by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on December 28th, 2016
Did you know memoir comes from the Latin work memoria, which means making memory or reminiscence?
A memoir is a sub-genre of the autobiography and tends to encompass one time period of an author’s life while a biography and/or autobiography is a detailed description of a person’s entire life.
Here are the lives (or parts of lives) we enjoyed reading about in 2016.
ICPL’s BEST BIOGRAPHIES, AUTOBIOGRAPHIES AND MEMOIRS OF 2016
- Lust & Wonder by Augusten Burroughs
- It Gets Worse by Shane Dawson
- Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin
- Charlotte Bronte: A Fiery Heart by Claire Harman
- Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded by Hannah Hart
- Greetings From Utopia Park: Surviving a Transcendent Childhood by Claire Hoffman
- Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick
- You’ll Grow Out of It by Jessi Klein
- Something New: Tales from a Makeshift Bride by Lucy Knisley
- The Bridge Ladies by Betsy Lerner
- I’m Just a Person by Tig Notaro
- Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune by Pamela S. Turner
- Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance
by Beth Fisher on November 14th, 2016
What does it mean to be transgender? Transgender people are people whose gender identity – their innate knowledge of who they are – is different from the gender they were thought to be at birth. Transgender people are your classmates, your coworkers, your neighbors, and your friends. With approximately 1.4 million transgender adults in the United States—and millions more around the world—chances are that you’ve met a transgender person, even if you don’t know it.
Being transgender means different things to different people. Like a lot of other aspects of who people are – like race or religion – there’s no one way to be transgender, and no one way for transgender people to look or feel about themselves. The best way to understand what being transgender is like is to talk with transgender people and listen to their stories. For more information visit http://www.transequality.org/
The books below, and many more like them, can be found in the display on the first floor near the Help Desk. Read the rest of this entry »
by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on August 17th, 2016
I’m relatively new to audiobooks, having listened to my first one a few months ago, but I agree with my colleagues who say they are a great way to pass the time on long drives, during a run or cleaning the house.
I also agree with them that a narrator makes, or breaks, the audiobook.
There are several I’ve started but couldn’t finish because I didn’t like the narrator’s voice. One of these books was even read by the author, but she did not sound at all like I thought she would. For some odd reason even I can’t explain, that did not sit well with me. I returned the audiobook on my OverDrive app and checked out the physical book instead.
I recently finished listening to I Don’t Know What You Know Me From: My Life as a Co-Star by Judy Greer. She also voiced the audiobook. If the name isn’t familiar, I’m sure it will be after you Google it. With more than 16 working years in Hollywood, and 90+ film and TV credits to her name, she’s one of those actors who seems to be in everything.
She’s a star, yet she isn’t. She’s worked with George Clooney and Paul Rudd and Jennifer Lopez, but can still run to a 24-hour drug store without fear of being recognized. In fact, if/when she is recognized, the people who stop her aren’t sure why they’ve stopped her. Best of both worlds? The work, some fame, but no paparazzi?
(If you aren’t going to Google Judy Greer, she played Lucy in 13 Going on 30; Maggie Lang in Ant-Man; Karen Mitchell in Jurassic World; and Kitty Sanchez in Arrested Development.)
This was an entertaining memoir. Greer is funny, honest – some might think she’s too honest, but I loved it – and anyone who’s curious about what happens behind-the-scenes in Hollywood will get a little bit of gossip. Not dirt – she’s not stupid; she still has to make a living – but the next time you see a celebrity looking like the wish they were anywhere else on the red carpet or at a press junket, Greer’s book will explain why both aren’t fun.
by Jason Paulios on April 22nd, 2016
The latest in the Bur Oak Books series from the University of Iowa Press is Cornelia Mutel’s account on climate change as seen from the mixed oak woodlands in rural Johnson County, Iowa. The book is cleverly structured to follow the four seasons during the year 2012, each season features daily journal entries detailing weather and climate notes. Interspersed are notable updates on various woodland species in the acreage alongside Iowa natural history. Paired with the day-to-day of 2012 country living are complimenting memoir sections detailing growing up in Madison, her mother’s early death, and parenthood in Iowa City.
Her writing is organized and passionate, her love of the natural world is infectious and I often found myself considering putting down the book to wander a nearby nature trail. Throughout all the meditative trail walking anecdotes filled with chipmunk scurrying and spring ephemeral blooming are sobering climate science facts and how they are impacting all these things we care about. Her research is presented in small digestible amounts and her teaching background is evident in the way in which she breaks down complicated earth science processes.
by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on December 28th, 2015
Quiz time! What’s the different between an autobiography, biography and memoir?
An autobiography is a story an author writes about his or her life. Usually all-encompassing, most autobiographies start with the author’s childhood and move chronologically highlighting important events, ending at the present time.
A biography also follows a chronological structure over a long period of time, but it is written by someone other than the subject of the book.
Memoirs are sometimes confused with autobiographies, which is completely understandable. Like an autobiography, a memoir is a narrative written by the author about their life. But while autobiographies cover the author’s life up to the point of publication, a memoir focuses on one aspect or theme of the author’s life. Memoirs tend to be less formal, and focus more on memories, feelings, and emotions instead of facts.
