I have read several memoirs lately, and wanted to do some quick reviews!
Title: Brown Girl Dreaming
Author: Jacqueline Woodson
Hardcover: 337 pages
Pub Date: Aug 2014
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
Summary from goodreads
Jacqueline Woodson, one of today’s finest writers, tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse.
Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.
See all those stickers on the image of the cover? This book won SO many awards. It is beautifully written and so moving. It is written in verse and every word has been chosen with intent. It succeeds in every single way. This is a absolute must read for everyone.
Title: Brunette Ambition
Author: Lea Michele
Hardcover: 208 pages
Pub Date: May 2014
Publisher: Harmony Books
Summary from goodreads
The star of the hit show Glee shares her experiences and insider tips on beauty, fashion, inner strength, and more in an illustrated book that’s part memoir, part how-to, and part style guide.
Lea Michele is one of the hardest working performers in show business. Whether she’s starring as Rachel Berry on Glee, rocking a glamorous look on the red carpet, recording her solo album, or acting as the spokesperson for L’Oreal, Lea is the ultimate multi-tasker. She knows better than anyone that it is difficult to be your best self and keep things in perspective when your to-do list is overflowing and you are faced with challenges, so she’s developed a foolproof system for remaining healthy and centered. In Brunette Ambition, she reveals the lessons and advice that have worked for her–from beauty and fashion secrets to fitness tips, and career insights. Supplemented with never-before-seen photos and revealing anecdotes, it’s the book Lea wishes she’d had in her teens and early twenties: A practical and inspirational guide to harnessing tenacity and passion and living the fullest life, no matter what obstacles life puts in your way.
As a huge fan of Glee, I knew I had to read this book (I am so going to cry during the series finale tonight!). It is part memoir, part advice book, part recipe book, and part inspirational. It balances all of those parts really really well.
When I finished reading it, I was motivated to take care of myself, have more confidence, and try some new things. I have kept it up for a couple weeks now. It is sticking and I am feeling great. It was the perfect book for when i read it.
Title: I Must Say: My Life as a Humble Comedy Legend
Author: Martin Short
Hardcover: 320 pages
Pub Date: Nov 2014
Summary from goodreads
Martin Short is one of few celebrities in show business who has continually worked hard, found success, and kept his personal life intact. His memoir is a reflection on his diverse collection of experiences, both hilarious and heartbreaking.
Short takes us through his career, from his early years with Second City Toronto and Saturday Night Live to his movie stardom. He recalls how he developed some of his enduring characters—manic man-child Ed Grimley, slimy lawyer Nathan Thurm, and the large and bizarrely insensitive Jiminy Glick. Here, too, are his television appearances, from How I Met Your Mother to his Emmy-nominated role in Damages, as well as his stage productions, including his Tony Award-winning performance in Little Me. Throughout, Steve Martin, Tom Hanks, Nora Ephron, Frank Sinatra, and others friends and colleagues share the spotlight.
This deeply private man brings us into the circle of his family life, from raising his children to the legendary parties he and his wife have hosted. He recounts the pain of losing a brother and both parents by the time he was 20, and of the devastating death of Nancy, his wife of thirty years, in 2010. Despite the hardships, Short’s life has been full of laughter, and he remains perennially upbeat. In this wise and entertaining memoir, he shares his irrepressible joy.
This is one of the better celebrity memoirs I have read. It is funny. It is heart breaking. It doesn’t gossip about other celebrities. Overall, it is just a read that will make you feel like you know Martin Short more. And you get to find out that Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson are just as wonderful and you could hope. If you like Martin Short at all, you should read this book. I wish i had listened to the audiobook, since I have heard it is even better since Martin reads it.