Five Must-Read Memoirs


Hello, New Rivers Press fans, and Happy May!

I hope everyone is staying healthy and sane during these trying times. The weather is blossoming, and summer is soon approaching, so with all the difficulties surrounding us, at least we have warm weather, vibrant surroundings, picnics and reading in the sun, and outdoor activities to look forward to!

Lately, memoirs have become some of my favorite books to read. I love the diverse history and intense life stories of individuals who have been brave enough to share their stories with the public.

Here Are Five Must-Read Memoirs from My Bookshelf:

Crazy Brave by Joy Harjo
Crazy Brave: A Memoir: Harjo, Joy: 9780393345438: Books

Joy Harjo, our Poet Laureate of the year, is brilliant beyond measure. Her beautiful Native American background is so infused within her writing that it was no surprise when she wrote a memoir. Crazy Brave captures Harjo’s journey to becoming the renowned poet she is today. She incorporates authentically visionary traditions, personal abuse, spirituality, family, and branching out to find one’s voice. Harjo is elegant, brave, unique, and transformative.

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls The Glass Castle: A Memoir eBook: Walls, Jeannette ...

This striking memoir tells of essentially growing up as a nomad with very eclectic parents and a sensational family bond that is eventually tarnished by Walls’ father’s alcohol addiction. Walls captures her parents’ unique attributes with such vivid imagery and genuine admiration. Overall, she challenges unconditional family love that is strong despite its flaws. She is a brilliant storyteller who includes every detail to put us in her shoes as a child of four struggling to open her parents’ eyes to reality without letting go of her imagination.

Just Kids by Patti Smith
Just Kids - Wikipedia

Patti Smith is one of my all-time favorite artists. I say artist because she is more than a memoirist: she is a photographer, poet, drawer and painter, and musician. Her language is visionary and captivating. If there is one person I could stand by and experience life with, it would be Patti Smith. Just Kids covers Smith’s relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and their mutual and separate roads to success. She also reflects back to her younger years, which is crucial to understand how and why she came so far.

Know My Name by Chanel Miller
Know My Name: A Memoir: Miller, Chanel: 9780735223707: ...

If you want a memoir that will make you cry, make you furious, and make you proud all at the same time, this is the one for you. Chanel Miller was undoubtedly known by the media as Jane Doe in 2015, but it wasn’t until 2019 that she revealed her identity. Sexually assaulted by Brock Turner, Miller’s experience of trauma; injustice and the ultimate fight for not only her safety, but also those around her; healing; and her beautiful release of these events makes for a deeply emotional book. I am a pretty fast reader, but it took me a while to read this just because I would end up getting mad, cry over and over, and could not comprehend why Miller went through what she did. I can’t give this book enough justice, so I just simply recommend that you read it now. Miller is an extraordinarily resilient writer who will leave you breathless and changed.

Wasted by Marya Hornbacher
Wasted: Hornbacher, Marya: 9780060858797: Books

Another powerful and often triggering memoir, Wasted covers Hornbacher’s ten-year plus struggle with anorexia and bulimia, sex, drugs, and mental illness. Published in 1998, Hornbacher wrote her memoir when she was just 21. It is awfully graphic at times, but it is honest and raw. We live in a time in which looks are so concerning, and everyone longs to be “perfect,” and, in my opinion, this book still serves as very eye-opening to this. I had the pleasure of meeting Hornbacher about 11 years ago and had my book signed. She was one of the first authors I met outside those who reside in the Fargo-Moorhead area, and it was an honor to hear her speak so openly about such a vulnerable experience.

How to Get Books While in Quarantine


I don’t know about you all, but I miss going to bookstores and wandering around aimlessly looking for the perfect book. Though we can’t do that during this time, there are still places you can find the book you’re looking for.

1. Your public library

Most public libraries have E-books available to borrow. There should be instructions on their websites to show you how to download the app to get books.

2. Buy E-books

Personally, I am not someone who likes to read books in E-book format; however, this is a great way to get a book right now, and you will get it instantly after your purchase is made. If you have a tablet or obviously an E-reader this is a great way to get books.

3. Scribd

This is an application that you can use on a tablet, your phone, or your computer to read books. You can also get access to audiobooks, documents, and magazines. Right now you can get 30 days free, and if you want to continue to use it after, it is only $10 a month. You can find practically any book your heart desires here.


This is a website where you can purchase books, and some of the money from your purchase will be donated to independent bookstores. I used this site a while back to order a book and was very pleased with my purchase.

5. Buying from Independent Bookstores

This is also a great way to support independent bookstores and to find out what local bookstores are near you. If you live in Minnesota I recommend ordering from Moon Palace Books or Red Balloon Bookshop. If you want a physical copy of a book, I recommend looking up independent bookstores in your area or state to purchase it. *

*Please note that if you are purchasing a book online, it may take longer to get to you than it normally would.

I hope you all are taking good care of yourselves during this time. Happy reading!

Five Book to Movie/Series Adaptations to Binge During Quarantine


All cooped up with nothing to read or watch? Let’s fix that. Here’s a list of five books you can read and then watch/binge the movies or shows made from them. 

Little Women
Little Women (Puffin in Bloom): Alcott, Louisa May: 8601416366470 ...

