by Nicolette Hahn Niman
“Someday, someone will make a movie” out of Nicolette Hahn Niman’s life, said Susan Steade in the San Jose Mercury News. While crusading against factory farms, the vegetarian lawyer fell in love with a cattle rancher. “Part autobiographical, part scholarly,” her book treats both farmers and livestock humanely, arguing gently for more “mindful” practices in raising pigs, cows, and poultry. “What could have been just a litany of outrages” is a meditation on the relationship between man and meat.
I’m Sorry You Feel That Way
by Diana Joseph
This essay collection gleefully rejects “the gushy bromides of motherhood,” said Steve Almond in the Los Angeles Times. Impregnated on her 21st birthday, Diana Joseph muddled through her son’s childhood with endearing bafflement, while rising “from wage slave to professor.” Joseph’s humor relies a bit too much on shocks of unexpected crassness, but I can’t think of another writer who recounts her own life “with more natural charm.”
The Unforgiving Minute
by Craig M. Mullaney
(The Penguin Press, $28.95)
This “brisk, candid” book by an Afghanistan war veteran and Rhodes scholar contrasts lessons learned “before and after” battle, said Janet Maslin in The New York Times. Former Army Capt. Craig Mullaney weaves references to Jane Austen and Rudyard Kipling into his account of Ranger School training and studying at Oxford. But what “gives this memoir its impact” is his honest account of commanding troops. In battle, he sees the limits of his learning, but eventually “learns from his mistakes.”
The Mighty Queens of Freeville
by Amy Dickinson
The advice columnist who replaced Ann Landers faced her own life crises, said Kathe Connair in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. With a “self-deprecating but clear-eyed tone,” Amy Dickinson describes how her mother and aunts helped her deal with an unfaithful husband, endure online dating, and raise a daughter. If only she could give up the pretense of having all the answers, and for once “really exult in her achievements or wallow in her disappointments.”
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