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The Recovering
The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath | Leslie Jamison
By the New York Times bestselling author of THE EMPATHY EXAMS, an exploration of addiction, and the stories we tell about it, that reinvents the traditional recovery memoir. With its deeply personal and seamless blend of memoir, cultural history, literary criticism, and journalistic reportage, The Recovering turns our understanding of the traditional addiction narrative on its head, demonstrating that the story of recovery can be every bit as electrifying as the train wreck itself. Leslie Jamison deftly excavates the stories we tell about addiction--both her own and others'--and examines what we want these stories to do, and what happens when they fail us. All the while, she offers a fascinating look at the larger history of the recovery movement, and at the literary and artistic geniuses whose lives and works were shaped by alcoholism and substance dependence, including John Berryman, Jean Rhys, Raymond Carver, Billie Holiday, David Foster Wallace, and Denis Johnson, as well as brilliant figures lost to obscurity but newly illuminated here. For the power of her striking language and the sharpness of her piercing observations, Jamison has been compared to such iconic writers as Joan Didion and Susan Sontag. Yet her utterly singular voice also offers something new. With enormous empathy and wisdom, Jamison has given us nothing less than the story of addiction and recovery in America writ large, a definitive and revelatory account that will resonate for years to come.
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MicheleinPhilly
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Pickpick

An absolutely remarkable mix of memoir and dissertation on substance abuse and creativity. Jamison also expounds on the socioeconomic forces that influence our country‘s approach to addiction and who we tend to see as victims vs. who we see as criminals. It is a VAST undertaking that I spent about a month with but it will stick with me far longer. 5⭐️ 👇🏼

Christine Ugh, this one was so good! ❤️ 2mo
BarbaraTheBibliophage Sounds like I must add to my TBR. 2mo
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Cinfhen Great review 2mo
kspenmoll Nice review! Makes me want to read it. 1mo
Suet624 I‘ve already stacked this but your review has really pushed me to find the book! 1mo
52 likes5 stack adds6 comments
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Brooke_H
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Pickpick

Beautifully written mix of memoir and literary/artist history. Jamison weaves her own story of alcoholism and recovery with stories of various writers and musicians and their own addiction battles. Throughout she presents the history of recovery culture in the US. She is a hell of a writer.

11 likes1 stack add
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prowlix
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I‘m ~4 hr into this #audiobook and can‘t tell if I should finish. I‘m finding the parts I really enjoy are the quotes and opinions compiled from/about others. But the actual memoir parts, while full of beautiful sentences, feel whiny and self absorbed. Her attempt to discuss the inequality of addiction portrayals so far feels superficial? Am I being too harsh? Should I keep trying this one?

DivineDiana Well, Stephen King says it‘s required reading! 😉 5mo
16 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Brooke_H
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“But consent when you‘re drunk means something I still don‘t have a good language for.”

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Brooke_H
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“My skin is the right color to permit my intoxication.”

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Clwojick
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I‘m so glad the weather cleared up and I was able to go for another nice afternoon walk around the lake. It was one of those days when I wanted to take pictures of everything 😂📸

I started this audiobook for some added insight to addiction, now that I‘m working at an addiction treatment center. So far, I‘m not that into it, and may have to find a better book on the topic. Also added another hour and a bit to #24B4Monday

#BookFitnessChallenge

TheReadingMermaid So pretty! 😍 7mo
Andrew65 Lovely pictures. Started so well here, beautifully sunny morning but then deteriorated and been raining for hours and looking non stop tomorrow too! ☔️ (edited) 7mo
wanderinglynn Way to go! 🙌🏻 7mo
Clwojick @Andrew65 it was the other way around here. Hailing first thing this morning, then raining, then foggy and misty, then finally sunny. Thankfully it‘s looking like it‘ll be nice tomorrow. 7mo
96 likes4 comments
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Pam.Kokomo
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Pickpick

Fascinating!

