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My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Three 4 Thursday: 3 Memoirs written by Ordinary People

I read a variety of books each month.  I mostly enjoy fantasy novels, but I like to change things around by reading memoirs.  Usually, it is by someone famous that I admire or think will write an interesting book (like a comedian).  But some of the best memoirs I've read have been by non-famous people.  It's said that everyone has a story to tell.  These three books prove that adage.

1.  Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman



This is the memoir that the Netflix Show is based on.  Piper Kerman doesn't know what to do with her life. After graduating from an Ivy league college, she is up for adventure and seems attracted to reckless people.  This gets her involved with the drug scene.  She is caught and is sentenced to a year in federal prison.  I found this to be a fascinating book.  One of the reasons I enjoy reading is to experience situations I will never encounter in real life.  I certainly hope I never go to prison because I would not last long.  Piper learns the unwritten rules of life behind bars and finds empathy towards her fellow inmates.  One of the aspects I appreciated about this book is that it does not sensationalize her experience.  She writes honestly about how she began to take a serious look at her life and think about how she got herself into this mess.  I could see how truly life-changing a year in prison could be.

2.  Hunting with Barracudas:  My life in Hollywood with the Legendary Iris Burton by Chris Snyder

Chris Snyder writes a wicked book about his experiences as a hollywood agent.  He sees first-hand how the system works, how agents calm down nervous stage mothers and studio heads alike.  Chris finds himself under the tutelage of legendary agent Iris Burton.  Her ego rivals this biggest stars and much of his job is to keep her on track as she wheels and deals with casting directors.  I loved reading all the inside stories about her young stars.  One of her biggest clients was River Phoenix.  There are many anecdotes about him (and his brother Joaquin) that I have never heard.  When River dies of a drug overdose, Iris is among the many devastated by his early demise.  Although the setting is Hollywood, the story of a young person entering the world of business is really universal.  All the strange requests, overtime, unwavering commitment that is demanded of a new employee is something most young people have experienced across diverse industries.  This book is a great backstage pass.

3.  Let's Not Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller

Alternating between humorous and heartbreaking, this memoir of a woman's life growing up in Rhodesia and other African countries during the 70's and 80's will amaze you.  Young Alexandra must navigate the harsh landscape of her parent's farm, and her mother's wild mood swings.   With revolutions, snakes, illnesses, and boozy parents, it's a wonder she made it to adulthood.   The author and I are roughly the same age and it hit me that while I was watching Saturday morning cartoons and riding my bike to school, she was learning how to avoid terrorist attacks and how to administer life-saving first aid in the backcountry of Rhodesia.  Our lives couldn't have been more different.  Yet her story of neglectful parents spans continents and rings true.  I was deeply moved by her book.
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2017 Reading Challenge

MsArdychan has read 2 books toward her goal of 180 books.
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MsArdychan's bookshelf: read

The Hummingbird's Daughter
Joseph Anton: A Memoir
The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris
The Help
The Fry Chronicles
A Clash of Kings
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
A Game of Thrones
The Hunger Games
Catching Fire
Mockingjay
The Giver
Savvy
The Red Pyramid
Anne of Green Gables
The Complete Novels
Slam!
Slam
Hatchet
Scorpions


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