Posts Tagged ‘TBR pile’

Your Favorite Memoirs

February 14, 2014 @ 10:09 am | Filed under:


My Helene Hanff kick (about which more later) continues—after Duchess of Bloomsbury Street, I tore through Q’s Legacy, and yesterday when Underfoot in Show Business arrived via interlibrary loan, I squealed and quit work half an hour early to dive in. This binge got me thinking about how much I enjoy memoir. I asked my Facebook friends what their favorites are, and the list could swallow a whole year of reading time. I think you should be able to view it even if you aren’t on Facebook—or does FB make you log in to read anything there, even the public threads?

I’ll try to get the list moved over here at some point, but I’m afraid I won’t have any free time until I’ve finished reading  Underfoot. Oh Helene, Helene, I wish you’d written thirty memoirs.


Wait! I realized I could just paste in the thread. But then I worried my friends might not want their names and faces plastered on my blog, so I’ve stripped out everything except the book comments. Forgive the lack of formatting!

Please add your own favorites in the comments! I have a few to contribute too, later. And happy Valentine’s Day, everyone.


Gladys Taber’s Stillmeadow Books.

Corrie Ten Boom’s The Hiding Place

Tender at the Bone, Ruth Reichl

The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls

Someone already said Glass Castle, so I’ll throw in A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel.

Any of Caroline Knapp’s.

Seven Storey Mountain

Glass Castle for me too.

Like all of the above but Glass Castle, hands down not only my favorite memoir but a favorite book of all time.

I really liked Rumer Godden’s– and I’m on a Godden kick this week– A Time To Dance, No Time To Weep is the first volume and A House with Four Rooms is the second.

The Egg and I by . . . Betty MacDonald, I think?

Beyond Dark Hills Jesse Stuart

Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me by Karen Swallow Prior

My favorite genre,so hard to pick. Ambulance Girl, Glass Castle, On Gold Mountain , any Annie LaMott, Helen Hanff, Florence King, Alexandra Fuller, Thunderbolt Kid, any Mitford,Quentin Crisp, Christopher Isherwood …..

Glass Castle.

Good call on Betty MacDonald and Florence King. Add Shirley Jackson (Life Among the Savages) to that list.

Just Kids by Patti Smith

I liked The Spiral Staircase by Karen Armstrong (think you’d really like it) and I like Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd, too.

The Chronology of Water by Lidia Yuknavitch

Nancy and Lawrence Goldstone’s Used and Rare: Travels in the Book World (one of my favorites and since you like 84, Charing Cross Road you might enjoy this one).

I loved Sidney Poitier’s Measure of a Man.

It’s Always Something by Gilda Radner.

Angela’s Ashes

Period Piece, Raverat

An American Childhood by Annie Dillard

Love all Gladys Faber, and Anne Morrow Linbergh. And for comic fun, Bill Bryson’s Walk in the Woods!

Anything by Nancy Mitford.

Not So Wild A Dream by Eric Sevareid. Brilliantly written.

Not Even Wrong by Paul Collins. The only “autism memoir” I love. He is amazing.

I don’t know if it’s my favorite, but The Glass Castle has stuck with me.

The Girl From Yam Hill

A Private History of Awe by Scott Russell Sanders

I’ve been meaning to read WILD forever now and I always loved IN PATAGONIA by Bruce Chatwin–which is maybe more travelogue than memoir–but it has stayed with me.

In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson is just so funny and learning about Australia is fascinating.

The Middle Place. Or any of Anne Lamotts.

The Moon’s a Balloon by David Niven. But I haven’t read many.

O I love this! I’m so into memoirs recently, I love to hear people telling their stories. What a great resource this list is. I hate to have to choose a favorite anything, but let me add from recent reading Journal of Best Practices. I don’t think I saw Ann Patchett’s This is the Story of a Happy Marriage on this list yet, which I’m thinking might have been your recommendation.

I’m crazy about memoirs. Our book club read “Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio:How My Mother Raised 10 Children on 25 Words or Less” a few years ago. It’s still one of my top favorites. My least fave….A Widow’s Story by Joyce Carol Oates.

So hard to pick just one. Of course I loved Two-Part Invention by Madeleine L’Engle….

Katherine Graham: Personal History

So many! But Drinking: A Love Story, by Caroline Knapp, is up there.

I need to read

May 11, 2011 @ 7:51 pm | Filed under:

As long as we’re talking about The Penderwicks at Point Mouette, I thought I’d mention a few other books on my I’m-eager-to-read list:

Can I See Your I.D.? by Chris Barton, author of the hilarious Shark vs. Train

“From the impoverished young woman who enchanted nineteenth-century British society as a faux Asian princess, to the sixteen-year-old boy who “stole” a subway train in 1993, to the lonely-but-clever Frank Abagnale of Catch Me If You Can fame, these ten vignettes offer exhilarating insight into mind-blowing masquerades.”

