Tuesday, September 18, 2007

In Their Shoes (Another reading challenge, as if I need to be encouraged!)

I'm just a girl who cain't say no,
I'm in a turrible fix -

I always say, "Come on, let's go!"
Just when I orta say "Nix"!
-Ado Annie-

I joined a new reading challenge, In Their Shoes, which runs through 2008. Another challenge. Yeah. But this time, I truly could not help myself. This is my genre. See? I'm beside myself! I'm speaking in italics like a feckin' Cosmo Girl!

(Deep cleansing breath, as they say during labor and delivery. Okay.)

Seriously. This challenge is one that's got Bybee's grubby little bookwormish fingerprints all over it: Read autobiographies, biographies and memoirs all year long. So fun and so easy.

Too easy. In fact, my Tough & Cool Inner Bookworm is sneering openly at me right now. She's never quite gotten over my abandonment [she says abandonment, but I prefer postponement] of the self-inflicted Bronte Challenge earlier this year. I wish I had that doorstop-sized biography of Jackson Pollock that I read a few years ago; I'd use it to knock T&CIB upside her head.

I heard about this challenge just in the nick of time. Last weekend, I succumbed to Amazon's siren song (again) and bought a biography about Lillian Hellman. My infant guilt pangs were growing rapidly because I couldn't justify another new purchase so soon after my summer madness, AKA Bybee's Book-Buying Binge, 2007. Thanks to the In Their Shoes challenge, I can justify not only the Hellman book, but I've more or less got carte blanche to go hog-wild in what is practically my favorite reading category.

My fingers are fairly tingling to make a list, but first, I need to scan my swollen shelves. I've got a lot of books to suit this challenge, but I gobble them up almost as quickly as I get them in. I'm a little pissed at myself that I went ahead and read Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, so I don't have the fun now of reading it for the challenge. Well, I couldn't help it; Bechdel's memoir/graphic novel is excellent -- ferociously intelligent. Oh, well...I'll have the pleasure of recommending it to others in the challenge. (Meanwhile, I'll be looking for other memoirs in graphic novel form.)

Another book I plan to recommend is Private Demons: The Life Of Shirley Jackson by Judy Oppenheimer. Sure, it's out of print, but I urge you to put those hunting and gathering skills that lie deep within you to the test. It's that good. Here's looking at a re-read!

Okay. Here's what I found for this challenge that I still haven't read. And this is just what's at my office. I haven't checked the apartment yet, but know that biographies of Julia Child, MFK Fisher, and James Tiptree, Jr. are there, still waiting to be read. And the Hellman book will be here in a few weeks.

Widow - Lynn Caine
The Piano Shop On The Left Bank - Thad Carhart
The Hungry Ocean - Linda Greenlaw
Ten Thousand Sorrows - Elizabeth Kim
Saving Milly - Morton Kondracke
Still Life With Rice - Helie Lee
Hour Of Gold, Hour Of Lead - Anne Morrow Lindbergh
After All - Mary Tyler Moore
A Daughter Of Han - Ning Lao T'ai-t'ai
Dreams From My Father - Barack Obama
Truth & Beauty - Ann Patchett [yep, you guessed it! I'll also be hunting down The Autobiography Of A Face to read with this one]
The Inner Elvis - Peter Whitmer, Ph.D.
The Hiding Place - Corrie Ten Boom

Okay, I'm saying that's it on the challenges! I'm not joining any more! But you all know I can't stick to that. Feel free to reach through cyberspace and worm-slap me, if you see the need.


kookie said...

Well, Bybee my inner booksnob says that if you must read memoirs and biographies, at least you picked some good ones. :)

Eva said...

I'm going to join this challenge as well, even though I definitely have an inner book snob that says that only the definitive biographies of Important People should be allowed.

I'm just going to ignore it! I'm sad that the challenge doesn't start until next year, because I'd planned on reading several books that fall into this category as part of my non-fic torture...err, challenge. Might have to shift things around a little.

darkorpheus said...

Hah! You say no more challenges, but you know resistance is futile. Good luck on the challenge. For a moment I thought you have to read books about shoes. :)

jenclair said...

I read a biography of Hellman year's ago and enjoyed it! An Unfinished Woman...I think. The thing I remember best (I'm not sure if it was a photograph or just one of her memories) is an image of the young Lillian in a tree in New Orleans...
I think I read it because of Julia, Dashiel Hammet, and Dorothy Parker associations, but remember Lillian in a tree!

Kathy said...

You mentioned memoirs in graphic novel format. Have you read Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis books? I loved them.

Bybee said...

It's a sickness...ever since that first biography of Daniel Boone was thrust into my hands in 3rd grade, I've been a biography fan.

I'm drawing the line at the Olsen twins. Glad you're joining. Can't wait to see your list.

Dark Orpheus,
I love this challenge, but dislike the name. It sounds too much like that chick lit novel/movie that came out a couple of years ago.

Julia is what got me interested in Hellman.

Thanks for the heads-up...I'm not familiar with Persepolis, so I'm off to do research.

Booklogged said...

Loved The Hiding Place. I'd like to read it again someday. So many luscious titles on you list.