I love memoirs.

I love the this-year-I’m-going-do-something-crazy-so-I-can-write-a-book-about-it memoirs.

I love look-at-me-overcoming-this-tragedy memoirs.

I love my-life-isn’t-any-different-than-yours-but-I-can-draw-amazing-beautiful-symbolism-and-meaning-from-mine memoirs.

2015 has been a great year so far for women-written memoirs, and I’ve fallen in love with the five listed below. I highly recommend you find these books at the library or buy them online or steal them from a friend.

(But only if you promise to give them back.)

(Assuming your friend was giving her books the care and love they deserved.)

(If not, LIBERATE THOSE BOOKS.)

(Note: Best of Fates does not advocate liberating misused books if you get caught.)

Today I’m going to try out a new way of showcasing books I love. Rather than blather on and on about them making me cry (not hard to do), teaching me something new (ditto), or trying to sound like I’ve taken a single college literature course (nope), I’ve decided to just share the book and a few quotes I loved from it.

Which, hopefully, will give you a real glimpse into its content and style and showcase my perspective in loving it. Which will then you give a better guide into knowing if you’d share my love.

How to be a Heroine by Samantha Ellis

“Alcott never stuck to a woman’s sphere. In real life, she, not her father, joined the Civil War; when she was 30, she travelled five hundred miles to become an army nurse and caught typhoid that nearly killed her. Mr. March annoys me even more now I know that he monopolises the heroism that, if she was really going to write autobiographically, Alcott should have given to Jo.”

“But later I started feeling that a battle was coming, a battle about what kind of woman I was going to be, and that laughter and irony would never win it. Lizzy wins the game of Regency society; she gets a desirable man, and she gets him on her terms. But I was starting to think I didn’t want to win my community’s game; I didn’t even want to play it.”

A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans

“It seems that most of the Bible’s instructions regarding modesty find their context in warnings about materialism, not sexuality…a pattern that has gone largely unnoticed by the red-faced preacher population. I’ve heard dozens of sermons about keeping my legs and my cleavage out of sight, but not one about ensuring that my jewelry was not acquired through unjust or exploitative trade practices.”

“I looked into this, and sure enough, in Jewish culture it is not the women who memorize Proverbs 31, but the men. Husbands commit each line of the poem to memory, so they can recite it to their wives at the Sabbath meal, usually in a song. “Eshet chayil mi yimtza v’rachok mip’ninim michrah,” they sing in the presence of their children and guests. “A valorous woman, who can find? Her value is far beyond pearls.” Eshet chayil is at its core a blessing – one that was never meant to be earned, but to be given, unconditionally.”

Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward

“That’s a brutal list, in its immediacy and its relentlessness, and it’s a list that silences people. It silenced me for a long time. To say this is difficult is understatement; telling this story is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But my ghosts were once people, and I cannot forget that.”

“After I left New York, I found the adage about time healing all wounds to be false: grief doesn’t fade. Grief scabs over like my scars and pulls into new, painful configurations as it knits. It hurts in new ways. We are never free from grief. We are never free from the feeling that we have failed. We are never free from self-loathing. We are never free from the feeling that something is wrong with us, not with the world that made this mess.”

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

I’ve also read and highly recommend I Am Malala, which alongside her amazing life story includes Pakistani history from the perspective of those living it.

Girl in a Band by Kim Gordon

And Girl in a Band, which I found intriguing and inspirational even though I’ve never heard a Sonic Youth song. Sadly I didn’t “read” those two books as much as listen to their audiobooks, so have no handy list of quotes I loved. (I will attempt to be better in the future.)

And if you still can’t get enough female memoirs, here are a few others I’ve read this year that I truly enjoyed: Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America, The Glass Castle, Drinking with Men, Aliens in America, The Witness Wore Red: The 19th Wife Who Brought Polygamous Cult Leaders to Justice, The Day Nina Simone Stopped Singing, Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant?

What’s your favorite female memoir?
Megan

p.s. As always, my year time frame applies to when I read said books, not when they were published.

p.p.s. What do you think of the new system? Better or worse or you don’t care about books and I should stop talking about them so much?

{All links are Amazon affiliate.}
{All book covers are links, if that wasn’t clear.}
{The links are also links.}
5 Amazing Female Memoirs That You Need to Read & Then Gush Over With Me

{ 9 comments }

Lost Weekend III

I first heard about Andy‘s movie nights years ago. He’d have a group of friends over who’d watch a film he’d picked, then hold a raucous debate over said film.

 

I immediately declared my disinterest in attending.

 

Movies? I love. Raucous debates? Reminded me of Q&As after speeches or book readings, which I always find inane, offensive, or boring. But then I joined Brad & Lisa’s graphic novel book club and discovered that intense discussions, when done right, increased my love of whatever was being discussed. Or at least helped nuance my hate.

LostWeekendIII

While my love of discussion was evolving, Andy’s film club expanded out of his home and into the nearby Alamo Drafthouse Winchester and birthed a (semi?)annual film festival, Lost Weekend.

 

The first Lost Weekend, in February 2014, showed eight films. Lost Weekend II, in October 2014, showed 13 films. My friend Keith pushed me to attend but I responded that sitting in a movie theatre for thirteen straight films was pushing the limits of sanity and just no.

 

This story clearly leads to Lost Weekend III, which I just attended. Lindsey decided she was going. I hemmed and hawed until the tickets were sold out, then decided I would spend the weekend watching movies alone in my basement. Recognizing this as the first step in a horror movie premise, Lindsey asked Keith who asked Andy who said he’d hold one of the box office tickets for me. So I decided to save my creepy basement solo party for another time.

