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THE BUCKNOLL COTTAGE CHRONICLES

SEX AND THE CITY MEETS UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN, BUT NO SEX, NO CITY, AND IN THE POCONOS

A laid-back, humorous remembrance of a cottage gone by.

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A New Yorker with a “hankering” for a country cottage buys a five-bedroom house in Pennsylvania on the advice of friends in Lowengard’s memoir.

The hankering that the author had in 2013 had specifications: The house had to be less than a two-hour drive from Bloomingdale’s in Manhattan, small enough to be cleaned with a particular Dyson vacuum cleaner without unplugging, and within short walking distance of tennis courts. The house at “Bucknoll Hills” was much larger than anticipated, but she purchased and moved into it in December. It needed significant maintenance, but she was pleased to have friends and family visit there. However, she eventually wrote up a “contract” outlining house rules, such as “As you enter, please note the gleaming wood floors throughout the cottage….It takes six years for the finish to cure, so please remove your soccer cleats and stilettos before you walk in the door.” The new Bucknoll Hills resident started a yoga class, despite disliking yoga, and learned how to maintain a fireplace. The book’s subtitle references Sex and the City, and many readers will find this fitting, as the prose ably mimics the voice of the fictional character Carrie Bradshaw with a tone that’s jokingly self-seeking, sarcastic, and sometimes punning; the latter is effectively shown in a chapter that’s dedicated to the great abundance of ticks in the region surrounding the cottage: “The uptick in ticks has divided Bucknollers into two schools, the Franticks, and the Apatheticks.” It’s unclear whether the book is intended to inform or entertain, although the latter seems most likely; according to an author’s note, the names of places and people have been changed. Lowengard also offers an account of a night at a Poconos rodeo, a discussion of bumper stickers, and a survey of houseguest games. Also of note is the fact that the book was originally published as a series of “newsletter columns,” or blog posts, and it straightforwardly retains the casual feel of a blog in printed form.

A laid-back, humorous remembrance of a cottage gone by.

Pub Date: June 1, 2023

ISBN: 9798988189008

Page Count: 147

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2023

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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TANQUERAY

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 27, 2022

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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LOVE, PAMELA

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

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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. 5, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023

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