A blog by the staff of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library
The Library is hosting a program on writing memoirs on Wednesday, April 13 at 7 p.m. Here are shining examples of the genre.
For over twenty years, a group of Chicago-area librarians called the Adult Reading Round Table has been discussing good books. The organization has been training staff from public libraries around the area on how to help readers find the books that they want to read – even when they do not know it yet. They recently put out a bibliography called A Slice of Life, which recommends memoirs. Here are some titles from that list in the Thomas Ford collection (with call numbers):
Losing Mum and Pup by Christopher Buckley (B Buckley) – A loving and humorous account of the year that the author’s parents (including the famous political critic and novelist William F. Buckley) died.
This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection by Carol Burnett (B Burnett) – The ARRT reviewer promises that this memoir is mostly fun, as Burnett remembers making her very popular television show.
Paula Deen: It Ain’t All About the Cooking by Paula Deen (B Deen) – Deen tells how she escaped marriage to an alcoholic when she realized she had the talent and personality to be a cooking celebrity. Recipes are included.
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion (B Didion) – When her daughter goes into a coma and her husband suddenly dies, Didion faced a life full of grief and uncertainty with introspection and learned acceptance. Writing was therapy for the expressive Didion.
Official Book Club Selection: A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin by Kathy Griffin (B Griffin) – What could comedienne Griffin do to make her life so remarkable that Oprah would have to pick her memoir for her book club? Discover how to be true to herself.
Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home by Rhoda Janzen (B Janzen) – Janzen looks to the community she left years before when her life falls apart.
Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression by Mildred Armstrong Kalish (977.761 Kal) – When life is difficult, a little humor, a lot of family, and some strategic rule-breaking make life fun.
Lit by Mary Karr (B Karr) – In her third memoir, Karr confesses how her struggles alcohol have made parenting difficult but essential for herself as much as her son. A frank and irreverent account.
Traveling with Pomegranates by Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor (B Kidd) – A novelist and her daughter recount their spiritual journey and deepening regard for each other through travels to France, Greece, and Turkey.
Books: A Memoir by Larry McMurtry (B McMurtry) – Throughout his career as a novelist and screenwriter, McMurtry has been obsessed with collecting books and even started a used book store. In this memoir, he recounts his life among other antiquarians.
I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti by Giulia Melucci (641.5945 MEL) – Cooking has been a part of many of Melucci’s relationships that failed. Here are the humorous stories with recipes.
The Tender Bar by J. R. Moehringer (B Moehringer) – While Moehringer grew up on Long Island without his father, he spent many hours looking for male models at a local bar. This memoir serves as coming of age story as well as tribute to the men he knew.
Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston (B Ralston) – Ralston had many harrowing adventures before the accident that trapped his arm under a boulder. He tells about facing the choice of death or amputation.
Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s by John Elder Robison (616.85882 Rob) – How would you cope when you know there is something wrong with you, but no one has told you what? The multi-talented Robinson recounts his unusual life.