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Memoir Memo

March 5, 2012

Books! Not only do I love books, themselves: novels, memoirs, mysteries, histories—I love to read books about books!

The latest Must-Buy I picked up is a book about Memoirs—Read On…Life Stories by Rosalind Reisner. Rosalind is heading up a new team I joined (well, I’m really the newbie—the team has existed for years in association with Women’s National Book Association) to select this year’s Great Group Reads in celebration of  National Reading Group Month in October. After reading Rosalind’s bio, I can see why she is leading this team—what a resume! She’s been a long-time Reference Librarian, a Book Rep. for Baker and Taylor—working directly with librarians, an author of two book reference books (the subject of this post plus  Jewish American Literature), a coveted speaker, and a book blogger on A Reader’s Place.  Whew!

But, I digress—back to the book. When I saw it on her bio, I had to order it—and boy, am I glad I did! Roz is truly a resident expert on all-things-Memoir. But her book isn’t just a laundry list of some great ‘Life Stories’ you might enjoy reading—she gives you some specific direction.  First, her book is organized by what she calls ‘primary appeal characteristics’ such as character, story, setting, language and mood. Then to further assist us easily-overwhelmed readers, she includes icons alerting us to which book might be the best one to start with in a category, as well as—and of course, this is my favorite—icons indicating which ones lend themselves to good book club discussions. I noticed many of my book club favorites as I perused the pages including The Memoirs of a Beautiful Boy (Robert Leleux) The Color of Water(James McBride) and Wild Swans (Jung Chang.)

And after just a quick perusing of her book, its edge is now littered with little blue flags and I’ve added at least a couple dozen new memoirs  to my TBR queue, such as Black Boy, by Richard Wright, (from the Coming of Age Character section) My Own Country, by Abraham Verghese (from the Medical World Setting section)—didn’t you just love his novel Cutting for Stone?—and Wait Till Next Year, by Doris Kearns Goodwin (from the Nostalgic Mood section) to name just a few.

You’ll want to add Read On…Life Stories (from the ‘Gotta Have’ section) to your own TBR list!



3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 6, 2012 3:52 pm

    Thanks for telling us about “Read On…Life Stories.” I love the idea of how she organized it by primary appeal characteristics. Can’t wait to get it off my wish list and onto my bookshelf.

  2. October 15, 2012 4:11 am

    Janet: I’m warning you—it’s a hard book to put down!

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