She had radical surgery to remove half of her jaw, and years of radiation and chemotherapy, and recovered. Her delivery is hilarious and insightful, making for an uplifting, laugh-out-loud read.

His father was from Kenya; his mother from Kansas. Hardcover.

Paperback Kindle Edition. Hardcover

Invulnerability. Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, by Anthony Bourdain Paperback $9.00. RELATED: Mindy Kaling Reveals She's So Close With B.J. Paperback Perhaps some of the most intriguing pieces of this beloved work are Hemingway’s insights on fellow writers like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Zelda Fitzgerald, and Gertrude Stein.

There’s Mao’s revolution, which is supposed to upend the old feudal system that kept her female ancestors trapped in servitude (if they weren’t victims of infanticides as unwanted baby girls) but also imposes its own deadly cruelty, preventing her parents from returning home. Essayist David Sedaris is by far one of the funniest modern-day writers, and his collection of humorous essays about his life in two parts: his upbringing in the ’burbs of North Carolina—getting speech therapy for his lisp (and subsequently just avoiding words with an “s” sound), dealing with a micromanaging father, and more—and his move to Normandy with his partner despite not speaking the language. | $15.00. The book, written under Blixen’s pen name, Isak Dinesen, explores her strange and wonderful surroundings—the African people; European adventurers; and lions, rhinos, and zebras for neighbors—in exquisitely lyrical prose. “Dreams From My Father” is a moving and frank work of self-excavation — mercifully free of the kind of virtue-signaling and cheerful moralizing that makes so many politicians’ memoirs read like notes to a stump speech. Her father was the head pediatrician at Provident, America’s oldest black hospital; her mother was a socialite. His hellish journey from horror to hope is conveyed with great honesty and tremendous talent in this memoir. “I live from the refuse of others,” he declares. https://earlybirdbooks.com/10-famous-memoirs-everyone-should-read-once Goodreads' choice for Best Memoir & Autobiography of 2018, Educated follows Tara Westover as she leaves her survivalist family in Idaho and sets off on a journey that leads her to earn a Ph.D. from Cambridge University. $24.99 She was married seven times, and was subject to psychotic episodes. — Parul Sehgal, Presented in Alphabetical Order by Author. “Every night before I went to sleep…[I asked] for the things I wanted most in life: new dolls, a best friend, and for my house to burn down,” writes Kimberly Rae Miller in her moving memoir about being raised by two parents who were extreme hoarders. The device of the trapped young person saved by books is a hoary one, but Winterson makes it seem new, and sulfurous. Click the star icon to create and share your own list of favorites or books to read. In a preface to the first book, James dealt a truth few memoirists will admit: “Most first novels are disguised autobiographies. Mentions of things like America Online will certainly date this 2001 collection of personal essays by nonfiction writer extraordinaire Meghan Daum.

