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Shwebb
10-03-2007, 11:30 PM
Y'all like to read memoirs?

I've loved them since I was small. The first one I can recall is a Scholastic book about the life of Louis Braille and how he came up with his system of writing for the blind. The book even had a Braille alphabet on the back of the book.

I've recently read Pagan Time by Micah Perks, about her childhood in a hippie sort of commune. (I suppose I was drawn to it because I spent a number of years in a commune, myself.) The book was okay--not much in the way of dramatic tension, but the book was saved by the people and events she experienced and her reactions to them.

The other book was Misfit: The Strange Life of Frederick Exley by Jonathan Yardley This book was a waste, as far as I'm concerned. Yardley, a book critic for "The Washington Post" should've written better than this--a superficial look at a writer with a drinking problem who was supposed to be more personality than substance. I'd never heard of Frederick Exley until I picked up the book--I thought it would be good because of the author's credentials and because it was a bio of a writer. Wrong on both counts.

Soooo, what have the folks in the Cooler been reading, memoir/bio-wise? Got any recommendations?

jennifer75
10-03-2007, 11:49 PM
Ooooh nice thread.

I am writing a memoir.....and if you've read any of my posts, I'm struggling with wether or not to put it out as a memoir, or fictional novel. Not sure yet.

Either way, I bought a slew of memoirs to read so I could get an idea of how they are written and so on.

One I read was The Only Girl In the Car by Kathy Dobie - great story.

I've got on my TBR list:

The Liars Club
The Tender Bar
Money, A Memoir: Women, Emotions, and Cash by Liz Perle
Stephen King: On Writing
Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress by Susan Jane Gilman (MIGHT READ NEXT)

and a few others I can not remember the titles of. But I've got'm. :)

rnning2wn
10-11-2007, 09:34 PM
Funny you should start this thread because on the day you posted is the day I made my order w/ Amazon! Snail mail and one misrouted so unsure when they'll get here. This is what I got:

Look Me In the Eye (of course - looking forward to reading this because it's going to help me with my approach and will affect my outline);

A Child Called It (the abuse he experienced is so severe, I can't 100% relate, but I can empathize some due to my situation. also, he is saved by foster parents -- good thing. my story is kind of the opposite. his writing, however, touched me and is helping me with my thoughts);

Like Family: Growing Up In Other People's Houses (bought this because her mom left her behind - just got up and left, with her boyfriend. this is what happened to me and has caused me to change my first chapter .... again);

An Unlit Path (a beautifully written story from a foster parent's POV); and,

Once In A House On Fire.

I will report back when I have something to say about the others.

[While I'm here wondering if anybody has suggestions where to buy used books besides Amazon and Allibris.]

Newport2Newport
10-13-2007, 07:36 PM
Great thread idea!

I've just started Jesus Land. Curiously enough, it was displayed on a fiction table at Borders.

larocca
10-13-2007, 07:44 PM
Well, I'm damn sure not reading my own. I pop it open when I can't remember something -- funny how that works -- but otherwise no no no no no.

Chipmunk, you'll find that Dave Pelzer is one heck of a fine writer. I haven't read the others on your list, but I've read the entire Pelzer series. After you read A CHILD CALLED IT, you will want more.

Jennifer, I believe the advice in ON WRITING is the best I've read, but that's not the best part of ON WRITING. I still remember the autobiographical portion well. The man can flat-out tell a story. I think I read that book 10 times before I sold it, and it wasn't for the advice because I've written something similar myself.

As for my own recommendations, I've gotta go with the one I read most recently. MALCOLM X. Get the newer version where Alex Haley is acknowledged as the ghost writer, because his postscript in that version is probably the best part of the book.

Ray Charles also gets high marks, because whoever's responsible for that book captured his unique voice, and it's one you definitely want to hear. It's not in the movie.

I see that Douglas Adams is waiting on my bookshelf, unread, and that's definitely something to look forward to. I'd love to know more about him.

I've got a book about Thaksin over there too, since I live in Thailand, but I'm just so bored with the guy that I might never read about him.

Oh, and I think everything Dave Sedaris writes is autobiography, and you'll love it.

nerds
10-13-2007, 09:01 PM
I recently finished Blackbird, A Childhood Lost and Found, by Jennifer Lauck.

