memoir

Top Ten NBCC Picks I Want to Read

The National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) recently announced its 2012 finalists for outstanding books. While there are a handful of titles I’ve been planning to read, there are also several books I’d never even heard of–which is surprisingly common with the NBCC annual picks. Here are the titles I’m most looking forward to reading: 10. The Distance Between Us by Reyna Grande When Reyna Grande’s father leaves his wife and three children behind in a village in Mexico to make the dangerous []

Eight Memoirs I’m Reading This Semester

This semester, I’m taking a class called Readings in Essay and Memoir, so I thought I’d dedicate a post to some of the texts we’ll cover. You’ve probably noticed that memoir is one of my favorite genres. In fact, I’d like to write a memoir, and the second-best way to become a better writer is to read. (The first-best is to actually write.) None of these are new releases, but they represent different styles of memoir and essay writing and I know []

Top Ten Books I Resolve to Read in 2013

There were dozens of fantastic new releases in 2012, but I fell far behind in reading them. Now, it’s time to catch up–as always, my New Year’s resolution for 2013 is to read more. (Do you expect anything less from me?) Here are the top ten books I vow to read before this year’s end.

Top Ten Books to Read Before 2013

Fall semester classes are over, and I’ve got a few days off before the New Year. I have big plans to say goodbye to 2012: curled up on the couch, racing through the books I didn’t get to read this year. It’s like a Christmas gift to myself.

And when giving gifts to oneself, it’s best to be ambitious. I know I probably won’t get through all of these–1Q84 and Deathly Hallows both approach 1,000 pages–but I’m sure I’ll make a dent and enjoy my holidays to boot.

“War” by Sebastian Junger

In War, Sebastian Junger follows the men of the 2nd Platoon, Battle Company of the 173rd Airborne Brigade in eastern Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley. He reported on the men for Vanity Fair in five visits, from June 2007 to June 2008.

A Dreamer of the Golden Dream

On evenings like this, when the breeze spreads upward and lifts the hood of my jacket off my eyes, when the air holds the crisp promise of spring just above my head, with the blue dusk slowly creeping upon me, I think of all the paths open to me–all of the possibilities of my life, all of the places I will go. For most of my life, I wanted nothing more than to move to California. My parents moved to Delaware before []

Monday Mailbox: BEA Loot

Two things: I swear that I know the real title of Jenny Lawson’s memoir, despite what I say in the video; and I think my hair is preparing an uprising against me. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson Matched by Ally Condie The Vicious Deep by Zoraida Cordova SprinkleBakes: Dessert Recipes to Inspire Your Inner Artist by Heather Baird Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner I receive a very small commission when you purchase the book []

Top Ten Books For Summer

10. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson This hilarious memoir would be closer to #1 on my must-read list for summer, except I’ve actually already started it. So, technically, it’s #1 on my currently-reading list this summer. And well deserved! Jenny Lawson spoke to BEA Book Bloggers a few weeks ago, and she blew me away with her humor–but more than that, with her honesty. Her book is doing the same. 9. I Am Forbidden by []

Subscription Saturday: Poets & Writers

I’ve had a subscription to Poets & Writers for a few months, and I highly recommend a subscription for amateur and professional wordsmiths alike. Each issue is devoted to an important part of being a writer: finding a literary agent, choosing an MFA program, establishing a writing community, staying passionate and inspired.

Subscription Saturday: Vanity Fair

I first became interested in Vanity Fair because of Ned Zeman’s entertaining and creative profile of himself, The Rules of the Tunnel. Zeman is a contributing editor to VF, and his portrayal of characters like Graydon Carter and Sebastian Junger–both bigshots at the magazine–were high points of the memoir.

“Maman’s Homesick Pie” by Donia Bijan

In the wake of a tragic accident that claims the life of her mother, Donia Bijan finds herself lost in memories of her family’s history—from pleasant memories of growing up on the second floor of her parents’ hospital in Tehran to fearfully fleeing Iran for their lives.

“Holy Ghost Girl” by Donna M. Johnson

Donna Johnson had an unusual childhood. Her mother brought Donna and her younger brother, Gary, into the inner circle of David Terrell, a very popular big tent revivalist in the 1960s and 70s. Donna spent her childhood under the wing of the charismatic and megalomaniacal minister; the only home she knew was under the “largest tent in the world.”

September 2011 in Review

September 2011 Stats Books in progress: 6 Books read: 6 Pages read: 935 Books reviewed: 6 Posts on book reviewing: 12 (includes features like In My Mailbox, Top Ten Tuesday, Wordless Wednesday, Subscription Saturday, and Sunday Salon; reading challenges; and news) My stats are not nearly as impressive as they were in August, but I’ve been having a great time nonetheless. This month, I began my first graduate writing class, which has been marvelous. (Last week our guest speaker was Paul Dickson!) []

“The Rules of the Tunnel” by Ned Zeman

What is madness? How does one distinguish between a behavioral disorder and a really bad day?

Ned Zeman, a journalist who has written for Vanity Fair, Newsweek, Spy, GQ, Outside, and Sports Illustrated, turns his eye to the one subject that has constantly eluded him: himself. His zany memoir of madness and memory loss reads like one long feature piece—a profile of himself.

“My Year with Eleanor” by Noelle Hancock

Noelle Hancock was on vacation in Aruba when she received the phone call that changed her life. Her coworker at the website where Hancock pulled nearly six figures as an entertainment blogger was on the other line, and bursting with bad news: The website was being shut down and Hancock was laid off.