Literary Quote of the Month

“For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough)—they are experiences,” … Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Memoir Monday

I have read a lot of memoirs. I started Memoir Monday not because of my love of memoirs, but because they were so prolific. I look back on all those posts and think about some of the wonderful books I've read... the stories that leave an imprint, stories you just can't forget. And then there are the not so wonderful books. Memoirs that seem long and tedious, maybe the person's life doesn't resinate with me, maybe the writing didn't pull me in. Everyone has a story, but is that story book worthy? And what sets those memoirs apart that seem to linger long after you've turned the last page? The answer to that last question may lie in Handling The Truth On the Writing of Memoir by Beth Kephart. It just screams READ ME... 

Kirkus Review, who gave it a starred review, writes that Handling The Truth, "is not only about "the making of memoir and its consequences," but also "its privileges and pleasures." Though firmly rooted in personal experience, memoir is not an exercise in narcissism. As Kephart shows through examples from writers such as Michael Ondaatje and Annie Dillard, it is a process by which "memoirists open themselves up to self-discovery and make themselves vulnerable...  In the process of self-discovery—and like the Penn students from whose work she quotes liberally throughout—memoirists must also learn to ask the right questions about the past and about life itself."


Beth Kephart is a writer in her own right, and teaches creative nonfiction. Handling The Truth On the Writing of Memoir sounds like a perfect read for anyone who enjoys memoirs; to get a look at the process that can make those gems that stand out. Maybe her book can even help you tell your story! 

HANDLING THE TRUTH On Writing of Memoir by Beth Kephart will be out August 6th, 2013 and is published by Gotham, a division of Penguin.

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