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It All Changed in an Instant: More Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous & Obscure

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“A perfect distraction and inspiration, and a collection that begs to be shared. Be warned, though. If you plan to lend out your copy, start out with two. Once it leaves your hands you’ll never see it again.” —Denver Post (on Not Quite What I Was Planning) The editors of the New York Times bestseller Not Quite What I Was Planning are back with its much-anticipated sequel, It “A perfect distraction and inspiration, and a collection that begs to be shared. Be warned, though. If you plan to lend out your copy, start out with two. Once it leaves your hands you’ll never see it again.” —Denver Post (on Not Quite What I Was Planning) The editors of the New York Times bestseller Not Quite What I Was Planning are back with its much-anticipated sequel, It All Changed in an Instant. With contributions from acclaimed authors like Malcolm Gladwell, Frank McCourt, Wally Lamb, Isabel Allende, Junot Diaz, Amy Tan, and James Frey, and celebrities like Sarah Silverman, Suze Orman, Marlee Matlin, Neil Patrick Harris, Ann Coulter, and Chelsea Handler, It All Changed in an Instant presents a thousand more glimpses of humanity. . . six words at a time. In the vein of the popular Post Secret books, It All Changed in an Instant, in the words of Vanity Fair, “will thrill minimalists and inspire maximalists.”


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“A perfect distraction and inspiration, and a collection that begs to be shared. Be warned, though. If you plan to lend out your copy, start out with two. Once it leaves your hands you’ll never see it again.” —Denver Post (on Not Quite What I Was Planning) The editors of the New York Times bestseller Not Quite What I Was Planning are back with its much-anticipated sequel, It “A perfect distraction and inspiration, and a collection that begs to be shared. Be warned, though. If you plan to lend out your copy, start out with two. Once it leaves your hands you’ll never see it again.” —Denver Post (on Not Quite What I Was Planning) The editors of the New York Times bestseller Not Quite What I Was Planning are back with its much-anticipated sequel, It All Changed in an Instant. With contributions from acclaimed authors like Malcolm Gladwell, Frank McCourt, Wally Lamb, Isabel Allende, Junot Diaz, Amy Tan, and James Frey, and celebrities like Sarah Silverman, Suze Orman, Marlee Matlin, Neil Patrick Harris, Ann Coulter, and Chelsea Handler, It All Changed in an Instant presents a thousand more glimpses of humanity. . . six words at a time. In the vein of the popular Post Secret books, It All Changed in an Instant, in the words of Vanity Fair, “will thrill minimalists and inspire maximalists.”

30 review for It All Changed in an Instant: More Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous & Obscure

  1. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    These are a lot of fun. I think I'm going to try to do a six-word memoir every day. I think it will be a good exercise. These are a lot of fun. I think I'm going to try to do a six-word memoir every day. I think it will be a good exercise.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    I love all the things you can do with six word memoirs in the classroom. Not only can you have students write their own, but this could be a form of assessment for books they read: have students write a six word memoir for the protagonist and antagonist in their story. This could be a form of assessment in science or social studies. What would Napoleon's six word memoir be? Abraham Lincoln? Nelson Mandela? Write the six-word memoir for an element on the periodic table. What would an amoeba's six I love all the things you can do with six word memoirs in the classroom. Not only can you have students write their own, but this could be a form of assessment for books they read: have students write a six word memoir for the protagonist and antagonist in their story. This could be a form of assessment in science or social studies. What would Napoleon's six word memoir be? Abraham Lincoln? Nelson Mandela? Write the six-word memoir for an element on the periodic table. What would an amoeba's six word memoir be? There's just so much you can do with this! I really enjoyed this follow-up to NOT QUITE WHAT I WAS PLANNING, probably more so than the original.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Liza Gilbert

    It only takes a few minutes to read this entire bookful of six-word memoirs. Some of the authors really nailed the concept of brevity, while others' memoirs, though six words long, made not impact at all. I was bothered by the fact that many of the authors just put six words together to make a point, not to create a memoir. They were tedious to read, and I'm not sure why the editors included them. After a hundred people saying the same thing, or saying different things but in the same way, I wish It only takes a few minutes to read this entire bookful of six-word memoirs. Some of the authors really nailed the concept of brevity, while others' memoirs, though six words long, made not impact at all. I was bothered by the fact that many of the authors just put six words together to make a point, not to create a memoir. They were tedious to read, and I'm not sure why the editors included them. After a hundred people saying the same thing, or saying different things but in the same way, I wished the book had stuck more to Hemingway's original challenge of writing a novel in six words. If the Smith Magazine challenge had been the same, a novel instead of a memoir, I might have been more interested. Overall, it was an extremely light read, and very uneven.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    Some funny, clever, and sad. Inspired.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    I heard a lot about this book before I ever read it. I'm mostly enamored by the concept, and it's fun to see how different people interpreted "memoir"...some wrote where their lives appeared to be in the moment, others wrote the most important things to them, and still others incorporated the grand story arc of their lives in only six words (though I did find one that was only five words long. It felt like an Easter egg.) The brilliance of this is seeing glimpses of beauty in the lives of others, I heard a lot about this book before I ever read it. I'm mostly enamored by the concept, and it's fun to see how different people interpreted "memoir"...some wrote where their lives appeared to be in the moment, others wrote the most important things to them, and still others incorporated the grand story arc of their lives in only six words (though I did find one that was only five words long. It felt like an Easter egg.) The brilliance of this is seeing glimpses of beauty in the lives of others, and thinking about what words would make up my six-word memoir.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Henriette

