Posts Tagged Alice Hoffman

September Boston-area Book Readings of Note


Christopher Moore
Secondhand Souls
Brookline Booksmith
At Coolidge Corner Theatre
Wednesday, September 2 at 6pm

read my interview with Christopher Moore


Jill Bialosky
The Prize
Harvard Book Store
Thursday, September 10 at 7pm

girl waits with gun

Amy Stewart
Girl Waits with Gun
Harvard Book Store
Friday, September 11 at 7pm

art of memoir

Mary Karr
The Art of Memoir
Monday, September 14 at 6pm
Harvard Book Store at Brattle Theatre


Ann Beattie
The State We’re In: Maine Stories
Harvard Book Store
Tuesday, September 15 at 7pm

marriage of opposites

Alice Hoffman
The Marriage of Opposites
Newtonville Books
Thursday, September 17 at 7pm


Salman Rushdie
Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights
Harvard Book Store at First Parish Church
Monday, September 21 at 7pm

last september

Nina de Gramont
The Last September
Porter Square Books
Monday, September 21 at 7pm

fates and furies

Lauren Groff
Fates and Furies
Harvard Book Store
Tuesday, September 22 at 7pm


J. Shoshanna Ehrlich
Regulating Desire
Harvard Book Store
Friday, September 25 at 3pm


Elizabeth Gilbert
Big Magic
Harvard Book Store
Friday, September 25 at 7pm


Michael I. Bennett, MD and Sarah Bennett
F*ck Feelings: One Shrink’s Practical Advice for Manageing All Life’s Impossible Challenges
Brookline Booksmith
Tuesday, September 29 at 7pm


Jojo Moyes
After You
Brookline Booksmith
Wednesday, September 30 at 7pm

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Summer Boston-area Book Readings of Note



Mia Alvar
In the Country: stories
Harvard Book Store
Wednesday, July 22 at 7pm


Elizabeth Little
Dear Daughter
Harvard Book Store
Tuesday, July 28 at 7pm

art of the con

Anthony Amore
The Art of the Con: The Most Notorious Fakes, Frauds, and Forgeries in the Art World
Brookline Booksmith
Thursday, July 30 at 7pm

ambassadors wife

Jennifer Steil
The Ambassador’s Wife
Porter Square Books
Thursday, July 30 at 7pm


regulating desire

J. Shoshanna Ehrlich
Regulating Desire
Brookline Booksmith
Tuesday, August 4 at 7pm

marriage of opposites

Alice Hoffman
The Marriage of Opposites
Harvard Book Store
Wednesday, August 5 at 7pm

never weird on internet

Felicia Day
You’re Never Weird on the Internet [almost]
Brookline Booksmith
Wednesday, August 12 at 6pm


Alex Dolan
The Euthanist
Harvard Book Store
Thursday, August 13 at 7pm

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Survival Lessons: book review

survival lessons

Survival Lessons by Alice Hoffman. Publisher: Algonquin (October 2013). Memoir. Hardcover. 96 pages. ISBN 978-1-61620-314-6.

“In many ways I wrote this book to remind myself of the beauty of life, something that’s all too easy to overlook during crisis of illness or loss. There were many times when I forgot about roses and starry nights. I forgot that our lives are made up of equal parts sorrow and joy, and that it is impossible to have one without the other.”

Survival Lessons isn’t a memoir but a manual for surviving illness and grief. Alice Hoffman said that it took her 15 years to write this little book. When she had breast cancer 15 years ago she read lots of books but found they lacked what she needed and wrote this one to help others who find themselves in the same situation she found herself in. Hoffman begins each section with “Choose” as in “Choose Your Heroes” or “Choose Your Friends” or “Choose to Make Things Beautiful.” I didn’t adore it and felt that some aspects seemed rather obvious. Wouldn’t you do what you wanted to do—eat chocolate, watch movies, read tons of books, and learn to do something you’ve always wanted to try? Some of the other advice she gives—choose your friends and forgive, for instance—I feel I’ve read before in similar tomes. She includes details about her writing career and her family, making this a special little book. Only strong writers can make a major impact in such a concise manner.

“We are all responsible for our actions, and our reactions. We are responsible for how we respond to situations we cannot control. I could not run away from my circumstances, or control the path of my disease, but I could control what I did with my experience of that illness.”

This is Alice Hoffman’s first work of nonfiction. She’s written 21 novels, eight children’s books and three story collections in her 40 year writing career. Hoffman’s advance for Survival Lessons will be donated to the Hoffman Breast Center at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

–review by Amy Steele

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review from Algonquin Books.


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