Books for the holidays: almost everyone on my list gets at least one! Here are my very opinionated picks, divided into my very opinionated categories. These are not all new books, but books have a long, long life: yes?
Reading about Grief:
The Suicide Index by Joan Wickersham: The best book I read this year; perhaps one of the top ten I’ve ever read. Wickersham’s memoir of her father’s suicide strips the reader and writer bare.
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion: I could barely breathe reading this memoir of Didion suddenly losing her husband.
Good Grief by Lolly Winston: A gentle and yet absorbing ride, this novel takes the reader through a too-young widow’s year of mourning.
Novels about the World Stripped Raw:
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurty: Quirky Texas Rangers + the wildness of the early west + terrorizing villains + incredible writing=a book that will NOT be put down.
Warday by Whitley Strieber: It may be difficult to find this book, but when you locate this brilliant novel of this apocalyptic novel, depicting the world after a nuclear attack, you will want everyone you know to read it. And you will read it more than once.
Books Where Women Struggle with Food & Size:
Food and Loathing: A Lament by Betsy Lerner: This memoir by literary agent Betsy Lerner provides a compelling and wickedly funny account of Lerner’s struggle with depression and weight. Yes, that sounds like a dichotomy, but it’s simply a wonderful read.
The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker: This story of Truly, a gargantuan woman struggling to find her place in a bleak town in upstate New York, will break your heart, and you will not want to get up until you finish.
Memoirs that Trace Lives:
We Are Your Sons by Robert and Michael Meeropol and An Execution in the Family: One Son’s Journey: The first book was written when the Meeropol’s (sons of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg) when they were quite young, the second was written just a few years ago. Read separately they capture the time of the son’s lives both immediate and in retrospect; read together, they are a heartbreaking and ultimately uplifting journey through their lives—going through the horror of having parents imprisoned and then executed during the horror of the McCarthy inquisition.
Truth & Beauty: a Friendship by Ann Patchett and Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy: Patchett’s unflinching story of her close and complicated friendship with Lucy Grealy, read together with Grealy’s brilliant and honest autobiography of her life after being diagnosed, at age nine, with a cancer that severely disfigured her face, provide an incredible look at both writer’s lives, with and without each other.
About Randy Susan
Causes Randy Susan Meyers Supports
Women for Women
New England Home for Little Wanderers