Meredith Baxter

The actress and author on three true stories about survival in the face of adversity.



Best known for her role as hippie mom Elyse Keaton on the 80s sitcom Family Ties, Meredith Baxter has enjoyed a 40-year career in show business. Her new memoir, Untied, chronicles, with unflinching candor and surprising wit, her passage through personal challenges (domestic abuse, divorce, alcoholism) into a renewed sense of who she is and an acceptance of life on her terms. Here she shares three books that have inspired her foray into self-examination.


Books by Meredith Baxter



Driving with Dead People: A Memoir

By Monica Holloway


"This is a finely written story about growing up in a family that, at the outset, seems merely amusing and eccentric in its dysfunction. The darkness to come is telegraphed through Holloway's macabre fascination with a funeral home and the sad irresponsibility of her parents. Her light tone often belies appalling familial betrayals in this gripping narrative that reads just like fiction."



Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

By Laura Hillenbrand


"This is the captivating, true story of Louis Zamperini, who went from boyhood delinquent to Olympic runner to heroic World War II Army Air Corps pilot. He survives the unimaginable: a crash landing that leaves him adrift at sea; multiple captures by the Japanese; internment in various prison camps; and years of inhuman torture, degradation, and humiliation while imprisoned. Just as she did in Seabiscuit: An American Legend, Hillenbrand writes with a heart-pounding urgency about subjects that initially interested me little, but bound me to her tale by the sheer force and immediacy of her words. Riveting!"




By Mary Karr


"This is the story of Mary Karr's journey into alcoholism and onto sobriety, but happiness and serenity elude her as she confronts the wreckage of her past, her alcoholic mother, her own desire to be a loving mother, and her commitment to living a life of rigorous honesty. Karr's writing has an appealing lack of sentimentality as she fearlessly depicts conflicts in her spiritual life and as a writer. This is a lovely, moving book."

April 23: " 'A job,' the woman repeated again, smiling, as if I hadn't heard her. 'Would you like one?' "

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysely Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.

The Promise of Hope

Killed last year in the infamous terror attack at Nairobi's Westgate mall, Kofi Awoonor was a national treasure in his native Ghana.  His career began in 1964 with Rediscovery, and this magnum opus serves as a tribute to his entire long journey charting his beloved nation's course through his accomplished poetry.

Winter Mythologies and Abbots

A pair of linked stories finds that, as translator Ann Jefferson relates, "[Pierre] Michon's great theme is the precarious balance between belief and imposture, and the way the greatest aspirations can be complicated by physical desire or the equally urgent desire for what he calls glory."