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JenReadsAlot
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Pickpick

Gave this a pick but man it was long on #audio. Alternated between her story and other writers/artists stories. I'm glad she included the history of AA.

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Chelsea.Poole
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Pickpick

This was a bit rambling for my taste, but I did enjoy putting myself in another's shoes for a time. I am amazed at the strength some people have to overcome addiction, whether it be to alcohol (in this case) or other substances. I believe it has helped me understand the mindset of throes struggling a bit more than I did. The author's own life experiences are intertwined with information about literary alcoholism, both of characters and authors.

83 likes2 stack adds
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Chelsea.Poole
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So, this isn't what I was expecting. The #audiobook is read by the author and is pretty engaging. It's a different style to get used to; the book switches between Jamison's memories and information about famous alcoholics. It is a longer book than I anticipated, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, as I'm enjoying it so far. About to the halfway mark.

92 likes3 stack adds
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hermyknee
Bailedbailed

I have a hard time listening to authors romanticize addictive behaviors. I‘ll admit I didn‘t get very far into this one before I bailed, but I bailed for the sake of my own mental health.

RebL Same. 10mo
hermyknee @RebL did you try reading this one, too? 10mo
RebL No. I just feel like ... how many women are sold on the romance of addiction? I felt like that watching A Star Is Born. 10mo
hermyknee @RebL YES! You‘re totally right 10mo
81 likes4 comments
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AdeleReads
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Post 2 of 2: I‘m terrible at narrowing down to official “top ten” lists. But as I look back on 2018, here are 10 books I‘m grateful to have read this year. 📚

Lcsmcat I met Kuusisto at a book festival this fall, and bought that book for my daughter. I‘m glad to hear you liked it. 11mo
AdeleReads @Lcsmcat such a wonderful and important journey of a book. And how neat that you got to meet him. 11mo
48 likes2 comments
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bookandcat
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My favorite essayist Leslie Jamison (The Empathy Exams) is on a panel with Pulitzer Prize winner Gregory Pardlo to discuss their new #nonfiction books (The Recovering and Air Traffic, respectively)
#morristownfestivalofbooks #mfob

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Lindy
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I‘ve made a blog post about fifteen great reads. You can find it here: https://lindypratch.blogspot.com/2018/10/30-books-hath-september.html?m=1

ReadingEnvy What a great reading month! I have the Shraya and the Toews on my read very soon list. 1y
Lindy Excellent choices! I still haven‘t caught up on posting reviews of all of my September books on Litsy. 1y
44 likes2 comments
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Lindy
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Pickpick

This #audiobook about alcohol addiction, narrated by the author, is about 16 hours long. (The print edition is over 500 pages.) It felt sometimes like a marathon, but I never thought “well, that part could have been edited shorter,” even when I recognized stuff from her earlier essays. A combination of memoir and reportage, this story is important and has shifted my world view. I‘m impressed.

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Lindy
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Several years after recovery started changing my mind about cliches, I wrote a newspaper column in their defence. I called them subterranean passageways connecting one life to another, and basically pulled a Charles Jackson, smuggling recovery into my prose, and praising its wisdom, without naming it directly.

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Lindy
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…an author insisting his book isn‘t “just another addiction memoir”… This insistent chorus reflects a broader disdain for the already told story & a cynical take on interchangeability. The idea that if we‘ve heard this story before we won‘t want to hear it again. But the accusation of sameness—“just another addiction memoir”—gets turned on its head by recovery, where a story‘s sameness is precisely why it should be told.

Lindy @jmofo Thanks for the link. Excellent column, and now I‘ve added Melissa Febos to my TBR. 👍 1y
jmofo This came up in a thread Terese Mailhot started on FB. I‘m glad. Looking forward to reading Febos myself. 1y
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Lindy @jmofo Ha! I thought of Mailhot‘s Heart Berries when I read the column. 1y
jmofo 👏😍 @Lindy you‘re a fun reader for me to follow! I have committed so many stack adds because if you! 1y
Lindy @jmofo ☺️ 1y
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Lindy
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I was also starting to cut myself again, like the holes you cut in the crust of a pie to let out the steam as it bakes.

