Biography and Memoirs that are BETTER than Fiction

Sometimes true stories are even more captivating than those that are made up. Here are the best of the nonfiction books:
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flag this list (?)
2,007 books · 3,057 voters · list created September 27th, 2012 by Sarah (votes) .
Tags: biography, memoir
494 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Sarah 746 books
83 friends
Lesley 2264 books
70 friends
Vaughn 169 books
1202 friends
Apostrophe 51 books
845 friends
Jch 721 books
1 friend
Keith 45 books
0 friends
Andrea 85 books
16 friends
Carolyn 804 books
37 friends

More voters…


Comments Showing 1-50 of 58 (58 new)


message 1: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl Unfortunately, spam sitting at #1...


message 2: by Megan (new)

Megan How do you know it is spam?


message 3: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl Megan wrote: "How do you know it is spam?"

Many of the people who voted for it are GR authors who upvote each other's books on listopias.


message 4: by Megan (new)

Megan Ah, okay. That's annoying. :-/


message 5: by Donna (new)

Donna Davis Deleted for being historical fiction: These Happy Golden Years, #361.


message 6: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl Not all on the list are biographies and memoirs...seems to be a list of just general nonfiction. What's the point of titling it that way?


message 7: by Donna (new)

Donna Davis What else do you see that isn't a biography or memoir (or, I am assuming, an autobiography)?

I cannot believe over 400 people voted on this list and not one of them put Nelson Mandela in. He's there now.


message 8: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl I only looked at the fist few dozen books, but Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers and Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America jumped out at me.


message 9: by Donna (new)

Donna Davis Lobstergirl wrote: "I only looked at the fist few dozen books, but Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers and Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America jumped out at me."

Correct you are, and they are gone now. Also gone: Last Chance to See, by Douglas Adams, which falls under science, nature, and environment.


message 10: by Donna (last edited Aug 21, 2014 07:47PM) (new)

Donna Davis My last list corrections of the evening: Seduction of the Crimson Rose;The Betrayal of the Blood Lily; and The Temptation of the Night Jasmine are fiction, fiction, and fiction, and now they are gone, gone, and gone.

Famous last words! Before departing I just had to know about the Life...Circus...Platypus. It is listed as a collection of stories, and as nonfiction. Nowhere in the description or catalog is it listed as a memoir, and now it is also gone. Lobstergirl, your point is well taken, but since I have spent this much time on it, it seems worth my while to go ahead and clean it up. There are a lot of valid and very interesting titles, after all...I got a few for my to-reads list. Not entirely a waste.


message 11: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl I deleted Devil in the White City which is really not at all a bio or a memoir.


message 12: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl Deleted Uncle Tom's Cabin - fiction - and a history of the FBI, and a book about moviemaking which did not seem to be a bio or memoir.


message 13: by Donna (new)

Donna Davis Lobstergirl wrote: "Deleted Uncle Tom's Cabin - fiction - and a history of the FBI, and a book about moviemaking which did not seem to be a bio or memoir."

Thank you on both counts. Listopia is my guilty pleasure. Some people drink; some watch soap operas; I like Listopia. I appreciate your work.


message 15: by Donna (last edited Aug 22, 2014 12:10PM) (new)

Donna Davis Patricia wrote: "My Precious Life"

Did you want to add this book to the list? Only you (and other people who have read it) can do that. Below the title of the listopia and above the list of books are two tabs. Click on "Add books to this list", and then you can put your title in the search bar. Click "vote for book".

For librarians to add it, we must read the book first, and even if I had a copy, you might not want to wait that long!


message 16: by Booklovinglady (last edited Sep 01, 2014 10:15AM) (new)

Booklovinglady Removed for being a fictional novel: Schindler's List by Thomas Keneally (althought the novel is based on facts, it is still fiction...)

I'm pretty sure Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome (currently #63) is also fiction but as I'm not 100% sure, I've left it on the list (for now). Anyone?


message 17: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Ann Yes please, would like to add My Precious Life to listopia


message 18: by Donna (last edited Sep 01, 2014 11:52AM) (new)

Donna Davis Yo, Patricia. I cannot add, and the other librarians cannot add, your book to this list. If you want to add My Precious Life, you need to enter it on your own Goodreads list as "read" if you have not yet done so, and then follow the instructions above and add it to the list yourself.

