Poet Mary Karr’s third memoir, Lit (Harper, 2009), takes the reader through the dizzying downward spiral of her alcoholism (so graphically portrayed that you might consider becoming a teetotaler) and back up to sobriety and redemption.


The journey has its grim moments but also many times of great humor and astonishing self-awareness (hard to do when you’re drunk but she somehow pulls it off). And, she has mastered this delicious feat: She simultaneously has the reader pondering her insights and marveling at her adeptness as a writer, form and substance meticulously intertwined.