Literary Sobriety

9780226140131_dfde2“Recovery is the path of the hero,” Neil Steinberg, co-author of  Out of the Wreck I Rise: A Literary Companion to Recovery (University Of Chicago Press) tells NPR’s Scott Simon on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday. The interview sent the book moving up Amazon’s sales rankings, jumping from #27,706 to within the Top 100 at #88.

Steinebrg tells NPR’s Scott Simon that he uses “quotes from poems and songs and stories and letters from … writers throughout time who faced the challenge [of addiction] and wrote about it.”

Those quotes can be heartbreaking, such as one from Jill Faulkner Summers, William Faulkner’s daughter. At the start of a binge, after she had pleaded with him to not start drinking again, he turned to her and said “you know, no one remembers Shakespeare’s child.”

Emily Dickinson offers a bit more hope, writing “I wish one could be sure the suffering had a loving side. The thought to look down some day, and see the crooked steps we came, from a safer place, must be a precious thing.”

Both authors have a background that helped them conceive and write the text. Steinberg is a columnist at the Chicago Sun-Times and author of Drunkard: A Hard-Drinking Life (PRH/Plume, 2009). Bader is the creator of the website Quotenik, a library of verified quotes sourced from books, TV, radio, films, newspapers, and conversations.

Check your copies. Every library we checked that owns the book either has a hold list or all copies in circulation. Several libraries we checked have yet to order. The book came out in August and got a starred review in Library Journal.

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