The reason I cannot add it is because I have not read it. When a person adds a book, they vote for it. We only vote for books we have read or are in the process of reading, and that we deem worthy.

Bookloving, you're right about Three Men, which the Goodreads catalog lists as "literature", and it is now gone.


message 19: by Booklovinglady (new)

Booklovinglady Donna wrote: "Bookloving, you're right about Three Men, which the Goodreads catalog lists as "literature", and it is now gone. .."

Thanks Donna. Saves me having to dig up my yet unread copy :-)


message 20: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Ann Donna wrote: "Yo, Patricia. I cannot add, and the other librarians cannot add, your book to this list. If you want to add My Precious Life, you need to enter it on your own Goodreads list as "read" if you have n..."

Well, for some reason I'm not able to add this book, no matter what I do! Help!


message 21: by Donna (new)

Donna Davis Patricia wrote: "Donna wrote: "Yo, Patricia. I cannot add, and the other librarians cannot add, your book to this list. If you want to add My Precious Life, you need to enter it on your own Goodreads list as "read"..."
You may need to check with goodreads employees on this one. If you are the author, I am not sure you can add your own book, but I am not sure of that.


message 22: by Booklovinglady (last edited Sep 02, 2014 11:24PM) (new)

Booklovinglady Patricia wrote: "Well, for some reason I'm not able to add this book, no matter what I do! Help!..."

Quite an obvious question, I know, but just to make sure... As you don't seem to have the book on your shelves, you did click 'search' when you tried to add the book to this Listopia, I assume? (Instead of just using 'my books', I mean). I'm guessing you did, but as I said, 'just to make sure'... :-)


message 23: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Ann Booklovinglady wrote: "Patricia wrote: "Well, for some reason I'm not able to add this book, no matter what I do! Help!..."

Quite an obvious question, I know, but just to make sure... As you don't seem to have the book ..."


Yes I did.


message 24: by Donna (new)

Donna Davis Patricia wrote: "Booklovinglady wrote: "Patricia wrote: "Well, for some reason I'm not able to add this book, no matter what I do! Help!..."

Quite an obvious question, I know, but just to make sure... As you don't..."

I entered the title into the search bar and it did come up, but Patricia is the author. (That is you, Patricia? Not a different Patricia?) This is where my knowledge as a volunteer librarian hits the wall. We need a Goodreads employee or someone who knows for sure to state whether she is allowed to add the book anyway. It may be that the system is blocking her effort due to a rule against it.


message 25: by Booklovinglady (last edited Sep 03, 2014 11:25AM) (new)

Booklovinglady Donna wrote: "This is where my knowledge as a volunteer librarian hits the wall. ..."

Same here, I'm afraid. I have no problems either when I try to add the book.

@Patricia
It is always possible to send GR an e-mail, of course, letting them know of your problem. Do be precise though when you e-mail them, and add a link to this page, and so on. It will help them figure out what's wrong. They are quick in responding (it usually takes them only two days or so).

Just thought of something: Try 'copy and paste' for the book's ISBN (it's what I do when I want to add a particular edition) instead of adding/typing the book's title. Maybe that'll work. You never know...


message 26: by Nicky (new)

Nicky Hirst What about Gervase Phinn's books? Worth adding if James Herriot's on list?


message 27: by Booklovinglady (last edited Sep 06, 2014 10:09AM) (new)

Booklovinglady Nicky wrote: "What about Gervase Phinn's books? Worth adding if James Herriot's on list?"

Haven't heard of Gervase Phinn, but then again I don't read all that many biographies and memoirs. If you think his book is worth it though, and if it fits the description of the Listopia, go ahead, I'd say, because I'm fairly sure that's what Sarah had in mind when she created the list...


message 28: by Nicky (new)

Nicky Hirst Gervase Phinn's memoirs are based on his experience as an educator in the Dales. Very funny and has been called the teacher's equivalent of James Herriot, so I will add and hope people approve and enjoy the books in the series. Thanks booklovinglady


message 29: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl I removed A Night to Remember which is neither biography nor memoir.


message 30: by Sarrah (new)

Sarrah Removed Memoirs of a Sex Slave and Memoirs of a Geisha, both fiction.


message 31: by Polly (new)

Polly Whittaker So excited to see my book on the list :)


message 32: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl Removed The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea which is neither biography nor memoir.


message 33: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl Flagged #33 and #34 as spam.


message 34: by Herb (new)

Herb Ok lobster girl why is it spam...if I wrote a book that was published and on amazon and other sites...I am new to this...so if I did something wrong tell me what it is...are you the head lobster on here/


message 35: by Donna (last edited Mar 05, 2015 07:41PM) (new)

Donna Davis Herb wrote: "Ok lobster girl why is it spam...if I wrote a book that was published and on amazon and other sites...I am new to this...so if I did something wrong tell me what it is...are you the head lobster on..."

