Read These Memoirs!

There are so many memoirs to read, and books that help us learn how to write. This is the list of the classic books that I read as I began my memoir journey, and of course so many more books have come out. But here is a great list to choose from. I’ll post some of my favorites along the way–some of my favorites have * next to them.

Enjoy reading!!


Adams, Kathleen        The Write Way to Wellness; Journal to the Self

* Allende, Isabel            Paula

* Allison, Dorothy         Bastard Out of Carolina

* Angelou, Maya           I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings & other works

Ball, Edward               Slaves in the Family

Arenas, Reinaldo        Before Night Falls

* Baker, Russell             Growing Up

* Balakian, Peter            Black Dog of Fate

*Barrington, Judith     Writing the Memoir: From Truth to Art; Lifesaving   

Bateson, Catherine      Composing a Life; Through a Daughter’s Eye

* Bragg, Rick                 All Over But the Shoutin’; Ava’s Man

Brande, Dorothea       Becoming a Writer     

Brautigan, Ianthe        You Can’t Catch Death

Brittain, Vera              Testament of Youth

Cameron, Julia            The Artist’s Way

Chandler, Marilyn       A Healing Art: Regeneration Through Autobiography

Chernin, Kim              My Mother’s House & other works

Conroy, Frank             Stop Time

Conway, Jill Kerr        When Memory Speaks ; The Road from Coorain and other books

Day, Dorothy              The Long Loneliness

DeBeauvoir, Simone   Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter  first of three parts

De Caro, Frank           A Boy Named Phyllis

De Salvo, Louise         Writing as a Way of Healing

Eggers, David             A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

Elbow Peter                Writing with Power; Writing Without Teachers

*Fox, John                  Poetic Medicine

Fremont, Helen           After Long Silence

Gebler, Carlo               My Father and I

Gates, Henry Louis     Colored People

* Gilmore, Mikal            Shot in the Heart

Goldberg, Natalie       Writing Down the Bones etc.

Gordon, Mary             Shadow Man

Gornick, Vivian          Fierce Attachments

* Harrison, Kathryn     The Kiss

Heilbrun, Carolyn       Writing a Woman’s Life

* Hoffman, Eva             Lost in Translation

Hooks, bell                  Remembered Rapture: The Writer at Work

Jamison, Kay               An Unquiet Mind

Jung, Carl                    Memories, Dreams, Reflections

* Karr, Mary                  The Liar’s Club; Cherry; Lit

L’Engle, Madeleine    The Summer of the Great-Grandmother

*Lamott, Anne             Traveling Mercies; Bird by Bird

*Lauck, Jennifer         Blackbird; Still Waters

Lawrence, T. E.           Seven Pillars of Wisdom

Ledoux, Denis               Turning Memories into Memoirs

MacDonald, Michael     All Souls: A Family Story from Southie

Mason, Bobbie Ann    Clear Springs

Mairs, Nancy        Remembering the Bone House

Maynard, Isabelle       China Dreams: Growing Up Jewish in Tientsin

Maynard, Joyce           At Home in the World

McBride, James          The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother

McCarthy, Mary         Memories of a Catholic Girlhood

McCourt, Frank           Angela’s Ashes; Tis

Mead, Margaret          Blackberry Winter

*Merton, Thomas        Seven Story Mountain; Diaries and Journals

*Metzger, Deena         Writing for Your Life

Myers, Linda Joy        The Power of Memoir; Don’t Call Me Mother

Neruda, Pablo             Memoirs

Norris, Kathleen          Dakota: A Spiritual Geography; Cloister

* O’Faolin, Nuala          Are You Somebody? My Dream of You

Oppenheimer, Deborah (Ed)   Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport

Pennebaker, James      Opening Up: The Healing Power of Expressing Emotions

Perel, Solomon            Europa, Europa

*Rainer, Tristine          Your Life as Story; The New Diary

Reichl, Ruth                Tender at the Bone

Rhodes, Richard         A Hole in the World

Ryan, Terry                 The Prizewinner of Defiance Ohio

Santos, John Phillip     Places Left Unfinished at the Time of Creation

Sarton, May                Journal of a Solitude; Plant Dreaming Deep etc

Scott-Maxwell, Florida  The Measure of my Days

See, Carolyn                Dreaming

Stegner, Wallace         Wolf Willow

*Ueland, Brenda         If You Want to Write

Weisel, Elie                 The Night Trilogy

Welty, Eudora             One Writer’s Beginnings

Williams, Terry Tempest         Leap; Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place

Wolff, Geoffrey          The Duke of Deception

* Wolff, Tobias              This Boy’s Life

*Woolf, Virginia         Moments of Being; Letters