In the voices of twenty landmark memoirists—including New York Times bestselling authors Cheryl Strayed, Sue Monk Kidd, and Pat Conroy—a definitive text on the craft of autobiographical writing, indispensable for amateur and professional writers alike.
For readers of Mary Karr’s The Art of Memoir and Judith Barrington’s Writing the Memoir, this follow-up to editor Meredith Maran’s acclaimed writers’ handbook, Why We Write, offers inspiration, encouragement, and pithy, practical advice for bloggers, journal-keepers, aspiring essayists, and memoirists.
Curated and edited by Maran, herself an acclaimed author and book critic, these memoirists share the lessons they’ve learned through years of honing their craft. They reveal what drives them to tell their personal stories and examine the nuts and bolts of how they do it. Speaking frankly about issues ranging from turning oneself into an authentic, compelling character to exposing hard truths, these outstanding authors disclose what keeps them going, what gets in their way, and what they love most—and least—about writing about themselves.
“It's possible that Why We Write About Ourselves is the first compilation of memoirists at the top of their game seriously and thoughtfully considering the genre.” – LA Times
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This collection is un-putdownable! As a person who loves reading--and writing--personal stories from my own life, I was fascinated to see other people's reasons for choosing to expose their deepest thoughts and inner selves. I love hearing how each one solves the dilemma of writing about other people. It's a brave book that plumbs the depths and has twenty different answers to the question: What makes writing memoir so compelling? Meredith Maran has done a wonderful job of putting this collection together!
Wow--like many other reviewers here, I really loved WHY WE WRITE ABOUT OURSELVES. It sounds strangely narcissistic, doesn't it? Cringe worthy, even to think that we writers like to write about ourselves. Why not write about someone else? Well, then...that sounds voyeuristic.
Alas, we are a society fascinated with people and ourselves, but that's not what I got out of WHY WE WRITE ABOUT OURSELVES. Here's what I did get: we share our stories to make sense of the insensible, we tell our stories to give new meaning to tragedy, to shape others, and ultimately to help others.
But doing all of that is a hell of a lot of work. Not only does the aspiring memorist have to delve deep into the human psyche, dust off distant (often forgotten for a reason) memories, make them shiny and new, but he or she needs to also shape them into a beautiful story with a plot, character arc, and more. Might as well give up, right?
Wrong. Through twenty amazing writers, we learn...
This is a quick, wonderful and highly informative read! I love memoirs and stumbled upon this book by accident. Not only did it actually bring to light so many things I don't actually think of when I'm reading memoirs but it inspired me to look up every single memoirist I read about and I've added nearly 10 new books that I want to read to my Wish List. That's the power of a good book and excellent writing-- it allows you to want more. I recommend this book wholly for anyone who loves reading memoirs, anyone who simply loves to read and anyone who may need a little nudge as they work on their own personal memoir.
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