Thursday, September 12, 2019

Amazing Memoirs that Captivate & Inspire

"When you put down the good things you ought to have done, and leave out the bad ones you did do — well, that’s Memoirs."

Will Rogers was known for being quick with a quip like the one above, but I beg to differ on this point — the best memoirs tell everything, messy mistakes and all!

Recently I mentally roamed over the list of memoirs I've read and loved, which ones I need to read again, which I haven't read yet but want to. Some of these are life stories, some focus mainly on a particular experience or career, some are even a memoir of a vocation, like writing.

I'm sharing my personal list of riveting memoirs here, including links to Goodreads so you can explore the titles yourself and add any you find compelling to your "Want to Read" lists. I'm sure I've left a few out unintentionally, but these are the ones that sprang to mind as I thought back on my reading life.

The Best Memoirs I've Ever Read

Angela's Ashes
 by Frank McCourt

All Over But the Shoutin' by Rick Bragg

Educated by Tara Westover (Here's my review.)

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman

The Tender Bar by J.R. Moehringer

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

Just Kids by Patti Smith (Here's my review.)

Hallelujah! The Welcome Table by Maya Angelou (Here's my review.)

Bossypants by Tina Fey

Not My Father's Son by Alan Cumming

The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life by Steve Martin

Heart Berries: A Memoir by Terese Marie Mailhot

Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein

EVERYTHING by David Sedaris. I don't really think of him as writing memoirs, but at the same time his work seems to qualify. After all, he's written many books of essays focusing on his life story and the stories of those closest to him. Which can get tricky at times, relationship-wise. But as Anne Lamott wrote:
“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better."

Memoirs I Can't Wait to Read

The following are on my TBR pile. Some I already own, some are on hold at the library, and some sit on my Amazon wish list waiting for a sale. All come with multiple glowing recommendations from others, prompting me to long to read them as well.

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

Open by Andre Agassi

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy

Born a Crime: Stories of a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

Where the Past Begins: A Writer's Memoir by Amy Tan

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson

I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death by Maggie O'Farrell

The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston

I'd love it if you'd follow or friend me on Goodreads. Let's be book buddies!

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