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The 52 micro-memoirs in genre-defying Heating Cooling offer bright glimpses into a richly lived life, combining the compression of poetry with the truth-telling of nonfiction into one heartfelt, celebratory book. Ranging from childhood recollections to quirky cultural observations, these micro-memoirs build on one another to arrive at a portrait of Beth Ann Fennelly as a w The 52 micro-memoirs in genre-defying Heating Cooling offer bright glimpses into a richly lived life, combining the compression of poetry with the truth-telling of nonfiction into one heartfelt, celebratory book. Ranging from childhood recollections to quirky cultural observations, these micro-memoirs build on one another to arrive at a portrait of Beth Ann Fennelly as a wife, mother, writer, and deeply original observer of life’s challenges and joys. Some pieces are wistful, some wry, and many reveal the humor buried in our everyday interactions. Heating Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs shapes a life from unexpectedly illuminating moments, and awakens us to these moments as they appear in the margins of our lives.


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The 52 micro-memoirs in genre-defying Heating Cooling offer bright glimpses into a richly lived life, combining the compression of poetry with the truth-telling of nonfiction into one heartfelt, celebratory book. Ranging from childhood recollections to quirky cultural observations, these micro-memoirs build on one another to arrive at a portrait of Beth Ann Fennelly as a w The 52 micro-memoirs in genre-defying Heating Cooling offer bright glimpses into a richly lived life, combining the compression of poetry with the truth-telling of nonfiction into one heartfelt, celebratory book. Ranging from childhood recollections to quirky cultural observations, these micro-memoirs build on one another to arrive at a portrait of Beth Ann Fennelly as a wife, mother, writer, and deeply original observer of life’s challenges and joys. Some pieces are wistful, some wry, and many reveal the humor buried in our everyday interactions. Heating Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs shapes a life from unexpectedly illuminating moments, and awakens us to these moments as they appear in the margins of our lives.

30 review for Heating Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs

  1. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    A delicious collection of teensy memories, all self-contained, cozy, and succinct. I was hoping some succinct would rub off on me, but it's not meant to be. Sigh. (See? Even the sigh is extra.) This went way too fast. Seriously, the first time I looked down at my progress on my Kindle, I was at 58%. Slow down! The tidbits were like sugar. Once I started gulping them down, I didn't want to stop. I sort of couldn't stop; they were addicting. After I was done, I went back to find a few samples and d A delicious collection of teensy memories, all self-contained, cozy, and succinct. I was hoping some succinct would rub off on me, but it's not meant to be. Sigh. (See? Even the sigh is extra.) This went way too fast. Seriously, the first time I looked down at my progress on my Kindle, I was at 58%. Slow down! The tidbits were like sugar. Once I started gulping them down, I didn't want to stop. I sort of couldn't stop; they were addicting. After I was done, I went back to find a few samples and damn if I didn't end up rereading half the book. The author's strength lies in her ability to use few words to pack a punch. Her memoirs—sometimes poignant, sometimes funny--are at most a few pages long. There are a bunch of one-liners, too. Her recollections are poignant or funny or sad or wise or just plain interesting—they grab you. I was lukewarm about a few of them, but most I liked a lot. Most are just old memories that are off-the-beaten path. I would think, what an interesting and unusual thing to remember. And they would spark memories of things that I had hidden deep on my hard drive, hard to pull out. But with a little coaxing, I was able to dredge them up. She talks about her mother, her marriage, her kids, her friends, her adventures when she was young. Funny interactions with strangers and a repairman. Throw in a few little memories from her Catholic days, too. I'm positive Catholics will relate (I know this because I sent one of her teensy memories to an ex-Catholic friend and she instantly wanted to know the name of the book.) One of my favorite stories involves a $50 bill, a lewd picture, and a couple of books. Warning: Penis talk ahead! Skip the next three paragraphs if you want. It’s low on the raunch factor, so don’t worry. For a brief second, I must talk about a penis. I must tell you this because it bothered me. Probably my only complaint about the book. I just question Fennelly’s point in including this memory. Actually, it's not really a memory, but a fact. One I didn't need to know. Of the very few things she said about her children, she mentioned that her youngest son has a big penis. I did not want to hear this! This was TMI in a weird way, TMI once removed. Inappropriate. How does she know this? It might have been added for shock value, but this memoir doesn’t seem to go in for shock. I immediately wondered what her son would think when reading mom’s book. And then I think I may have figured it out. I imagine Fennelly asking her son, “What do you want me to say about you in my book?” And maybe he said, “Say I have a big penis.” And they joked about it and maybe he even dared her to include it, and they will be forever laughing. I don't know, I would feel funny saying that my kid had a big penis. This would be especially weird since I only have two daughters. After I finished the book, I went back and read the Acknowledgments. I couldn't believe this--Fennelly said that her mother told her there were a lot of penises in the book. Totally cracked me up, especially since I will never forget her comment about her kid's penis. Seriously though, I don't remember a slew of penises--I can only remember five, including her kid's. (Which may sound like a lot, come to think of it.) And since she's succinct, she didn't go on and on about them. At all! Enough about penises. I see I mentioned the word 9 times! This is too many times! I worry I've given the wrong impression. This is not a raunchy book, really it isn't. I just wish I didn’t remember that one little sentence about her son! Sometimes funny, sometimes serious, but always interesting, this collection of micro-memoirs made me alternately smile, laugh, commiserate, and think. A perfect read for our growing ADD population. Check it out—you won’t be sorry. Thanks to NetGalley for the advance copy.

