Author Essays Good for Book Clubs

A Daughter Discovers Her Manic-Depressive Father’s Secret Manuscript

When we offered up Advance Reader’s Copies of He Wanted the Moon, many of you shared touching stories of your own family’s experience living with mental illness.

“When my father’s manuscript begins,” writes Mimi Baird, “he is forty years old and has lived with the diagnosis of manic depression for more than ten years. By now, he knows very well the symptoms of his disease, its dangerous, ecstatic highs followed by pitch-dark depressions.

It is February 1944, and he has retreated to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Boston, as he often did when he felt himself becoming manic, in order to protect his family from his increasingly erratic behavior.”

Giveaways Good for Book Clubs

Enter for Your Chance to Win an Autographed Copy of Bittersweet

Think Gone Girl meets The Great Gatsby. One of the hottest thrillers of 2014. A twisty plot set in the glamorous world of the super-wealthy with dark characters and an ending that’ll keep you reading into the wee hours.

In anticipation of the paperback release of Bittersweet (in April 2015), we’re giving away autographed copies! RIFers were among the first to read Miranda Beverly-Whittemore’s novel, and they loved it.

Critics are raving, too. This review from Entertainment Weekly makes some great comparisons: “What begins a little like Curtis Sittenfeld’s Prep quickly warps into a sickly addictive thriller … think ABC’s Revenge when it was good, only more scandalous.” It’s addictive reading, that’s for sure!

Giveaways Good for Book Clubs

Enter for Your Chance to Win a Heartbreaking Memoir: He Wanted the Moon

Okay, this should be enough to make you want to read Mimi Baird’s memoir: Pat Conroy (yes, the Pat Conroy) says, “He Wanted the Moon is one of the most disturbing and profoundly moving books I’ve read in years, and one of the great father-daughter books of our time.”

Mimi Baird grew up never fully knowing the story of her father’s manic depression and institutionalization, as her family went silent about the father who had been absent for most of her childhood.

Decades later, a string of extraordinary coincidences led to the recovery of a manuscript which Dr. Baird had worked on throughout his brutal institutionalization, confinement, and escape.

Giveaways Good for Book Clubs

Enter for Your Chance to Win Uncle Janice by Matt Burgess

Carl Hiaasen is one of our favorites, so when he said this about Uncle Janice, we took notice: “Like Richard Price and the late, great Elmore Leonard, Matt Burgess is one of those cool, quick and funny writers who can turn a seemingly routine crime caper into something special.”

It’s true that Matt Burgess is a cool writer, but what really got us about this fast-paced thriller is “Uncle” Janice. She is brave, vulnerable, funny, surprising … we agree with critics who say that Uncle Janice is the perfect fix for people who’ve been jonesing for that yet-to-come sixth season of The Wire. It’s that good.

Author Essays Good for Book Clubs

How to Write Memoir If You Have a Rotten Memory

When I decided I wanted to write about the weeks following my husband Rick’s death, I decided to develop my own memory jogging techniques. It was a slow process, but the kids and I created this book together, one memory at a time.

“I am not a doctor or a psychologist,” says author Joanne Huist Smith. “I have never studied the brain. I don’t even know how memory works and likely wouldn’t remember for long if I learned. But these are some of the tools I used to help me prepare.

Tip #5: Four memories are better than one. Once I felt I had taken a scene as far as I could alone, I interviewed others who were present at the time. The 13th Gift really is a combination of the collective memories of all my family members.”

Bonus Book Content Good for Book Clubs

Jennifer Clement On Writing Prayers for the Stolen

In Mexico today women are stolen off the street or taken from their houses at gunpoint. Some women never return home from their workplace, a party, or walking to the corner. They are all young and poor and pretty.

A woman can be sold to different owners many times, and even dozens of times a day as a prostitute, while a plastic bag of drugs can be sold once.

Prayers for the Stolen is a novel about Ladydi Garcia Martínez. She is part of a community, like so many in rural Mexico, that has been decimated by drug traffickers, government agricultural policies, and illegal immigration. Her home is a village near the once glamorous port of Acapulco. Her story, although inspired by truth, is fiction.

Your Reading Life Good for Book Clubs

Help Us Build the Best Holiday Books List Ever

RIFers, you asked for holiday book recommendations, and we decided to have some fun with it. We’ve gathered some of the most unusual holiday books we could find.

Awkward Family Holiday Photos and Scared of Santa will give you a giggle with images of holiday cheer gone wrong. It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Zombies is just what it sounds like. And so is The Physics of Christmas: From the Aerodynamics of Reindeer to the Thermodynamics of Turkey. Fascinating! We had to include one of our all-time favorite holiday books for kids: The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming: A Christmas Story.

Giveaways Good for Book Clubs

Start Reading It Was Me All Along

I can remember carving the first slice, taking the first forkful. What I cannot remember, however, is the exact moment I made the decision to eat the whole thing.

“If you were not able to attend my twentieth birthday party, you missed a fabulous cake,” writes Andie Mitchell, “And if, by chance, you were able to attend my twentieth birth­day party, you, too, missed a fabulous cake. In fact, everyone did, save for me.

The rush of whipped sugar speeding through my bloodstream. It felt like teetering on the ledge on the roof of a skyscraper, exhilarat­ing and terrifying. The split-second decision between balance and oblivion. “