If You Loved The Glass Castle–Will You Love Half Broke Horses?

My friend and occasional guest blogger Lanie Tankard has written a stellar review of Jeannette Walls’ new book. One of the interesting things she ponders in the review is Walls’ choice of the label true-life novel. Those of you who have weighed in on the issue of memoir versus novel when the author is using imagination to fill in gaps will have a new option to consider.

Lanie’s review appears at Kendra Bonnett and Matilda Butler’s wonderful and helpful WomensMemoir blog, which is listed in my blog roll (and is where I contributed a review of Rhoda Janzen’s use of humor in Mennonite in a Little Black Dress).

A question to readers: do you like referrals like these? I am aiming for a mix of types of blog posts: my own reviews, some mini-memoir from my own life, referrals to other reviews, referrals to memoir-related news stories, course syllabi and workshop sharing, writing and marketing tips, top-ten lists of memoir suggestions, and guest blogs doing any of the above. Is this too much variety? Is there anything on this list you want more of? When I asked this question about a year ago, some people said they enjoyed the personal mini-memoirs the most. Others like the book reviews. Others the variety. Would love to have your thoughts.

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Shirley Showalter


  1. Dora Dueck on May 2, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    Hi Shirley — The variety you have in your blog works well for me! I enjoy your voice, but referrals work to build community too. So as far as I'm concerned you can carry on as you're doing…. 🙂

  2. shirleyhs on May 3, 2010 at 2:14 am

    Thanks for this encouraging word, Dora. I love to think of blogging and other social media as ways to build community. It's a little different from attending church twice on Sunday and several times during the week, 🙂 but it can be just as edifying. Thanks for being part of the readers and writers I would never know except for this medium.

  3. clifh on May 3, 2010 at 2:28 am

    References and variety are good; keep it up. Your reference of Lanie Tankard's review of Half Broke Horses was of special interest to me because I am a member of a book group that is scheduled to discuss that book this summer. Reviews such as hers may be a source of new ideas for discussion. I never would have found that review if you hadn't referenced it.

  4. Jennifer Jo on May 5, 2010 at 11:42 am

    All those options sound fine (and good and interesting), but I have a special love for personal stories.

  5. Richard Gilbert on May 8, 2010 at 1:42 am

    I appreciate the referrals. And I appreciate the variety of your blog.

  6. John William on May 8, 2010 at 3:56 am

    I think most of us enjoy reading personal mini memoir, it is simple, easy to read and the most important is inspirating. But sometimes varieties are good too, this is to eliminate boredom for the same type of writings over time. Honestly i love this site and the articles overall. You have fully dedicated yourself for these articles, this is what the readers respect.Another types of writing to be considered are personal histories and life memories as seen here: http://pastsretold.com/content/

  7. shirleyhs on May 10, 2010 at 12:23 am

    I am sure Lanie is delighted to contribute to your club's resources, Clif. I am so impressed by the number of books you read and review carefully yourself!

  8. shirleyhs on May 10, 2010 at 12:26 am

    Thanks, Jennifer Jo. I hope you enjoy the story of my daughter's wedding posted today and to be continued. You have such sweet children yourself and are chronicling life stories for both yourself and them. I promise you that they will bless your lives in the future in ways you can't yet know.

  9. shirleyhs on May 10, 2010 at 12:27 am

    Thanks, Richard. I really appreciate the feedback. I will keep the variety going!

  10. shirleyhs on May 10, 2010 at 12:54 am

    John, have you commented here before? I am so glad you enjoy the site. And thanks for bringing my attention to the link above. What a great idea that site has! I could spend hours browsing through the stories there. If only I had hours to spare right now! But do come back and share more of your thoughts. I really appreciate hearing them!

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