  2. 5 out of 5

    JanB

    The subtitle of this slim book is '52 micro-memoirs' and they are indeed micro. They are all less than one page and some are simply one line. In this essay collection and musings of one woman's life, some were amusing but others ventured into TMI territory and should have been left out. It was a pleasant way to spend an hour or so for a chuckle or a nod in recognition, but now, two months after I read it, I find it unmemorable. The subtitle of this slim book is '52 micro-memoirs' and they are indeed micro. They are all less than one page and some are simply one line. In this essay collection and musings of one woman's life, some were amusing but others ventured into TMI territory and should have been left out. It was a pleasant way to spend an hour or so for a chuckle or a nod in recognition, but now, two months after I read it, I find it unmemorable.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Joshilyn Jackson

    Scott was making dinner, so I curled up on the sofa with the old cat. I read the first micro-memoir in HEATING AND COOLING by Beth Ann Fennelly, read it again, and then I had to ruin the cat’s life by getting up and going to the kitchen to read it aloud to Scott. This happened four more times, at which point my 20 year old son---who ONLY reads non-fiction or novels with space or dragons in them---took HEATING AND COOLING out of my hands. He devoured it cover to cover, in one sitting. In other wo Scott was making dinner, so I curled up on the sofa with the old cat. I read the first micro-memoir in HEATING AND COOLING by Beth Ann Fennelly, read it again, and then I had to ruin the cat’s life by getting up and going to the kitchen to read it aloud to Scott. This happened four more times, at which point my 20 year old son---who ONLY reads non-fiction or novels with space or dragons in them---took HEATING AND COOLING out of my hands. He devoured it cover to cover, in one sitting. In other words...pre-order. These pieces are joyful, biting, lovely, deceptively simple, emotionally cumulative and sharply observed. I keep coming back to read pieces again.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Gretchen Rubin

    I love essays, and I loved the idea of "micro-memoirs." A very interesting structure. I love essays, and I loved the idea of "micro-memoirs." A very interesting structure.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    E-galley provided by W.W. Norton & Company, Edelweiss and Author, Beth Ann Fennelly for my honest review. Heads up also to GR friend and member Katie for recommending this title. You may be tempted to breeze through this short book of vignettes. Savor the wisdom, savor the humor, savor the read and when you're finished go back and read it again. You might be surprised at what you missed on the first go round. E-galley provided by W.W. Norton & Company, Edelweiss and Author, Beth Ann Fennelly for my honest review. Heads up also to GR friend and member Katie for recommending this title. You may be tempted to breeze through this short book of vignettes. Savor the wisdom, savor the humor, savor the read and when you're finished go back and read it again. You might be surprised at what you missed on the first go round.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    This is an amusing collection of personal stories. The pieces are so short the subtitle calls them micro-memoirs, but whatever you call them they are humorous observations about one woman’s life. The pieces reminded me of journal entries - a writer dashing off clever notes about her day, and I enjoyed the collection. The stories are so brief they disappear quickly from memory, but I liked them in the moment.

