Joan Didion and the Blues

Book review: Blue Nights, by Joan Didion …there comes a span of time approaching and following the summer solstice, some weeks in all, when the twilights turn long and blue…suddenly summer seems near, a possibility, even a promise… you find yourself swimming in the color blue: the actual light is blue, and over the course of an hour or so this blue deepens, becomes more intense … Continue reading Joan Didion and the Blues

Sweet, Sentimental Stories of Life Beyond Expectations

Review: Life Without a Recipe, by Diana Abu-Jaber (Amazon / Book Depository) If the world is water, the table is a raft; place your hands on it and hold on. In her second memoir, Jordanian-American author Diana Abu-Jaber explores the role that motherhood took in her life during her forties, and the wracking losses of two strong, beloved figures who often opposed each other; her … Continue reading Sweet, Sentimental Stories of Life Beyond Expectations

The Art of Losing It All

Book review: The Rules Do Not Apply, by Ariel Levy (Amazon / Book Depository) Until recently, I lived in a world where lost things could always be replaced. But it has been made overwhelmingly clear to me now that anything you think is yours by right can vanish, and what you can do about that is nothing at all. New Yorker writer Ariel Levy’s memoir was … Continue reading The Art of Losing It All

Conversations About the Other Side

Book review: Psychics, Healers & Mediums, by Jenniffer Weigel It’s Halloween! Time for a ghosty post! I haven’t read much recently that’s Halloween-applicable, but as a favorite spooky read, I recommend Colin Dickey’s scary but skeptical Ghostland. Now for the less skeptical… Jenniffer Weigel is a Chicago Tribune columnist, radio host, and reporter who’s already written about her attempts to contact her father after his death, and her … Continue reading Conversations About the Other Side

A Modern Classic on the Surreality of Mourning

Book review: The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion (Amazon / Book Depository) Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends. The question of self-pity. Those words were the first that Joan Didion wrote after her husband’s death. In case you’ve never heard of it, The Year of Magical Thinking is journalistic legend Didion’s highly praised, often … Continue reading A Modern Classic on the Surreality of Mourning

The Life-Saving Magic of Poetry

Book review: Poetry Will Save Your Life, by Jill Bialosky “All poems become, to a certain degree, personal to a reader.” Poet, editor, and novelist Jill Bialosky writes a memoir structured around the poems that have helped her through life, imbuing it with deeper meaning and giving subtle guidance and reassurances through turmoil and joy. Sometimes they act as markers, anchoring her memory to a place or event. … Continue reading The Life-Saving Magic of Poetry

Guilt, Grief, and Finally Getting the Truth

Book review: Alligator Candy, by David Kushner When he was four years old, journalist and writer David Kushner’s older brother Jon took off on his bike, riding through the woods of their neighborhood in Tampa, Florida en route to the 7-11, on a quest for candy. Before he left, David asked him to bring him the titular ‘alligator candy’, actually Snappy Gator Gum. Jon didn’t come home, … Continue reading Guilt, Grief, and Finally Getting the Truth

True Solace is Finding None

Book review: The Solace of Open Spaces, by Gretel Ehrlich (Amazon / Book Depository) “I came here four years ago. I had not planned to stay, but I couldn’t make myself leave.” Achingly beautiful, emotionally charged prose essays with a distinctly lyrical style, written by a young woman as she initially pursues a work project on the ranches of the Wyoming plains, then can’t seem to … Continue reading True Solace is Finding None