Augusten Burroughs has made quite a career of writing memoirs. He has, in fact, penned six of them. Among his collection is Running with Scissors, a book on his childhood and teen years spent living with his erratic mother and later her psychiatrist; Dry, which documents his time as an alcoholic and his journey to eventual recovery; and A Wolf at the Table, examining his relationship with his father, an explosively angry drunk. For his latest work, This Is How (St. Martin's Press), the best-selling author takes a turn in a new direction, penning a self-help book. Chapters include "How to Finish Your Last Drink," "How to Be Fat," "How to Be Thin," "How to Be a Good Mental Patient," and "How to Change the World By Yourself." Despite the mostly sparse, straight-forward section titles, within the pages there's a fair amount of humor, bluntness, and actual advice on how to frame the important things in life. While this new book is not a memoir, Burroughs's words of wisdom hinge heavily on personal anecdotes. Regardless of whether you choose to heed his advice (and there are some pearls of wisdom here, or at least some healthy food for thought), How is certainly a quick and thought-provoking read.
Tue., May 15, 7 p.m., 2012