Memoirs and Biographies We Love discussion

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My favorites!

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message 1: by Gina (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:54AM) (new)

Gina (grrb) 1)Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi
2)The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (fiction based on author's life)
3)Maus: A Survivor's Tale by Art Spiegelman (fictionalized graphic novel)
4)Sickened: The Memoir of a Munchausen by Proxy Childhood by Julie Gregory
5)Callgirl: Confessions of an Ivy League Lady of Pleasure by Jeannette Angell

What are your favorites?


message 2: by Héctor (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:56AM) (new)

Héctor Antología by The Beatles
Autobiografía by Jorge Luis Borges
Freud. Una vida de nuestro tiempo by Peter Gay
Lacan by Elisabeth Roudinesco
Rimbaud en Abisinia by Alain Borer
And much more...


message 3: by Diane (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:08PM) (new)

Diane  (dianedj) The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls which I've recently read is one of my favorite books ever. After I finished it, I felt I had to tell everyone I knew to read it.


message 4: by Diane (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:08PM) (new)

Diane  (dianedj) Another favorite is A Monk Swimming by Malachy McCourt. Completely different memoir than that written by his brother Frank (Angela's Ashes) as this one begins upon Malachy's arrival to the U.S. after leaving poverty in Limerick. He lands in New York in the early 50's in his late teens/early 20's. He has quite a sense of humor and is able to add that into his trials and tribulations...he was quite a partier and led quite a colorful and interesting life...I met him in Santa Monica when he was promoting this book, and he's a hoot!


message 5: by Judith (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:12PM) (new)

Judith | 1 comments (1) Picasso & Lump by David Douglas Duncan (Who knew that Picasso had his heart stolen by a dachshund?)
(2) Eurydice Street: A Place in Athens by Sofka Zinovieff (for the mental imagery of Greece it inspired)
(3) Girl Meets God: On the Path to a Spiritual Life by Lauren F. Winner (she questions her conversion)
(4) An Open Heart: Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life by the Dalai Lama XIV
(5) Unholy Ghost: Writers on Depression, Nell Casey, Editor


message 6: by whichwaydidshego (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:12PM) (new)

whichwaydidshego Judith - I read about half of Girl Meets God and loved it... then moved and had a bad break-up. When I finally got back to it saw that I'd lost my bookmark, so it's back on my "to-read" list! But I really liked what I'd read.

I'll get back to you on my favorites!


message 7: by whichwaydidshego (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:29PM) (new)

whichwaydidshego Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed by Philip Hallie ranks as one of my top books of any genre.

It's a fascinating story about a small Protestant town in France that saved thousands of Jews - children mostly. Interestingly it was written by an atheist who came to believe in miracles... at least in that village, in that time.


message 8: by Mariecar (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:41PM) (new)

Mariecar | 1 comments Diane said Glass Castle was a "must-tell-everyone" kind of book ... and don't get me wrong, I liked that book too ... but I totally felt that way about Running with Scissors. An absolutely hilarious read.


message 9: by Ashley (new)

Ashley (readerandwriter) I have read many memoirs and some of my favorites are :

1. A Rip In Heaven by Jeanine Cummins
2. Sickened by Julie Gregory
3. Please Stop Laughing At Me... by Jodee Blanco
4. Prayers For Bobby by Leroy Aarons


message 10: by Jeremy (new)

Jeremy Cruz | 1 comments I've read only two memoirs in my life:

Running with Scissors and On writing.
I have come to a conclusion that memoirs are my favourite things to read.


message 11: by Ellen (new)

Ellen Running With Scissors is good....better, I think, than his subsequent memoirs.

Haven't read it yet, but hear good things about The Last True Story I'll Ever Tell by John Crawford about his service in Iraq. Along that line, What Was Asked of Us: An Oral History of the Iraq War by the Soldiers Who Fought It, edited by Trish Wood, is a collection of compelling first-person accounts. And Generation Kill by Evan Wright shouldn't be missed in that genre.

Into Thin Air is John Krakauer's fascinating perspective on the Everest disaster.
Other glorious works in the biography-of-a-situation genre include Ann Fadiman's The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Nathaniel Philbrick's In The Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex, and Jennifer Niven's The Ice Master.

At the risk of sounding utterly self-serving, can I also recommend a book I wrote? When I Was Elena is the story of my life in Guatemala at the end of the civil war there, with chapters alternately voiced by indigenous women I befriended.

