Oh My, Oh, Memoirs!

It turns out that I like to read memoirs. Here is a list of a few I’ve read. There were many ways I could have categorized them (Mental Health Memoirs, Conversion Memoirs, Holocaust Memoirs, Memoirs by Authors, etc.), but there are so many categories (some of which crosscut each other) that I have decided just to list them alphabetically. They are eclectic; that’s kind of the point.

All of these are compulsively readable, and some are beautifully written. I can recommend all of them.

  • Angela’s Ashes: Frank McCourt grows up poor in New York and Ireland (did not get a chance to finish this one).
  • Anything Can Happen: George Papashvily emigrates from Georgia to the United States, and conquers it with his charming personality.
  • Bitter is the New Black: Jen Lancaster loses her lucrative job, goes through a long period of unemployment, and learns to live frugally.
  • Brave Girl Eating: Harriet Brown fights for her daughter through the latter’s anorexia, and discovers some surprising things about the disease in the process.
  • Bruchko: Bruce Olson goes to live with Motilone people in the jungles on the Columbia/Venezuela border.
  • Confessions of a Sociopath: M.E. Thomas is not ashamed of the fact that she’s a sociopath.
  • The Cross and the Switchblade: In the late 1950s, backcountry pastor David Wilkerson feels called to go to New York City and minister to teenaged gang members.
  • Dear Father, Dear Son: In an 8-hour conversation, Larry Elder finally discovers his estranged father’s backstory.
  • Evidence Not Seen: Darlene Deibler Rose was an American missionary in Indonesia when the Japanese army took over, was sent to a concentration camp, and was suspected of being a spy.
  • Ex-Friends: Norman Podhoretz splits with his former friends Allen Ginsberg, Lionel and Diana Trilling, Lillian Hellman, Hannah Arendt, and Norman Mailer.
  • Half Assed: Jenette Fulda loses half her body weight, but not her sense of humor.
  • The Hiding Place: Corrie ten Boom’s family hides Jews in occupied Holland, gets betrayed.
  • Girl(ish): Lara Lillibridge was raised by her mother and her mother’s lesbian partner before gay marriage was legal.
  • The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo: Comedienne Amy Schumur grows up.
  • The Great Good Thing: Andrew Klavan, secular Jew and hard-boiled crime novelist, comes to faith in Christ.
  • The Greening of Mrs. Duckworth: Marion Duckworth overcomes her shyness.
  • Maus (graphic novel): Artie Speigelman recalls his difficult relationship with his father and his father’s youth in Nazi-occupied Poland.
  • Maxed Out: Katrina Alcorn suffers from burnout while trying to be a mom who works FT outside the home.
  • Minding the Manor: Mollie Moran recalls being a scullery maid in the 1930s.
  • My Age of Anxiety: Journalist Scott Stossel suffers from severe anxiety and writes an insightful book about the phenomenon.
  • Night: Elie Wiesel and his father are sent to a concentration camp.
  • Not That Kind of Girl: Lena Dunham grows up in New York City.
  • On Writing: Stephen King’s life influences his career as a novelist.
  • Orange is the New Black: Piper Kerman, now in her early 30s, gets arrested on a 10-year-old drug charge.
  • Pale Girl Speaks: Red-haired, fair-skinned California girl Hillary Fogelson gets skin cancer.
  • Princess: Jean Sassoon tells the story she got from interviews with “Sultana” about growing up in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
  • Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: Rosaria Champagne Butterfield was a lesbian activist college professor when her life was “train wrecked” by God.
  • Surprised by Joy: C.S. Lewis, sarcastic Irish atheist, comes to faith in Christ.
  • Wild Swans: Jung Chang’s grandmother narrowly escaped having her feet bound. Her mother was an idealistic young communist. Jung and her family lived through the horrors of the Cultural Revolution.

Want to Read

Darkness Visible: William Styron chronicles his depression.

9 thoughts on “Oh My, Oh, Memoirs!

    1. Interesting question. I just lucked in to most of these by picking up something that caught my eye and then getting drawn in by the writing. Of course they vary hugely. Some are super heavy, some light and funny.

      I would say, read memoirs with themes that interest you. On this list, you might check out the mental-health-related ones, unless you need a break from work.

      Or memoirs from time periods you want to learn more about. The Hiding Place is an amazing Holocaust memoir.

      If you just want a light read, some on this list are funny, like Anything Can Happen, Half Assed, and Pale Girl Speaks.

      Also, if an author you admire has written an memoir, read that. It’s likely to be well written.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Em @ The Geeky Jock

        I think a break from mental health would be good at this point 🙂 Important — but, wow, there’s a lot of it going on right now! Maybe an author memoir … Hmm … I have an appointment scheduled at my local bookstore for this Saturday. I’ll see what I can find!

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Em @ The Geeky Jock

            I’m just so thankful that they’re offering appointments. Not that I don’t have a zillion unread books at home … but it’s been 4 days since I’ve seen a non-family human and even my little introvert brain is struggling with it! ha ha!

            Liked by 1 person

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