Books Magazine

The Most Memorable of Memoirs

By Bluestalking @Bluestalking

While wandering aimlessly through various bookish periodicals, I came upon this list of "Memoirs That Will Last."

Like all book lists, this one's no more comprehensive and/or definitive than any other: they're all a crap shoot. I just thought it was interesting and thought I'd pass it along:


Douglass: Autobiographies; Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave

Benjamin Franklin: Autobiography, Poor Richard, and Later Writings; The Autobiography

Ulysses S. Grant: Memoirs and Selected Letters; Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant

The Story of My Life by Helen Keller

Mark Twain: Mississippi Writings; Life on the Mississippi

Black Boy by Richard Wright



RichardwrightI would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all.

- Richard Wright




I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

The Education of Little Tree by Forrest Carter

Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy

Rocket Boys: A Memoir by Homer Hickam

The Liar's Club: A Memoir by Mary Karr

Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt

The Autobiography of Malcolm X

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig



Marykarr“For me, everything's too much and nothing's enough.”

- Mary Karr




Madame Secretary by Madeleine Albright with Bob Woodward

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey

The Life and Times of the Thunderbold Kid: A Memoir by Bill Bryson

Running with Scissors: A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs

My Life in France by Julia Child

Over Time: My Life as a Sportswriter by Frank Deford

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

Townie: A Memoir by Andre Dubus, III

Life Itself: A Memoir by Roger Ebert

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert

The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

Just Kids by Patti Smith

Jarhead: A Marine's Chronicle of the Gulf War by Anthony Swofford



For me, everything's too much and nothing's enough.”

- Elisabeth Tova Bailey



Good, bad, indifferent? Seems like a short list; I could easily add to it. Offhand, Steinbeck's Travels with Charley comes to mind. Nabokov's Speak, Memory. Perhaps Hemingway's A Moveable Feast?


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