Dry by Augusten Burroughs
Augusten Burroughs has been one of my favorite authors for years. I was first introduced to his work through the film adaption of his memoir Running With Scissors, which I saw in theaters my freshman year of high school. Since then, I have collected and read most of his books, but I only just recently finished reading his second memoir Dry.
Dry details Burroughs's struggle with alcoholism. His coworkers' "request" that he seek help, his stint in rehab in Minnesota, and afterwards when he returns to live his old life in Manhattan–only this time, without alcohol. The writing is, as always, brutal and hilarious. It's a story of trial and error, of struggle and growth, but also of love. I'd say this is less a novel and more a very long, convoluted love letter to his friend Pighead (as he's affectionately known). It has taken a place among my very favorite books.
Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
If you're like me, Target is a very dangerous place. I always end up leaving with an armful of things I don't really need, but did really want. Tell the Wolves I'm Home was one of those things I didn't need, but I am so glad I picked it up. The story is deeply moving, about love, loss, and the need for understanding.
June Elbus is a fourteen-year-old girl growing up in the late 1980's, obsessed with the Middle Ages, and understood by no one except for her beloved Uncle Finn who is sick with a disease no one likes to talk about. When Finn dies, she can't imagine that anyone misses him as much as she does. That is until she meets Toby, a man her parents blame for Finn's death.
You might have noticed a common theme here (and with two of the last books I blogged about as well). Whenever I'm choosing what book I'm going to read next, the choice is almost always influenced by what I've just finished reading. Sometimes this leads me to read several funny, love stories in a row or a couple of fantasy novels. Or, you know, five books that deal heavily with death and coping with loss (specifically AIDS in three of the five).
I don't ever do this on purpose. It just happens sometimes, but it's always nice when it does. I love to see how different authors handle the same themes, and the differences between memoirs and novels. If this isn't something that you do (knowingly or not), you should give it a try.