27 August 2015

Getting to Know You: 2 Nonfiction Recommendations

Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget by Sarah HepolaBlackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget by Sarah Hepola: Blackout is a brutally honest look at life under the influence of alcohol. From her first sip of beer at the age of seven through most of the following thirty years, Hepola's world revolved around drinking. She wasn't a homeless, deadbeat drunk; instead she had a respectable job, meeting her writing and editing deadlines with the help of a bottle or two. In the after-work hours, however, she often drank herself into blackouts, waking up in a stranger's bed or with no recollection of how she got home. In her frank, straightforward memoir, Hepola writes of her love of drink, her deepest insecurities, and her fear of becoming sober. This can't-stop-reading memoir gives alcoholism a context within Gen X sociocultural pressures and post-feminism expectations. (Grand Central Publishing, 2015, ISBN: 9781455554591)

Joy: Poet, Seeker, and the Woman Who Captivated C. S. Lewis by Abigail SantamariaJoy: Poet, Seeker, and the Woman Who Captivated C. S. Lewis by Abigail Santamaria: The poet Joy Davidman is best remembered for her brief marriage to C. S. Lewis, beloved author of the Narnia series. Santamaria's well-wrought biography, based in part on unpublished family papers and letters, focuses on Davidman's struggle to overcome her sheltered childhood to find her own footing, both professionally and spiritually. Although she was successful as a writer, Davidman didn't find deeper fulfillment until she was exposed to Lewis's books on Christianity. After years of correspondence with the famous author and as her first marriage unraveled, she traveled to England, sure that Lewis would return her growing infatuation. Although the two shared an immediate intellectual connection and friendship, several more years would pass before the couple married, just when Davidman was diagnosed with incurable cancer. Santamaria confirms that Davidman deserved her reputation for being aggressive and socially awkward but also details the poet's significant positive influence on Lewis's late work. More important, however, Santamaria makes the case that Davidman should be remembered as a smart, productive, and strong person in her own right, not just as the woman who lured Lewis out of bachelorhood. (Houghton Mifflin, 2015 ISBN: 9780151013715)

NOTE: These short reviews first appeared in Readerly magazine and are reprinted with permission.


Vicki 8/27/15, 8:16 AM  

Both sound interesting but I'd be more apt to read the book by Santamaria.

XXXX 8/27/15, 8:53 AM  

Wow! These both sound fascinating. Especially Blackout. I just ordered it. Looking forward to diving into that one. Thanks so much for sharing. I love finding out about new books that I'd not heard of.

Amanda 8/27/15, 9:00 AM  

Blackout sounds fascinating. I'm not sure I could read it - books about addiction, especially when they will likely involve throwing up - often have devastating effects on me, but the subject is one that I'd love to read more about, so I might suck up my fears and try it anyway.

Rhiannon Johnson 8/27/15, 11:20 AM  

Oh these both look good and weren't on my radar. I'm adding Blackout to my towering TBR

Daryl 8/31/15, 11:32 AM  

good and tempting reviews but alas not my cuppa

Lisa 8/31/15, 2:45 PM  

I "met" Davidian through the movie Shadowlands and would love to read more about her. Thanks for highlighting this book.

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