I think I need to take a break from reading memoirs. But I can’t seem to stop. My last four books:
Still Waiting by Ann Swindell. Faithfully encouraging and integrates the story of the Bleeding Woman (one of my favorite parts of the Gospels).
“From my own perspective, I couldn’t see any reason why God wouldn’t heal me, why He wouldn’t change my struggle into a victorious cure. Wouldn’t He get all the glory? All the doctors and therapies and supplements hadn’t helped me, so clearly He would get the attention and fame if He healed me. Wouldn’t He show Himself to be God when no one else could heal?
“Why wouldn’t He heal me? Why?” Still Waiting, page 107
Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood. Irreverently hilarious, and Catholics are…uh…unique.
“A sharp pain, a shock in the loins, a sudden feeling of worldliness. I bobbed up to the surface, treaded water for a minute, acknowledged the pulse between my legs, and looked around me in a panic. ‘Oh god, it’s my herman,’ I thought, forgetting the correct word in the heat of the moment…A slight scarf of blood in the water confirmed my suspicion. I had lost my virginity to the swimming pool.” Priestdaddy, page 160-61
The Bright Hour by Nina Riggs. Made me cry, and breast cancer sucks.
“At the Cluny museum there was a collection of life-size stone Jesuses from the fourteenth century- on the way to the cross, on the cross, dead in Mary’s arms- so human and agonized and open-faced and accepting all at once. Complicated eyes, resolved lips. But I couldn’t help notice that even in the most emotionally brutal pietas, Jesus’s wounds were still depicted as the daintiest of paper cuts. No chaos.
“Reveal the pain, but hide the wreckage. I can hear Montaigne hollering: break it open, look inside, feel it, write it down.” The Bright Hour, page 232-33
Voices from Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexievich. Made me almost wet myself in fear, and radiation is scary as hell.
“They came for my father at night. I didn’t hear how he got packed, I was asleep. In the morning I saw my mother was crying. She said, ‘Papa’s in Chernobyl now.’ We waited for him like he was at the war.
“He came back and started going to the factory again. He didn’t tell us anything. At school I bragged to everyone that my father just came back from Chernobyl, that he was a liquidator, and the liquidators were the ones who helped clean up after the accident. They were heroes. All the boys were jealous.
“A year later he got sick. We walked around in the hospital courtyard- this was after his second operation- and that was the first time he told me about Chernobyl…
“My mom and I are alone now. I won’t go to the technical institute, even though she wants me to. That’s where my dad went.” Voices from Chernobyl, page 219-20
And right now, I’m reading Through the Shadowlands by Julie Rehmeyer. Brilliant, well-articulated author, and ME/CFS sucks.
In fact, of the last ten books I’ve read, only two of them have not been memoirs.
And the next book I plan on reading? By golly, it’s a memoir! A darn terrifying one, to be sure, from what I’ve seen flipping through it. Why I’ve suddenly become so interested in nuclear disasters, I don’t know. Maybe it’s the fatalistic part of me. Or the fact that we live 10 miles from a nuclear power plant and if Chernobyl happened there…bye bye.
Why am I sharing this? I don’t really know.
I guess…books are my escape. Especially because I can’t think straight or articulate myself well anymore. So I read about other people and their life situations, hoping to make myself feel better about my situation. Maybe, to find someone I can relate to in some way.
It’s not working.
But it’s a big challenge because the illnesses I have don’t get books written about them. Endometriosis has two solid books I highly recommend: Stop Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain by Dr. Andrew Cook and The Doctor Will See You Now by Dr. Tamer Seckin. Both excellent, although I preferred the latter. There isn’t much to read about celiac disease besides cookbooks. And some of the books I have bought about my other illnesses, such as POTS, I’ve just flipped through and then cringed at. So much for finding solidarity amongst literature.
My taste is literature is…unique, as I’m sure you can tell from what you’ve read in this post so far. Aside from memoirs and medical memoirs, historical fiction, especially of the WWII variety, draws me in.
I just wish I could find someone like me, who I can squeeee over books with. It’s hard when I’m the only soul I know who’s ever read some of these!
Has anyone else read any of these books or like any of these genres?
Happy reading. 📚