Tag Archives: Memoir

Genre Feature: Verse Novels

Did you know that there are entire novels written in poetic verse? Like so many poems, they tend read quick but carry quite the emotional punch.

Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton

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“So, I have to know,” he says, “what are you?”
But just because he has to know doesn’t mean I have to tell him anything.

It’s 1969, and the Apollo 11 mission is getting ready to go to the moon. But for half-black, half-Japanese Mimi, moving to a predominantly white Vermont town is enough to make her feel alien. And even though teachers and neighbors balk at her mixed-race family and her refusals to conform, Mimi’s dreams of becoming an astronaut never fade—no matter how many times she’s told no.

Written by a Middlebury College Alumn!

 

 

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse

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And I know now that all the time I was trying to get
out of the dust,
the fact is,
what I am,
I am because of the dust.
And what I am is good enough.
Even for me.

Billie Jo is just a fourteen year old farm girl trying to survive unspeakable loss while living in the dust bowl during the Great Depression.

Hesse currently lives in Vermont!

 

 

 

brown girl dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

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Even the silence 
has a story to tell you. 
Just listen. Listen.

Growing up both in her Grandparents’ South Carolina and her mother’s New York City, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. This is the true story of how she grew up in limbo between the two places, and how she discovered she wanted to be a writer no matter how hard it was for her to read.

 

 

 

 

Love that Dog / Hate that Cat by Sharon Creech

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Sometimes
when you are trying 
not to think about something
it keeps popping back in your head
you can’t help it
you think about it
and 
think about it
and 
think about it
until your brain
feels like
a squashed pea.

Jack hates poetry. Only girls write it and every time he tries to, his brain feels empty. But his teacher, Ms. Stretchberry, won’t stop giving her class poetry assignments — and Jack can’t avoid them. But then something amazing happens. The more he writes, the more he learns he does have something to say.

Especially about the dog he loves that isn’t with him anymore. And that stupid cat his parents got him afterwards.

Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff

movie.jpgYou ever laughed so hard
nobody in the world could hurt you for a minute,
no matter what they tried to do to you? 

Fourteen-year-old LaVaughn is determined to go to college–she just needs the money to get there.

When she answers a babysitting ad, LaVaughn meets Jolly, a seventeen-year-old single mother with two kids by different fathers. As she helps Jolly make lemonade out of the lemons her life has given her, LaVaughn learns some lessons outside the classroom.

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Genre Feature: Rock and Roll Biographies

Looking for a little Rock and Roll in your life? Try some of these biographies.

Life by Keith Richards

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“There’s something beautifully friendly and elevating about a bunch of guys playing music together. This wonderful little world that is unassailable. It’s really teamwork, one guy supporting the others, and it’s all for one purpose, and there’s no flies in the ointment, for a while. And nobody conducting, it’s all up to you.”

With the Rolling Stones, Keith Richards created the riffs, the lyrics and the songs that roused the world, and over four decades he lived the original rock and roll life. Now, at last, the man himself tells us the story of life in the crossfire hurricane.

 

 

Bob Dylan in America by Sean Wilentz

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“But every artist is, to some extent, a thief; the trick is to get away with it by making of it something new. Dylan at his best has the singular ability not only to do this superbly but also to make the present and the past feel like each other.”

Growing up in Greenwich Village, Sean Wilentz discov­ered the music of Bob Dylan as a young teenager; almost half a century later, he revisits Dylan’s work with the skills of an eminent American historian as well as the passion of a fan. Drawn in part from Wilentz’s essays as “historian in residence” of Dylan’s official website, Bob Dylan in America is a unique blend of fact, interpretation, and affinity—a book that, much like its subject, shifts gears and changes shape as the occasion warrants.

 

Born to Run by Bruce Springstein

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“No one you have been and no place you have gone ever leaves you. The new parts of you simply jump in the car and go along for the rest of the ride. The success of your journey and your destination all depend on who’s driving.”

In which Springstein vividly recounts his relentless drive to become a musician, his early days as a bar band king in Asbury Park, and the rise of the E Street Band. With disarming candor, he also tells for the first time the story of the personal struggles that inspired his best work and shows us why the song “Born to Run” reveals more than we previously realized.

 

Anybody else sense a theme in these covers?

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