Literary Selfies


I’ve been reading a lot of literary selfies, er, autobiographies lately. Why? I dunno. I keep heading back into that stack in the library. Maybe because it’s on the way to the holds section (where I find more autobiographies that I’ve put on hold).

I’m sure I’ll get back to the fiction eventually, but I’m enjoying my forays into other peoples lives for now. Here’s what I’ve been reading lately:

The One-Week Job Project: One Man, One Year, 52 Jobs by Sean Aiken

one week job project sean aikenLeave it to a Canadian millenial to turn his indecision about the future into a full year blogging extravaganza. I knew nothing about Sean Aiken and until I found the book at the library. Sean’s journey was pretty inspiring. Not only did he fly by the seat of his pants for the better part of the year, but he learned a lot about himself through this project. What he conveys through his book (and I presume from his speaking engagements as well) is that it doesn’t really matter what you do as a job as long as you enjoy doing it. And considering that I’m kind of at a crossroads right now in my career, it was well-timed advice for me.

I devoured The One-Week Job Project in a week’s time. I guess you could say I made it my job to read the book. (Okay, okay, I know that was a terrible pun.) I’m doing the same with my current book which leads me to believe that I read nonfiction faster than fiction. Hmm, what does that say about me?

My Life in France by Julia Child

First off, I read this in Julia Child’s voice. How can you not when she sounds like this?

life in france julia childEven despite that amusing voice, I loved the book entirely. Julia Child’s enthusiasm for life and food, good friendships, her husband, FRANCE and wine is infectious. It’ just a beautiful and pleasurable read. But be careful–it’ll leave you feeling hungry, frequently.

The memoir is chock full of stories about the making of Child’s oeuvre, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It took ten years of hard work to put together the first volume of this masterpiece cookbook and when it debuted it became an instant classic, with good reason. It was just that perfect. Child’s rise to fame is chronicled in her memoir with no once of boasting. Her words detailing her meteoric rise into celebrity are simple and forthright, much like I assume she was in real life.

The photographs that accompany the memoir are amazing. Peter Child was a world-renowned photographer. His work hangs in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. He was great at capturing the quiet moments that make up a life.

28 Seconds: A True Story of Addiction, Injustice and Tragedy by Michael Bryant

28 seconds michael bryantWhen I began this book, I was a bit dubious about Michael Bryant’s innocence. I had heard about the accident between his car and cyclist Darcy Sheppard but, like probably a lot of people, I didn’t follow the case very closely and I only gleaned the bare minimum from the story. In fact, what truly happened according to the book was far sadder than what I thought was the case. It was an accident that was waiting to happen. Darcy Sheppard was a man battling with demons that would not leave him alone. Bryant, despite his upbringing, status and power, knew very much what it was like being in Sheppard’s shoes because he also battled with alcohol problems.

At first the book read like a true-telling of American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. The arrogance of Bryant was palpable. But as I soon found out that arrogance would all evaporate in the span of 28 seconds.

It’s an interesting read about two very different men who shared the same kind of demon that plagues many people. Knowing what I know now about the unconscious through my own forays into therapy has been beneficial in understanding how people can change and some just can’t help themselves.

Are you reading any good autobiographies right now? I’d love to hear your recommendations!


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