Nonfiction

For You, For You I Am Trilling These Songs

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In this collection on life as a twentysomething in the twenty-first century, Kathleen Rooney writes about love and longing, poetry and plagiarism, death and democracy, mountain floods and Midwestern cicadas. With refreshing honesty she brings the reader into the room as she gets a Brazilian wax, into the car as she chauffeurs a U.S. senator, and onto the sidewalk with her as she visits the New York apartments of a vanished poet. The perils of falling in love with an unattainable and of being the unattained love come together here with her farewell to a cousin who’s joining a convent. Striking a perfect perch between reflection and humor, Rooney explores every facet of her life as she struggles to find her place in the world. “Rooney’s essay collection captures the poignancy and absurdity of life at the turn of the twenty-first century. In a series of vignettes both humorous and somber, Rooney regales readers with stories ranging from the perils of a Brazilian wax to her pilgrimage to New York to visit the dwellings of the missing poet Weldon Kees. Echoing Joan Didion’s The White Album, Rooney’s personal essays turn into a freeze-frame of life in the U.S. at particular moments. Rooney navigates the trials and tribulations of daily life as she carves out a place for herself in this volatile and challenging era.” –Katherine Boyle in Booklist

Live Nude Girl: My Life as an Object

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Live Nude Girl is a lively meditation on the profession of nude modeling—that “spine-tingling combination of power and vulnerability, submission and dominance”—as it has been practiced in history and as it is practiced today. Kathleen Rooney draws on her own experiences working as an artist’s model, as well as on the stories of famous, notorious, and mysterious artists and models through the ages. Combining personal perspective, historical anecdote, and witty prose, Rooney reveals that both the appeal of posing nude for artists and the appeal of drawing the naked figure lie in our deeply human responses to beauty, sex, love, and death. “Rooney uses everything from Roland Barthes quotations to sitcom episode synopses off the internet to explore the myths and realities of nude modeling. Despite the fact that it largely consists of sitting still for hours on end, Rooney keeps work stories compelling: This esoteric, organic meditation on life as an art object is itself a model of personal writing, perfect for those on either side of the easel.” –Publishers Weekly starred review

“Kathleen Rooney boldly and bravely dissects what it means to disrobe in the name of art—and money. For anyone who wants to know why a woman would prefer to be nude rather than naked (and what the difference is), read Live Nude Girl and find out.” —Rachel Kramer Bussel, editor of Best Sex Writing 2009

 Reading with Oprah: The Book Club that Changed America

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Adored by its fans, deplored by its critics, Oprah’s Book Club has been at the center of arguments about cultural authority and literary taste since its inception in 1996. Featuring a wide survey of recent commentary as well as interview with many of the club’s selected authors, Reading with Oprah is an engaging and in-depth look at the phenomenon that is Oprah’s Book Club. It is now available in a revised and updated paperback, including coverage of the James Frey controversy, as well as Winfrey’s return to fiction with recent selections by Cormac McCarthy and Jeffrey Eugenides.“In her lively, information-filled account of the club’s history, Rooney defends Oprah as a genuine ‘intellectual force.’ Accurately captures the cultural unrest surrounding the Oprah Book Club and raises numerous thoughtful points about its significance.” —Publishers Weekly