For anyone who follows current events, Samantha Power tells a riveting, personal and poignant story. She details her Irish upbringing, emigration at age 9 to the U.S., and her journey as a student, activist, journalist, and academic prior to becoming Special Assistant to the President and then US Ambassador to the UN under the Obama administration. With humor, self-deprecation, and sobering descriptions of how policies, decisions, and relationships are forged at the highest levels of government and diplomacy, she recounts difficult personal, public health, and political issues she and often times many others tried to address. At the foundation is her idealism and the growing realization that while we may not be able to fix everything, we must do our best.
Part memoir, part backyard natural history Late Migrations packs a wallop in a tiny package. Renkl treats the lives and deaths she sees in her backyard with the same deference and respect as that of her family. A beautiful study on grief and loss and the importance of living a full life.
This book is a local wanderlust machine! Caroline (a passionate Alaskan biologist) expertly catalogs her post-grad coming of age as she undertakes a human-powered trip to the Arctic Circle with her husband Pat (a self-taught builder from Bellingham). In the midst of decisions about family, work, and one's place in the natural world, there are raging rapids and cold winds, whales and chickadees, snow and sunlight. Hopefully it will teach you something new about the PNW, and comfort you with the knowledge that it's okay to change course.
I finished Pam Houston's Deep Creek in late November, the holiday season was in full swing, and my reading time was at a premium. Thank you Pam for this book. I read it swiftly and by the end I desired to flee to the mountains with Irish wolfhounds of mine own.
To say this book is wonderful and amazing is an understatement. Read by Michelle, this book has been impactful and thought provoking and I truly wish for everyone to experience it. The audio has resonated with me in a surprising way. To hear her voice describe her life, the choices she's made, and the paths she's chosen has caused me to look inward as well as outward.
When is a body a house, a trap, an experience, a burden, a book, a treasure, or a betrayal? When is a body yours alone, and when, in its history, has it belonged in fact or in feeling to others? Elissa Washuta's memoir is a powerful confrontation of the ways in which sexual trauma, mental illness, catholicism, law & order, Indigeneity, settler colonialism, history, and instant messaging have informed her identity and relationship to her body. It's a raw, visceral, unflinching book with a wide streak of dark humor.
I picked this memoir up because I like the title. It's smart, and having sipped my share of Southern Comfort as a teenager in Tennessee, I decided to give it a try. Tena Clark's voice is sure, she tells it straight, and her writing is gutsy, funny, and self aware. She grew up in Mississippi during the Civil Rights Era, and writes about her broken family, about her nanny Virgie (the most caring adult in her life) and about coming out during those tumultuous times. If you like reading memoirs about difficult childhoods, this one's for you.
An incredibly touching memoir that explores family and race through the eyes of a Korean American adoptee on the brink of motherhood. Nicole Chung has written a geniune account of adoption and what it means to be a mother, a daughter, and a sister in a complicated family full of secrets. This is a beautiful, emotional book that would be great to share with a family member.
This book is somewhere between an essay collection and a memoir. It examines the criss-crossing lines of politics, literature, and art, and shares writing and financial advice (especially germane to writers!). It also shares, with profound generosity, a lot from Alexander Chee's life. As a writer, Chee is interested in the constructed self, how identity can be a mask that conceals and also reveals. His self-reflection on how his own identities have served, protected, and hindered him is also an persistent, gentle invitation to the reader to remember that "the ways you are human are not always visible to yourself." There's a lot to encounter within these pages, written in Chee's easy and luminous way, but if that seems like a message you need to hear I can't recommend this book enough. I read it in the way you drink a glass of water from the bathroom tap late at night - thirstily, greedily, and with need.
I read Priestdaddy when it came out last year. Normally this is a book I wouldn't have picked up, but it came highly recommended and now I'm so glad I did. Lockwood is a gifted writer that had me shamelessly laughing out loud in public. In Priestdaddy, she chronicles her time moving back in with her parents at her father's rectory. Lockwood covers an entire year living with her parents in an outlandish (and sometimes painful) collision of past and present. Her history also rang familiar to me and I found myself painfully relating to her own reckonings with faith and family.