Memoir Authors discussion

General > Reading Recommendations

Comments Showing 1-34 of 34 (34 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Sharon (new)

Sharon (fiona64) Hi, everyone. I want to share an outstanding memoir that I just finished this morning: Gypsy Boy. This is an intimate look at life inside the Romany Gypsy culture, and there are very few first-person accounts available about this group. I jumped at the chance to review it because I'm researching the Romany for a fiction work-in-progress, and this gave me a *lot* of great information. I didn't want to put it down; the author has a great narrative voice and an interesting story to tell.

message 2: by Leila (new)

Leila Summers (leilasummers) | 770 comments Thanks for that Sharon! I love memoirs and am off to check it out now... oh, how I can't wait for the Kindle at Christmas...

message 3: by Leila (new)

Leila Summers (leilasummers) | 770 comments BTW Sharon, I see you use the author's name in your review in quotes because it is a pseudonym. I also write under a pseudonym but still consider it my author name. I think many memoirists write under a nom de plume due to various reasons. Mine evolved as part of my story and is explained in my book, but even so, I used one to protect the people in my story who may not have chosen to be there. I did much research regarding this before publishing, but to be honest, didn't come across much helpful information. Anyone else using a pseudonym?

Another question I've been meaning to ask is how everyone's families have reacted to your stories being published! I've just sent my book to my parents-in-law and am actually hoping that they won't read it! There are just one or two lines where they don't shine, but still...

message 4: by Sharon (new)

Sharon (fiona64) Leila wrote: "BTW Sharon, I see you use the author's name in your review in quotes because it is a pseudonym. I also write under a pseudonym but still consider it my author name. I think many memoirists write un..."

I write under my own name. Those people whom I could not contact or indicated that they did not want their real names used in my memoir were given pseudonyms in the text, indicated by a * on first usage.

To be perfectly honest, my parents have not said boo about my books (other than my mother making a comment about the erotic elements in my fiction -- the which I had warned her about -- and how she skipped over them). I didn't pull any punches in my memoir(s), and I would be willing to bet that my family didn't like that.

message 5: by Leila (new)

Leila Summers (leilasummers) | 770 comments I think that's a risk we take with memoir. That's so funny about your mother. I'm cringing to see what my mother has to say. My father read a proof copy for editing and he got very angry with my husband (which I think a lot of people will do, but is not my intention in the book at all) but I guess that's a natural dad's protection of his daughter. He sent me an email afterwards saying, 'I'm so sorry, we never knew what you went through as you kept up such a brave face.' I felt sorry for him. But when we have a story to tell, we have to tell it like it is. x

message 6: by Christine (new)

Christine Hatfield  (christinesbookshelves) What's the name of your book?

message 7: by Leila (new)

Leila Summers (leilasummers) | 770 comments Hi Christine,
My book is titled, It Rains In February: A Wife's Memoir of Love and Loss and tells the story of the year leading up to and the year following my husband's suicide. I haven't visited the group for a little while, so I'm off to read your other posts now. But welcome (o:
Leila x

message 8: by Chris (new)

Chris Thrall (christhrall) | 21 comments (Leila, hope it's OK to post this twice)

Hi all!

Please visit this link and get your free download of 'How to Write a Memoir'.

Any thoughts and suggestions welcomed!


message 9: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Rasley | 173 comments A previously published memoir-article of mine about my encounter with the Outlaws of Kalalau is in a blog post:

message 10: by Leila (new)

Leila Summers (leilasummers) | 770 comments Post away Chris! And thanks for sharing Jeffrey!

message 11: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Dawson | 15 comments Here a few tough ones I read a few weeks ago. Both of them are from women who survived some of the most strenuous moments in life.Why Whisper?: A Memoir andShadows, Skeletons and a Southern Belle.

message 12: by Leila (new)

Leila Summers (leilasummers) | 770 comments Thanks Jeff. Why Whisper sounds like something I'd be interested in, I'm going to need a year off to read at this rate!

message 13: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Dawson | 15 comments If you like memoirs and a non-fiction love story, you might enjoy Love's True Second Chance

message 14: by Leila (new)

Leila Summers (leilasummers) | 770 comments Hi Valerie and welcome. I'm sure you'll find your way around Goodreads in time, and you'll love it! As you probably know, publishers don't do much in the way of promotion and this is left mostly up to the author. Goodreads is a great place to promote your book as well as other social networks such as facebook. The best way is to just start speaking about it in as many places as possible. I'm sure you'll pick up many other tips on this group and others like it.

Why not share a little more about your story here? We're all memoir enthusiasts :)
love Leila

message 15: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Dawson | 15 comments This is the opening poem for Love's True Second Chance Love's True Second Chance by Jeff Dawson

Where Have You Gone?