Here’s a classic for you to enjoy. Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, published in 1868, has held the title of American classic for many years now. This book depicts the lives of four sisters as they journey from adolescence into womanhood, each taking very different paths. Each character’s personality is unique, allowing Alcott to encapsulate the strength of the female spirit within the book.  The film, released in 2019, stars actresses Saoirse Ronan, Laura Dern, Emma Watson, and many more. The movie is available to rent on Amazon for $5.99.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before 
To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

This one’s for the rom-com connoisseurs. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, written by Jenny Han, is a young-adult romance novel that follows the story of two high school lovers as they navigate their way through classes, relationships, and teenage life. The movie took Netflix by storm in 2018 and is still a hit. Bonus: P.S. I Still Love You, a sequel to the book, was also made into a movie and released on Netflix in 2020.

The Haunting of Hill House
The Haunting of Hill House (TV Series 2018– ) - IMDb

Craving a bit of horror? The Haunting of Hill House, written in 1959 by American author Shirley Jackson, tells an eerie ghost story that will completely captivate you. The story contains a haunted mansion nicknamed “Hill House” and all the supernatural events that occur within its walls. From ghost sightings to characters becoming possessed, this story will keep you wanting more and more. The story has been developed into a Netflix original series with a second season being added in 2020.

The Handmaid’s Tale
The Handmaid's Tale: A Novel |

Feminist dystopia, anyone? Originally published in 1985, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale pulls its reader into the patriarchal society of a totalitarian state. In this strict new way of life, women who are fertile, otherwise known as handmaids, are considered to be incredibly valuable and are used to produce children for the wealthy, powerful men who run this new government. The story is told from the point of view of one of these women who faces many struggles in her effort to survive in the oppressive state. Seasons 1-3 are available for binging on Hulu. 

Alice in Wonderland
Alice in Wonderland | Disney Movies

Let’s not forget this childhood classic. Escape into the wonderful land of fantasy in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Follow Alice into the rabbit hole and meet many whimsical, eccentric characters along the way. The original, animated movie as well as both live-action movies are available to enjoy on Disney+. 

Celebrating National Poetry Month


black audio book

While we may be stuck at home being quarantined, we are still able to celebrate National Poetry Month. All of April is National Poetry Month, which means it is a perfect time to focus on poetry rather than everything that seems a bit scary in the world today.

To help everyone beat the boredom or distract you from the COVID-19 situation, I wanted to give a list of ways to celebrate National Poetry Month. These are a few of the things I have done to celebrate:

1. Find an e-book of poetry online.

There are plenty of books to choose from out there, and being stuck at home doesn’t mean we don’t have access to them. Here are a couple of my favorite e-books of poetry to read:

  • Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
  • the sun and her flowers by Rupi Kaur

New Rivers Press also has plenty of poetry books to read and order online, so you can get them without leaving the comfort of your home. Some of my favorite books by New Rivers Press include:

  • throughsmoke by Jehanne Dubrow
  • Deep Calls to Deep by Jane Medved
  • I Will Tell This Story to the Sun Until You Remember That You Are the Sun by Erin Slaughter

All three of those books capture something different through poetic language and imagery and have helped me appreciate poetry more.

2. Write poetry about nature while taking a walk.

Since we have so much free time right now, I have found myself going outside more and enjoying the warmer weather that has started to come around. This could also be a perfect chance to write poetry before Earth Day arrives on April 22.

3. Write poetry about how you have been handling the current times.

4. Write letters to your friends with poems included.

I have decided to write poems to send to my closer friends so they can be surprised when a letter arrives for them in the mail. It can be something special to show that you care for those people in these difficult times.

5. Start an email or social media chain of poems with your friends.

6. Listen to spoken word poetry on Spotify.

If you haven’t been able to get in your need for live poetry readings, I suggest looking up some spoken word poets online and listening to some of their work. This may even help you be able to keep your sanity by hearing another human’s voice.

7. Begin each day with a new poem.

There are plenty of ways to get new poems each day, but one way I do it is through Poem-a-Day by Each day I wake up to see a new poem in my email, letting me set my mind on the poem rather than the things that worry me. It is also a great way to get more invested into the world of poetry by reading a variety of poets.

8. Try out writing poetry for the first time.

I know that writing poetry can seem scary at times, so I want to encourage you to use this time to try something new. Poetry is flexible and is different for every author, so once you have read some other poems, hopefully you will feel inspired to write your own.

I hope this list of ideas helps you during your quarantine, as well as gives you a greater appreciation of poetry. Stay safe during this time and find new ways to celebrate National Poetry Month.

Perks of Being a Bookworm


Books are so much more than pages and words. A book is a time machine that transports you to different moments in history and foreign lands. It lets you escape from everyday life. There is an endless number of books at our fingertips and an endless supply of joy, sadness, and anger that comes along with that. With this idea in mind, I feel it’s vital to list the top ten perks of being a bookworm.

  1. You have another excuse not to leave your home if you’re an introvert.
  2. Worldwide pandemic? No problem! You have books to keep you entertained.
  3. You have an easy filtering system for potential dates. “I don’t like reading” is a surefire way to lose you.
  4. You get to experience hundreds of adventures and lives.
  5. You’re easy to shop for.
  6. Your arm strength is impressive from holding up books as you read in bed.
  7. You have quite a vocabulary.
  8. Reading can help reduce stress.
  9. Bookworms live longer.
  10. Books show us how to live.