A Widow’s Story

A Widow’s Story

Rating:  A Widow’s Story: A Memoir, by Joyce Carol Oates. Ecco (2011), 415 pages. Joyce Carol Oates, in my experience, is a writer you either love or hate (love because of how effortlessly and incisively she maps out the terrain inside her...
Blood, Bones & Butter

Blood, Bones & Butter

Rating:   Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef, by Gabrielle Hamilton.  Random House (2011), 291 pages. Hamilton has written a smart, funny book that stands out in the glutted chef/memoirist category in that she writes...
Freedom

Freedom

Rating:  Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen. Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2010), 562 pages. Much like my favorite story-tellers of the 19th century  (Tolstoy, Flaubert, Austen, the Brontes) Franzen begins his novels with the description of a family, and then simply...
Let’s Take the Long Way Home

Let’s Take the Long Way Home

Rating:  Let’s Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship, by Gail Caldwell. Random House (2010), 190 pages. Let’s Take the Long Way Home is Caldwell’s story of her friendship with the writer Caroline Knapp who died of cancer in 2002....
Bonobo Handshake

Bonobo Handshake

Rating:  Bonobo Handshake: A Memoir of Love and Adventure in the Congo, by Vanessa Woods. Gotham Books (2010), 278 pages. Bonobo Handshake has the kind of cover that is impossible for animal lovers to resist: darling bonobo baby in the arms of an equally...