No matter which genre you prefer, autobiographies, biographies and memoirs introduce readers to fascinating people, reveal the stories of well-known individuals, and provide inspiration, insight and greater understanding of others.
ICPL’s BEST AUTOBIOGRAPHIES, BIOGRAPHIES AND MEMOIRS OF 2015
- Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson
- Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
- You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost): A Memoir by Felicia Day
- Wildflower by Drew Barrymore
- Silver Screen Fiend: Learning About Life from an Addiction to Film by Patton Oswalt
- Girl in a Band by Kim Gordon
- Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein
- Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland by Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus
- I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda
- Primates of Park Avenue by Wednesday Martin
- The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson
- On the Move: A Life by Oliver Sacks
- Live Like Line, Love Like Ellyn: One Community’s Journey from Tragedy to Triumph by Bill Hoeft
by Melody Dworak on November 3rd, 2015
Emily Flake’s Mama Tried: Dispatches from the Seamy Underbelly of Modern Parenting hilariously pokes fun at experiences of expectant and first-time parents, particularly those of women who established careers and were fully independent thinkers before deciding to start a family.
At eight months pregnant myself, I peeled through the first third of her book, howling with laughter every few pages or so. I can identify with dealing with “swole” feet and eating cookies to make the baby kick (and just to eat cookies). This book was much needed comic relief for my final stretch as a pregnant lady.
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by Katherine Habley on September 29th, 2015
Okay I admit it….I’m a Midwestern girl through and through. Born in Cleveland, moved to Chicago as a young child, then to Kansas City where I grew up, then off to college in Columbia, Missouri, then to my first professional library job in Normal, Illinois (where I met my husband), next to Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where our two children were born, and finally to Coralville where our kids grew up (now 32 and 34 years old). The point is, I am proud of my Midwestern upbringing and the work ethic and sense of values inherent in being part of a friendly and down to earth region of the country. So I found the book, Primates of Park Avenue, quite a stretch in subject matter from what I can relate to as a woman, wife, and mother. The author has a PhD. from Yale and does writing and social research. Her background in anthropology is evident as she compares mommies who live on the Upper East Side to primates and to women from other countries. This book is a memoir about Martin’s life moving from downtown NYC to Park Avenue with her wealthy husband, a native of Manhattan. The customs and social life of the women in her uber rich neighborhood are absolutely foreign to me, and thus, very interesting and appalling at the same time. Trying to fit in as a new mom in a new neighborhood, wanting a good school for your son, and wanting to meet new friends are definitely things I understand; but the high society social climbing that apparently happens in the Upper East Side is something I’m glad I’ve never encountered in Iowa. Martin feels like a social outcast in her new lifestyle. The stress of getting a kindergartner into the best school in the city, wearing only designer clothes and carrying a Birkin bag, always being dressed to the nines whenever you leave the apartment to buy milk at the local store, taking Xanax to ward off a nervous breakdown, being snubbed when trying to set up a child’s playdate, owning a second home in the Hamptons, and vacationing in Vail are all discussed in this funny and erudite novel written from an interesting slant. The comparisons between mother baboons and mommies on Park Avenue is just amazing. Talk about looking at cultural mores and animal behavior in a whole new way! I didn’t want to put this book down. Hope you enjoy it as well!
by Katherine Habley on July 27th, 2015
A Lucky Life Interrupted: A Memoir of Hope by Tom Brokaw was a quick read that I enjoyed. I remember watching Brokaw as the anchor of the NBC Nightly News for years and also appreciating his thoughtful coverage of Presidential elections. To me, he was always intelligent, articulate, and reassuring in reporting the news. Then I got to hear him in person at the University of Iowa a few years ago after his book, The Greatest Generation, was published. Once again, his presence was so warm and familiar, his sense of humor very apparent, and his Midwestern values obvious. In his latest book, quite different from his others, Brokaw talks about the 2013–2014 year he spent battling multiple myeloma, a treatable but incurable blood cancer. After the diagnosis, Brokaw the journalist decided to keep a diary of his time dealing with the ups and downs of cancer treatment. His journal recounts his frustrations with the medical team in not communicating with each other well enough in coordinating his treatment. He talks about the importance of patients taking an active role in their own treatment, and the critical role of caretakers, nurses, and rehabilitation specialists. But he also takes a broader look at health care and aging in America and how fortunate he was to have the financial resources to pursue the best doctors at Mayo Clinic and elsewhere. The question I ask myself frequently, “what do other people do who don’t have health insurance?” is one posed by the author as well. His memories of important world events and interviews he’s done with famous world leaders are scattered throughout his memoir. For someone with a very charmed life to talk about his illness and ultimately offer hope to others facing devastating news about their own mortality, his book says a lot about the man himself who counts each day reading, writing, fishing, and time spent with his beloved family and friends, a precious gift.
by Melody Dworak on February 26th, 2015
Here are four new memoirs that will make the able-bodied glad we’re only trapped by crappy winter weather.
A bizarre illness rendered Martin Pistorius immobile and incommunicado for 12 years. His family was told the teenager was going to die, but he survived in a vegetative state with no way to communicate. His family didn’t know he was cognizant for more than a decade. How do you cope when you are trapped inside your body? What do you do when the staff at the care center leave Barney reruns on for hours? This memoir shares his intense story. eBook available on Overdrive. Read the rest of this entry »