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Memoir

  • A.L.T.: A Memoir

    A.L.T.: A Memoir by Andre Leon Talley. “The autobiography of a Vogue editor, who leaves the deep South and family traditions to become a gay NYC fashionista, meeting the who’s who of pop culture along the way. (Also, he went to Brown & was art history major so there’s a lot of art stuff in it too) Really well told. Made a big impression on me – e.g., how certain moments in your childhood and little things you take for granted, can stay with you long after you’ve left."

  • About Alice

    About Aliceby Calvin Trillin. "Very sweet and tender memoir written about the author's wife." From Amazon:  In Calvin Trillin’s antic tales of family life, she was portrayed as the wife who  had “a weird predilection for limiting our family to three meals a day” and the mother  who thought that if you didn’t go to every performance of your child’s school play,  “the county would come and take the child.” Now, five years after her death, her  husband offers this loving portrait of Alice Trillin off the page–his loving portrait  of Alice Trillin off the page–an educator who was equally at home teaching at a university  or a drug treatment center, a gifted writer, a stunningly beautiful and thoroughly  engaged woman who, in the words of a friend, “managed to navigate the tricky waters  between living a life you could be proud of and still delighting in the many things  there are to take pleasure in.”

  • After Long Silence

    After Long Silence by Helen Fremont. "Fremont's memoir is an incredible tale of survival, a beautiful love story and a suspenseful account of how the author's investigation of her roots shattered fiercely guarded family secrets. Raised Roman Catholic in a Michigan suburb, Fremont knew that her parents had been in concentration camps. Her Polish mother, Batya, was interned in Mussolini's Italy, and her Hungarian-born father, Kovik, was sentenced to life in the Siberian gulag. But her parents refused to talk about their past, and they never let on that they had been born Jews. Fremont, a Boston lawyer and public defender, and her sister, Lara, a psychiatrist, pieced together their parents' hidden past by examining archives and tracking down Holocaust survivors."

  • All Over but the Shouting

    All over but the Shoutin' by Rick Bragg. "A memoir of growing up dirt poor in the South and rising to become a reporter at the New York Times. An honest, forthright portrayal of a time and a place and a man."

  • An American Childhood

    An American Childhood by Annie Dillard. "I read it through a book club, the author and book club member both attended Hollins. Charming recount of growing up."

  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life

    Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingslover. "This is about a year spent eating food grown by the author's family or within 100 miles of their home -- but written by a fiction writer, who I like - and its supposed to be great. I have not read it yet, but one the customer reviews on amazon says 'This is a must-read for anyone who eats' -- so I guess that includes most of us?"

  • Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to his White Mother

    The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to his White Mother By James McBride.

  • Escape

    Escape: Carolyn Jessop  "I found this book the most satisfying of the recent books that have been written about the Fundamentalist Mormon Church. It is a sincere and shocking account of the inside workings of the cult of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints and how the church leaders manipulate their members to keep control. Her story (eight children by the age of 30!) and how she persevered, escaped and rebuilt her life is fascinating. Again, a way to understand why those women with the long braids and dresses allow themselves to stay in a culture where they are treated as breeding machines."

  • Free Gift with Purchase

    Free Gift with Purchase: My Improbable Career in Magazinesand Makeup– by Jean Godfry-June, editor of Lucky Magazine. The daughter of Intellectuals finds career in the cosmetic industry. This looks dishy and fun.

  • Glass Castle

    The Glass Castle By Jeannette Walls. This emerged as the “must read” for the summer of 2006. Has been called an American Angela’s Ashes. “So touching, sweet, sad and hilariously funny. Page one and you are hooked. You MUST read it!"

  • Growing up

    Growing Up and The Good Times by Russell Baker. These memoirs of the NY Times columnist's childhood in Baltimore and (Good Times) early career as a journalist are wonderful. It looks like The Good Times is out of print, but I bet you could find it at the library, and there is always ebay.

