Looking to the Stars from Old Algiers and Other Long Stories Short

I do love memoirs. I truly enjoy reading the life stories and experiences of others. I was excited to review Looking to the Stars from Old Algiers and Other Long Stories by Jan Risher.  What did I think of this book?  Check out my thoughts, learn about the author & enter the book tour giveaway at the end of this post!

Book Title: Looking to the Stars from Old Algiers and Other Long Stories Short
Author: Jan Risher
Category: Adult Non-Fiction, 312 pages

About the Book

Jan Risher took the long way to get from Mississippi to Louisiana with stops in between in Slovakia, Mexica, China, Burkina Faso and more than 40 other countries. Since moving to Louisiana, she has been a Sunday columnist for The Daily Advertiser and has written a column every single Sunday since 2002.

Looking to the Stars from Old Algiers and Other Long Stories Short is the collection of columns written over 15 years. Arranged in chronological order, the collection creates a narrative of one woman's aim to build her family, build up her community and weave the stories and lessons learned from the past into the present.

From her family's move to Louisiana, adoption of a daughter from China, covering Hurricane Katrina, travels near and far, author Jan Risher attempts, sometimes failing and sometimes succeeding, to do her small part to make the world a better place.

My Review

The author uses a conversational, friendly writing style that welcomes readers.   The author opens bits and pieces of her life and experiences for readers in a very down-to-earth manner.  She has a lot of stories to tell and tells each story in a way that draws the reader into a specific moment in time or a period of her life with lessons learned and thoughts worth considering.

Looking to the Stars from Old Algiers and Other Long Stories Short is a slightly different memoir.  Rather than being a diary-like memoir that flows through a person's life to tell a story--this book is actually a compilation of essays for a newspaper column that, while presented chronologically, has a more disconnected feel than a traditional memoir.   Throughout the novel, certain facts or memories were repeated as if they were being presented for the first time.  Since the essays from this novel were first presented in a newspaper column over many years--for new readers of the column or for old readers who may have missed a column or forgotten the details--I didn't feel that the writing style of the book flows as well for readers of one novel who are reading the essays in one chunk of time from start to finish.  I enjoyed the essays and the chronological progression of the author's story--but, didn't feel that the book was written to be read as I was reading it.

Would I recommend Looking to the Stars from Old Algiers and Other Long Stories Short.  I enjoyed the author's friendly writing style and would certainly recommend reading her columns and books.  I enjoyed the stories and I enjoyed getting to know the author and her family through the essays.  I could tell that the stories were written for a column--and not necessarily in the same manner that they may have been written to tell one long life story in a book--and that caused a little pause for me from time to time.  Having said that, if you read it as more of an essay collection--with realities of life and a focus on service to others and views of a variety of communities of the world--this is a very interesting collection of stories that memoir fans will enjoy.  

Buy the Book

Meet the Author

Jan Risher is an award-winning journalist and investigative reporter. She was managing editor of The Times of Acadiana. Before and after her time as a full-time journalist, she was an English teacher. She has taught English near and far, in its most basic and most lyrical forms. She continues her career as a freelance writer and now owns Shift Key, a content marketing and public relations firm. She, her husband and their two daughters have made their home on the banks of the Vermilion River.

Connect with Jan: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Instagram

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Ends Dec 22, 2018

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