Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Memoirs - A Reading List

If you read someone's personal blog, where as do I the blogger writes in excess about the mildy entertaining but mostly mundane days of her life, then you probably also read a lot of memoirs. I do.

I can tell you that I'm amused by human behavior, love to learn from other people's mistakes and get off on finding empathy in shared experiences, and it would all be true. But mostly, I'm just nosey.

I've been plowing through some personal pages lately. Here's a list of memoirs that I have read (and two I can't wait to read):

Come to the Edge

I spent the bulk of Sunday on my couch, reliving with the author, Christina Haag, her five years as the girlfriend of John F Kennedy, Jr. I can't stop begging my friends and family to read this book so that we can discuss it, wearing big Jackie O sunglasses somewhere this Spring and Summer.  It's as much a travel adventure as it as love story, and even if you've no interest in the Kennedys, if you have the slightest inkling for romance I can't imagine you wouldn't fall in love with this book. It is indeed sappy, forced at times to read like some mythical fairytale of just-not-meant-to-be which may bother some, but not me - I love sap. Besides, if you were the woman who first took John-John to the remote Georgia island where he'd later marry someone else, you've earned the poetic license to over-sentimentalize the account of your heart's nostalgia.  While there is zero tabloid feel to it as Haag shares her memories of the Kennedy family, if you do have any curiosities about what goes down behind closed doors on the Vineyard, you'll appreciate the private moments to which Haag was once privy. 

I Beat the Odds

From love and politics to football....you can't say my bookshelf isn't diverse! Michael Oher's memoir (what you didn't learn from reading or watching The Blind Side) came out in February. I bought it for Dan as a birthday gift, then read it before he did because that's the kind of wife I am. As a disclaimer,  I love sports bios, the SEC, the Tuohy family from Tennessee who adopted Oher and by default of my marriage, the Baltimore Ravens. If you care not at all about those thing, you might not care about this book. If, however,  you love a story about beating the odds, then like me, you'll probably need a box of tissues as you hear Oher's account of escaping the Memphis projects, learning to love books and literature and then signing to play professional football with the only NFL team named after a  poem. If I coached a sports team, I'd make all my players read this book!

A Maze of Grace

One of the book blogs I follow pointed me towards A Maze of Grace, a  "memoir of second chances".  My interest was peaked because I thought I would relate a lot to the author, Trish Ryan, who was sharing about her new marriage and all the adjustments that come with it. Ryan had already written a book about her struggle to find a healthy romantic relationship that (He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not) found her single into her 30s. That is a reoccuring theme, clearly, in chick-lit, but Ryan also didn't find Christian faith 'til well into adulthood either, and faith is the main focus of both her books.  I read a lot of books on religion, and there's no denying that both of Ryan's stories made me stop and think about how I am (or how I'm not) bringing God into my marriage. It inspired a lot of great conversations, too, both with friends and with Dan. I can't say that I agree entirely with Ryan's thoughts on either - one's marriage and one's faith are highly personal - but that's doesn't mean I didn't appreciate both books.

Black Heels to Tractor Wheels

Don't ge me wrong, I love The Pioneer Woman as much as anyone, but I just didn't love the final chapters - the new part of the book for anyone who'd read the first part online.  I feel like it is blasphemy in blogland to admit this, seeing as she's our Queen and all, but I'm just being honest!  Before there was a book deal or a movie, I'd read most of Black Heels on PW.com, and I thought it was really fun - if you've yet to be entertained by how she and Marlboro Man courted then you'll probably love this book from cover to cover! PW has a very embellished, fantastical writing style that people either love...or hate.  I find it amusing, and was excited to read the rest of her story. The book version includes the story PW shared on her blog, but picks up after the wedding. As is often the case when the honeymoon is over, life gets real in the final chapters of her book with issues like death and divorce. It's not that I didn't appreciate learning more about her story - I did. I visit the Pioneer Woman site daily, adore her recipes, and own her cookbook. If I could figure out a way for Chloe to meet and date Charlie, don't think I wouldn't make it happen.  I just like my PW over-the-top happy and peppy and sharing pictures of basset hounds.  So, in short - loved the original blog part; the book addition left me happy I'd read via a library check-out.

Stories I Only Tell My Friends

Rob Lowe dishing on the 1980's Brat Pack, and a young Tom Cruise and Charlie Sheen? Winning! I can't not think of St Elmo's Fire anytime I'm in Georgetown (which is rare, but still...) so I will clearly be reading this book that comes out April 26th.

Every Day By The Sun

The only last name more impressive in the South than Manning is...Faulkner. The last living Faulkner (as in, William's niece) shares her stories of a Mississippi childhood alongside on of literatures greats.

If you are still reading this, you're my mother or a total bibliophile. In that case, please tell me your favorite memoirs so I can add them to my list!


Dee Stephens said...

Okay..seriously? We are freaking twins. This is getting ridiculous! I too, read a lot of memoirs. I'm all about non-fiction and I think it's b/c I'm nosey too.
Maybe it's our news background? I just read about that first book in my People magazine the other day. I really wonder what the Kennedy's think of it?
The 2nd one looks good too.
I've read a ton of celeb memoirs including a bunch of rock stars, etc.
I'm also into true crime. I was obsessed with the Scott Peterson trial.

Kori said...

I want to read that first one too! Kori xoxo

Hines-Sight said...

I may check out some of those especially the Kennedy one.

Emily said...

I've read quite a few memoirs...although Law School put a screeching halt to any 'fun' reading other than textbooks. However over spring break I read a number of trashy magazines, and "The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven" which was a pretty powerful story. Great suggestions--come summer break and I'm picking up most of those books!


stop by my blog sometime: http://classescasesandchaos.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

brinkka2011 says: Resources including the one you talked about here will be really helpful to me! I will publish a link to this web page on my weblog. I am certain my visitors will find that very helpful.


Related Posts with Thumbnails