Memoir

NWPR Books
7:20 am
Fri November 21, 2014

There's More To Asking Than Just Art

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Grand Central Publishing

Amanda Palmer's well-intentioned, slightly clueless new book, The Art of Asking, is a little bit diary, a little bit TED talk, and a little bit how-to guide. Palmer, Neil Gaiman's wife and one-half of the band the Dresden Dolls, had a well-publicized break from her record label and asked her fans to front the money for her next venture via Kickstarter. She asked for $100,000 — and received $1.2 million. From this successful experiment in asking for help, she has produced a hazy philosophy of asking, built on the pillars of trust, reciprocity, couch-surfing and a lot of body paint.

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NWPR Books
4:03 am
Tue September 23, 2014

'My Life' Asks: How Do You Leave A War Behind?

Brian Turner is director of Sierra Nevada College's MFA program and has previously written two books of poetry, Here, Bullet and Phantom Noise.
W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

With each new story we hear about PTSD, about the lasting price paid by those fortunate enough to have returned from war, our notion of a soldier's sacrifice expands: There are those who sacrifice their lives, those who sacrifice parts of their bodies, and those who — forever anguished by their experiences — sacrifice their minds.

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NWPR Books
2:06 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

An 'Epilogue' That Makes Sense Of The Chaos Of Memory

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 2:40 pm

Will Boast's parents, Andrew and Nancy, met and married in Southampton, a port city on England's south coast. Fleeing the social and economic malaise that blighted the country in the late '70s — workers on strike, power outages and high inflation — and with ambitions for his young family, Boast Sr. moved them to Fontana, Wis., where he worked for a plastics company.

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NWPR Books
9:29 am
Thu September 11, 2014

'Father And Son' Is Part Homage, Part Indictment

Add Marcos Giralt Torrente's Father and Son: A Lifetime to the shortlist of worthwhile memoirs about mourning a parent — a list that includes Philip Roth's Patrimony, Paul Auster's The Invention of Solitude, and Hanif Kureishi's My Ear at His Heart, all of which the author cites as touchstones for his exploration.

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NWPR Books
4:53 am
Sat August 16, 2014

James Brown's Daughter Recalls A Painful Childhood in 'Cold Sweat'

Celebrity child autobiographies fall into two categories. There's the scorched earth approach: One sordid story after another — call it the "Mommie Dearest" syndrome.

The second category is the warts-and-all approach, in which the performer's progeny relates parental faults in oft-painful detail, but with the ultimate goal of deeper understanding. In many ways, the warts-and-all way is more challenging, because it requires the author to explain why — despite the horrors — they still loved Mom or Dad.

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NWPR Books
8:57 am
Sun August 10, 2014

'Blackboard' Chalks A Nostalgic Portrait Of School Days

Nostalgia is a hard-hitting drug, its alchemical powers well known, but can it turn a child's entire school experience into sentimental gold? Some kids love school, and many, in retrospect, realize that what seemed like misery at the time was actually relative joy compared to what came after. But to find a silver lining in even the most embarrassing, most angst-filled moments of your school years? Such a thing seemed impossible for even the most wistful of people, until I read Lewis Buzbee's Blackboard: A Personal History of the Classroom.

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NWPR Books
6:59 am
Fri August 8, 2014

'Joss Whedon': Biography Of A 'Shiny' Geek King

Originally published on Fri August 8, 2014 1:04 pm

Published in Britain as Joss Whedon: Geek King of the Universe and in the U.S. less cheekily as Joss Whedon: The Biography, Amy Pascale's portrait of pop culture's man of just about any recent hour may not make her title subject any new converts, but it is hero-worshipping enough to make devoted Whedonites feel they're being inducted into the Scooby Gang.

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NWPR Books
12:03 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

An Army Wife Charts Her Struggles In 'No Man's War'

Angela Ricketts, whose husband deployed eight times over 22 years, says she had to get over resentment around parenting their three kids alone while he was gone.
Courtesy of Counterpoint Press

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 12:52 pm

People often expect military wives to be strong and stoic. But in her new memoir, No Man's War: Irreverent Confessions of an Infantry Wife, Angela Ricketts writes about the difficulties she faced during her husband's deployments — including the stresses it put on their marriage and on raising their three children.

She also writes about the toll of always bracing herself for the next goodbye.

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NWPR Books
12:34 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

'Mockingbird Next Door': A Genteel Peek Into Harper Lee's Quiet Life

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 6:53 pm

It's probably the most oft-cited literary fantasy of all time: I'm talking about that passage in Catcher in the Rye where Holden Caulfield says: "What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though."

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NWPR Books
5:55 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Ja Rule: 'I Took It Upon Myself To Become A Man'

Ja Rule at NPR's New York bureau in June.
Quoctrung Bui NPR

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