There’s something special about reading a memoir or biography. Both genres are about REAL people and they can be extremely compelling, if the subject is interesting or has something poignant to share with readers. We’ve compiled a few books about people we think you might be interested in what they have to say.
BookSparks Fall Reading Challenge’s (#FRC2017) latest book just happens to be a New York Times #1 Bestseller and Oprah’s new Book Club selection … Get ready to be a LOVE WARRIOR!
Glennon Doyle had to deal with a lot of crap to put out her new memoir, LOVE WARRIOR (FlatironBooks), so you hopefully won’t have to. She thought she had it all, three wonderful children, a fabulous loving husband, another bestseller book and then she found out her husband was cheating. Talk about your life being shattered … But Glennon Doyle shares with readers in LOVE WARRIOR how she put herself back together piece by tiny piece, until she was the WARRIOR she is today. It’s possible for you, too.
LOVE WARRIOR is about love and sex and infidelity and divorce and leaving the church and finding the church and ultimately about learning how to trust yourself. It serves as a reminder that as people we can do hard things…like heal our hearts, our families, our communities and our country.
Glennon Doyle is the creator of MOMASTERY. Momastery is a worldwide online gathering place for people who are tired of making life harder by pretending it isn’t hard. Our rules have been the same for almost ten years: Be brave enough to tell your story, be kind enough to let others tell theirs.
And here is the next miracle of her community: When we looked inward and learned that we could face our own pain, we became brave enough to look outward to face the pain of the world. We opened our eyes to the suffering of our brothers and sisters in our neighborhoods and all across the globe, and we became activists. We started Together Rising, which is our worldwide army of Love Warriors. Through small gifts—the average donation is thirty dollars—Together Rising has sent over three million dollars to children, women, and families around the world.
Runners’ vocabulary is full of acronyms like DNS for “Did Not Start” and DNF for “Did Not Finish,” but when Mirna Valerio stepped up to the starting line, she needed a new one: DNQ for “Did Not Quit” and she turned her experience into A BEAUTIFUL WORK IN PROGRESS (GrandHarborPress).
Valerio has tied on her running shoes all across the country, from the dusty back roads of central New Jersey to the busy Route 222 corridor in Pennsylvania to the sweltering deserts of Arizona. When you meet her on the trail, you might be surprised to see she doesn’t quite fit the typical image of a long-distance runner. She’s neither skinny nor white, and she’s here to show just how misguided these stereotypes can be.
In this prejudice-busting, body-positive memoir told with raw honesty, an adventurous spirit, and a sharp sense of humor, Valerio takes readers along on her journey from first-time racer to ultramarathoner and proves that anyone can become a successful athlete.
Mirna’s own words:
Running is life. I’m a Spanish teacher, choral director, diversity practitioner, cross-country running coach, blogger, and avid trail runner who believes that many of life’s lessons can be learned by simply engaging oneself in the pursuit of wisdom gained through simply moving your body in nature.
In February of this year, a WSJ reporter contacted me, inquiring about my blog FATGIRLRUNNING, subsequently writing a piece in the newspaper (featuring me and another fathlete) about being fat and fit. Then Runner’s World picked up the story and did a feature article about me in their August Issue. Most recently, NBC Nightly News produced a “Nightly Film” about me and also aired a segment during the news! I’ve got more cool and exciting projects lined up so stay tuned!
I am humbled beyond words to have been able to tell my story and inspire others to be active with whatever body they have.
Whitney has written her own pitch for her memoir:
Well, well, well. Look at you, ogling my book … I’M FINE …AND OTHER LIES (Putnam)….I presume if you’re reading this it means you’re thinking about reading my memoir or of course, we used to date and you’re trying to figure out if you should sue me or not.
Here are all the stories and mistakes I’ve made that were way too embarrassing to tell on stage in front of an actual audience; but thanks to not-so-modern technology, you can read about them here so I don’t have to risk having your judgmental eye contact crush my self-esteem. This book contains some delicious schadenfreude in which I recall such humiliating debacles as breaking my shoulder while trying to impress a guy, coming very close to spending my life in a Guatemalan prison, and having my lacerated ear sewn back on by a deaf guy after losing it in a torrid love affair. In addition to hoarding mortifying situations that’ll make you feel way better about your choices, I’ve also accumulated a lot of knowledge from therapists, psychotherapists, and psychopaths, which can probably help you avoid making the same mistakes I’ve made. Think of this book as everything you’d want from the Internet all in one place, except without the constant distractions of ads, online shopping, and porn.
