The Last Book(s) I Bought: A Little Life & The Art of Memoir

Last weekend, while on a mission for doughnuts, I stumbled into a nearby bookstore with my best friend and boyfriend. I haven’t been in an independent bookstore in a while, so browsing the stacks and handwritten staff recommendations ended the way it usually does: with me walking out with new books. The two books I bought–one fiction, one non-fiction–are both at the top of my To-Read list.

The first was Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life, which was a Man Booker Prize Nominee in 2015. Clocking in at over 800 pages, the novel chronicles the lives of four college classmates–Jude, JB, Willem, and Malcolm–and the highs and lows of their lives. Particularly the lows. The novel touches on addiction, trauma, suffering, success, pride, and male friendship.

Ever since this book was released a year ago I knew I wanted to read it (and own a copy). It’s well known that A Little Life is deeply depressing and unbelievably tragic– I mean, just look at the anguish on the cover.

It’s no secret that I am an extremely emotional person and I knew this book would level me, so I wanted to be ready. Last weekend I finally was.  The combination of finding an absolutely adorable bookshop with my favorite people put me in the perfect mood to take A Little Life home with me.

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The second book I bought was Mary Karr’s The Art of Memoir. Known by many as the person who sparked the contemporary memoir craze, Karr has written three best-selling memoirs: The Liars’ Club, Lit, and Cherry. I’ve never read any of her work but she was mentioned often in my creative writing classes. She is also a favorite among my favorites (particularly Cheryl Strayed).

I heard about Karr’s newest book from two podcasts I listen to: Fresh Air and Dear Sugar. I’ve always been a fan of ars poeticas where writer’s explore the ways they write along with where, when, and how. On the book jacket, it says that The Art of Memoir joins the ranks of Stephen King’s On Writing and Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird  – two of my favorite writing-about-writing books. If it’s anything like those two books, I have a feeling I’ll be adding The Art of Memoir to my favorites shelf in no time.

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What was the last book(s) you bought? Were they fiction or nonfiction? Have you read A Little Life or The Art of Memoir? If yes, what did you think? If not, do you want to? Let me know in the comments

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