The Very Best Memoirs I’ve Read Lately

Mar 1, 2015

I’ve promised you a monthly resource of some kind, and since I’m reading a ton of memoirs – to help me write what I’m writing (which is memoir-esque) – I decided this month’s resource would be some of my recent faves. I hope you enjoy!

Some of these are new books, some not, some I am re-reading, some for the first time.

I’m obsessed with stories of the “crux” moment when a woman chooses something truer, and I’m obsessed with learning how to write about my crux moments – hence this list.

The List

The Spiral Staircase: My Climb Out of Darkness by Karen Armstrong
A doozy of a choosing a truer life story.

When Women Were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams
“The unexpected gift was this: after seeing my life on a carousel of images, bored literally to tears, I decided, Why not do something arresting? Teaching at Carden had become intolerable the day Mrs. Jeffs had decided to postpone Christmas. The children’s singing of Yuletide carols was not up to her standard. She canceled the Christmas assembly until January. I applied for graduate school. Having children could wait. My desire to find my own voice in the world could not.”

A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip: A Memoir of Seventh Grade by Kevin Brockmeier
I know, Kevin is not a woman but had to include it: the way he writes about seventh grade, it’s like being there again. I know: ouch.

Broken: A Love Story: A Woman’s Journey Toward Redemption on the Wind River Indian Reservation by Lisa Jones
Lovingly crafted, vivid, not so much a spiritual adventure as a story of coming home to a deeper understanding of her place in the order of things.

The Encyclopedia of Trouble and Spaciousness by Rebecca Solnit
I’m a huge Solnit fan. She might cringe at being shelved with spiritual memoirs but these essays speak to my spirit, and are teaching me how to weave ideas together.

Leaving Before the Rains Come by Alexandra Fuller
I’m smack in the middle. How does she write like this??? Also just read her first memoir, Don’t Let’s go to the Dogs Tonight. How does she write like this???

okeefeGeorgia O’Keeffe: A Life by Roxana Robinson
Testing my memory of O’Keefe’s story and that story’s role in my life against research. Revealing a lot to me about how I have constructed my own “barn burning” narrative.

Are You Somebody?: The Accidental Memoir of a Dublin Woman by Nuala O’Faolain
Re-reading while asking myself, “why was this book so important to me?”

In the Body of the World by Eve Ensler
The best I can do is quote Naomi Klein, “Truly one of the most courageous and original works of our time.” Not a light read but I could not put it down.

So that’s what I’m reading. Do you have a favorite book about a woman choosing to live a life that feels more true? Please share here – it would be so helpful for my research!



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