The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Rating:

Being mostly a fiction reader, I wasn’t sure I would enjoy reading the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, but I was happily surprised to find Franklin’s memoir a remarkable and amusing record of time in America during the mid- to late 1700s. I also enjoyed refreshing my memory about the colonies before the American Revolution and the steps that led to independence.

But one of the most important things I learned was that Franklin was simply exploding with ideas to make life better in America. Both industrious and frugal, he knew how to succeed in many enterprises, including owning a printing shop, a newspaper, being a postmaster and establishing a library, a university, a hospital and a fire company. In addition, he had an excellent instinct for human behavior and was able to reconcile many tense discussions among both his fellow men and important leaders. He used this diplomatic skill throughout his life.

The Franklin Stove/Image: benjaminfranklinbio.com

Franklin was always thinking and had many inventions, including the Franklin Stove (still around), better street light fixtures, a system for keeping the streets clean and of course, proving the relationship between electricity and lightning with his famous kite and key experiment.

Franklin was daring and witty and was an incorrigible flirt in his later years. He wrote Poor Richard’s Almanac, a publication full of clever advice.

In addition to inventing things, Franklin loved to find ways to bring people together to support interests and causes. He formed Junto, a secret men’s discussion and debate club, he organized a volunteer defense and he helped raise money for buildings and churches.

I also learned these Franklin tidbits:

Baby Ben/Image: benjaminfranklinbio.com
  • Franklin was the youngest son of seventeen children.
  • He attended school for one year. He was a learner through and through and taught himself math and several languages. He loved to read.
  • As a young man, he had a hankering for the sea, but his father wanted to keep him on land.
  • He apprenticed with his older brother James, a printer, in Boston.

    Mrs. Ben Franklin/Image: benjaminfranklinbio.com
  • He ran away to Philadelphia at age 17 and met his future wife, Miss Read, on his first day in town.
  • He had a son out of wedlock.
  • Another son died of smallpox at age 4 and Franklin forever regretted not having him inoculated.
  • Although he did not consider himself a military man, he was commissioned to build a fort in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to protect the American frontier.
  • He refused to obtain a patent for the Franklin Stove because said he only invented it to help people.

I enjoyed Franklin’s comments about the cost of a college education, a big worry for his father, “But my father, in the meantime, from a view of the expense of a college education, which having so large a family he could not well afford,” chose to establish his children in successful jobs.

Franklin also mentions a few regrets, which he calls “the great errata” of his life. One of them is, during a year-long trip to England, only writing once to Miss Read to inform her only that he’d be gone a long time. She didn’t wait and married another man. Read and Franklin finally got together later, after her husband deserted her. Another mistake was agreeing to collect money for a friend, then spending it.

Ben Franklin contributed generously to early American life. He had tremendous foresight and knew how to deal with people. I recommend this memoir to readers who are interested in history and the character behind important figures.

Want to know more? Check out these additional sources:

benjaminfranklinbio.com
fi.edu (The Franklin Institute) Benjamin Franklin FAQ
ushistory.org – The Electric Ben Franklin
Wikipedia – Benjamin Franklin

I read The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin as part of my Build a Better World Summer Reading Challenge to read a memoir, biography, or autobiography.

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When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

When Breath Becomes Air
by
Paul Kalanithi

Rating:

I have seen this book cover everywhere: on display at the library where I work, at the top of TBR lists, on Amazon, on Goodreads, and on book blogger posts. It’s a #1 New York Times Bestseller, written by Paul Kalanithi, who at the crest of a brilliant career as a neurosurgeon and scientist, was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. During the short time he had left, he was determined to live a life with personal meaning, and clung to the words of Samuel Beckett, “I can’t go on. I’ll go on.” What he did during the time after his diagnosis was undergo treatment, return to performing surgery, father a baby girl and begin this book. He died before he could finish, but the pages he left are full of the deep thinking that led to his medical career and the imminent facts about his illness.

