Her Last Death begins as the phone rings early one morning in the Montana house where Susanna Sonnenberg lives with her husband and two young sons. Her aunt is calling to tell Susanna her mother is in a coma after a car accident. She might not live. Any daughter would rush the thousands of miles to her mother's bedside. But Susanna cannot bring herself to go. Her courageous memoir explains why. Glamorous, charismatic and a compulsive liar, Susanna's mother seduced everyone who entered her orbit. With outrageous behavior and judgment tinged by drug use, she taught her child the art of sex and the benefits of lying. Susanna struggled to break out of this compelling world, determined, as many daughters are, not to become her mother. Sonnenberg mines tender and startling memories as she writes of her fierce resolve to forge her independence, to become a woman capable of trust and to be a good mother to her own children. Her Last Death is riveting, disarming and searingly beautiful.The Translator: A Tribesman's Memoir of Darfur, Daoud Hari
"I am the translator who has taken journalists into dangerous Darfur. It is my intention now to take you there in this book, if you have the courage to come with me." The young life of Daoud Hari-his friends call him David — has been one of bravery and mesmerizing adventure. He is a living witness to the brutal genocide under way in Darfur. The Translator is a suspenseful, harrowing, and deeply moving memoir of how one person has made a difference in the world — an on-the-ground account of one of the biggest stories of our time. Using his high school knowledge of languages as his weapon — while others around him were taking up arms — Daoud Hari has helped inform the world about Darfur.
Have You Found Her, Janice Erlbaum
Twenty years after she lived at a homeless shelter for teens, Erlbaum went back to volunteer. There she met Sam, a 19-year-old junkie savant who'd been surviving alone on the streets since she was 12. Written with startling candor, this is the story of one woman's quest to save a girl's life.
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The Soloist: A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Power of Music, Steve Lopez
When Steve Lopez saw Nathaniel Ayers playing his heart out on a two-string violin on Los Angeles' skid row, he found it impossible to walk away. More than thirty years earlier, Ayers had been a promising classical bass student at Juilliardambitious, charming, and also one of the few African-Americansuntil he gradually lost his ability to function, overcome by schizophrenia. When Lopez finds him, Ayers is homeless, paranoid, and deeply troubled, but glimmers of that brilliance are still there. Over time, Steve Lopez and Nathaniel Ayers form a bond, and Lopez imagines that he might be able to change Ayers's life. Lopez collects donated violins, a cello, even a stand-up bass and a piano; he takes Ayers to Walt Disney Concert Hall and helps him move indoors. For each triumph, there is a crashing disappointment, yet neither man gives up. In the process of trying to save Ayers, Lopez finds that his own life is changing, and his sense of what one man can accomplish in the lives of others begins to expand in new ways.