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Customer Discussions > Memoir forum

Most satisfying memoirs?

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Showing 1-25 of 154 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 25, 2009, 6:08:53 PM PDT
Who doesn't love a good memoir? Though there are many, I think the following have to be my favorites:
1. Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt
2. 'Tis by Frank McCourt
3. This Boy's Life by Tobias Wolff
4. Rocket Boys by Homer Hickam
5. Growing up in Mississippi by Anne Moody
6. Adrift by Stephen Callahan

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 26, 2009, 1:49:41 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 26, 2009, 1:50:32 PM PDT
The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls is profoundly moving.

Posted on Jul 26, 2009, 4:31:11 PM PDT
cedrick says:
Rodeo in Joliet by Glenn Rockowitz
Beautiful Boy by David Sheff
Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 26, 2009, 6:25:40 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Nov 10, 2010, 9:09:59 AM PST]

Posted on Jul 26, 2009, 6:56:52 PM PDT
The best memoir I ever read is the book Soulshaping- A journey of Self-Creation, by Jeff Brown. I read his first self published edition and I just couldn't put it down. I started a book group with it, and by the time we were done, we had 34 members. Everyone loved it. It is brilliant and magical.

Posted on Sep 21, 2009, 9:03:13 PM PDT
R. Thompson says:
Beyond Duty--a soldier coming forward to talk about killing children in Iraq. Devastating, unbelievable, and somehow manages to be a page turner.

Posted on Sep 22, 2009, 7:51:36 AM PDT
When a Crocodile Eats the Sun by Peter Godwin

Posted on Sep 22, 2009, 8:09:11 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Sep 23, 2009, 10:28:48 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 22, 2009, 8:32:27 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 22, 2009, 8:35:36 AM PDT
A slight mistake. The statement above about "The most engrossing memoir..." belongs to the gentleman below, who also said about the book (Yeshûa - Personal Memoir...): "One of the most enjoyable reads I have had this year. I congratulate you..." (Harvie D. Walford, Vancouver)

Posted on Sep 22, 2009, 9:08:03 AM PDT
S. Herring says:
My champion is 'A Boy in War' by Jan de Groot. A spell binding account of a young boy's life during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.

Posted on Sep 22, 2009, 1:09:44 PM PDT
Joy says:
I just read this one. Mass Casualties, by Michael Anthony. It is a soldiers story of Iraq, but I still loved it, the rough and raw voice he had. It reminded me of Bret Easton Ellis, or if Holden Caulfield went to war.Mass Casualties: A Young Medic's True Story of Death, Deception, and Dishonor in Iraq

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 22, 2009, 8:45:57 PM PDT
K. Vogl says:
I loved Angela's Ashes, I include in the classes I teach. He does a brilliant job with dialogue - and that's the way to capture an accent without doing any phoenetical spellings.

But 'Tis? That didn't capture the same wonder and innocence as the first one. He's older, and a bit of a rounder in that one. Not quite as charming, so it loses some of the magic.

But that's me.

I'd add the Glass Castle, too, even though the narrative distance in that one is more than I like. That I think may be necessary, given the subject matter.

Kate St. Vincent Vogl
Lost and Found: A Memoir of Mothers
Discover what Lorian Hemingway considers "a beautiful find."
"Compelling." - Star Tribune

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 27, 2009, 7:21:37 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 27, 2009, 7:23:00 PM PDT
What do you mean by "narrative distance" in the Glass Castle? Just curious as I loved that book (as much as I was horrified by it). It was also personal to me as she lived for a while nearby (in Nevada) and we are about the same age. Thankfully that is all that is similar. I wanted to give my mom and dad and big thank you after reading it. They were far from perfect but gee, at least they fed and housed me quite comfortably! I agree with your 'Tis comment. It wasn't as compelling a read as Angela's Ashes.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 27, 2009, 7:41:26 PM PDT
K. Vogl says:
She seems detached in telling the tale - that's what I mean by a great narrative distance. In other words, it comes across as more a reporting of facts, as opposed to a heartfelt expression. With her life being so difficult, if she told it more from the heart, it might prove too difficult to read.

I don't want to give the impression that I didn't like the story - I thought it was well done - a really good story - which is why I felt it should be added to the list. Just noting the different style. (And I wanted to give my folks a hug and a thank you after reading it, too!)

