Good Minds Suggest: Mary-Louise Parker's Favorite Unconventional Memoirs

Posted by Goodreads on November 11, 2015
Mary-Louise Parker

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Mary-Louise Parker might have a message for you. Are you the cab driver she once yelled at? A past lover or a former friend? The actress, best known for her role as marijuana-selling single mom Nancy Botwin on Weeds, makes her literary debut this month with the autobiographical Dear Mr. You. But this is no celebrity memoir. The book is composed of her letters to the men—always addressed as "you"—who have shaped her life. From the grandfather she never knew to her daughter's future boyfriend (and everyone in between, including the employees of NASA), Parker offers an unflinchingly honest peek into her most intimate, hilarious, and heartbreaking memories. The actress turned author shares five of her favorite unconventional memoirs that find new ways to reveal transformation and truth.

The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs
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"The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace thoughtfully brings to life author Jeff Hobbs's college roommate, Robert Peace. Peace was a genius who deservedly landed at Yale against all odds, but then was unable to find a path away from the poverty and violence he grew up with. A searing, powerful, heartbreaking book."


The Empathy Exams: Essays by Leslie Jamison
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"Leslie Jamison's remarkable book is like the private journal of a woman willing to share her hilarious and brilliant inner monologues in a slew of different situations. She pulls apart the concept of empathy in fully original essays about her own experiences, weaving in philosophy, politics, and reality television. Repeatedly turning the lens on herself, she cuts herself not an ounce of slack and cops to her reactions at their most naked or even petty. There is something radical and timely about this book, and she is passionate and humane without photoshopping herself."


The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr
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"Mary Karr proves that the truth is infinitely sexier and more gripping than anything we could invent. You'll cackle out loud reading it and get the best required-memoir-reading list ever compiled. I fell asleep with this book still in my hands, only to wake up remembering something I was astonished to have forgotten."


Book of Hours: Poems by Kevin Young
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"Book of Hours: Poems is worthy of the kind of praise you would heap upon any classic poet, but don't let that keep you away if you don't normally gravitate toward poems. These gorgeous verses put me in some kind of trance. In this beautiful book the writer loses a father and becomes one, detailing the ache and beauty of both in a voice as precise as it is true."


Body of Water by Susan Bruce
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"Susan Bruce learned to surf and wrote a gorgeous book of poetry along the way. She crawls onto the waves, literal and otherwise, in this soulful and often funny book. You'll feel the thrill of being flogged by the water and the penitence that it brings, only to find yourself tumbling under and then flying up again."





Vote for your own favorites on Listopia: Best Experimental Memoirs



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message 1: by Hollis (new)

Hollis Body of Water,
by Susan Bruce

I keep this by my bedside.
Her words take me away, and I float through "Breaking Waves, Layers of Sea, Borrowed Light, Surfer Talk," and more.
Thank you for the beauty of the images and the reminder of the pull and vastness of the sea.


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