Holiday books: Memoir

  • Article by: MEGANNE FABREGA , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 30, 2013 - 4:04 PM

"Leaving Tinkertown" by Tanya Ward Goodman

“A Million Years With You: A Memoir of Life Observed”

By Elizabeth Marshall Thomas (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25)

As a keen interpreter of nature’s follies, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas (“The Hidden Life of Dogs”) has closely studied animals for most of her life. In her memoir “A Million Years With You,” she looks back on 82 years of family, work, travel, and the heartbreak and happiness that a fully lived life can afford.

“Bringing Mulligan Home: The Other Side of the Good War”

By Dale Maharidge (Public Affairs, $26.99)

This book started with a photo that hung over Maha­ridge’s father’s workbench for his entire life: a black-and-white photo of two boys in uniform, one who died during World War II while the other survived and carried his anger and shame with him up until his final days. This is a searing memoir of Maharidge, his father and the men whom Maharidge doggedly traced from his father’s Marine unit in order to give “the silent generation” a chance to be heard.

“Country Girl”

By Edna O’Brien (Little, Brown, $27.99)

“The world with all its sins and guile and blandishments was beckoning,” writes Edna O’Brien in “Country Girl,” as she leaves nothing to the imagination in this honest reflection on her life as daughter of Ireland and a fearless writer. She whipped up scandal with her first novel, “The Country Girls,” and continued to stir up controversy as she addressed women’s sexuality and oppression in her native country throughout her subsequent novels.

“Leaving Tinkertown”

By Tanya Ward Goodman (University of New Mexico Press, $19.95)

Goodman’s first book delicately explores the pain of slowly losing her father to early-onset Alzheimer’s disease as she makes her own transition from the turmoil of her early 20s to becoming a writer, wife and mother. Goodman focuses on her father’s ultimate legacy, Tinkertown Museum near Albuquerque, and pays homage to the “born showman” and his passion for life even as it slips away.

“I Hate to Leave This Beautiful Place”

By Howard Norman (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26)

Howard Norman may be best known for his novel “The Bird Artist,” but with his memoir he leaves an indelible mark on readers. “In this book I narrate a life in overlapping panels of memory and experience,” he writes, and he does so with equal parts introspection and the love of a good story.

 

Meganne Fabrega is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.

  • related content

  • "A Million Years With You" by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas

  • "Bringing Mulligan Home" by Dale Maharidge

  • "Country Girl" by Edna O'Brien

  • "I Hate to Leage this Beautiful Place" by Howard Norman

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