Last 30 days
Last 6 months
Last 12 months
Last 24 months
Specific Dates

Specific Authors

Saeed Jones on the Power of Writing | Editors' Fall Picks 2019

Ordinary Girls

A must-read memoir on vulnerability, courage, and everything in between from a standout writer. [See Prepub Alert, 4/1/19]

How We Fight for Our Lives: A Memoir

An unforgettable memoir that pulls you in and doesn’t let go until the very last page. [An editor’s pick, see “Fall Fireworks.”]

A Wild and Precious Life: A Memoir

Whether readers are seeking material on U.S. LGBTQ history, particularly regarding the pre–Stonewall era, or an enrapturing memoir, this work will satisfy. Don’t miss out on this essential read.

The Arab of the Future. Vol. 4: A Childhood in the Middle East, 1987–1992

The difficulty of growing up in a culture you feel no commonality with is powerful in this volume and will definitely resonate with some readers. Others will be touched by the humor amid the drama. A must for most collections, especially those with the previous books in the series.

Burn the Place: A Memoir

A well-written and honest chef memoir, both rough and charming.

Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover, and Me

Brodeur’s story explores the bond between mother and daughter and the ripple effect a family secret can have when passed among generations. Highly recommended.

Dapper Dan: Made in Harlem; A Memoir

Dapper Dan is a Harlem success story. His tale, told here in the vernacular and with honesty, is a true treasure. Absolutely fascinating; will exceed all expectations.

Three Women

Readers of women’s history and of memoir will be better served elsewhere.


Nice Try: Stories of Best Intentions and Mixed Results

Fans of Gondelman will find these stories delightful, and readers unfamiliar with his comedy will still discover a connection to a nice guy making a nice try.

When We Were Arabs: A Jewish Family’s Forgotten History

Hayoun’s debut memoir offers a new perspective on world affairs and will be appreciated by readers interested in family histories told through personal narratives.


Knitting the Fog

YA readers might connect particularly well with Hernández’s voice. For fans of Ocean Vuong, Junot Diaz, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.


Becoming Superman: My Journey From Poverty to Hollywood

Recommended for readers of true crime and intense family drama, behind-the-scenes stories of Hollywood and the world of publishing, sf/fantasy fandom, and, especially, Straczynski’s work.


Stealing Green Mangoes: Two Brothers, Two Fates, One Indian Childhood

An insightful read about the strength of individuals to overcome adversity, reminding us that while our past and family do contribute to our identity, they do not define who we become.

More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say)

An inspiring memoir of a remarkable journey that shows of the power of faith, friendship, family and dreams.


The Yellow House

Recommended for all who enjoy family history or care to explore beyond the surface of place. [See Prepub Alert, 2/11/19.]

Serious Eater: A Food Lover’s Perilous Quest for Pizza and Redemption

An exciting read for fans of the site and those interested in the start-up process from one who has been there.


Commute: An Illustrated Memoir of Female Shame

By turns harrowing, sad, revealing, and infuriating, this isn’t for all readers of graphic novels or memoirs, but those who brave it are in for a challenging, confrontational experience. Optional; frequent profanity, nudity and frank discussions of sex and sexual assault. [Previewed in Ingrid Bohnenkamp's Graphic Novels Spotlight, "Mass Appeal," LJ 6/19.]


Magical Realism for Non-Believers

A solid choice for large collections, especially where memoirs are popular.


Mama’s Boy: A Story from Our Americas

This earnest memoir is somewhat overstuffed with discussions of religion and Hollywood; the greatest appreciation will likely come from readers interested in a heartfelt look at self-acceptance as well as the complexities of family or personal stories about mending divides between liberal and conservative

Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered: The Definitive How-To Guide

Expect high demand from podcast fans, but also recommend to readers of Jenny Lawson, Cheryl Strayed, and Issa Rae. Crossover potential for older teens

The Scar: A Personal History of Depression and Recovery

While there are quite a few memoirs on depression, Cregan's debut stands out for its personal and profound insights into a subject that can be difficult to grasp.