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Lindy
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“Jean Rhys called her unfinished memoir ‘Smile, Please,‘ a command she‘d been given as a child, posing for a photographer. It was the constant pressure she‘d felt from the world: hide your unseemly angst.”

This passage reminded me of my very first school photo, and how confused and upset I was when the man told me he wanted “a bigger smile” — what did that mean? — so then he said, “all right you little brat, have it your way.”

TheClevelander 😕 Oh, I hate him! 1y
readordierachel Wow, that guy sounds like a real peach 😐 1y
Lindy @TheClevelander @readordierachel Thanks for your comments. Sometimes it‘s good to be reminded how it felt to be my 6-year-old self. 😊 1y
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marianese What a tool! 1y
LeahBergen 😂😂 Oh, I love this photo! ❤️❤️ 1y
Lindy @marianese He probably shouldn‘t have been working with children. 1y
Lindy @LeahBergen Thanks. 😊 1y
marianese @Lindy Nooooo. 1y
44 likes1 stack add8 comments
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Clint
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Pickpick

I enjoyed this book very much and I gained much from reading it. At 460 pages it may have gotten a little long toward the end, but entirely worth the read.

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tholmz
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Pickpick

I‘m a new person having read this.

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ShellBell1021
Mehso-so

I loved the parts about Leslie's own addiction and recovery, but be warned there is A LOT of content around other authors and their addictions. It often felt like talking just for the sake of talking...a little all over the place.

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saguarosally
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So far it‘s a bunch of self-important literary types waxing sentimental about substances. I am in a car driving by my hometown so hey, desert parties are just the desert equivalent of cornfield parties.

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TN_Lane
Pickpick

Jamison‘s honest description of her “what it was like, what happened, and what it is like now,” is masterfully used to expose addiction‘s nightmare, especially writers, and stands as one more lighthouse for those still suffering addicts and alcoholics. We can never have too many because even those of us who have stayed clean and sober, a day at a time need them no less than those seeking their first breath of freedom from addiction‘s suffocation.

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hwestfall
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I just added this to my to read list after a local book store recommended it today. #memoirmonday #ReadingResolutions @Jess7

rather_be_reading this is def on my tbr 2y
9 likes1 stack add1 comment
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balletbookworm
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Pickpick

This is a really compelling memoir/history of alcoholic writers/Jamison‘s theory of “sober genius”. Not going to lie, I loved that a good chunk was set in my town (hey, I know where she did x!!). However, I don‘t think she quite makes her thesis stick, that getting sober doesn‘t stifle creativity. She also could have moved part of the Author‘s note into the body of the book to talk about different treatments besides AA. But very good reading.

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CKtheLibrarian
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Panpan

⭐️⭐️ I though this a bit self-absorbed. I had hoped this was more of an analysis of artists and their addictions.

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peacegypsy
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Your advice, please! I‘ve seen lots of reviews and support for this book, and I started it, and I soon thought, of all the books to read, is this worth my time? Please advise! I haven‘t returned it to the library yet....

Notafraidofwords I‘ve just started. Considered bailing too 2y
peacegypsy @Notafraidofwords I think I‘m bailing. Just too many other books that might enrich my world more. Thanks for the feedback—good luck to you either way! 😊 2y
41 likes2 comments
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Litpixie
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Last night and this morning was difficult and stressful. I really needed to have a happy, and books in mail are always happy. Thank you to Little Brown for this.

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Maddymayi13
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Pickpick

Incredible exploration of addiction and recovery

rather_be_reading awesome! 👏 2y
2 likes1 comment
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ShellBell1021
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I usually try to steer clear of long audiobooks, but started this 16 hour pick this morning! Listened to first chapter and so far so good...

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LibrarianRenee
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An interesting read.

