Memoir

I don't know what you know me from : confessions of a co-star book cover

I don't know what you know me from : confessions of a co-star

Judy Greer

eAUDIO
Memoir

The prolific actress best known for her appearances in such productions as the Oscar-winning The Descendants presents a collection of comedic essays on topics ranging from stepmotherhood to midnight shopping trips at the pharmacy.

Meredith's picture

Judy Greer. If the name isn’t familiar, I’m sure it will be after you Google it. With more than 18 working years in Hollywood, and 90+ film and TV credits to her name, she’s one of those actors who seems to be in everything. She’s a star, yet she isn’t. She’s worked with George Clooney and Paul Rudd and Jennifer Lopez, but can still run to a 24-hour drug store without fear of being recognized. In fact, if/when she is recognized, the people who stop her aren’t sure why they’ve stopped her. Best of both worlds? The work, some fame, but no paparazzi? (If you aren’t going to Google Judy Greer, she played Lucy in 13 Going on 30; Maggie Lang in Ant-Man; Karen Mitchell in Jurassic World; and Kitty Sanchez in Arrested Development.) This is an entertaining memoir. Judy Greer is funny, honest – some might think she’s too honest, but I loved it – and anyone who’s curious about what happens behind-the-scenes in Hollywood will get a little bit of gossip. Not dirt – she’s not stupid; she still has to make a living – but the next time you see a celebrity looking like they wish they were anywhere else on the red carpet or at a press junket, Greer’s book will explain why both aren’t fun. -Meredith

Scrappy little nobody book cover

Scrappy little nobody

Anna Kendrick

eAUDIO
Memoir

A collection of humorous autobiographical essays by the Academy Award-nominated actress and star of Up in the Air and Pitch Perfect. Even before she made a name for herself on the silver screen starring in films like Pitch Perfect, Up in the Air, Twilight, and Into the Woods, Anna Kendrick was unusually small, weird, and “10 percent defiant.” At the ripe age of thirteen, she had already resolved to “keep the crazy inside my head where it belonged. Forever. But here’s the thing about crazy: It. Wants. Out.” In Scrappy Little Nobody, she invites readers inside her brain, sharing extraordinary and charmingly ordinary stories with candor and winningly wry observations. With her razor-sharp wit, Anna recounts the absurdities she’s experienced on her way to and from the heart of pop culture as only she can—from her unusual path to the performing arts (Vanilla Ice and baggy neon pants may have played a role) to her double life as a middle-school student who also starred on Broadway to her initial “dating experiments” (including only liking boys who didn’t like her back) to reviewing a binder full of butt doubles to her struggle to live like an adult woman instead of a perpetual “man-child.” Enter Anna’s world and follow her rise from “scrappy little nobody” to somebody who dazzles on the stage, the screen, and now the page—with an electric, singular voice, at once familiar and surprising, sharp and sweet, funny and serious (well, not that serious).

Meredith's picture

Hands down one of my favorite celebrity memoirs! Anna Kendrick's memoir doesn't break the mold. It follows the same pattern as most celebrity memoirs of a moment that sparks the book's idea, a look back on childhood, first acting gig (or gigs), etc., but she writes in such a way that you don't care. It's entertaining. She's funny. She swears just as much as you do in ordinary conversations and she doesn't apologize for it, dammit! Kendrick covers a variety of topics, from sex and dating to walking the red carpet and stylists. Again, there are no new revelations if you've read celebrity memoirs, but it was interesting to learn about how she was still struggling to make ends meet when the industry was celebrating her breakout performance and Oscar nomination for Up in the Air. (She stole toilet paper from one of the hotels she slept in during the press tour. How's that for glamour?) I've loved Kendrick's performances in Pitch Perfect and Up in the Air, and I love whenever she appears on James Corden's show. She's funny, doesn't take herself too seriously, works hard but at the same time understands the craziness that is Hollywood, and plans amazing fake parties. -Meredith