  7. 5 out of 5

    britt_brooke

    I’m a big memoir fan and I loved this unique take on the genre. Fennelly presents snippets of her life that give you almost enough. I appreciate the missing pieces. The style works. These thoughtfully-written essays range from a couple sentences to a few short pages. I want more!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    A small but potent book with essays that touch on love, marriage, parenting, and writing. A good fistful of these pages just skewered my heart real nice.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mo

    I had high expectations, but I am sad to say I was a bit let down by this book. I love poetry and I love short stories / memoirs, but I think the combination is not for me. The book is written by Beth Anne Fenneley. It beinf a collection and every poem/story being so short makes it hard to empathize. Furthermore, some poems were really farfetched, for example 'Mommy wants a glass of Chardonnay'*. But in some way it was also nice that there was variation between sad, funny, and weird stories. The I had high expectations, but I am sad to say I was a bit let down by this book. I love poetry and I love short stories / memoirs, but I think the combination is not for me. The book is written by Beth Anne Fenneley. It beinf a collection and every poem/story being so short makes it hard to empathize. Furthermore, some poems were really farfetched, for example 'Mommy wants a glass of Chardonnay'*. But in some way it was also nice that there was variation between sad, funny, and weird stories. The poems I liked most were "Orange-Shaped Hole", "Disharmony", "Married love III", "Two Phone Conversations, and "Another Missing Chapter in the Parenting Handbook". * 'Mommy wants a glass of Chardonnay' If you collected all the drops of days I've spent singing "Row, row, row your boat" to children fighting sleep, you'd have an ocean deep enough to drown them many times over.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Autumn

    Pure poetry. So much said in so few words.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Obsesses over Books & Cookies

    OMG can this woman write!! about everything, marriage, motherhood, secret talents, vince vaughn everything with the keen eye of a poet but the sensibility of an essayist. quick, super quick reading for those times you're like, damn what am I going to read next. OMG can this woman write!! about everything, marriage, motherhood, secret talents, vince vaughn everything with the keen eye of a poet but the sensibility of an essayist. quick, super quick reading for those times you're like, damn what am I going to read next.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mississippi Library Commission

    Weird, funny, and personal. We really liked this one!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Janine

    This was a quick read, but not necessarily a light one. Fennelly's series of micro-memoirs range from funny to heart-breaking, tackling everything from marriage to motherhood to loss, to lessons learned growing up, to her complicated relationship with repairmen, and so much more. Reading these made me think of how quickly life flies by, especially the older you get. I remember hearing, as a child, my parents comment on how quickly time flies by. I thought they were crazy because to me, at the ti This was a quick read, but not necessarily a light one. Fennelly's series of micro-memoirs range from funny to heart-breaking, tackling everything from marriage to motherhood to loss, to lessons learned growing up, to her complicated relationship with repairmen, and so much more. Reading these made me think of how quickly life flies by, especially the older you get. I remember hearing, as a child, my parents comment on how quickly time flies by. I thought they were crazy because to me, at the time, each year felt like a decade. Now, as an adult myself, the years are starting to pass with what feels like an increasing frequency. Things that happened nearly 20 years ago feel like just yesterday, even as I can't remember what I had for dinner last night. And that, I think , is what Fennelly captures best. The way that, as you get older, all of those experiences begin to blend. Not that you confuse them with one another, but in the sense that as you get older you can look on the experience of your younger self in a new light. They take on a different meaning, at the same time as you struggle to grasp with how long ago they really were. The way something happens as a child and we viewed it one way, and through the eyes of our adult selves, we see the same event take on a completely different meaning. These memoirs are short, but powerful, and true.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kirsty

    I had not heard of Beth Ann Fennelly's Heating and Cooling before, but stumbled across it on my online library catalogue and borrowed it immediately. I love fragmented memoirs, and this is a particularly interesting one. Through each of these 'micro-memoirs', Fennelly reveals herself little by little. The entries are amusing, and sometimes quite touching; Fennelly's approach is fresh and enjoyable. There is such depth and consideration to the writing, and I will definitely be looking out for Fen I had not heard of Beth Ann Fennelly's Heating and Cooling before, but stumbled across it on my online library catalogue and borrowed it immediately. I love fragmented memoirs, and this is a particularly interesting one. Through each of these 'micro-memoirs', Fennelly reveals herself little by little. The entries are amusing, and sometimes quite touching; Fennelly's approach is fresh and enjoyable. There is such depth and consideration to the writing, and I will definitely be looking out for Fennelly's books in future.

