I'll admit I wasn't sure about a memoir that alternated between recipes and recovery from an aneurysm, but Stir must have won me over because I not only felt the unique disappointment that only happens when finishing a good book, I also can't stop talking about it. Jessica Fechtor's recovery from a brain aneurysm while running on a treadmill is memoir-worthy without the wonderful observations, recipes, and memories.
In July of 2007, Catherine Tidd lost her husband, Brad, in an accident and suddenly found herself a 31-year-old widow with three small children. In Confessions of a Mediocre Widow, Tidd chronicles her experience with sudden widowhood and the journey of self-discovery her husband's loss prompted.
Mary Anna King’s first six years of life are anything but stable.
I Am Big Bird is a must-see for fans of Sesame Street, Jim Henson, Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, or all of the above. It’s a documentary focusing on the life of Caroll Spinney, the puppeteer who plays both Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, and also sometimes other famous Sesame Street characters like Bert.
This is the first in a six book series, totaling some 3,000 pages, about a quiet man from Norway reflecting on parts of his life. It is boring and breathtaking at the same time. The author ruminates on the death of his father and his own mortality as he shuffles through memories of his childhood and then the more recent past. Day-to-day events such as making breakfast, working at a computer, and making phone calls take center stage. We all do things like this every day and then forget about them. Somehow, Karl Ove Knausgaard makes them memorable.
In The Butterfly Hours, Dann uses “one-word memory triggers like ‘table’ or ‘car’ . . . as a way” for students, and eventually herself, “to stitch together the patches of [their lives].” Some of the stories shared are those of her students, some are her own. All are beautiful.
The reading could have gone quickly, but I saved and savored the chapters. Assignments are listed at the end of the book and a photocopy of them now rests in the cover of my journal.
Through a series of short essays, Thomas lovingly paints a picture of her best friend Chuck, a heartbreaking portrait of her daughter’s cancer, eloquently wrangles her addictions, and throws in all the other stuff that makes a life a life. Somehow she makes the whole mess look beautiful.
The title of Love, Loss and What We Ate is what sparked my interest: what could be more relatable? I knew nothing about Padma Lakshmi and didn’t even recognize her name. But it doesn’t matter; anyone can find aspects of her story engaging. She writes with honesty and simplicity about the events of her life.
Caitlin Doughty’s memoir of her journey to becoming a licensed mortician is equal parts morbid, hilarious, inspiring and ruthlessly genuine. It’s also a memoir of her fight against the fear of death, a fight that almost destroys her. Much like the orange rot that sometimes trails our faces during death, we may never be ready to see it. But Caitlin stresses throughout Smoke Gets in Your Eyes that witnessing death is how we ready ourselves for it, and even embrace its terrible beauty.