12 Moving Memoirs

Personal stories of tragedy, triumph and discovery.
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Good Eggs by Phoebe Potts

Potts is married to a nice (half) Jewish boy. She recycles, she votes, she takes yoga. But after all her efforts, she’s still left wondering: "Where’s My Baby." In this humorous, heartfelt graphic memoir the author artfully details her struggle to conceive. Buy it here.

You’re Old, I’m Old… Get Used to It! by Virginia Ironside

Humor in longevity is, um, old hat. But Ironside, a 65-year-old Brit, makes the genre feel fresh again with her wry collection of essays on aging. A sample: "The problem with getting a new life, if that’s your aim, is that so often you die halfway through it." Buy it here.

Why Not Say What Happened? by Ivana Lowell

Lowell takes her spot in the pantheon of modern-day heiresses with this memoir about her unbelievable life. She chronicles her relationship with her complicated mother, her stints in rehab for alcoholism and a shocking discovery about her paternity after her mother’s death. Buy it here.

Dog Walks Man by John Zeaman

"There is a hope that a dog injects into every walk, more than a hope-an expectation, really-that this is going to be something wonderful," writes Zeaman in the introduction to this memoir meets mediation "on the wisdom derived from dogs and dog walking." Buy it here.

Fury by Koren Zailckas

In Smashed, Zailckas wrote about her alcoholic girlhood. Here, she chronicles the unacknowledged rage that mounted after she got sober and how it seeped into her personal and professional life. As she puts it: "I couldn’t connect to humanity until I stopped fighting my own. Here, at last, I surrender to it. Buy it here.

Create Dangerously by Edwidge Danticat

Inspired by Albert Camus’ lecture "Create Dangerously," the Haitian-American writer reflects on art and exile. Buy it here.

After the Falls by Catherine Gildiner

In 1960 12-year-old Gildiner was tossed out of Catholic school for filling the holly water font with vodka. So her family starts over in suburban Buffalo where Cathy embraces the changing times, becoming a vandal, HoJo hostess, FBI suspect, civil rights demonstrator and more. Buy it here.

The Diaries of Sofia Tolstoy translated by Cathy Porter

Leo’s wife Sofia kept diaries of her marriage to the famed writer until his death in 1910. Her lively writing reveals intimate moments from their relationship as well as historical details from Russia’s tumultuous history. Buy it here.

Dreaming in Chinese by Deborah Fallows

Gallows spent three years in China learning Mandarin. Here, she chronicles her time abroad as well as her discoveries about how language provides insight into the behaviors and habits of its speakers. Buy it here.

Composing a Further Life by Mary Catherine Bateson

Part memoir, part roadmap for what comes next, Bateson explores how older adults, poised to live decades longer than they would have in the past, will embrace the next stage of life. Buy it here.

Ad the Pursuit of Happiness by Maira Kalman

Artist and author Kalman spent a year investigating democracy and how it works. In this engaging illustrated memoir she visits the Museum of American History, bunks in the Mary Todd LIncoln Room at a bed and breakfast and appreciates Thomas Jefferson’s deep curiosity while taking in his Monticello estate. Buy it here.

Brave Girl Eating by Harriet Brown

In this achingly honest account of one family’s battle with anorexia, Brown details 18 months of her daughter’s fight with the disease. Buy it here. *FOR THE BEST OF FOOD LIT, CLICK HERE.*

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