Liz and Gianna are two of a dying breed--traveling sales reps for book publishers--who sell books in Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and the Deep South. Since we're constantly on the road hawking books, we must find ways to amuse ourselves. So here we've decided to share our anecdotes, adventures, favorite books, and efforts in making the world (or at least these few states) a more literate place to inhabit.
Home stretch! Today we have a couple of great memoirs.
Several musicians wrote books this year, and Random House was lucky
enough to publish a few of the best (Joe Henry’s Lime Creek was on my top 30
and Josh Ritter’s novel is a favorite as well). What separates Crowell’s
biography from so many others is that he worked on it for about a decade and
wrote every word himself. Thoughtful and authentic, two words not normally
associated with music memoirs, but Crowell digs deeper.
His book is more along the lines of The Liars Club or even All Over
but the Shoutin’ (and clear influence from Kardashian Konfidential). This memoir is
funny, sweet, dark, and in parts quite sad. He is the son of an alcoholic
father and an epileptic, Pentecostal mother who also had a temper. Let's just
say…there were fights in that house. You will in fact get a good sense of
his young life when he recalls a story of having to break up his parents New
Year's party when gunfire broke out. It is where the saying “It's not
New Year's until there is gunfire” comes from! Well that should be a saying.
all here in this incredibly well-written memoir; love, sex, violence, music,
drinking, poverty, more music, and then a little more music on top. If you’re
like me (if you are, try to change) you’ll hope Rodney has another book on the
his website to see an interview with Mary Karr:
Nothing says "Happy Holidays!" like...a memoir about a woman coping with the death of her daughter. Blue Nights, however, is written by Joan Didion, literary giant. Following her memoir about the death of her husband, The Year of Magical Thinking, Didion manages to keep going only to once again find herself immersed in tragedy months later when her daughter Quintana passes away.
Didion's grief is raw, but she intersperses her tough moments with a striking elegy to her daughter's life, from growing up in Malibu to her life as an adult woman, newly married. Didion and her husband John Gregory Dunne were friends with Vanessa Redgrave, and their daughter Quintana was a friend of Natasha Richardson. Redgrave's own loss of her daughter (Natasha Richardson died after a skiing accident) weaves into Didion's story; Vanessa Redgrave actually played Didion in the Broadway show of The Year of Magical Thinking.
I am not a parent. Zorro the cat is already too much responsibility for me. I have, however, recently experienced the loss of a family member. To read Joan Didion's memoirs about grief is to find one's own sorrow and pain and hope and strength. Death is the universal experience; Joan Didion gives a voice to ones still living.