The popular BBC show Call The Midwife tells the story of young nurse, Jenny Lee, and her fellow midwives at Nonnatus House. If you’re not already in love with this program, check it out for a binge-watchable character-driven drama, including historical detail, snarky nuns, medical complications, and female friendships, plus loads of adorable babies.
The TV show is based on the memoirs of real-life Poplar midwife Jennifer Worth, in her trilogy of books: Call the Midwife, Shadows of The Workhouse, Farewell To The East End. Worth also published a fourth memoir, In The Midst of Life, after a departure from midwifery to care for terminally ill patients, just like her television counterpart Jenny Lee.
|Recommended by Meg Stivison||Tuesday, August 11th, 2015||1 Comment »|
This is the question author William Powers poses in his memoir New Slow City.
After living in a 12 x 12 home in North Carolina for an entire year, Powers finds himself overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of New York City. His resolve? To see if he’s able to live a life worth living amongst the chaos. Between cutting back his work week to two days a week and moving himself and his new wife into a micro-sized studio apartment, Powers records not only how his own thought process changes over the course of a year, but also how the his lifestyle also affects his career.
Focusing on the idea of “slow living,” self-sustainability, and absorbing what’s happening around oneself, New Slow City is a memoir that is so well-written you won’t even realize you’re learning along the way.
|Recommended by Chelsey Grasso||Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015||No Comments »|
While Haruki Murakami may be known for his culturally rich and mystically driven fiction stories, his 2007 memoir What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is just as worthy of a read. Focusing on his identity as a “running writer,” or if you’d prefer, a “writing runner,” this book touches on topics of physical pain, the process of fiction writing, and aging in a way that is beautifully honest. Centered on Murakami’s long distance running, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running reads like a journal, focusing in on specific dates and events that Murakami professes as being influential and pivotal moments in his life.
The day he realized he should be a writer, the moment he felt an invisible knot release in his inner being, and the race that made him acknowledge his aging body are all covered, and like any great Murakami story, they’re depicted in ways that are entrancing and poetic in their literary nature. Whether or not you’re a runner or writer, this book is still worth your time, encapsulating what it means to be human and the realities of growing up.
|Recommended by Chelsey Grasso||Tuesday, April 28th, 2015||No Comments »|
My first generation, immigrant parents considered The Joy Luck Club to be required viewing–a cautionary tale of what happened when you, god forbid, brought a white boyfriend home for dinner. Amy Tan’s novel was a dramatic though delicate story about finding acceptance. In comparison, Eddie Huang’s memoir, Fresh Off the Boat, spits its prose like a frenzied rap battle. From being called a “chink” in the school lunchroom to serving part of his felony probation in an overseas compatriot study tour to Taiwan, Huang fights to represent where he came from and celebrates his differences as a Chinese/Taiwanese-American rather than seeking acceptance from anyone.
Like you would expect from any celebrity chef, Eddie includes immersive and sensual food memories, spanning from the intimate knowledge of the flavors his mother put on the table to the skewed Jamaican barbecue of his father’s restaurant cooks to the night markets in Taiwan. A Chinese kid growing up in suburban Orlando is funny enough, but Eddie’s wry humor and lyrical hip-hop style voice reels you in, expecting an answer to the question of identity but instead offers an alternative view of what America looks like to the freshly American. Before you applaud ABC for portraying the first Asian-American family on a network sitcom, remember that Eddie Huang’s memoir has a lot more to say.
|Recommended by J. Harbinger||Monday, March 9th, 2015||1 Comment »|
With the release of both the French and German language editions of her latest book, and the author’s announcement of two new books in the works, it seems like as good a time as any to introduce you all to the delightful autobiographical comics of Lucy Knisley.
A veteran of Internet comics and self-publishing, Lucy Knisley’s work almost exclusively deals with real-life events, recounting stories from her childhood, family history, world travels, and more. She first struck out on the scene with French Milk, the account of a month-long trip to Paris with her mother in 2007. Since then Knisley’s work has received multiple accolades and she has risen to literary prominence with the release of her self-described “food memoir,” Relish: My Life in the Kitchen through First Second Books.
|Recommended by Marie Anello||Monday, February 17th, 2014||No Comments »|