“People are hard to hate close up. Move in.” – Brene Brown
Welcome back to our blog for May’s post!
Take a cozy seat and make yourself a cuppa before we introduce you to some new team members and then delve into another (often overlooked) section of the bookstore: Memoirs and Autobiographies.
Last month we introduced you to Echo, our new Administrator for Book-ish. This month we are excited to introduce Hannah and Megan, two new Booksellers who you will see on our shop floor and who can give the very best book recommendations.
With new faces come new voices, views, and strengths. We now have quite the wide variety of genre knowledge in our team which means stronger connections with our growing book loving community (you guys!). Echo has a soft spot for non-fiction reads, specifically nature writing, memoirs, and politics. Hannah enjoys reading books from our YA and children’s section, while Megan loves historical and contemporary fiction, essay collections, and fantasy.
Come chat with us in the store or feel free to e-mail for some recommendations to be sent your way.
Memoirs & Autobiographies
Let us quickly break down the difference between a memoir and an autobiography. A memoir focuses on a specific aspect of a writer’s life while an autobiography is typically an overview of their whole life and can include ancestral history. The line can become blurry and sometimes a memoir can also be considered an autobiography.
We all have a lot going on in our own lives, so it can seem overwhelming to launch ourselves into someone else’s life and process their problems too. But it might also be just the break you need…
Here is a little list of reasons why reading in depth about other lives can be of real benefit to us:
- Puts our problems/concerns/worries into perspective. Sometimes stepping back and seeing what others have dealt with and have overcome can help us realise that we are quite lucky, or that we at least are not alone in facing tough situations.
- Can teach us how to (or how not to) deal with/react to the curveballs life loves to throw at us. We can gain wisdom from reading about how people dealt with situations and the outcome of those decisions. If we face something similar we can remember and choose differently if we want a different outcome.
- Often, there is a gratifying revival or redemption. Who doesn’t love seeing the person they are rooting for come out on top? With these personal in-depth written accounts, you delve beyond surface level attributes and get a much stronger understanding of who someone is; how they think. Seeing them rise up and learn their lesson after the struggle is such a rewarding experience.
My first recommendation in the Memoir section is Insomniac City by Bill Hayes.
This is a breathtaking, heartbreaking, vivid portrait of New York through Oliver Sacks’s last few years. The author, Hayes, writes about his first partners’ death and how he chose to restart his life in NYC, where he came to be with Oliver Sacks. This is Hayes memoir but is so interwoven with his unending love and admiration for Oliver Sacks that it almost feels like Sacks’s memoir at the same time. This book grips your heart with deeply touching beauty and appreciation for LIFE in every sense of the word. The good. The bad. The Ugly.
My second recommendation in the Memoir section is M Train by Patti Smith.
“I’m sure I could write endlessly about nothing, if only I had nothing to say.”
Patti Smith’s curiosity for the melancholy is profound and remarkably relatable. Her explanations of living in malaise in combination with her photography make you feel special… as if you are the only one invited into her mind. She lures you in while maintaining a mood of detachment. A very unique women and life.
My first recommendation in the Autobiography section is Greenlights by Mathew McConaughey.
If you are looking for an invitation to love your life, grow your confidence, and be unapologetically yourself, look no further. McConaughey has spent a lot of his time writing and thinking about the reality that he wants to live in. He dreams it, grasps it, believes in it, then manifests it with confidence. This book is full of beautiful poems, life lessons, and a general appreciation for the days we are given.
My second recommendation in the Autobiography section is Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen.
This is the perfect definition of a perfect autobiography. Starts the day he was born and over the next 500+ pages you learn every little detail about the life of Bruce Springsteen. He covers everything from extremely personal thoughts about intimacy to the prevalence of racial injustice. There is a lot to learn from his mistakes and choices. A beautiful escape into the life of a true rockstar.
Staff monthly reads
We will leave you here with a quick look into what our team is reading this month!
Enjoy and thanks for reading!