Humanoids Newest Graphic Novel about Coping with Bipolar Disorder, Just in Time For Mental Health Awareness Month

Tough Childhoods, Adult Adventures: Memoir Previews, Jul. 2019, Pt. 3 | Prepub Alert

Critics, Cartoonists, Cooks, & More: Memoir Previews, Apr. 2019, Pt. 4 | Prepub Alert

In Their Own Words: Memoirs for Everyone | The Reader's Shelf


The Milk Lady of Bangalore: An Unexpected Adventure

An absolute joy to read. Through her close encounters with the bovine kind, Narayan shows how Indian traditions are incorporated into contemporary ways of life. (Memoir, 10/20/17)

I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death

A heartfelt meditation on the fragility and wonder of life, O'Farrell's work emphasizes the body's desire to fight for survival, even as it takes on challenges from all sides. (Memoir, 12/13/17)

First Time Ever

An engrossing read for all, even those who don't know their folk music history. (Memoir, 12/13/17)


Gurba is a writer for our times; her memoir brings a powerful perspective. (Memoir, 10/20/17)

Flunk. Start. Reclaiming My Decade Lost in Scientology

An early candidate for memoir of the year, this is a thrilling story of one woman's search for truth and her place in the world. (Memoir, 1/12/18)

Where the Past Begins

Readers of Tan's novels will enjoy learning about the inspiration behind many of her stories. Book clubs and those who enjoy writers' memoirs, stories about difficult families, or children-of-immigrants narratives will also find much to savor. [See Prepub Alert, 4/24/17.]

The Wine Lover's Daughter

A fascinating book with something to interest anyone; a pure reading pleasure. [See "Reconciling Histories, Unraveling Mysteries,"].

Montaigne in Barn Boots: An Amateur Ambles Through Philosophy

One couldn't hope for a better introduction to the work of Perry or Montaigne. [See "Families & Addiction, Philosophers, Two Debuts, & Joyce Maynard";]

Ars Botanica: A Field Guide

This singular account will make readers wish that Taranto was a more polished writer and thinker.

We Are All Shipwrecks

Moving and complex, this is an exquisitely written tale of perseverance and unconditional love. A worthwhile addition to any collection.

Man of the Year

A very fine family memoir that proves, in a variety of ways, that things are not always what they seem.

Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8: A Young Man's Voice from the Silence of Autism

Recommended with reservations for readers who enjoyed The Reason I Jump or those seeking deeper insight into one man's distinctive struggle. [See Prepub Alert, 2/16/17.]

Sleepless Nights and Kisses for Breakfast: Reflections on Fatherhood

A perfect summer read that will allow parents, dads especially, to reflect upon their own experiences raising children.

Should I Still Wish

Evans's prose is often pedestrian, and his insights don't always resonate. This is a book that would be more enjoyable to pick up and read in increments rather than all the way through.

Insomniac City: New York, Oliver, and Me

Admirers of Sacks will want to seek this out for the glimpses into his personal life; general readers need not bother.

We Were the Future: A Memoir of the Kibbutz

A highly recommended introduction to the kibbutz movement.

The Inventors

A remarkable model of the art of the memoir, this book will satisfy all readers. Highly recommended.

Detroit Hustle: A Memoir of Love, Life & Home

Pictures of the house in question would have enhanced this book, and, at times, the prose is overwrought. Still, it is surprisingly full of practical advice and always entertaining.

Bullies: A Friendship

This essential memoir, which could have been twice as long and remained as fascinating, is recommended for general readers.

Burdens by Water: An Unintended Memoir

An original and funny/sad compilation of writings that will appeal to a wide readership.

Sex with Shakespeare: Here's Much To Do with Pain, but More with Love

A thoroughly enjoyable read, not just for the juicy bits of Shakespeare, but also for the sex-positive message. Recommended for readers who are interested in a different reading of Shakespeare, as well as anyone working through issues of sexuality and identity.

