Bill Bryson, books, memoir, reading, Rhoda Janzen, Stephen King
I’ve read a few memoirs recently. The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen and On Writing by Stephen King. In each one, I learned about life in a separate way; a different decade, a different religion, a different part of the country. In each of these, I was completely entertained by the writing. Memoirs are a fascinating way to live in another’s shoes throughout its pages.
Here are a few memoirs I would like to share with you that will transport you into the lives of these authors:
My Life in a Tutu by Jackie Madden Haugh:
Sitting in the dark once again, Jackie waited for the familiar turn of the key to signal he was home safe. It was a night like so many before, but this time anger burned within her soul.
On March 11, 2001, the life she had known was shredded through the meat grinder that is infidelity. Jackie quickly spiraled out of control into a world of depression and self-loathing.
Looking back, she began to see that this one incident wasn’t the sole cause of her demise. A life of constantly striving to be perfect left her roots in shallow soil. And a debilitating fear persistently whispered, “It’s too late for you.” Would she ever be complete if not married?
As her four children became impatient with the demise of their supermom, Jackie realized it was time to take an accounting of how she let herself fall so low—or lose her children too.
Jackie spent months delving into her past despite wanting to run away from the task. After all, true recovery requires being brutally honest with all the pieces to the puzzle; not just the pain caused, but the role she played in it too.
Set primarily in Omaha and small towns throughout Nebraska, “Nerdy Thirty” comically recounts the author’s “nerdy” experiences in elementary school, high school, college, and her twenties, leading up to her 30th birthday. The book celebrates awkward and unusual situations she found herself in, including: camping for the first time; spending a weekend at a rodeo; masquerading for a night as Audrey Hepburn; socializing at a lesbian bar; and finding her voice as a writer.
Ready, Fire, Aim! by Charles Ota Heller:
Under the best conditions, being an entrepreneur can be filled with anxiety and trepidation. Throw in some challenging circumstances, and trepidation turns to downright terror. Charles Ota Heller is a Holocaust survivor who arrived in the US as a penniless thirteen-year-old who spoke two words of English. Exhibiting strength, persistence, and determination, he earned an athletic scholarship to college and obtained three degrees in engineering. He became an academic at the cutting edge of new computer technology and was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug.
Over the next twenty years as CEO of technology companies and an additional twenty as an investor in, and mentor of, startup companies, Charlie experienced the joys, successes, failures, and terrors of entrepreneurship. When the FBI attempted to shut down his company on a trumped-up charge, memories of World War II and the Gestapo filled him with the terror of uncertainty. He was betrayed by a member of his management team and was deposed from leadership of the company he founded. Then he discovered that his partner in a venture capital fund was dishonest and Charlie had to fight to maintain his own reputation.
Ready, Fire, Aim is the story of his riveting journey, told as a powerful, candid, engrossing adventure that will not only entertain but will leave present and budding entrepreneurs with valuable takeaways.
A Mother’s Dance by Pattie Welek Hall:
How does one measure the depth of a mother’s love? Pattie never thought it possible until she experienced every mother’s worst nightmare—twice.
With all three kids in college and thriving, Pattie is excited about embarking on her new career as community relations manager at Barnes & Noble. That is, until she receives word that her nineteen-year-old son has been admitted to the Medical University of South Carolina and tagged “John Doe” after he suffered a traumatic brain injury. Now her sole concern is to get to Charleston, 250 miles away, before he takes his final breath.
Although Casey is given only twenty-four hours to live, Pattie clings to her faith and refuses to accept her son’s death sentence. During Casey’s long and arduous healing, Pattie takes a hard look at the past—the kids’ tender childhood memories, their challenging teenage years, the skeletons in the closet, and the circumstances that have formed her into who she has become. When tragedy strikes again, Pattie must make a choice—to remain stuck in her grief or to step into the life she’s meant to create.
Moving and heart-wrenching, A Mother’s Dance is a story about hope, perseverance, self-discovery, hard choices, and most importantly about love . . . the sad and the wondrous.
All books by BQB and WriteLife Publishing are available from Amazon, B&N, or can be ordered from your favorite local bookstore.