Posts Tagged: memoir

Light/Dark

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At the New Yorker, Ed Caesar interviews Anna Lyndsey, author of the memoir Girl in the Dark, about her mysterious light sensitivity that kept her in the dark for over a decade. Citing prominent dermatologists, Ceasar questions Lyndsey’s symptoms and explores the possibility that they were psychosomatic, a possibility Lyndsey herself dismisses:

My situation was so extreme, rare and unusual that when I described it to people in the hope of seeking help, the response was usually incredulity.

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The Rumpus Interview with Russell Banks

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Russell Banks discusses his new book, Voyager: Travel Writings, why we are never free from our history, and how writing saved his life. ...more

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The Rumpus Interview with Nina Stibbe

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Author Nina Stibbe discusses her new novel Paradise Lodge, our obsession with character likeability, and how she more than flirts with feminism. ...more

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Visible: Women Writers of Color #4: Jaquira Díaz

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Jaquira Díaz discusses the challenge of writing about family members, her greatest joy as a writer, and her literary role models. ...more

Soldiers-Turned-Authors on War Literature

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For NPR Books, Quil Lawrence talks with a handful of soldiers-turned-authors about the genre of war literature that has been catalyzed by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. These authors want their audiences to know that war is not all Hollywood-scale battle scenes, and warn against the glamorization of war stories and hero-worshipping of veterans.

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Braving the Cold

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As both a storyteller and a stylist, Braverman is remarkably skilled, with a keen sense of visceral detail … that borders on sublime.

Over at the New York Times, Bronwen Dickey has written a powerful review of Blair Braverman’s debut book, Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube, a memoir about her experience living in Norway and Alaska.

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The Rumpus Interview with Leigh Stein

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Leigh Stein discusses her new memoir, Land of Enchantment, co-founding Out of the Binders, and why most of her projects begin as "an idea that someone else pushes back on." ...more

Empire State of Memoir

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For Lit Hub, Edward White writes about Jay Z and Morrissey’s experimental memoirs, investigating how both artists indulge and subvert what readers want from a musician’s autobiography:

Where Morrissey gives us a conventional autobiography in an unconventional way—no chapters, paragraphs that run for half-a-dozen pages, and seemingly no contribution from an editor—Jay-Z is more formally experimental, mixing memoir with manifesto in chapters that are centered on extensive, line-by-line analysis of some of his most famous, and infamous, lyrics.

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The Rumpus Interview with Sara Benincasa

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Comedian Sara Benincasa opens up about her latest book Real Artists Have Day Jobs, adjusting to success, Venn-diagramming love, and the loss of Morley Safer. ...more

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The Rumpus Interview with Blair Braverman

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Blair Braverman discusses her latest book, Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube: Chasing Fear and Finding Home in the Great White North, gendered travel narratives, and the pressure to write about personal trauma. ...more

Is the Struggle Real?

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A rash of confessional memoirs by middle- and upper-class white women (think Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl) has repositioned feminism not as a political movement, but as a validation for extreme self-exposure. These books have some feminists wondering if they’re doing more harm than good:

What we are seeing now is feminism used as a brand; dislocated and disconnected from any collective political project.

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The Rumpus Interview with Amy Rose Spiegel

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Amy Rose Spiegel discusses her debut memoir, Action: A Book about Sex, carnal confidence, and the nuances of sex-positivity. ...more

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Fresh Comics #10: Hot Dog Taste Test

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When I started reading this book, I hated it. I thought, this is what happens when an illustrator takes a shot at storytelling. It’s just one drawing after another until you hit the requisite 175 or so pages that equals “book.” I get even grouchier imagining that books like these are dreamed up as a way to re-market previously published short stories, and then padded out with sketchbook drawings.

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The Zen of Twins

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Clay Byars—author of Will & I, his recently released memoir about being an identical twin—tackles big life questions and the writing process with Drew Broussard for FSG Originals. Edited by Byars’s friend John Jeremiah Sullivan, Will & I explores “the sense that I was more than myself,” as a twin, as Byars puts it, and the meta-conscious act of storytelling.

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Writing to Legitimize the Self

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To research her book Without You, There Is No Us, Suki Kim worked undercover as an ESL teacher in North Korea. Kim was reluctant to call the work a memoir, believing that to do so “trivialized” her investigative reporting. The result was a backlash from critics, who called her undercover methods “dishonest.” At The New Republic, Kim responds to her critics:

Here I am telling my story to you, the reader, essentially to beg for acknowledgment: I am an investigative journalist, please take me seriously. 

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The Rumpus Interview with Jamie Brickhouse

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Jamie Brickhouse discusses Dangerous When Wet: A Memoir of Booze, Sex, and My Mother, a memoir that chronicles his intimate, near-fatal journey through alcoholism, and living HIV positive. ...more

Defiantly Diski

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Over at the New York Times, author Heidi Julavits reviews the late Jenny Diski’s memoir, In Gratitude:

While I couldn’t read “In Gratitude” without a persistent lump in my throat, and without the persistent awareness that its author was … experiencing the very last days or hours or minutes of her life, Diski’s final book proves transcendently disobedient, the most existence-affirming and iconoclastic defense a writer could mount against her own extinction.

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The Rumpus Interview with Garrard Conley

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Garrard Conley, author of the new memoir Boy Erased, discusses growing up in the deep South, mothers, writing for change, and political delusions. ...more

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Fresh Comics #9: Bird in a Cage

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Countering our culture’s disregard for all things elderly, comics have become a medium of choice for celebrating the lives of our oldest and wisest generation. Bird in a Cage (Conundrum Press, 2016) joins a growing roster of graphic novels about the elderly that explore how much they are loved, how rich and complicated their lives are, and how difficult it can be to say goodbye to them.

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The Rumpus Interview with Bernadette Murphy

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Bernadette Murphy on her forthcoming book, Harley and Me: Embracing Risk on the Road to a More Authentic Life, the challenges of selling a memoir, and life beyond "the suburban-wife-mother picture." ...more

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The Rumpus Interview with Kim Brooks

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Kim Brooks discusses her debut novel, The Houseguest, her approach to character and historical narrative, and the value of engaging readers with larger social issues through literature. ...more

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The Read Along #2: Omar Musa

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In the second installment of The Read Along, Omar Musa shares how airplane delays can lead to productive reading sessions and how easy it is to get sucked into Internet wormholes about geodesic domes. ...more

The Self as a Cultural Artifact

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[Memoir] comes alive at the fissures of its coherency: when a narrator is struggling to hold the self together in a text—for the reader’s sake if not also her own.

Scott F. Parker met up with Maggie Nelson at AWP to talk about her writing, her sudden popularity, memoir (or life writing), autotheory, and Buddhism for The Believer’s interview series, Stories of Self—complete with illustrations by Nelson’s partner, Harry Dodge.

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The Rumpus Interview with Mark Leyner

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Mark Leyner discusses his new novel, Gone with the Mind, about a failed novelist, Mark Leyner, who gives a reading to his mom in an almost-deserted food court. ...more