The Editor

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“A surprising, granular, luminous, and path-breaking biography.” —Edward Hirsch, critic and author of How to Read a Poem

Legendary editor Judith Jones, the woman behind some of the most important authors of the 20th century—including Julia Child, Anne Frank, Edna Lewis, John Updike, and Sylvia Plath—finally gets her due in this intimate biography.

When twenty-five-year-old Judith Jones began working as a secretary at Doubleday’s Paris office in 1949, she spent most of her time wading through manuscripts in the slush pile and passing on projects—until one day, a book caught her eye. She read it in one sitting, then begged her boss to consider publishing it. A year later, Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl became a bestseller. It was the start of a culture-defining career in publishing.

During her more than fifty years as an editor at Knopf, Jones nurtured the careers of literary icons such as Sylvia Plath, Anne Tyler, and John Updike, and helped launched new genres and trends in literature. At the forefront of the cookbook revolution, she published the who’s who of food writing: Edna Lewis, M.F.K. Fisher, Claudia Roden, Madhur Jaffrey, James Beard, and, most famously, Julia Child. Through her quiet and tenacious work behind the scenes, Jones helped turn these authors into household names, changing cultural mores and expectations along the way.

Judith’s work spanned decades of America’s most dramatic cultural change—from the end of World War II through the Cold War, from the civil rights movement to the fight for women’s equality—and the books she published acted as tools of quiet resistance. Now, her astonishing career is explored for the first time. Based on exclusive interviews, never-before-seen personal papers, and years of research, The Editor tells the riveting behind-the-scenes narrative of how stories are made, finally bringing to light the audacious life of one of our most influential tastemakers.

Sara B. Franklin is a writer, teacher, and oral historian. She received a 2020–2021 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Public Scholars grant for her research on Judith Jones, and teaches courses on food, writing, embodied culture, and oral history at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. She is the author of The Editor, the editor of Edna Lewis, and coauthor of The Phoenicia Diner Cookbook. She holds a PhD in Food Studies from NYU and studied documentary storytelling at both the Duke Center for Documentary Studies and the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies. She lives with her children in Kingston, New York. Find out more at SaraBFranklin.com.

The Widow’s Guide to Dead Bastards

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A widow’s life is turned upside down when she uncovers the truth about her late husband in this lyrical, witty, and deeply moving memoir of tragedy and betrayal.

In the midst of mourning her husband’s sudden death, writer Jessica Waite discovered shocking secrets that undermined everything she thought she knew about the man she’d loved and trusted. From uncovered affairs to drug use and a pornography addiction, Waite was overwhelmed reconciling this devastating information with her new reality as a widowed single mom. Then, to further complicate matters, strange, inexplicable coincidences forced her to consider whether her husband was reaching back from beyond the grave.

With her signature candor and unflinching honesty, Waite details her tumultuous love story and the pain of adjusting to the new normal she built for herself and her son. A riveting, difficult, and surprisingly beautiful story, The Widow’s Guide to Dead Bastards is also a lyrical exploration of grief, mental health, single parenthood, and betrayal that demonstrates that the most moving love stories aren’t perfect—they’re flawed and poignantly real.

Jessica Waite never realized she was a latchkey kid because she lived so close to her smalltown library. Now, she leads people to heal through writing and mentors incarcerated writers through the Hero’s Journey Prison Writing Project. She’s an award-winning essayist who lives in Calgary, Alberta on Treaty 7 territory, in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies. You can find her at JessicaWaite.work.

Making a Scene

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From influential and iconic star Constance Wu, a powerful and poignant memoir-in-essays full of funny and intimate observations that will resonate with readers everywhere.