I remember those care free days,
The girlish happy smile,
The days of high school,
Where only our love mattered.
The bus rides to the games and back,
Trips to the river bridge where our thoughts were one,
The nights filled of passion in the truck,
The moonlight dancing off our sweat covered bodies,
Where have you gone?

Our paths parted in a sea of tears,
The hurt, the pain of the past,
Always just under the surface,
A flash of sunlight, a familiar smile met with pain and hostility.
The smile vanishes, the pain and hurt boil up,
Yet the feelings of love never lost just suppressed,
Where have you gone?

A trip to Tulsa,
A business card in a mailbox,
A phone call two weeks later and the past awakens,
The smile, the pain, the hurt, the memories;
pour in like a raging river out of its' banks.
Is it worth the chance?
Is it worth opening the heart again?
Is it worth another trip to the unknown?
Where have you gone?

The smile is the same,
The feelings of love spring up,
The past is forgotten,
The present and future are all that matter,
Or is it?
Where have you gone?

Seven months of life together,
We laugh, we cry, we love,and we kiss,
Chasing children, sharing their lives,
Strawberry shake in the face,
Movies from a Galaxy long ago,
Steaks, chicken and seasonings,
grilled to perfection with love,
A snowball fight,
A walk in the white soft flakes,
A pause on the sidewalk,
We embrace, kiss long and deep
letting our bodies provide the warmth.
Where have you gone?

The diagnosis, it's back.
Consoling the daughters,
A call to the parents,
A call to the EMT'S,
The present and the future are slipping away.
Where have you gone?

The final hours of life,
Only the sounds of deep painful breathing.
The halls are silent,
Nothing but thoughts for thirty years circle.
The end is closing in,
The cancer is tracking its' deadly course.
Where have you gone?

A warm hand rubs a chest going cold,
The breathing has stopped.
The pain is flowing out of her face.
The Doctor comes in,
The verdict is quiet with compassion,
I'm so sorry, she's gone.
Where have you gone?

Life has come to a stop,
There is nothing that matters anymore.
A never forgotten love has been taken in the prime of life,
A bench in a cemetery with no one else around.

The tears pour uncontrollably,
We cry, “Where have you gone?”
A voice, soft and tender floats down,
“I'm fine.”
“Where have I gone?”
“Where there is no pain, no sadness."
"A place where the cancer has healed."
A place where mistakes of the past have been forgiven,
A place where I can look down to watch and help."
"A place where only love resides,
The place?"
"Heaven, that is where I have gone.”

message 16: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Rasley | 173 comments Leila wrote: "Hi Valerie and welcome. I'm sure you'll find your way around Goodreads in time, and you'll love it! As you probably know, publishers don't do much in the way of promotion and this is left mostly up..."

Valerie, You might want to check out the books other members of this thread have written, "like" them, and let us know so we can reciprocate.

message 17: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Virany (margaretvirany) | 14 comments Hi everyone,
Thank you, Rachelle Ayala, for telling me about this group. I signed up with GoodReads eight months ago and, from reading all the comments here, think I have finally found my niche!

message 18: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Virany (margaretvirany) | 14 comments Hi Sharon,
I just found about Elizabeth Radmore's Cushla trilogy. It's about an Irish girl who left home with her father to find work. They tramped around, slept under bridges and were taken in by a band of gypsies. Eventually they emigrated to Canada. I haven't read it yet but a friend I trust has recommended it very highly. Her latest book, Cushla -- Almost Magic, was released last month.

message 19: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Virany (margaretvirany) | 14 comments Hi Leila,
When I wrote my family memoir A Book of Kells (our family name), I used real names. Frankly, I don't have the imagination to dream up fictitious ones. The story is mainly about my parents and they had been dead for 10 years. I felt that if I was scrupulously honest and did my research carefully nobody could get too mad and (as far as I know) they didn't. The worst reaction I got was from my sister. She felt they were her parents too but it wasn't her story.

message 20: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Virany (margaretvirany) | 14 comments Hi Jeff,
I loved your poem for its depth of feeling.

message 21: by Pamela (last edited Aug 28, 2012 09:46AM) (new)

Pamela Richards | 47 comments My parents both died before I started writing. I don't think I could have written while my mother was living, honestly. She was so obsessed with the family name. She spent the last years of her life trying to pull herself together to write about her father, who she idolized. She never managed it. Maybe that's part of my process--I don't want to be left as I age with these memories and no way to communicate them. Pam RichardsSinging from Silence Rich Mullins: Love Beyond Fear

message 22: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Richards | 47 comments Hi, Lynn

I came to the same conclusion you did, but came by it a different way.

I confess I have an aversion to publicity.

