Tell Me All About You

Organized Chaos
Modern Cat Lady
The Only Carol I Know: Life with a Throwback Name
I’d Rather Be Reading <insert heart eyes emoji>

In case it wasn’t obvious, those are some of the potential titles for my future memoir. It’ll most likely be about a life buried in unread books, struggling to sit up underneath a pile of cats, all while drinking all the coffee and becoming a world-class snacker.

In case you haven’t heard, this year we’ve organized a reading challenge with new prompts every month. All the details can be found on the library’s website. The March challenge is to read a biography or memoir. As it so happens, there are many memoirs and biographies being published all the time and we’ve chosen a bunch to add to the stacks. Get your library card ready to place a hold, because I’m bringing you some of the newest books making their way through cataloging right this very moment!

Camp Austen: My Life as an Accidental Jane Austen Superfan by Ted Scheinman
Ted spent his childhood immersed in Jane Austenland. His mom was an Austen scholar, so it seemed normal to sing in an Anglican choir and live completely immersed in the fandom. Then he went off to college and at that time of life when most kids start to try new things, Ted decided to organize the first-ever UNC-Chapel Hill Jane Austen Summer Camp. Oh my crumpets, that sounds pretty amazing to me! Part memoir, part Jane Austen criticism, this short book is perfect for the Jane Austen fan who doesn’t have a lot of time to spare.

Can’t Nothing Bring Me Down: Chasing Myself in the Race Against Time by Ida Keeling with Anita Diggs
What’s one thing you should know about Ida Keeling? She’s over 100 years old. What else should you know? She’s a world-record-holding runner who’s still lacing up her shoes and running. Miss Ida–as she’s known in her Bronx community–has lived through the Depression and the Civil Rights movement, was a single mom to four children, outlived two of her sons who were brutally murdered, and continued on–determined–through it all. For anyone looking for a story of perseverance and faith, you should give this one a read.

Too Afraid to Cry: Memoir of a Stolen Childhood by Ali Cobby Eckermann
Award-winning poet Ali Cobby Eckermann started out life stolen from her family. Born in Australia at the time of certain racist policies, Ali was one of many Aboriginal children forcibly taken from her birth family and “adopted.” Here is her very personal story of abuse and trauma, suffering as an outsider, and her efforts to reconcile with her Yankunytjatjara/Kokatha birth family and their Indigenous community. The book also holds up a lens to America and Canada’s own histories of coerced adoption of Native American children and violence inflicted on Indigenous communities. Ali’s story is peppered with poems that will also be suitable to check off April’s challenge of reading poetry–you’re welcome!

Everything is Horrible and Wonderful: a Tragicomic Memoir of Genius, Heroin, Love, and Loss by Stephanie Wittels Wachs
Harris Wittels was a comedian, actor, writer, producer, musician, and is credited with coining the term “humblebrag,” that thing you do when it sounds like you’re being humble when actually you’re bragging. He was also struggling most of his life with drug addiction and in 2015 he died of a heroin overdose. In this book, his sister Stephanie will break your heart and make you cry just as much as she lifts you up and makes you laugh. This hopeful memoir of addiction, grief, and family is a good follow-up for those of you who read Beautiful Boy and Clean by David Sheff along with us last year.

She Caused a Riot: 100 Unknown Women Who Built Cities, Sparked Revolutions & Massively Crushed It by Hanna Jewell
If you’d rather not dive down into a full-length biography or memoir, let me steer you towards this celebration of kick-ass women you’ve either never heard of or didn’t know that much about. Not your standard collected biography of historically significant women, this one goes beyond the Susan B. Anthonys and Gloria Steinems to introduce readers to the lesser-known badass women of history. Told in an accessible, modern, and often snarky style, the text pairs brilliantly with the illustrations and stylized text that one might find in a modern magazine.

There are soooo many biographies and memoirs to choose from; these are just the brand-spanking newest of the new. Tell me in the comments which book you’re reading for this challenge and what you would title your memoir. And if you post a photo of yourself with your March challenge read and tag it #everettreads to enter our monthly drawing, let me know so I can go like your photo!

Austenmania!

It is thoroughly stunning that a Jane Austen cottage industry flourishes 200 years after her death. Modern authors have thrust her characters into the 21st century, thrown people from the present into her novels, added supernatural elements to her oeuvre and written continuations of and prequels to her works. Following are a few titles that Jane Austen fans might want to check out.

UPDATES
Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star by Heather Lynn Riguad
Fitzwilliam Darcy is the founder and lead guitarist of the rock band Slurry. His bandmates think that Long Bourne Suffering, a trio made up of Jane and Elizabeth Bennet and Charlotte Lucas, would be the perfect opening act for their upcoming tour. Darcy, on the other hand, worries that touring with desirable women will create unwanted problems.

Also for your consideration:

Vanity and Vexation:  a novel of Pride and Prejudice by Kate Fenton
The Three Weissmanns of Westport by Cathleen Schine
The Dashwood Sisters Tell All:  a Modern-Day Novel of Jane Austen by Beth Pattillo

TIME TRAVEL
Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict and
Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler
L.A. denizen Courtney Stone finds herself in Jane Austen’s England, living the life of a 19th century gentlewoman named Jane. In the sequel, Jane finds herself hurled into Courtney’s body in the 21st century.

Also for your consideration: 
Prada and Prejudice by Amanda Hubbard

ALTERNATE POINTS OF VIEW
The Confession of Fitzwilliam Darcy by Mary Street
Fans of Pride and Prejudice will enjoy this retelling from Fitzwilliam Darcy’s point of view. As Austen did not reveal much of Darcy’s thoughts in the original, P&P enthusiasts will delight in the new insights into his character.

Also for your consideration:
Captain Wentworth’s Diary (Persuasion) and
Colonel Brandon’s Diary
  (Sense and Sensibility) and
Mr. Knightley’s Diary  (Emma)
by Amanda Grange

Dearest Cousin Jane: a Jane Austen novel by Jill Pitkeathley
Murder at Mansfield Park by Lynn Shepherd
An Assembly Such as this: a novel of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman by Pamela Aidan
MYSTERIES
Murder on the Bride’s Side and
Murder at Longbourn by Tracy Kiely
Drawing from the classic Sense and Sensibility, Tracy Kiely recounts the adventures of Elizabeth Parker, the likable Austen-quoting sleuth, in this witty and charming series.

Also for your consideration:
Jane and the Canterbury Tale and many others by Stephanie Barron

The Intrigue at Highbury: or, Emma’s Match and many others by Carrie Bebris

 
PARANORMAL
Jane Bites Back and
Jane Vows Vengeance by Michael Thomas Ford
Elizabeth Jane Fairfax (aka Jane Austen) owns a bookstore. Oh, she’s also a vampire. Tired of best-selling Pride and Prejudice knockoffs, as well as the 116 rejections of her last manuscript, Jane attempts to find an in-road into the modern publishing world.

Also for your consideration:
Jane and the Damned by Janet Mullany
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance – Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem! by Seth Grahame-Smith
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls: A Prequel by Steve Hockensmith
Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Ben H. Winters
Mr. Darcy, Vampyre by Amanda Grange


CONTINUATIONS
These stories pick up where Austen left off, adding more details to the lives of her beloved characters.
Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife:  Pride and Prejudice Continues and
Darcy and Elizabeth:  Nights and Days at Pemberley:  Pride and Prejudice continues by Linda Berdoll


Mr. Darcy’s Daughters and many others by Elizabeth Aston


Jane Austen might be dead, but if she were a vampire and owned copyright to her works and characters, she would be rolling in royalty checks.

Ron