The first few weeks of a new year make for a good time to review the work this column does. Reviewing memoir is tricky stuff, and a review is not a referendum on the writer’s life. A loathsome life story beautifully told? Great. A life of virtue predictably related? Nope. Like I’ve said before: it’s [...]
Which of these statements is true? 1. Memoirs are popular. 2. New memoirs are popular. I suspect the latter. As I weeded my library’s biography section last summer, I found many memoirs and other autobiographical writings in nearly pristine condition; most of them had not been borrowed since the year of their publication. Sadly, I also found highly regarded memoirs that had not moved in years. These books had been selected initially to meet current demand, and some had, like the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity, performed beyond expectations, but our readers had lost interest in or awareness of all of them. For a small library needing room for new, in-demand memoirs, it was time to part with the old.
Evanovich, Stephanie. Big Girl Panties. Morrow. Jul. 2013. 336p. ISBN 9780062224842. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062224866. lrg. prnt. CD: HarperAudio. POP FICTION Rather too zaftig after turning to food for comfort during her husband’s illness and death, 32-year-old Holly Brennan is chagrined to be occupying the plane seat next to Logan Montgomery, personal trainer to star [...]
After LJ’s editors chose our Top Ten of the year, we still some had titles we felt strongly about. Here are 16 more can’t-miss books from 2012. Cain, Susan. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. Crown. ISBN 9780307352149. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780307452207. PSYCH This book makes me want to [...]
Dolman, Paul Samuel. Hitchhiking with Larry David: An Accidental Tourist’s Summer of Self-Discovery in Martha’s Vineyard. Gotham Bks: Penguin Group (USA). Jun. 2013. 224p. ISBN 9781592408269. $22.50. MEMOIR Hitchhiking one summer on Martha’s Vineyard, where he was summering somewhat ruefully with his parents, Dolman was picked up by comedy star Larry David. Here he recounts [...]
al-Shaykh, Hanan. One Thousand and One Nights: A Sparkling Retelling of the Beloved Classic. Pantheon. Jun. 2013. 320p. ISBN 9780307958860. $26; eISBN 9780307958877. LITERATURE A crucial and sometimes controversial figure in Middle Eastern literature, Lebanese author al-Shaykh here translates 19 of the stories young queen Shahrazad told her husband each night so that he would [...]
Caputo, Philip. The Longest Road: Overland in Search of America, from Key West to Deadhorse. Holt. Jun. 2013. 520p. ISBN 9780805094466. $28; eISBN 9780805096965. MEMOIR What connects the mainly Inupiat children on snow-swept Barter Island off Alaska’s Arctic coast and the children of Cuban immigrants on Key West? As Caputo realized while visiting Barter Island [...]
Franz Douskey has been published in over 200 publications including The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, and The Nation. His fourth book, West of Midnight, reached number 24 on the Amazon Best-Sellers list in 2011 and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. His new book, Sinatra and Me: The Very Good Years, is based on extensive interviews with Tony Consiglio, who was Frank Sinatra’s friend and confidante for over 60 years. Tantorious is a semi-monthly podcast series featuring interviews with well-known authors, hosted by Allan Hoving and presented by Tantor Audio.