Tag: Autobiography

Dance Or Die: From Stateless Refugee To International Ballet Star by Ahmad Joudeh

I love dance books, and often find them a source of luminous prose and inspiration. Couple this with the true story of a stateless ballet dancer who grew up and performed in war-torn Syria, and who is active in dancing and advocating for peace and for the rights of refugees worldwide, and I absolutely had …

Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/09/30/dance-or-die-from-stateless-refugee-to-international-ballet-star-by-ahmad-joudeh/

Beautiful Country: A Memoir by Qian Julie Wang

For the first three-quarters or so of this book, I was absolutely enthralled. Qian Julie Wang tells the story of her relatively prosperous, if politically oppressed life in Northern China before her Ba Ba emigrates to America, followed by herself and her Ma Ma five years later. They overstay their visas, becoming undocumented while Ba …

Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/09/14/beautiful-country-a-memoir-by-qian-julie-wang/

A Promised Land by Barack Obama

A Promised Land by Barack Obama

Let me stipulate from the beginning that A Promised Land is not a revelatory book like Dreams from my Father, a book Barack Obama wrote when he had no idea he would be President of the United States one day, when he was finishing figuring out who he was and why anyone who didn’t know …

Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/08/30/a-promised-land-by-barack-obama/

Die Jugendstreiche des Knaben Karl by Karl Valentin

Jugendstreiche des Knaben Karl

The editors of the Süddeutsche Zeitung began their series of 20 books in or involving Munich with a local icon, Siegfried Sommer. They finished the set with Karl Valentin, who was born in Munich and grew up in the city but went on to become a national icon as a comedic star on stage, in …

Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/05/29/die-jugendstreiche-des-knaben-karl-by-karl-valentin/

Punch Me Up To The Gods: A Memoir by Brian Broome

Structured around Gwendolyn Brooks’ seminal poem We Real Cool and a bus ride where Brian Broome observed a young Black boy named Tuan interacting with his father, this autobiography in essays is a profound, powerful examination of the life of a gay black man growing up in late 20th century America. Born and raised in …

Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/05/18/punch-me-up-to-the-gods-a-memoir-by-brian-broome/

Childtimes: A Three-Generation Memoir by Eloise Greenfield & Lessie Jones Little

Background on why I picked up this book: apparently, it was one of the three selections available to my 10 year-old for an autobiography reading assignment he had for school. I’m not sure how he wound up with this book instead of the other two, but it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that he …

Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/04/20/childtimes-a-three-generation-memoir-by-eloise-greenfield-lessie-jones-little/

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

I read Between the World and Me a lifetime ago, in early summer when it was strange to leave the neighborhood again after so many weeks of stillness. It is a hard book, not because of the difficulty of language or of its concepts, but because of the hardness of its subject: how to live …

Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2020/11/15/between-the-world-and-me-by-ta-nehisi-coates/

The Paper Boat: A Refugee Story by Thao Lam

This powerful picture book is a wordless recreation via metaphor of the author’s family’s journey from Vietnam to Canada at the end of the Vietnam War. Only two at the time, Thao Lam remembers little of the events themselves, but has taken her mother’s story and crafted it beautifully for this children’s book. Working in …

Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2020/09/30/the-paper-boat-a-refugee-story-by-thao-lam/

The ChildThat Books Built by Francis Spufford

The Child that Books Built by Francis Spufford

The Child That Books Built, Francis Spufford’s second book, published six years after his first, raises a publishing question that I have long been interested in, but one that I suspect does not have any firm answer. How does an editor spot someone whose first book or two are strong but who is likely to …

Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2020/08/28/the-child-that-books-built-by-francis-spufford/

M Train by Patti Smith

M Train by Patti Smith

I loved Just Kids — it was one of my very favorite books of 2014 — so why didn’t M Train do much for me? Smith gives a bit of a warning in the book’s very first line, “It’s not so easy writing about nothing.” (p. 3) The speaker is a cowpoke who is in …

Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2020/02/11/m-train-by-patti-smith/