ALL BETTER NOW: A MEMOIR -- a captivating memoir of the author's childhood struggles as a result of a brain tumor, only discovered following a near-fatal car accident
All Better Now: A Memoir by Emily Wing Smith (2016, Dutton Books For Young Readers; 304 pages)
This is one of those books that you can’t put down until you read the last sentence. And not just the last sentence of the memoir itself, but the last sentence of the acknowledgments too. The author, Emily Wing Smith, starts the book with a note to the readers in which she admits that truth can be embarrassing, and that’s the reason why she decided to change names and identifying characteristics of certain people. Then, she starts the prologue with a radical sentence: “I ask myself: How am I living still?” Her memoir is an answer to that question through captivating chronicles of her struggles with both mental and physical disabilities, among them a grapefruit-size brain tumor at the base of her skull, and a car accident that ironically may have saved her life. Sharing with us details of her therapy, her sudden uncontrollable bursts of anger, and her unexplained episodes until discovering the reason for her dizziness and the fact that nothing in her ever felt quite right, Emily Wing Smith delivers a powerful message: writing, telling her stories, was the only way she could escape it all.
This book is both breathtaking and heartbreaking, and takes the reader on a journey from beauty to pain, and from humor to sadness. It is a fast-paced memoir, filled with anecdotes that swim in vulnerability and honesty. The prose is raw, and works extraordinary well when describing painful events, or simply asking questions aloud.
I’d recommend this book to mature young readers (it is located in our J-Biography section) who believe in staying true to themselves no matter what, and adult readers who can relate to feelings of isolation and just plain weirdness.
Find this title in our catalog: All Better Now
Recommended by: Maite
WALK THROUGH WALLS: A MEMOIR -- a vivid and powerful rendering of the unparalleled life of an extraordinary performance artist
Walk Through Walls: A Memoir by Marina Abramovic (2016, Crowne Archetype; 384 pages)
Memoirs are one of my favorite genres. If you add to that the fact that I love women's art, this memoir arriving as an advanced copy to our library simply made the following weeks a pure joy.
Marina Abramovic is, of course, one of the most celebrated performance/conceptual artist in the world. She was raised in the former Yugoslavia, but now this artist with an impeccable sense of humor (reflected very well both in her art and in this memoir) lives between New York city and the Hudson Valley.
The book tells the story of Marina's life. The child of Communist war-hero parents under Tito's regime in postwar Yugoslavia, she was raised with a relentless work ethic. Even as she was beginning to forge an international artistic career, Marina lived at home under her mother's abusive control, strictly obeying a 10.00 p.m. curfew. This routine didn't kill her insatiable curiosity and desire to connect with people, two radical characteristics of her art and life.
The Ariadne thread of Walk Through Walls is a love story based on the relationship she had with Ulay, a fellow performance artist. This story is also a road trip across Europe. Elements are a van, no money, love, sex, art. They made history together and they said goodbye atop the Great Wall of China.
If you know Marina's art, you will understand the constant movement towards the limits: she uses her body to explore fear, pain, exhaustion, danger, transformation. She is truly remarkable and this memoir is fantastic and powerful. Read it.
For more information about the artist, click here and here
Find this title in our catalog: Walk Through Walls
Recommended by: Maite
NEW ORDER: A DECLUTTERING HANDBOOK FOR CREATIVE TYPES (AND EVERYONE ELSE) -- a revelatory, witty guide to a clearer home and a more creative mind
New Order: A Decluttering Handbook for Creative Folks (and Everyone Else) by Fay Wolf (2016, Ballantine Books; 208 pages)
This book by organizing expert Fay Wolf includes all that you need to declutter a space and fuel your creative mind: how to create productive to-do lists, stem the flood of paper, downsize digital clutter and social media, arrange your space to spark creative juices, curb your desire to accumulate, collaborate and connect with others for support, embrace imperfection, and keep up the momentum.
The book also offers Wolf's favorite productivity apps and resources for donating your many, many items (that probably you have!). "From the outer clutter of your home to the inner clutter of your chatty mind, this handbook will help you make room for artistic inspiration and invite you to treat yourself to less."
The format of the book is very attractive. This is a little jewel for those who feel stuck in the chaos of possessing too many things, and who feel the desire to have less and do more.
Find this title in our catalog: New Order
Recommended by: Maite