Read It Forward

“I learned about my own mind and how I differ from most other people by reading Dr. Tony Attwood’s Asperger’s Syndrome. His explanations of how people on the autism spectrum see the world transformed my life as much as anything before or since,” explains John Robison, author of Be Different. “A few years after that, my brother Augusten [Burroughs] took up the book writing trade. After growing up in an abusive and dysfunctional home, I had worked hard to conceal the less savory aspects of my youth. With no warning, my brother put it all out there for the world to see, and I was terrified. Would I have any friends left after they read his account of our childhood?”

RIFers in book groups! Signs of Life is a terrific book group book, which is why it’s a selection of the Ladies Home Journal Book Club. Don’t miss the bonus material for Signs of Life that will help make your book group discussion lively and rewarding: a letter from author Natalie Taylor and discussion questions for Signs of Life. Were you a lucky winner of our Read It First Signs of Life giveaway? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment with your RIFer Reader Review. If we feature your review here on, we’ll send you another fabulous book!

A family is torn apart by fierce belief and private longing in this unprecedented journey deep inside the most insular Hasidic sect, the Satmar. Sweeping from the Central European countryside just before World War II to Paris to contemporary Williamsburg, Brooklyn, I Am Forbidden brings to life four generations of one Satmar family. A beautifully crafted, emotionally gripping story of what happens when unwavering love, unyielding law, and centuries of tradition collide, I Am Forbidden announces the arrival of an extraordinarily gifted new voice and opens a startling window on a world long closed to most of us, until now.

“When it comes to understanding themselves, the paths they choose, how they are driven, where they are going and why, men don’t know what they don’t know about any of it,” says Joe Kissack, author of The Fourth Fisherman. “Even though he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know, you can. If you have the desire, you can choose the option to help him figure some of this out now, instead of the mandatory sentence of helping him figure it out in the wake of destruction of two little words: I do. You do this by utilizing what I like to call Operation Red Flag (ORF) and it is a simple two-stage plan.”

In 1917, Virginia and Leonard Woolf started The Hogarth Press from their home, armed only with a handpress and a determination to publish the newest, most exciting writing. Hogarth brought the world authors who shaped the culture of the past 100 years: Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot, Katherine Mansfield, E.M. Forster, Christopher Isherwood, Sigmund Freud, Gertrude Stein, Vita Sackville-West, to name a few. This year, what began in London in 1917 finds a new life in New York and Hogarth’s goals are no less lofty: bring readers the authors who will shape the culture of the next 100 years: Anouk Markovits, Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya, Stephanie Reents, Jay Caspian-Kang, Vincent Lam, Shani Boianjiu, Lawrence Osborne, Ben Masters.

“Try this,” recommends Patricia Ellis Herr, author of Up, “next time you and your child have a warm day to spend together, go for a walk, and let her decide on the destination, but have a ‘no carrying’ rule; this is a particularly empowering approach. Right away, your child knows that she has the power to decide where the two of you are going, and that she will be responsible for getting there on her own two feet. If her desired destination seems unrealistic, don’t worry, and don’t naysay. Without judgment or negative assumptions, let her try.”