What is a ghost? | $15.00. Tip: Check it out on audiobook, and you can hear recordings of Sedaris reading to an audience. “Palimpsest” is a book full of revelations. One of the most readable classics, it consists of two parts: A young Orwell slaves for subsistence wages in the bowels of a Paris restaurant, and then tramps around London among the most destitute. Hilarious, disturbing, and a page-turner, the controversial book drew accusations of betrayal (and exaggeration) from members of the adopted family. The... Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books is a book by Iranian author and professor Azar... Nickel and Dimed: On Getting By in America is a book written by Barbara Ehrenreich. The Diary of a Young Girl is a book of the writings from the Dutch language diary kept by Anne... Angela's Ashes is a 1996 memoir by the Irish author Frank McCourt. This stunning tale of his childhood in the slums of Ireland is filled with poverty, hunger, and cruelty, but ultimately, it’s a story about survival and the strength and love that can emerge from personal pain. Coetzee is free to observe the boy he once was without the interpretive intrusions that come with age; he can remain true to what he felt then, rather than what he knows now. (And Other Concerns), Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir), Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir), Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail, Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia, The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition, Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith, Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books, A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood, Blood, Bones and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef, Breaking the Frame: Sarah Broom Unearths Her Family’s Story in Her National Book Award-Winning Memoir, Announcing the Longlist for the 2019 National Book Award for Translated Literature, A Literary Tour of Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day, The Fascinating Life Stories of Robin Williams, Carrie Fisher, and More Iconic Personalities, Books in Space: 5 Great Astronaut Memoirs, 6 Funny, Awkward Memoirs By Funny, Awkward Women. Black Boy, by Richard Wright Lars Eighner’s memoir contains the finest first-person writing we have about the experience of being homeless in America. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou She told her friends to leave her alone. Joan Didion, so long an exemplar of cool, of brilliant aloofness, showed us her unraveling in this memoir about the sudden death of her husband of 40 years, the writer John Gregory Dunne, and the frightening illness of her daughter, Quintana. She was the one who captivated him with stories that “amazed you, sent shivers up your spine, then disappeared back into the darkness before you had time to see what was in front of your eyes.” — Jennifer Szalai. This shape-shifting, form-shattering book carves one path forward. A typical sentence begins: “I remember when I was 8 years old I would crawl out the window of my apartment seven stories above the ground and hold on to the ledge with 10 scrawny fingers and lower myself out above the sea of cars burning up Eighth Avenue ...”. Richard Burton and Marlon Brando tried to get her into bed.

She was in a band with Sid Vicious before he joined the Sex Pistols. Her body changed from very thin to very fat. Frank McCourt borrows from Tolstoy when he says he had, "of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while."

She was raised in Virginia by sophisticated, lettered parents. “Years ago I heard that Abraham Lincoln freed the colored people,” Cobb says, “but it didn’t amount to a hill of beans.” About his white neighbors, he declares, “Any way they could deprive a Negro was a celebration to ’em.” This book is not always easy reading, but it is the real deal, an essential American document. By Emily Temple. $17.00. | $16.99.

Writer Mitch Albom's remembrances of his weekly visits to an old college professor in the last months of his life show the importance of absorbing as much wisdom as you can from the older people in your life — those lessons stick with you forever. The heartbreaking and moving story deals with forgiveness, physical and emotional healing, and the complexities of mother-daughter relationships. Coetzee is one of those novelists who rarely give interviews, and when he does, he’s like the Robert Mueller of the literary world — reticent, discreet and quietly insistent that his books should speak for themselves. The most recently published entry on this list of 50 books, Kiese Laymon’s “Heavy” details the author’s childhood in Mississippi in the 1980s and his relationship with his alternately loving and abusive mother, who raised him on her own.

With her younger self often referred to as “a symbolic character for every black girl growing up in America,” Angelou has undoubtedly changed many lives with this book. $9.99 Now 25, he tells his story of survival and the ongoing horror still experienced by child soldiers in this bracing memoir. There is a lot of wit here, and bawdy wordplay, and accounts of long nights spent drinking and smoking. We have no one quite like him over here: Think Johnny Carson combined with Edmund Wilson. Nabokov’s memoir is an account of his childhood and the years before his emigration to the United States in 1940 — but that’s not quite right. But he’s also fighting his own battle of self-invention. The best-selling memoir by the former First Lady of the United States of America and one of the most loved and iconic women of our era. There’s still a startling freshness to the book. Angela’s Ashes, by Frank McCourt Written words that have pushed me to keep going, travel solo and be the woman I am today. Though there are many deeply affecting and wonderful Holocaust memoirs that might have made this list, our favorite will forever be Maus, with its harrowing story wrapped in Spiegelman’s pitch-perfect illustrations. In it, he remembers his Sephardic Jewish family’s experiences living in Alexandria, Egypt and then defeatedly fleeing three generations later. — Jennifer Szalai. Literature has the ability to transform people, and that’s exactly what it did for Azar Nafisi and the seven young women she brought together at her home every week for two years before she left Iran in 1997. The Australian-born critic, poet, memoirist, novelist, travel writer and translator Clive James isn’t as well known in America as he is in England, where he’s lived most of his adult life.