Buffering : unshared tales of a life fully loaded book cover

Buffering : unshared tales of a life fully loaded

Hannah Hart

eAUDIO
Memoir

"Hello, my darlings! I am incredibly pleased to present Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded! As a big fan of memoirs, I wanted to try my hand at writing about the events of my life that deserve a little more consideration than can be accomplished in 140-characters or a 6-minute vlog. Now on the cusp of turning 30, I'm ready to expose some parts of my life that I haven't shared before. Before, it was all about privacy, process and time. And now the time has come! I'm ready to put myself out there, for you. I'm a little nervous about all these vulnerable words going into the world, these tales about my love life, the wrestling I've done with faith, how I feel about sex and my family and myself. I've had a lot of trials, a lot of errors, but also a lot of passion. Here's the thing -- I've always found comfort in the stories shared by others, so I hope my stories, now that I feel ready to tell them, will bring you some comfort too. And when you read this book please remember: Buffering is just the time it takes to process. Enjoy!"

Meredith's picture

I didn't know who Hannah Hart was when I downloaded the audio version of this book onto my smartphone (Yay Overdrive!). What intrigued me was the description of exploring her past through journal entries. As a journal keeper myself, I was all "Heck yes!" I wasn't disappointed. Hannah is articulate, personable, entertaining -- everything a successful YouTube star needs. She's also the daughter of a woman who suffers from schizophrenia. Her mother's mental illness was untreated throughout her childhood. Statistically, Hannah shouldn't be as successful as she is. Human strength is incredible. This is a wonderful memoir. It's funny. It's heartbreaking. It's entertaining. It's tear-jerking. It's a story of ones personal journey, but also a commentary on our completely broken mental health system. I was left feeling more than I expected when I started this book. I'm glad I gave it a chance. You should, too. -Meredith

You're never weird on the internet (almost) : a memoir book cover

You're never weird on the internet (almost) : a memoir

Felicia Day

eAUDIO
Memoir

The entertainment artist best known for her web videos shares stories of her homeschooled childhood, her rags-to-riches professional successes, and her thoughts on such topics as creativity, video games, and feminism.

Meredith's picture

Confession: I did not know who Felicia Day was when I started her book. At least, I didn't think I did. As it turns out, I was wrong. She played Vi on Buffy and I love Buffy. Yeah, I had to Google her to remind myself who Vi was, but OK! She was on an awesome show. It turns out, that was just a small part of her awesome life. I listened to the audio version of Day's memoir and was captivated from the start. She's funny, sarcastic, creative, talented, and awkward. Adorably awkward. You can't be intimidated by her success because of that. Instead, you want to give her a hug, say great job and wish her the best in her future endeavors. I'm not a gamer, but it was interesting to get a peek into that world, as well as see how creative people carve a life for themselves. I hope more people follow Day's path, especially girls who worry their interests make them weird. Weird is awesome. -Meredith

Educated : a memoir book cover

Educated : a memoir

Tara Westover

BIOGRAPHY Westover, Tara
Memoir

"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.

Meredith's picture

I will admit that this book did not grab my attention the first few chapters and that worried me. So many people I admire raved about Educated. I didn’t want them to be wrong. They weren’t. I can’t find the words to describe what it was like to read Tara Westover’s memoir. To have her strength and her courage, to continue to push herself when the world, her family, pulled in the other direction. This is one of those books that while I was reading it, I was sad because I’d never get to read it for the first time ever again. An amazing story by an amazing voice. -Meredith

The Ravenmaster : my life with the ravens at the Tower of London book cover

The Ravenmaster : my life with the ravens at the Tower of London

Christopher Skaife

942.15 /Skaife
Memoir, Animals

"For centuries, the Tower of London has been home to a group of famous avian residents: the ravens. Each year they are seen by millions of visitors, and they have become as integral a part of the Tower as its ancient stones. But their role is even more important than that--legend has it that if the ravens should ever leave, the Tower will crumble into dust, and great harm will befall the kingdom. One man is personally responsible for ensuring that such a disaster never comes to pass--the Ravenmaster. The current holder of the position is Yeoman Warder Christopher Skaife, and in this fascinating, entertaining, and touching book he memorably describes the ravens' formidable intelligence, their idiosyncrasies, and their occasionally wicked sense of humor. Over the years in which he has cared for the physical and mental well-being of these remarkable birds, Christopher Skaife has come to know them like no one else. They are not the easiest of charges--as he reveals, they are much given to mischief, and their escapades have often led him into unlikely, and sometimes even undignified, situations. Now, in the first intimate behind-the-scenes account of life with the ravens of the Tower, the Ravenmaster himself shares the folklore, history, and superstitions surrounding both the birds and their home. [This] is a compelling, inspiring, and irreverent story that will delight and surprise anyone with an interest in British history or animal behavior."--Dust jacket.