You may be surprised to know that Kalanithi did not initially want to be a doctor, but he was intensely interested in the connection between the biology of human life and morality, literature and philosophy. He writes about this time,

There must be a way, I thought, that the language of life as experienced – of passion, of hunger, of love – bore some relationship, however convoluted, to the language of neurons, digestive tracts, and heartbeats.

He was an English and Biology major at Stanford, later earned a Master’s in English and MHil in history and philosophy in science and medicine from the University of Cambridge. After all that thinking, Kalanithi went to Yale School of Medicine and returned to Stanford for his residency. And a few years later, he got sick.

Although he was unable to finish his book, his desire to continue living despite being sick is clear and inspiring. And he didn’t do that by checking things off a bucket list. Instead he returned to his residency, performed surgeries, found joy in the simple moments with his family, his marriage and later with their baby daughter. And although he didn’t know what the finish would be like, when the time came, he was ready when he whispered to his wife, “This might be how it ends.”

Some people just think on a higher plane than the rest of the population and Kalanithi was one of them. I may not have gotten all his references and ideas, but I saw that he was earnest in everything he did and was driven by a need to know and understand. This memoir is more a book of philosophy the kind you can return to for inspiration.

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How one life fits into fabric of family – A Fortunate Life by Fred H. Rohn

Family memoir about growing up during the Depression shares how circumstances and personal decisions have led to A Fortunate Life.


image0-jpgAuthor Fred H. Rohn grew up on Hurden Street in Hillside, New Jersey, a place that played a pivotal role in his upbringing.

From bike rides and street games in Hillside, to marriage and children in the town of Madison, Rohn shares his experiences of growing up during the Depression, attending college, serving in the Navy, embarking on a business career, and marrying his best friend and high school sweetheart.

Offering an important historical perspective on growing up in the twentieth century, this memoir shares what Rohn considers to be the factors of a fortunate life. Interspersed with photographs from past and present, he shows how one small life fits, as a microcosm, into the fabric of family, friends, and an ever-changing world environment.


Hey indie authors!  Are you getting ready to publish your book?  We had a great experience with Archway Publishing.  They have a terrific team of coordinators, editors, layout and design professionals, marketing experts and customer service reps.  Their website offers many helpful online resources to help you through the process.  Knowing we were in competent hands from start to finish made a big difference!


Get your copy of A Fortunate Life here!


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Little House on the Prairie book series by Laura Ingalls Wilder

little-house-on-the-prairie-set

Little House on the Prairie Book Series
by
Laura Ingalls Wilder

(and other titles by Roger Lea MacBride,
Melissa Wiley, 
Maria D. Wilkes and Celia Wilkins)

Rating:
bookmarks-5a

It all started when our youngest son was in second grade. “My teacher is reading us a great book,” he told me one day. “Little House in the Big Woods. Do you know that book, Mom?” I knew the book, written by Laura Ingalls Wilder and, of course, the hit TV show that came after Little House on the Prairie.

So when we were looking for something to read together, he asked if we could read Little House in the Big Woods again. “You’ll like it Mom,” he told me.

little house in the big woods piclittle-house-on-the-prairie

I had the vague memory that these Little House books were more for girls than boys, but when we finished Little House in the Big Woods and then Little House on the Prairie, I remembered that there is plenty in these pages to keep a young boy interested. There are stories in every chapter about hunting and the dangers of living a frontier life. The conflicts between settlers and Native Americans are presented matter-of-factly and that makes them real. Illness and hardship, loss and set-backs occur regularly. Drought and bad weather ruin crops and threaten the family’s livelihood. Wilder also includes long descriptions of how things were made and the hard work that went into building log houses, doors, windows, sleighs and furniture.

But the stories are more than that. There is warmth and kindness in these books. As a mother, I like the family dynamic and the message it sends. The children in these books are far from spoiled and are happy with what they have. Laura Wilder’s writing style is both gentle and straightforward as she tells us what it was like for her to grow up during this time. She doesn’t sugarcoat and I like that.

