Tag: memoir

  • #2 — No Cure for Being Human by Kate Bowler — 2021 Best Reads

    #2 — No Cure for Being Human by Kate Bowler — 2021 Best Reads

    To read Kate Bowler in her latest book, No Cure for Being Human (And Other Truths I Need to Hear), is like hearing from the dead. As she did in her last book, Everything Happens for a Reason (And Other Lies I’ve Told), Bowler takes a blow torch to received pieties when intense suffering comes […]

  • #3-Men We Reaped-Heartlands 2020 Best Reads

    #3-Men We Reaped-Heartlands 2020 Best Reads

    OK. I’ve gushed over Jesmyn Ward enough in the past three years. Her novel Sing, Unburied, Sing made the Best Reads list in 2017. Salvage the Bones, her Hurricane Katrina novel, was on the list last year and is on my all-time Top Ten. So, it’s not surprising that this Mississippi writer finds her way […]

  • #6-A Prayer for Orion-Heartlands 2020 Best Reads

    #6-A Prayer for Orion-Heartlands 2020 Best Reads

    Memoirs were big in my 2020 reading. But I would have read anything Katherine James put out after her debut novel, Can You See Anything Now? James is not one of those Christian writers who submerges harsh reality beneath a pious gloss. She combines an artist’s eye with brutal honesty and yet suffused throughout is […]

  • #8-North Toward Home-Heartlands 2020 Best Reads

    #8-North Toward Home-Heartlands 2020 Best Reads

    Another memoir at #8–Willie Morris’s North Toward Home, written in 1967. I read this in the summer of Black Lives Matter and there are plenty of jarring moments as Morris describes growing up white in segregated Mississippi. But he makes it out, first to Texas and then to New York City, and when he does […]

  • #9 – The Yellow House–Heartlands 2020 Best Reads

    #9 – The Yellow House–Heartlands 2020 Best Reads

    Sarah Broom earned rave reviews in 2019 with The Yellow House. It’s a memoir of one Black family’s experience in New Orleans East, built around the frame of a shotgun house that did not survive Katrina. It’s a dreamy sort of book, and by that I mean elusive. But the storytelling and the characters are […]

  • Saying Their Names: Jesmyn Ward’s Mississippi Memoir

    Saying Their Names: Jesmyn Ward’s Mississippi Memoir

    Jesmyn Ward’s memoir, Men We Reaped, derives its title from an arresting Harriet Tubman quote that appears in the book as an epigraph: We saw the lightning and that was the guns; and then we heard the thunder and that was the big guns; and then we heard the rain falling and that was the […]

  • Belated Reviews: Willie Morris’s North Toward Home

    Belated Reviews: Willie Morris’s North Toward Home

    “I think he got parvo. I think he picked it up out the dirt.” …”Maybe he just sick, Skeet.” “What if it’s in the dirt? What if the rest of them get infected?” —Salvage the Bones, Jesmyn Ward It took some chutzpah for Willie Morris, at the age of roughly 33, to believe that his […]

  • The Long Shadow of The Yellow House

    The Long Shadow of The Yellow House

    It’s hard to say, even 370 pages later, what the yellow house means to Sarah Broom. As a substantial structure about which to tell a story of a place, it’s not much to look at—a shotgun house in New Orleans East, ultimately ravaged by Katrina and razed to the ground. For most of the second […]

  • #2–Heavy: Heartlands Best Reads of 2019

    #2–Heavy: Heartlands Best Reads of 2019

    Kiese Laymon’s 2018 memoir, Heavy, made many best book lists last year. I got to it this year, partly because I understood that it was about Laymon’s struggles with his weight. It’s about a lot more than that. And Laymon’s struggles as a young, African-American man growing up in Mississippi are different than mine. With sparkling […]

  • How a Mississippi Man’s Struggles with Weight Tell the Truth about America

    How a Mississippi Man’s Struggles with Weight Tell the Truth about America

    “America understands itself as God’s handiwork, but the black body is the clearest evidence that America is the work of men.”  —Ta-Nehasi Coates, Between the World and Me I confess that I picked up Heavy, Kiese Laymon’s staggering memoir about growing up bright and black in Mississippi, with more than a little curiosity about the obesity […]