Devastating book. One of the best-written works I've ever read. imo. I do recommend it, but it's best read on sunny, hopeful days. If read at night, sleep will prove elusive.

benbradley
10-13-2007, 09:33 PM
I've got maybe 50-100 bio's on the shelf and have actually read many of them (and probably many more over the decades from the library and such). Notables I recall are:

"Beyond Uhura", Nichelle Nichols. While on the original Star Trek TV series, she was frustrated at the racism among the NBC executives (but not the show's creator Gene Roddenberry, apparently everyone on the show adored him), and wanted to quit the show. She met Martin Luther King, Jr. and told him of this, and he convinced her to stay on the show. What did he say? I won't spoil it for you, but it's an excellent read.

"It's Not About The Bike.," Lance Armstrong (many-time Tour de France winner). Raised by a single mother with little income, his athletic ability was clear from the start, and she was his biggest fan and booster. During high school, his winnings in triathlons exceeded her income. He rented a limo for his prom, and in addition to his date, he took his mother along. He becomes a pro bicyclist (because there's more money in it than in track, long distance running or swimming), then gets cancer. There's much about finding doctors, treatment (chemotherapy - painful stuff), and his 'training' rides during this time, as well as his comeback. I found this an inspirational story.

More recent reads:
Augusten Burrough's "Running With Scissors" is a "kaleidoscope of dysfunction" (I thought I'd coined the phrase, but Google finds another reference!) It seems that just about anything that could go wrong in his young life did. His mentally ill mother gives him to her psychologist to be adopted by him and his family to be raised, and it's almost like going from the frying pan into the fire. There's high weirdness with Bible dipping and, uh, other kinds of dipping. He did seem to have a good friendship with one of his adopted sisters - they would raid the sofa for change and go off to McDonald's and such, so it wasn't all bad.

Augusten Burrough's "Dry." I have a special interest in these "recovery memoirs" after having been through and eshewed "recovery" myself many years back. This features all the high drama of the practicing drunk/druggie going through treatment and going to AA. As an adult (this works well as the sequel to "Running with Scissors") and working at an ad agency, his colleagues do the "intervention" thing, he decides on a gay-only treatment center over the legendary Hazelden, does his 28 days there, then goes back to his work environment and the local AA meetings to see if he can maintain his newfound sobriety. The story is chock full of his new and old gay lovers, and how he struggles with the addictions, but if you're familiar with "recovery" and read one of these before (some older ones are "White Rabbit" and Kitty Dukakis' "Now You Know"), this is basically the same old sin-and-redemption model. I was hoping for something at least a little bit radical, if not like James Frey's rants in "A Million Little Pieces," but "Dry" might as well have ended like "1984" with the words "He loved Bill W."

John Robison's "Look Me In The Eye" - I read this just after reading the two above (John is Augusten's older brother, and left home before the worst extremes described in "Running with Scissors" happened), and this one is quite different, more "measured", more matter-of-fact and less drama. It also goes over John's whole life so far, rather than just parts that Augusten covered in the above two books. John discovers at age 40 he has Asperger's Syndrome, a mild form of Autusm, and this helps explain much of his life, both his technical interests and weak social abilities. I like this a good bit more than Augusten's works for many reasons, not the least that I feel I can relate to John's plight. I feel I need to write a lot more than I can here to really do it justice.

I've been wanting to write these last three reviews to put up on my blog, and it looks like this is a good start...

WishWords
10-13-2007, 11:37 PM
I'm struggling to read some. It's not what I usually read, but you have to read what you want to write. I have:

"West with the Night" by Beryl Markham and "I, Asimov" by Isaac Asimov. I should be reading some of the Iraq War memoirs, but I can't bring myself to.

I've read "On Writing" in the past.

rnning2wn
10-14-2007, 09:00 PM
Chipmunk, you'll find that Dave Pelzer is one heck of a fine writer. I haven't read the others on your list, but I've read the entire Pelzer series. After you read A CHILD CALLED IT, you will want more.