When we finished the first two books, we moved on to Farmer Boy, one of my favorites. The months passed. We read a chapter each night. We watched Laura grow up. We watched her family move into town, watched Laura meet and marry Almanzo and start her own life. And then came Rose, Laura’s daughter.

farmer-boy-jpg
Ms. Wilder stopped writing at the end of The Laura Years, but Roger Lea MacBride, a long-time family friend, picked up with The Rose Years and continued writing in the same style as Ms. Wilder. We read about Rose and her family traveling in a covered wagon and settling in the Ozarks. We watched her grow into an independent spirit, move to New Orleans to finish high school and start a career.

Not ready to stop, we went backwards in time and read about Laura’s great-grandmother, Martha as a young girl in Scotland, written by Melissa Wiley. Wiley has also written a series about Laura’s grandmother, Charlotte and Laura’s mother, Caroline and she writes with the same pleasing style as Wilder and MacBride.

I recommend this classic series to anyone who is looking for realistic children’s books with the important themes of family, adventure, hardship and perseverance.

Check out all the Little House books!

The LAURA Years, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Little House in the Big Woods
Little House on the Prairie
Farmer Boy
On the Banks of Plum Creek
By the Shores of Silver Lake
The Long Winter
Little Town on the Prairie
These Happy Golden Years
The First Four Years

The ROSE Years, by Roger Lea MacBride
Little House on Rocky Ridge
Little Farm in the Ozarks
In the Land of the Big Red Apple
On the Other Side of the Hill
Little Town in the Ozarks
New Dawn on Rocky Ridge
On the Banks of the Bayou
Bachelor Girl

The MARTHA Years, by Melissa Wiley
Little House in the Highlands
The Far Side of the Loch
Down to the Bonny Glen
Beyond the Heather Hills

The CHARLOTTE Years, by Melissa Wiley
Little House by Boston Bay
On Tide Mill Lane
The Road from Roxbury
Across the Puddingstone Dam

The CAROLINE Years, by Maria D. Wilkes & Celia Wilkins
Little House in Brookfield
Little Town at the Crossroads
Little Clearing in the Woods
On Top of Concord Hill
Across the Rolling River
Little City by the Lake
A Little House of Their Own

Image source:  lauraingallswilderhome.com

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A Fortunate Life by Fred H. Rohn

I am very excited to share the cover to a special project I have been working on for the past year.

cover-reveal

A Fortunate Life is written by my father, Fred H. Rohn.


image0-jpgAuthor Fred H. Rohn grew up on Hurden Street in Hillside, New Jersey, a place that played a pivotal role in his upbringing.

From bike rides and street games in Hillside, to marriage and children in the town of Madison, Rohn shares his experiences of growing up during the Depression, attending college, serving in the Navy, embarking on a business career, and marrying his best friend and high school sweetheart.

Offering an important historical perspective on growing up in the twentieth century, this memoir shares what Rohn considers to be the factors of a fortunate life. Interspersed with photographs from past and present, he shows how one small life fits, as a microcosm, into the fabric of family, friends, and an ever-changing world environment.


Get your copy of A Fortunate Life here.


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That’s life! Books about life

Life has many ups and downs, but you can always count on a book to get you through the tougher days.  Heavy or light, fiction or nonfiction, there is no shortage of books on the subject!


Books with the word “life” in the title:

Archie The Married Life
Archie – The Married Life Book 2
by Paul Kupperberg
:  Even comic book characters have challenges and Archie has his hands full with both Betty and Veronica!


Barbarian Days A Surfing Life
Barbarian Days:  A Surfing Life
by William Finnegan:  winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Biography, a self-portrait of a life-long surfer.


Dear Life coverDear Life by Alice Munro:  terrific collection of short fiction by one of the best.


life after life pic

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson:  One of the best books I’ve ever read, Atkinson looks at the what-ifs during the world-changing events of World War II.