    I've never been one to read "collections", but when I read what this book was about I knew I had to own it. Never would I have imagined how much can be said in six words, and it's inspired me to try some "six-word-memoirs" myself. Took me about two hours to read it, with breaks, and it's just great. Still not sure whether I have a favourite memoir in here as they're all so real in their own way. Should look into getting the other books in this series! I've never been one to read "collections", but when I read what this book was about I knew I had to own it. Never would I have imagined how much can be said in six words, and it's inspired me to try some "six-word-memoirs" myself. Took me about two hours to read it, with breaks, and it's just great. Still not sure whether I have a favourite memoir in here as they're all so real in their own way. Should look into getting the other books in this series!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    I love these books. It's amazing how much emotion some people and wring out of six little words. I love these books. It's amazing how much emotion some people and wring out of six little words.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jesse

    Fun, heartfelt, fascinating, funny, and wonderful. Another winning anthology from SMITH.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Quick, easy flip through. Not as enlightening as I had hoped - I don't know what I expected with only six words at the authors' disposal. I want to hear more :) Quick, easy flip through. Not as enlightening as I had hoped - I don't know what I expected with only six words at the authors' disposal. I want to hear more :)

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lynn Dickerson

    I'm a big fan of 6 word memoirs so I enjoyed this collection. My own is "had it all. Lost it. Rebuilding " I'm a big fan of 6 word memoirs so I enjoyed this collection. My own is "had it all. Lost it. Rebuilding "

  11. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    Really liked reading these Six-word Memoirs. Read all four today and was a highly entertained. If you love quotes, read these books.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sleepless Dreamer

    I just love these books.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Greg

    I loved the concept as much as the output. This is a great waiting room book and also could be used as an activity in a class, workshop, or training. Reading the memoirs, I was amazed at how much can be packed into six words. I appreciated the variety of approach authors took to writing these. It also made me think a lot about life and how, in my view, we only get one. I thought a lot about the long-term effects of various traumatic life experiences and how, for some, they can become the story o I loved the concept as much as the output. This is a great waiting room book and also could be used as an activity in a class, workshop, or training. Reading the memoirs, I was amazed at how much can be packed into six words. I appreciated the variety of approach authors took to writing these. It also made me think a lot about life and how, in my view, we only get one. I thought a lot about the long-term effects of various traumatic life experiences and how, for some, they can become the story of their lives. Suffering takes on a new meaning when you consider that, if only given six words to describe s life, it is what comes to the fore. I look forward to reading more of these in the future.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Conrad

    I had high hopes for this book after reading Fresh Off the Boat from this series. While there were a few great 6-word memoirs in this book, many of them seemed to be about sex and/or divorce. While this might not seem like a big deal, it isn't very helpful to me since I was hoping to use this with my high school English classes. And, honestly, many of the memoirs were just a list of things people had done or words they used to describe themselves--it was lacking the wit and depth of thought I sa I had high hopes for this book after reading Fresh Off the Boat from this series. While there were a few great 6-word memoirs in this book, many of them seemed to be about sex and/or divorce. While this might not seem like a big deal, it isn't very helpful to me since I was hoping to use this with my high school English classes. And, honestly, many of the memoirs were just a list of things people had done or words they used to describe themselves--it was lacking the wit and depth of thought I saw in the other book. It was also missing the few that were further explained by the author of the memoir. I've learned that I better check out the others from the series from my library/interlibrary loan before deciding buying a copy for my classroom.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Linda C

