The Art of Memoir

Author: Mary Karr
Publisher: HarperCollins
ISBN: 9780062223081
Release Date: 2015-09-15
Genre: Literary Criticism

Credited with sparking the current memoir explosion, Mary Karr’s The Liars’ Club spent more than a year at the top of the New York Times list. She followed with two other smash bestsellers: Cherry and Lit, which were critical hits as well. For thirty years Karr has also taught the form, winning teaching prizes at Syracuse. (The writing program there produced such acclaimed authors as Cheryl Strayed, Keith Gessen, and Koren Zailckas.) In The Art of Memoir, she synthesizes her expertise as professor and therapy patient, writer and spiritual seeker, recovered alcoholic and “black belt sinner,” providing a unique window into the mechanics and art of the form that is as irreverent, insightful, and entertaining as her own work in the genre. Anchored by excerpts from her favorite memoirs and anecdotes from fellow writers’ experience, The Art of Memoir lays bare Karr’s own process. (Plus all those inside stories about how she dealt with family and friends get told— and the dark spaces in her own skull probed in depth.) As she breaks down the key elements of great literary memoir, she breaks open our concepts of memory and identity, and illuminates the cathartic power of reflecting on the past; anybody with an inner life or complicated history, whether writer or reader, will relate. Joining such classics as Stephen King’s On Writing and Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, The Art of Memoir is an elegant and accessible exploration of one of today’s most popular literary forms—a tour de force from an accomplished master pulling back the curtain on her craft.

The Art of Memoir

Author: Mary Karr
Publisher: Harper Perennial
ISBN: 0062223070
Release Date: 2016-09-06
Genre: Literary Criticism

Credited with sparking the current memoir explosion, Mary Karr’s The Liars’ Club spent more than a year at the top of the New York Times list. She followed with two other smash bestsellers: Cherry and Lit, which were critical hits as well. For thirty years Karr has also taught the form, winning teaching prizes at Syracuse. (The writing program there produced such acclaimed authors as Cheryl Strayed, Keith Gessen, and Koren Zailckas.) In The Art of Memoir, she synthesizes her expertise as professor and therapy patient, writer and spiritual seeker, recovered alcoholic and “black belt sinner,” providing a unique window into the mechanics and art of the form that is as irreverent, insightful, and entertaining as her own work in the genre. Anchored by excerpts from her favorite memoirs and anecdotes from fellow writers’ experience, The Art of Memoir lays bare Karr’s own process. (Plus all those inside stories about how she dealt with family and friends get told— and the dark spaces in her own skull probed in depth.) As she breaks down the key elements of great literary memoir, she breaks open our concepts of memory and identity, and illuminates the cathartic power of reflecting on the past; anybody with an inner life or complicated history, whether writer or reader, will relate. Joining such classics as Stephen King’s On Writing and Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, The Art of Memoir is an elegant and accessible exploration of one of today’s most popular literary forms—a tour de force from an accomplished master pulling back the curtain on her craft.

Lit

Author: Mary Karr
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 9780061959684
Release Date: 2009-11-03
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

Mary Karr’s bestselling, unforgettable sequel to her beloved memoirs The Liars’ Club and Cherry—and one of the most critically acclaimed books of the year—Lit is about getting drunk and getting sober; becoming a mother by letting go of a mother; learning to write by learning to live. The Boston Globe calls Lit a book that “reminds us not only how compelling personal stories can be, but how, in the hands of a master, they can transmute into the highest art." The New York Times Book Review calls it “a master class on the art of the memoir” in its Top 10 Books of 2009 Citation. Michiko Kakutani calls it “a book that lassos you, hogties your emotions and won’t let you go” in her New York Times review. And Susan Cheever states, simply, that Lit is “the best book about being a woman in America I have read in years." In addition to the New York Times, Lit was named a Best Book of 2009 by the New Yorker (Reviewer Favorite), Entertainment Weekly (Top 10), Time (Top 10), the Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Chicago Tribune, the Christian Science Monitor, Slate, the St. Louis Post Dispatch, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and the Seattle Times.

