It’s true, not all memories are good ones. But even remembering tough times can make for very good writing. I’m recommended these memoirs because they’re all just plain good reading.
For anyone who loves both New York and show biz as much as I do, THE PERSIAN ROOM PRESENTS is a must have. Author Patty Farmer interviewed luminaries who remember well their time staying at the Plaza Hotel, and performing in the famous nightclub. Connie Stevens met husband (and father of her two daughters) Eddie Fisher there. King Gustavus V of Sweden dubbed the incomparable Hildegard, “The girl with the eternal touch of spring.” Songstress Barbara Van Orden tells of Soupy Sales informing her that Frank Sinatra had put out the word that anyone who hit on her would have to answer to him. Charming, and with wonderful old black and white photos.
For all of us who lived through it, we’ll never forget the SUMMER OF ’68. Tim Wendel does a masterful job of relating all the extraordinary events that year through baseball. There were riots in over one hundred cities, the worst being in August during the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. The unthinkable assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King was followed by the murder of Robert F. Kennedy. The country seemed to be ready to explode. Baseball proved a great distraction, and 1968 was called “The year of the pitcher.” Don Drysdale of the L.A. Dodgers, Luis Tiant of the Cleveland Indians, Denny McLain of the Detroit Tigers, and Bob Gibson of the St. Louis Cardinals became national heroes. Buy this book now, and next time you need a gift for that baseball nut in your life, you’ll have it ready to give.
David Treuer grew up on Minnesota’s Leech Lake Reservation, and he tells the story of his REZ LIFE as no outsider could. There are over three hundred and ten Indian reservations in the U.S., ranging in size from just a few acres to those larger than Rhode Island. The Indian Appropriations Act of 1851 still impacts not only Native Americans, but the rest of the country as well. Treuer, who is a professor of literature and creative writing at USC, explores and often explodes the myths we assume are truths about America’s Indian reservations.
THE BOOK OF DRUGS is all about rocker Mike Doughty’s experience with the proverbial sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll culture of popular music. Now sober for more than eleven years, Doughty looks back on his journey across the country, promoting his brand and gathering fans. Some of his opinions are eye popping and controversial, but anyone who listens to alternative music will probably dig this book.
IMMORTAL BIRD is called A Family Memoir by author Doron Webster. Webster’s amiable and talented son, Damon, had been born with a congenital heart defect that was corrected by surgery. But far from being the last health crisis in the life of his redheaded boy, Webster and his wife, Shealagh, had to face a heartbreaking fact when Damon was a teenager. His body was failing, and Damon needed a heart transplant. Webster’s lyrical work has found great acclaim and a legion of faithful readers.
Through good times and bad, those willing to share their stories with us enrich our lives with their moving and insightful books.
Michall Jeffers is an accomplished Cultural Journalist and an avowed bibliophile. She writes extensively, both in print and online. Her eponymous cable TV show is syndicated throughout the tri-state area, and features celebrity interviews, reviews, and commentary. Michall is a voting member of National Book Critics Circle. www.michalljeffers.com