Also of interest... in fresh starts and second acts
by Armistead Maupin (Harper, $28)
Armistead Maupin’s fans might not recognize the author’s younger self in this “vivid and charming” memoir, said Claude Peck in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Before he became a beloved chronicler of San Francisco’s gay culture with Tales of the City, Maupin was the son of Raleigh, N.C., segregationists and a right-winger who served in Vietnam, worked for Jesse Helms, and anxiously concealed his sexual orientation. His account of his evolution is “never less than engaging.”
by Ellen Pao (Spiegel & Grau, $28)
In this book’s telling, Silicon Valley is still a boys’ club, said Irin Carmon in The Washington Post. Ellen Pao describes experiencing a rude awakening when she started work at Kleiner Perkins, the venture capital firm she unsuccessfully sued for sexual harassment in 2012. Pao, who has since traded her tech career for activism, might have more directly grappled with the weaknesses of her suit. Still, she creates a convincing picture of a business culture where women are treated with suspicion and even hostility.
The Woman Who Smashed Codes
by Jason Fagone (Dey Street, $28)
“There’s really no way to write about Elizebeth Friedman without making it a thriller,” said Genevieve Valentine in NPR.org. The future World War II code breaker began her career working for a tycoon who paid her to find hidden messages in Shakespeare’s plays. She met her future husband on that project, and they both proved instrumental in defeating the Axis powers. The Friedmans were uneasy, though, with government surveillance, and in this book, that shadow “hangs over even the most celebratory moments.”
Why We Sleep
by Matthew Walker (Scribner, $27)
Make no mistake: Why We Sleep is “a book on a mission,” said David Kamp in The New York Times. Berkeley neuroscientist Matthew Walker has amassed evidence from two decades of research to argue that we are in the midst of, as he puts it, a “silent sleep-loss epidemic” that could shorten our lives. “Very occasionally, Walker’s zeal slips into zealotry,” but he writes compassionately about the fatigued masses. He also provides suggestions for how to get more shut-eye and reap the life-enhancing benefits.