Category Archives: Memoir

Blood Done Sign My Name

In the United States, when we are first taught about the Civil Rights movement, in our high schools and sometimes into college, it goes something like this: There was segregation and injustice, and it was bad. And then Martin Luther … Continue reading

Posted in History, Memoir, Nonfiction | 12 Comments

Bipolar Faith: A Black Woman’s Journey with Depression and Faith

Monica A. Coleman’s memoir touches on a lot of significant themes: faith, grief, trauma, rape, depression, prayer, race, family, friendship, and history among them. She begins with the story of her great-grandfather who died, it was said, “of grief,” hanging … Continue reading

Posted in Memoir, Nonfiction, Religion | 8 Comments

Greetings from Utopia Park

Claire Hoffman received her first mantra when she was just 3 years old. Her mother practiced Transcendental Meditation and brought up Claire and her brother, Stacey, to do the same. Periods of meditation, often during quiet play, were part of Claire’s life … Continue reading

Posted in Memoir, Nonfiction | 6 Comments

H Is for Hawk

I sometimes struggle to define and describe good writing at the sentence and word level. I can work out what makes a plot click along well or what strong characterization looks like. But with excellent word-smithery, the best I can do is … Continue reading

Posted in Memoir, Nonfiction | 12 Comments

Crazy Brave

Joy Harjo is a Native American (Creek) poet and musician. I’ve encountered her poetry in a couple of different contexts, and it’s always tough and interesting, so I wasn’t surprised when her 2012 memoir, Crazy Brave, was not your usual … Continue reading

Posted in Memoir, Nonfiction | 2 Comments

This House of Sky

Ivan Doig’s memoir about his childhood and adolescence in rural Montana, This House of Sky, is an interestingly angular book, all joints and rough skin and knobby knees. This comes from the two driving forces of the book smashing together: … Continue reading

Posted in Memoir, Nonfiction | 9 Comments

The Force of Spirit

A few years ago, I read Staying Put, a collection of personal essays by Scott Russell Sanders. That collection had a sense of coherence around the same theme: what does it mean, to a geological place, and also to the … Continue reading

Posted in Memoir, Nonfiction, Short Stories/Essays | 4 Comments

Mountains of the Mind

For years, I’ve been a lover of the literature of exploration. I’ve read many books in which men (and some women, but mostly men) hurl themselves at intemperate climates and impossible peaks. In Mountains of the Mind, Robert Macfarlane goes … Continue reading

Posted in History, Memoir, Nonfiction, Travel/ Exploration | Leave a comment

My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer

This book by poet Christian Wiman is not easy to describe. It’s not exactly a memoir, although it contains elements of memoir, and it’s not exactly an essay collection, although each chapter dances around a particular theme or idea. His … Continue reading

Posted in Memoir, Nonfiction, Religion, Short Stories/Essays | 8 Comments

A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains

This book, perhaps Isabella Bird’s most famous, is actually her fourth. By the time she wrote it in 1879, she had already travelled from her native England to Australia, to Hawaii, 800 miles on horseback through the Colorado Rockies, and … Continue reading

Posted in Memoir, Nonfiction, Travel/ Exploration | 14 Comments