Sounds way fun, eh? As does:

Emmy and the Home for Troubled Girls by Lynne Jonell

I flipped over this book at ALA Midwinter—the concept, the art, everything about it—but haven’t curled up with it yet, nor its predecessor, Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat. It struck me as likely to have very high Rose-and-Beanie appeal.

Plus I still haven’t read the first Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place book by Maryrose Wood, despite having drooled over the cover months ago, and now the second one is out. Eek! Alexander, Cassiopeia, and Beowulf, I can’t wait to meet you.

And you know I need to read Wendy McClure’s The Wilder Life! Why do I not have a copy of this book yet?

Of course this is just the tip of the iceberg…as usual my TBR list stretches to Saturn. I keep rechecking The Beak of the Finch and After the Ice out from the library: two nonfiction titles that piqued my interest, and which I despair of getting to anytime soon. Especially if any of the above hit my doorstep.

Have you read any of these? Would love to hear your take…

Books That Caught My Eye at SDCC, Part 2

August 2, 2010 @ 6:07 am | Filed under: , , ,

Again, these are books I haven’t read yet (except one)—I saw them at the con and they piqued my interest. The TBR pile moans.

Series by James Owen: The Chronicles of Imaginarium Geographica (I saw these last year too. Gorgeously designed fantasy series with an appealing premise, something about a map of all the imaginary worlds ever written about…

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore (they had a very cool one-of-a-kind handbound metal edition at the publisher’s table)

Hungry Tiger Press. This is the publisher of Eric Shanower’s beautifully illustrated new editions of L. Frank Baum’s Oz books. Eric won two Eisners this year for his edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (a Marvel Comics project). Hungry Tiger publishes reprints of old Oz stories and other Baum work, including two books about The Flying Girl, “intrepid girl aviator Orissa Kane.” Baum was one of my favorite authors as a child—we still have my collection of Oz books—and I couldn’t resist bringing The Flying Girl home with me for a test flight.

Tigerbuttah by Becky and Frank of Tiny Kitten Teeth fame. My friend Sarah showed me a copy, and the art and title made me swoon. I hunted for the booth but this was late in the day on Sunday and we had a curry date with our pal Jock, so I gave up the search. The book was adorable—it’s made after the fashion of a Golden Book with many cunning details.

Buzzboy by John Gallagher. Had the pleasure of meeting John at the kidlit gathering and am looking forward to reading his comic about “what happens when the sidekicks take over.”

Nerds: National Espionage, Rescue, and Defense Society by Michael Buckley, illustrated by Ethan Beavers. Wonderful art & a fun premise—the nerds are kids who use technology to “upgrade” their weaknesses into superpowers. More about this (and all of the above) after I’ve had a chance to read.

More on SDCC 2010:

A few photos
Photos of supercool steampunk wheelchair
Awesome sketch drawn for me by the incredible Fiona Staples
What I did at SDCC
Rick Riordan panel
LOST Encyclopedia Panel
Epic fantasy panel
Books that caught my eye (part 1)


March 8, 2010 @ 9:00 am | Filed under: ,

Young adult lit comes of age – — “I think part of the reason we’re seeing adults reading YA is that often there’s no bones made about the fact that a YA book is explicitly intended to entertain,” said Lizzie Skurnick, 36, author of “Shelf Discovery,” a collection of essays about young adult literature from the 1960s and 1970s.”YA authors are able to take themselves less seriously. They’re able to have a little more fun, and they’re less confined by this idea of themselves as Very Important Artists. That paradoxically leads them to create far better work than people who are trying to win awards.”

Léna’s Lit Life: EDGES: ARC show & tell—Lena Roy is the granddaughter of Madeleine L’Engle. HT to reader Kay for the heads-up on Lena’s upcoming novel, due out in December from FSG.

Hopewell Takes On LIFE!: When a book validates your own experience – Review of The Confederate General Rides North by Amanda Gable.

*Cute Boy on a Swing

Delicious Links for January 15, 2010

January 15, 2010 @ 7:29 am | Filed under: ,

Comments are off

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Delicious Links for January 11, 2010

January 11, 2010 @ 8:01 pm | Filed under:

Books My Kids Have Asked Me to Read

January 7, 2010 @ 8:09 am | Filed under:

Pronto, please.

Everything by Shannon Hale, starting with The Goose Girl. (I have read Hale’s adult books, Austenland and The Actor and the Housewife.)

The Percy Jackson series—they have been after me to catch up on these for ages.

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey (book #2 in the series—you know how much I loved the first one).

The Ruby Key by Holly Lisle (and I think this was sent to me as a Library Thing review copy, so I really need to get on the stick).

Countless others, but those are the ones placed enticingly on the shelf next to my bed at the moment.

Reading My Summer

August 26, 2009 @ 7:45 pm | Filed under:

I was looking at my reading log for the past three months and laughing at how aptly it characterizes our summer.

