A Girl, Growing Up and Growing Wiser, in Leningrad

Book review: A Mountain of Crumbs, by Elena Gorokhova Book Depository This memoir has one of the most beautiful and intensely evocative openings I've read in a long time: I wish my mother had come from Leningrad, from the world of Pushkin and the tsars, of granite embankments and lace ironwork, of pearly domes buttressing... Continue Reading →

A Daughter After Her Mother: Rich Storytelling of Memoir and Murder

Book review: After the Eclipse, by Sarah Perry Amazon She believed in the souls of housecats and in the melancholy of rainy days. She believed in hard work, and the energy she poured into her job -- hand-sewing shoes at a factory -- seemed boundless...She was terrified of birds, at close range, and moths, at any... Continue Reading →

An Unusual Coming of Age in L.A.

Book review: We Are All Shipwrecks, by Kelly Grey Carlisle If you read history, you could learn where the ideas you took for granted actually came from and, what I found oddly reassuring, that the world had always been a terrible mess. Kelly Grey Carlisle had an unconventional childhood, to put it mildly. In 1976, at... Continue Reading →

A Memoir of Murder and the Male Gaze

Book review: The Hot One, by Carolyn Murnick (Amazon / Book Depository) New York magazine editor Carolyn Murnick was childhood best friends with Ashley Ellerin, growing up in suburban New Jersey. Attending different high schools, then Ashley's relocation to her home state of California, the friendship began developing the natural divide that accompanies growing up and... Continue Reading →

Food As Love in Any Language

Book review: The Language of Baklava, by Diana Abu-Jaber (Amazon / Book Depository) I'm falling in love with "foodoirs" lately. Those are food-themed memoirs, in case you're late to the genre, like I was. This one moved me more than I unexpected. Novelist Diana Abu-Jaber was born in America to a Jordanian immigrant father and an... Continue Reading →

From Queens with Love

Book review: The Clancys of Queens, by Tara Clancy (Amazon / Book Depository) A fast-paced memoir composed of vignettes of the author's time growing up with her big Irish-Italian families in Queens. After her parents' split when she was a toddler, she divides her time between her dad's tiny but loving boathouse home and bar family in... Continue Reading →

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