biography

Thumbs up for Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q Sutanto. Crime.

Meddelin Chan accidentally kills a guy on a blind date; her aunties leap into action with a plan to dispose of the body, while simultaneously managing a two-thousand-guest resort wedding for their family business. Insanity ensues. I was a little mislead by the fact that after “humor” this book was categorized as “romantic comedy”; it is in fact a crime farce, and while the heroine’s attempt to get back with her ex is important to her, it’s a fairly minor point in a wildly complicated plot.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for Anglican Women Novelists: From Charlotte Brontë to P.D. James edited by Judith Maltby and Alison Shell. Literary criticism.

At the risk of sounding facetious: it is a book of short biographies and literary analyses of Anglican Women Novelists; and it is excellent. Does the topic interest you? Then read it. You will discover interesting things, your literary conversations will expand, and you will discover even more authors you want to read.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for Flaneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice and London by Lauren Elkin. Sociology/Memoir.

A mishmash that works surprisingly well together: the history of women who walk in cities (flaneuses, to match the male term flaneurs); biography of some female writers like Jean Rhys, George Sand, and Martha Gellhorn; academic discussions on the social meaning of the suburb; the history of Paris; the plot of an art film; fragments of memoir from the author, which serve to keep it from being too academic.… >> Read more

funhome

Thumbs up for Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel. Memoir, biography, graphic novel.

Any memoir that can keep me obsessively turning pages has got to be pretty amazing. The rumors are true: Alison Bechdel’s half-memoir, half-biography about how her father’s repressed homosexuality and her own more open lesbianism inform each other over the course of a lifetime is beautifully structured, wonderfully illustrated, and pleasingly literary.… >> Read more

carterfamily

Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for The Carter Family: Don’t Forget This Song by Frank M. Young, illustrated by David Lasky. Biography/music.

I met the illustrator at a dinner party. I adore his work. In fact, I have some on my wall. However, unless you are truly interested in the Carter Family (which you might be, who knows, but I am not) you can probably skip this.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for Ascending Peculiarity: Edward Gorey on Edward Gorey, edited by Karen Wilkin. Biography.

Sort of marginally biography; nothing much ever happened in Edward Gorey’s life. This book is a compilation of interviews with Gorey from many sources, so some of the information is duplicated, but as a whole it paints a picture of a fascinating, eccentric, and lovable man.… >> Read more