Kate St. Vincent Vogl
Lost and Found: A Memoir of Mothers

Posted on Sep 28, 2009, 4:43:34 AM PDT
KOMET says:
1) THE LAST FIGHTING TOMMY: The Life of Harry Patch, the Only Surviving Veteran of the Trenches - Harry Patch

Mr. Patch, who died this past July (aged 111), was "the last British soldier alive to have fought in the trenches of the First World War. From his vivid memories of an Edwardian childhood, the horror of the Great War and fighting in the mud during the Battle of Passchendaele, working on the home front in the Second World War and fame in later life as a veteran, 'The Last Fighting Tommy' is the story of an ordinary man's extraordinary life."

2) KITCHENER'S LAST VOLUNTEER: The Life of Henry Allingham, the Oldest Surviving Veteran of the Great War - Henry Allingham

Henry Allingham (1896-2009) for a short time this year, was the oldest living person in the world. In his memoirs, he "vividly recaptures how life was lived in the Edwardian era and how it was altered irrevocably by the slaughter of millions of men in the Great War, and by the subsequent coming of the modern age. Henry is unique in that he saw action on land, sea and in the air with the [Royal Naval Air Service, which later amalgamated with the Royal Flying Corps on April 1, 1918 to form the Royal Air Force]. He was present at the Battle of Jutland in 1916 with the British Grand Fleet and went on to serve on the Western Front. He befriended several of the young pilots who would lose their lives, and he himself suffered the privations of the front line under fire. In recent years, Henry was given the opportunity to tell his remarkable story to a wider audience through a BBC documentary, and he has since become a hero to many, meeting royalty and having many honours bestowed upon him. This is the touching story of an ordinary man's extraordinary life - one who has outlived six monarchs and twenty-one prime ministers, and who represents a last link to a vital point in our nation's history."

3) TRUE COMPASS: A Memoir - Senator Edward M. Kennedy

4) IN SPITE OF MYSELF: A Memoir - Christopher Plumer

5) MEMOIRS OF VIDOCQ: Master of Crime - François Eugene Vidocq

François Eugene Vidocq "was a French criminal and criminalist whose life story inspired several writers like Victor Hugo and Honoré de Balzac. Because of his activities as founder and first director of the Sûreté Nationale as well as the subsequent opening of the first known private detective agency, he nowadays is considered by historians as the 'father' of modern criminology and of the French police. He is also regarded as the first private detective of all."

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 28, 2009, 2:27:00 PM PDT
Chimonsho says:
Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano [18C Atlantic]
Autobiography of Yukichi Fukuzawa [19C Japan]
Vera Brittain, Testament of Youth [20C England]
Theodore Rosengarten, All God's Dangers: The Life of Nate Shaw
Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom
Leila Ahmed, A Border Passage: From Cairo to America

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 28, 2009, 2:27:04 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Sep 28, 2009, 2:27:32 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 28, 2009, 3:33:54 PM PDT
dave anders says:
No Title Fits will blow you away, check it out.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 29, 2009, 3:02:29 PM PDT
My favorite has to be Mary Karr's - The Liar's Club. It actually inspired me to write mine, just released:
Replacement Child - A Memoir. Hope it's ok to mention it here. It's here on Amazon.
Happy reading!

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 29, 2009, 6:21:11 PM PDT
Mary Karr's Liar's Club IS great. In case you didn't know already, there is a sequel called Cherry.

Posted on Sep 30, 2009, 7:06:07 AM PDT
I am rereading Frank McCourt because his books are not only amazing for their prose but for the bearing of the soul. He was a primary model for me when I wrote my book. I will forever miss him and what would have been his next contribution.

Writing a memoir takes courage and many good ones have not been written nor seen print because the heat gets turned up under the author after publication. Having said that, I confide that we all have to live within our own souls. We all have to decide what our individual lives are about. Mine is about loving authentically, speaking and writing truthfully and offering hope to anyone who needs it.

Mary Jane Hurley Brant
Author of When Every Day Matters: A Mother's Memoir on Love, Loss and Life
Simple Abundance Press, Oct. 1, 2008

Posted on Oct 1, 2009, 7:34:12 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 1, 2009, 7:38:49 PM PDT
American on Purpose by Craig Ferguson, hands down. He's only 47 years old and yet has led enough life so far that his story is both interesting and strings together the life of the funniest and most talented late night (and arguably, overall) show host.

Posted on Oct 2, 2009, 4:35:51 AM PDT
KOMET says:
GOODBYE, DARKNESS: A Memoir of the Pacific War - William Manchester

One of the best memoirs I've ever read.

Posted on Oct 2, 2009, 8:11:28 AM PDT
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 8, 2009, 5:08:07 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Nov 23, 2011, 9:20:58 AM PST]
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Discussion in:  Memoir forum
Participants:  121
Total posts:  154
Initial post:  Jul 25, 2009
Latest post:  Dec 23, 2012

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