Tag memoir

Sarah Hepola’s first book Blackout is published in June, she visited London ahead of publication. First impressions quite favourable…

Sarah Hepola in London

I am standing at the desk of an immigration officer at London’s Heathrow airport. The man flips through my passport.

“And what is your business here?” he asks, not looking up.

“I’m a writer,” I say.

It took a while to put that down on official forms. I usually put editor, and then sometimes I put journalist. To says you are a “writer” still feels like too much of a brag, like you are daring the world to call your bluff.

The man looks up. “A writer.” He says the word with a bit of music. “And what have you written which brings you to our fair shores?”

“I wrote a memoir, and it’s being published in the UK, so I’m coming here to meet the publisher.”

This grabs the attention of the middle-aged woman with glasses who has been shuffling through paperwork beside him. “A memoir, eh?” she says, looking me up and down. “But you’re so little.” I think she means young, but then again, I have been working out.

I explain that it’s a book about my troubled relationship with drinking, and more generally, about women’s relationship to alcohol. “Oh that’ll be good over here,” says the guy, and the woman beside him nods. “No shortage of women drinking,” she says, rolling her eyes.

“I have an idea for your next book,” says the guy, putting aside the passport now and leaning in, “and I hesitate to bring this up, because I don’t want you to go through another ordeal, but then again, you’re a writer, which means you enjoy unusual experience. But you know what would be a good subject for your second book? Women who have total breakdowns after the end of a relationship.”

I tell him I have some field experience with that one.

“Depression,” he says, his eyes going wide. “A real problem with depression here.”

“The heavy drinking is related to that,” I say. “It feels like it helps, until it doesn’t.”

He tells me how England has changed. It’s a pressure culture now, one defined by work and accomplishment. Gone are the Sundays at church, lazing around with the family. People can’t figure out how to relax. They’re estranged and isolated. Over in mainland Europe, he explains, you can still find that slow unspooling of the day. But in London, people are always going. Shopping, texting, rushing to work.

“Sounds like a toxic American export,” I tell him.

He nods. “Everything toxic from America drifts over here eventually,” he says, “and I wish we could just shove it back.”

The world may be rushed and too anonymous, but you can still find connection in the most unlikely places. He stamps my passport, and the two of them bid me farewell and best of luck with my book. And I move on to the baggage carousel, and into a city I’ve never been.

This blog post first appeared on Sarah’s website sarahhepola.com

BLACKOUT by Sarah Hepola - Two Roads Books

In June Two Roads publish an incredible new memoir of addiction and recovery – Sarah Hepola’s Blackout. To all extents and purposes a fairly functional alcoholic, Salon.com editor Sarah’s biggest problem with drinking was blacking out: losing time and memories, and waking up in random places with a blank space in her head where the last few hours should have been.

Memory is such a fundamental part of who we are and how we see ourselves that it’s little wonder it’s such a rich area for writers, and so in the run-up to Sarah’s fabulous book here are a couple of other recent ‘memory’ books to get you in the mood.

Elizabeth is Missing, Emma Healey

Both a gripping detective story and a moving study of dementia, Emma Healey’s debut novel tells the story of Maud, whose best friend Elizabeth has gone missing, and whose sister, Sukey, went missing seventy years earlier. Something is nagging at her; some wrong that needs to be righted, or a crime that needs to be uncovered, or a connection that needs to be made, but as the shoutline says – how can you solve a mystery when you can’t remember the clues?

Elizabeth is Missing

Where Memories Go: Why Dementia Changes Everything, Sally Magnusson

Sally Magnusson’s mother, Mamie, was a bundle of energy, intelligence and wit. Then everything changed. Slowly, insidiously, she started to forget what she was doing, where she was going and who she was. Weaving together the story of Mamie’s slow decline with glimpses of the incredible woman she was, Where Memories Go is a beautifully written chronicle of the sorrow, unexpected laughs, pain and ultimately of the love involved in caring for someone with dementia.

Where Memories Go

 

If you’ve read any fantastic books about memory recently, why not visit our facebook page – facebook.com/TwoRoadsBooks – and join the conversation?

Welcome to Day 6 of our #Road2Christmas campaign!

This book needs no introduction. A beautiful, inspiring, moving account of living with someone with dementia, Where Memories Go is a book we’re particularly proud of. It’s also the Waterstones Scottish Book of the Year.
Find out more here on our website.
Join the Where Memories Go community on Facebook: facebook.com/WhereMemoriesGo

Road2Christmas-Day6

Snowflake

THE ROAD TO CHRISTMAS

#Road2Christmas

Every day we’ll share a piece of festive news to keep you going in these cold, dark, often madly-busy pre-Christmas days, may that be a list of our favourite books from 2014 or authors and ideas we’re excited to be publishing in the new year; or even our authors and colleagues’ favourite holiday reads.

