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Chance Encounters of a Literary Kind

Robert Day has invented a new form, the Chance Encounters of a Literary Kind memoirs–brief, whimsical, sometimes touching, reminiscences about his brushes (often friendships) with literary greatness. He treats Shakespeare, William Stafford, Mavis Gallant, John Barth, Ray Carver, Walter Bernstein, and Michael de Montaigne. Some he met and knew in person; others he met in his mind. But the collision is sparkling in its reverent irreverence, airy, gossamer-thin, a playful and informal jeu d’esprit that takes itself not very seriously, yet with flashes of seriousness and wit. Read more…

Hidden Lives: My Three Grandmothers

Hidden Lives presents compelling true stories of three New York City immigrant families—one Jewish, one German, and one Italian—set in three tenement neighborhoods—the Lower East Side, the South Bronx, and Hell’s Kitchen—during the first decades of the twentieth century. In each of these narratives, the central character is a woman without power and without voice. Their stories, compassionately told, bring to life statistics that record the city’s stunning population growth between 1880 and 1910. The three women are Rogers’s grandmothers, their stories kept secret for almost a century. She has chosen to break the silence that surrounded their lives and pay tribute to women too long hidden from view. Hidden Lives is also the story of her search for her families’ past. Read more…

It Must Give Pleasure

It Must Give Pleasure is both a memoir and a deeply imaginative treatise on poetry, literature, art and life. And since Roberta Bienvenu’s life has been rich in friendship and fortunate in mentors, we also meet men and women whose ideas and art helped define the culture of the last century. Read more…

A Vision of Neon

A Vision of Neon is a story of two friends—one who survives the complex years of adolescence and one who does not—and the unconditional love and commitment between these young girls. Wild, sharp-tongued red-head Kelsey embodies the confidence that her shy and quiet best friend, the story’s narrator, only dreams of. But as time passes, Kelsey’s seeming confidence and acts of teenage rebellion become overshadowed by day-long crying spells, invented stories of fictitious friends and thin slashes of scab that mark her skin. In high school, Kelsey descends into mental illness, while the narrator attempts to maintain a normal teenage life, despite continuing efforts to support her suicidal friend. However, both girls must ultimately face one difficult fact: regardless of their longings, Kelsey’s sickness has a debilitating stranglehold on them both. Read more…

Desperate Love: A Father’s Memoir

In this searing memoir, a father confronts the complex issues of love and hate as he struggles to deal with his emotionally troubled and often violent son. Desperate Love examines the lengths that parents go to preserve their families and rescue children from themselves. Often gritty and occasionally funny, this extraordinary memoir follows one father’s quest for love, faith, redemption and understanding in a life beleaguered with infertility, adoption and adolescent aggression. Read more…

and then there were three…

Supriya Bhatnagar’s and then there were three… is a collection of personal essays about a family rebuilding its life after early tragedy. Set in a ten-year time period of the author’s life, the book begins with the death of the only man in her life, her father, when she was ten, and ends with the entry of the next man in her life, her husband. The accounts of life are both particular and universal—the joys and the sorrows of being raised in a family headed by a single mother bringing up two girls in the male-dominated 1970s India. Read more…

What We Choose to Remember

What is the relationship between memory and imagination? How unbridled is the power of story? How intimidating? The narrative essays in What We Choose to Remember tread the tenuous, shifting grounds of memory, revealing how our imperfect recollections shape not only how we live our lives, but the act of storytelling itself. Read more…