June: Regular activities wind down; we’re home for long, lazy days, hanging out in the backyard, enjoying the sunny evenings. I read nine books.

July: Whoosh! How’d we get so busy? Every day’s a new adventure. Comic-Con munches up a solid week. I read (to completion) one, count it—one, book. Bits and pieces of many others, but from beginning to end? A single book: an old favorite, savored slowly, a page and sometimes only a paragraph at a time, late at night, when the heavy hush has settled at last upon the house.

August: Our summer activities have settled into a routine, streamlined, efficient. Dentist appointments figure prominently in the calendar. This means waiting rooms. The baby is suddenly old enough to sit and play, allowing hands-free time for creative pursuits such as watercolor journaling and sewing. I read five books.

Of course, August isn’t over yet, and it goes out with a weekend. This means there’s a strong possibility I’ll find time for one more book. I’m about a third of the way into Of a Feather: A Brief History of American Birding by Scott Weidensaul and grateful to Mental Multivitamin for the recommendation. The library will be wanting it back soon, so I’ll have to pick up my pace. Delightful so far. In bed at night, after lights-out, I’m enjoying a Wodehouse novel via e-reader. (The iPod Touch has really become my preferred vehicle for bedtime reading, for all the reasons I mentioned in this post. It’s the easiest, least obtrusive way to read next to a sleeping baby without disturbing him. During daylight hours, however, I will always and ever [she declares with confidence] prefer a Real Book.)

The fiction to-be-read stack is as deliciously high as always. I continue to salivate over too many intriguing novels and squander precious could-be-reading moments failing to make a choice already. But also I wanted a few days to savor the novel I finished earlier this week: Lost by Jacqueline Davies, a spellbinding account of—well, the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, sort of, but really that’s a backdrop to an achingly moving tale of loss and grief, from the point of view of a sixteen-year-old Jewish girl (whose narrative voice may be my favorite of the year so far) who works in the factory. I’d like to write more about this book in a proper post, later, but right now I’m still too wrapped up in the raw emotions of the story to be able to review it matter-of-factly.

So what comes after Lost, what novel will ring out summer? I can’t say.

Née Draft #240

August 19, 2009 @ 8:03 pm | Filed under:

So I was all set to write a post about Jane of Lantern Hill, something I’ve been meaning to do for, oh, years; but I’m 700 words in and still haven’t gotten past Anne of Green Gables. Hmm. This could take a while. There comes a point when you realize you’ve swum out farther than you meant and either you have to turn around and head back to shore, or keep on going across the whole ocean. I have an ocean of things to say about L.M. Montgomery’s books, and I never get around to saying them. During grad school I went on a quest to acquire every single Montgomery novel or story collection in print. Did it, too, which is why I had to live on ramen noodles for two years. She is part of a small cadre of authors whose bodies of work I reread every two or three years: Alcott, Lovelace, L’Engle, Montgomery. Those are my big four. I’m sure I’m forgetting someone important. Not Austen; I don’t reread her all at once: with her it’s a book or two spread out through the year. I do return to Burnett almost every year, but only The Secret Garden. Tolkien is a twice-a-decade-or-thereabouts treat; ditto Lewis. Dickens, maybe one book a year, but it takes a month.

Anyway. The Montgomery epic post is in drafts now, along with 238 other unfinished pieces. Yes, really. I have 239 posts in drafts. Jiminy crickets. That’s a post a day for eight months, if I were to finish them. I wonder what they all are. I’m scrolling down the list and I see most of them are called No Title, because I usually think of titles last. There’s one called: Fewer Dishes, —the comma is part of the title, but there’s nothing after it. Where was I going with that? Fewer Dishes, More what? Pints of Ice Cream?

This post, too, is a No Title post so far. Also, apparently, a No Subject post. And a No Point post. I can probably safely promise No Conclusion as well. I have No Idea where I’m going with this.

I also have No Idea which book I’m going to read next. Yes, that again. Scott finds me staring at a stack of books as tall as our three-year-old, and I wail: “They all look so good. I don’t know what to do.”

“Here’s an idea,” he deadpans. “Open one up and start reading.”

Easy for him to say. I do this dance: I should read the library books first; they’ll be due soon. No, wait. I should read review copies first, because they were sent to me and it seems considerate to tackle them in a timely manner. No, wait! I should start with the books that have been waiting the longest. Like The Diamond Age: how embarrassing; I bought it right after Comic-Con 2008 and fully intended to read it immediately, and then Comic-Con 2009 rolled around and there it was still in the pile. I actually liberated it from the pile this week, put it in my bag on our way to the YMCA, intending to read it during Rose’s gymnastics class—but get this: I rode the exercise bike instead. Instead of reading! What’s happening to me?

Diamond Age is still in my bag, dusty with cracker crumbs.

I’m actually kind of in the mood to reread Jane of Lantern Hill.

Then maybe I could finally finish that post, aka Draft #239.

Hey, anybody else read The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate yet? Man, I really need a book club.