Lit by Mary Karr – the last of her memoir trilogy, completing my read of her memoirs.
The Ploughmen by Kim Zupan – an avid reader friend who works with many writers, feels this is one of the most beautifully written classic westerns set in Montana. When I met Kim, he struck me a kind man, and yes kindness influences me.
Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay – A New York Times bestseller, a collection of essays spanning politics, criticism, and feminism from one of the most-watched young cultural observers of her generation.
Lily Dancyger’s Negative Space, A memoir from the editor of Burn It Down: Women Writing About Anger, Negative Space explores Dancyger’s own anger, grief, and artistic inheritance as she sets out to illuminate the darkness that was hidden from her.
Body Work: The Radical Power of Personal Narrative by Melissa Febos – available March, 2022. “The most necessary book about memoir I’ve read. Daring, honest, psychologically insightful, and absolutely whip smart. A must read for anybody shoving a pen across paper or staring into a screen or a past.” —Mary Karr
If you have books you are looking forward to reading, suggest them in the comments.
I’m in a doing mode, cooking, walking dogs, etc and reading of course. Writing is taking a nap and will wake up at some point.
Thanks for reading and subscribing to my blog. Stay safe for sure.
I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions nor do I enjoy a big celebration. Tonight, you will find me settled in with the two sweet chocolate labs I am pet sitting; the wood stove roaring, reading one of the two books I have going, actually three if you count the one I’m listening to on audible. Listening to books is my best company on trips and driving to pet sitting jobs that are miles away from town. Yesterday, I spent the afternoon cooking (the kitchen is a great cooking kitchen, where I am pet sitting) with my audible book going, a soul enriching experience. I’ll mark the end of the year with a list of books I have read and a list of books on my “to read” list for the new year.
For Christmas I bought myself at the local bookstore, Fact and Fiction, Heart Radical: A Search for Language, Love and Belonging by Anne Liu Kellor. I took a writing class from Anne, enjoyed her, enjoyed the class and her memoir is taking me on a journey that I am eager to continue on. From the library, I am reading: Good Morning, Monster: Five Heroic Journeys to Recovery by Catherine Gildiner. Stories of five memorable patients and their journey of recovery. I’d consider myself lucky to have a therapist such as Catherine, as she guides people through and out the other side of trauma. Forgiveness is key to healing. On Audible, I’m listening to Dear William: A Father’s Memoir of Addiction, Recovery and Loss by David Magee. David lost his son to an overdose. David, a Mississippi boy, struggled with his own addictions. Already, I’m only on chapter two, I can relate to how David grew up in a home that looks happy on the outside but not so much on the inside. His drinking journey is familiar as he starts to drink in high school, finding some relief from his sad home and before you know it, has a drinking problem. He is now a change maker at the University of Mississippi on the education of drug and alcohol use.
Throughout the year I have mainly read memoirs, they are great teachers when writing your own: Mary Karr’s, The Liar’s Club, Cherry, as well as The Art of Memoir. Kiese Layman’s Heavy, this was a re-read. Kiese grew up in my hometown of Jackson, MS. I’ll read anything of his! Rick Bragg’s It’s All Over But the Shoutin’, story of growing up dirt poor in Alabama. Just started this one. Maya Shanbhag Lang’s What We Carry: A Memoir Maya writes with efficiency about her experience caring for her mother who develops dementia. I lovedthis quick read. Tena Clark’sSouthern Discomfort: A Memoir, set in rural Mississippi during the Civil Rights era about a white girl coming of age in a repressive society and the woman who gave her the strength to forge her own path—the black nanny who cared for her. You bet I could relate to this one! Ingrid Rick’sHippy Boy: A Girl’s Story, about growing up in a dysfunctional Mormon family. (Ingrid has helped me map out my memoir, which she is very skilled at.) Jesmyn Ward’sMen We Reaped, In five years, Jesmyn lost five men in her life, she revisits their lives and the agonizing loss. Again, I’d read anything of Jesmyn’s. Kate Moore’sThe Woman They Could Not Silence: One Woman, Her Incredible Fight for Freedom and The Men Who Tried to Make Her Disappear, set in 1806, true story of Elizabeth Packard whose husband was threatened by her independence and intellect, had her committed to an insane asylum. When one is conveniently labeled as “crazy” one loses their power and their voices are ignored. (one reason I want to write my own memoir) Elizabeth was later released and went on to free millions and changed the system. A great history lesson and very empowering to read this. I highly recommend. Ashley Ford’sSomebody’s Daughter, of growing up a poor Black girl in Indiana with a family fragmented by incarceration, exploring how isolating and complex such a childhood can be. Loved and highly recommend. Matthew McConaughey’sGreenlights, uplifting and entertaining. I listened to this on audible which is fun to “hear” him tell his stories. Don’t think it would be as fun to read it. Chanel Miller’sKnow My Name, whew that was a tough one. Her memoir about her famous rape case on Standford’s campus. I listened to this on audible during a trip. I’ve read some tough, sad stories, but I think it’s important to learn about other’s trauma in hopes that we can be educated and empathetic. I needed something a little lighter after Chanel’s story. I chose, Tiffany Haddish’sThe Last Black Unicorn, a sidesplitting, hysterical, edgy, and unflinching collection of (extremely) personal essays, as fearless as the author herself.
I may have left out some books, but I’m not with my bookshelves at the moment. Coming soon, books I look forward to reading in 2022. Thanks for reading, and may the New Year bring you happiness and something you’ve been wishing for.
One of my favorite things about driving a long distance is listening to audiobooks. Just this year, I discovered Laurie Halse Anderson. I read her memoir, Shout. I love the writing style, short poetic pieces. It’s empowering for anyone who is a rape survivor. She kept her own rape quiet for 23 years. I’ve been pretty quiet about mine and just starting to see the implications of being quiet about it for most of my life. My family shamed me for speaking about it. Covering the truth is instinctual in the culture I grew up in.
The audiobook, Speak, is her first novel tailored for young adults and is used in classrooms. Wonder what my life would have been like if I had that kind of literature to read in English class. The afterward of Speak is read by Jason Reynolds. I wish every father and mother would listen to his afterward. I wish every father especially would speak to their children about consent.