Bookishness, Getting to know me

Top Ten Biographies/Memoirs

Another lovely topic, the girls at The Broke and The Bookish requests this week our top ten books in X-genre.

Which is fine for people who have a definite preference… but I kind of don’t. I know a lot of people who swoon for YA, dystopians, romance, historical novels or classics… but I kind of flit between them all.

One thing that has been constant has been my appreciation for a good life story. So Biographical novels it is, then.

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank – I would wager a good guess that this was the first (auto)biography I ever read. I was about eight years old and a lot of it went over my head, but I would read and re-read it several times in years to come. Come to think of it, it is the only novel I have read more than once. I also loved the journal-style. If you haven’t read this yet… then… shame on you.

Mao’s Last Dancer by Li Cunxin – This started of a distinct “Chinese phase” for me, which culminated in my visit to China last year. I have also always had a fascination with dance, even though I have two left feet. This book made me cry.

Memoirs of a Geisha – And this one gave me a fascination with Japan. It is heart-wrenching. The movie does a really good job too.

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom – one of the wisest books I have ever read. If you are missing a real-life mentor, try Morrie.

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortensen – oh, wow. This just fanned the flame that wants to save the world. It reads a little difficult, so it’s not my favourite, but it is definitely an excellent memoir.

A Child Called “It” by Dave Pelzer – I wrote about this before, and it breaks the heart. I didn’t really enjoy the sequels, but the first one was really touching. It also meant a lot to me, because my mom is a social worker.

It Shouldn’t Happen to a Vet by James Herriot – I read this at a young age, when my biggest dream was to be a vet. It was hilarious, but I think I should reread it because I’m sure a lot of the humour was lost on me. It also helps to note that not all memoirs are depressing.

Not Without My Daughter by Betty Mahmoody – This is just another example of how biographies/memoirs have changed my life. I gained so much insight about an often hidden culture through this book. I want to give this book to all Islamaphobes to read.

Conversations with Myself by Nelson Mandela – this collection of personal papers, notes and letters read much easier than A Long Walk to Freedom, and to be honest, I enjoyed this one more.

The Story of my Life by Helen Keller – a book that inspired me. It reads wonderfully, and it doesn’t matter how well you think you know Keller’s story, her memoir will leave you in awe.

Memoirs/Biographies that I am currently reading:

Double Take: A Memoir by Kevin Michael Connolly – I just realised that I never finished this book (it was during exam time). It’s a must-read, the sense of humour and the great photos are a huge asset to an already-remarkably story.

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson – I’m really not enjoying this thus far. I’m not enjoying the writing style and Jobs doesn’t seem anything special yet. I’ll write a full review when I’m done with it.

Books that didn’t make the cut…

Leaving the Saints by Martha Beck – phenomenal as Beck is, I struggled to finish her book. It was not particularly captivating, and I read it at an age where the descriptions unnerved me. Perhaps I will try to read it again.

Dreams of my Father by Barack Obama – I am not an Obama-hater, and I admire his life story. But this autobiography didn’t grip me and I don’t recall reaching its end.

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10 thoughts on “Top Ten Biographies/Memoirs”

  1. I’ve always been interested in memoirs, but can’t seem to decide on which ones to read. πŸ™‚ I’ve read Anne Frank’s, of course, and Tuesdays with Morrie. But I’ll most definitely check out all the other books in your list. Thanks! πŸ™‚

  2. Not Without My Daughter, OMG. Blew my eyes wide open! I still have dreams about it. What if something like that happened to me and my son?! Amazing.

    I really liked Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. She made me want to live abroad, and now I am!

    1. That’s cool! I tried reading Eat Pray Love, but I think I wasn’t in the right spot in my life cos I couldn’t focus. So I’ll give it a try.

      Also, I think there’s a sequel to Not Without My Daughter…
      Thanks for visiting!

  3. I do enjoy biographies, and I must have read Anne Frank so many times since I first picked it up as a kid. I’ve always wanted to read Tuesdays With Morrie, maybe I will finally track down a copy!

  4. Memoirs are probably one of my most consistent favourite genres as well… But I too tend to dabble in a bit of everything. Tuesdays with Morrie, Anne Frank and Memoirs of a Geisha are three of my favourites as well. Great list!

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