There are many others....too far from my living room bookshelf to post them now. Will come back to this! Enjoy!



message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

"When Broken Glass Floats" by Chanrithy Him. Here's my review of it:

When Broken Glass Floats is the author’s journey to find the magic of a world lost as a result of the Khmer Rouge. This book, as a personal account of the Khmer Rouge regime, is also my personal journey as a reader and a Khmer person. Through this magical journey, my own forgotten memories are awakened and many traditional beliefs that I have pushed to the back of my mind resurface.

I was too young to have memories of the Killing Fields, but I have heard enough stories to feel connected to it. There were gaps missing in my memory and this book filled those gaps. When Broken Glass Floats is poetic and touching, a book rooted in the author’s desire to let the world know about the tragic death of her family. It begins when her memories are awakened as a result of her work as an interpreter and interviewer for the Khmer Adolescent Project, studying post-traumatic stress disorder among Cambodian survivors. This is a story of triumph, survival, and hope written from the Khmer soul of a Cambodian-American woman.

When Broken Glass Floats is a book with two moving and powerful purposes: one, as a therapeutic tool for the author, and, two, as a reminder of an event that should never have occurred. The author describes her book as a way “to use the power of words to caution the world, and in the process to heal myself” (p. 23). The process of writing the book became a trek to the Himalayas, “a search to recapture the long-lost magic in [her:] life” (p. 23). My travels have taken me to the Himalayas. I have been seeking magic for my own healing like the author of When Broken Glass Floats. The process of reading her book and other autobiographies has provided much healing. I recommend this book for everyone who is interested in this subject, but in particular to Cambodian-Americans, because this book can take you on a journey into yourself, your soul, memories, and past.


message 13: by Liza (new)

Liza (epring) | 1 comments You wouldn't think it but Mia Farrow's memoir "What Falls Away" is a great read. Her bout with polio, strange childhood and marriages to Sinatra, Previn & Woody Allen are very interesting. This is a quick and rewarding read.


message 14: by Jennie (new)

Jennie | 2 comments I read What Falls Away when it first came out. I was really impressed with her writing, and I really enjoyed reading about her famous family and her brushes with others. I did come away really disliking Frank Sinatra and Woody Allen, though.


message 15: by Cheryl S. (new)

Cheryl S. | 12 comments From recent reading I would choose as favorites "Boom" by Tom Brokaw and "The Glass Castle" by Jeanette Wells. It seems not too many people on Goodreads have read "Boom" probably because they weren't alive in the 60s and have no interest. For me it was a walk down memory lane, for the younger crowd it might help explain why my generation behaves the way it does.


message 16: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (trmite) I'm totally stealing faves from others posts for my first few, but here's my list: On Writing by Stephen King is definitely up there, Maus I and II, Running with Scissors, Girl Interrupted and Stone Butch Blues.


message 17: by karen (new)

karen reyes (ancientreader) | 3 comments I also really liked Girl Meets God. I found her process of conversion interesting. I felt the author described her experiences in a truly fascinating manner. I loaned my book to a friend of mine who is Jewish, and I'm curious as to what her opinion is as well! Take care.
Karen


message 18: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Olga's Story by Stephanie Williams is tremendous. Nobody seems to know of this book and all I can say is that real life is so much more unbelievable than fiction. What a life! Send me a message if you read it, please.


message 19: by Catamorandi (new)

Catamorandi (wwwgoodreadscomprofilerandi) I really enjoyed The Story of Ernie Pyle. It was very interesting about a war correspondent in WWII. There is even comic relief from time to time. It was great!


message 20: by Marty (new)

Marty (martyweil) In no particular order:

Lanterns on the Levee.

Maus I & II.

The Forgotten Memoir of John Knox: A Year in the Life of a Supreme Court Clerk in FDR's Washington.

The Forgotten Soldier.




message 21: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Blake | 14 comments I really liked "Mozart's Sister" by Nancy Moser. She was just as talented as her brother but didn't get any support or further training.


message 22: by Moe (new)

Moe | 1 comments Chrissie wrote: "Olga's Story by Stephanie Williams is tremendous. Nobody seems to know of this book and all I can say is that real life is so much more unbelievable than fiction. What a life! Send me a message if ..."

I looked up this book and read the summary. Sounds really interesting. I added the book to my "to read" list. Thanks for recommending:-)


message 23: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Moe wrote: "Chrissie wrote: "Olga's Story by Stephanie Williams is tremendous. Nobody seems to know of this book and all I can say is that real life is so much more unbelievable than fiction. What a life! Send..."

