Just a dude hangin' out.
There were times while reading this that I felt sick to my stomach, it was just too real. Cree LeFavour’s memoir focuses on her relationship with her therapist, with whom she becomes infatuated…to the point of self-inflicting third-degree cigarette burns on herself to continue seeing him…to the point of violating a contract with him to stop. Faced with a choice to get a new therapist or go to a hospital, she chooses to be institutionalized. This is a very intelligent memoir from a very intelligent writer.
I was hooked at the line, “He’s gonna be sorry he ever messed with me and Loretta Lynn.” Leah Weiss’s debut goes right for the heartstrings with a brutal portrayal of the difficult life in small town Appalachia. Protagonist Sadie Blue is pregnant, and two weeks into her marriage to Roy Tupkin, realizes it was all a mistake. Armed with Loretta Lynn and a new friend in town, she begins to fight for a way out. Told from the perspective of a number of townsfolk, the reader develops a more thorough understanding of all the forces and characters at play in the community. Plus, it has a killer ending!
This reads like The Godfather if it took place in the mountains of Northern Georgia. An ATF agent with a chip on his shoulder tries to take down a crime family that has been operating for generations. Moonshiners, gun fights and a sheriff who has to decide between family or the law. Goes well with a Waylon Jennings record and a glass of bourbon.
One of my favorite characters of the Civil War, "Rebel Yell" goes in depth with the well-respected soldier, feared opponent, loving husband and doting father (something his opponents on the field would not experience)! This is a great book for Civil War nerds.
A town on the Underground Railroad secedes from the Union after it becomes fractured by the politics of the American Civil War. Being a huge geek on the subject, I’m often skeptical of historical fiction relating to it. Although Wang’s tale benefits from being based on truth, that really is a moot point. His well-developed, very “real” characters and masterful writing are all that’s needed for an incredible debut. A novel of the home front, it’s nonetheless a war novel focusing on how conflict brings out the best and worst in people. It is one of the best works of historical fiction on the Civil War that I’ve ever read, and even perhaps that exists in recent memory.
Just in time for the spookiest season, this book is hilarious, snarky, and very cute! I might be a little biased since I have this tremendous love of bats, but I dare you to read it without cracking up. Seriously, you won't be able to resist. I showed it to my boss at the end of a very difficult day and I watched the weight lift off her shoulders in front of me. You will be a hit at story time. The kids will call for this one again and again (or at least I will!).
My favorite memoirs are ones in which I find a lot of myself through the words of someone else. Even when my life doesn’t have much in common with the author in question (and my dad never robbed banks so I can mostly say there's not much overlap here). But Molly Brodak has somehow managed to make a situation that doesn‘t seem to be very relatable…relatable. I want to say it’s beautifully written, but it isn’t really. It’s tragic. And I mean that in the best way possible. It’s poignant, it’s meticulous, it’s fascinating, it’s thought provoking. It's honest. I can’t stop thinking about it. I even folded pages down and made notes in the margins and I NEVER DO THAT!
Sometimes I pigeonhole myself by only reading about things that I can relate to, stories that are familiar, people that I "know." I put this book off for a long time because of this. Finally starting it, I quickly devoured it, my narrow focus totally blown open. Xiaolu Guo's memoir proves that she has mastered the intricacies of the language that was once foreign to her, saying a lot about who she is. A story about identity, Guo has always sought out the new, and now I feel inspired to do the same.
This book is...so...COOL! Maybe I'm just a macabre soul, but Caitlin Doughty argues that much of Western culture has grown too apart from death by avoiding it as much as possible. This prevents us from grieving in proper ways. She takes us around the world studying a variety of different death practices that may leave some of you more squeamish types squirming, but the result is very profound and beautiful and whimsical. It certainly has me thinking about how I would like to go, and now I have so many more ideas (again...macabre)!