The Alchemist's Kitchen Poems by Susan Rich - I keep this book on my desk because it's inspiring to me as a poet to reach to it and read a poem or two before I start my own writing. I saw Susan pop up on a lot of blogs this weekend at AWP, so I'm guessing that a lot of you will have this book on your desk too. Enjoy it. It's her 3rd book of poems and really a great mixing of subjects and themes throughout. A very satisfying read.
Living Oprah: My One-Year Experiment to Walk the Walk of the Queen of Talk Robyn Okrant - I am a huge fan of these "one-year memoirs," where a writer decides to do something for a year then reports on the results in hopefully a smart and witty way. I'm only into the first chapter of this, but am already enjoying it.
She wanted to try living her life by doing everything Oprah said she should do. She blogged about the experience here, and it looks like she's onto a new project called Ready.Set.Wife.
Still reading, but I think this will be a RECOMMEND book if the author continues the same style and wit she has established early on in the book.
Do-Over!: In which a forty-eight-year-old father of three returns to kindergarten, summer camp, the prom, and other embarrassments by Robin Hemley. Here's another "memoir" with a similar take, Robin Hemley decides to return to all the events in his childhood that didn't go well.
If you've never read Robin Hemley, he's both an incredible writer, and funny. He wrote my favorite short story "Reply All" about an email that takes on a life of its own. I heard him read it and my stomach hurt from laughing so hard.
Anyway, Do-Over is in Robin's witty, insightful style and is right now the book I don't want to end. I am actually refusing to read the last couple chapters because I do not want to stop reading this book. I will be sad when it's over.
RECOMMEND! - This book has just been a joy to read. Robin's a fantastic writer and I love the situations he ends up in.
Autobiography of Andre Agassi: OPEN I'm kind of embarrassed to post this one here as 1) I'm not really a fan of Andre Agassi 2) This is my second famous-person memoir I've read in two months (um, the first being Howie Mandel's Here's the Deal: Don't Touch Me - I know, it's not even confession Tuesday and I'm tossing these things out), but I have to tell you, I am a sucker for reading books that show how one person got to the place he or she is at in life. I am always curious to what came into play, the person's hardwork vs. luck, their motivation, desires, passions.
But honestly, while I finished this book, towards the last couple of chapter I was ready to whop Andre over the head with his "I hate tennis. No, I *really* hate tennis" mantra and crybaby attitude for not making his own choices in life. Still, I finished the book and let me tell you it was LONG. When you begin a book and the narrator says, "I was 7 years old..." you know, you're going to be there for a while.
I'll summarize his life for him: forced to play tennis as a kid (all his brothers and sisters were, he was just the best and the last chance for his dad to have a tennis pro son), went to a tennis school where he got terrible grades, rebelled, drank, became pro at 17, started losing his hair, married Brooke Shields, did meth, got off drugs, divorced Brooke, married Steffi Graf, had 2 kids, opened a school for troubled youth.
Anyway, I liked it enough to finish it (read: I was curious about how an athlete gets hooked on drugs as that seems insane to me and also how he ended up with Steffi Graf because I'm shallow that way), but the NY Times liked it more than I did. I'll just say, there's 8 hours of my life I'll never get back.
PASS ON THIS - I can't say I can recommend unless you are a huge Andre Agassi fan and really want to learn the inner details of how his life played out.