 

(You’re all invited!)

LostWeekendIII

So what was it like to watch 13 movies in three days? Intense. Uncomfortable. Emotional. Great.

 

My favorite part of the experience was the kids at summer camp vibe that infected the whole event. While the group of adults voluntarily trapped together in a room for days on end feel is one that is replicated at conferences, there’s something far more freeing and relaxing about the impetus being on pure enjoyment and zero networking.

LostWeekendIII

Oh, and then there were the movies. As I have a job and am not as committed to the love of film as I should be, I only saw 13 of the 16 films shown.

 

(Though I had already seen Inherent Vice, allowing myself to endlessly realize how much of a minority I am in my opinion of Paul Thomas Anderson’s production.)

LostWeekendIII

I cried in nine of them. (I’m a crier.) I screamed in four of them. (For which I’d like to apologize to all my fellow viewers.) (My startled screaming is not limited to offices.) (I’m working on it.) I absolutely loved seven of them.

 

LostWeekendIII

So if any of the following come to your local cinemas or show up on Netflix or are hiding under a rock in a nearby beach cave, I highly recommend giving them a viewing:

Zero Motivation

Amira & Sam

Man From Reno

What We Do In The Shadows

Take Me to the River

Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter

The Mafia Kills Only In Summer

Song of the Sea

And if you’re debating whether to devote a weekend to sitting in a dark, cold room with 100 of your closest random strangers, I say just yes.

On a scale from 0 to institution
How crazy do you think this is?
Megan

p.s. I sat next to Brad and Darren who happen to have a movie podcast, In The Mouth of Dorkness, and recorded a podcast episode every night of the festival. So if you felt my summation had too much me and not enough movies, I suggest you listen along. Although not if you haven’t seen the movies and feel strongly about spoileresque discussions, as they veer towards more hinting than less. (I, personally, haven’t listened to the Day 2 episode as I’ve decided to not ruin Chappie before I catch it.) If you’d like to hear about my reaction to It Follows & White God, they mention it at the end of the Day 4 podcast. And their observations are sadly factual.
I Watched 13 Movies This Weekend & Survived Dog Fighting, Naked Body Possession, Mockumentary Vampires, & So Much More

{ 11 comments }

IMG_8154

What’s making me most happy today?

That I finally got my computer back to normal and can share photos of what’s making me happy.

Including Skye being home.

IMG_8162

And her car back up and running.

(Pay no attention to the failed inspection sticker in the window.)

IMG_8177

That I’ve finally gotten my dad’s dog Buckley to make an #ExcitedFace with me.

(It took some months but I’m really pleased with the outcome.)

(Not sure why this isn’t covered in standard dog training.)

DSC_4549

I’ve found a deli with quality curly fries.

(If by found I mean my dad took me there, which I obviously do.)

DSC_4555

Skye and I played an entire game of clue, which ended with me first discovering who must be the murderer and their weapon and location.

When I went into the case file to verify my guesses, I found it empty.

As it turns out, when I shuffled the cards and passed them out, I forgot to take 3 out to be the guilty parties.

(This is just as embarrassing as it sounds.)

DSC_4560

This ice cream exists, if you hadn’t heard.

(HIGHLY recommended.)

DSC_4565

I’ve finally re-started watching Walking Dead with Jeff and Lindsey.

(We like to keep roughly four months behind everybody else.)

(It makes it impossible to make casual party conversation about what TV I watch, so I can then focus on telling hilarious strawberry-themed jokes.)

(I also went to a real-life party this weekend, except I forgot to take photos and made not a single strawberry-themed joke, so there’s really little to share.)

IMG_8202

I took twenty photos of us walking to get a great shot of Buckley and me.

This is the best I got.

(Clearly his photo training has not ended with his #ExcitedFace mastery.)

(No dog’s perfect.)

DSC_4571

Skye’s return has brought the return of Tuesday Nights (currently held on Thursdays).

And we’ve continued the tradition of always making quesadillas.

(I love traditions.)

(It’s the laziness in me.)

DSC_4575

Anna took me out to dinner at my first ever vegetarian restaurant.

(I tend to avoid them, as I’m a vegetarian who doesn’t like tofu or seitan or fake meat of any kind.)

(It’s a struggle.)

IMG_8214

But she managed to find a meal I enjoyed.

(She was, rightfully, very proud of herself.)

(It was aloo gobi, if you were curious.)

IMG_8236

I discovered that ME TV shows old Batman episodes.

I cannot emphasize enough how exciting this is.

(Very.)

(They also show old Wonder Woman episodes, which are not quite as entertaining as I’d hoped.)

DSC_4583

My mom returned home.

(She was visiting family in Michigan.)

(One of the kids has graduated high school.)

(Leaving only one left to go.)

(Subtext: I’m super old.)

DSC_4590

We celebrated her return with Japanese food.

And no celebration is complete without Shirley Temples.

DSC_4594

Afterwards, my mom prepared her famous sliced pineapples.

(You can tell we’re not fancy guests because she didn’t keep the head on like she would for proper guests.)

IMG_8237

Finally, we attempted to make frozen margaritas, only it turns out my mom’s blender is too powerful to crush ice into slush and instead immediately liquefies all cubes.

(Which is probably a sign we’re close to the machines taking over.)

(So enjoy your non-poisoned fruity drinks now.)

(The end is nigh.)

But there was plentiful salt, so I was pretty pleased.

What’s making you happy today?

Megan

Dog Excited Faces, Curly Fries, & Adam West: Happiness Now

{ 28 comments }