Riding with the Ghost: A Memoir (Hardcover)

Riding with the Ghost: A Memoir By Justin Taylor Cover Image
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Description


An unflinching memoir from a writer reckoning with his relationship with his troubled father and the complicated legacy that each generation hands down to the next

“Justin Taylor’s relentless, peripatetic, and tender search for reconciliation with his late troubled father blooms into a full-throated song of joy about his own life lived through music, teaching, travel, and literature.”—Lauren Groff, author of Florida

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY KIRKUS REVIEWS


When Justin Taylor was thirty, his father, Larry, drove to the top of the Nashville airport parking garage to take his own life. Thanks to the intervention of family members, he was not successful, but the incident forever transformed how Taylor thinks of his father, and how he thinks of himself as a son.

Moving back and forth in time from that day, Riding with the Ghost captures the past’s power to shape, strengthen, and distort our visions of ourselves and one another. We see Larry as the middle child in a chilly Long Island family; as a beloved Little League coach who listens to kids with patience and curiosity; as an unemployed father struggling to keep his marriage together while battling long-term illness and depression. At the same time, Taylor explores how the work of confronting a family member’s story forces a reckoning with your own. We see Taylor as a teacher, modeling himself after his dad’s best qualities; as a caregiver, attempting to provide his father with emotional and financial support, but not always succeeding; as a new husband, with a dawning awareness of his own depressive tendencies.

With raw intimacy, Riding with the Ghost lays bare the joys and burdens of loving a troubled family member. It’s a memoir about fathers and sons, teachers and students, faith and illness, and the pieces of our loved ones that we carry with us always.

About the Author


Justin Taylor is the author of the short-story collections Everything Here Is the Best Thing Ever and Flings, and the novel The Gospel of Anarchy. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, The Sewanee Review, n+1, The New York Times Book Review, and Literary Hub. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

Praise For…


“Taylor’s memoir is an admirable quest to answer a question that, for many children of parents who struggle against darkness, is almost unanswerable. ‘How do you save a drowning man who doesn’t want a life preserver?’ . . . It’s a story told with heart and deep self-reflection, steeped in philosophy and questions about faith.”The New York Times Book Review

“Taylor jumps back and forth in time, treading carefully and precisely through the delicate territory of his father’s suicidal depression, never veering into the sentimental as he works toward understanding.”BuzzFeed

“This is a book about life, dedicated to the joining of what’s been separated—the Jewish past and the American present, art and academia, fathers and sons—which in these pages become as mutually reliant as lyrics and music. This, come to think of it, might be the secret form to which all of Justin’s work aspires: that divine recombined form of story and memoir called ‘song.’”—Joshua Cohen, Jewish Currents

“As a memoirist, Taylor is thoughtful, measured, and unflinching.”Full Stop

“One of the year’s most impressive books.”Largehearted Boy

“Justin Taylor’s relentless, peripatetic, and tender search for reconciliation with his late troubled father blooms into a full-throated song of joy about his own life lived through music, teaching, travel, and literature. Riding with the Ghost is gorgeously layered and deeply felt.”—Lauren Groff, author of Florida

“An atmospheric, openhearted memoir of great range and ambition. Like his literary hero Denis Johnson, Taylor fearlessly swings from the gutter to the stars and back again in this precisely observed meditation on love and loss.”—Jenny Offill, author of Weather

“In propulsive readable prose, Justin Taylor does something that most people would find impossible: He delves through grief and trauma to find the true story of his own troubled, brilliant father, and to trace the ways that his father’s influence shaped and warped his life and his family. Without being at all polemical, Riding with the Ghost has much to teach us about masculinity, patriarchy, and family in America.”—Emily Gould, author of Perfect Tunes

“From the East Coast to the West Coast to the Gulf Coast, Riding with the Ghost is a classic American road narrative, an intimate portrait of a father, the story of an artist’s coming-of-age, a statement of faith, and a requiem for all those who have touched our lives yet left too soon. Justin Taylor is a master storyteller, and his voice resounds.”—Sarah Gerard, author of True Love

“In this deeply reflective, sensitive narrative . . . there’s plenty of additional insightful observations about the stories we tell ourselves and the differences between the way we shape a story and the way we live our lives. A greater literary achievement than Taylor’s impressive fiction.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Product Details
ISBN: 9780593129296
ISBN-10: 0593129296
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: July 21st, 2020
Pages: 240
Language: English

How to read more

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How To Read More

If you love reading, but for some reason you read less and less, know that everything is fine. It happens.
Our lives today have so many things that distract us - how can we not put books away when all these movies, TV shows, YouTube videos, social networks and endless surfing in online stores are around ...
Yes, it's really hard to resist, but you certainly can!