The Song Poet: A Memoir of My Father

Yang powerfully demonstrates that much of what society doesn't hold valuable—gifts and talents that don't translate into monetary or educational success—still carry immense value, if only we choose to see it.

The Penny Poet of Portsmouth: A Memoir of Place, Solitude, and Friendship

The author writes with great honesty about the challenges of caring for someone who can be a difficult patient. Readers with an interest in pursuing "the writing life," or who have struggled with caring for aging relatives or friends, will appreciate this open look at the subjects.

Dinner with Edward: A Story of an Unexpected Friendship

This is a book full of life lessons, a reminder that no matter how old we grow, we still have much to share, and to learn.

Reasons To Stay Alive

Haig's inspiring account is an essential read for anyone who has suffered from depression, or knows someone who has. It should lead to a greater understanding of the illness.

Navel Gazing: True Tales of Bodies, Mostly Mine (But Also My Mom's Which I Know Sounds Weird)

Fans of Black (VH1 series I Love the…; The State) will of course want to seek this one out. Most others need not bother.

The Alaskan Retreater's Notebook: On Man's Journey into the Alaskan Wilderness

The work's one drawback is its somewhat haphazard organization. Still, readers will appreciate this fascinating story of a modern-day homesteader.

GoatMan: How I Took a Holiday from Being Human

Though one of the more amusing memoirs in recent memory, its audience will probably be limited to academics and intellectuals.

White Walls: A Memoir About Motherhood, Daughterhood, and the Mess In Between

This is a modern woman's look at how we construct who we are

Wild Mama: One Woman's Quest To Live Her Best Life, Escape Traditional Parenthood, and Travel the World

With so much pressure on modern parents to "live for their kids," this title is a refreshing reminder that it's both possible and necessary to live for oneself, too.

Welcome to Marwencol

Sometimes tragedies can be catalysts for immense creativity. This is an encouraging read for anyone struggling with issues of self-expression and illustrates the many interlocking components of artistic expression and identity.

Controlled: The Worst Night of My Life and Its Aftermath

Teen readers who have had a similar experience may find it healing to read about someone talking openly about her own sexual assault. Parents would also benefit from this account. Arter's experiences underscore the need for their engagement and support.

My Confection: Odyssey of a Sugar Addict

A delicious morsel of memoir writing that will resonate with junk-food junkies and their clean-living counterparts.

The Point of Vanishing: A Memoir of Two Years in Solitude

A deeply felt and moving journey into no longer taking life, or the world around us, for granted.

Red Velvet Underground: A Rock Memoir, with Recipes

An appealing choice for readers who are looking for a humorous take on parenthood and food. Recommend to those who enjoy books that combine elements of storytelling with recipes such as Laura Esquivel's Like Water for Chocolate and Ruth Reichl's Comfort Me with Apples.

You Think It Strange

Burt describes the world he grew up in well. His reactions to his experiences are less strong, making for an unsuccessful memoir.


Though not for all readers, those who stick with this slim volume will find much to recommend. A truly wonderful book. [See "Nobel Prize Winner Modiano," LJ 9/1/15.

Born on the Bayou

Readers looking for a little Southern flair in their memoirs should check out Rick Bragg's All Over But the Shoutin' and Mary Carr's The Liars' Club, which offer better places to start.

That Thing You Do With Your Mouth: The Sexual Autobiography of Samantha Matthews as Told to David Shields

While not a memoir about surviving abuse, this history of Matthews's sexual past is daring, juicy, and theatrical.

Cabin Fever: The Sizzling Secrets of a Virgin Airlines Flight Attendant

For readers who have ever wondered what it's like to be a flight attendant or to sleep with different men in exotic locales, this memoir is for them. It's like Sex and the City on a 747.

A Field Guide to Awkward Silences

Petri is willing to put herself in the middle of hilariously awkward situations with no fear of looking stupid. Readers will delight in accompanying her on the ride.

Leave the Dogs at Home

An excellent choice for those touched by grief, ready for a change, or just wanting to read a beautifully written memoir.

