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Booktober Break! Mary Karr's The Art of Memoir

booktober logo smFall is the season when we all begin to move indoors and even pastimes get a little more ambitious – things like binge watching Game of Thrones, knitting Christmas stockings for the dog and tackling fat serious novels by Authors You Should Read come to mind. 

This fall is loaded with releases of buzzy books from authors Salman Rushdie, Elena Ferrante, John Irving and a host of celebrity authors. Fall break just may afford you time to get through one, or at least at procure it for your night table to enjoy over semester break. Some library staff have perused the fall lists and have picked their favorites. For a Booktober special, we’ll bring you their thoughts each day this week.


If you have ever considered writing your memoir, or just love the genre for its open window approach into someone’s life, you should make a point of reading Mary Karr’s The Art of Memoir. Karr is the author of at least three memoirs (all still on my reading list) and has taught the genre for over thirty years.

Karr prefaces The Art of Memoir by saying, “No one elected me the boss of memoir. I speak for no one but myself.” That being said, she proceeds to give us her viewpoint on subjects like the reliability of memory, truth telling and the importance of voice. Karr’s book even has a chapter, complete with a quiz, to help you determine if you are ready to write your own memoir. After taking the quiz, I decided I am more of a memoir reader than writer.

Fortunately, Karr’s book provided me with a healthy list of memoirs to add to my reading list. I’ve decided my next read, after Karr’s memoirs, of course, will be A Childhood: the Biography of a Place by Harry Crews.

Laura Hutelmyer is the photography coordinator for the Communication and Service Promotion Team and Special Acquisitions Coordinator in Resource Management



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Last Modified: October 16, 2015

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