I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The book comes out September 15.
The queen of memoir, who also teacI received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The book comes out September 15.
The queen of memoir, who also teaches classes in memoir writing, has published a book about writing memoir. It couldn't get better. I love how Mary Karr writes despite not yet finishing one of her memoirs. She is quite self-referential in this text, which even she seems uncertain about. Many of the references will only make sense if you have read the books she is referencing, so I leave this book feeling as if I need to go read the seven pages of suggested reading before I can really weigh in on the benefit of this one.
I loved her discussions of truth, of trust, of voice. I think anyone considering publishing any form of their own story is likely to benefit from the advice in this slim volume.
These quotes may not be in final copy:
"No matter how self-aware you are, memoir wrenches at your insides precisely because it makes you battle your very self - your neat analyses and tiny excuses.... So forget about holes in your memory or lawsuits or how those crazy suckers you share your DNA with are going to spaz out once you tell about what Uncle Bubba did during nighttime... You can do 'research,' i.e. postponing writing, till Jesus dons a nightie. But your memoir's real enemy is blinking back at you from the shaving glass when you floss at night - your ignorant ego and its myriad masks."
"The best revisers often have reading habits that stretch back before the current age, which lends them a sense of history and raises their standards for quality."...more
This book came along right around when I was talking to other people about wishing I was a better interviewer. I showed up at a booksale, and there itThis book came along right around when I was talking to other people about wishing I was a better interviewer. I showed up at a booksale, and there it was, for $1. Terry Gross is a spectacular interviewer who I rarely listen to, but still her name has seeped into my brain. She asks insightful questions that are based on solid research and the ability to make connections others may not have made.
The book is almost entirely transcribed interviews from between 1976 and 2004. Anyone looking to learn more about interviewing will have to learn by observation rather than direct information. The introduction has a few tidbits in it, but almost all of it ended up repeated in the Marc Maron WTF Podcast interview with her. (I wonder if he knows she presented him with so little new material?)
The best moments, to me, are moments of resistance. An actress (Uta Hagen) who refuses to discuss her craft until Terry Gross can explain how it connects directly to her own. A musician who can't answer a question without sexual innuendo or dismissing her because she is female and can't understand the male psyche (Gene Simmons at his most obnoxious.) But what do you do when you lose control of an interview? This is more informative than everything going right.
Fresh Air is heavily, heavily edited. I sometimes chop chunks out of podcast episodes too, and knowing this about her reputable program made me feel better. As she says,
"I violate many rules of polite conversation in my interviews... You know what it's like when you're cornered by someone who can't stop talking? There's just no polite way of telling them to stop.... That kind of graceful getaway isn't an option for me in the studio - in addition to which, the problem isn't really that I'm bored, but that my listeners are going to be... I risk momentarily embarrassing someone I regard highly enough to have on the show, because I trust that this little bit of advice will help him or her keep the attention of our listeners."
Preach, Terry. I need to get better at knowing when to do this and when to just edit later. She had some other practical advice in that paragraph that I just cut for the sake of my readers. Ha!
One little tidbit I loved comes from an early interview with Jodie Foster:
"Everything that you do as an actor is about reading. Everything you do as a direction is about reading. It's about reading deeper, and reading between the lines, and perceiving more than just what's on the surface. The study of literature is just about looking deeper."...more
I received a copy of this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
This book is for fans of City Lights, the Beat generation, and of LawrencI received a copy of this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
This book is for fans of City Lights, the Beat generation, and of Lawrence Ferlinghetti. I'm not sure people who don't know about that group and their cultural significance should start here.
I did enjoy reading Ferlinghetti's journals. It is clear that being a bookseller and a poet opened up travel avenues for him in ways that would not have been available to every American - places of revolution like Cuba, Spain, and Nicaragua. His linguistic ability forged relationships throughout Latin America and Europe, which in turn led to many publications through City Lights including translations that he did himself!
Communism, anarchy, revolution. Ferlinghetti drifts through these groups and ideas without really committing to any of them, he leaves that for his slightly younger peers, most of whom died before he did (after all, he's still alive!)
It was interesting to see the world stage through a travel journal outside of America and in very specific American cities. His writing is sometimes fragmentary, sometimes poetic, sometimes using creative license (or perhaps drug induced writing, from what it seemed like.) Some is mundane, some is beautiful, his moods come through. Most of the journal is that of a solitary man, but this is because most of the time his wife and son are not traveling with him. It made me curious about him in his normal, domestic life. ...more
Another review in an attempt to clear cookbooks from my to-read list. This one was recommended in a recent conversation about new but simple recipes tAnother review in an attempt to clear cookbooks from my to-read list. This one was recommended in a recent conversation about new but simple recipes to try, and I discovered one of my friends loved this book. I read a lot of cookbooks, and it is hard to find one that has anything new, but this one manages to! Interesting combinations of ingredients and techniques, without a lot of fuss or difficulty. Win/win!
Recipes I've marked to try: -Smoked Salmon, Basil, & Lemon Quesadillas -Palacsintas with Apricot Jam and Powdered Sugar (for my ongoing pancakes of the world project in my baking blog) -Golden Raisin-Fennel Scones (this is an example of an "oh what would that taste like" reaction?!) -Chickpea Flour Soup from Provence (intriguing) -Caramelized Cabbage and Noodles (a homey Hungarian recipe, sounds like great comfort food) -Rutabaga, Creme Fraiche & Havarti Torte (I have definitely never made a recipe featuring rutabagas)
My tiny wee complaint is that salt, pepper, and water are not included in ingredients list but are often called for in the recipes. I would have liked to have everything included, despite what might be expected. She also calls for extra-large eggs throughout the cookbook and this would require either recipe modification or buying two kinds of eggs, just a personal pain. Not enough to give the cookbook anything less than five stars. ...more
I have too many cookbooks on my to-read list so I embarked on a project to try some and get them off the list! This book supports my Oceania World LitI have too many cookbooks on my to-read list so I embarked on a project to try some and get them off the list! This book supports my Oceania World Lit reading project for 2015. I've finally moved past Papua New Guinea to Indonesia. Not far, but still a change.
I've made a few recipes out of this cookbook so far:
Some recipes in this slim book require ingredients that are hard for me to get, such as fresh pandan leaves. Others are hard to imagine, like the melon salad with a mustard dressing, or the melon drink in rose water (but I might still try this one.) Overall this is a very tasty cuisine, similar to Thai or Vietnamese in some ways but not as sweet as Thai and not as soup-based as Vietnamese. Each recipe I've made has used almost an entire bulb of garlic! For baked goods and desserts I had to find recipes other places; this is primarily a savory cookbook....more
This one was really more of a skimmer, and one that would be best to have around for reference. I picked it up after reading Browsings: A Year of ReadThis one was really more of a skimmer, and one that would be best to have around for reference. I picked it up after reading Browsings: A Year of Reading, Collecting, and Living with Books, and was considering joining a classics book club. I ended up deciding against the book club (it was in person and I wasn't sure I had the time or passion) but deciding to still skim the book for ideas.
I like that Michael Dirda groups books by his own categories. It isn't by era or your typical canon listing, and this made me far more interested in what he had to say. I also added a few books to my to-read list, such as:
There were few books discussed in Classics for Pleasure that I had read previously, in fact most of what I had already read were science fiction "classics" authors. He doesn't include Dickens or Austen or Melville, the books I would have expected. Some reach farther back than that, some are translated works, and there were some authors I had never heard of. Thank goodness. This is why I read books on books....more