Get Rec’d with Amanda – Volume 67


This one is heavy on the nonfiction. We have a memoir, some true crime, and food history. I’ve also thrown in an upcoming speculative novel with some truly amazing writing.

Get any good book recommendations lately? Tell me all about them in the comments!

  • Down with the System

    As a metalhead and someone who admires Serj Tankian’s activism, I highly recommend this memoir, especially to those who have similar interests.

    THE *INSTANT* NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

    USA TODAY BESTSELLER

    An exhilarating, thoughtful, and beautifully written memoir by musician, songwriter, and lead singer-lyricist of Grammy award-winning metal band, System Of A Down, Serj Tankian. 

    Serj Tankian will be the first to admit that his band, System Of A Down, was “unlikely a chart-topper as had ever existed in modern music history: a band of Armenian-Americans playing a practically unclassifiable clash of wildly aggressive metal riffs, unconventional tempo-twisting rhythms, and Armenian folk melodies, with me alternately growling, screaming, and crooning lyrics that could pivot from avant-garde silliness to raging socio-political rants in the space of a single line.” After all, as Serj concedes, “it’s not easy listening.”

    Even so, there’s no doubt that System’s music had struck a chord with millions of listeners across the globe ever since they burst on the scene in the mid-1990s. With nearly 40 million album sales, three albums topping the Billboard charts, and a devoted legion of fans, the band dominated the alt-rock and metal scenes just as the world hurtled into a new millennium, redefining the very idea of what rockstars could and couldn’t talk about, could and couldn’t do, could and couldn’t represent.

    In DOWN WITH THE SYSTEM, Serj presents readers with a memoir that is far more than just a rock ‘n’ roll fable. It’s an immigrant’s tale, it’s an activist’s awakening, and it’s a spiritual journey from darkness toward light. And all of this comes down to the fact that Serj himself has had the chance to live an extraordinary life—thanks to a combination of luck, circumstance, struggle, talent, and spiritual awakening. Born to Armenian parents in Beirut, Serj grows up hearing bombs drop outside his childhood home during the country’s civil war, before moving to Los Angeles at the age of seven. As a young man, he is immersed in the SoCal community of “Little Armenia,” learning more and more about the brutal genocide faced by his ancestors while helping his parents adapt to the constraints and contradictions of the American Dream. Then, during a pivotal drive home from an LSAT class, Serj decides to turn away from a promising future in business and law to make music instead—a decision that leads him to touring five continents as the lead singer of a hugely popular rock band, hitting number #1 on the Billboard album charts the morning of 9/11, and then having the hit single from the same album banned from radio two days later. In the years that follow, his uniquely singular story continues, as he evades glass bottles hurled at a cancelled show by angry Slayer fans, teams up with Tom Morello to push social justice causes on unsuspecting metalheads, argues with LAPD officers over the best way to quell rioting fans, and defines new sounds and singing tactics with Rick Rubin.

    Braiding together Serj’s thought-provoking insight with heartfelt and poetic prose, DOWN WITH THE SYSTEM retraces Serj’s remarkable and unlikely journey, and explores what it’s taught him—about music, about art, about activism, and about himself. It’s an unforgettable ride that will leave you breathless—and an absolute delight for new fans and old ones alike.

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  • The Impostor Heiress

    The Impostor Heiress by Annie Reed

    I feel like every time we do Get Rec’d, I have another “true crime” recommendation with a focus on cons and heists!

    Before there was Anna Delvey or Elizabeth Holmes, there was Cassie Chadwick. The first woman–using criminal cunning, some confidence, and a bit of charm—to bring down a federal agent, a bank, and a city’s worth of men. Paroled felon. Rich doctor’s wife. Famous clairvoyant. The best con artists know how to reinvent themselves, time and time again. Cassie Chadwick, one of history’s most successful con artists, was a master of the trade. Over the course of fifteen years, she swept from town to town, assuming new identities and running new swindles at each railroad stop. In the dusk of the Gilded Age, years after the robber barons had amassed their fortunes, she was amassing her own.