Larocca, funny thing. When I registered with AW and began educating myself on nonfiction writing, etc. (see Learn the Nonfiction Book Publication Process (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22176&highlight=starting+the+proposal)...), I picked some books to read -- similar to my story. A Child Called It was first. I was so astounded by his story, I actually stopped writing for 3 months thinking mine would never be good enough....I'm beyond that now thank goodness.


"It's Not About The Bike.," Lance Armstrong (many-time Tour de France winner). Raised by a single mother with little income, his athletic ability was clear from the start, and she was his biggest fan and booster. During high school, his winnings in triathlons exceeded her income. He rented a limo for his prom, and in addition to his date, he took his mother along. He becomes a pro bicyclist (because there's more money in it than in track, long distance running or swimming), then gets cancer. There's much about finding doctors, treatment (chemotherapy - painful stuff), and his 'training' rides during this time, as well as his comeback. I found this an inspirational story.

John Robison's "Look Me In The Eye" - I read this just after reading the two above (John is Augusten's older brother, and left home before the worst extremes described in "Running with Scissors" happened), and this one is quite different, more "measured", more matter-of-fact and less drama. It also goes over John's whole life so far, rather than just parts that Augusten covered in the above two books. John discovers at age 40 he has Asperger's Syndrome, a mild form of Autusm, and this helps explain much of his life, both his technical interests and weak social abilities. I like this a good bit more than Augusten's works for many reasons, not the least that I feel I can relate to John's plight. I feel I need to write a lot more than I can here to really do it justice.

Benbradley -- Didn't know Lance A. had cancer - bro't tears to my eyes. Thx for sharing.

Neat that you already read John R.'s book and shared your view. I'm impressed you think it's better than his brother's too - way to go John!

benbradley
10-14-2007, 11:52 PM
I'm struggling to read some. It's not what I usually read, but you have to read what you want to write. I have:

"West with the Night" by Beryl Markham and "I, Asimov" by Isaac Asimov.

I've got "I, Asimov" sitting on the shelf to be read someday, though I feel it may be redundant - I read his earlier huge two-volume autobio "In Memory Yet Green" and "In Joy Still Felt" back when they first came out (talk about self-important, how many people have written that much about themselves??? - but he always seemed good-natured, I recall him joking about his reputation for arrogance). Here's the most memorable part of it for me: His college major was chemistry, and after graduating he became a chemistry professor, all apparently while writing SF and just about every othe kind of writing on the side. He seemed a little insecure about his writing, so he kept his college professor job until 1963, when his writing income was $70,000, and he finally thought he could probably make a living writing full time. That would be a pretty decent writer's income for 2007, no doubt it was a huge fortune in 1963!

vetinari
12-02-2007, 02:22 AM
Eric Clapton's book is devastating, a very personal piece by a very private man. I'm nearing the halfway point.

It seems that he's one of the world's greatest guitarists because he felt like he HAD to be, to be accepted, to feel like he had a place in the world itself.

Small wonder he's a master of The Blues...

vetinari
12-02-2007, 02:25 AM
I also enjoyed the aforementioned On Writing by the Rambo guy. Loved it.

I didn't care for Hardcore Troubador, the story of one of my favorite musicians, Steve Earle. The biographer was difficult to follow, and their words laid lifeless on the page like my first wife.

benbradley
12-02-2007, 04:49 AM
Eric Clapton's book is devastating, a very personal piece by a very private man. I'm nearing the halfway point.

It seems that he's one of the world's greatest guitarists because he felt like he HAD to be, to be accepted, to feel like he had a place in the world itself.

Small wonder he's a master of The Blues...
I've sure heard about that book, he's been on Larry King and who knows where else promoting it. I should read it as much because his music has been as influential in my life as just about anything, and surely much of it (maybe the last half you haven't read yet) is another "recovery bio" like Burrough's "Dry." I recall about ten years ago he auctioned off some of his guitars to support the "Crossroads" (there's that word again! See last Sunday's FF Challenge) alcohol-and-drug treatment center he started. The guitar he played on "Layla" sold for about a half million dollars(!). In a later news story he said he regretted letting go of some of those guitars.

I happen to have an older bio, "Clapton!" by Ray Coleman sitting around to be read. Looking on Amazon, there are a LOT of Clapton bio's.

