What Comes Next and How to Like It: A Memoir

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The New York Times bestseller from the beloved author of A Three Dog Life—an exhilarating, superbly written memoir on friendship, family, creativity, tragedy, and the richness of life: “If you only read one book this year, make it this one” (Ann Patchett).

In her bestselling memoir A Three Dog Life, Abigail Thomas wrote about the devastating loss of her husband. In What Comes Next and How to Like It, “a keenly observed memoir…Thomas writes of the changes aging brings us all and of coping through love: of family, dogs, a well-turned phrase. She is superb company” (People).

Thomas was startled to overhear herself described as “a nice old lady with a tattoo,” because she thinks of herself as not nice, not old, nor a lady. But she has wondered: what comes next? What comes after the death of a spouse? What form does a lifelong friendship take after deepest betrayal? How does a mother cope with her child’s dire illness? Or the death of a cherished dog?

And how to like it? How to accept, appreciate, enjoy? How to find solace and pleasure? How to sustain and be sustained by our most trusted, valuable companions? At its heart, What Comes Next and How to Like It is about the complicated friendship between Thomas and a man she met thirty-five years ago—a rich bond that has lasted through marriages, child-raising, and the vicissitudes and tragedies of life. “After all,” she writes, “there are those people we love, and then there are those we recognize. These are the unbreakable connections.”

Exquisitely observed, lush with sentences you will read over and over again, What Comes Next and How to Like It “is a beautifully felt, deeply moving memoir, the best work yet by a woman who has already done some of the best work in the field. Abigail Thomas is the Emily Dickinson of memoirists, and so much of this book’s wisdom is between the lines and in the white spaces. It may only take you two days to read, but the impact will stay with you for a long, long time” (Stephen King). This is a glorious guide to living imperfectly and exuberantly.
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About the author

Abigail Thomas, the daughter of renowned science writer Lewis Thomas (The Lives of a Cell), is the mother of four children and the grandmother of twelve. She is the author of six previous books, including the memoir A Three Dog Life, which was named one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post. She teaches writing and lives in Woodstock.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Mar 24, 2015
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Pages
240
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ISBN
9781476785073
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / General
Biography & Autobiography / Literary Figures
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
Biography & Autobiography / Women
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Luminous and intensely personal, Art and Madness recounts the lost years of Anne Roiphe’s twenties, when the soon-to-be-critically-acclaimed author put her dreams of becoming a writer on hold to devote herself to the magnetic but coercive male artists of the period.
 
Coming of age in the 1950s, Roiphe, the granddaughter of Jewish immigrants, grew up on Park Avenue and had an adolescence defined by privilege, petticoats, and social rules. At Smith College her classmates wore fraternity pins on their cashmere sweaters and knit argyle socks for their boyfriends during lectures. Young women were expected to give up personal freedom for devotion to home and children. Instead, Roiphe chose Beckett, Proust, Sartre, and Mann as her heroes and sought out the chaos of New York’s White Horse Tavern and West End Bar.
 
She was unmoored and uncertain, “waiting for a wisp of truth, a feather’s brush of beauty, a moment of insight.” Salvation came in the form of a brilliant playwright whom she married and worked to support, even after he left her alone on their honeymoon and later pawned her family silver, china, and pearls. Her near-religious belief in the power of art induced her to overlook his infidelity and alcoholism, and to dutifully type his manuscripts in place of writing her own.
 
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Art and Madness recounts the fascinating evolution of a time when art and alcohol and rebellion caused collateral damage and sometimes produced extraordinary work. In clear-sighted, perceptive, and unabashed prose, Roiphe shares with astonishing honesty the tumultuous adventure of self-discovery that finally led to her redemption.
A deeply resonant memoir for anyone who has loved and lost that is at once "remarkably uplifting" (Washington Post) and "crushing, lovely, painful, and above all powerful" (New York Journal of Books), from acclaimed poet and Pulitzer Prize finalist Elizabeth Alexander.

* Pulitzer Prize Finalist
* National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist
* A New Yorker, NPR, Boston Globe, Publisher's Weekly, Newsday, Library Journal, People.com, Shelf Awareness, The Root, and St. Louis Dispact Best Book Pick
* First Lady Michelle Obama's Favorite Book of 2015
* New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice
* An Amazon's Best Book of the Month
* #1 Indie Next Pick

In The Light of the World, Elizabeth Alexander finds herself at an existential crossroads after the sudden death of her husband. Channeling her poetic sensibilities into a rich, lucid price, Alexander tells a love story that is, itself, a story of loss. As she reflects on the beauty of her married life, the trauma resulting from her husband's death, and the solace found in caring for her two teenage sons, Alexander universalizes a very personal quest for meaning and acceptance in the wake of loss.

The Light of the World is at once an endlessly compelling memoir and a deeply felt meditation on the blessings of love, family, art, and community. It is also a lyrical celebration of a life well-lived and a paean to the priceless gift of human companionship. For those who have loved and lost, or for anyone who cares what matters most, The Light of the World is required reading.
“A funny, seasoned take on dashed illusions.”—O Magazine 

“I love everything Meredith Maran writes. She is insightful, funny, and human, and the things she writes about matter to me deeply. Her memoir, The New Old Me, is a book I don’t just want to read—I need to read it. So does everyone else who’s getting older and wants to live fully, with immediacy and enjoyment, which is to say, everyone.”—Anne Lamott, author of Hallelujah Anyway

For readers of Anne Lamott, Abigail Thomas, and Ayelet Waldman comes one woman's lusty, kickass, post-divorce memoir of starting over at 60 in youth-obsessed, beauty-obsessed Hollywood.

After the death of her best friend, the loss of her life’s savings, and the collapse of her once-happy marriage, Meredith Maran leaves her San Francisco freelance writer’s life for a 9-to-5 job in Los Angeles. Determined to rebuild not only her savings but also herself while relishing the joys of life in La-La land, Maran writes “a poignant story, a funny story, a moving story, and above all an American story of what it means to be a woman of a certain age in our time” (Christina Baker Kline, number-one New York Times–bestselling author of Orphan Train).

Praise for The New Old Me:

“High time we had a book that celebrates becoming an elder! Meredith Maran writes of the difficulties of loss and change and aging, but makes it clear that getting on can be more interesting, more fun, and a lot more exciting than youth.”—Abigail Thomas, author of the New York Times bestseller What Comes Next and How to Like It
 
“By turns poignant and funny, the book not only shows how one feisty woman coped with a ‘Plan B life’ she didn't want or expect with a little help from her friends. It also celebrates how she transformed uncertainty into a glorious opportunity for continued late-life personal growth. A spirited and moving memoir about how ‘it's never too late to try something new.’”—Kirkus
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