Three Must-Read Memoirs

| On
August 15, 2013
This is a post I originally shared at The Nectar Collective. Today I'm linking it up to Book Chat over at the Tangerine.

Today, I’m super excited to share with y’all some of my favorite nonfiction books. Now, don’t get scared! These aren’t textbooks you struggled through in school or anything of the sort. These are just memoirs, biographies and stories. I like reading nonfiction because true books remind me of reading blogs. I get a little peek into someone’s life that is way different from mine and sometimes that can really be entertaining or thought-provoking. Most nonfiction books that I like fall into three categories: slightly nerdy, moving or funny. Today I’m going to introduce you to one of each.

The Slightly Nerdy: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Henrietta Lacks was a poor black woman in the South in the mid-1900s when she developed cancer and underwent treatment at John Hopkins Medical Center. She passed away but unknown to her–or her struggling family–her cells were being grown and sold around the world. The book follows the family more than the science aspect as Skloot introduces us to Henrietta’s family and their lives. This true story touches on themes of crime and racism as Henrietta’s daughter comes to terms with deceit and injustice since Henrietta’s cells change the world but her own daughter can’t even afford healthcare.

Quote: “She’s the most important person in the world and her family living in poverty. If our mother is so important to science, why can’t we get health insurance?” –Deborah, Henrietta’s daughter

Why You’ll Love It: It’s just enough science that you feel like you’re learning a little, but enough crime and drama that you won’t want to put it down. Rebecca Skloot makes her characters so real that you’ll really feel like you know them by the end of the book.


The Moving MemoirBeautiful Boy by David Sheff

Called a “fiercely candid memoir,” Beautiful Boy traces Sheff’s journey dealing with his son Nic’s transformation from a joyful, athletic, good-natured, and kind Honors Student to an out-of-control delinquent addicted to crystal meth.

Quote: “I’m not sure if I know any ‘functional’ families, if functional means a family without difficult times and members who don’t have a full range of problems.”

Why You’ll Love It: This book is sad, but I also couldn’t stop reading. He balances out the heart-breaking moments with stories that make you love Nic. In the first few pages, Sheff shows you just how great his son is and how he the addiction devastated him. I will never read this book again but I truly believe everyone should read it. Definite trigger warning though, if you couldn't gather that.


The Witty Tale: Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

If you like humor, you have got to read David Sedaris’ books (I’ve heard Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls is hilarious as well). In this book, Sedaris tells a series of short stories from his life on all sorts of topics ranging from bull fights and learning French to family bands. It will make you laugh all along the way.

Quote: “I find it ridiculous to assign a gender to an inanimate object incapable of disrobing and making an occasional fool of itself. Why refer to lady crack pipe or good sir dishrag when these things could never live up to all that their sex implied?” –On Learning French.

Why You’ll Love It: It’s hilarious. What more reason do you need? Plus every chapter’s a different story so you can flip open to a random chapter, read for fifteen minutes, get yourself a good laugh and be on your merry way. If you can, find the audiobook at your library--it's hilarious in his voice!

What about you? Have you read any of these books? Do you like reading memoirs?

12 comments on "Three Must-Read Memoirs"
  1. I love David Sedaris. He is so hilarious!
    I was recently got the recommendation for the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks so I definitely want to check it out now. Beautiful Boy also sounds ilke something I would like to read even if it just is once.

  2. They all really are good. I'm pretty selective in what I recommend, and all of these passed with flying colors. Beautiful Boy will change you. I finished it the day before Cory Monteith's death (from heroin/alcohol) and I just hurt so badly for him since I knew a little bit more of what he went through.

  3. I love memoirs and have read Sheff's and Sedaris' books (loved them both). The Henrietta Lack book sounds REALLY good.

  4. It is SO good! There were a few (maybe twice) where I had to skip over a few pages of medical jargon but for the most part it was just fascinating. I really recommend it!

  5. I have been wanting to read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks! My college chose it as a summer read for freshmen, but I wasn't a freshman at the time so I didn't read it haha. I have to say, I read Me Talk Pretty One Day and didn't love it. I was pretty sad because everyone I know loves David Sedaris, but it just didn't strike the right chord with me.

    Thanks for joining! It's fun to see someone new in the Book Chat. :)

  6. I have heard so much about The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. I've got to read it! :)

  7. That's okay! I like that you have the gumption to say so! I hated Perks of Being a Wallflower and everyone judges me for that :) And I definitely didn't like every story in his book--some things about his drugs and stuff was just uncomfortable for me. But overall, it made me laugh and I appreciate that.

  8. Really, you should! It's a bit longer than it needs to me, but overall great!

  9. Ah, I've heard so much about all three of these!

  10. They're all worth the hype!

  11. Yes! I love, love good memoirs.

    I've read "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" for a book club reading and was blown away by it. I previously worked in a bookstore and I remember how popular that book was, and after discovering what it was about, I knew I had to read it! Such a good one.

    I also have "Me talk pretty one day" and it's on my to read list!

  12. Ahh I'm so jealous that you worked in a book store!! Dream job!


Klik the button below to show emoticons and the its code
Hide Emoticon
Show Emoticon

Custom Post Signature

Custom Post  Signature