Memoirs with More | Nonfiction Previews, Jul. 2018

Daley-Ward, Yrsa. The Terrible: A Storyteller’s Memoir. Penguin. Jun. 2018. 224p. ISBN 9780143132622. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9780525504535. Downloadable. MEMOIR
Born in England of West Indian and West African heritage, actress/model-turned-poet Daley-Ward had a big hit with bone, self-published in 2014 and given a trade-house publication in 2017 that won strong reviews. This memoir addresses painful questions of race, religion, and sexual experience as it assays her coming of age in a mix of poetry and prose.

Hall, Donald. A Carnival of Losses: Notes Nearing Ninety. Houghton Harcourt. Jul. 2018. 224p. ISBN 9781328826343. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781328826312. MEMOIR
Former U.S. poet laureate Hall had a New York Times best seller with Essays After Eighty, so why not another collection as he nears 90? Hall offers a veritable sparkling necklace of essays on aging, solitude, and the surprising joys of both, interspersed and embellished by memories.

Jenkins, Steve & Derek Walter with Caprice Crane. Happily Ever Esther: Two Men, a Wonder Pig, and Their Life-Changing Mission To Give Animals a Home. Grand Central. Jul. 2018. 240p. ISBN 9781538728147. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781538728123. lib. ebk. ISBN 9781538747018. Downloadable. MEMOIR
The 40,000-copy best-selling Esther the Wonder Pig revealed how Jenkins and Walter adopted a piglet named Esther, who grew to weigh 600 pounds, and were inspired to found the Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary. Now the sanctuary has 42 animals, from sheep, rabbits, and roosters to a donkey and the barn cat Willma Ferrell. And Esther has 1.3 million followers on her various social media accounts, which few humans can match.

Moore, Michael Scott. The Desert and the Sea: 977 Days Captive on the Somali Pirate Coast. HarperWave. Jul. 2018. 464p. ISBN 9780062449177. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062449191. MEMOIR
Venturing to the Horn of Africa in January 2012 to write about piracy, Moore was kidnapped by Somali pirates and held for 977 days. More than just a recall of his struggle to survive, this work weaves together a history of piracy, the consequences of colonialism, the subtleties of hostage negotiation, and the rise of various Islamic extremists. With a 50,000-copy first printing.

Posey, Parker. You’re on an Airplane: A Self-Mythologizing Memoir. Blue Rider. Jul. 2018. 256p. ISBN 9780735218192. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780735218215. CD/downloadable. MEMOIR
An indie favorite, star of Christopher Guest’s mockumentaries, recently seen in Sundance favorite Columbus as well as Woody Allen’s Café Society and Irrational Man, and soon appearing in Netflix’s remake of Lost in Space, Posey has a lot to say about acting and the consequences of fame. Not to mention pottery, sewing, collage, yoga, and cooking.

Rowbottom Allie. Jell-O Girls: A Family History. Little, Brown. Jul. 2018. 288p. ISBN 9780316510615. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780316510639. lib. ebk. ISBN 9780316516075. Downloadable. MEMOIR
Jell-O, bland? In fact, since Rowbottom’s great-great-great-uncle smartly bought the Jell-O patent from its inventor in 1889, her family has endured a sadly high rate of suicides, alcoholism, cancer, and other inexplicable illness. Here, Rowbottom draws on archives furnished by her mother before her death to write a memoir that could spring the family curse.

Santlofer, Jonathan. The Widower’s Notebook: A Memoir. Penguin. Jul. 2018. 272p. ISBN 9780143132493. pap. $17; ebk. ISBN 9780525504443. Downloadable. MEMOIR
A Nero Award winner whose debut novel, The Death Artist, was an international best seller and an artist whose works grace major collections (e.g., the Metropolitan Museum of Art), Santlofer writes about the shock of his wife’s sudden, unexpected death and his inability to admit his pain to anyone, including himself.

Schwartz, Leslie. The Lost Chapters: Recovery and Renewal One Book at a Time. Blue Rider. Jul. 2018. 272p. ISBN 9780525534631. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780525534648. Downloadable.
Schwartz (Jumping the Green) recalls almost nothing that transpired during a 414-day relapse from sobriety wrought with arrests and rehab, lost friends and lost jobs, and one flashing knife. Sentenced to 90 days for driving under the influence and battery of an officer, she recouped through the stories she read and the stories she heard from other inmates—not surprising for a novelist and past president of PEN USA’s board of directors.

Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.

Comment Policy:
  1. Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  2. Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  3. Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  4. Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media, per our Terms of Use.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through (though some comments with links to multiple URLs are held for spam-check moderation by the system). If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.

We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it and please limit the number of links submitted in your comment. For more info, see the full Terms of Use.

Speak Your Mind