Monday, October 5, 2009

their stories.

I am a sucker for other people's stories. 

Reading is a passion of mine; I could get lost in a good book for hours, and, much to my friends' and family's dismay, I have done just that on many occasions. 

The books I find myself drawn to the most, at least in the past few years, are memoirs. The stories and essays others have written about their own lives. True stories that they want passed town, written in print, shared for the ages. Here are a few of my favorites: 

This is the book I'm currently reading-- and loving. Written in true Southern style, White shares his stories from his year spent behind bars at Carville, a federal prison shared with a medical home for the remaining Americans with leprosy. I haven't been able to put it down.

Somebody Told Me, by Rick Bragg
Another Southern favorite, this book may be more of a collection than a memoir. Bragg, a well-respected journalist, has compiled some of his best-known stories in this volume, and I love every one. His feature stories are some of the best I've ever read.

Blue Like Jazz, by Donald Miller
One of my favorite modern theology books, this one had me from the first page: "Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It is as if they are showing you the way."

Didion's honest memories of the year after her husband's death brought me to tears. At some points, I simply had to put the book down; it was so gut-wrenchingly honest. Didion is a brave writer, and her words are achingly beautiful.

Audition, by Barbara Walters
Walter's autobiography may not be the best memoir I've ever read, but the woman has done some pretty amazing things and interviewed some fascinating people, so her book is definitely worth the read.

A Grief Observed, by C.S. Lewis
Another retrospective on a spouse's death, this time from a person of faith's point of view. Perhaps oddly, Didion and Lewis come to a lot of the same conclusions. I guess death brings us all to our knees. Due to his honesty, this book is one of my favorites of Lewis'.

How Reading Changed My Life, by Anna Quindlen
I couldn't very well leave Quindlen off the list. Since the 12th grade, I've wanted to write like her. I checked my bookcase, and sadly, this particular work isn't on it. I need to fix that ASAP. It's a book for readers everywhere. 

Now, your turn. Any worthwhile memoirs I'm missing?


Jessica said...

I like anything by Anne Lamott. Try Traveling Mercies for a memoir. It's her thoughts on faith. She's snarky. I love it! Also, Bird by Bird is her book on writing.

Betsy said...

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, by Ishmael Beah.

It's about a young boy from Sierra Leone that was forcibly conscripted into the Rebel army. It's a heartbreaking yet eye-opening story.