Inventing the Truth

Author: William Zinsser
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 9780547527451
Release Date: 1998-05-20
Genre: Reference

In this perfect companion for anyone beguiled by memoirs or embarking on writing one, nine distinguished authors -- Russell Baker, Jill Ker Conway, Annie Dillard, Ian Frazier, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Alfred Kazin, Frank McCourt, Toni Morrison, and Eileen Simpson -- reflect on the writing process.

Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking

Author: Anya Von Bremzen
Publisher: Crown
ISBN: 9780307886835
Release Date: 2013-09-17
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

A James Beard Award-winning writer captures life under the Red socialist banner in this wildly inventive, tragicomic memoir of feasts, famines, and three generations Born in 1963, in an era of bread shortages, Anya grew up in a communal Moscow apartment where eighteen families shared one kitchen. She sang odes to Lenin, black-marketeered Juicy Fruit gum at school, watched her father brew moonshine, and, like most Soviet citizens, longed for a taste of the mythical West. It was a life by turns absurd, naively joyous, and melancholy—and ultimately intolerable to her anti-Soviet mother, Larisa. When Anya was ten, she and Larisa fled the political repression of Brezhnev-era Russia, arriving in Philadelphia with no winter coats and no right of return. Now Anya occupies two parallel food universes: one where she writes about four-star restaurants, the other where a taste of humble kolbasa transports her back to her scarlet-blazed socialist past. To bring that past to life, Anya and her mother decide to eat and cook their way through every decade of the Soviet experience. Through these meals, and through the tales of three generations of her family, Anya tells the intimate yet epic story of life in the USSR. Wildly inventive and slyly witty, Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking is that rare book that stirs our souls and our senses.

The Liars Club

Author: Mary Karr
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9780698409996
Release Date: 2015-11-10
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

The dazzling, prizewinning, wickedly funny tale of Mary Karr’s hardscrabble Texas childhood—the book that sparked a renaissance in memoir When it was published in 1995, Mary Karr’s The Liars’ Club took the world by storm and raised the art of the memoir to an entirely new level, as well as bringing about a dramatic revival of the form. Karr’s comic childhood in an east Texas oil town brings us characters as darkly hilarious as any of J. D. Salinger’s—a hard-drinking daddy, a sister who can talk down the sheriff at twelve, and an oft-married mother whose accumulated secrets threaten to destroy them all. Now with a new introduction that discusses her memoir’s impact on her family, this unsentimental and profoundly moving account of an apocalyptic childhood is as “funny, lively, and un-put-downable” (USA Today) today as it ever was. From the Trade Paperback edition.

The Art of Vanishing

Author: Laura Smith
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9780399563607
Release Date: 2018-02-06
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

A young woman chafing at the confines of marriage confronts the high cost of craving freedom and adventure At twenty-five, as her wedding date approached, Laura Smith began to feel trapped. Not by her fiancé, who shared her appetite for adventure, but by the unsettling idea that it was hard to be at once married and free. Laura wanted her life to be different. She wanted her marriage to be different. And she found in the strangely captivating story of another restless young woman determined to live without constraints both an enticement and a challenge. Barbara Newhall Follett was a free-spirited trailblazer who published her first novel at 11, enlisted as a deck hand on a boat bound for the south China seas at 15 and was one of the first women to hike the Appalachian trail. Then in December 1939, when she was not much older than Laura, she walked out of her apartment on a quiet tree-lined street in Brookline, leaving behind a fraying marriage, and vanished without a trace. Obsessed by her story, Laura set off to find out what had happened. The Art of Vanishing is a riveting mystery and a piercing exploration of marriage and convention that asks deep and uncomfortable questions: Why do we give up on our childhood dreams? Is marriage a golden noose? Must we find ourselves in the same row houses with Pottery Barn lamps telling our kids to behave? Searingly honest and written with a raw intensity, it will challenge you to rethink your most intimate decisions and may just upend your life.

