Posted March 13, 2012 by
I’ve had a surprising amount of time to read in the last month, probably due to the all the lengthy airplane rides as I’ve traversed the country lately, and have barreled through some great stuff. I thought I’d recommend a few of the books I’ve had my nose in.
Greg and I are actually both reading this right now. I’ve been a fan of Baggott’s for a long time. She has some truly wonderful work out there and this is her first attempt at young adult fiction. It’s already been highly praised by the New York Times for its beautiful and harrowing depiction of a post-apocalyptic dystopian society, and I can add that the writing and the descriptions are strange and heart-breakingly lovely. I’m eager to get back to this book whenever I have a spare moment.
Although it doesn’t come out for another ten days, the entire world is already buzzing about this book. I first heard about Strayed’s memoir last fall and wrote to her, asking if she’d like to swap advance copies. She kindly obliged and has even gone on to become somewhat of a friend. In the months since I read her book, along with the rest of the world, I’ve fallen in love with Cheryl and her gorgeous writing. WILD is about her search for self and meaning while on a two month trek through the wilderness after losing her mother at age 22. She has also recently come out as the inspiring and intrepid columnist Dear Sugar over at The Rumpus.
Here we are together the other week at AWP in Chicago:
My memoir-buyer friend at Barnes & Noble recently sent me this book, telling me that I would love it, and I did. However it’s not for everyone. Portrait of an Addict is about literary agent Clegg’s jaw-dropping descent into crack addiction. It reads like an absolute train wreck and is impossible to put down. The writing is fluid and candid and speeds you right along through the destruction, and ultimate redemption. His follow up memoir 90 Days is due out this spring.
Kerry wrote to me a few weeks ago after she read my book, telling me that my writing reminded her of her own. Curious, I downloaded her book and only one chapter in, couldn’t put it down. If you liked the way I wrote about boys and men and relationships in my memoir, then you’ll certainly enjoy Loose Girl about Cohen’s youth and sexuality. If you’re going to write about this kind of stuff I think you have to be brutally honest and brutally brave, and Kerry was, and is, both of these things.
Cures for Hunger by Deni Y. Béchard (memoir)
Have you read the first chapter of my book? Remember the French-Canadian tutor named Michel that I write about? This is his absolutely stunning memoir about his bank-robber father. The blurb I had the privilege of writing for the back cover reads: This powerful and haunting memoir is a must-read for anyone who has struggled to uncover their identity within the shadow of a parent. In exquisitely sharp prose, Béchard renders his attempts to understand his father’s mysterious existence. This book is huge and achingly true. I recommend pre-ordering asap.
Yes, I like my fair share of young adult fiction. This was something out of the ordinary though — a young adult crime thriller. Deemed the “Dragon Tattoo for Teens” Greg and I both adored this fast-paced novel about Russian adoptee heroine Wallis Stoneman and her race to uncover her identity before the wrong people find her. Set in the streets of Manhattan, it’s the perfect antidote to your Twilight burnout.
Waiting For Me On My Bedside Table (or in my e-reader):
Katherine Boo, Behind the Beautiful Forevers (nonfiction)
Andre Dubus II, Townie (memoir)
Jessica Keener, Night Swim (fiction)
Steinbeck, A Life in Letters (nonfiction)
Joanna Smith Rakoff, A Fortunate Age (fiction)
Stewart O’Nan, Emily Alone (fiction)
John Green, The Fault in Our Stars (young adult fiction)
I’m going to be in the Bay area next week, for the last leg of my book tour. I would love, love to see you at one of my readings!
Reading & Signing
Books Inc, Palo Alto, CA
March 20, 2012 7:00pm
Reading & Signing
Books Inc., San Francisco, CA
March 22, 2012 7:00pm