Visit our Facebook page (facebook.com/TwoRoadsBooks) and follow us on Twitter (Lisa as @TwoRoadsBooks, Fede as @Due_Strade) to get involved!

Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland awardsHuge congratulations to Sally Magnusson who last night won the Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Writing Award for her bestselling memoir Where Memories Go: why dementia changes everything

Sally couldn’t attend the ceremony so we don’t have any glamorous pics to share, but you can find out more here: http://bit.ly/glenfiddichawards

It's pub dayThe time has finally come: today Two Roads publishes Life, Love and The Archers, the first ever collection of prose by beloved poet Wendy Cope.

Wendy Cope has long been one of the nation’s best-loved poets, with her sharp eye for human foibles and wry sense of humour. For the first time, Life, Love and the Archers brings together the best of her prose – recollections, reviews and essays from the light-hearted to the serious, taken from a lifetime of published and unpublished work, and all with Cope’s lightness of touch.

A book for anyone who’s ever fallen in love, tried to give up smoking, or consoled themselves that they’ll never be quite as old as Mick Jagger.

Publicity for the book has kicked off with an interview on Radio 4 Front Row (which you can find here, from 12:35, http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04n338d) and a pick as Non-Fiction Book of the Month in Good Housekeeping, which called Wendy’s writing ‘always witty and insightful’.

Wendy has also recorded the audio edition of the book (we posted a picture from the recording session a little while ago: click here) and we have an exclusive extract here: http://bit.ly/wendycopeaudiobook

9781444795363.PT01.jpg

Last weekend our travelling editor Lisa went on a little trip to a beautiful part of the world: Iceland. She was there with Two Roads author Sally Magnusson to attend the annual Meeting of the Magnusson Fellows at the Hannesarholt Cultural Center in Reykjavik. The fellowship, run by the Glasgow Caledonian University, has been created in honour of the late Chancellor of the University, television presenter, journalist, writer, historian and professional Icelander Magnus Magnusson, Sally’s father.

But there was another reason for the trip: on Tuesday 30th September Sally was at the official launch of the Icelandic translation of her bestselling book, Where Memories Go (find out more here). And what a success it was: not only did many of Iceland’s most prominent public figures attend the event, but the book itself made it onto the bestsellers chart after just one day in the shops. Hurrah!

And now for a few pictures from the trip…

Dr Vigdís Finnbogadóttir the (first woman) President of Iceland from 1980 to 1996

Ragnheiður Jóna Jónsdóttir, who started the Hannesarholt Cultural Centre – Sally was their first international guest

Sally signing copies of her book

Inside Reykjavik’s iconic concert hall and conference centre, Harpa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sally and her intrepid editor Lisa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…are in the building!

They are so beautiful, we can’t wait for you all to see

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the finished product. Life, Love and The Archers is published on November 6th.

 

Wendy Cope LIFE LOVE AND THE ARCHERS proofs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edinburgh International Book Festival Sally Magnusson Where Memories Go dementiaLisa is travelling around Scotland this week, and paid a visit to the Edinburgh International Book Festival to attend Sally Magnusson‘s event. Here’s her take:

Last night I attended Sally Magnusson‘s event at the Edinburgh Book Festival. Although I have read Sally’s book countless times and been to many many events, there was a particular magic to this one. Was it the rain drumming on the tent roof, the rapt attention of almost six hundred people, the expressive interpretation of the signer standing alongside or the magic of Sally’s words as she conducted us through her experience? All of the above of course.

As Sally spoke to each and every person in the quiet and patient signing queue for over an hour afterwards, the magic continued. Every person had something personal to share, something unique and yet universal. Where Memories Go has touched so many lives because dementia touches so many. As Sally says ‘ this is my story but it could be anybody’s’.

But last night, as Jim Naughtie and the Edinburgh Festival sound director said, ‘Wow, that was something …’

See a few pictures taken by Lisa below. Well done, Sally!

Find out more about Where Memories Go: why dementia changes everything here.

Edinburgh International Book Festival Sally Magnusson Where Memories Go dementia

Edinburgh International Book Festival Sally Magnusson Where Memories Go dementia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edinburgh International Book Festival Sally Magnusson Where Memories Go dementia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are thrilled to reveal the beautiful cover for Wendy Cope’s first collection of prose, Live, Love and The Archers, featuring illustrations by Jon McNaught.

Loved for her poetry, Wendy Cope has also written prose all her life. This collection contains the best of her published and unpublished essays, reviews and recollections.

A must-have companion book for Wendy’s fans and anyone who’s ever fallen in love, tried to give up smoking, or consoled themselves that they’ll never be quite as old as Mick Jagger.

