Seems like 2011 is rushing toward the finish line. Hard to believe we’re already staring down 2012. No: impossible, right? Well, here’s a good way to kick it off: with a dig-into-it read by or about a well-known person. Though the subjects of the books led (or are leading, anyway) very different lives, each has had impact in his or her own way. Jamie McNamara, a sales development manager on RealSimple.com’s business team and one of the hardest working girls in showbiz, is our leader next month. Check out her choices for our first book club of the New Year, and cast your vote by 11:59 p.m. ET on Sunday, December 18!
Jackie as Editor: The Literary Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, by Greg Lawrence
After Jackie O’s second husband died in 1975, she embarked on her first real job in 22 years. More than 100 colleagues and friends of hers celebrate what turned out to be a highly successful career—working with authors from Diana Vreeland to George Plimpton to Michael Jackson—as a book editor.
Ava’s Man, by Rick Bragg
The celebrated author of All Over but the Shoutin’ spins the story of his grandfather, a hard-living, hardworking man who found a way to raise seven children in Depression-era Appalachia. And though he was illiterate, he insisted his wife, Ava, read the newspaper to him every day.
Then Again, by Diane Keaton
The legendary actress paints a vivid portrait of her life: her struggles with an eating disorder, her complicated relationship with her mother (she had access to thousands of pages of her mother’s journals), and her relationships with Woody Allen, Warren Beatty, and Al Pacino, admitting she never married because of her affinity for men such as these “unattainable greats.”
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and Other Concerns), by Mindy Kaling
Interjecting hilarious and self-deprecating observations on life, love, and friendship, the comedienne chronicles her life from child of immigrants to unknown Off-Broadway playwright and performer to comedy writer and actress best known for The Office. Prepare to learn why not to peak in high school, plus proper karaoke etiquette.