Books: 677


Laundry Love: Finding Joy in a Common Chore
Patric Richardson with Karin B. Miller
Flatiron Books

“Love is…” “…a many-splendored thing?” “Blind?” For Patric Richardson, it’s “Laundry,” and he makes a convincing argument in this hymn to sun and wind-dried fabric. A transformational introduction to clothing and its care, Patric first proclaims that all clothing can be cared for by You, the wearer. Ignore all caveats, follow his directions and save money and prolong garment life. He learned at his Granny Dude’s knee, and gone on to run Laundry Camp at Mall of America. Paramount is his credo that laundry is love, preparing freshly cleaned clothes for your nearest and dearest is an ongoing way to express affection. Having taught how to remove stains, Patric adds recipes for sinfully good home-cooking you can consume in your best duds without a qualm.

Sissy: A Coming of Gender Story

Jacob Tobia
Penguin Random House

A memoir both fabulous and feisty, Jacob Tobia presents their life up to the age of… twenty-seven. Early, yes, but they’ve packed in lots of living. And thinking. And processing. As a youngster, they wanted it all: the ruffles, bows, the – well, all of it. Not easily obtainable for a feminine kid. Bullied, tormented, received pain lingers. Over-the-top, Sissy is grating, endearing, poignant. Yet Tobia perseveres. Accepted by Harvard, Princeton, and Columbia, they opted for a full ride at Duke. Duke vs Tobia makes fascinating, if exhausting, reading. There’s their high-heeled fund-raising run across the Brooklyn Bridge, meeting President Obama, the sting of “beloved token.” Coming into one’s binary gender is difficult; Tobia pulls back the curtain on those who check, “All of the above.”

Dusk Night Dawn: On Revival and Courage

Anne Lamott
Riverhead Books

Lamott’s 19th book again teaches through story, often sharing her own struggles with addiction and negative thinking. Addressing the difficulties of forgiveness, she alludes to one family member “who (I’m positive) makes Jesus sick to His stomach.” Even in negatives she offers balm; “Yet from time to time I forgive myself for being a bad forgiver. . . . At some point you realize that we all have dual citizenship here, perfect and neurotic.” She’s not unwilling to grant herself (and thus the reader) some recognition of her talents; “I’ve been over every word in this book a dozen times, and I did notice that I’ve become a pretty decent writer.” Many readers first encountered Lamott in 1994’s Bird by Bird: Some Instructions of Writing and Life.

The Barbizon: The Hotel that Set Women Free

Paulina Bren
Simon & Schuster

Opening in 1928 140 E 63rd Street , The Barbizon Hotel was women only; chic, elegant, (mostly) white, who flocked to test the New York big city waters in parent-sanctioned safety. Simple rooms, offset by roof gardens, terra-cotta balconies and a mezzanine from which to inspect dates allowed to go no further. It was the residence for Katherine (Katy) Gibbs girls during the Depression, Powers Agency models, and trend-fashioning Mademoiselle magazine’s prestigious young guest editors; Sylvia Plath, Joan Didion, and others. Beyond the bricks and mortar, Bren’s Barbizon offers a fresh, entertaining cultural overview of 20th-century women doing what they now could in the short window of independent time available. Some stayed, many returned home to marry; Grace Kelly hied to Monaco to become Princess.

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