Oh that is nice. It was really, really good. If you like Russian memoirs also check out House by the Dvina by Eugenie Fraser. Both are excellent and both I just found by mistake! I need the smile you put on my face b/c I am starting Katherine by Anya Seton and I REALLY hzave my doubts about this one......GULP!




message 24: by Sabrina (last edited Oct 28, 2009 05:59PM) (new)

Sabrina Rutter Here are some of my favorites:


LOVE IN A TORN LAND http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17...

WHEN HEAVEN AND EARTH CHANGED PLACES http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57...


BELONGING
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31...


THE ROAD OF LOST INNOCENCE

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26...





message 25: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lisarosenbergsachs) | 69 comments I just finished reading Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson. It was a very exciting and inspiring story to read. I highly recommend it.


message 26: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Blake | 14 comments Lisa wrote: "I just finished reading Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson. It was a very exciting and inspiring story to read. I highly recommend it."

I loved Three Cups of Tea also. I also highly recommend it.


message 27: by Chrissie (last edited Oct 30, 2009 08:07PM) (new)

Chrissie I very highly recommend Eleni. This is an emotionally wrenching read. If you are interested you can see my review listed on the book's page.


message 28: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Blake | 14 comments Lisa wrote: "I loved Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt. I have written a memoir myself called Dancing On My One Ugly Toe Around the Rim of Hell about the development of my relationship with a former client who wa..."

That sounds like an amazing story, Lisa. She sounds like an amazing woman.

My memoir is about triumph over adversity. I wrote about my experiences teaching at-risk students in an inner-city school - the joys of teaching, and the obstacles I fought while trying to reach my students.

No Child Left Behind? The True Story of a Teacher's Quest


message 29: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Blake | 14 comments Ellen wrote: "Running With Scissors is good....better, I think, than his subsequent memoirs.

Haven't read it yet, but hear good things about The Last True Story I'll Ever Tell by John Crawford about his service..."


Ellen,
Into Thin Air is one of my favorites, also. Fascinating stuff!
Your memoir looks good!


message 30: by Stuart (new)

Stuart (mccallum) | 1 comments Hello All,

I love memoirs, non-fiction and all that is real. I recently read an absolutely fabulous memoir, which is gutsy, profoundly honest and incredible on so many levels; 'Musical Chairs' by Jen Knox. I have rated/reviewed this powerful book with 5 stars, please check out my review; love to chat about 'Musical Chairs'.

Thank you, Stuart


message 31: by Murray (new)

Murray M. Silver | 1 comments I love memoirs, non-fiction and all that is real I read "When Elvis Meets the Dalai Lama," by a well known Savannah, Ga., author. It is great read!


message 32: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (old-n-cranky) | 8 comments Liza wrote: "You wouldn't think it but Mia Farrow's memoir "What Falls Away" is a great read. Her bout with polio, strange childhood and marriages to Sinatra, Previn & Woody Allen are very interesting. This ..."

I loved this book as well! It's a great read about an absolutely fascinating, talented, beautiful woman with a heart and soul as deep and inspiring as her courage.


message 33: by Dero (last edited Aug 29, 2010 11:02AM) (new)

Dero | 13 comments I also loved Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster. Most of Jon Krakaur's books are wonderful. One of my favorites was Messenger by Jeni Stepanek.


message 34: by Mark (new)

Mark Mortensen I just finished the World War I memoir titled "Horses Don't Fly" and gave it a full 5 Stars.

Born in 1892 Frederick Libby penned his WWI memoir in 1961, which remained unpublished until 2000. The 2000 introduction was provided by Winston Groom, author of Forrest Gump.

Horses Don't Fly by Frederick Libby by Frederick Libby (no photo)


message 35: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lisarosenbergsachs) | 69 comments A beautifully written memoir I've read is "Even Silence Has An End" by Ingrid Betancourt about her time in captivity by the FARC in the jungles of Columbia, South America.


message 36: by Donald (new)

Donald A wonderful memoir from South Africa I read is The Sabi by Diane Brown. beautifully written book with many themes - a worthy read


message 37: by Mark (last edited Dec 03, 2013 10:06AM) (new)

Mark Mortensen I just finished reading “Feet First” (copyright 1971) a memoir by Ben Finney. The book in circulation for over 40 years is so obscure that I can not locate a review or even a synopsis on the internet.

The front dust jacket of the hardcover “Feet First” has a bold photo of Finney and his lifelong friend Ernest Hemmingway sitting side by side on the back of a boat with bare feet in the air. To say Ben Finney lived life in the 20th Century is an understatement as the tough nut Marine loved to party. Each tale is revealing and I will recall a few of his self professed hilarious pranks until the day I die.

The book is now one of my favorites as noted in my posted review.

Feet First by Ben Finney by Ben Finney (no photo)


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