From the Archives: How We Fight For Our Lives: A Memoir by Saeed Jones

How We Fight For Our Lives: A Memoir by Saeed Jones

Book Review: How We Fight For Our Lives: A Memoir by Saeed Jones

***Note: This review was originally posted to my Goodreads account in October of 2019.***

Everyone has a lie we’re quietly waiting to believe.

With startling economy of language, Saeed Jones tells his story with such precision that after turning the last page you feel as if you’ve been borrowing his skin.

If you read one book this year, let this be it. Please.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter and Instagram @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: July 23rd, 2021

To survive trauma, one must be able to tell a story about it.

Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir by Natasha Trethewey was arguably the best book I read last year. Like so many of the books I seem to be gravitating toward recently, it explores loss; specifically, the loss of the author’s mother. Trethewey’s mother was murdered by her stepfather when she was only 19 years old, and Memorial Drive both grounds and mythologizes her mother’s story, likening her to Persephone of Greek mythology, who was kidnapped by Hades and made Queen of the Underworld.

I love the quote I chose from the book today because I have experienced its truth in my own life. There are some things I have experienced I’m unsure I would have survived had I not been able to create narratives around them; the stories of how I came so very close to the edge, could in fact hear the wind whistling in the canyon below, and how Something always pulled me back.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please follow, like, comment, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at thevoraciousbibliophile@yahoo.com or catch me on Twitter @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Book Review: Truth & Beauty: [A Friendship] by Ann Patchett (Audiobook)

Truth & Beauty is an exquisitely written and heartfelt evocation of a friendship. Reading it reminded me that most of the time we are incapable of saving anyone other than ourselves. We love, and that love may indeed be reciprocated, but we cannot pull someone back from the cliff of their own self-destruction by sheer force of will. Love is not a panacea. Losing someone we love is torture in its most essential form, distilled and pure. In the absence of someone we’ve loved more than our own lives, how do we reckon with what comes next in the aftermath? I don’t know that there’s an answer for this. Perhaps memory is the only thing that saves us. By committing to memory and the page everything that we hold dearest, we stave off our own oblivion, if only for the briefest of moments.

Perhaps memory is the only thing that saves us. By committing to memory and the page everything that we hold dearest, we stave off our own oblivion, if only for the briefest of moments.

I think that’s why Ann Patchett wrote Truth & Beauty. By writing about the love and friendship she shared with Lucy, everyone who reads it will know that there were once two friends named Ann and Lucy who loved each other with everything they had, and that death could not quell that love or erase its impact.

Favorite Quotes from the Book

We had invented time and could not kill it fast enough.

For the first time in my life I’ve found myself praying for actual things. Before I only prayed for stuff like wisdom and love and states of mind. These past few months, though, I’ve been much more materialistic. I want definite action on God’s part. Is this wrong? I worry that I’ll get punished somehow. I need to get out of this mess but I just don’t know how so I ask for his help.

From one of Lucy’s letters to Ann

She [Lucy] loved Christ for his suffering, for what they had in common. With all his strength, even Christ had asked if this burden could be lifted from him. The idea that pain was not a random thing, but a punishment of the evil upon the good, the powerful upon the weak, gave her something to rage against. After all, what is the point of being angry at nature when nature could care less? If you cried against barbarism, then at least you were standing up to a consciousness that could hypothetically be shaped. When Lucy believed that there were actually things in the world that were worse than what had happened to her, she could pull herself up on this knowledge like a rope. When she lost sight of it, she sank.

I used to think that once you really knew a thing, its truth would shine on forever. Now it’s pretty obvious to me that more often than not, the batteries fade, and sometimes what you knew even goes out with a bang when you try to call on it just like a light bulb cracking off when you throw the switch.

From one of Lucy’s letters to Ann

History is strangely incomprehensible when you’re standing in the middle of it.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please follow, like, comment, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at thevoraciousbibliophile@yahoo.com or catch me on Twitter @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Quote for the Day: July 15th, 2021

There are two reasons I wanted to tell this story, the story of how I learned to surrender. First, because it’s mine. It doesn’t belong to the tabloids or my mom or the men I’ve married or the people who’ve loved or hated my movies or even my children. My story is mine alone; I’m the only one who was there for all of it, and I decided to claim the power to tell it on my own terms. The second reason is that even though it’s mine, maybe some part of this story is yours, too. I’ve had extraordinary luck in this life: both bad and good. Putting it all down in writing makes me realize how crazy a lot of it has been, how improbable. But we all suffer, and we all triumph, and we all get to choose how we hold both.

God, I love Demi Moore. I’m quite the sucker for celebrity memoirs, but Inside Out was so meta. She really guts herself on the page and shows you who she is and what’s she’s been through and how it has all transformed her into the person she’s become. Not the movie star or the tabloid queen or that woman who was married to Bruce Willis and then Ashton Kutcher. No, within the pages of her memoir, you get to see the real Demi, warts and all. It is quite the journey.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please follow, like, comment, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at thevoraciousbibliophile@yahoo.com or catch me on Twitter @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

Moving Memoirs: Update

Dear Readers, I intended for Moving Memoirs to be possibly a ten post series, highlighting my all-time favorites in the genre.

Once I started my list, however, I realized that it’s going to be a much bigger project. I am still adding titles as I remember them (and comb through my Goodreads) and I’m currently at 34 individual titles.

That said, I really hoped you all liked the first installment where I talked about Wild because there’s going to be a lot more where that came from.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please follow, like, comment, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at thevoraciousbibliophile@yahoo.com or catch me on Twitter @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.