Stll Life with Bread Crumbs
Still Life with Bread Crumbs
by Anna Quindlen:  Love enters the picture at all stages of life in this popular story.


The Secret Life of Walter Mitty new
“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”
by James Thurber:  A henpecked husband escapes into his own world in this Thurber classic.


The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace
The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace
by Jeff Hobbs:  an absorbing story about a super smart and caring guy from a poor neighborhood in New Jersey who just couldn’t make it work.


helen-keller-the-story-of-my-life
The Story of My Life
by Helen Keller:  Helen Keller lost her sight and hearing as a baby and overcame tremendous obstacles and became a well-known supporter of many causes.


Of course you don’t have to have the word “life” in the title to write about the subject.  Here are some notables from this year’s reading list:

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway:  Hemingway looks back on his days in Paris and his marriage to Hadley Richardson.

Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín:  A young Irish woman takes a chance on a better life in America after World War II.

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume:  a fictionalized depiction of life in 1950s Elizabeth, New Jersey when three planes crashed in their town.

My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout:  How do you put the hushed experiences of your childhood into words, and should you?

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie:  terrific semi-autobiographical story about a life of poverty on the Spokane Indian reservation.

The Beginner’s Goodbye by Anne Tyler:  Life changes in an instant when a man’s wife dies.  Will he get a chance to fix unreconciled conflicts in his marriage?

The Hours Count by Jillian Cantor:  great 1950s historical fiction about the lives of accused spies, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were the only civilian Americans to be killed for spying for the Russians.

Traveling Mercies – Some Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott:  an honest and often humorous memoir about finding faith.

We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas:  A family’s life is transformed after a loved-one’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

Yes Please by Amy Poehler:  a solid reminder that successful people put in a lot of time at the bottom, before anyone knows about them.


Thanks for visiting – back to my book!

Currently reading The Time Between by Karen White

Traveling Mercies – Some Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott

traveling-mercies
Traveling Mercies – Some Thoughts on Faith

by
Anne Lamott

Rating:
4 book marks

It isn’t easy to categorize this memoir about personal growth and faith.  I had not read anything by Lamott before my book club friend chose Traveling Mercies, which was published in 1999.  Lamott is an Amercian novelist and nonfiction writer.  Her first nonfiction book, Operating Instructions:  A Journal of My Son’s First Year, was published in 1993.  Lamott’s most recent novel, Imperfect Birds was published in 2010 and her most recent nonfiction, Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace was published in 2013.

Born and raised in San Francisco, Lamott grew up in an unhappy home as a middle child in the 1960s and by thirteen, she and her friends were drinking and using drugs regularly.  Her parents were both free spirited, non-religious intellectuals and, as a girl, she felt the comfort of community in many of her friends’ religions.  She found her anchor in the St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in San Francisco, but she battled depression, alcoholism, drug abuse and bulimia for many years, returning to St. Andrew’s to make sense of her struggles.

The subject is heavy, but Lamott writes with honest humor.  She openly shares her weaknesses, failures, fears and bad judgement, not to preach or convert, but to tell the story of her journey as a single mother with a lot of issues.  Her faith is highly personalized, tweaked to help her through difficult decisions and feelings of inadequacy.

Lamott adored her father, Kenneth Lamott, who was a writer and literary figure and a central figure in her life.  His diagnosis of brain cancer and death at age fifty-six was a major blow to Lamott.  She wrote Hard Laughter, her first published novel, as a tribute to him.

Traveling Mercies is an excellent read.  The book’s appeal lies in its accepting and non-judgemental delivery.  Lamott isn’t sending a message.  She is telling us what works for her.  I recommend Traveling Mercies to anyone who is interested in personal growth and in understanding relationships.

