“I have been incredibly fortunate over the course of my career to have been associated with some extraordinary dramatic and musical productions,” says Patti LuPone, “and also some rather spectacular disasters. Looking back, I can find gifts and life lessons in every one.”

With its insightful retrospective of her career-defining turns, both on Broadway and abroad, in Evita, Les Misérables, Anything Goes, Sunset Boulevard, Sweeney Todd, and Gypsy, Patti LuPone: A Memoir reveals the artist’s deeply felt passion for music and the theatre and is, in the end, the compelling and quintessential tale of an exceptional life well lived.

“Extremely touching . . . a book about growth and hope.” —The New York Times

Soon the guests will join the rangers on the deck. This takes some time, as each guest must be escorted from their room by an armed guard, lest they bump into a lion or leopard strolling down the path. It’s quite common for animals to come right into the confines of the camp. We once found a muddy set of leopard tracks on the bar counter. The guests will arrive on the deck dressed like they’re ready for an alpine experience and be stripping down within an hour, as the sun rises. That’s August in the bush for you.

Which of these has the most sway when you’re deciding whether or not to read a book: author blurbs, reviewer quotes, or what other readers are saying online?

“Do blurbs really work?” asks Kira Walton, editor at RIF.

“Sometimes they work on me. Sometimes, when I’m browsing through the shelves at my local bookstore, I’ll pick up a book (because the cover calls to me), and if I see an author I love write something really great about the book, that’ll usually push me over the edge. Sometimes I’m thrilled to discover a new voice; sometimes I realize that my favorite author and I don’t share the same reading taste!”

“My novel Bittersweet is my attempt to write the kind of books I love to read when I’m on vacation,” says Miranda Beverly-Whittemore.

“My favorite beach reads mix high and low, they contain beautiful language and juicy plots, and they almost always contain some kind of central mystery, even if it’s not a traditional ‘whodunit’; I love a ‘what happened?’ (the darker the better, as far as I’m concerned!).”

Here are five of Miranda Beverly-Whittemore’s favorite books to read in a deck chair.

“When I first got Glee,” says Lea Michele, “I bought myself a Balenciaga bag. It was the first big purchase I’d ever made.”

The star of the hit show Glee shares her experiences and insider tips on beauty, fashion, inner strength, and more in an illustrated book that’s part memoir, part how-to, and part style guide. Lea Michele knows better than anyone that it is difficult to be your best self and keep things in perspective when your to-do list is overflowing and you are faced with challenges.

In this thoughtful, tear-jerking, hilarious memoir, Jennifer Finney Boylan asks what it means to be a father, or a mother, and to what extent gender shades our experiences as parents.

A father for six years, a mother for ten, and for a time in between, neither, or both, Jennifer Finney Boylan has seen parenthood from both sides of the gender divide. When her two children were young, Boylan came out as transgender, and as Jenny transitioned from a man to a woman and from a father to a mother.

We’ve gathered questions to spark lively discussion with your book club and to deepen your own reading experience.