Then there's the OTHER one, currently for sale in the local Ingles supermarket (thus it's either a top-ten seller or being HIGHLY promoted by the publisher), "Wonderful Tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and Me" by Patty Boyd, the once-wife of Beatle George Harrison, whom Eric stole from him and married. No doubt it's a real kiss-and-tell thing...

Ritergal
12-02-2007, 08:13 PM
I just finished two memoirs. The first was Untangling My Chopsticks by Victoria Abbott Riccardi. You'll love this book if you love intense detail about Japanese high cuisine, specifically tea kaiseki. If you don't know much about Japanese food, and haven't been to Kyoto, you may find the book rather flat and lacking in the conflicts that move most stories along. Food is at the forefront. That is her passion and her focus. Everything else sort of blurs into the background.

The second is Space Between the Stars by Deborah Santana, wife of Carlos. Her book is rich in continuing drama, but not at all overdone. As a high achiever, she lives life intensely. Her story is one of a woman standing in the shadow of renowned musicians who manages to find herself and connect with her heart. Her basic goodness and love shine through the brick walls she has worked all her life to first discover and then tear down. A great read, especially for those interested in the inside story of Guru cults.

andrewhollinger
12-05-2007, 06:12 AM
I took a class in college on women memoirists. Learned a lot. These were some of the books we read. And what I would recommend, especially for a feel of a literary-style memoir. My favorite, by far, was The Latin Deli.

Memories of a Catholic Girlhood, by Mary McCarthy
Bone Black and Wounds of Passion, both by bell hooks
Still Alive, by Ruth Kluger
The Latin Deli, by Judith Ortiz Cofer

IceCreamEmpress
12-05-2007, 09:32 PM
I just finished John Lanchester's Family Romance and am getting near the end of Mary Gordon's Circling Around My Mother. It's interesting how much the two, who differ so widely as fiction writers, have in common in their life experience (both had Roman Catholic mothers and non-Catholic fathers, both had mothers whose lives were shaped by fiercely held secrets, both experienced childhood as a combination of loving affection and inexplicable difference, etc.)

melaniehoo
12-05-2007, 09:42 PM
I'm reading Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird now, which is both writing guide & memoir.

I also recently bought but haven't yet read:
A Heartbreaking Tale of Staggering Genius Dave Eggers
Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy Geralyn Lucas
Eat, Pray, Love Elizabeth Gilbert (this was a gift)
Look Me in the Eye John Elder Robinson
On Writing Stephen King

and borrowed:
Angela's Ashes Frank McCourt

Ritergal
12-06-2007, 03:29 AM
I just tucked into The Wishing Years by Coralie Cederna Johnson. It's utterly delicious. She is a master of lacing serious topics with dry wit, and balancing documentation with drama. She's also a self-publisher. I can't wait to move on to her next, A Tree Grows in Trout Creek.

jennifer75
12-06-2007, 11:22 PM
I just added Home: American Writers Remember Rooms of Their Own to my wishlist. There's another by the same writers called Family: American Writers Remember Their Own that I'd like to get also.

justagrrl64
01-01-2008, 02:52 AM
Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World.... by Rita Golden Gelman. LOVED IT! My summary: a middle-aged woman who goes on walkabout.

Candy Girl: A year in the life of an unlikely stripper... by Diablo Cody.... LOVED IT.. but it's more than a little raunchy. Brace yourselves. (she's also the writer of the current movie... JUNO)

A Piece of Cake by Cupcake Brown. HIGHLY recommended for folks who like the abused child/success story type of memoir. Awesome insights into a world of addictions and etc. The ending seemed to wind down in a way that seemed different than the rest of the book for me, but still highly recommended. I ended up buying multiple copies of this book since it is the type of book that gets passed from one person to the next and never quite gets returned to the owner.




I also liked...
On Writing by Stephen King
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
Forest for the Trees by Betsy Lerner (which is more writing advice than Memoir, but still some autobiographical information)

And the First three books in the David Peltzer memoirs. I do not recommend reading A Child Called It without having the second book to begin reading immediately (The Lost Boy). A child called it is rough stuff... the second books even things out a little bit -- leaves you with more of a hopeful feeling instead of a hopeless feeling.

