Memoir

Wild : from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail book cover

Wild : from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Cheryl Strayed

917.9 /Strayed
Memoir

A powerful, blazingly honest, inspiring memoir: the story of a 1,100 mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe--and built her back up again.

Meredith's picture

I don't know why I waited so long to read this book, but I'm so glad I did! I loved nearly every part of it, from her relationship to her mother and the need to do something different, to the honest truth that she was totally unprepared for her journey and still she walked. There were a few instances that kind of dragged, but they were few and far between. She was walking for miles on end; what did I expect? -Meredith

Hey, kiddo book cover

Hey, kiddo

Jarrett Krosoczka

362.2913 /Krosoczka
Graphic Novels, Memoir, Young Adult

"In kindergarten, Jarrett Krosoczka's teacher asks him to draw his family, with a mommy and a daddy. But Jarrett's family is much more complicated than that. His mom is an addict, in and out of rehab, and in and out of Jarrett's life. His father is a mystery -- Jarrett doesn't know where to find him, or even what his name is. Jarrett lives with his grandparents -- two very loud, very loving, very opinionated people who had thought they were through with raising children until Jarrett came along"--

Angela's picture

This book is getting rave reviews and was easy to see why. Hey, Kiddo is the graphic memoir of author-illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Raised by his colorful grandparents, who adopted him because his mother was an incarcerated heroin addict, Krosoczka didn't know his father's name until he saw his birth certificate when registering for a school ski trip. Hey, Kiddo traces Krosoczka's search for his father, his difficult interactions with his mother, his day-to-day life with his grandparents, and his path to becoming an artist. The artwork does, as intended, look like a memory or dream sequence and adds to the intensity of the book. It is a very honest description of his life growing up and at times can be very dark. Knowing the books he now writes and illustrates for children, it is amazing to see him overcome his upbringing to be the success he is today, it proves to be a very powerful message for everyone to take away. -Angela

The Victorian and the romantic : a memoir, a love story, and a friendship across time book cover

The Victorian and the romantic : a memoir, a love story, and a friendship across time

Nell Stevens

BIOGRAPHY Stevens, Nell
Memoir

"History meets memoir in two true-life love stories between two sets of writers--one unfolding in nineteenth century Rome, one in present-day Paris and London--which both reveal the longings and ambitions of the very contemporary Nell Stevens. In 1857, English novelist Elizabeth Gaskell completed her most famous work: the biography of her dear friend, the recently deceased Charlotte Bronte. As publication loomed Elizabeth was keen to escape the reviews and, leaving her wholesome, dull minister husband at home, traveled with her daughters to Rome. And it was there that she met the American writer and critic, Charles Eliot Norton. Seventeen years her junior, he was the love of her life. She knew they could never be together--it would be an unthinkable breach--but when she returned home to Mr. Gaskell, she discovered to her horror that while she was gone he had betrayed her--betrayed her work--in a way that she is not sure she can ever forgive. In 2013 Nell Stevens is in a PhD program in London, halfheartedly pursuing a post in academia to keep her afloat while she follows her true vocation as a writer. Her dissertation on the artistic expatriate community of nineteenth-century Rome isn't quite coming together. But questions of scholarly methodology take a back seat to her budding romance with Max, a soulful American with an unfinished screenplay. That is, until their relationship begins to founder, and the echoes between Nell's life and that of her historical subject become too strong to ignore. As these two storylines meet up in delightful, funny, and unexpected ways, The Victorian and the Romantic evokes the bittersweet ache of lost love and the consolations of female writerly ambition"--

Heidi L's picture

An in depth look at one slice of Elizabeth Gaskell's life, in the context of a similar modern-day situation. Author Nell Stevens writes beautifully, and you probably wouldn't guess from the subject matter that this book is a page-turner. Recommended for Gaskell fans. -Heidi L

Relish : my life in the kitchen book cover

Relish : my life in the kitchen

Lucy Knisley

641.5092 /Knisley
Memoir

"Lucy Knisley loves food. The daughter of a chef and a gourmet, this talented young cartoonist comes by her obsession honestly. In her forthright, thoughtful, and funny memoir, Lucy traces key episodes in her life thus far, framed by what she was eating at the time and lessons learned about food, cooking, and life. Each chapter is bookended with an illustrated recipe-- many of them treasured family dishes, and a few of them Lucy's original inventions" -- from publisher's web site.

Meredith's picture

Reading this book will make you hungry. It will also make you approach preparing dinner in a new light. You aren't just making a meal, you're making a memory. -Meredith

Let your mind run : a memoir of thinking my way to victory book cover

Let your mind run : a memoir of thinking my way to victory

Deena Kastor

796.42092 /Kastor
Memoir, Sports, Health

"From an Olympic medalist runner and the record-holder in the women's marathon and half-marathon, a vividly inspirational memoir on using positive psychology and brain science to achieve unparalleled athletic success"--

Candice's picture

Deena Kastor is a phenomenal runner with numerous medals and records, but it hasn't always been easy. Her book is engaging and inspirational, and shows how some of the more turbulent times in her life and career have made her the head-strong, committed person she is today. -Candice

Lab girl book cover

Lab girl

Hope Jahren

570.92 /Jahren
Nonfiction, Science, Memoir

"An illuminating debut memoir of a woman in science; a moving portrait of a longtime friendship; and a stunningly fresh look at plants that will forever change how you see the natural world,"--Amazon.com.

