Hello, book lovelies!
I want to start off this newsletter with a little Indy Book Club announcement. First of all, if you are subscribed to this newsletter, you should definitely join our Indy Book Club! Caitlin and I run it alongside librarian Molly Wetta from the Santa Barbara Public Library. Each month, we feature a book that the club all reads together, and then we come together to chat about it. We have a Goodreads group that you can join to meet other members, see what they are reading, and follow along with our selections. We highlight different genres all throughout the year, so we really read a wide variety of selections.
In 2022, we are switching things up just a little bit. We have picked quarterly themes; this will allow us to read three books within the same genre, giving us a taste of the breadth that exists within that genre. This first quarter, we are reading Memoirs and Biographies. Memoirs are some of my favorite books to read at the beginning of the year. Our featured book of the month for January is Disability Visibility, edited by Alice Wong. This is a collection of first-person essays all written by people living with disabilities about their lived experiences. Caitlin wrote a review on the collection that I encourage you to read if you’re interested in picking up the book.
You can see all the Indy Book Club genres and book selections for 2022 here. We would love to have you join us! Don’t let the selected genres dissuade you from joining. I have found many new favorite books that I typically would not have picked up if it weren’t for Indy Book Club.
In celebration of the start of our third year of Indy Book Club, I wanted to highlight some of my personal favorite memoirs. I do want to say that I am relatively new to the nonfiction genre. In fact, I’ve only just recently have accepted the fact that I may enjoy nonfiction. So if you are not a typical nonfiction reader, then perhaps these memoirs are a good place to start.
I am a big believer in going into a book knowing as little as possible about it. I try not to read too much of the synopses or reviews, since most of them over-share. My pitches below are short and sweet just for that reason.
Know My Name, by Chanel Miller was actually the very first Indy Book Club pick back in January 2020. Chanel Miller is the survivor of the Stanford University sexual assault case. This is her story of the events, her trauma, her fight, and her healing. While reading, I found many instances where she perfectly articulated feelings or issues that I could identify with but couldn’t put into words myself. Her writing is outstanding and her story should be required reading for all.
Trigger Warning: Sexual assault
Crying in H Mart, by Michelle Zauner — an indie musician working under the moniker Japanese Breakfast — is another hard-hitting memoir. We follow Zauner as she navigates growing up Korean-American and losing her mother all while trying to find her own place in the world. This book made me weep. In fact, I almost started crying when I was describing it to my own mother. It is raw and unapologetic, which is what I love in memoirs.
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High Achiever: The Incredible True Story of One Addict’s Double Life, by Tiffany Jenkins was one of the most frustrating and eye-opening books to read. Jenkins puts you right in the middle of the mind of an addict. She recounts her experiences of being an addict and ultimately getting clean. If you know someone struggling with addiction, I highly recommend picking this up, as it may help you better understand what they are going through.
Trigger Warning: Drug use
I want to end with a more positive selection. I usually don’t tend to enjoy memoirs from public figures, but Michelle Obama’s Becoming is an obvious exception. I don’t feel I need to really say much about this other than if you haven’t read it yet, you should. I highly recommend the audiobook, which is narrated by Michelle herself.
Let me know some of your favorite memoirs. I’m always looking for more to add to my list.
Your smitten bookworm, Emily
If you are a local author, host book events in the Santa Barbara area, or have any other fun bookish tips for us, please send your recommendations for consideration to email@example.com.