Riffing on Books and Life – Arts & Sciences Literary Blog by interactive new media author & artist Terry Bailey

4Sep/09

Riffing on memoir Julie and Julia – in light of other popular memoirs

I read some of Julie and Julia to my sister, Tucki, when we visited Santa Barbara

Julie & Julia made for a great reading break. It is not high literature, but it is one of those entertaining personal journey memoirs that still can inspire and reward a “serious” reader with a delicious sense of a secret daring to read something that is not high literature. My personal interest in new media writing and its possibilities was also rewarded when I discovered that this book began as a secretary’s online blog – when Julie Powell determined to stop her dead-end, boring life as a temp secretary to take on a personal challenge of cooking every recipe in famed culinary queen Julia Child’s famous 1960s cooking world changer, The Joy of Cooking.

For the last two years I have read several national bestseller memoirs. Most were disappointments to my writer sensibility. Mary Karr’s filled her Liars Club memoir with so many obviously made up stories that she lost creditability. Her writing was so in need of a good edit, that I had to wonder what modern day editors are doing – are they victims of our failed modern education system? Are they working for downsized publishers in our flailing economy and overloaded with too many books to edit to do a sufficient job with any of them? What? Liars Club is not a great book, yet it was a bestseller; this fact was a painful observation made by this writer – who still holds out the hope that writing will get attention for its quality not only for the marketing prowess of its author.

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