Sneak Peaks from Upcoming Memoirs

As the Creative Genius at Large for Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, I’ve snagged a few Advanced Reader Copies (ARC’s, for those in the biz) of next season’s HOTTEST upcoming memoirs–and I’m sharing some of the more titillating bits with my readers, right here on Tori Dot Gov! Side note: isn’t “titillating” a disgusting word? Since these memoirs won’t be released till 2013, I’ve been asked to keep the authors anonymous. Still, you’ll be able to enjoy the nimble pyrotechnics of their prose.

from Extra-Yeasty Bread: Lessons in Love and Cooking from My Mother


“Mother would always ask me to grate the carrots when she made her signature raisin-pineapple-carrot slaw. Our grater was bent and rusty, twisted and old. It reminded me of my grandmother’s hands. My grandmother’s hands were my mother’s hands were my hands. Generations of women, all cooking in the same kitchen. I wept a little at the thought. “Keep grating, Cassandra,” said my mother in a voice that was loving and hard at the same time, like the Kraft cheddar cheese we often grated with the same grater.

I grated harder. The carrot’s broken body surrendered to the force of my grating. The carrot bits fell in neat little rows, like so many war victims. Whenever I grated a carrot, I inevitably cut myself on our rusty, bent grater. My knuckles welled with blood. I didn’t mind. I liked to think that my family was eating a little piece of me for dinner. A little skin. A little blood.”

from Everything is Broken Until It’s Not: Sorrow, Grief, Healing, Relapse, Emotion, Feeling, Divorce, Discovery, Sadness, Tears, Sociopathy, Alcoholism, Heroin, Self-Love

“It was New York City in the seventies, and my emotions were not like anyone else’s emotions.

When I drank, the alcohol affected me in mysterious ways. First I grew dizzy, chattery, happy. Then I drank more and began to cry. Eventually I threw up. It was that progression, that strange progression, that made me realize how unique I was as an individual.

“I am a human,” I would think, holding the porcelain bloom of the toilet bowl. “And yet I am a god.”

I was having sex with everyone in those days: the President, the President’s daughter, the homeless man on the corner. Afterward I would feel empty. Or maybe not. Sometimes I would go to the corner bodega and buy some chips. I would sit on the sidewalk, injecting heroin into my veiny feet, and think to myself, “New York: you are the city that never sleeps.” That was one of the preeminent themes in my poetry at the time. I was writing a lot of poetry. I never edited. I felt that the act of writing was enough. That I, as an individual with lots of problems, could put my words onto paper—and that was enough. I had done my share. I had created art.”

from Being Samantha: A Con Artist Confesses

“It wasn’t just getting the haircut right, shopping at the same stores, perfecting the way she flicked her wrist at every passing bug. It was keeping the skin mask supple.”


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