Surprisingly Moving Essays on Personal Strength, Humor, and Embracing Mistakes

Book review: The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo, by Amy Schumer I like Amy Schumer’s comedy, but I’m not enough in love with it that her book was a priority when it came out nearly a year ago. Until I happened upon a review praising it as something much more meaningful than a reiteration of Schumer’s jokes or skits from her show. The review stressed that … Continue reading Surprisingly Moving Essays on Personal Strength, Humor, and Embracing Mistakes

The Life-Saving Magic of Poetry

Book review: Poetry Will Save Your Life, by Jill Bialosky “All poems become, to a certain degree, personal to a reader.” Poet, editor, and novelist Jill Bialosky writes a memoir structured around the poems that have helped her through life, imbuing it with deeper meaning and giving subtle guidance and reassurances through turmoil and joy. Sometimes they act as markers, anchoring her memory to a place or event. … Continue reading The Life-Saving Magic of Poetry

Perspectives On Paris

Book review: A Paris All Your Own, edited by Eleanor Brown “My time in Paris was like no one else’s ever.” “In the end, I think Paris kept us married for an extra five years.” “I should probably write an article for a women’s magazine about this: ‘Lose Weight While Eating Your Feelings in Paris!’” A Paris All Your Own is a collection of impressionistic essays … Continue reading Perspectives On Paris

Vignettes of Life and Memories from the American Midwest to Italy

Book review: American English, Italian Chocolate, by Rick Bailey English professor Rick Bailey writes a sweet, soft memoir in vignette-style essays stretching from the American Midwest to northern Italy. Musings include high school dramas and levitation parties, medical issues humorous and otherwise, death, home insect infestations, historical perceptions of beans, how Nutella might taste better in Italy than in America, and, a favorite: observations on espresso making in … Continue reading Vignettes of Life and Memories from the American Midwest to Italy

Roxane Gay on Hunger in Its Many Forms

Book review: Hunger, by Roxane Gay The story of my body is not a story of triumph. This is not a weight-loss memoir. There will be no picture of a thin version of me, my slender body emblazoned across this book’s cover, with me standing in one leg of my former, fatter self’s jeans. This is not a book that will offer motivation. I don’t … Continue reading Roxane Gay on Hunger in Its Many Forms

Real Life Essays with a Little Raunch

Book review: We Are Never Meeting in Real Life, by Samantha Irby Samantha Irby is the Chicago-based blogger behind the popular, ultra-honest, hilariously confessional blog Bitches Gotta Eat. She opens her personal essay collection with a piece about how she’d fill out an application to be a Bachelorette contestant. It’s a pretty wonderful, hilarious introduction, and you can imagine what you’re in for with her from there. Her … Continue reading Real Life Essays with a Little Raunch

Images of Apocalypse in the Everyday

Book review: The World is On Fire, by Joni Tevis Joni Tevis has a strange talent for writing essays that combine the most unlikely, unrelated subjects, skipping without any obvious connection between topics and somehow making it work as a coherent, emotional, interesting piece. I’ve never read anything quite like it before. As one example, she writes an essay contrasting her own struggles with fertility … Continue reading Images of Apocalypse in the Everyday

Essays On Her Own: Didion After Her Editor

Book review: After Henry, by Joan Didion There’s no other storyteller like Joan Didion. She can take the most boring fact and spin a narrative yarn around it that boggles the mind. She can tie so many elements together in telling a story and making a point about politics, culture, or the identity of a place that reading her essays feels like being schooled in … Continue reading Essays On Her Own: Didion After Her Editor

Some Light Hollywood Trash-Talking

Book review: Kathy Griffin’s Celebrity Run-Ins, by Kathy Griffin I love Kathy Griffin’s standup. Sometimes if I’m feeling down, clips of her energetic, overexcited, judgmental storytelling work as a quick fix cheerer-upper. I haven’t read her other book, Official Book Club Selection, which I think got positive reviews, but I started reading this one when I couldn’t focus on anything serious (thank you, massive stress over apartment/moving) but still … Continue reading Some Light Hollywood Trash-Talking

Not-So-Sunny Sides of the Sunshine State

Book review: Sunshine State, by Sarah Gerard Sunshine State, up and coming literary darling Sarah Gerard’s essay collection rooted in her childhood home state of Florida, hits some high highs and low lows. The opening essay, “BFF”, starts the book out as strongly as it could possibly be started; I was hooked. Gerard dreamily, wistfully details the twists and turns of a toxic young female … Continue reading Not-So-Sunny Sides of the Sunshine State

Essays from the Outdoors

Book review: Upstream, by Mary Oliver ‘Come with me into the field of sunflowers’ is a better line than anything you will find here, and the sunflowers themselves far more wonderful than any words about them. Quoting herself, renowned and much-loved poet Mary Oliver opens this collection of essays about nature and our connection to it, need for it, what it can teach us and how it feels … Continue reading Essays from the Outdoors

The Opposite of How Most People Think

Book review: The Unspeakable, by Meghan Daum I’ve been in the mood to read a good essay collection, and oh man – oh man, was this it. Meghan Daum is a columnist for the L.A. Times and contributor to outlets like Slate and NPR. And she’s an unflinchingly honest essayist. The Unspeakable tells stories about subjects that are uncomfortable to discuss, maybe uncomfortable even to think about in your own head. But they make … Continue reading The Opposite of How Most People Think