Labor-free reading for Labor Day
Posted by: Kaite Stover
Hopefully, you’re kicking back today and didn’t have to go into work. Since book groups tend to like memoirs, why not glance through some of these occupational memoirs and see what might suit? Explore the underbelly of so-called glamour professions and at the very least, learn to love your own job again.
Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton. Food memoirs are easily one of the most popular in this category. Here the author tells the story of her food-challenged journey to opening her own restaurant in New York. Consider discussing the emotional ties food has to memory and experience.
License to Pawn: Deals, Steals, and My Life at the Gold & Silver by Rick Harrison. The leading shopkeep in the History Channel’s reality series Pawn Stars talks about his life as a math prodigy, his uncanny ability to get into the kind of trouble that could lead to ruination, and his eventual recreation of a successful life. Harrison started his business with his father and the stories he has to tell about the shop’s wares are funny, sad, and full of historical detail. Harrison is not only a businessman, he is an historian and mercantile anthropologist.
My Posse Don’t Do Homework by LouAnne Johnson. A former Marine steps in front of a classroom of unruly and unmotivated kids and shows how tough a job teaching really is. Tougher than being a Marine on some days, Johnson acknowledges. There are a surfeit of teaching memoirs, but this one is very engaging with realistic characters and a speedy pace.
An Accidental Sportswriter by Robert Lipsyte. How does a smart-mouthed fat kid who spent more time in a library than a ballpark grow up to be a sports columnist for the New York Times, writing about a subject in which he didn’t much care about the outcome. An intriguing look at sports culture and the author’s belief that Jock Culture has seeped into too many facets of our social lives.
Blown Sideways Through Life by Claudia Shear. This play is heartbreakingly funny. The one-woman writer-performer takes the reader through 64 menial jobs and offers her observations on the many unseen workers that pass in and out of our daily lives and the people who employ them or pay for their services. Shear makes the reader think about the answer to “You want fries with that?”