Posts Tagged ‘memoir’

Justin Halpern’s Humor Returns in “I Suck at Girls”

May 15th, 2012 No comments

Writer Justin Halpern, whose explosively popular Twitter feed @shitmydadsays grew into a bestselling book and a television series, mines the stories of his youth again for the new memoir I Suck at Girls. This time the focus is Halpern’s own coming of age and early experience (or lack there of) in the dating world. “I just felt like there were a lot of books for people that score with the ladies all the time, and then there are a lot of books for people that were total social outcasts who really went through a lot just to live a normal life. And I didn’t feel like there was a lot of that in between, where I felt most people fell, including myself, and I was like, you know what? People share way more embarrassing stories than these. Maybe I can just give them something that makes the common person feel like they have a kindred spirit,” says the author in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, explaining the inspiration for the book. Read more…


A Tribute to Children’s Author Robert McCloskey

July 29th, 2011 No comments

Jane McCloskey writes a loving tribute to her father in Robert McCloskey: A Private Life in Words and Pictures (Smith/Kerr Assoc, 256pgs). The children’s book author is best known for his classic picture books Make Way For Ducklings, One Morning in Maine and Blueberries for Sal. Though these award-winning books were written decades ago, the stories are timeless and remain popular with children today. In her own book, Jane, the writer’s youngest daughter and sister of Sal, presents a lively depiction of their family life in Maine, a place that inspired many of McCloskey’s stories. Jane also touches on the family’s time in New York and Mexico. Though they all shared a very loving bond, she admits that, like any family, there were a few bumps in the road. “Sal’s childhood was less happy than mine, while her adulthood has been happier and more successful,” she writes. Read more…


Lee Confirms Cooperation with “Mockingbird” Memoir

May 26th, 2011 No comments

Harper Lee

Controversy erupted in April surrounding Marja Mills’ book The Mockingbird Next Door: Life With Harper Lee, when Lee’s law firm released a statement denying any cooperation with the writer. In response to the denial, Mills sent an e-mail through her publisher Penguin Press to the New York Times, stating that “Harper Lee, known as Nelle to many of her friends, and her sister, Alice Lee, were wonderfully generous with their time and insights over the years as I researched my book.” She also produced a signed statement from Alice Lee “affirming she and her sister, Nelle Harper Lee, cooperated with the project.” Read more…


New Release: Blood, Bones & Butter

March 9th, 2011 No comments

By Gabrielle Hamilton
Random House | 304pgs
Release Date: March 1, 2011

New York chef Gabrielle Hamilton traces her unlikely path to gastronomic success in her new memoir Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef. The culinary entrepreneur spent her early childhood living with bohemian parents in rural Pennsylvania. But, her family fell apart during her early teens when her parents divorced, leaving Hamilton and her brother largely on their own. Though she became a bit of a wild child, experimenting with drugs, she was always drawn to the food business, and moved to New York at 16 to work as a waitress. She moved through several restaurant and catering jobs, and later back-packed through France, Greece and Turkey, often relying on meals provided by generous strangers to stave of her hunger. The culmination of all these experiences prompted Hamilton to open her small 30-seat restaurant Prune in the East Village during the late 1990′s. The chef had never ran a restaurant before, but achieved enormous success with the small eatery, winning acclaim with critics and the patronage of serious foodies. Her memoir, like her restaurant, emphasizes the link between food and human comfort. In Prune, Hamilton created a place where your server “would bring you something to eat or drink that you didn’t even ask for when you arrived cold and early and undone by your day in the city.” Read more…


Life Lessons From an Accidental Librarian

December 6th, 2010 No comments

51IEkpx6IdL._SL160_Avi Steinberg’s intelligent and amusing new memoir Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian (Nan A. Talese, 416pgs) recounts his two year stint working as a librarian at Boston’s Deer Island prison library. The poorly motivated, but highly educated Harvard grad found the job posted innocuously listed on Craigslist, and was hired even though he did not hold a degree in Library Science. Despite poor conditions, strict prison regulations and interacting with felons on a daily basis, Steinberg found the job oddly appealing. In addition to duties common to most librarians such as checking out books and helping patrons with research, the 20-something academic also had the more colorful duties of examining books for “kites”, prohibited messages traded between prisoners of the opposite sex, and keeping an eye out for any library materials that could potentially be fashioned into weapons. “I am living my (quixotic) dream: a book-slinger with a badge and a streetwise attitude, part bookworm, part badass,” quotes a review in USA TODAY. Read more…


New Release: Must You Go?: My Life with Harold Pinter

November 3rd, 2010 No comments

41rYVo3CujL._SL160_By Antonia Fraser
Nan A. Talese | 336 pages
Release Date: November 2, 2010

