Category Archives: Non-Fiction

‘How to Murder Your Life’ – Cat Marnell

Lanzarote, March 2018

Overview

Cat Marnell’s darkly humorous and (apparently) searingly honest memoir of addiction.

Thoughts

I had no idea who Cat Marnell was when I picked the book up and was drawn to it after indulging in Eat, Pray, Love and The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober, enjoying a (short!) run of books written by women who detailed a period of enlightenment/transformation.

Marnell’s memoir was fast-paced, humorous and specific incidents that she explored underline how she slipped into addiction and incidents since qualify how she couldn’t free herself from it.

I had a few questions as I read, realising so many of the events posited Marnell as the victim of the piece. When the narrative then moved to Marnell’s semi-celebrity profile (in the USA at least), I started to wonder exactly what I was reading. When I reached the end to read that Marnell was still using, I did feel a little cheated.

This reaction was odd in that addiction is not an easy thing to beat; it harked back to my earlier discomfort with the book. Marnell painted herself convincingly as the victim but without the release from addiction, the memoir lacked humility. There are always two sides to a story though I felt the memoir, which in the end felt like a narcissistic justification for selfishness, completely overlooked this fundamental.

‘On Writing’ – Stephen King

Les Deux-Alpes, July 2015

Overview

Stephen King takes the reader through his life from childhood to adulthood and spends the second section of the novel detailing the craft of writing.

Thoughts

The most helpful and straightforward book I’ve ever read about writing.

Quotes

‘Good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere…two previously unrelated ideas come together to make something new under the sun. Your job isn’t to find [them] but to recognise then when they show up.’

‘When you write the story you’re telling yourself [it]…write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open. Your stuff starts out…for you…’

‘Not That Kind of Girl’ – Lena Dunham

Lausanne, August 2015

Overview

Lena Dunham’s collection of essays/bio through which she recounts her experiences of relationships, work and body image in a non-linear way.

Thoughts

I did enjoy reading this – I’d avoided it as I don’t trust lena Dunham (haha!) but am glad I read it. Whilst insightful, there was an honest portrayal of an attention seeking neurotic needing validation – which I relate to! The end for me bottomed out a bit, but enjoyable.

Quotes

‘I had recently coloured my hair and brought a satin tube top, a transition I considered to be evidence of irreversible maturity.’

From ‘Thoughts on Death and Dying’