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Helen Keller – The Story of My Life

helen-keller-the-story-of-my-life

Helen Keller – The Story of My Life

Rating:
4 book marks

If you grew up in the United States, you very likely learned about Helen Keller in school.  She was an American girl from Alabama who lost her sight and hearing as a baby and determinedly overcame these obstacles to become a writer, a social activist and an advocate for the blind and deaf.

With the help of her devoted teacher, Anne Sullivan, Keller learned to write and speak.  She attended special schools for the blind and deaf and graduated from Radcliffe College as the first blind and deaf person to earn a bachelor’s degree.  Keller wrote The Story of My Life in 1902.  By then she was a young woman and was a student at Radcliffe.

helen-keller-anne-sullivan-perkins-school
Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan. Photo courtesy of Perkins Institute for the Blind

Keller’s early life is also depicted on the stage and in film.  William Gibson wrote The Miracle Worker, a three-act biographical play about Anne Sullivan which premiered on Broadway in 1959.  Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke starred in the 1962 movie adaptation of the same name.  Both actresses won Academy Awards for their performances.  Many of you will remember the famous water pump scene from the movie in which Sullivan teaches Keller about water by showing her how it feels on her hand.

I knew all that before I read The Story of My Life.  But I didn’t know about Helen’s many famous friends, including innovator and scientist Alexander Graham Bell, to whom her memoir is dedicated, poet John Greenleaf Whittier, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, First Lady Mrs. Grover Cleveland, and authors Mark Twain and Edward Everett Hale.

The book is divided into two sections.  The first section is Keller’s personal story of how she learned to break free from the dark and silent world she inhabited.  She had an intense desire to experience everything around her and was fortunate to have many opportunities to do so.  She learned how to communicate, first through Sullivan’s system of spelling out words in Keller’s hand, and later by reading braille and writing letters first by hand and later with a braille typewriter.  Being able to read and write made all things possible.

The second section of the book is a collection of letters Keller wrote to friends, family and dignitaries dating from 1887-1901.  While I enjoyed reading her personal story, I think the letters show the real Helen Keller, a wonderful and loving little girl who was able to find joy in the smallest of things and who was interested in everything she came in contact with.  I was amazed at how quickly she learned and how extensive her vocabulary was.  The letters begin when she was seven years old and in just a short period, they show an explosion of knowledge and ability.

Keller’s early years had ups and downs like any normal childhood.  She refers to one particular event in which she was accused of plagiarizing a story she wrote as a birthday present for Michael Anagnos, the director of the Perkins Institute for the Blind where she was a student.  When it was discovered that her story very closely resembled a previously published story, Keller could not imagine how she could have written one so similar.  It was later believed that the original story had been read to her years before and Keller had simply absorbed it as she had many other stories, only to emerge later.  Sadly, this marked the end of her friendship with Anagnos.

I also enjoyed reading about the rigorous preparation and enormous effort it took for Keller to be admitted into college.  She had to pass exams to demonstrate proficiency in a wide variety of subjects.  Keller struggled with math, especially algebra and geometry.  Imagine having to learn these subjects without seeing!  She had to take her math exams in a different version of braille, and the symbols were different from the ones she knew.  In college, acquiring textbooks in braille, attending lectures and having Sullivan spell them out in Keller’s hand were just a few of the things she had to do.  When a textbook was unavailable in braille, Sullivan would read and spell out the texts to Keller. Talk about perseverance and dedication!

Keller spent much of her adult life writing, traveling and campaigning for various social causes including women’s suffrage.  She was a member of the Socialist Party of America and the Industrial Workers of the World.  She died in 1968 at age eighty-seven and has since received many posthumous awards and commendations.

I highly recommend this memoir.  I love reading about people who make things happen.  It’s a great example of someone who never felt sorry for herself and expanded her world despite her limitations.


helen-keller-letter-massachusetts-historial-society
Helen Keller learned how to print using a grooved board to keep her letters and lines straight. Image courtesy of Massachusetts Historical Society.