In this article, we want to share with you some tips to read more often and more successfully.
These are some notes and some practices that we have collected for our SUNDOG BOOKS readers club.
And maybe it will bring more books into your life!

Why do we want/need to read more?

To start reading more, you have to understand why you need it.
And you will be surprised, but your goals can be quite varied:

- for work
If you read a lot on duty, then you definitely need to speed up the process. The logic here is simple: read faster → work faster → more time for books for yourself.

- for education
you need this for your educational career or sometimes you just want to read to learn. And, with all the new alternative ways to gain knowledge (podcasts, online courses and videos), the book still does an excellent job of this task too.

- for self-development
all exercises for increasing speed, one way or another, improve cognition and memory.

- for fun
because good books always = fun!

Book lovers have an additional special goal for reading more often. If you love literature, you will understand what we mean: you want to catch everything - to follow modern literature, and not forget about the classics, look into non-fiction and children's publications. And there’s so much you want to reread! The goals are ambitious, but attainable if you read a lot.

 

And so - How to read more:
We will tell you about the methods that we use ourselves. Perhaps some will suit you as well.

 

15 minutes a day

You've probably already heard this rule: if you want to start a healthy habit, devote 15 minutes a day to it. Once upon a time, we all read irregularly, in jumps and starts. Sometimes we cannot open a book we have begun weeks ago. Therefore, you should decide to create a rule: devote at least 15 minutes a day to reading. Try reading before bed, or maybe during lunchtime, or even when you are having your morning coffee.

You will see progress immediately. You will notice that almost always your 15 minutes will grow into half an hour or more. But the most remarkable thing is that in three weeks your hands themselves will be looking for a book.

 

50 First Pages
This method advises - If the book hasn't hooked you from the first 50 pages, put it aside! Life is too short to read uninteresting books.

It is necessary to change the approach to books. At first it will be hard for you to stop and put the book down. Even if we put the book away, it will seem to reproach us from the shelf, mocking us as quitters. But in the end we should come to one simple thought: if it doesn’t hook your attention, you should not force yourself to read it.

***Fifty pages is not a bad test. Not the most objective, but definitely effective. It helps to determine whether it interests you or not, and whether to spend time on things that do not excite.

 

Reader's Diary

This should be used to improve the quality of reading - to make it more conscious. For starters, it can be a simple notebook with headings:

  • Author
  • Year of publication
  • Main characters
  • Scene
  • Plot
  • Theme
  • Quotes

And, yes, a reader's diary is not a thing about quantity, but about quality. But, it can also motivate. When you open your diary and start looking at quotes (especially quotes), you immediately really want to read.

 

Maybe a Book Bet?
Several people can participate. Members of the betting group can come from friends, family, and also your colleagues. And of course you can set your own rules for participation, but we'll give you a simple example:

Everyone in the group should read and review a book over the course of a month with weekly updates. Anyone who does not finish a review buys the book for all other participants for the next month.

 

Speed Reading

Another effective way to increase the amount you read is speed reading. The logic here is simple - the faster you read, the more books you can enjoy.

*There are many online courses on speed reading, and you can also study on your own using instructional books. But, it is worth noting that this is a serious learning process that will require some effort on your part.

 

Outcome

Reading every day is quite attainable, the main thing is to try to make it a habit.
Sometimes, instead of heading for Facebook, try opening a book and soon you won’t even remember why you needed to wander around social media.
And also - don't forget about audiobooks. They are a cool way to take the load off your eyes sometimes and just immerse yourself in the story. Some books are really strong in voice acting.

 
 
 

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