Litstack Rec: How to Write an Autobiographical Novel & The Cost of Hope

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How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays, by Alexander Chee “Writing is a way of going to the depth of Being,” wrote Marguerite Yourcenar, and the sixteen essays that make up Alexander Chee’s 2018 memoir are at their heart about writing—but they are also about striving to succeed as a writer, reconciling the pain and [….]

Litstack Rec: The Boys of My Youth & Aurora

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The Boys of My Youth, by Jo Ann Beard When it was released in 1998, I somehow missed Jo Ann Beard’s debut collection of essays, but as luck would have it, I recently fell down an Internet rabbit hole and ended up here, at the first publication of her now iconic essay, “The Fourth State [….]

Litstack Recs: Fairyland & Scribe

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Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father, by Alysia Abbott “The truth is,” Alysia Abbot writes in her debut memoir, Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father, “I did want to be my dad’s poem. I wanted to be his drawing, his novella, his most refined work of art. I wanted him to shape me with his [….]

Our 2018 Favorite Reads

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From my reading of the past year, some favorites—here a memoir-in-essays and three story collections. How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays by Alexander Chee “Writing is a way of going to the depth of Being,” wrote Marguerite Yourcenar, and in the sixteen essays that make up Alexander Chee’s 2018 memoir, the author dives deep, [….]

Litstack Rec: My Misspent Youth & Santa 17

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My Misspent Youth, essays by Meghan Daum My introduction to Daum and her essays was Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived In That House, her account of wanting, finding, losing and finding the ideal home. It’s a memoir of coming into one’s own in regard to matters of money—real estate, mortgages, income and outflow. [….]

Litstack Rec: Dreams From My Father & Time Salvager

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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: Sense and Sensibility Screenplay and Diaries & Brotherhood of the Wheel

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The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay and Diaries, by Emma Thompson There’s enough left of summer to fit in at least one more light read, and Emma Thompson’s diary of the making of the award-winning Sense and Sensibility is a perfect choice. The 1995 film, directed by Ang Lee, would garner seven nominations at the 68th [….]

LitStack Rec: Two Award-Winning Titles from WTAW Press & Born A Crime

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And There And There was Evening And There Was Morning, Essays on Illness, Loss, and Love, by Mike Smith The Truth About Me: Stories, by Louise Marburg WTAW Press, a new independent nonprofit publisher, hit a home run last week when their two inaugural titles, released in 2017, each received top prizes from the Independent [….]

Litstack Rec: Patrimony & Biggie

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Patrimony: A True Story, by Philip Roth Roth’s 1991 memoir charts the illness and death of his father, Herman Roth, from an inoperable brain tumor, as it retraces the man’s life and the relationship between father and son. Roth’s account unfolds in his trademark penetrating and melancholy style, and in a decidedly un-Rothian way, offers [….]

LitStack Rec: Out of Place & Miranda and Caliban

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Out of Place: A Memoir, by Edward Said Edward Said, the prolific author, political activist, pianist,  and music critic rose to academic stardom in 1978 with the publication of the seminal Orientalism, a critique of the appropriations and misrepresentations that founded Western study of the East. Said, who died in 2003 after battling a rare [….]