I just received a copy of Survival Stories; memoirs of crisis ... edited by Kathryn Rhett and look forward to reading short story memoirs. I'm also having a hard time locating the Coralie Cederna book that's been recommended.

melaniehoo
01-01-2008, 09:13 PM
I just started Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik. I grabbed it from my mother's shelf because it's a memoir, but after reading the table of contents I realized it's structured similar to the way I'm structuring mine - sections with topics, as opposed to strictly chronological.

I currently have names for all my chapters, but realized I also have a couple clear sections, and this book does both. Now I'm not afraid to go ahead with my plan.

jerrywaxler
01-04-2008, 05:21 PM
I just read two fun reads. Jancee Dunn was a celebrity interviewer for Rolling Stone, and amidst her life story in "Enough about me" she includes some glimpses of fame and also tips for interviewing celebrities.

The other is by Toby Young called "Sound of no hands clapping." I listened to the Audible.com version, and highly recommend it. Both memoirs are by writers, so they offer a double benefit of a tale about life and some advice about writing.

To see the review I wrote a review about Sound of No Hands click here. (http://memorywritersnetwork.com/blog/fame-laughter-and-self-discovery/)

I also posted an article on the blog about reading memoirs, including links to reviews I wrote about some of them.

Skyraven
01-05-2008, 06:31 AM
Angela's Ashes took me to Ireland.
Like Family: growing up in other's people's houses (A great read, I got for free)
On Writing

I think that's the end of my list, but I'll definitely check out some of the titles mentioned here.

jerrywaxler
02-01-2008, 02:59 AM
I read An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness (http://www.amazon.com/Unquiet-Mind-Memoir-Moods-Madness/dp/0679763309/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1201819935&sr=8-1) by Kay Redfield Jamison. She's a psychiatrist who has severe bipolar (manic-depressive) disorder. It's "pretty good" but not "great." It's amazing how many chances this woman had. She works hard, and deserves every break she gets, but no matter how much of a mess she is, people work with her, want her to succeed, help her stay afloat, etc. In addition to being one of more famous books by the sufferer of a mental disorder, it's also about one of the most resilient social networks a person could ever want to have.

Another one is Firoozeh Dumas' Funny in Farsi, Growing up Iranian in America. This is a cute clever book, which I listened to on the audible.com version. Her accent and authentic pronunciations made it especially pleasurable. In today's tense political climate it's hard to imagine anything lighthearted about Iran, so I was pleasantly surprised.

Jerry

melaniehoo
02-01-2008, 03:02 AM
I just read Angela's Ashes and 'Tis. I really enjoy his voice and he shows the passage of time very well. That was helpful for me to see.

jerrywaxler
02-01-2008, 05:38 PM
I just read Angela's Ashes and 'Tis. I really enjoy his voice and he shows the passage of time very well. That was helpful for me to see.

Did you listen to them or read them? I listened to Frank McCourt read Angela's Ashes and the Irish accent added a wonderful dimension to my experience of the story.

Jerry

melaniehoo
02-01-2008, 09:28 PM
Did you listen to them or read them? I listened to Frank McCourt read Angela's Ashes and the Irish accent added a wonderful dimension to my experience of the story.

Jerry

No I read them but that would be an interesting way to hear it. I still haven't gotten into audio books.

memoirsink
02-25-2008, 02:26 AM
Good topic. Don't know if this is technically a "memoir" but I read Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader, by Anne Fadiman and found it to be delightful.

It's the author's recollections of past experiences with books, how she and her husband formed a household (one of the steps being combining their books into one bookshelf organization system-haha) and also some personal reflections about books and people's different attitudes toward them. A good read for anyone who loves reading the thoughts of another book lover, from a well-articulated and fresh point of view. It's also in the format of short essays, so good to read when you don't have long periods of time to read. :)

melaniehoo
02-25-2008, 02:28 AM
Now I'm reading Stephen King's On Writing. It's been very helpful for me because I'm switching to fiction for my second MS and his book both tells his memoir and gives good writing advice (imo).

jerrywaxler
02-25-2008, 05:08 AM
I am half way through an excellent story, Colored People by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. I love "finding identity" books in the cultural goulash of the U.S. He grew up in a small town in West Virginia in the 50's. The book is a sort of gift to his kids, letting them know what it was like to grow up black in the segregated south.

