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Find Your Next Memoir

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The word memoir comes from the French word “memoire,” meaning memory. Unlike biographies, memoirs are not just facts about a person’s life; they are the author’s memories. Their feelings and emotions are integral to the story being told. Memoirs focus on a specific period or event in an author’s life, often of a critical nature. In her memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, this year’s All Henrico Reads author, Cheryl Strayed, shares her memories about the circumstances that led her to take a solo hike and the impact the journey had on her life. If this year’s All Henrico Reads title has you craving more memoirs, read on for more fascinating reads from our collection!

Find memoirs written by people from every walk of life including musicians, artists, actors, athletes, politicians, and more. The following titles are recently published and highly acclaimed.

  • Being Henry: The Fonz… and Beyond  by Henry Winkler
    • Being the Fonz wasn’t as wonderful as it may have seemed. Henry Winkler’s memoir is more than a Hollywood celebrity memoir. He shares memories of his difficult childhood dealing with dyslexia and how it affected his self-esteem as he got older. He, of course, touches on his time on Happy Days and how playing the Fonz was both rewarding and difficult. Throughout this memoir, Winkler comes across as open, honest, and humble, always grateful for the opportunities he was offered.
  • Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner
    • Spending over a year on the New York Times Bestseller list, Crying in H-Mart explores the author’s difficult relationship with her mother, the grief she experienced after losing her mother to cancer, and the reconciliation with her Korean heritage through food.
  • Dinners With Ruth: A Memoir on the Power of Friendships by Nina Totenberg
    • NPR legal correspondent Nina Totenberg shared an almost 50-year friendship with the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Before Totenberg was an award-winning reporter for NPR and Ginsburg a Supreme Court Justice, the two connected over a phone interview regarding RBG’s brief on the 14th amendment. More than a biopic of RBG, this memoir focuses on the friendship between the two women, as well as Totenberg’s friendships with her two husbands and Cokie Roberts. There is plenty of history here as well, especially on the Supreme Court. A fascinating read about the strength of friendships between women who helped break boundaries.
  • Finding Me by Viola Davis (also available on Hoopla)
    • Grit, determination, amazing, and inspiring: these are just some of the words frequently used to describe Viola Davis’ memoir. Raised in dire poverty and abusive circumstances, Davis worked hard to become the talent she is today. In an industry rife with sexism and racism, Davis became the first Black Woman to earn the “triple crown” by winning Oscar, Emmy, and Tony awards. Davis’ story can’t help but inspire all women.
  • I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy
    • Child actor Jennette McCurdy became a star on Nickelodeon’s iCarly, achieving her domineering mother’s dream. With the stardom also came addiction, eating disorders, and dysfunctional relationships, all exacerbated by her mother’s death. Equal parts distressing and humorous, McCurdy details her journey to recovery with a clear eye.
  • Man of Two Faces: A Memoir, A History, A Memorial by Viet Thanh Nguyen (also available on Hoopla)
    • Nguyen’s memoir breaks the mold of what constitutes a memoir. Told in a non-linear style, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author reflects on memories, history, and the American immigrant experience. His quest to reconcile his identities as Vietnamese and American focuses on his parent’s history as well as his role as both a parent and son. Featured on “Best Of” lists for several publications and longlisted for the National Book Award, Viet Thanh Nguyen gifts us an emotional tale told from his unique perspective.
  • The Woman in Me by Britney Spears
    • Chronicling her life from a tumultuous childhood dominated by controlling parents, Britney’s much-anticipated memoir delves into the legal battles that ultimately led to the end of her conservatorship. Readers will be engrossed in this heartfelt story, told with candor and humor.

Some great memoirs you may have missed:

More Memorable Memoirs

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