Writing the Memoir

Author: Judith Barrington
Publisher: The Eighth Mountain Press
ISBN: 0933377509
Release Date: 2002
Genre: Education

Provides guidelines for writing memoirs and personal accounts, including tips on telling the truth, writing about living people, and placing a personal story in a larger context.

The Art of Misdiagnosis

Author: Gayle Brandeis
Publisher: Beacon Press
ISBN: 9780807044865
Release Date: 2017
Genre: BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY

Award-winning novelist and poet Gayle Brandeis's wrenching memoir of her complicated family history and her mother's suicide Gayle Brandeis's mother disappeared just after Gayle gave birth to her youngest child. Several days later, her body was found: she had hanged herself in the utility closet of a Pasadena parking garage. In this searing, formally inventive memoir, Gayle describes the dissonance between being a new mother, a sweet-smelling infant at her chest, and a grieving daughter trying to piece together what happened, who her mother was, and all she had and hadn't understood about her. Around the time of her suicide, Gayle's mother had been working on a documentary about the rare illnesses she thought ravaged her family: porphyria and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. In The Art of Misdiagnosis, taking its title from her mother's documentary, Gayle braids together her own narration of the charged weeks surrounding her mother's suicide, transcripts of her mother's documentary, research into delusional and factitious disorders, and Gayle's own experience with misdiagnosis and illness (both fabricated and real). Slowly and expertly, The Art of Misdiagnosis peels back the complicated layers of deception and complicity, of physical and mental illness in Gayle's family, to show how she and her mother had misdiagnosed one another. Gayle's memoir is both a compelling search into the mystery of one's own family and a life-affirming story of the relief discovered through breaking familial and personal silences. Written by a gifted stylist, The Art of Misdiagnosis delves into the tangled mysteries of disease, mental illness, and suicide and comes out the other side with grace.

The Art of Waiting

Author: Belle Boggs
Publisher: Graywolf Press
ISBN: 9781555979454
Release Date: 2016-09-06
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

A brilliant exploration of the natural, medical, psychological, and political facets of fertility When Belle Boggs's "The Art of Waiting" was published in Orion in 2012, it went viral, leading to republication in Harper's Magazine, an interview on NPR's The Diane Rehm Show, and a spot at the intersection of "highbrow" and "brilliant" in New York magazine's "Approval Matrix." In that heartbreaking essay, Boggs eloquently recounts her realization that she might never be able to conceive. She searches the apparently fertile world around her--the emergence of thirteen-year cicadas, the birth of eaglets near her rural home, and an unusual gorilla pregnancy at a local zoo--for signs that she is not alone. Boggs also explores other aspects of fertility and infertility: the way longing for a child plays out in the classic Coen brothers film Raising Arizona; the depiction of childlessness in literature, from Macbeth to Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?; the financial and legal complications that accompany alternative means of family making; the private and public expressions of iconic writers grappling with motherhood and fertility. She reports, with great empathy, complex stories of couples who adopted domestically and from overseas, LGBT couples considering assisted reproduction and surrogacy, and women and men reflecting on childless or child-free lives. In The Art of Waiting, Boggs deftly distills her time of waiting into an expansive contemplation of fertility, choice, and the many possible roads to making a life and making a family.

