Blog Post: Friday’s Free Recommendations

You had to know it would happen.  Oprah’s first pick in her new Oprah 2.0 Book Club, Wild by Cheryl Strayed, is Number One on the New York Times Best Seller list.  My friends and colleagues who are writing memoirs… have faith.  This genre remains at the top of the best-seller lists constantly… with or without Oprah.  (Although her endorsement doesn’t hurt.)

A few years ago when I was taking a memoir writing class, I also joined a book group whose focus was “Women and the Holocaust” – the group leader was a Prescott College student working on her thesis, and forming this group for discussion and reading was part of her project.  I’d never read anything about the Holocaust before and felt pretty ignorant so I joined up.  Well… to say I’m hooked isn’t the right word, but I was immediately captivated by the stories, and saddened by what was endured.  Not only did I learn so much about history, geography and world events, but I discovered more about the human spirit than I ever thought possible.  One of the books required for the group was Elie Wiesel’s Night, another book featured at one point on Oprah’s list.  (I gotta say, the woman knows books.)  It’s a quick poignant read evidenced by my having to stop reading at one point to wipe away some tears.

Last week when I was sorting through some books, I came across Promises Kept: One Man’s Journey Against Incredible Odds by Ernst Michel, lent to me by my good friend Laura.  It’s Michel’s follow-up to Promises To Keep.  In Promises Kept, the author talks of losing his parents and reconnecting with some family after enduring Auschwitz.  Within a period of  “… 17 days… 36 transports arrived at Auschwitz.  Each transport consisted of 15-25 cattle cars. Between 60-100 men, women and children were packed in each car.  The duration of the trip was… between two and five days. No food or water was distributed.  The total number of all Jews arriving during the 17 day period can only be guessed, but it is estimated that the total number was between 40-50,000.” The author was among that group.

Those of us who read memoir love to read memoir.  Those of you who never have might want to give it a try.  Reading the accounts of events in the lives of others are a great lesson on writing, life and history.  No right or wrong, just the story.  Have you read any of the above, and if so, what did you think?

I’m a Nook owner – I download everything on Free Friday — Today’s Free Fridays selection is the chilling thriller BIRDMAN by Edgar Award-winning author Mo Hayder. A must-read for SILENCE OF THE LAMBS fans.  When five women’s ritualistically-murdered bodies are discovered within steps of each other, a London detective, Caffery, immediately knows that this will be the case of a lifetime. But most disturbing is the fact that no one seems to be looking for the victims—they don’t fit any missing persons reports.



Have you submitted a 500-word memoir or personal story to the Prescott Memoir Project?  Comment in this blog, or send me an email so I can provide you with more info!

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