Favorite memoirs, part two

When I was writing my favorite memoirs post last week, it went longer than I had intended, and so became part one. Here’s part two:

The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
This straight-forward, tell-it-like-it-is memoir is one girl’s story of a nomadic life with an artist mother and an alcoholic father. Jeanette and her siblings were malnourished and neglected and sometimes forced to steal in order to eat. When she grew up and got away from that life, she hid who she was and where she came from, until she decided to write it all down. She isn’t bitter, and this memoir isn’t full of hatred and resentment. It’s an honest telling of one girl’s life, and is one of the best books I’ve ever read.

A Circle of Quiet: A Crosswick’s Journal by Madeleine L’Engle
As much as I enjoy L’Engle’s fiction, I love her nonfiction and poetry even more. This is the first in a series of her journals that were published, and it’s wonderful.

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah
I listened to this memoir on audio, read by the author. Hearing Ishmael’s story told in his own voice was incredibly powerful. His story of being a boy soldier in Sierra Leone is graphic and heart-breaking, and one that needs to be heard.

Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography by Sidney Poitier
If you are a listener of audiobooks, this is one book that should be heard. Poitier reads it in his own velvety voice, chuckling and pausing in reflection as he remembers stories of his poor childhood in the Bahamas, and his career as an actor.

The Woman Who Can’t Forget: The Extraordinary Story of Living with the Most Remarkable Memory Known to Science by Jill Price, with Bart Davis
This is the true story of a woman with an amazing condition, a condition that impacts every area of her life. I don’t know how to adequately describe Ms. Price’s condition, so I’m going to use the synopsis from Barnes & Noble: “Jill Price has the first diagnosed case of a memory condition called “hyperthymestic syndrome” — the continuous, automatic, autobiographical recall of every day of her life since she was fourteen. Give her any date from that year on, and she can almost instantly tell you what day of the week it was, what she did on that day, and any major world event or cultural happening that took place, as long as she heard about it that day. Her memories are like scenes from home movies, constantly playing in her head, backward and forward, through the years; not only does she make no effort to call her memories to mind, she cannot stop them.”

Related posts:
Favorite history books
Favorite books about reading and writing
Favorite historical fiction
Favorite memoirs, part one

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11 Responses to Favorite memoirs, part two

  1. Sandy
    Twitter: youvegottaread

    First of all, I bought A Long Way Gone awhile back on sale at Borders, and it is still sitting on my shelf! Thanks for getting that puppy moved up my list! But here is the coolest thing. Last August, my husband I were in Chicago (we go every year for a business meeting) I was lucky enough to get to be third row, center stage in Oprah’s audience and witness two tapings. (I’m not a fan of Oprah but it was still exciting). Who was one of the guests, you ask? It was Jill the memory lady! Everyone got one of her books, and I’ve never read it! She was truly an amazing person, and also she was someone with alot of demons. My heart broke for her. BTW, the other guest was another Jill, a young Harvard brain scientist that had a massive stroke, analyzed her symptoms while it was occuring, and came back to a full recovery. She was amazing too, and I did read her book. It was one of the first books I reviewed on my blog!

  2. Riva says:

    I’ve been reading a lot of memoirs lately, and my favorite has to be “When Wanderers Cease to Roam” by Vivian Swift. It’s an absolutely beautiful book about Swift’s year of “staying put” in a small New England(?) town. In addition to beautiful prose, it’s illustrated with the author’s watercolors and line drawings.

  3. Oh, I LOVED The Glass Castle. One that I find somewhat similar (although it isn’t quite on the same topic) is Sickened.

  4. I have The Glass Castle, so I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it. The Woman Who Can’t Forget sounds fascinating! Thanks for this post!

  5. CarrieK
    Twitter: booksandmovies

    Sandy – cool story! I could tell she had a lot of emotional stuff she was dealing with. Every once in a while I think about that book and wonder how she’s doing.

    Riva – That sounds like a book I would love! I’m adding it to my wish list.

    Jen – I have never heard of Sickened – I’ll have to check it out.

    Avis – you’re welcome!

  6. Belle
    Twitter: msbookish

    I just got A Circle of Quiet from Bookmooch last month – I am looking forward to it. And thanks for the tip about Measure of a Man – I have an Audible credit I’ve been wanting to use up.

  7. CarrieK
    Twitter: booksandmovies

    Belle – you’re welcome – Measure of a Man is wonderful on audio.

  8. Kathy says:

    Oh my gosh, I actually got to hear Jeanette Walls speak this weekend and she was fabulously fascinating. Her mother lives in a trailer on her property now.

  9. CarrieK
    Twitter: booksandmovies

    Kathy – I’m so jealous! But happy for you – what a great experience. 🙂

  10. Rebecca says:

    I loved The Glass Castle and A Long Way Gone is on my TBR list. I love memoirs. You have selected some really good ones in your two posts.

  11. CarrieK
    Twitter: booksandmovies

    Rebecca – I’m glad – hope you enjoy the ones you read!