Heidi L's picture

I liked this book on so many levels: it's well-written and funny in lots of places; many years ago I went to the Tower of London and remember well the ravens there; and I found it interesting to read the author's account of working--and living, 24/7--in such a public place. The best parts, though, are the ravens and their personalities and actions. By the end of the book, I was on a first-name basis with them and I hope that I can return to the Tower someday to see them again. -Heidi L

All the Wild Hungers book cover

All the Wild Hungers

Karen Babine

616.994 /Babine
Memoir, Literary Nonfiction

“My sister is pregnant with a Lemon this week, Week 14, and this is amusing. My mother’s uterine tumor, the size of a cabbage, is Week 30, and this is terrifying.” When her mother is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, Karen Babine—a cook, collector of thrifted vintage cast iron, and fiercely devoted daughter, sister, and aunt—can’t help but wonder: feed a fever, starve a cold, but what do we do for cancer? And so she commits herself to preparing her mother anything she will eat, a vegetarian diving headfirst into the unfamiliar world of bone broth and pot roast. In these essays, Babine ponders the intimate connections between food, family, and illness. What draws us toward food metaphors to describe disease? What is the power of language, of naming, in a medical culture where patients are too often made invisible? How do we seek meaning where none is to be found—and can we create it from scratch? And how, Babine asks as she bakes cookies with her small niece and nephew, does a family create its own food culture across generations? Generous and bittersweet, All the Wild Hungers is an affecting chronicle of one family’s experience of illness and of a writer’s culinary attempt to make sense of the inexplicable.

Melody's picture

Really beautiful language and emotionally gripping. -Melody

I'm still here : black dignity in a world made for whiteness book cover

I'm still here : black dignity in a world made for whiteness

Austin Channing Brown

305.896 /Brown
Memoir, Biographies

The author's first encounter with a racialized America came at age seven, when her parents told her they named her Austin to deceive future employers into thinking she was a white man. She grew up in majority-white schools, organizations, and churches, and has spent her life navigating America's racial divide as a writer, a speaker, and an expert helping organizations practice genuine inclusion. While so many institutions claim to value diversity in their mission statements, many fall short of matching actions to words. Brown highlights how white middle-class evangelicalism has participated in the rise of racial hostility, and encourages the reader to confront apathy and recognize God's ongoing work in the world.

Anne M's picture

Brown's powerful memoir dives deep into her experience as a black woman in the United States. She takes a holistic approach in describing interactions and relationships with white people from interviews to neighborhoods to school. Brown is a writer and lecturer on Christianity and she addresses race and religion in this book. -Anne M

Sign my name to freedom : a memoir of a pioneering life book cover

Sign my name to freedom : a memoir of a pioneering life

Betty Reid Soskin

979.4 /Soskin
Memoir, Biographies

"In Betty Reid Soskin's 96 years of living, she has been a witness to a grand sweep of American history. When she was born in 1921, the lynching of African-Americans was a national epidemic, blackface minstrel shows were the most popular American form of entertainment, white women had only just won the right to vote, and most African-Americans in the Deep South could not vote at all. From her great-grandmother, who had been enslaved until her mid-20s, Betty heard stories of slavery and the times of terror and struggle for black folk that followed. In her lifetime, Betty has watched the nation begin to confront its race and gender biases when forced to come together in the World War II era; seen our differences nearly break us apart again in the upheavals of the civil rights and Black Power eras; and, finally, lived long enough to witness both the election of an African-American president and the re-emergence of a militant, racist far right. Blending together selections from many of Betty's hundreds of blog entries with interviews, letters, and speeches, Sign My Name to Freedom invites you along on that journey, through the words and thoughts of a national treasure who has never stopped looking at herself, the nation, or the world with fresh eyes"--

Anne M's picture

For another memoir spanning the 20th Century, check out National Park Ranger and nonagenarian Betty Reid Soskin’s “Sign My Name to Freedom: a Memoir of a Pioneering Life.” -Anne M

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