How to Write an Autobiographical Novel

Essays
Narrated by: Daniel K. Isaac
Length: 8 hrs and 28 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (91 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

An essay collection exploring his education as a man, writer, and activist - and how we form our identities in life and in art.

As a novelist, Alexander Chee has been described as "masterful" by Roxane Gay, "incendiary" by the New York Times, and "brilliant" by the Washington Post. With How to Write an Autobiographical Novel, his first collection of nonfiction, he is sure to secure his place as one of the finest essayists of his generation as well.

How to Write an Autobiographical Novel is the author's manifesto on the entangling of life, literature, and politics, and how the lessons learned from a life spent reading and writing fiction have changed him. In these essays, he grows from student to teacher, reader to writer, and reckons with his identities as a son, a gay man, a Korean American, an artist, an activist, a lover, and a friend. He examines some of the most formative experiences of his life and the nation's history, including his father's death, the AIDS crisis, 9/11, the jobs that supported his writing - Tarot-reading, bookselling, cater-waiting for William F. Buckley - the writing of his first novel, Edinburgh, and the election of Donald Trump.

By turns commanding, heartbreaking, and wry, How to Write an Autobiographical Novel asks questions about how we create ourselves in life and in art and how to fight when our dearest truths are under attack.

A BookRiot Pick of Books to Read If You Love "Pose". 

An Entertainment Weekly Best Book of the Year (So Far). 

A Chicago Review of Books Pick of Best of the Year (So Far). 

A Buzzfeed Best Books of the Year (So Far). 

A Wired Magazine Pick of Must-Read Summer Titles. 

An Esquire Magazine Pick of Best Books of 2018 (So Far). 

A Christian Science Monitor selection of 2018's Most Anticipated Books. 

A Bustle Pick of Most Anticipated Books of 2018. 

A Bitch magazine pick of Most Anticipated Nonfiction for 2018. 

A Pop Sugar Pick of Most Anticipated Upcoming Books. 

A Paste Magazine Pick of Most Anticipated Books of 2018. 

A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2018.

©2018 Alexander Chee (P)2018 Blackstone Publishing

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Even a collection of essays has to hook the reader

First, I thought this book was about "how to write an autobiographical book". So that was a disappointment. The chapters were slow, as far as moving the story forward. If you're writing your own story, even using. collection of essays, it has to move towards something.
I don't have any issue reading stories (fiction or nonfiction) with people of different races, sexualities, genders, backgrounds, religions/spirituality, politics, or experiences. I do take issue with any story where the movement/drama/pacing is lacking.
Better autobiographical books for me were: michael caine "blowing the bloody doors off" and busy Phillips "this will only hurt a little".

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The unexpected how-to

I loved this book despite it not being what I expected and instead being what I needed. I enjoyed the essays weaving me through his life and his relationship with writing. As he told his story, I was dropped into my own historical moments reliving the good and the bad.

1 person found this helpful

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Craft Writing with Chiseled Narration

I’ll be listening to this book again. The anecdotes and writing notes were made vibrant when coupled with a convincing and pleasant voice.