    Then came the Carnegie con. Using her wits and a series of forged documents, Cassie convinced prominent men from Cleveland to New York City that she was Andrew Carnegie’s illegitimate daughter. Blinded by the name of the most powerful man in the world, businessmen lined up to loan her hundreds of thousands of dollars at a time. The con made her impossibly rich. The crash shattered banks and bankers alike. Her sensational trial drew the eyes of a nation that couldn’t get enough of the woman, who newspapers called the Queen of Swindlers, the Duchess of Diamonds, the High Priestess of Fraudulent Finance. Indeed, when Charles Ponzi’s infamous scheme collapsed in 1920, reporters scoffed that “Ponzi is a piker compared to Cassie.”

    Interspersing Cassie’s crimes with stories of an unsuspecting Andrew Carnegie, author Annie Reed spins an enthralling, page turning tale of true crime. Could the rumors be true? Can Cassie’s money last? Will she escape the electric chair?

    Told with a gossip columnists’ charm and wit, THE IMPOSTER HEIRESS, is a rollicky trickster’s tale that will appeal to history buffs and true crime aficionados alike to bring one of the greatest swindlers of all time back into the public eye.

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  • Rakesfall

    Rakesfall by Vajra Chandrasekera

    Though this is described as sci-fi, I feel like it leans more toward the speculative fiction end of the spectrum rather than a space opera. The writing is beautiful and it’s a book you can get lost in.

    Rakesfall is a groundbreaking, standalone science fiction epic about two souls bound together from here until the ends of time, from the author of The Saint of Bright Doors.

    Some stories take more than one lifetime to tell. There are wrongs that echo through the ages, friendships that outpace the claws of death, loves that leave their mark on civilization, and promises that nothing can break. This is one such story.

    Annelid and Leveret met after the war, but before the peace. They found each other in a torn-up nation, peering through propaganda to grasp a deeper truth. And in a demon-haunted wood, another act of violence linked them and propelled their souls on a journey throughout the ages. No world can hold them, no life can bind them, and they’ll never leave each other behind. But their journey will not be easy. In every lifetime, oppressors narrow the walls of possibility, shaping reality to fit their own needs. And behind the walls of history, the witches of the red web swear that every throne will fall.

    Tracing two souls through endless lifetimes, Rakesfall is a virtuosic exploration of what stories can be. As Annelid and Leveret reincarnate ever deeper into the future, they will chase the edge of human possibility, in a dark science fiction epic unlike anything you’ve read before.

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  • Women in the Kitchen

    Women in the Kitchen by Anne Willan

    If you love to nerd out on food history and food writing, check this one out! (And as of compiling this post, it was on sale digitally for $1.99!)

    Culinary historian Anne Willan “has melded her passions for culinary history, writing, and teaching into her fascinating new book” (Chicago Tribune) that traces the origins of American cooking through profiles of twelve influential women—from Hannah Woolley in the mid-1600s to Fannie Farmer, Julia Child, and Alice Waters—whose recipes and ideas changed the way we eat.

    Anne Willan, multi-award-winning culinary historian, cookbook writer, teacher, and founder of La Varenne Cooking School in Paris, explores the lives and work of women cookbook authors whose essential books have defined cooking over the past three hundred years. Beginning with the first published cookbook by Hannah Woolley in 1661 to the early colonial days to the transformative popular works by Fannie Farmer, Irma Rombauer, Julia Child, Edna Lewis, Marcella Hazan, and up to Alice Waters working today.

    Willan offers a brief biography of each influential woman, highlighting her key contributions, seminal books, and representative dishes. The book features fifty original recipes—as well as updated versions Willan has tested and modernized for the contemporary kitchen.

    Women in the Kitchen is an engaging narrative that seamlessly moves through the centuries to help readers understand the ways cookbook authors inspire one another, that they in part owe their places in history to those who came before them, and how they forever change the culinary landscape. This “informative and inspiring book is a reminder that the love of delicious food and the care and preparation that goes into it can create a common bond” (Booklist).

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