The other is Kate Braestrup's "Here When you Need Me." Since I'm on my third listen, and not bored, it's safe to say I really like it. Why three times? When I read Joan Didion's book "Year of Magical Thinking" a line jumped out at me. Her husband, who was also a writer, was re-reading a book to see "how it worked." What a neat concept. I'm following his example, and reading with a more detailed eye. I learn so much more about a book after re-reading parts of it. This is the only one I've read three times, partly because I think it's the best. It's about grief, sort of, but it's really about life, God, spirituality, finding meaning.

Jerry

jerrywaxler
03-22-2008, 10:58 PM
Now that we're facing the PTSD of soldiers coming back from the current war, it seems there are Vietnam vets still trying to sort out their lives 40 years later. I just started one published in 2007 by Indiana Historical Society Press called "A Temporary Sort of Peace" by Jim McGarrah.

Jerry

slsherwood
03-27-2008, 10:09 PM
I've been reading a lot of memoir recently including memoir about weight, which is what my memoir-in-progress is about.

Right now I'm reading two Teenage Waistland (which is a mixture of research and memoir and self-help guide) and Dear Dad by Louie Anderson.

I recently read Eat Love Pray by Elizabeth Gilbert and loved it. It really revved me up to work on my own memoir.

I noticed when reading Abigail Thomas' book, Three Dog Life, and this passage struck me because it addresses something I’ve wondered about — how my memories in written form impact other people:

“Six months ago a friend was angry with me and I with her. I had written something someone said years ago, but it was she who heard the words, not me, a fact I had completely forgotten. Her experience was precious, and she accused me of stealing her memory. Not only that, but what she remembered with grief I had somehow transmuted to gratitude, so besides stealing her memory, I also got it wrong. We argued, but there was no meeting place. For days the same questions went through my head. Is memory property? If two people remember something differently is one of them wrong? Wasn’t my memory of a memory also real? There were no solid answers, just winding paths I went round and round on" (Thomas 129-130).




Have to go...finish thought later...

Kid At <3
03-29-2008, 09:45 PM
Has anyone ever read 'The Glass Castle' by Jeanette Walls? It's a great book, but it's very sad, like most memoirs are.

Newport2Newport
03-29-2008, 09:53 PM
Has anyone ever read 'The Glass Castle' by Jeanette Walls? It's a great book, but it's very sad, like most memoirs are.

Hi, Kid! :)

I read Walls' book and loved it. It's a triumphant story, well-told.

Perks
03-29-2008, 09:56 PM
Just read The Ditchdigger's Daughters by Dr. Yvonne Thornton. It was fantastic and I got to interview her for my podcast series.

Really, one of the best memoirs I've ever read. It was nominated for the Pulitzer.

Stew21
03-29-2008, 10:32 PM
Bill Bryson's Neither Here Nor There most recently. I've read some of Mr. Bryson's other work and loved it.
One of my other favorite memoirs - I'll need to read again soon - On Wale Island by Daniel Hayes

Little Red Barn
03-29-2008, 11:27 PM
Hi, Kid! :)

I read Walls' book and loved it. It's a triumphant story, well-told.
She has a second book coming as well. Nice lady!

shakeysix
03-29-2008, 11:32 PM
picked up art buchwald's "leaving home" at the library today; more out of desperation than liking memoirs but i am loving it so far--s6

Prevostprincess
03-30-2008, 12:44 AM
I recently read The Tender Bar by JR Moehringer and loved it. Wonderful writing.

And Jerry - Kay Redfield Jamison is a psychologist (ie PhD) not a psychiatrist (ie MD). (You may have been confused because she's a Professor of Psychiatry, ie a professor in the psychiatry dept.) That's part of why she got so many chances - she was a PhD who did strictly research, not patient care. A woman in my psychiatry residency also had severe bipolar disorder and had no intention of ever doing patient care, as she wanted to go into research. She, like Jamison, was brilliant, but she was kicked out of our program with the reasoning that she was too unstable to see patients. (There was no research track in the residency and all of our protestations that upon graduation, she'd end up in a lab, did nothing to help her. The story was far more complicated than I've just outlined and further info is not relevant here, but I wanted to point out part of why Jamison got so many chances - she's a brilliant researcher and would never be responsible for patients.)

mscelina
03-30-2008, 01:25 AM
Eleanor Roosevelt's memoirs--what an outstanding lady.