Growing up in the friendly suburbs of Richmond, Virginia, Constance Wu thought that girls were supposed to be reserved, graceful, and polite.  Everyone around her praised ladylike behaviour while seeming to disapprove of the louder, rougher girls – the kind of girls who made scenes. And while she spent most of her childhood suppressing her bold, emotional nature, Constance found an early outlet in local community theatre.  The stage was the one place where big feelings were okay – were good, even.  As she continued to reconcile her personality with the expectations of daily life, acting became more than a hobby. It was her refuge, her touchstone, and eventually her vocation.  She went to New York to study classical theatre and pursue an acting career while waiting tables, dating, despairing, and embracing city life.  In 2015, she was cast in the ground-breaking TV sitcom Fresh Off the Boat, a touching, funny story about an Asian American family in the ’90s. Another historic role followed when she starred in the smash hit film Crazy Rich Asians, which featured an entirely Asian cast. These two pivotal moments in Hollywood history opened up a new chapter for Constance, who continues to explore the complexities of Asian American representation.
Through raw, hilarious, and relatable stories, Constance fearlessly shares her experiences of growing up in suburban Virginia, scraping by as a struggling actress, falling in love again and again, confronting her identity and influence, and navigating the pressures and pleasures of existing in today’s world.

Constance Wu is the Golden Globe Award–nominated star of Crazy Rich Asians and Hustlers. Her breakthrough role was starring as Jessica Huang in the television comedy Fresh Off the Boat (2015–2020). She has been nominated for the Screen Actors Guild award, two Television Critics Association awards, and four Critics Choice awards. Time has honored her as one of the 100 Most Influential People of the Year. She lives on the east side of Los Angeles with her partner, Ryan Kattner, their daughter, and their pet bunny rabbit, Lida-Rose.

Entrances and Exits

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The man who brought the kavorka to the Seinfeld show through one of the most remarkable and beloved television characters ever invented, Kramer, shares the extraordinary life of a comedy genius—the way he came into himself as an artist, the ups and downs as a human being, the road he has traveled in search of understanding.

“The hair, so essential, symbolizes the irrational that was and is and always will be the underlying feature not only of Kramer but of comedy itself. This seemingly senseless spirit has been coursing through me since childhood. I’ve been under its almighty influence since the day I came into this world. I felt it all within myself, especially the physical comedy, the body movements, so freakish and undignified, where I bumped into things, knocked stuff down, messed up situations, and often ended up on my ass.

“This book is a hymn to the irrational, the senseless spirit that breaks the whole into pieces, a reflection on the seemingly absurd difficulties that intrude upon us all. It’s Harpo Marx turning us about, shaking up my plans, throwing me for a loop. Upset and turmoil is with us all the time. It’s at the basis of comedy. It’s the pratfall we all take. It’s the unavoidable mistake we didn’t expect. It’s everywhere I go. It’s in the way that I am, both light and dark, good and not-so-good. It’s my life.”

—Michael Richards, from Entrances and Exits

Michael Richards is a three-time Emmy Award–winning actor best known for playing Cosmo Kramer on the classic TV series Seinfeld, which continues to stream around the world more than twenty-five years after filming its final episode. He has starred in numerous movies, TV shows, and theater productions. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and son.

Kissing Girls on Shabbat

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A moving coming-of-age memoir in the vein of Unorthodox and Educated, about one young woman’s desperate attempt to protect her children and family while also embracing her queer identity in a controlling Hasidic community.

Growing up in the Hasidic community of Brooklyn’s Borough Park, Sara Glass knew one painful truth: what was expected of her and what she desperately wanted were impossibly opposed. Tormented by her attraction to women and trapped in a loveless arranged marriage, she found herself unable to conform to her religious upbringing and soon, she made the difficult decision to walk away from the world she knew.

Sara’s journey to self-acceptance began with the challenging battle for a divorce and custody of her children, an act that left her on the verge of estrangement from her family and community. Controlled by the fear of losing custody of her two children, she forced herself to remain loyal to the compulsory heteronormativity baked into Hasidic Judaism and married again. But after suffering profound loss and a shocking sexual assault, Sara decided to finally be completely true to herself.

Kissing Girls on Shabbat is not only a love letter to Glass’s children, herself, and her family—it is an unflinching window into the world of ultra-conservative Orthodox Jewish communities and an inspiring celebration of learning to love yourself.

Sara Glass, PhD, LCSW, is a therapist, writer, and speaker who helps members of the queer community and individuals who have survived trauma to live bold, honest, and proud lives. She lives in Manhattan, New York. Find out more at DrSaraGlass.com.