This Friday and every Friday for the next several months I'll be featuring a book in the Harper Perennial Imprint. Some were recently published, some will be released later this year, all are worth a closer look.
It All Changed in an Instant is Larry Smith and Rachel Fershleiser's second collection of six-word memoirs. This is a fun and surprisingly difficult exercise that has become a widespread hit. I'll leave it to the publisher to explain more:
The editors of the New York Times bestseller Not Quite What I Was Planning are back with its much-anticipated sequel, It All Changed in an Instant. With contributions from acclaimed authors like Malcolm Gladwell, Frank McCourt, Wally Lamb, Isabel Allende, Junot Diaz, Amy Tan, and James Frey, and celebrities like Sarah Silverman, Suze Orman, Marlee Matlin, Neil Patrick Harris, Ann Coulter, and Chelsea Handler, It All Changed in an Instant presents a thousand more glimpses of humanity . . . six words at a time. In the vein of the popular Post Secret books, It All Changed in an Instant, in the words of Vanity Fair, "will thrill minimalists and inspire maximalists."This is the kind of book I love to thumb through to see what will catch my eye. It's not a book to sit down with and read cover to cover all in one go. Instead, you'll find yourself picking it when the mood strikes and then sharing memoirs with your friends and family. Soon every one will want to be in on the act. (At least among my crowd.)
Funny and bittersweet, witty and wild, or downright tragic, these addictive life stories are both monumental and miniscule. Six-word memoirs have become a global phenomenon, offering anyone and everyone a telling peek at humanity and a chance to find the writer within.
The book is enhanced with some artwork, and the use of different fonts makes the memoirs seem to pop off the page. Believe me, you'll either be laughing at or nodding in agreement with most of them.
Here are some random memoirs from It All Changed in an Instant:
- John Grogan: "That dumb dog sure paid off."
- Frank McCourt: "The miserable childhood leads to royalties."
- Gloria Steinham: "Life is one big editorial meeting."
- Amy Tan: "Former boss: 'Writing's your worst skill.' "
- Marlee Matlin: "I've done it all except hear."
It's not all that easy to distill your life down to six words. I've been trying to write my own memoir, but I can't quite get it right. I'll let you know when I come up with one.
This book was featured as part of my Spotlight on the Harper Perennial imprint. For information about the imprint, please read Erica Barmash's welcome note posted here on June 18, 2010. I encourage you to add your reviews of Harper Perennial books to the review link-up page; it's a great way to discover Good Books for Cool People. See the alphabetized review index to see what others are saying. And don't miss the The Olive Reader, the Harper Perennial blog.