I really don't like to point to myself as an example, (or rather I'm a good example of a lot of mistakes) so I briefly considered the idea of publishing anonymously or under a pseudonym. But, of course, it would be impossible to verify what I'd said. . . or if I wrote anonymously, someone could just grab the story, alter it, fictionalize it, whatever.

The beauty of the story is that it is true.

For the sake of the story's integrity, I had to write under my own name and identity.

message 23: by Marla (new)

Marla (mocassa) | 22 comments Pam and Lynn, the decision to publish my book under my own name was also a difficult one. I'm glad that I did, though. Part of my goal was to demystify PTSD symptoms and lessen the stigma attached to it. So, standing up as someone who has PTSD and also (usually) manages to function quite well seemed important.

However, both of my parents had died before I wrote it and I did not specifically name anyone in the book. In fact, it's not even clear how many siblings I have and their genders. That was both to protect them and because, ultimately, those identities weren't important to what I wanted to say.

But, deciding how to handle these issues took some time and soul-searching. No Comfort Zone: Notes on Living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

message 24: by Leila (new)

Leila Summers (leilasummers) | 770 comments In a way, I wish I could have published under my real name, as using a pen name has SO many complications! However, in the end, I had to publish under a pen name and change all the names in the book to protect my husband's mistress and her family! This has not come without a cost to me though, it is a hell of a thing to have two identities and to make sure not to link them, so that her identity remains protected! In the end, I've made peace with it, and my pen name itself and how I came to it is linked into my story. Still, I do agree that using your own name is preferable and easier!

message 25: by Marla (new)

Marla (mocassa) | 22 comments Leila wrote: "This has not come without a cost to me though, it is a hell of a thing to have two identities..."

I bet it is.

One of the benefits of publishing under my own name is that it helped me tie together my private and public lives. But, my guess is that telling your story using a pen name has created more of a split for you, both internally and in that "secret agent" sort of way that presses you to watch what you say.

I certainly understand your reasons, though.

Life is messy at times, isn't it?

message 26: by Monique (new)

Monique Colver | 19 comments Life is messy! That's what I keep telling people! It isn't always pretty and I don't think it's supposed to be -- sometimes it's supposed to be messy and painful.

message 27: by Monique (new)

Monique Colver | 19 comments I used my name because what other name would I use? And I was concerned about what some people, mostly my ex's parents, would think about how they were mentioned, but they love the book -- my ex's mother keeps buying more for her friends, and asking for bookmarks to hand out. She was telling her doctor about it, and the doctor wanted the book, and ex's mom had one she was going to give her, but the doctor wanted me to sign it, so I'm sending that out tomorrow. Anyway, the only feedback I've received has been positive, and using my name helped because I know people. Well, not many, just a few.

message 28: by Jeff (last edited May 03, 2013 09:56AM) (new)

Jeff Dawson | 15 comments For a limited time only, I'm running a promotion on Smashwords: Use the coupon to purchase a free copy. YT74A Love's True Second Chance by Jeff Dawson

message 29: by Pauline (new)

Pauline Allan (paulineallan) | 8 comments I read a book six months ago that really moved me. It's not for the faint of heart as it's a story about a mother's grief and coming to terms with her son's suicide. The book covers such difficult topics as Bipolar Disorder and suicide. I highly recommend this book for learning about the grief process and one woman's courage to love her son and embrace the man he had become. Leaving the Hall Light On by Madeline Sharples

message 30: by Thelma (new)

Thelma (thelmaz) | 27 comments Am finishing Life's That Way by Jim Beaver. Emails he wrote during his wife's illness and after her death. Very touching.

message 31: by Leila (new)

Leila Summers (leilasummers) | 770 comments Thanks for the great recommendations!

message 32: by Joe (new)

Joe Pfeiler | 13 comments My first book was released a few weeks ago, but before I name it I'd like to recommend the book that took my reading into a whole new era: The Magic of Provence, by Yvone Lenard.

I love memoirs, particularly from those who've bought and restored homes in other countries. (Under the Tuscan Sun is also a favorite.)

I'll make a separate post for my own book -- this one's for Yvone and Wayne!

message 33: by Thelma (new)

Thelma (thelmaz) | 27 comments On Writing Our Lives, a Thursday feature on my blog I'm interviewing memoirist Alexandra Bogdanovic, author of Truth Be Told: Adam Becomes Audrey. Please stop by.

message 34: by Lilo (new)

Lilo (lilo-hp) | 137 comments The best memoir I can think of ever to have read is a book, which the author has labeled as a novel (not knowing that he could change names in a memoir). It is titled "My Name Was Five". The author is Heinz Kohler. He was born in 1932 into Hitler's Germany and is still very much alive. I have been corresponding with him. Please read my review of this book. It will tell you more about it.

back to top