Also of interest...
In writers looking within
How to Write an Autobiographical Novel
by Alexander Chee (Mariner, $16)
Alexander Chee’s first novel was a masterpiece; “so, too, is How to Write an Autobiographical Novel,” said Anthony Domestico in The Boston Globe. An essay collection that ranges widely in subject matter, it’s held together by recurring concerns. The “real gems” relate how Chee came to write Edinburgh, a debut inspired by his experience of childhood sexual abuse. But he returns throughout to how fictions and masks help us see ourselves. “Every essay, no matter the subject, exhibits warmth, rigor, tact.”
Because We Are Bad
by Lily Bailey (Harper, $27)
This “astonishingly intimate” memoir offers “an unfiltered look at a mind crippled by OCD,” said Frannie Jackson in PasteMagazine.com. Its author, a 24-year-old British fashion model, writes beautifully about a life mostly consumed by worries that she is a bad person and could bring harm to others just with her thoughts. But there’s uplift, too, because she’s learned to cope with her disorder, and with the sense it engenders that the world around her refuses to stay in check.
by Barbara Ehrenreich (Twelve, $27)
Barbara Ehrenreich has “an allergy to comforting illusions,” said Parul Sehgal in The New York Times. In her new book, the 76-year-old author of Nickel and Dimed takes on America’s obsession with forestalling aging and death, and “the wellness movement doesn’t stand a chance.” Though she takes “a few swan dives into nonsense” and forgets how many Americans can’t afford the excesses she decries, this “peevish, tender” book offers a truly healthy perspective on mortality and is “redeemed by its oddness.”
by Will Storr (Overlook, $30)
“This book is no life hack”—despite its deep concern with the allure of self-improvement, said Sara Eckel in The Washington Post. Journalist Will Storr instead wants to show us how centuries of cultural history have led us to believe that we each must strive for self-perfection, and how that’s made us miserable. Storr weaves in biographical sketches that are “great fun to read,” and he outlines complex concepts with “remarkable” clarity. He also insists he’s a disappointment to himself—“and yet you like the guy.”