by Jen Moyers (@jen.loves.books)
Last week, we released our Unabridged Podcast Book Club episode featuring Jenny Lawson's Furiously Happy: A Funny Book about Horrible Things (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm), a fabulous memoir in which Lawson shares the extreme highs and lows of her life. In honor of that episode, I wanted to share a few other memoirs I've read and enjoyed recently.
Jenny Lawson's Broken (in the Best Possible Way) (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)
I loved this one, too—it's what made me want to read Furiously Happy! In my review, I said the book "is a wide-ranging essay collection that runs the gamut. The more serious essays—like her open letter to her insurance company—are vulnerable and powerful, addressing her anxiety and depression, her autoimmune disorders, and her memory loss. But the serious moments never last for long, tempered by stories so funny they made me helpless with laughter. She dives into her relationship with her long-time husband, reveals her penchant for losing shoes . . . while they're on her feet, and shares her Twitter followers' most awkward moments. She's foul mouthed and honest, and I loved every single minute of her story."
Dave Grohl's The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)
In my review of this one, I said, "You should read Dave Grohl's The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music if you're a child of the 90s, a music fan, or just a lover of memoir. Actually, you should listen to this one, which is read by the author and covers everything from his childhood in Virginia, growing up with his brother and his single mom, a teacher, all the way through his experiences in both Nirvana and Foo Fighters. He's met and played with some pillars of music, including Tom Petty and Paul McCartney, and his stories about music are told with genuine love and appreciation for its history. I grinned through this whole book and just couldn't stop listening." After finishing the audiobook, I did enjoy perusing the photographs in the print copy (which my husband received for Christmas!).
Toni Jensen's Carry: A Memoir of Survival on Stolen Land (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)
I read this one in print, though I know many people loved the audio. In my review, I wrote, "Jensen, a Métis woman, reflects on the impact of her heritage on her identity, on the role guns play in her life and in our modern society, and on the way that words help her navigate the meaning of these things. Woven through the book are words that carry multiple definitions, that can shift and slide depending on a situation (this process, of course, begins with the title—'carry' itself can signify ideas both nurturing and threatening, beautiful and not.⠀
"I've never read a memoir written quite like this—it's fragmented, and that fragmentation is itself meaningful, reflective of its truth. . . .
"I found myself taking photos of so many quotations (I regretted that I borrowed this one from the library and that, because someone had it on hold, I had to return it before I could revisit earlier pages . . . but I'm also glad that others are reading it!)."
Stanley Tucci's Taste (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)
"I don't really cook, and cookbooks aren't my thing, but I do love reading about food. Stanley Tucci's memoir Taste: My Life through Food does contain recipes, but it also considers the way Tucci's life and family are often characterized by food. Tucci reads this audiobook, which I listened to via @scribd, and I definitely recommend that format. His reading makes the humor and affection that characterize his stories about his Italian family shine, and I loved hearing the way Tucci describes the careful process of choosing and cooking his favorite meals. "As he tells the story of food, of course, he also tells of his life and his career. As great a storyteller as he is an actor, Tucci's sense of brilliant, vivid scenes is just a joy to read. Or listen to."
Sara also loved this one; you can read her review here.
Caroline Van Hemert's The Sun Is a Compass: A 4,000-Mile Journey into the Alaskan Wilds (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)
"Caroline Van Hemert's The Sun Is a Compass was one of my favorite books in March. The memoir covers—as the title details—Van Hemert's 4500-mile journey with her husband through the wildnerness. While she provides vivid details about what they do and what they see and what they experience, even more fascinating to me were the changes their journey brought about within Van Hemert. They take the journey at a transitional time, when she's trying to decide whether to continue the scientific research that has kept her confined to a lab, when she's contemplating the direction their lives should take. Her writing is beautifully spare and evocative, and I absolutely could not put it down."
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