life has been haunted by the absence of a father who blew off one of his hands with dynamite before she was born and died in a suspicious accident when she was 7. In this memoir, Harrigan chronicles her two-year search for answers to questions surrounding her father’s death—a journey that takes her from Virginia to Paris to Michigan. “My father’s death was the defining event of my life, and his mysterious accident haunted me,” she says. “He went hunting for a deer and a deer killed him? That never made sense.” In the process of seeking the truth about her father, Harrigan instead learns about her mother.