Posts Categorized: Memoir

Review: Brain on Fire

November 2, 2016 Memoir, non-fiction, Psychology, Science 14

Review: Brain on FireTitle: Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness
Author: Susannah Cahalan
Source: Library
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: This was an amazing mix of clear, informative journalism and moving, emotional memoir.
“When twenty-four-year-old Susannah Cahalan woke up alone in a hospital room, strapped to her bed and unable to move or speak, she had no memory of how she’d gotten there. Days earlier, she had been on the threshold of a new, adult life: at the beginning of her first serious relationship and a promising career at a major New York newspaper. Now she was labeled violent, psychotic, a flight risk. What happened? In a swift and breathtaking narrative, Cahalan tells the astonishing true story of her descent into madness, her family’s inspiring faith in her, and the lifesaving diagnosis that nearly didn’t happen.” (source) Read more »

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Review: In Other Words

March 9, 2016 Memoir 16

Review: In Other WordsTitle: In Other Words
Author: Jhumpa Lahiri, Ann Goldstein
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Summary: I enjoyed this beautifully written glimpse into the experience of learning a new language, but I felt emotionally disconnected from the author.

I find the way in which this book was written fascinating. The author, Jhumpa Lahiri, grew up in the US, speaking Bengali at home and English in school, but along the way, she also fell in love with Italian. This is her first attempt to write a book in Italian and the version I read was translated back into English by someone else, translator Ann Goldstein. In it, Jhumpa discusses her love of Italian, her experience learning the language, and a bit about what motivates her to write. Read more »

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Review: Motions and Moments

March 6, 2016 Memoir, non-fiction 11

Review: Motions and MomentsTitle: Motions and Moments: More Essays on Tokyo
Author: Michael Pronko
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: I loved the way each of these short stories bring curiosity, wonder, joy to an everyday moment.

Although I suspect that Michael Pronko’s observations of Tokyo are possible in part because he’s an expat living there, I would be just as happy to read essays he wrote about any country. I enjoy learning about Tokyo, the little details of another culture that make it unique and that are only visible to someone who has lived there long enough, but what I really love is the way the author captures moments in daily life.
Read more »

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Review: Xamnesia

July 8, 2015 Memoir, non-fiction, Review 20

Review: XamnesiaTitle: Xamnesia
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

After reading my interview with Lizzie Harwood, my mom jumped at the chance to review her memoir and I’m excited to share her review with you today. Thanks Mom for the great guest post!

Wow! I love reading memoirs and have read quite a few, but none quite like this one!   Xamnesia:  Everything I Forgot in my Search for an Unreal Life   is the story of a young woman who leaves her native New Zealand to work for VIP billionaires in a remote oil-rich oasis.   The perks are extravagant but the cost to the author turned out to be very steep. Read more »

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Soundbite Sunday: Not That Kind of Girl

July 5, 2015 Audiobook, Memoir, non-fiction, Review 20

Soundbite Sunday: Not That Kind of GirlTitle: Not That Kind of Girl
Author: Lena Dunham
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: two-stars

Summary: I found the author’s voice annoying and the focus of her story was on relationships I didn’t find very interesting.

I’d never heard of Lena Dunham prior to reading Not That Kind of Girl, but I’m always up for a memoir read by the author, so I decided to give it a try. Unfortunately, this particular author’s voice really did not work for me. Although I did enjoy hearing the story with the author’s intended inflection, she sounded whiny and childish to me. Read more »

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Review: Something Must be Done About Prince Edward County

June 15, 2015 History, Memoir, Narrative Non-Fiction, non-fiction 8

Review: Something Must be Done About Prince Edward CountyTitle: Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County
Author: Kristen Green
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Summary: This was an enjoyable book, but more autobiography than I expected and lighter than I would have liked.

In response to the Brown v. Board of Education ruling that segregated schools were unconstitutional, Virginia’s Prince Edward County closed public schools rather that integrate their school system. They then started a private school exclusively for white children. This left many African American and poor white families with two options: send their children away or pull them out of school. Although author Kristen Green attended the local private school, she knew little about her hometown’s past and her own family’s role in the public school closings. Read more »

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Legacy: An Anthology (#30Authors)

May 18, 2015 Contemporary, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Literary, Magical Realism, Memoir, Narrative Non-Fiction, non-fiction 7

Legacy: An Anthology (#30Authors)Title: Legacy
Author: Adria J. Cimino, Allison Hiltz, David Whitehouse, Didier Quémener, J.J. Hensley, Jenny Milchman, Kristopher Jansma, Lizzie Harwood, Marissa Stapley, Maureen Foley, Paula Young Lee, Piper Punches, Regina Calcaterra, Stephanie Carroll, Vicki Lesage
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

 

Last year, I was able to participate in the fun #30Authors event, connecting authors with bloggers and readers. This interaction led to the creation of Legacy, a collection of short stories written specifically for the anthology. This collection includes both fiction and nonfiction pieces, all connected by their exploration of the idea of legacy. Read more »

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Lives in Ruins

December 4, 2014 Memoir, Narrative Non-Fiction, non-fiction, Review 18

Lives in RuinsTitle: Lives in Ruins
Author: Marilyn Johnson
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: This fun romp through the world of archaeology is perfect for anyone who shares my love of learning about different professions.

I love learning about other professions, so Marilyn Johnson’s exploration of the world of archaeology was my kind of book. She joins a kind of archaeology boot camp, participates in digs, attends conferences, and interviews many archeologists. While she does focus on the more interesting and glamorous parts of the profession, she also makes it clear that the profession is hard and that steady jobs are rare. She also does a good job conveying the difficulties many archeologists face in finding public support for the preservation of important sites and their passion for the job.
Read more »

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The End of Your Life Book Club

November 26, 2014 Biography, Memoir, non-fiction, Review 23

The End of Your Life Book ClubTitle: The End of Your Life Book Club
Author: Will Schwalbe
Source: Gift
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: This was a beautiful story which I found both inspirational and moving.

Will Schwalbe and his mother Mary Anne have always shared a love of reading, but rarely ended up reading the same books until Mary Anne was diagnosed with cancer. Mother and son then started a small, informal book club of two, discussing books while waiting in hospital lobbies. Their conversations were “both wide-ranging and deeply personal” (source) and showed how books can both help us forget ourselves and help us make sense of our own experiences.
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Dataclysm

October 28, 2014 Memoir, non-fiction, Psychology, Science 19

DataclysmTitle: Dataclysm
Author: Christian Rudder
Source: Edelweiss
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: This was a very light, accessible look at data analysis which answers some interesting, but often obvious, questions about how we date and how we describe ourselves online.

As one of the creators of the dating site OkCupid, author Christian Rudder has a fascinating dataset to play with. In combination with data acquired from other data-collecting websites (Facebook, Google, etc), he’s able to ask and answer some very interesting questions. For instance, who do people want to date? And, more interestingly, how does this compare to who they say they want to date? Does the way people describe themselves and the way that people respond to them vary by ethnicity? By age? Even questions that people might not answer accurately can begin to be answered here.

Read more »

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