    This is the fourth book of collected six-word memoirs, but my first read in this phenomenon. They ranged from the quirky to the profound. Some of the memoirs are by famous writers, but many are from people who submitted their memoir to the SMITHmag.net site. A few that I made a connection with: “Friendship test: willingness to be inconvenienced” - Gay Talese; “Can't reach top shelves, married tall” Joy Zuercher; “A story told with every wrinkle” - Beth Canton; and “Am hoping there is an epilogue This is the fourth book of collected six-word memoirs, but my first read in this phenomenon. They ranged from the quirky to the profound. Some of the memoirs are by famous writers, but many are from people who submitted their memoir to the SMITHmag.net site. A few that I made a connection with: “Friendship test: willingness to be inconvenienced” - Gay Talese; “Can't reach top shelves, married tall” Joy Zuercher; “A story told with every wrinkle” - Beth Canton; and “Am hoping there is an epilogue” - Margot Beverley. Fun read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ogi Ogas

    My ratings of books on Goodreads are solely a crude ranking of their utility to me, and not an evaluation of literary merit, entertainment value, social importance, humor, insightfulness, scientific accuracy, creative vigor, suspensefulness of plot, depth of characters, vitality of theme, excitement of climax, satisfaction of ending, or any other combination of dimensions of value which we are expected to boil down through some fabulous alchemy into a single digit.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tara Cignarella

    Interesting

  18. 5 out of 5

    William Beldham

    Very entertaining. Sometimes makes you think ;sometimes makes you wonder.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Hossam

    Perfect genre. Average stories. Cautiously proceed...

  20. 4 out of 5

    Cindyann

    Paperback Perfect little book for a lazy winter Saturday morning. It's amazing how much of a story can be packed into 6 little words. I wonder what words I'd choose? ;) Paperback Perfect little book for a lazy winter Saturday morning. It's amazing how much of a story can be packed into 6 little words. I wonder what words I'd choose? ;)

  21. 4 out of 5

    Amy Baker

    Cute, fun This was a cute, quick read, with a lot of fun and quirkiness. Nothing too deep, just short and sweet.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Karrie Stewart

    Still a fun thing to do. Will try this in real life. Elaine Benes hero. Not even real.

  23. 5 out of 5

    MKFonacier

    Finished in an hour (or less). Nice quick read with a few golden nuggets. The addition of the appendix on backstories was nice (though some still didn't quite explain the six words). Finished in an hour (or less). Nice quick read with a few golden nuggets. The addition of the appendix on backstories was nice (though some still didn't quite explain the six words).

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rqlreyn

    Memoirs by famous and obscure were a fun read. Most funny, some sobering. Especially the small bios at the end of the book on each of the notable people.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

    I was intrigued by the concept Liker some quotes. Didn't like others. You see what I did there ? Looks like I did it again. Overall, quick insightful read. Try it. I was intrigued by the concept Liker some quotes. Didn't like others. You see what I did there ? Looks like I did it again. Overall, quick insightful read. Try it.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jo Loveless

    Super quick, at times very funny read. A person can say a lot with only 6 words.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sameer Vasta

    How would you describe your life in six words? Writing a six-word story is hard enough; the difficulty of encapsulating a whole life in a few dozen characters feels almost impossible. Thousands of people have tackled this daunting task, and the folks at online storytelling magazine SMITH decided to collect the best ones and publish them in a multitude of collections. The first two collections, Not Quite What I Was Planning and It All Changed In An Instant, are easy to consume in a short sitting; How would you describe your life in six words? Writing a six-word story is hard enough; the difficulty of encapsulating a whole life in a few dozen characters feels almost impossible. Thousands of people have tackled this daunting task, and the folks at online storytelling magazine SMITH decided to collect the best ones and publish them in a multitude of collections. The first two collections, Not Quite What I Was Planning and It All Changed In An Instant, are easy to consume in a short sitting; I devoured the hundreds of six-word memoirs in both collections while lying in the hammock after lunch on a sunny afternoon. The first collection is much more powerful than the second, probably as a function of putting the best submissions in the first book without realizing that there would be enough for many more publications, but both have standout inclusions that either had me laughing, thinking, or almost in tears. The best part of a collection of six-word memoirs is flipping through them all and seeing just how many could describe your life, as well, if you were as clever or articulate. Then there were those that were painfully close to being relatable, but with just enough distance to seem foreign. "Civil servant answers phone after five." "Slightly flabby, slightly fabulous, trying hard." Some six-word memoirs were more astute observation than memoir, but still elicited smiles. "A sundress will solve life’s woes." What was most impressive about the collections was how six short words could elicit such a spectrum of emotions. I could go from laughing on one page to crying on the next. "I still make coffee for two." For quick and short reads, Not Quite What I Was Planning and It All Changed In An Instant were excellent at reminding me that language, deftly used, can be immensely impactful. It also reminded me that we don’t always have to strive for impact — sometimes, life is “nothing profound, I just sat around,” and that’s okay too. If you’re looking for a good hammock read, I’d recommend flipping through some six-word memoirs, and then maybe trying to write one yourself. (Originally published on I Tell Stories.)

