An approachable, enjoyable, and enlightening introduction for anyone who wants to learn more about wine.


A sommelier and educator details her journey from wine enthusiast to expert in this debut memoir.

In the midst of her final year as an advertising student at the University of Florida, Joseph found herself compelled to throw caution to the wind, move across the country to Napa Valley, and try against all odds to devote her life to a newfound fascination with wine. Despite no prior training, the author secured an entry-level position at the prestigious Inglenook Vineyard and threw herself into learning everything she could about wine, its creation, and its ability to bring people together. With gracious optimism and unaffected frankness, Joseph recalls her attempts to prove herself to her co-workers, struggling with repeated embarrassments and humbling revelations of her own ignorance, and her determination to keep improving. Eventually, the nightly studies, constant wine tastings, and tenacious advances at work led the author to pursue her certification as a sommelier, a nerve-wracking test that nearly half of applicants fail annually. But even after achieving what a year before she thought was impossible, Joseph deftly describes the restless desire to grow that spurred her on her journey in the first place. In the ensuing years, the author would relocate to New York City, endure menial work in the restaurant industry, make a splash on the wine scene, and ultimately commit to sharing her passion and expertise with others. Interspersed throughout her informative and engaging memoir are sections demystifying the process of cultivating and producing wine as well as covering the practices that have long labeled wine experts as elitist. Without any air of pretension, Joseph invites readers to consider the social and cultural importance of wine as well as the nuances of savoring it that anyone with a little time and research can master. “The most poignant point I can make is it doesn’t matter where you begin when you study wine,” asserts the author. “The most helpful thing you can do for yourself is to simply begin.”

An approachable, enjoyable, and enlightening introduction for anyone who wants to learn more about wine.

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-950906-94-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Indigo River Publishing

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021

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A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

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A former New York City dancer reflects on her zesty heyday in the 1970s.

Discovered on a Manhattan street in 2020 and introduced on Stanton’s Humans of New York Instagram page, Johnson, then 76, shares her dynamic history as a “fiercely independent” Black burlesque dancer who used the stage name Tanqueray and became a celebrated fixture in midtown adult theaters. “I was the only black girl making white girl money,” she boasts, telling a vibrant story about sex and struggle in a bygone era. Frank and unapologetic, Johnson vividly captures aspects of her former life as a stage seductress shimmying to blues tracks during 18-minute sets or sewing lingerie for plus-sized dancers. Though her work was far from the Broadway shows she dreamed about, it eventually became all about the nightly hustle to simply survive. Her anecdotes are humorous, heartfelt, and supremely captivating, recounted with the passion of a true survivor and the acerbic wit of a weathered, street-wise New Yorker. She shares stories of growing up in an abusive household in Albany in the 1940s, a teenage pregnancy, and prison time for robbery as nonchalantly as she recalls selling rhinestone G-strings to prostitutes to make them sparkle in the headlights of passing cars. Complemented by an array of revealing personal photographs, the narrative alternates between heartfelt nostalgia about the seedier side of Manhattan’s go-go scene and funny quips about her unconventional stage performances. Encounters with a variety of hardworking dancers, drag queens, and pimps, plus an account of the complexities of a first love with a drug-addled hustler, fill out the memoir with personality and candor. With a narrative assist from Stanton, the result is a consistently titillating and often moving story of human struggle as well as an insider glimpse into the days when Times Square was considered the Big Apple’s gloriously unpolished underbelly. The book also includes Yee’s lush watercolor illustrations.

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-27827-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2022

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A juicy story with some truly crazy moments, yet Anderson's good heart shines through.


The iconic model tells the story of her eventful life.

According to the acknowledgments, this memoir started as "a fifty-page poem and then grew into hundreds of pages of…more poetry." Readers will be glad that Anderson eventually turned to writing prose, since the well-told anecdotes and memorable character sketches are what make it a page-turner. The poetry (more accurately described as italicized notes-to-self with line breaks) remains strewn liberally through the pages, often summarizing the takeaway or the emotional impact of the events described: "I was / and still am / an exceptionally / easy target. / And, / I'm proud of that." This way of expressing herself is part of who she is, formed partly by her passion for Anaïs Nin and other writers; she is a serious maven of literature and the arts. The narrative gets off to a good start with Anderson’s nostalgic memories of her childhood in coastal Vancouver, raised by very young, very wild, and not very competent parents. Here and throughout the book, the author displays a remarkable lack of anger. She has faced abuse and mistreatment of many kinds over the decades, but she touches on the most appalling passages lightly—though not so lightly you don't feel the torment of the media attention on the events leading up to her divorce from Tommy Lee. Her trip to the pages of Playboy, which involved an escape from a violent fiance and sneaking across the border, is one of many jaw-dropping stories. In one interesting passage, Julian Assange's mother counsels Anderson to desexualize her image in order to be taken more seriously as an activist. She decided that “it was too late to turn back now”—that sexy is an inalienable part of who she is. Throughout her account of this kooky, messed-up, enviable, and often thrilling life, her humility (her sons "are true miracles, considering the gene pool") never fails her.

A juicy story with some truly crazy moments, yet Anderson's good heart shines through.

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2023

ISBN: 9780063226562

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023

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