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Off the Stacks: ‘My Year with Eleanor’ by Noelle Hancock

Off the Stacks: ‘My Year with Eleanor’ by Noelle Hancock post image

“Off the Stacks” is a weekly-ish feature where I highlight a nonfiction book I’m curious about but will probably run out of hours in the day to actually read. I’m hoping that by highlighting titles this way, I can encourage other people to give the book a try, and, if it’s great, consider nominating it later this year for the Indie Lit Awards. Consider these books stamped with the “Sophisticated Dorkiness Seal of Curious Approval.”

My Year with EleanorTitle: My Year with Eleanor: A Memoir
Author: Noelle Hancock
Publisher: Ecco, an imprint of Harper Collins
Nonfiction Type: Memoir
Topics Covered: Losing your job, turning 30, doing things that scare you, Eleanor Roosevelt

What It’s About: Twenty-nine and recently unemployed, Noelle Hancock felt lost and anxious. Then one day she saw a quote on a coffee shop blackboard that convinced her to make a change:

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

Inspired by good old Eleanor Roosevelt (and in the spirit of other trendy, “year in the life” memoirs), Hancock decided to spend the rest of the time before she turned 30 doing a “Year of Fear” — trying the things that scared her most.

Why I Want to Read It: I am a SUCKER for change your life for a year memoirs… it’s like a disease, I swear. What appeals to me about this one is that it’s about fear — trying to live a life less dictated by things that seem too intimidating to try. Plus, this one is by a woman close in age to me, which I find appealing. I’m pretty sure I’m going to burn out on these sorts of memoirs soon, but for now I can’t seem to stay away.

Plus, I think that cover is all kinds of adorable.

Who Else Might Like It: Fans of “do something for a year” memoirs (like The Happiness Project or The Year of Living Biblically or Moonwalking with Einstein or Word Freak…), twentysomething females, readers who are scared of things.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Kathleen June 17, 2011, 7:34 am

    I share your weakness for these types of memoirs, but I read a lot of other stuff in between (like fiction and spiritual stuff) so I don’t get burnt out. I’m currently reading The Happiness Project month by month and am relishing it.

    • Kim June 18, 2011, 8:14 am

      Yeah, I think you have to take a break between memoirs of this type otherwise they start to feel gimmicky. I loved The Happiness Project so much!

  • Trisha June 17, 2011, 7:57 am

    I am definitely a fan of the “do something for a year” memoir, so this may be right up my alley.

    • Kim June 18, 2011, 8:15 am

      Excellent, glad it sounds good to you too!

  • Meg June 17, 2011, 8:03 am

    I can usually fall right into “change your life for a year” books, too! I read Cathy Alter’s Up For Renewal a few years (?) back and enjoyed its approach: use the advice provided in magazines to change your life in a year. Interesting stuff! And My Year With Eleanor sounds very interesting, too!

    • Kim June 18, 2011, 8:15 am

      Thanks for the recommendation; Up For Renewal sound like a great one. I reserved a copy at the library yesterday.

  • Eva June 17, 2011, 12:59 pm

    I’ve read memoirs that I absolutely loved (and made me want to write my own :)), but I’ve never heard this one. Sure has me curious as well! I”ll have to keep a look out for it!

    • Kim June 18, 2011, 8:16 am

      Maybe that’s what I like about the “change your life in a year” memoirs — they feel like something I could actually do, as opposed to writing a memoir about my regular life, which is darn boring.

  • bermudaonion (Kathy) June 17, 2011, 2:02 pm

    I love this type of memoir too!

    • Kim June 18, 2011, 8:16 am

      They’re so addictive. I think they’re the candy in my reading diet 🙂

  • Coffee and a Book Chick June 17, 2011, 9:06 pm

    Ooh, this sounds like a good one! Not to mention, any reference to Eleanor Roosevelt sucks me in.

    • Kim June 18, 2011, 8:17 am

      I don’t know a lot about Eleanor Roosevelt, but I am curious about her — she seems like a pretty cool lady.

  • Jenny June 18, 2011, 8:27 am

    I do like it when people change their lives — I like it that it seems so possible to do, if you just set your mind to it. I don’t think I could think of enough scary things to do, to do one scary thing every day. I feel like by April I’d have done all the scary stuff I could reasonably do, and I’d have to start doing unreasonable things like punching a drug kingpin in the face.

    • Kim June 20, 2011, 7:44 pm

      Ha! Your comment almost made me do a spit take 🙂 And I think that’s what I like these memoirs too — it makes changing seem possible, and I appreciate that.

  • Jennifer June 19, 2011, 1:36 pm

    As someone who has been going through quite a bit of life changes lately, I can’t help but feel like these kinds of memoirs are definitely written just for people like me. This one sounds particularly great. I will definitely be adding this one to my summer wish list.

    • Kim June 20, 2011, 7:45 pm

      Yeah, I always feel like there’s an age dimension — some are more universal, but many other are particular to a time in a person’s life.

  • avisannschild June 30, 2011, 3:04 pm

    I’m not sure I’d say I’m a fan of “do something for a year” memoirs (I didn’t like The Happiness Project all that much in the end), but this one does appeal! There’s something to be said for trying something outside your comfort zone every now and again (I’m not sure I could cope with trying it daily!). This one goes on my wish list!

    Oh and by the way, I like this new feature! I’m tempted to do something similar!

    • Kim June 30, 2011, 5:43 pm

      I’m hope you like it if you get a chance to read it! And thank you — some of the Off the Stacks posts didn’t get many comments, so I’ve been wondering if people liked it or not 🙂

  • Cass July 3, 2011, 4:08 pm

    hahaha “readers who are scared of things”

    I’m tempted by this book mostly because I love Eleanor Roosevelt.

    • Kim July 5, 2011, 8:25 pm

      Sometimes I get punchy when I write these up 🙂 I don’t know a lot about ER, but I bet this book would be a fun way to learn more about her.