The Art of Asking

Author: Amanda Palmer
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
ISBN: 9781455581078
Release Date: 2014-11-11
Genre: Self-Help

FOREWORD BY BRENE BROWN and POSTSCRIPT FROM BRAIN PICKINGS CREATOR MARIA POPOVA Rock star, crowdfunding pioneer, and TED speaker Amanda Palmer knows all about asking. Performing as a living statue in a wedding dress, she wordlessly asked thousands of passersby for their dollars. When she became a singer, songwriter, and musician, she was not afraid to ask her audience to support her as she surfed the crowd (and slept on their couches while touring). And when she left her record label to strike out on her own, she asked her fans to support her in making an album, leading to the world's most successful music Kickstarter. Even while Amanda is both celebrated and attacked for her fearlessness in asking for help, she finds that there are important things she cannot ask for-as a musician, as a friend, and as a wife. She learns that she isn't alone in this, that so many people are afraid to ask for help, and it paralyzes their lives and relationships. In this groundbreaking book, she explores these barriers in her own life and in the lives of those around her, and discovers the emotional, philosophical, and practical aspects of THE ART OF ASKING. Part manifesto, part revelation, this is the story of an artist struggling with the new rules of exchange in the twenty-first century, both on and off the Internet. THE ART OF ASKING will inspire readers to rethink their own ideas about asking, giving, art, and love.

Memoir

Author: G. Thomas Couser
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199927074
Release Date: 2011-12-02
Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines

Each year brings a batch of new memoirs, ranging from works by former teachers and celebrity has-beens to disillusioned soldiers and bestselling novelists. In addition to becoming bestsellers in their own right, memoirs have become a popular object of inquiry in the academy and a mainstay in most MFA workshops. Courses in what is now called "life writing" study memoir alongside personal essays, diaries, and autobiographies. Memoir: An Introduction proffers a succinct and comprehensive survey of the genre (and its many subgenres) while taking readers through the various techniques, themes, and debates that have come to characterize the ubiquitous literary form. Its fictional origins are traced to eighteenth-century British novels; its early American roots are examined in Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography and colonial captivity narratives; and its ethical conundrums are considered via the imbroglios brought on by the questionable claims in Rigoberta Mench?'s I, Rigoberta, and more notoriously, James Frey's A Million Little Pieces. Alongside these more traditional literary forms, Couser expands the discussion of memoir to include film with what he calls "documemoir" (exemplified in Nathaniel Kahn's My Architect) and graphic narratives like Art Spiegelman's Maus.

Zen in the Art of Writing

Author: Ray Bradbury
Publisher: RosettaBooks
ISBN: 9780795350511
Release Date: 2017-05-05
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

Ray Bradbury presents Zen in the Art of Writing, a collection from one of the most legendary voices in science fiction and fantasy on how his unbridled passion for creating worlds of infinite impossibilities made him a master of the craft. Part memoir, part philosophical guide, the essays in this book teach the joy of writing. Rather than focusing on the mechanics of putting words on paper, Bradbury’s zen is found in the celebration of storytelling that drove him to write every day. Imparting lessons he has learned over the course of his exuberant career, Bradbury inspires with his infectious enthusiasm. Bringing together eleven essays and a series of poems written with his own unique style and fervor, Zen in the Art of Writing is a must read for all prospective writers and Bradbury fans.

Cherry

Author: Mary Karr
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9781101650745
Release Date: 2001-09-01
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

From Mary Karr comes this gorgeously written, often hilarious story of her tumultuous teens and sexual coming-of-age. Picking up where the bestselling The Liars' Club left off, Karr dashes down the trail of her teen years with customary sass, only to run up against the paralyzing self-doubt of a girl in bloom. Fleeing the thrills and terrors of adolescence, she clashes against authority in all its forms and hooks up with an unforgettable band of heads and bona-fide geniuses. Parts of Cherry will leave you gasping with laughter. Karr assembles a self from the smokiest beginnings, delivering a long-awaited sequel that is both "bawdy and wise" (San Francisco Chronicle).

Handling the Truth

Author: Beth Kephart
Publisher: Gotham
ISBN: 9781592408153
Release Date: 2013
Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines

A memoir-writing guide offers writing lessons and examples for those interested in putting their memories down on paper, explains the difference between remembering and imagining, and describes the language of truth.