Herb, it is considered impolite and an inappropriate use of the thread to promote your books. It's using a common space for free advertising. If you want to add your book to the list and vote for it, go to the top of the page where the tab says "Add Books to This List". Click on the tab, then enter your title in the box that appears. Click "Vote for this book". This will get your book on the list. It will only have one vote to start, so it will be toward the back of the list and then hopefully climb, if other readers vote for it too.


message 36: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl It's considered spammy and in bad taste to promote your book all over the site, including on Listopias. There are specific author-centric groups where you can promote your book.


message 37: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl I would disagree with Donna only on the suggestion that you add your own book to the list...I would call this spamming as well.


message 38: by Booklovinglady (last edited Mar 06, 2015 01:55AM) (new)

Booklovinglady Lobstergirl wrote: "It's considered spammy and in bad taste to promote your book all over the site, including on Listopias. There are specific author-centric groups where you can promote your book."

Definitely with you on this one !! It is such bad taste to promote one's own book by adding it to a Listopia (and have one's friends, who have all rated it five stars, vote for it).


message 39: by Donna (new)

Donna Davis Booklovinglady wrote: "Lobstergirl wrote: "It's considered spammy and in bad taste to promote your book all over the site, including on Listopias. There are specific author-centric groups where you can promote your book..."

I was trying to be consistent; there is another Listopia in which a Goodreads librarian explains to an author how she may add her own book. If she was in error or if policy has since changed, I won't make the suggestion again.


message 40: by Booklovinglady (last edited Mar 06, 2015 10:35PM) (new)

Booklovinglady Donna wrote: "I was trying to be consistent; there is another Listopia in which a Goodreads librarian explains to an author how she may add her own book. If she was in error or if policy has since changed, I won't make the suggestion again...."

No offence. It is just that spamming happens quite a lot, unfortunately, and it is so very annoying. And I'm expressing myself politely here :-)


message 41: by Donna (new)

Donna Davis Booklovinglady wrote: "Donna wrote: "I was trying to be consistent; there is another Listopia in which a Goodreads librarian explains to an author how she may add her own book. If she was in error or if policy has since ..."
Right. And I volunteer my time to Goodreads to help mop up problems on Listopia. This particular list has turned into a waste of my time, and I am going to let the GR employees deal with it.


message 42: by Gerald (new)

Gerald Freeman I know there are spammers, but also newbies making mistakes, not all bad people.


message 43: by Herb (new)

Herb thank you for your information...It was helpful...I am a novice and apologize for doing what I did. I hadn't realized the impact...so I will try to add my book and go from their...Thanks again for your explanation.
Herb


message 44: by Molly (new)

Molly Selders _Room_ is fiction.


message 45: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl Removed "Room."

If there is additional fiction on the list, please specify what page it's on.


message 46: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Ann Lobster girl, have you read My Precious Life yet? Not promoting, just curious.


message 47: by Lorraine (new)

Lorraine I can't believe "The Black Count" by Tom Reiss can't be found in the list. Could somebody explain?


message 48: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl Lorraine wrote: "I can't believe "The Black Count" by Tom Reiss can't be found in the list. Could somebody explain?"

Books are added by users. If you don't see a book on the list, it means no user has added it. You can add it yourself, as long as it fits the list definition and parameters.


message 49: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl Patricia wrote: "Lobster girl, have you read My Precious Life yet? Not promoting, just curious."

Are you referring to "My Precious Life" by Engelbert Humperdinck? If not, I have no idea what you are talking about.


message 50: by Lorraine (new)

Lorraine Lorraine wrote: "I can't believe "The Black Count" by Tom Reiss can't be found in the list. Could somebody explain?"

Thank you, I just added "The Black Count" to the votes. I hope others will vote for it!


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