In 2005, Avi Steinberg did what any Harvard-educated, obituary-writing, non-practicing Orthodox Jew would do at a crossroads in his life: he took a job as a prison librarian with the Suffolk County House of Correction in Boston.
In his collection of essays, Confessions of a Left-Handed Man, Peter Selgin unabashedly delves into some of the most intimate and often humiliating moments of his left-handed life. Selgin’s essays describe the difficulty of being a first-generation Italian-American twin in a small hat factory town in Connecticut.
Yes, it’s a how-to book all right, but not just about dealing with the rejection of a manuscript. The goal of this book appears to be preemptive, an instruction manual on how to write so as to minimize the chance of rejection. That’s right: yet another tome on technique, writing dramatic scenes, developing characters, how and when to research, the do’s-and-don’ts of collaboration, writing query letters, preparing proposals, and, last but not least, marketing in all its facets, peddling to agents, publishers, self-publishing on the internet. But this one is different.
I imagine I would get along famously with Chitoka Webb. The author’s smiling face graces the cover of Something Inside of Me: How to Hang on to Heaven When You Are Going Through Hell (Emerald Book Company, July 2011), and she radiates the kind of warmth that tells me I would probably love to go shoe-shopping with her.
I initially judged The Home for the Friendless by its cover and expected a story like that of Annie. I pictured the Home for the Friendless as an orphanage, and I thought I would be reading about all of the children living there. However, I soon discovered that the facility was merely a temporary home for author Betty Auchard and her two younger siblings and was written about as a small memory intertwined into hundreds of memories. I never expected to learn so much about a poor girl’s faith in her family as well as rich historical details about the war and the Great Depression.
I was nervous when I first picked up Bobblehead Dad, Jim Higley’s new memoir about his battle with cancer. Ever since I became a mother, four years ago, my emotional quota has essentially been drained. Watching, hearing about, or reading anything where parents or children die or deal with death really bothers me. This rules out watching any Lifetime Movie. I was convinced that by the end of the book, I would be sobbing uncontrollably while hugging my daughters. So, just in case, I placed a box of tissues within arm’s reach.