Season to Taste: How I Lost My Sense of Smell and Found My Way by Molly Birnbaum '05 (Ecco). Aspiring chef Birnbaum was hit by a car while out running, and the impact destroyed her olfactory sense and sidelined her career. Without smell she couldn't taste, and without taste she couldn't cook. The loss left her angry and depressed. A former BAM intern, she turned to journalism, investigating the science of smell and incorporating it into this lyrical story of her own recovery.
Chike and the River by Chinua Achebe (Anchor). When eleven-year-old Chike travels to live with his uncle in the city, his mother warns him to stay away from the River Niger. Professor of Africana Studies Achebe wrote this moving story of a boy facing down danger in the 1960s, when the novelist couldn't find books with African characters for his young daughter to read. With charming woodcut illustrations by Edel Rodriguez, it's being published in the United States for the first time this August.
Made for You and Me: Going West, Going Broke, Finding Home by Caitlin Shetterly '97 (Voice). NPR listeners will recognize Shetterly's "Recession Diaries" in this memoir about a couple driving from Maine to Los Angeles just in time for the economic collapse. Shetterly, her husband, cat, and dog, move from one sketchy apartment to the next as they vainly look for work. The cat dies. She discovers she's pregnant. Defeated, they drive back to Maine, where her mother takes them in, the baby thrives, and the financial clouds finally admit a ray or two of sun.