I'm a biography and autobiography fiend. Lately, I've been collecting the older ones at auction. I picked up a biography of Teddy Roosevelt last month that was published two months after his death--beautifully preserved with a full color plate on the cover and huge numerous photographs throughout the 300 some odd pages. Great book. Bought if for 25 dollars--book valued at 250 bucks. And right smack dab into my rare books section of my library it went. *grin*

jerrywaxler
03-30-2008, 01:51 AM
Has anyone ever read 'The Glass Castle' by Jeanette Walls? It's a great book, but it's very sad, like most memoirs are.

Hi Kid At,

I didn't feel sad when reading Walls Glass Castle. Since I was using the magic of story reading to jump into her mind, I mostly just wanted to get the heck out of there, and was glad when she did.

Jerry

melaniehoo
03-30-2008, 07:54 PM
I just started Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray Love. I didn't have high expectations despite all the hype and personal recommendations, but 60 pages in, I love it! She's had me laughing out loud every other page while describing incredibly personal grief. I found myself hoping my memoir turns out half as good.

jerrywaxler
04-11-2008, 01:44 AM
I just finished a memoir by Tony Cohan called Native State, in which he goes home to tend to his ailing father, and reminisces about growing up playing jazz with some of the big names in the early sixties. He was part of the beat scene so it's a good flashback book, and a good "looking back at my growing up years" story.

The other one I'm about 1/3 of the way into. It's Slow Motion by Dani Shapiro, a girl who was a kept woman, gone way off the beaten track when her parents were in a horrific accident and she had to go home to take care of them. She's a lot younger of an author than Tony Cohan was when he wrote his, and it's interesting getting a feel for these different ages of writer and times in the culture.

Jerry

Molfitz
04-11-2008, 03:48 AM
This morning I finished Point to Point Navigation by Gore Vidal. He wrote this second-half-of-his-life memoir as he turned 80 years old (three years ago.) God, I hope I'm writing at 80. I read this book, coincidentally, as I was planning a surprise birthday party for my husband who turns 80 next month. As I read his reflections on aging, I grew even fonder of Mr. Vidal. I've read and enjoyed his writing since my college years.

Now and then, I get in the mood for memoirs, especially about famous people. Vidal rubbed (and rubs) elbows with many celebrities: Eleanor Roosevelt, Queen and Princess Margaret, Paul Newman and Johann Woodward, on and on. His grandfather was Senator Gore. His father was a leader in early aviation and friends with Amelia Earhart. He's slightly related to Jackie Onassis Kennedy and Jimmy Carter. He tells entertaining anecdotes about each person; he's very discrete.

He's a great writer. He speaks about writing, irony, politics (his thoughts on who murder JFK), movies and screen writing, and the times in which he's lived. Was he gay? You‘ll want to read about that too

On Writing by Stephen King is a favorite of mine. I'm often quoting from it. Wasn't that the book he was writing when he got hit by the van while jogging and finished as he was recovering from his severe injuries? I remember telling the story to fellow joggers I meet on my 3 mile walk, down a country road. You betcha, I watch out for vans and other vehicles. Last year, Tin House, the literary magazine, published Stephen King's short story about a man that was in a construction accident. I figured he'd based it on his own recovery from the van accident. How we weave our lives into our stories.

I appreciate all of your memoir suggestions.

mmenzel
04-24-2008, 01:34 AM
This is an inspirational story of one young woman’s perseverance to overcome insurmountable obstacles, many of which were life-threatening, through unrelenting courage and determination. Not only did Gabriela A. Folgar de Shea survive being kidnapped, raped and forced to marry her abductor but she also had to struggle with all her willpower to survive medical complications from her abuse, complete her education and go on to make a life for herself. Through her ordeals, when all hope seemed to be lost, angels in the guise of good Samaritans came along and help to propel her on the success she so richly deserved. Written with such clear and concise prose and embellished with many photos and maps pertaining to the story, the reader feels as if they are sitting with the author and receiving a lesson on women’s lifestyle in the Guatemalan society.