As "LA's Renowned Lesbian Dominatrix", Chris Belcher could pay off her student loans while working towards her doctorate, and keep from slipping into the cycle of poverty she had escaped from once she left West Virginia. She was also able to examine gender dynamics behind the dungeon door, and the way masculinity presents itself when she has her boot pushing into someone's back. Complicated questions of sexuality, queerness, identity, and power arise with every essay in this memoir, as well as the way society harms those that deviate from the norm.
In this memoir, Ingrid Rojas Contreras examines the violence that has impacted her family since the Spanish invasion of pre-colonial Colombia, and the perseverance of her indigenous heritage in the magical practices that have been carried through the (male) generations. Meditations on memory, trauma, beliefs, and history are both lyrical and thought-provoking, especially when Rojas Contreras laser focuses on her relationship with her mercurial mother and their mirror-image experiences with amnesia and supernatural experiences.
The latest book in my "quit lit" have-reads, McKowen's memoir gives us an up-close view of her dark experiences under addiction. She then showcases the joys and hardships of sobriety, which those of us who suffered with alcoholism (or any other addiction), can attest to. A raw and emotional, yet beautiful, memoir, We Are the Luckiest is sure to impact you!
I LOVED this story of Dick Conant, who spent the last years of his life living at the river’s edge making epic journeys via canoe. Ben McGrath is a writer for The New Yorker who met Conant once, and after his disappearance, read his idiosyncratic journals to meet the people Conant knew in order to understand the mythic presence Conant created around himself. Moving.
As children, it is so difficult to understand the decisions our parents make, or how they love us. Koh’s rediscovery and subsequent translation of her mother’s letters is the rediscovery of a mother’s love. The interspersed memories provide a hard-hitting perspective, but it is balanced by such lyrical delivery.
Tasha: A Son's Memoir will, without a doubt, end up on my list of ten best books this year. This is a wonderful memoir about Brian Morton's relationship with his mother in her later years. For most of his life, Brian has been able to keep his mother at arm's length, but as her health starts to decline, he must get involved with her upkeep and care. Tasha is laugh-out-loud funny, with moments of poignancy, but most of all Tasha is an honest memoir about family.
In this breathtaking memoir, Foo uses her skill as a journalist to put her most painful memories under the microscope. She lives with complex PTSD, a condition that occurs when a traumatic incident happens not just once, but repeatedly over years. The first quarter of the book is the hardest to read, for this is where she poignantly relays the abuses her parents committed, but careful readers will be rewarded by one of the most honest and intimate narratives about healing that I have ever read. What My Bones Know fills an essential gap in the genre of trauma literature by portraying the challenges of navigating mental illness, seeking therapy solutions, and confronting family secrets that are unique to the female, Asian-American experience. You will put this book down feeling armed with hope.
Is this book about Nina Simone's gum? Of course it is, and the story behind that piece of music history is worth reading alone. But it's also about the multi-instrumentalist and beautiful weirdo Warren Ellis and the magic in his collected talismans over the years as a member of the Bad Seeds and Dirty Three.
If you care about exercise as much as I do, which isn't much, you should still read this book. This is not a comprehensive dive into the history of exercise. And while he does explore major players and events on the fitness timeline, this is really more of a memoir/travelogue/delightful anthropological study. Bill Hayes has this amazing ability to truly connect with the people he meets. His compassion and kindness towards humankind are on full display, and lest you fear sentimentality, his dry wit and humor are here too. Complete with cameos from Oliver Sacks and RBG, this book is informative, funny, warm, and surprisingly poignant. I would read Bill Hayes write about anything...yes, even exercise.
In the words of Melissa Lozada-Olivia, "this bitch has me crying to Creed." But that's what King does throughout her essay collection by perfectly balancing the social commentary on pop culture, what's deemed "tacky" and perhaps shameful, with the personal struggles of enjoying what you want to enjoy. Tackling her friendships and relationships and her need to be the sexually available cool girl, she ties it effortlessly to cultural artifacts such as Jersey Shore, warm vanilla sugar, Hot Topic, the Sims, and the American shopping mall. For those who grew up in the 2000s, take this trip down memory lane.