I don’t like memoirs, but I read them anyway! Why is that? Because I’m drawn to stories about people. I’ve certainly reviewed a bunch and enjoyed many, despite their self-indulgent tendencies. Here’s what I mean:
A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway – Gave it 5 bookmarks because I love all things Hemingway.
A Widow’s Story by Joyce Carol Oates – Oates went through a hard time after her husband died and she wasn’t afraid to share the scary parts.
Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua – Didn’t like it but I read every page and was eager to discuss it at my book club.
Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls – This one has an easy flow. I liked learning more about The Glass Castle family, but The Castle is better.
I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead by Crystal Zevon – I was more interested in Warren Zevon than Crystal, and she does a lot of name-dropping, but I thought she did a good job assembling these memories and showing Warren’s complicated personality.
Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen – Sometimes funny, but questionable motives in this one.
Night by Elie Wiesel – Hands down 5 bookmarks for this important read about surviving the Holocaust.
Once Upon a Secret: My Affair with President John F. Kennedy by Mimi Alford – Did you think sex and politics was a new thing?
The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer – Palmer is a very interesting person and, although I felt a little duped by the title, I liked learning about her life and marriage to Neil Gaiman.
The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs – Indeed a tragic story about a super-smart guy who just couldn’t make it work.
Through My Eyes by Tim Tebow – Tebow! Tebow! Tebow! – We certainly had a lot of him a few years back. College football fans will like this one – lots of play-by-play of important games, but definitely self-indulgent.
Yes Please by Amy Poehler – Poehler is down-to-earth and it was fun to relive some SNL moments.
Here are some excellent memoirs I’ve read but haven’t reviewed:
Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
If you like lists, you’ll like seeing what memoirs everyone should read:
Now I want to read these:
- Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen – I’ve heard it was excellent and hey, I’m from Jersey!
- The Story of My Life by Helen Keller – it’s amazing how much Helen Keller overcame.
- West with the Night by Beryl Markham – Hemingway thought it was excellent and he told his editor that it was so good he was “was completely ashamed of (himself) as a writer.”
- When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi – the wait list at the library is long, but I’m patient.
What memoirs or autobiographies are your favorites?
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