Out with Carol for a belated birthday lunch (for me) the other day. We talked books. “What are you reading? I need a good book to read? I keep downloading books on my Kindle and then I don’t get past the first few pages,” blurts Carol in between bites of her veggie omelet. “I haven’t read anything since I came home from Seattle,” I respond. “Really, that’s not like you. You read so much,” Carol says, still munching and sipping her decaf coffee. “I know I keep picking up these memoirs and I get tired of them so quickly. I have a list, I’ll send it to you,” I said.
I’m not sure how or why but we started talking about memoirs but I did tell Carol that, in general, I tire of them pretty quickly.Give me a good story and stop whining. “They seem to go on too long. The last one I read started out good but then I was tired and done with it,” me said. “Which one?” she said. “Umm, I think you told me you read it and got tired of it. And at that time I was still liking it but not for long. You know — crazy mother . . . umm, can’t think of the name,” me said. “The mother was homeless,” she said. “Yes, two daughters . . . The Memory Palace,” I screamed while shoving a mouthful of lettuce in my mouth. “Yes, that’s it,” she said, “It went on too long. Can’t believe you remembered the title.”
Here’s my list:
The Memory Palace by Mira Bartok (Didn’t finish.)
The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls (Didn’t care for it.)
Lucky by Alice Sebold (Like it.)
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapis (Good one.)
David Sedaris (Aren’t all his stories memoirs?) (Always enjoy his stuff. Funny.)
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka, Lane Smith (Sounds like a memoir.)
Driving With Dead People: A Memoir by Monica Holloway (Like this one.)
The Black Girl Next Door: A Memoir by Jennifer Baszile (I think I liked it.)
The Three of Us: A Family Story by Julia Blackburn (Don’t think I finished it.)
A Kind of Grace: The Autobiography of the World’s Greatest Female Athlete by Jackie Joyner-Kersee with Sonja Steptoe (Skimmed it.)
The Miracle Worker by William Gibson (It counts.)
Lies My Mother Never Told Me: a Memoir by Kaylie Jones (Think I got tired of it.)
Tree Shaker: the Story of Nelson Mandela by Bill Keller (Interesting.)
Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall & Denver Moore with Lynn Vincent (Took it out of library. Returned unopened.)
The Lives and Loves of Daisy and Voilet Hilton: A True Story of Cojoined Twins by Dean Jensen (On list to read.)
The Talented Miss Highsmith: The Secret Life and Serious Art of Patricia Highsmith by Joan Schenkar (On list to read.)
Foreskin’s Lament by Shalom Auslander (Started, so far so good. Hope to finish it.)
Art and Madness: A Memoir of Lust Without Reason by Anne Richardson Roiphe (Just took it out of library today.)
So there you have it, a list of memoirs/autobiographies that I have read, might read, didn’t finish, and currently reading. And let’s clarify something. I don’t keep a list and I don’t remember what I have read but what I have is an Amazon order history that goes back quite a few years and I can access everything I checked out from the North Merrick Library on their website.
On Tuesday I took the LIRR to the city. Took along Foreskin’s Lament. It is a small book that fits nicely in my purse. I started it and, so far, really like it. So why did I stop in the library today and take out yet another memoir. Art and Madness — it’s a 2 week book. I checked Amazon and the book only received 3 stars. But I have long ago learned to ignore these ratings — ever since I read the 5 star rated Eat, Pray, Love. I read it — hey wait isn’t that a memoir? Five stars, no way! Okay, no crazy mother, alcoholic father, abusive husband . . . just a whiny author. Sorry folks, but I really didn’t like that book.