8 Excellent Memoirs

Here’s another quarantine reading list for you: my favorite memoirs. A good memoir can be incredibly enriching, transporting readers into another life through personal perspective and storytelling. And we could all use some transporting right now.

Becoming by Michelle Obama – the mother of all memoirs
Open by Andre Agassi – I still think about this book, years after I read it
Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen – long but entertaining the whole way
Unremarried Widow by Artis Henderson – memoir of a military widow
Maid by Stephanie Land – necessary perspective on low-wage jobs
Inheritance by Dani Shapiro – midlife DNA surprise
Rare Bird by Anna Whiston-Donaldson – heartbreaking memoir about loss of son
The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan – sandwich generation + cancer

Perhaps one of these memoirs will give you some hours of escape.


  • April 2, 2020 - 7:26 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the recommendations, I’ve only read Inheritance which I liked.

  • April 2, 2020 - 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Good list. I just read two good ones as well (coincidentally on somewhat similar topics). One was “Once More We Saw Stars,” by Jayson Greene, whose work has been appearing in the New York Times a lot lately — the memoir is about the sudden accidental death of his two-year-old daughter and the uneven process of healing and recovery for Greene and his wife. The other is “Happiness” by Heather Harpham, about a 32-year-old single mother whose toddler is diagnosed with a potentially fatal blood disorder and how she navigates the treatment, the decision-making process, the constant emotional turmoil and her relationship with her partner, who abandoned her during her pregnancy but works his way back into her life during their daughter’s first year.

  • April 2, 2020 - 8:19 pm | Permalink

    I loved Becoming and Maid, and An Unremarried Widow is on my shelves as I type this. Thanks for the list.

  • April 3, 2020 - 9:57 am | Permalink

    Becoming, Open, and Born to Run are all excellent! The Education of an Idealist by Samantha Power was also pretty good too. I’ll have to get to a few more of these on your list.

  • Linda S.
    April 5, 2020 - 9:29 am | Permalink

    Thank you for this list. I like to listen to memoirs and have enjoyed “The Maid,” “Born to Run,” and “Open.” I am adding “Unmarried Widow” and “Inheritance” to my TBR.

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