Memoir

I will not fear : my story of a lifetime of building faith under fire book cover

I will not fear : my story of a lifetime of building faith under fire

Melba Beals

379.263 /Beals
Memoir, Biographies

In I Will Not Fear, Beals takes you on an unforgettable journey through terror, oppression, and persecution, highlighting the kind of faith we all need to survive in a world full of heartbreak and anger. She shows how the deep faith we develop during our most difficult moments is the kind of faith that can change our families, our communities, and even the world.

Anne M's picture

Journalist Melba Beals, also part of the Little Rock Nine, has a new autobiography “I Will Not Fear: My Story of a Lifetime of Building Faith under Fire.” She explores how her faith helped her face everyday realities as a person of color, on top of being involved in the integration of Little Rock Central High School. -Anne M

Becoming book cover

Becoming

Michelle Obama

BIOGRAPHY Obama, Michelle
Memoir, Biographies

"An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the United States. When she was a little girl, Michelle Robinson's world was the South Side of Chicago, where she and her brother, Craig, shared a bedroom in their family's upstairs apartment and played catch in the park, and where her parents, Fraser and Marian Robinson, raised her to be outspoken and unafraid. But life soon look her much further afield, from the halls of Princeton, where she learned for the first time what if felt like to be the only black woman in a room, to the glassy office tower where she worked as a high-powered corporate lawyer--and where, one summer morning, a law student named Barack Obama appeared in her office and upended all her carefully made plans. Here, for the first time, Michelle Obama describes the early years of her marriage as she struggles to balance her work and family with her husband's fast-moving political career. She takes us inside their private debate over whether he should make a run for the presidency and her subsequent role as a popular but oft-criticized figure during his campaign. Narrating with grace, good humor, and uncommon candor, she provides a vivid, behind-the-scenes account of her family's history-making launch into the global limelight as well as their life inside the White House over eight momentous years--as she comes to know her country and her country comes to know her. [This book] takes us through modest Iowa kitchens and ballrooms at Buckingham Palace, through moments of heart-stopping grief and profound resilience, bringing us deep into the soul of a singular, groundbreaking figure in history as she strives to live authentically, marshaling her personal strength and voice in service of a set of higher ideals. In telling her story with honesty and boldness, she issues a challenge to the rest of us: Who are we and who do we want to become?"--Dust jacket.

Anne M's picture

The most popular book at the Iowa City Public Library right now is Michelle Obama’s new memoir, “Becoming.” Obama gives an intimate account of her life growing up in a working class family in Chicago to serving as the First Lady of the United States—a life of contrasts. Her memoir is honest and real, making the life of an American icon tangible. -Anne M

Black is the body : stories from my grandmother's time, my mother's time, and mine book cover

Black is the body : stories from my grandmother's time, my mother's time, and mine

Emily Bernard

305.48896 /Bernard
Memoir, Literary Nonfiction, Biographies

An extraordinary, exquisitely written memoir (of sorts) that looks at race--in a fearless, penetrating, honest, true way--in twelve telltale, connected, deeply personal essays that explore, up-close, the complexities and paradoxes, the haunting memories and ambushing realities of growing up black in the South with a family name inherited from a white man, of getting a PhD from Yale, of marrying a white man from the North, of adopting two babies from Ethiopia, of teaching at a white college and living in America's New England today. From the acclaimed editor of Remember Me to Harlem: The Letters of Langston Hughes and Carl Van Vechten ("A major contribution," Henry Louis Gates; "Magnificent," Washington Post).

Anne M's picture

Emily Bernard’s acclaimed memoir, “Black is the Body: Stories from My Grandmother’s Time, My Mother’s Time, and Mine,” is a collection of personal essays documenting experiences from her own life. These stories follow her time growing up in the South, getting an education at Yale, and teaching at a college in northern New England. The poetic memoir illustrates how her experiences are formed and framed through the lens of race. She writes, "I am black--and brown, too. Brown is the body I was born into. Black is the body of the stories I tell." It is incredibly personal and beautifully written. -Anne M

Shrill : notes from a loud woman book cover

Shrill : notes from a loud woman

Lindy West

BIOGRAPHY West, Lindy
Nonfiction, Memoir

"Presents a series of essays by the American writer and comedian, dealing with issues of body image, popular culture, feminism, and social justice,"--NoveList.

Jason's picture

A six-episode series is coming to Hulu based on Lindy West's feminist memoir of the same name. -Jason

The only street in Paris : life on the Rue des Martyrs book cover

The only street in Paris : life on the Rue des Martyrs

Elaine Sciolino

944.361 /Sciolino
Nonfiction, Memoir

Rue des Martyrs is more than just a street, it's an enchanting and bustling community in Paris. At just over half a mile long, spanning between the Ninth and 18th arrondissements, this street is filled with four- and five-story buildings of varying architectural designs, with picturesque wrought-iron balconies and shuttered windows and small businesses at street level. As the author (La Seduction), a former Paris bureau chief for the New York Times, explores her neighborhood, she describes its fascinating history, from ancient churches and the saints and martyrs the street may be named after to the 19th-century Cirque Medrano. The quaint cafés and shops remain locally owned, per Paris law, and their merchants and artisans are the leading characters of the book--and of the street. There's Roger Henri, who pushes a cart with a bell offering his knife-sharpening services; Michou, the owner and creator of the transvestite cabaret at No. 80; and Laurence Gillery, the woman who restores antique barometers, the last of her kind. The atmosphere on rue des Martyrs is refreshing and enticing in our modern world.

Candice's picture

Elaine Sciolino's book is a lovely paean to the Rue des Martrys, a street that runs north-south through the 9th arrondisement of Paris, and into the village of Montmartre. She chronicles the lives and activities of the storefronts and shopkeepers who live and work there, as well as the life and changing nature of the street itself. The assortment of shops--many of them providing fresh foods and personal services--help to create a sense of community among the residents that seems uniquely Parisian, and possibly of a bygone era. -Candice

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"--

Angie'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. -Angie

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

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