Memoir fans – remember to put these books on your reading list

It’s Top Ten Tuesday time and the topic this week is ‘Ten Books Every X Should Read’. In my case, the X is for memoir fans.

The first five are those type of memoirs that are so horrifying that you have to keep checking whether they are not, in actual fact, fiction. The next bunch are not misery-memoirs at all – quite the opposite – they made me laugh.

1. In My Skin by Kate Holden – extra-impact because the author grew up near me.

2. The Feel-Good Hit of the Year by Liam Pieper – kids running around like lunatics.

3. Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs – if you thought the kids in Pieper’s story were out-of-control, read this one…

4. Beautiful Boy by David Sheff – horrifying (from a parent’s perspective).

5. Tweak by Nic Sheff – read the ‘Beautiful Boy’s’ story after his father’s (see above).

And now for something lighter…

6. Love Nina by Nina Stibble – fabulous, funny, and extra points for literary name-dropping.

7. Apron Anxiety by Alyssa Shelasky – love and the kitchen combine: result is variable.

8. Consuming Passions by Michael Lee West – there are a few scenes in this book that I’ll never forget.

9. Menonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen – wee-bags. Say no more.

10. Heartburn by Nora Ephron – I probably should have started with this one because Nora is the queen, obvs.


22 responses

  1. Yes I’d move Ephron to number one as well, and would add Carrie Fisher’s Postcards from the Edge (but that may be stretching it, as it’s a “semi-autobiographical novel”. )

  2. You are the blogger that I have seen who has done a list of memoirs like I have. Interestingly, I have never read any of the memoirs on your list. That means that I now have ten books to look for:-) Great post.

  3. I really want to read Running with Scissors! I read his brother’s memoir, Look Me In the Eye and it was BRILLIANT and crazy. But brilliant. ;D So definitely need to try this one. *nods* I also liked Furiously Happy! It was really honest about mental illness, but also hysterical. XD Here’s my TTT!

  4. I think Running With Scissors traumatized me. I’m looking forward to more trauma in some of these others that I haven’t read yet! Maybe I should alternate them with the feel-good memoirs…

    • I felt the same about Scissors. I read his next book, Dry, and had a similar reaction. Of the others, Beautiful Boy is a standout – well written, devastating.

    • Oddly Lianne, I figured that with your love of history, memoirs would be right up your alley! Perhaps don’t start with the ones I’ve listed here but instead read Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes (if you haven’t already done so).

  5. I read both memoirs by the father and son Sheffs and was tremendously affected by the differences in their perceptions of the situation. Father viewed son as a golden boy. Son viewed himself as a loser. Good choices for your list.

    • Both books made such an impact on me. My book group read both and some of us read the father’s book first and others read the son’s – it was many years ago but interestingly I do recall that there was more sympathy for Nic from those that read his version first! (I read David’s). I found David’s book to be a perfect balance between an emotional account and journalistic fact-telling.

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