This is my list of some of the memoirs I love. It’s not a complete list of memoirs, so please do not write to admonish me about the memoirs I left out. Do write to tell me what your favorites are.
Here it comes, right up front: You will notice some glaring omissions. The Glass Castle, for example, a favorite of millions but not of mine. Angela’s Ashes, The Liar’s Club, and Just Kids, ditto. I’m sorry. We’re not going to agree on everything.
Also, I haven’t read all the memoirs I’ve meant to read, not by a long shot, and that makes for some glaring omissions too. Like Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov, Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen, and hundreds more.
SOME FAVORITE MEMOIRS,TO DATE, IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER:
- Stop-Time, Frank Conroy
- Plant Dreaming Deep, May Sarton
- Heaven’s Coast, Mark Doty
- Singing Family of the Cumberlands, Jean Ritchie
- Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer
- A Three Dog Life, Abigail Thomas
- The Suicide Index, Joan Wickersham
- Merle’s Door, Ted Kerasote
- The Story of My Father, Sue Miller
- Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy, Geralyn Lucas
- Mourning Diary, Roland Barthes
- Darkness Visible, William Styron
- Daughters and Rebels, Jessica Mitford
- The Duke of Deception, Geoffrey Wolff
- This Boy’s Life, Tobias Wolff
BOOK FEAST: If you’d like to see a rather amazing reading list of “contemporary creative nonfiction,” compiled by writer Sue William Silverman, look for it here.
FYI / Independent Bookstores from Coast to Coast
Vroman’s Bookstore, Pasadena CA
The Poisoned Pen Bookstore, Scottsdale AZ
Carmichael’s Bookstore, Louisville KY