Jason's picture

Added by Jason

Furiously happy : a funny book about horrible things book cover

Furiously happy : a funny book about horrible things

Jenny Lawson

BIOGRAPHY Lawson, Jenny
Memoir

"In Furiously Happy, #1 New York Times bestselling author Jenny Lawson explores her lifelong battle with mental illness. A hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety? That sounds like a terrible idea. But terrible ideas are what Jenny does best.As Jenny says: "Some people might think that being 'furiously happy' is just an excuse to be stupid and irresponsible and invite a herd of kangaroos over to your house without telling your husband first because you suspect he would say no since he's never particularly liked kangaroos. And that would be ridiculous because no one would invite a herd of kangaroos into their house. Two is the limit. I speak from personal experience. My husband says that none is the new limit. I say he should have been clearer about that before I rented all those kangaroos. "Most of my favorite people are dangerously fucked-up but you'd never guess because we've learned to bare it so honestly that it becomes the new normal. Like John Hughes wrote in The Breakfast Club, 'We're all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it.' Except go back and cross out the word 'hiding.'"Furiously Happy is about "taking those moments when things are fine and making them amazing, because those moments are what make us who we are, and they're the same moments we take into battle with us when our brains declare war on our very existence. It's the difference between "surviving life" and "living life". It's the difference between "taking a shower" and "teaching your monkey butler how to shampoo your hair." It's the difference between being "sane" and being "furiously happy."Lawson is beloved around the world for her inimitable humor and honesty, and in Furiously Happy, she is at her snort-inducing funniest. This is a book about embracing everything that makes us who we are - the beautiful and the flawed - and then using it to find joy in fantastic and outrageous ways. Because as Jenny's mom says, "Maybe 'crazy' isn't so bad after all." Sometimes crazy is just right"--

Amanda's picture

A truly hilarious book about mental illness! -Amanda

Educated : a memoir book cover

Educated : a memoir

Tara Westover

BIOGRAPHY Westover, Tara
Memoir, Nonfiction

"Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her "head-for-the-hills bag." In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father's junkyard. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara's older brothers became violent. As a way out, Tara began to educate herself, learning enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University. Her quest for knowledge would transform her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she'd traveled too far, if there was still a way home. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Tara Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education offers: the perspective to see one's life through new eyes, and the will to change it."--Provided by publisher.

Maeve's picture

Educated is a fascinating read. Westover's resilience is remarkable. While some members of her family dispute her recollection of her childhood if even half of what she writes is true her ability to achieve so much is still extraordinary. -Maeve

The art of the wasted day book cover

The art of the wasted day

Patricia Hampl

818.5409 /Hampl
Nonfiction, Literary Nonfiction, Memoir, Travel

In an effort to discover the value of daydreaming and leisure, the author sets out on a journey that will take her to the homes of people who famously wasted time daydreaming, but were better for it, including Gregor Mendel.

Candice's picture

Hampl extols the happiness and contentment that can come from simply being, the up-side of letting things go, taking a look around, going within. She travels far and wide to find others who hit upon this idea in one way or another, at the same time seeking to recover some sort of 'ease' that has missing from her life since the death of her husband. A sweet, quiet book. -Candice

Apprenticed to Venus : my secret life with Anaïs Nin book cover

Apprenticed to Venus : my secret life with Anaïs Nin

Tristine Rainer

818.52 NinYr
Memoir

“I first met Anaïs in 1962 at her Village apartment, when I was an eighteen-year-old virgin.” And so begins Tristine Rainer’s years as Anaïs Nin’s accomplice, keeping Nin’s confidences—including that of her bigamy—even after Nin’s death and the passing of her husbands, until now. Apprenticed to Venus charts Rainer’s coming of age under the guidance of Anaïs Nin: lover to Henry Miller, Parisian diarist, author of the erotic bestseller Delta of Venus, and feminist icon of the sexual revolution. As an inexperienced young woman, Tristine was dazzled by the sophisticated bohemian author and sought her instruction in becoming a woman. From their first meeting in Greenwich Village through Nin’s death in 1977, Tristine remained a fixture of Anaïs Nin’s inner circle, implicated in the mysterious author’s secrets—while simultaneously finding her own way through love, lust, and loss. From personal memories to dramatized scenarios based on Nin’s revelations to the author, Apprenticed to Venus blurs the lines between novel and memoir, bringing Anaïs Nin to life in new way—a pioneer whose mantra was, “A woman has as much right to pleasure as a man!” A compelling look at the intricacies—and risks—of female friendship and the mentor-protégé relationship, Tristine Rainer’s Apprenticed to Venus is the intimate story of an entanglement only she could tell.

Heidi K's picture

I have always been interested in the literary figure Anais Nin, ever since I was 12 and discovered a dusty old bound copy of her diaries in a library. This is an interesting perspective on Nin from a person who got closer to her than most. Nin was purposefully very secretive and enigmatic - there is much, much more on that topic in this book. Recommended if you like literary memoirs and/or Anais Nin. -Heidi K