  28. 4 out of 5

    Dani Peloquin

    Legend has it, Ernest Hemingway was sitting in a bar (predictable!) when a fan of his approached him and commented on how well he can tell a story in only a few words. He then challenged Hemingway to tell a story in the fewest amount of words possible. Hemingway shot back with “For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn”. Whether this story is true or just once of those great Hemingway myths, it is clear that a full story can be told in only 6 words. SMITH Magazine decided to use this as a premise for a p Legend has it, Ernest Hemingway was sitting in a bar (predictable!) when a fan of his approached him and commented on how well he can tell a story in only a few words. He then challenged Hemingway to tell a story in the fewest amount of words possible. Hemingway shot back with “For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn”. Whether this story is true or just once of those great Hemingway myths, it is clear that a full story can be told in only 6 words. SMITH Magazine decided to use this as a premise for a project in which they asked their readers to write their autobiography/memoir in only 6 words. Only expecting a hundred or so responses, the editor of SMITH Magazine was astounding when hundreds of thousands of people wrote in. Among these entries were some famous people such as Stephen Colbert, Alison Bechdel, Yogi Berra’s granddaughter and others. These responses were then published in four different books two of which are just overall collections of the 6 word memoirs, one directed towards teens, and one specifically on love and heartbreak. The entries are almost all different and range from the funny to the poignant. I laughed out loud when I read “failed at love, won at scrabble” and was incredibly moved by a memoir about a woman who was raped and was unable to move on making her feel as if her life was useless. I smiled at the sentence “awkward girl takes chances. Fun ensures” and even wished that I had written it! Interspersed with text memoirs are graphic memoirs which brings an interesting aspect to the book. I know that some have not given this book the best of reviews, but I would really encourage those people to re-read the book and think a little while on each entry because many have great depth. Personally, I loved it! www.iamliteraryaddicted.blogspot.com

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lawral

    Like the other six-word memoir books this book will keep you highly entertained for a few hours, if you go at it all at once, or for weeks if you have the self-control to spread out the fun. The list of celebrity contributors is much longer in this book than the first and includes Isabelle Allende, Tony Kushner, Alison Bechdel, Junot Diaz and other well-known authors. Bob Barker (My life story --- spay or neuter.), Neil Patrick Harris (Barney...Doogie...! Average names elude me.), and other main Like the other six-word memoir books this book will keep you highly entertained for a few hours, if you go at it all at once, or for weeks if you have the self-control to spread out the fun. The list of celebrity contributors is much longer in this book than the first and includes Isabelle Allende, Tony Kushner, Alison Bechdel, Junot Diaz and other well-known authors. Bob Barker (My life story --- spay or neuter.), Neil Patrick Harris (Barney...Doogie...! Average names elude me.), and other mainstream stars' submissions also appear.* "It all changed in an instant" boasts of more artwork than previous books in the series, and the back matter also includes longer stories that expound on or explain some of some of the six-word memoirs throughout the book. Once again, though, the real soul of this book is the stories from people you will never know. Made weird children -- will die proud. (27) Michael Stipe mumbled my formative years. (57) Little me would've liked be me. (84) And because there is always one that hits too close to home: My cat is an ungrateful brat. (108) Book source: review copy provided by publisher *All page numbers and quotes taken from an advanced uncorrected proof and may not match the published copy.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    I have been using "six word stories" to caption some of my images on flickr for a long time. Creating a 6-word story stretches your writing muscle and forces you to be spare and concise with your words. So when I saw this compilation of 6-word stories for a bargain price, I downloaded it immediately. The book is listed as 274 pages, but many of the pages have only 1 or 2 six-word stories, so it won't take you long at all to read the entire book - probably less than one hour. Some of the stories a I have been using "six word stories" to caption some of my images on flickr for a long time. Creating a 6-word story stretches your writing muscle and forces you to be spare and concise with your words. So when I saw this compilation of 6-word stories for a bargain price, I downloaded it immediately. The book is listed as 274 pages, but many of the pages have only 1 or 2 six-word stories, so it won't take you long at all to read the entire book - probably less than one hour. Some of the stories are accompanied by photos or sketches. The final chapter of the book lists the bios of some of the included authors. Some of the stories were mundane, some humorous, some witty, and some sad. We can all write differing six-word stories based on where we are in our lives. Some of my favorites: - Retired. one errand takes all day. - Viewed life from behind a camera. - Book then. Books Now. Occasionally Life. - Dealt bad cards. Played them well. You won't learn a lot from this book, but it may pique your interest, as it did for me, in writing more six-word stories. I'm writing one in my daily journal now to summarize that day.

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