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Books

Donna Has Left the Building

From the beloved, New York Times-bestselling author of Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress, comes a hilarious, timely, and big-hearted new novel about rebuilding life in the face of disaster.

Forty-five-year-old Donna Koczynski is an ex-punk rocker, a recovering alcoholic, and the mother of two teenagers whose suburban existence detonates when she comes home early from a sales conference in Las Vegas to the surprise of a lifetime. As her world implodes, she sets off on an epic road trip to reclaim everything she believes she’s sacrificed since her wild youth: Great friendship, passionate love, and her art. But as she careens across the U.S. from Detroit to New York to Memphis to Nashville, nothing turns out as she imagines. Ultimately, she finds herself resurrected on the other side of the globe, on a remote island embroiled in a crisis far bigger than her own.
 
Irresistibly funny, whip-smart, and surprisingly moving, DONNA HAS LEFT THE BUILDING spins an unforgettable tale about what it means to be brave — and to truly love — in a tumultuous world.

Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street

“An outstanding fiction debut…Gilman’s numerous strengths are showcased, such as character-driven narrative, a ready sense of wit, and a rich historical canvas” — Publishers Weekly

In 1913, a small child named Malka Treynovsky flees Russia for New York with her family –only to be crippled and abandoned on the  streets of the Lower East Side as soon as she arrives.
Taken in by a tough-loving Italian ices peddler, Malka  is determined to survive through cunning and inventiveness, quietly absorbing the secrets of his trade. When she falls in love with Albert, an illiterate radical, they set off together across America in an ice cream truck to seek their fortune.  Slowly, Malka transforms herself  into Lillian Dunkle, whom President Eisenhower christens “The Ice Cream Queen of America” — doyenne of an empire of ice cream franchises and a celebrated TV personality.
Spanning seventy years, Lillian Dunkle’s rise is inextricably linked to the course of American history itself — from Prohibition, to World War II, to the disco days of Studio 54. Yet she is nothing like the whimsical, motherly “ice cream lady” she portrays in the media. Conniving,irreverent, and profane,  Lillian is an indomitable businesswoman — a complex, modern-dayanti-hero — who prefers a good stiff drink to a sundae. And when her past starts catching up with her, her world implodes spectacularly.

Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven

An Oprah Book Club recommendation & “Best Books of 2009” — Modern Tonic

In 1986, Gilman and a friend  planned an ambitious trek across the globe starting in the People’s Republic of China. At that point, China had only just opened to independent backpackers. Armed with the collected works of Nietzsche and Linda Goodman’s Love Signs, the two young women plunged  into the dusty streets of Shanghai. Unsurprisingly, they quickly found themselves in over their heads — hungry, disoriented, stripped of everything familiar, under constant government surveillance, and ensnared in rural China. What began as a journey full of humor, eroticism and enlightenment grew sinister — becoming a real-life international thriller that changed them forever.

Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven is a powerful, inspiring story for our times –a tale of being thoroughly humbled and helpless, yet surviving. It is also a flat-out page turner told with Gilman’s trademark compassion, lyricism, and wit.

HYPOCRITE IN A POUFFY WHITE DRESS

“A deliriously, levitatingly funny memoir” — Kirkus Reviews

Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress is a hilarious, nakedly honest memoir about growing up groovy and clueless in New York City. This instant New York Times’ Bestseller documents Gilman’s spectacularly idiotic and unique adventures in growing up  — being an uncool white kid in a tough Puerto Rican neighborhood, a teenager throwing herself at a rock star, an ambitious cub reporter discovering that there’s more to the world than her own navel, and a feminist bride having a melt-down in David’s Bridal Salon. These true stories are so engaging, they read like the very best fiction. At turns heartbreaking, insightful, and screamingly funny, “Hypocrite” uniquely chronicles a generation. A book that readers instantly want to read aloud to their friends.

KISS MY TIARA

“Sure, beauty has the power to excite men. But so does a box of donuts.”

Gilman’s debut, the bestselling Kiss My Tiara:How to Rule the World as a SmartMouth Goddess is a guide to power and attitude for a new generation, serving up an intelligent alternative to negative messages women get every day from magazines, television, and relatives. Its smart rules for smart women (of all cultures, sexualities, and sizes) combine uncommon wisdom, wit, and practical advice on everything from looks (“Beauty Tips from Mental Institutions”) to politics (“Onward, Vixen Soldiers”). How to turn shopping into a power tool, out-harass harassers, and apply man-catching techniques to salary negotiations — it’s all here.

A must-read for anyone who wants to be mistress of her universe.