  • Here if you Need Me

    Here If You Need Me: A True Story by Kate Baestrup. "It may take ingenuity to interest browsers in a memoir by a middle-aged mother who, 11 years ago, was suddenly widowed, then became a Unitarian-Universalist minister, and now works as chaplain to game wardens in Maine."

  • Hillbilly Elegy

    Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance. "An amazing story of one extraordinary man’s climb out of Appalachian poverty and into the elite halls of Yale Law School.  Along the way, JD Vance describes in detail his upbringing, the problems with Appalachian culture as he sees them, his time in the armed services, and his ideas on the difficult task of helping those people left behind in the current economy.  It helped me understand, if not sympathize with, parts of America whose votes and actions are affecting all of our lives, whether we live there or not". "There is a reason why this book has created so much buzz.   Yes, it is a story of forgotten America -  white Appalachia, the Rust belt, etc, but Vance’s voice makes it worth reading.  He shows remarkable objectivity and humanity in his writing and analysis.  He seamlessly connects his family’s experience to larger historical, economic and demographic developments".  "A book is for the geeky beach reader. This is the book that made the rounds of discussions among parent gatherings this winter and spring. It is a story about the struggle of poor, white Americans told from the perspective of one who made it to Yale law school via the Marines. JD Vance has been touted by book clubs as a window into the most recent election of Donald Trump and thus he has made it onto the pages of The Washington Post and other newspapers. I would say the book only explains a piece of the November election, but it is a fascinating piece told with a mix of pride and humility."

  • Hyperbole and a Half

    Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh.  "Allie, where have you been all my life?  I read some of blogger Allie Brosh’s humoristic memoir (which also features quirky cartoon drawings) to my teen daughter. We were laughing so hard we cried.  Brosh’s life has not been easy, and she is raw and honest in taking on tough topics, but she’s SO DAMNED FUNNY."

  • I Dreamed of Africa

    I Dreamed of Africa by Kuki Gallmann "A good read for anyone who's taken a safari in Africa, who wants to go on safari or who just loves animals. It's a story of a family who relocates from Europe to Kenya and the ensuing love, adventure and heartbreak. It's disturbingly sad at times."

    "FYI, I know several people who LOVED this book. I am not one of them. The Amazon reviews are very polarized .. it’s one of those "love it or hate it" books, I think."

  • I'll Drink to That

    I’ll Drink to That by Betty Halbreich. "Memoir from a long-time personal shopper at Bergdorf Goodman.  Shares her life story, social-climbing upbringing, divorce, depression, and clothes, clothes, clothes!"

  • If These Walls Could Talk: Thoughts of Home

    If These Walls Could Talk: Thoughts of Home (House Beautiful) This is a collection of 33 essays published in House Beautiful’s “Thoughts of Home” column.

  • Infidel

    Infidel: Ayaan Hirsi Ali  "What can I say – the story of an intelligent, gorgeous woman who escaped a culture and religion that (personal opinion) completely crushes women.  One way to try to begin to understand the Muslim issue and how it affects the 'West.'" Infidel shows the coming of age of this distinguished political superstar and champion of free speech as well as the development of her beliefs, iron will, and extraordinary determination to fight injustice.

  • Lit: A Memoir

    Lit: A Memoir (P.S.) by Mary Karr. “ (Entertainment Weekly). Lit follows the self-professed blackbelt sinner's descent into the inferno of alcoholism and madness--and to her astonishing resurrection.

  • Making Toast: A Family Story

    Making Toast: A Family Story by Roger Rosenblatt. (From Amazon) "Family tragedy is healed by domestic routine in this quiet, tender memoir. When his daughter Amy died suddenly at the age of 38 from an asymptomatic heart condition, journalist and novelist Rosen-blatt (Lapham Rising) and his wife moved into her house to help her husband care for their three young children... Rosenblatt draws sharply etched portraits of his grandchildren; his stoic, gentle son-in-law; his wife, who feels slightly guilty that she is living her daughter's life; and Amy emerges as a smart, prickly, selfless figure whose significance the author never registered until her death."