Country-Pop superstar Twain lets it all hang out in this moving and revealing autobiography. Having endured a childhood of poverty and ill treatment at the hands of her father, Twain turned to music at an early age. She began performing at eight, often playing the show in bars, and appeared on Canadian television at 11. But, as much as her mother pushed her toward music, her father paid the bills, and, yes, Twain sang (for tips), but also worked on her father's reforestation crew. When her parents were killed in a car crash (an event predicted by a palm reader and foreseen in a dream), Twain, at 22, supported her siblings by singing six nights a week at a golf resort. Success in
My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business by Dick Van Dyke
A song and dance man of the first order looks back.
Van Dyke breezily recounts his adventures as a straight-down-the-middle "square" and family man navigating the vicissitudes of show business in this slight memoir, which highlights the strengths and pitfalls of the performer's signature amiability. The author is unfailingly pleasant company on the page, and his low-stakes anecdotes and fond remembrances go down easily. But his unwillingness or inability to confront the uglier aspects of life (and particularly life in
Perfectly pleasant, mildly diverting and forgettable—kind of like an episode of Diagnosis: Murder.
A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama's Mother by Janny Scott
The mother of a path-breaking politician was a quiet revolutionary in her own right, according to this vibrant biography. Former New York Times reporter Scott paints Stanley Ann Dunham (1942-1995) as a study in unconventionality: a white woman who entered an inter-racial marriage at a time when they were illegal in many states; bore a son at 18; became an expatriate who thrived in the alien culture of