Poor Writers Recommendations: Memoirs

I always take my coffee with sugar and a huge leaf.

I always take my coffee with sugar and a huge leaf.

*Disclaimer: this list is completely based on what I read recently and/or am staring at in my bookshelf. It is in no way ranked in order and some of my favorite books and authors have been left out for no good reason at all. Maybe they’ll make it next time if the prices of their readings go down. (I’m looking at you, David Sedaris.)

I decided to make a list of some memoir books I like, mostly because my fellow poor writers gave me the idea and I couldn’t think of anything better. Also, though, memoir seems like an appropriate fall genre, kind of nostalgic and academic and orange. Or at least, that’s my spin.

Here are some books.

1. Autobiography of a Face

by Lucy Grealy 


I just finished Autobiography of a Face this weekend. It was weird and sad and funny which are my three favorite kinds of memoir feelings. Grealy does a wonderful job of telling her personal story in an incredibly interesting and universal-truthy way. It’s a story about identity and beauty and pain and I would go read it right now if I were you.

2. A Girl Named Zippy: Growing up Small in Mooreland, Indiana

by Haven Kimmel


This is one of my all-time favorite best books in the whole world. And it’s about nothing. I’m sorry, Haven Kimmel, I’m not calling your childhood nothing, but…on the surface, let’s say. A small town childhood. It’s a book that, on the first read, made me think maybe I could write a memoir. She writes incredibly funny and moving stories about her family and relatively mundane things that happen in her childhood, and I guess I thought, relatively mundane things have happened to me! Hence, memoir. But on the second read, I became discouraged—the point of view and writing style is some of the best I’ve ever read, (not to mention funniest), which, once again leaves me discouraged and thinking I’ll probably end up writing the jokes on popsicle sticks. Thanks, Kimmel.

 3. This is the Story of a Happy Marriage

by Ann Patchett


(This is a collection of essays. Does that mean it’s not a memoir? I feel like I’m letting down the whole world of English majoring. I’m lost.)

My memory of this book might be skewed because I read it on vacation over the summer when I was happy and everything seemed lovely and wonderful. So according to happy-go-lucky summer me, this books was great. I haven’t read anything else by Ann Patchett, but I plan to soon. She’s funny and smart and easy to read in a good way. It’s a good book to hang out with.

So, these are three good books. If you haven’t read them, try one out. If you have, let me know what you think.


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