Find out more about the book, published on November 6th, here.

Wendy Cope, LIFE LOVE AND THE ARCHERS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…yes, authors are just like us: they too look forward to the summer to finally read the books that have been sitting on their bedside table for weeks.

Now Two Roads has an exclusive (!) look at what some of our writers are reading this summer

Bret Anthony Johnston, author of Remember Me Like This (out now)

Bret Anthony Johnston’s summer reading pile

 

I tend to read in the morning before starting a day’s work and then again in the evening before bed, and I tend to read from a different book in each session. Fiction usually comes first, and I’m excited about the fiction I’m reading now or soon to read. Rene Steinke’s forthcoming novel Friendswood, Lea Carpenter’s novel Eleven Days (find out more here), some Chekhov stories, and a collection of strange and beautiful fiction called Nature Stories by Jules Renard. The Renard book might serve as something as bridge between my current fiction and nonfiction tastes, as I’m reading a lot about animals right now. One of the things I’m currently working on is a weird, nonlinear short story involving horses, and this book on horse psychology continues to prove invaluable to me in countless ways. Future projects may include the mythical (or is it?) chupacbra and the siege in Waco, Texas in 1993. This summer I’ve also been spending time with Emily Rapp’s heart-rending memoir The Still Point of the Turning World (find out more here). As for the book on iPhones, well, let’s just say I’ve recently gotten my first one and the transition hasn’t been easy or smooth. That book will probably be the most helpful, and it’s the one I’m looking forward to the least. Maybe there’s a lesson in there somewhere.

 

Jamie Kornegay, author of Soil (spring 2015)

Jamie Kornegay’s summer reading pile

As a full-time bookseller, my reading tends toward the new and upcoming – a merchant must test his wares, after all – and hence my summer stack is a blend of some of this season’s best, including startling debuts from Smith Henderson and a Mississippi friend, Lisa Howorth, as well as stories from the fiercely talented John Brandon, and what must surely be James Lee Burke’s masterpiece; and forthcoming fall titles, including one of my favorite writers, Richard Flanagan, whose new novel I’m currently loving, along with the reliably strange Michel Faber, history from Hampton Sides, and one of the U.S. South’s most popular writers, Rick Bragg, on one of the South’s most notorious rock-n-rollers. Sandwiched in the middle is something for the writer…

 

Sally Magnusson, author of Where Memories Go: why dementia changes everything (out now)

Sally Magnusson’s summer reading pile

 

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month I’ll be hosting the James Tait Black prize-giving ceremony at the Edinburgh Book Festival, so my holiday in Tuscany is a great time to devour the shortlist. The biographies were a bit large for my suitcase but the four novels are just right. Have just finished Jim Crace’s Harvest – a stunning read. The bottom two books are background reading for programmes I’m doing on the First World War.

 

 

Carrie Snyder, author of Girl Runner (spring 2015)

Carrie Snyder’s summer reading pile

 

Here’s the tour, from bottom to top, starting with the books I keep meaning to read, and do delve into on occasion, but have yet to finish: two library books, The Oxford History of Popular Print Culture, volume 1, and The Girl and the Game: A History of Women’s Sport in Canada (which I’ve already read, ages ago, but figure I should brush up on again in advance of my book coming out). Next is Karen Armstrong’s Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life. I did intend to become a better person this summer. I regret to say I’ve stalled on step two. But I did read all through Matilda, by Roald Dahl, with my two youngest (ages 6 and 8). We loved it, although did note that Dahl seems to have a strong animus for the imposing female athlete, who is the villain in the piece. I whipped through Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, kept staying up late to read, which is what summer really should be for. Yes, that’s my own Girl Runner, the American uncorrected proof, which I confess I started reading the evening it arrived and just kept on. It’s homework, though. I’ve got a lot of readings booked this fall and I need to find and rehearse sections that would make for good drama. Just above is Anita Lahey’s essay collection The Mystery Shopping Cart, only available in Canada, and a very Canadian book of literary critique. Finally, the book I’m currently marching through: A Man in Love by Karl Ove Knausgaard, the second in the series; I loved the first, but am finding this one a little less moving, with its focus so far on raising small children while trying to find time to write, which is basically my life and has been for the past 13 years. This is hardly an original observation, but I keep wondering if anyone would be interested had a woman written it instead.

 

Aylet Waldman, author of Love and Treasure (out now)

Ayelet Waldman’s summer reading pile

 

This summer is all about the French Riviera and Hollywood in the 1940s. I have begun work on

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my new novel and by far the most exciting part of that is delving into a new area of research. Research is my joy. It’s the actual writing part that kicks my ass.

 

 

 

 

 

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