In the heartfelt memoir Must You Go?: My Life with Harold Pinter, celebrated historical biographer Antonia Fraser shares intimate moments with her husband Pinter, the renowned playwright. The two Brits met at a party in 1975, though both were married to other people at the time. Fraser was wife to Tory member of Parliament and mother to six children, while Pinter was wed to an actress and had one child. Their romantic relationship had a somewhat scandalous beginning, but deepened into a love that spanned more than three decades. The couple lived together from August of 1975 until the end of 2008 when the Nobel Prize winning dramatist succumbed to cancer. The narrative, mainly culled from events recorded in Fraser’s diaries, offers private glimpses into the lives of two very public people, and reveals a marriage blessed with success and joy, yet tempered near the end with the challenge of illness. Read more…


New Release: Half a Life

September 15th, 2010 No comments

41cLklhbQoL._SL160_By Darin Strauss
McSweeney’s | 204pgs
Release Date: September 15, 2010

In this honest and painful memoir, novelist Darin Strauss lays bare the life-shattering events surrounding the accidental death of his high school classmate in Half a Life. Eighteen-year-old Strauss was just weeks away from graduating high school on the day he was driving with some friends and collided with a young girl on a bike, who had unexpectedly swerved in front of his car. The girl, 16-year-old Celine Zilke, was killed and Strauss was left with a tremendous guilt that would weigh on him for years to come. In that instant, the hopeful young man with a bright future was forever changed, and a promise to Celine’s mother to live his life for two people, kept the girl a constant presence in his mind. The tragic loss of life, the dramatic court case that followed, and years of piercing introspection made Strauss the man very different from his younger self, and provided the foundation for his work in fiction. Through his personal story, the author touches on universal themes of guilt, accountability and acceptance of life’s traumas. Read more…


New Release: Let’s Take the Long Way Home

August 9th, 2010 No comments

41+CNuWxduL._SL160_By Gail Caldwell
Random House | 208pgs
Release Date: August 10, 2010

Pulitzer Prize winning critic Gail Caldwell writes a deeply touching testament to her best friend in Let’s Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship. Caldwell and fellow writer Caroline Knapp (Drinking: A Love Story) shared an intensely close connection, and when Knapp was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in April of 2002, the pair shared Knapp’s struggle in the final days of her life. The women had come into this valuable friendship in mid-life. They met in Boston and quickly bonded over their mutual love of dogs, active lifestyles and past struggles with alcoholism. Neither were married, and turned to each other for advice, companionship and emotional support. Caldwell openly discusses Knapp’s decline in health and death two months after the diagnosis, as a way to deal with her grief and memorialize their friendship by sharing their story.
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Real-Life Ad Exec Recounts His “Mad Men” Days

July 29th, 2010 No comments

41MFEtvFmRL._SL160_Before there was Don Draper and Mad Men, real-life ad man Jerry Della Femina was living it up on Madison Avenue. Della Femina’s 1970 memoir From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor (Simon & Schuster, 288pgs), one of the sources of inspiration for the hit television show, was reissued this month. The book, named after a tongue-in-cheek slogan rejected by Panasonic, exposes the true hijinks and excesses of advertising’s heyday. In an interview with NPR, Della Femina discusses his time as an ad executive. “Advertising was fun,” he explains. “I wrote that it was the most fun you could have with your clothes on — and we’ll never see it again.” Comparing the antics of the characters on Mad Men with his real life experiences, he claims the show has toned down the debauchery on Madison Avenue. “Obviously it was not politically correct, but everyone took part in it and we were just enjoying doing what we were doing,” he admits. “We thought the fun would never end.”
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New Release: Everything Is Going to Be Great

July 27th, 2010 No comments

511YmXSnCpL._SL160_By Rachel Shukert
Harper Perennial | 336pgs
Release Date: July 27, 2010

Performer and playwright Rachel Shukert recounts her experiences and misadventures during a coming of age tour of Europe in the witty Everything Is Going to Be Great: An Underfunded and Overexposed European Grand Tour. With a freshly minted acting degree from NYU, Shukert wins a role as an extra in a play booked on a European tour. An error in customs leaves her passport unstamped, allowing her to travel freely throughout Vienna, Zurich and Amsterdam, experiencing booze, boys and culture shock in transit. Written in a style that Entertainment Weekly‘s Tina Jordan describes as “a cross between David Sedaris and Chuck Palahniuk”, Shukert’s irreverent observations offer an entertaining portrait of a young woman finding her way to adulthood.
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