Memoirs To Read In Your Lifetime
A memoir is a collection of memories. The author may focus on a particular period in their life, or an event, or a relationship, but they are always reflective and often very candid. Beyond that, anything goes, and they are wide-ranging in style and tone. Here are a few you may enjoy.
The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson
Thought-provoking and refelctive. At its center is a romance: the story of the author's relationship with the artist Harry Dodge. This story, which includes Nelson's account of falling in love with Dodge, who is fluidly gendered, as well as her journey to and through a pregnancy, offers a firsthand account of the complexities and joys of family-making.
The Liar's Club by Mary Karr
Start at the beginning with this darkly humorous and candid author and poet as she recounts her difficult childhood growing up in a Texas oil town.
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
A hard, lyrical, inspiring recollection of the legendary author's childhood in Arkansas and her adolescence in northern slums.
The Glass Castle by Jeanettte Walls
Witty and engaging. Walls discusses her nomadic upbringing during which her siblings fended for themselves while their parents tried to outwit bill collectors and the police.
You Don't Have To Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie
Sardonic and stylistically complex. A mix of free verse poetry, essay, and family photos. Alexie examines his complicated relationship with his complicated mother growing up on a Native American reservation.
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Staff picks are chosen by NYPL staff members and are not intended to be comprehensive lists. We'd love to hear your ideas too, so leave a comment and tell us what you’d recommend. And check out our Staff Picks browse tool for more recommendations!