Sometimes the best way to make sense of our own life and ultimately improve how we live is reading about how other people describe and interpret their existence. Library Journal has done a real service with Short Takes: 50 Summer Memoirs for the Beach, Backwoods, or Flu Bunker, as selected with brief annotations by a team of reviewers. Whether or not you take LJ’s advice to employ these as beach reading rather than novels, it’s fun reading these capsule descriptions of the books, many by authors who are not well known, but sound like they have led interesting lives. Some of the authors faced life-changing circumstances. It could be that reading about what they endured will help put our own situation into perspective. Although many are unfamiliar to me, some names caught my eye right away. Novelist and Financial Times columnist Susie Boyt, who is the great-granddaughter of Sigmund Freud and the daughter of painter Lucien Freud, a fact the reviewer says she “glosses over,” has My Judy Garland Life. Michael Lewis, author of Liar’s Poker, Moneyball and other non-fiction business and sports classics has Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood. And then there is Lydia Lunch, a mainstay of the ‘70s punk rock scene, whom I hadn’t thought about since my music writing and business days. Will Work For Drugs, according to the reviewer, “explores the perils of addiction over three decades with a haunting style that will leave you uncomfortable and awed.”  Finally, the LJ page also has links to its earlier “Short Takes” on memoirs.