Are you wondering how Helen Keller learned to write letters like this?

Helen Keller wrote many letters to her friends and family members and she used a grooved writing board to learn how write them.  The board helped her form each letter and keep the lines straight, a painstaking process which she learned with determination and cheer.  She explains how it works in this letter to the children’s monthly, St. Nicholas:

It gives me very great pleasure to send you my autograph because I want the boys and girls who read St. Nicholas to know how blind children write.  I suppose some of them wonder how we keep the lines so straight so I will try to tell them how it is done.  We have a grooved board which we put between the pages when we wish to write.  The parallel grooves correspond to lines and when we have pressed the paper into them by means of the blunt end of the pencil it is very easy to keep the words even.  The small letters are all made in the grooves, while the long ones extend above and below them.  We guide the pencil with the right hand, and feel carefully with the forefinger of the left hand to see that we shape and space the letters correctly.  It is very difficult at first to form them plainly, but if we keep on trying it gradually becomes easier, and after a great deal of practice we can write legible letters to our friends.  Then we are very, very happy.


Here are two additional Helen Keller books

Helen in Love:  A Novel by Rosie Sultan   Helen Keller reportedly fell in love with a man named Peter Fagan, who had been hired as a private secretary during Anne Sullivan’s absence.  Published in 2013, Sultan tells the story of this relationship.

Helen Keller:  A Life by Dorothy Herrmann  – 1999 well-known and respected biography, now on hold for me at the library.


Want to learn more about Helen Keller?  Check out these resources:

American Foundation for the Blind
Biography.com
Perkins School for the Blind
Wikipedia


Looking for memoirs to read?  Find out more here.

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Who’s That Indie Author? Gerhard Maroscher

Who's That Indie Author pic

maroscher-g

Author name:  Gerhard Maroscher

Genre:  Memoir

BookWhy Can’t Somebody Just Die Around Here?

why-cant-somebody-just-die-around-here

Bio: Gerhard was born in Transylvania (part of Romania) during WWII. He and his family miraculously survived the war and the deprivation thereafter. After the war they fled communist countries, eventually immigrating to the USA. Gerhard worked as an engineer for 34 years after serving in Vietnam. Following his retirement he began a second career as a high school German teacher. While immersed in teaching, he wrote and published German short stories for learners of German. After his second retirement he wrote his memoir.          

Favorite thing about being a writer: Giving author talks where I get to tell my story, feedback from readers, and meeting interesting people

Biggest challenge as an indie author: Using technology and social media to market my books effectively

Favorite book: Ken Follett Century Trilogy.

Contact Information: website:  The Maroscher Story, Short Fiction website:  German Readers, Twitter:  @gmaroscher1, Facebook:  Why Can’t Somebody Just Die Around Here?

Awards and recognition: Why Can’t Somebody Just Die Around Here? received the 2016 IAN Outstanding Non-Fiction Book of the Year Award for history. The book also received a positive review from Kirkus.


Are you an indie author?  Do you want to build your indie author network? Why not get your name out on Who’s That Indie Author?

Email bvitelli2009@gmail.com for a bio template and other details, and follow along on Book Club Mom to join the indie author community!

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Memoirs – it’s a love-hate relationship!

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-feastA Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway – Gave it 5 bookmarks because I love all things Hemingway.


widow's story

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.


battlehymnBattle 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.


halfbrokehorsesHalf 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 DeadI’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.


MennoniteMennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen – Sometimes funny, but questionable motives in this one.


NightNight by Elie Wiesel – Hands down 5 bookmarks for this important read about surviving the Holocaust.


onceuponOnce 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 AskingThe 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 PeaceThe 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.


throughmyeyesThrough 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 PleaseYes 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:

Early Bird Books – 10 Famous Memoirs Everyone Should Read Once
Ranker – The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Amazon – Best Selling Memoirs
Amazon – 100 Biographies & Memoirs to Read in a Lifetime


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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