  15. 4 out of 5

    RH Walters

    Dang it, I thought I reviewed this already. Flippin hilarious, with actual fire and lust, and soul-chilling gusts of loss and casual cruelty. This book makes me want to abolish the star rating system, because I didn’t love it as much as Portrait of a Lady or Department of Speculation, but it’s mind blowing in its own right. Take a hike, stars and small numbers, and everyone else enjoy this book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Halley Sutton

    Funny, wise, beautiful, absurd, dark. As her mother said, "There are a lot of penises, Beth Ann." Funny, wise, beautiful, absurd, dark. As her mother said, "There are a lot of penises, Beth Ann."

  17. 4 out of 5

    Olivia Lammel

    I enjoyed this so much! It was delightful and well written and hard to put down. I accidentally read it in one sitting- I kept telling myself “I’ll get up and do chores after one more story.”

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ylenia

    Some of these micro-memoirs were hilarious. I liked them in the moment, but I'm not sure they will stay with me for long. Some of these micro-memoirs were hilarious. I liked them in the moment, but I'm not sure they will stay with me for long.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Bree Hill

    I started reading these micro-memoirs yesterday while riding around the city with my husband and kept laughing and giggling I had to start reading them to him. This collection are short sweet hilarious and to the point reflections on different occurrences in the author’s life that really build up and paint a portrait of who she is now. She’s the friend that if you were on Who Wants to be a Millionaire, you wouldn’t use as one of your life lines. Her husband, every story he writes kills off a cha I started reading these micro-memoirs yesterday while riding around the city with my husband and kept laughing and giggling I had to start reading them to him. This collection are short sweet hilarious and to the point reflections on different occurrences in the author’s life that really build up and paint a portrait of who she is now. She’s the friend that if you were on Who Wants to be a Millionaire, you wouldn’t use as one of your life lines. Her husband, every story he writes kills off a character named Colin which also happens to be the authors hot Scottie architect ex-boyfriend’s name. When it comes to motherhood you see how she reacts when her daughter after swimming one day gets a fear of water because she thinks she has some brain eating disease in her head. This was hilarious and so worth the read.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    There’s no reason not to read this book. It’s creative, charming, relatable, and easy to read (you can probably finish the whole thing in an hour). The author uses (very) short stories to highlight different memories or lessons from her life. I really loved it!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra

    Read in a day (actually while I was on the elliptical). It has memoirs that will make you laugh out loud, which is potentially hazardous when you are only holding on to the elliptical with one hand. It also has some touching moments with stories that will cut you to the core. Fennelly is candid and vulnerable, while still finding a way to delight you with her stories. Memoirs like this can easily get too personal, but Fennelly straddles the line well. Thank you, Anne Bogel, for recommending this Read in a day (actually while I was on the elliptical). It has memoirs that will make you laugh out loud, which is potentially hazardous when you are only holding on to the elliptical with one hand. It also has some touching moments with stories that will cut you to the core. Fennelly is candid and vulnerable, while still finding a way to delight you with her stories. Memoirs like this can easily get too personal, but Fennelly straddles the line well. Thank you, Anne Bogel, for recommending this book to me on my episode of What Should I Read Next! I absolutely loved it and it's one that will stay on my shelves to revisit throughout the year.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lacy

    Fennelly manages to reveal herself to the reader in 52 micro stories of her life. The reader is left feeling like she could strike up a conversation with BAF as if she's an old friend. She's honest, open, and witty. I especially like the Married Love series. Fennelly manages to reveal herself to the reader in 52 micro stories of her life. The reader is left feeling like she could strike up a conversation with BAF as if she's an old friend. She's honest, open, and witty. I especially like the Married Love series.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jane Dugger

    This was FANTASTIC! Four & a half stars!! Well-written & entertaining. Where has BAF been all my life?!? I cannot wait to read everything else she's written. (PS I share her hidden talent.) This was FANTASTIC! Four & a half stars!! Well-written & entertaining. Where has BAF been all my life?!? I cannot wait to read everything else she's written. (PS I share her hidden talent.)

