Spent the afternoon with friends (one of whom owns about 600 books) and got these recommendations:
The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World by AJ Jacobs – Esquire editor Jacobs‘s memoir (released in 2004) of the year he spent reading all 32 volumes of the 2002 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Reading alphabetically (33,000 pages), he figured he’d accumulate huge quantities not learned in formal education and increase his “quirkiness factor.” Supposed to be laugh out loud funny. Definitely something I would read.
Circling My Mother: A Memoir by Mary Gordon– this is novelist Mary Gordon‘s new memoir of her mom’s battles with polio, alcoholism, and eventually with senile dementia, and details the author’s acceptance of both “the burdens and blessings of caring for her mother in old age” and her overcoming the grief of her mom’s death in 2002. Supposed to be a very moving account of this mother-daughter relationship. In August 2007 it was featured in the NYTimes Book Review — one of my favorite places to find new books to read — where you can read the first chapter.
Possible Side Effects by Augusten Burroughs – a collections of essays recounting stories from Burroughs‘s childhood that includes this disclaimer: “Some of the events described happened as related; others were expanded and changed.” Hmm…I don’t know about this one. Still, it was also featured in the NYTimes Book Review. And I may add this to my list of books to read depending on how I like his bestselling Running With Scissors – which I bought at a Library Book Sale last week.
Interesting how all three are memoirs of some sort….