Tag Archives: memoir

my alcoholic escape from reality

Book Review(ish): My Alcoholic Escape From Reality, by Nagata Kabi

I purchased a copy of My Alcoholic Escape from Reality, by Kabi Nagata from the local manga/graphic novel shop (Betty’s Books).

my alcoholic escape from reality
Nagata Kabi’s downward spiral is getting out of control, and she can’t stop drinking to soothe the ache of reality. After suffering from unbearable stomach pains, she goes to the hospital, where she is diagnosed with pancreatitis–and is immediately hospitalized. A new chapter unfolds in Nagata Kabi’s life, as she struggles to find her way back to reality and manga creation in the wake of her breakdown.

my reviewLike I’ve done with some of the Seven Seas light-ish novels I’ve read recently, I’m not going to consider this a real review. I really enjoy the occasional graphic memoir, but I’m not going to pretend I know enough about what goes into producing one or what the genre norms and standards are to be knowledgeable enough to ‘review’ it. So, instead, this is just my reaction to having read the media. And I enjoyed it…as much as you can ‘enjoy’ a memoir about someone’s spiral into and possibly out of alcoholism and chronic mental and physical health issues. But Nagata does a good job making the reader feel her fear, insecurities, and exasperation at her situation, as well as her professional and familial struggles to work through both. Then, the whole thing ends on a hopeful note. This is the first Nagata Kabi Graphic memoir/diary I’ve read. I guess I’ll have to go find her backlog now.

my alcoholic escape from reality photo

Other Reviews:

Sam Quixote: My Alcoholic Escape From Reality

Thoughts on My Alcoholic Escape from Reality


Book Review: We Were Eight Years in Power, by Ta-Nehisi Coates

I won a copy of Ta-Nehisi CoatesWe Were Eight Years in Power a while back. But it has been sitting on my shelf for too long. I read it now in my ongoing attempt to further educate myself.

Description from Goodreads:

“We were eight years in power” was the lament of Reconstruction-era black politicians as the American experiment in multiracial democracy ended with the return of white supremacist rule in the South. Now Ta-Nehisi Coates explores the tragic echoes of that history in our own time: the unprecedented election of a black president followed by a vicious backlash that fueled the election of the man Coates argues is America’s “first white president.”

But the story of these present-day eight years is not just about presidential politics. This book also examines the new voices, ideas, and movements for justice that emerged over this period–and the effects of the persistent, haunting shadow of our nation’s old and unreconciled history. Coates powerfully examines the events of the Obama era from his intimate and revealing perspective–the point of view of a young writer who begins the journey in an unemployment office in Harlem and ends it in the Oval Office, interviewing a president.

We Were Eight Years in Power features Coates’s iconic essays first published in The Atlantic, including Fear of a Black President, The Case for Reparations and The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration, along with eight fresh essays that revisit each year of the Obama administration through Coates’s own experiences, observations, and intellectual development, capped by a bracingly original assessment of the election that fully illuminated the tragedy of the Obama era. We Were Eight Years in Power is a vital account of modern America, from one of the definitive voices of this historic moment.


Sooooo, I basically think every American should read this book. It’s eminently more engageable than I’d expected and I learned quite a lot. It’s not that I’d never encountered aspects of what Coates covered, many of the topics I’d studied in college 9at least shallowly). But that was a long time ago. He prompted me to think about things from angles I hadn’t before and does it all while centering it in and around his own experiences as a Black man in America. Which humanizes and relevantizes some of the histories that can feel out of reach due to the distance of time.

Admittedly, as Coates himself admits, he falls between an essayist and a memoirist (his own). So, the book doesn’t touch on intersectionalities of gender and race. Which is a shame, considering several of the essays touch on the politics around the dissolution of the family unit (or the fear, politicization, paternalism of it) and resulting female-led households. But I still think the book accomplishes what it set out to do. Absolutely, especially given current events, pick this one up people.

Book Review: Guesswork, by Martha Cooley

guessworkAbout the Book:

Having lost eight friends in ten years, Cooley retreats to a tiny medieval village in Italy with her husband. There, in a rural paradise where bumblebees nest in the ancient cemetery and stray cats curl up on her bed, she examines a question both easily evaded and unavoidable: mortality. How do we grieve? How do we go on drinking our morning coffee, loving our life partners, stumbling through a world of such confusing, exquisite beauty?

Linking the essays is Cooley’s escalating understanding of another loss on the way, that of her ailing mother back in the States. Blind since Cooley’s childhood, her mother relies on dry wit to ward off grief and pity. There seems no way for the two of them to discuss her impending death. But somehow, by the end, Cooley finds the words, each one graceful and wrenching.

Part memoir, part loving goodbye to an unconventional parent, Guesswork transforms a year in a pastoral hill town into a fierce examination of life, love, death, and, ultimately, release.

My Review:

Three stars, but three stars meaning I can’t decide how to feel about this book, so I’ve split the difference and run down the middle. I thought this was a moving set of essays and followed its theme admirably. But I also found it hard to relate to someone who can casually spend a year in Italy, broken up by jaunts back to the US and a quick visit to Switzerland, etc. Not a bad read, but maybe not for everyone.