Litstack Review: And There Was Evening And There Was Morning, by Mike Smith

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And There was Evening And There Was Morning, Essays on Illness, Loss, and Love, by Mike Smith (WTAW Press) “Mourning,” Hilary Mantel wrote, “is work. It is not simply being sad. It is naming your pain. It is witnessing the sorrow of others, drawing out the shape of loss.” Who among us, when grieving, is [….]

LitStack Rec: Speedbumps: Flooring It Through Hollywood & American Born Chinese

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Speedbumps: Flooring It Through Hollywood, by Teri Garr Think of Teri Garr, and likely it’s as the outspoken girl next door, the slightly off-kilter girlfriend, wife, or mother—characters she played in Tootsie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Young Frankenstein. Even when Garr is playing it straight, as in Mr. Mom and Oh God!, [….]

LitStaff Recs: This Boy’s Life & Kiss & Tell

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This Boy’s Life: A Memoir, by Tobias Wolff  First published in 1989, Tobias Wolff’s This Boy’s Life has since become a classic of the contemporary memoir, the kind of book you can finish, like I did, in nearly one sitting. Wolff, the author of numerous works of fiction, including short stories, novels, and a second memoir, [….]

LitStack Review: The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

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The Princess Diarist Carrie Fisher Blue Rider Press Release Date:  November 22, 2016 ISBN 978-0-3991-7359-2 In her 1984 semi-biographical novel Postcards from the Edge, readers were introduced to actor Carrie Fisher’s wry wit, her self-deprecating insight, and her lack of calculated artifice. Over 30 years later, The Princess Diarist bridges Postcards, giving us a younger [….]

LitStack Review: Born a Crime – Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

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Born A Crime – Stories from a South African Childhood Trevor Noah Random House Release Date:  November 15, 2016 ISBN 978-0-3995-8817-4 Reading biographies from entertainers tends to be a mixed bag. Sometimes you truly get a view of someone’s winding road to fame; other times, you get the equivalent of your grandparents’ slide show of [….]

LitStack Recs: Dreams From My Father & A Fort of Nine Towers

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Dreams From My Father, by Barack Obama Stories that center on fathers have a distinct place in the memoir genre. For better or worse, fathers hold a place that intersects with the world and experience in a way far different from that of a mother’s. As in Jung’s archetypes, fathers are symbols of worldliness and [….]

LitStack Recs: Manhood for Amateurs & Zombie Baseball Beatdown

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  Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son, essays by Michael Chabon You know a book on fatherhood is going to be interesting when the title includes the word amateurs. The trope of fatherly wisdom, borne of experience and dispensed with measured calm, is a wonderful thing, but how [….]

LitStack Review: Boy Erased by Garrard Conley

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Boy Erased Garrard Conley Riverhead Books Release Date:  May 10, 2016 ISBN 978-1-59463-301-0 It was sheer coincidence that had me reading Garrard Conley’s book about his experience with a conversion therapy program aimed at curing him of the “sin” of homosexuality, but the timing did give my reading of it extra gravitas.  Not that Boy [….]

LitStack Rec: Bird Cloud: A Memoir of Place & Moon Girl

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Bird Cloud: A Memoir of Place, by Annie Proulx The memoir by this award-winning novelist (The Shipping News) and story writer (“Brokeback Mountain,” from Wyoming Stories) centers on the experience of building a home in the titular tract of Montana wilderness—a place, and a house, Proulx comes to love. We learn of the house she builds [….]

LitStack Rec: Havanas in Camelot & A Crayon’s Story

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Havanas in Camelot: Personal Essays, by William Styron Though William Styron is best know for his novels (The Confessions of Nat Turner, Sophie’s Choice), and a late memoir chronicling his depression (Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness), he wrote wonderful essays that draw on his power of insight, intellectual acuity, and deeply felt experience of [….]