  24. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    So funny, so sharp, so specific and yet so relatable. This is going to be a surprise hit.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Abigail

    I really enjoyed this sparse, prose poem take on memoir -- some of the essays were really funny, others poignant, and together they created the layered scaffolding of a life.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lexi Nylander

    I absolutely loved this. It was the perfect length and so so funny and harrowing in turns. It hit so many different topics and feelings. It was also one of the simplest and clearest depictions of being absolutely in love with and loving your significant other that I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing. My favorites were Why I'm So Well Read, Married Love III, When They Grow Up and Salvage, Addendum. "Matthew: it's possible that at this point I have a slight crush on Matthew. Small, trim men I absolutely loved this. It was the perfect length and so so funny and harrowing in turns. It hit so many different topics and feelings. It was also one of the simplest and clearest depictions of being absolutely in love with and loving your significant other that I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing. My favorites were Why I'm So Well Read, Married Love III, When They Grow Up and Salvage, Addendum. "Matthew: it's possible that at this point I have a slight crush on Matthew. Small, trim men can be so appealing. Also, authority makes me horny." "my handsome father, for he is shielded from it, as he is shielded from me, for he is below the earth and has been for years and cares not for the ways I remembered him, or remember remembering him." "So that's Lauren. And those are her chickens, dining on heirloom-radish-top-compost, powerlaying matching pairs of pastel eggs." "Once she flew to the platform of my kids' swing set and peered at the slide. Instantly I knew I'd pay a goodly sum to watch her tuck her legs and careen down. I swear to God, she considered it. But my kids spooked her by running over." "As we lower onto the December-cold pleather seats of the minivan, we knock hands: both of us reaching to turn on the other's seat warmer first." "Already I was learning that some of the things I was learning weren't things I needed to know." "I remember being in the car on the way to my sister's surprise funeral." "I wanted to spare my future me, whom I did love. So I told him I loved him and I left." "He placed his beer on the pool's lip, then pulled me into his." "Here I sit, twice-my-life away, puckered, still responding to that kiss." "I limped home, grateful to find my husband there; he makes me braver. "It's nothing," I countered as he cooed and washed my wounds and dressed them in monster bandages." "I want to marry this man, I thought. I want to marry him right now. But of course I already had, about nineteen years earlier."

  27. 5 out of 5

    Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance

    This is a perfect book to keep in your pocket for those odd moments you'd like to fill with a story or two. It is also an ideal book to use as a model for your own memoir. Beth Ann Fennelly tells the story of her life in tiny vignettes that are both honest and poignant. None of the micro-memoirs lasts more than a few pages and each one leaves you reeling. I often found myself saying to myself, Now what was that about? and rereading the story from start to finish. A few places made me grimace wit This is a perfect book to keep in your pocket for those odd moments you'd like to fill with a story or two. It is also an ideal book to use as a model for your own memoir. Beth Ann Fennelly tells the story of her life in tiny vignettes that are both honest and poignant. None of the micro-memoirs lasts more than a few pages and each one leaves you reeling. I often found myself saying to myself, Now what was that about? and rereading the story from start to finish. A few places made me grimace with the writers-workshop feel of the sentences, but I'd honestly always take that over trite.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kari Ann Sweeney

    I adored this book. I loved the format of the micro-memoir. Short snippets of wit, pain and life. I could relate to how a seemingly mundane moment can unexplainably leave a lasting memory. Fennelly is such a talented writer. "Married Love II" and "Why I'm So Well Read" had me laughing until it hurt. I adored this book. I loved the format of the micro-memoir. Short snippets of wit, pain and life. I could relate to how a seemingly mundane moment can unexplainably leave a lasting memory. Fennelly is such a talented writer. "Married Love II" and "Why I'm So Well Read" had me laughing until it hurt.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mitch Karunaratne

    This is a wonderfully crafted memoir in 52 short episodes - some just a sentence, others 4 pages long. Some of the memoirs are almost like poems in complete sentences. What I loved is these are very open and beautifully observed, Fennelly hones in on the details of life. Because of this, unlike other memoirs, it felt very universal and less about the authors life and more about prodding my own memory and reflection on relationships, marriage and family.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    4.5 stars. Heartbreaking and lovely and really, really funny– I absolutely saw myself in so many of these pages. How Beth Ann Fennelly manages to tell a story of her life, so complete, in such short snippets and few pages is incredible to me. She is abundantly talented.

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