Magical Memoir Moments

Leon Fleisher's Memoir My Nine Lives: Reviewed by Beverly K. Lapp

Introducing Beverly K. Lapp, Associate Professor of Music at Goshen College. Bev came into my life first as a student at Goshen College, then as a faculty colleague. She writes as well as she plays piano and teaches–which is saying a lot. Enjoy her review below. Fleisher, L. & Midgette, A. (2010). My nine lives: A…

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The Night the Battery Died

“Where are those Showalters?” God must have asked. “They’ve had such smooth sailing lately, let’s shake things up for them.”   After a whole week of sunshine and sightseeing in Los Cabos, the Baja, Mexico, and four long flights without any delays, we were ready for the last leg of our journey home—a car ride…

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Jonathan Franzen's Genre-Bending FREEDOM: Part I

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, August 2010. Available in hardcover, CD, digital audio, and ebook formats. Reviewed by Lanie Tankard Author Jonathan Franzen, an avid birder, has trained his binoculars here on a different species: Homo sapiens. While he does deal extensively with our fine feathered friends in his new…

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Another Mennonite Memoir: The Steppes are the Colour of Sepia

 My fellow memoir reader Clif let me know that the review I wrote of the following book has now been published in the Mennonite Quarterly Review.It has not been posted online yet, so here it is for those of you who are Canadian, Mennonite, or just interested in good family stories. The Steppes are the…

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A Letter to Mary Karr

When Abraham Lincoln and Harriet Beecher Stowe met for the first time, the President allegedly said, “So you’re the little lady who started this great war!” When it comes to 21’st century memoir, one can make the case that Mary Karr started the publishing phenom we now refer to as “the age of memoir.” Her The…

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Ben Yagoda's Memoir: A History on the Kindle–A Double Review

Ben Yagoda’s history of the memoir genre should make any other survey redundant. He’s performed a great service, not only to readers and writers but also to the new field of nonfiction/memoir studies. As promised previously, I will describe not only what I learned from reading the book but also from reading it on the Kindle. First,…

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Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: An "Old Mennonite" Review

When I read Rhoda Janzen’s Mennonite in a Little Black Dress late at night, the bed posts shook. I had to choke back gargantuan guffaws in order not to wake my Mennonite husband. The last time that happened, I was reading Bill Bryson’s The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid. Before that, David Sedaris, Michael…

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Don't Call Me Mother: A Memoir That Teaches When to Hold 'em and When to Fold 'em

Willa Cather once said that nothing is more exciting in life than to get inside the skin of another person. Sometimes I get that feeling when I make a new friend or have a deep conversation with an old one.  Other times books transform me in a similar way. I love reading just for the…

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Ava's Man: A Review And A Question for You

The top 100 memoirs list we are constructing here is not a scientific one.  At the rate we are going, 81 posts in 9 months, and only 18 reviews so far, it will take five years to get to 100 memoirs! I’ve read many more than I have reviewed and have an entire bookcase of…

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Let Your Life Speak: A Memoir Writer’s Memoir

Parker Palmer turned 70 years old today.  I celebrated his birthday by re-reading his book Let Your Life Speak.  I took the memoir lens in hand and went searching for how Parker uses his life story in this book. The code on the back jacket cover says “spirituality/work life” not “memoir.” But what if we…

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