Our editor's and contributor's best picks of the most interesting new fiction and nonfiction releases.
A bit of therapy whenever you need it…
I have to confess that when life gets stressful I don’t always follow the sound advice that I give my clients. When the going gets tough, I get to the nearest Godiva store. Godiva truffles are my own personal therapy in a box. I love the sweet and sometimes bitter richness of the chocolate and the plethora of fillings, each one offering me a different kind of comfort. I especially love getting just the right variety in a box that whatever my mood, whatever specific chocolate fix I am craving, I can rest assured that somewhere in that box will be the answer. That is exactly how I felt reading Therese Borchard’s latest book, The Pocket Therapist. It is a perfect compilation of witty, thoughtful, scientific, and personal anecdotes and I can assure you that the answer to whatever emotional crisis ails you can mostly likely be found between its pages. Offered in bite-size chapters, each no more than a page or two, this book is a guide to improving and protecting your mental health.
Leaving the toilet seat up. Not screwing on the toothpaste cap. Cliché as they may be, these irksome habits that make you want to strangle your spouse are just child’s play compared to the hilarious insanity that Annabelle Gurwitch and Jeff Kahn expose their readers to in this humorous take on their daily life as husband and wife in “You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up.”
A Childhood Lost in Britain’s WWII Evacuation
This newly released book by DC resident and professor Doreen Lehr is part historical analysis, part memoir. It's a heartfelt and touching account of a traumatic childhood and how it affected Lehr's entire life's path. The book is the true recounting of her life as one of 1.5 million children evacuated to the presumed safety of the countryside from British cities during WWII, in a heart-wrenching, social experiment that tore families apart. A GIRL’S WAR (Advantage/ May 2010) has a resounding message that childhoods do matter, particularly for those who have spent their lives waiting to go home.
In anticipation of the German bombardment of the British Isles, the government launched “Operation Pied Piper,” which at the time was the largest movement of people in the history of the world. Later in the war, Doreen was one of those evacuees. At the age of three or four, separated from her parents and her brother, she attended two boarding schools before the age of five. The long-term effects of such massive upheaval, coupled with the confusion and devastation of war, was not anticipated by government planners, or even acknowledged in literature until the past two decades.
How did you get started as a writer?
In college I took a few creative writing courses and really enjoyed them, but it wasn’t until I had children and we’d check out stacks full of children’s books from the library each week that I knew I wanted to write for children. In 1993, when I decided to pursue getting published, I did my homework thoroughly and I wrote every day, and the rest of the story is a real miracle. It is quite unheard of, but the second manuscript I sent out got picked up by Houghton Mifflin and that became my first children’s book, RAIN SONG.
When ink joins with a pen, then the blank paper can say something. Rushes and reeds must be woven to be useful as a mat. If they weren't interlaced, the wind would blow them away. – Rumi –
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