Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Year in the Life

A rather new type of biography / memoir has become quite popular lately – and that is the book about a person who tries out something new for a year or so and then writes about it. We have a number of these types of memoirs and many of them prove to be very readable and amusing.

Here are a few titles –
The Year of Living Biblically by A. J. Jacobs
This is a very funny account of Jacobs’ spiritual journey through the Bible – including the Old Testament strictures against cutting one’s facial hair and avoiding clothes made of mixed fibers.

Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julia Powell
Julie Powell felt old (at 30!) and trapped in her life, and so resolved to spend a year cooking every recipe (all 524 of them) in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. As the B&N review says “her unexpected reward: not just a newfound respect for calves liver and aspic, but a new life – lived with gusto.”

Voluntary Madness: My Year Lost and Found in the Looney Bin by Norah Vincent
Vincent had written another book of this type entitled, Self Made Man, wherein she spent a year posing as a man. According to her, this experience so depressed her that she spent several months in a mental hospital, which then gave her the idea for this current book. Over the course of a year, Vincent spent time in three different mental institutions. These experiences led to a very personal, at times heartbreaking account of life among the mentally challenged.

If you have recently read a "year in the life" memoir, why don't you share it with us by making a comment? Meg

[The idea for this post was found in The Reader’s Shelf, a Library Journal column by Neal Wyatt.]



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