Head Case: My Brain and Other Wonders

Cohen's distinctive voice makes this tale of navigating elementary school through young adulthood while literally missing a part of her brain a charming, enjoyable read.

You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)

Day's writing is warm and charming. Fans of her work will gobble this up, but anyone who has ever despaired of finding their passions would benefit from a read as well.

The World's Largest Man

Smart, funny, and wildly engaging, this personal narrative of a man's bumpy relationship with his upbringing and specifically his father is beyond relatable. It reads like fiction that is too crazy to be anything but truth. Fans of memoir, personal essays, and humor writing will devour this in one sitting.

What Comes Next and How To Like It

It's a credit to Thomas's detailed powers of observation and calm reportage that when she suggests that we all hold hands and "rush into the surf together," the future seems a less daunting destination. [See Prepub Alert, 9/22/14.]

Gorge: My Journey Up Kilimanjaro at 300 Pounds

A classic tale of a woman overcoming her demons to achieve a lofty goal, this memoir will resonate with anyone who has ever felt the joy and satisfaction that comes with proving oneself.

Visiting Hours: A Memoir of Friendship and Murder

While the writing is haunting in its eloquence, this is not a memoir of true crime but of a complicated friendship, omitting any perspective from the victim or her family.

Primates of Park Avenue

This anthropological journey into the wilds of New York City's most exclusive zip code could have easily devolved into condescension, but instead it proves that mothers everywhere want the same thing: health and happiness for their progeny. [See Prepub Alert, 12/15/14.]

The Rose Hotel: A Memoir of Secrets, Loss, and Love from Iran to America

Andalibian's story provides a sweeping account of life in Iran following the revolution and how the aftermath of a political uprising affected one family in a profound way.

The Book of Love: Improvisations on a Crazy Little Thing

True to its subtitle, this is a collection of "improvisations," meandering in a way that allows readers to pick it up and begin from any page in this tiny, precious book. [See Prepub Alert, 7/7/14.]

Motorcycles I've Loved

This is a road trip book in the literal and figurative sense as the author takes readers on a scenic ride through the backcountry roads of being a woman in what is often considered a man's world. Ideal for readers who enjoyed the motorcycle sections of Robert M. Pirsig's cult classic Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance but could have done without the zen. [See Prepub Alert, 10/20/14.]

It Was Me All Along

A worthwhile addition to memoir collections.

The Light of the World

While it's impossible to avoid comparisons to Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking (2005), this work is set apart by the fluid translation of Alexander's poetic ability into sentences so beautiful they beg to be reread. [See Prepub Alert, 10/20/14.]

Girl in the Dark

This memoir, which reads like a diary, will remind readers in good health of the simple things often taken for granted, such as watching television, cooking, and being outdoors. Readers battling an illness for which doctors have little explanation may find this work quite bleak. [See Prepub Alert, 9/21/14.]

Screening Room: Family Pictures

A fine addition to Lightman's oeuvre, this a great story tinged with nostalgia for an America that no longer exists. The author grew up in Memphis, TN, and the book is full of quirky history and details about that iconic American city. [See Prepub Alert, 8/4/14.]

All the Wrong Places: A Life Lost and Found

Though at times too revealing about his life (his need to tell us about his phone sex experiences struck this reviewer as odd), this is an honest and frank account of one man's coming to terms with a tragic personal event. [See Prepub Alert, 8/4/14.]

Whipping Boy: The Forty-Year Search for My Twelve-Year-Old Bully

Criticisms of this memoir qua memoir aside, Kurzweil paces his book beautifully and it is recommended even for those who normally don't read nonfiction or memoirs. It moves like a thriller, is very funny, and in the right hands, would make a great movie. [See Prepub Alert, 7/7/14.]


Readers from many backgrounds will be able to identify with the author because his book is really a plea for us to accept everybody for who they are, no matter what their story may be, or what kinds of lives they may lead. [See Prepub Alert, 9/21/14.]