2 likes1 stack add
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WanderingBookaneer
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Pickpick

A personal look at one woman‘s relationship with controlled substances. It explores the allure and mystique of alcohol not only through her story, but that of famous authors and her fellow AA members. I was surprised at all the research behind it. It felt very organic. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

108 likes5 stack adds
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WanderingBookaneer
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Started this one tonight and I‘m already halfway done! Unfortunately sleep is getting in the way.

TheWordJar I saw Roxane Gay speak at our local book festival tonight, and this was the book she recommended that everyone read. Can‘t wait to see what you think of it. 2y
4ravens Currently reading The Empathy Exams, interested in reading this one. 2y
99 likes5 stack adds2 comments
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Christine
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Pickpick

I‘ve seen some professional reviews of this book say it‘s way too long, too navel-gazey, too steeped in privilege. I get those critiques, but I still thought it was excellent. I love memoir, and I liked her writing very much, so I was happy that she went on and on! Loved how she located her addiction within the long tradition of writers with similar struggles, and I thought she balanced that with personal anecdotes and self-analysis quite nicely.

ReadingEnvy She had the same criticisms of her book of essays, which I really liked (most of) 2y
Christine @ReadingEnvy Oh, interesting! I‘ve wanted to read that but haven‘t gotten to it so far...seems like it‘s worth keeping on the TBR! 2y
60 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Kelleymbak
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What a lovely quote that applies in so many situations. This book is sad and scary. How much she needed and loved to drink. .

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balletbookworm
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Always sort of mind blowing the number of writers who came here to write (and drink) #amreading The Recovering by Leslie Jamison, out now from @littlebrown

Leftcoastzen Yay Carver,Cheever,Berryman & Johnson! Love them all. 2y
30 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Bookmarkie
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Falling in love was the only sensation that had ever truly rivaled drinking — for buzz and transportation, sheer immersive force..

Suet624 Wow. Ain‘t that the truth? 2y
44 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Bookmarkie
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Anyone else get annoyed to have to go to work because it cuts into your reading time? #humpday

LoveToReadLiveToRead God yes. I would get so much more reading done if it wasn‘t for work! 2y
CocoReads 🙋‍♀️ if only I could get paid for me reading time. I‘d be rich! Well, probably not because I‘d buy even more books and bookish things but still... 2y
JoScho 🙋🏼‍♀️ 2y
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Psychobabble Yes... why oh why do we need to work?? 😭😭😭 2y
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks 🙋🏼‍♀️ 2y
book-obsessed 🙋🙋🙋🙋🙋🙋🙋 2y
corycatelyn I usually take my book to work....but babies will come whenever they want so...😂🤦‍♀️ 2y
Andrew65 🙋🏻‍♂️ 2y
jenmoody23 Yes! I stayed up way too late last night finishing one book. I have one I‘m listening to on my commute, but my third one I‘m behind on now after last night. Can‘t I just stay home and read? 😉 2y
GripLitGrl 🙋 2y
tjwill All the time. 2y
68 likes11 comments
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McGonagall
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brendanmleonard
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Inspired by our great discussions in the Onward Litsy FB group, I am once again going to try to read (and post) more. I read an amazing profile of Leslie Jamison in NY Mag this week, and realized I hadn't read Empathy Exams. And to my surprise, the Strand also had an early copy of her latest...for half off! I have a huge TBR, but I think these might go to the top. #readwomen

MrBook Looking forward to more posts from you! 👍🏻👍🏻 2y
58 likes1 comment
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Kallik93
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I‘m excited and intrigued to start this one!! #therecovering #intoxication

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McGonagall
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McGonagall
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My #goodreads giveaway arrived! Yay! Can't wait to start this one. #goodreadsgiveaways

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Lissa00
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I really like Leslie Jamison‘s collection of essays so am looking forward to her memoir. Although maybe not the lightest vacation reading😜 Pub - 4/3. #netgalley

78 likes1 stack add
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McGonagall
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Woohoo!

JoScho Yay!! 🎉🤚🏼 2y
melbeautyandbooks Woo Hoo! 2y
7 likes2 comments