what I’ve been reading recently

It’s been a while since I posted what I have been reading, but I assure you, the books have been coming at me:

The Blessing, by Gregory Orr. (Heavy, but beautifully written memoir. He’s a famous poet.)
American Requiem, by James Carroll. (Also a heavy memoir, but less beautifully written and much, much more melodramatic. Of interest to Catholics, for sure.)
Mountains Beyond Mountains, by Tracy Kidder. I read this last semester. It’s a great piece of literary journalism/profile writing. Tracy Kidder is a nonfiction master.
We Didn’t Come Here for This, by William Patrick. I may have listed this earlier. It’s a memoir in poetry. I wasn’t super intrigued.
Elegy for Iris, by John Bayley. This book was made into a movie, which I think is just called “Iris.” It’s about Iris Murdoch, the British novelist, written by her husband. It’s about her descent into Alzheimer’s. A very British book…interesting in a way, but slow reading. Moving and heavy toward the end.
Autobiography of a Face, by Lucy Grealy. A kickass (though sometimes hard to read) memoir of childhood cancer. The writing is absolutely beautiful.
Truth and Beauty, by Ann Patchett. The controversial memoir of Ann Patchett’s friendship with the above Lucy Grealy. A good read in its own way, but ethically…not so nice. If you read this, definitely read Grealy’s memoir first.
The Dream of Water, by Kyoko Mori. A beautifully written memoir of a bad childhood in Japan. There are some flaws to this book, but overall, a good read.
The Kiss, by Kathryn Harrison. The previously mentioned incest memoir that trumps all memoirs. One reviewer said this book “ruined it for the rest of us” trying to write memoirs. All present tense, all the time.. this book induces heart-pounding when reading.

Coming up for the rest of the semester:
Shot in the Heart, by Mikal Gilmore. Written by the brother of a convicted killer who was executed by firing squad. Yeah, really looking forward to that one.
The Woman Warrior, by Maxine Hong Kingston. One of my favorite books of all time ever.
Stop-time, by Frank Conroy.
Lying: A Metaphorical Memoir, by Lauren Slater. Apparently controversial.
Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight, by Alexandra Fuller. Another kickass memoir.
The Situation and the Story, by Vivian Gornick.
I Could Tell You Stories, by Patricia Hampl. This is an awesome collection of essays centered around the concept of memory and writing about memory.

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