The Call of the Farm: An Unexpected Year of Getting Dirty, Home Cooking, and Finding Myself

Foodies and wannabe farmers will love this memoir and will root for Bilow as she answers her own call of the farm.

Normally, This Would Be Cause for Concern: Tales of Calamity and Unrelenting Awkwardness

Not as awkward as the subtitle lays claim and sadly lacking in juicy gossip from the set of Boy Meets World, this is still a quick, spunky read for Topanga fans.

Being Miss America: Behind the Rhinestone Curtain

This memoir offers a captivating cultural history of the last 100 years in America through the lens of the Miss America Pageant and its white-knuckled struggle to remain relevant.

The Wild Truth

As much Carine's as it is Chris's story, this title gives readers the complete picture behind what led Chris into the wild, while also sharing Carine's path from dysfunction to redemption.

I'll Drink to That: A Life in Style, with a Twist

Names are dropped and stories are told in Halbreich's distinctive voice. Fashion mavens will enjoy the industry gossip while mere mortals may benefit from the closet organization tips.

Polio Boulevard: A Memoir

Chase brings her poetic sensibilities to the page in discussions of the way history is not just huge wars and battles but small, personal skirmishes too. With an economy of words, she elegantly conveys the experience of one small part of the world—her own

Coming to My Senses: One Woman's Cochlear Implant Journey

This memoir will appeal to those who appreciate candid biographies, and it is a unique addition to collections about deafness.

Paper Love: Searching for the Girl My Grandfather Left Behind

Wildman's extensive investigation into her grandfather's history is well documented and analyzed, but it is her determination to find out what happened to Valy, a woman at the periphery of the family circle, that distinguishes this family history. The author's gradual realization that others cared about Valy's fate, too, led her to a larger understanding of the unbearable circumstances and decisions faced by everyone involved, even those lucky enough to establish new lives elsewhere.

My Grandfather's Gallery: A Family Memoir of Art and War

Paul Rosenberg's role in the development of the market for modern art is explained effectively here against the broader context of the world art scene and the upheavals of World War II. Sinclair's ability to create such a coherent and compelling narrative out of the contents of a box of letters is a credit to her journalistic chops. (Sinclair is the ex-wife of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and she hints at further disclosures and family storytelling in the future.)

The Blue Box: Three Lives in Letters

The author's family history is easy to read but not frivolous. Issues of race, privilege, and class arise, as does the ugly topic of money (or lack thereof) in this colorful snapshot of Bingham's family. Fans of women's history and devotees of Southern family sagas will enjoy taking this detour into nonfiction territory.

In a Rocket Made of Ice: Among the Children of Wat Opot

Gutradt's account could easily have fallen into sappy greeting-card sentimentality, but she avoids that trap and provides a clear-eyed view of Matthysse and the kids he lives and works among. The result is a nicely written wake-up call for those suffering from compassion fatigue.

The Antelope in the Living Room: The Real Story of Two People Sharing One Life

The author's approach to describing the joys and trials of marriage relies heavily on her Christian faith, which may not resonate with all readers. Devoted fans of her blog will savor this latest installment in the chronicles of her fairly charmed life.

The Great Floodgates of the Wonderworld: A Memoir

Hocking's lack of vanity in describing his tough years in New York is noteworthy, as is his devotion to Moby Dick. His admiration for Melville's opus does not prevent him from telling a compelling story of his own.


Only a misanthrope would fail to be moved by Bauman's guileless narration of the horrors of rehabilitation or his frustration with learning to live with his new prosthetic legs. This is the simple story of one decent guy who fights hard to stay strong in the face of adversity. Go Boston!

Bulletproof Vest: The Story of an Outlaw and His Daughter

The slow path to Venegas's reconciliation with her father was not straight or without detours but what matters is the crystalline accuracy with which the route is described. The scene in which she describes learning to shoot a gun with her father on New Year's Eve at her family's isolated ranch will redefine the idea of "shooting stars" for you in a way that only the clearest writing can.

Get connected. Join our global community of more than 200,000 librarians and educators.