I’m not sure what else to say to say, except that you should buy it if you want to laugh and learn how to stop being crazy. And if we used to date, see you in court.
Julie Lythcott-Haims memoir arrives at a perfect time to participate in our country’s discourse. She reflects on growing up a biracial black women in American who is a REAL AMERICAN in her book, REAL AMERICAN (HenryHolt)
Bringing a poetic sensibility to her prose, Lythcott-Haims briskly and stirringly evokes her personal battle with the low self-esteem that American racism routinely inflicts on people of color. The only child of a marriage between an African-American father and a white British mother, she shows indelibly how so-called “micro” aggressions in addition to blunt force insults can puncture a person’s inner life with a thousand sharp cuts. REAL AMERICAN explores Lythcott-Haims’s journey path to self-acceptance, the healing power of community in overcoming the hurtful isolation of being incessantly considered “the other.”
The author of the New York Times bestselling anti-helicopter parenting manifesto, HOW TO RAISE an Adult, she has written a different sort of book this time out, but one that will nevertheless resonate with the legions of students, educators and parents to whom she is now well-known, by whom she is beloved, and to whom she has always provided wise and necessary counsel about how to embrace and nurture their best selves. REAL AMERICAN is an unforgettable memoir, and a clarion call to all of us to live more wisely, generously and fully.
IT’S ALL RELATIVE: ADVENTURES UP and DOWN THE WORLD’S FAMILY TREE (SimonandSchuster) is A.J. Jacobs’s memoir about his family. And also your family. Because it’s the same family. So as a (distant) cousin of his, you might want to check this book out.
Jacobs tells the tale of his quest to unite the entire human race in one all-encompassing family tree. Well, it’s not just his own quest. It’s a historic project involving thousands of researchers and scientists and it’s revolutionizing the way we think about race, ethnicity, history and the human species.
A.J. Jacobs has received some strange emails over the years, but this note was perhaps the strangest: “You don’t know me, but I’m your eighth cousin. And we have over 80,000 relatives of yours in our database.” That’s enough family members to fill Madison Square Garden four times over.
It was at once alarming (did he really want more relatives?) but fascinating (could this be the ultimate social network).
Who are these people, A.J. wondered, and how do I find them?
A.J. Jacobs is an author, journalist, lecturer and human guinea pig. He has written four New York Times bestsellers that combine memoir, science, humor and a dash of self-help.
He is also editor at large at Esquire magazine, a commentator on NPR and a columnist for Mental Floss magazine. He is currently helping to build a family tree of the entire world and holding the biggest family reunion ever in 2015
Jacobs grew up in New York City. His father is a lawyer who holds the world record for the most footnotes in a law review article (4,812). His wife works for a highbrow scavenger hunt called Watson Adventures. He lives in New York with his family. He wonders if he fooled anyone with this third-person thing, or if everyone knows that he wrote this bio himself.
Before he runs out of time, Irish bon vivant MALACHY MCCOURT shares his views on death. In DEATH NEED NOT TO BE FATAL(CenterStreet) McCourt’s prose are sometimes hilarious and often poignant about what will or won’t happen after his last breath is drawn.
During the course of his life, Malachy McCourt practically invented the single’s bar; was a pioneer in talk radio, a soap opera star, a best-selling author; a gold smuggler, a political activist, and a candidate for governor of the state of New York.
It seems that the only two things he hasn’t done are stick his head into a lion’s mouth and die. Since he is allergic to cats, he decided to write about the great hereafter and answer the question on most minds: What’s so great about it anyhow?
In Death Need Not Be Fatal, McCourt also trains a sober eye on the tragedies that have shaped his life: the deaths of his sister and twin brothers; the real story behind Angela’s famous ashes; and a poignant account of the death of the man who left his mother, brothers, and him to nearly die in squalor. McCourt writes with deep emotion of the staggering losses of all three of his brothers, Frank, Mike, and Alphie. In his inimitable way, McCourt takes the grim reaper by the lapels and shakes the truth out of him.
As he rides the final blocks on his Rascal scooter, he looks too at the prospect of his own demise with emotional clarity and insight. In this beautifully rendered memoir, McCourt shows us how to live life to its fullest, how to grow old without acting old, and how to die without regret.
Malachy Gerard McCourt is an Irish-American actor, writer, and politician. He was the 2006 Green Party candidate for governor in New York State, losing to the Democratic candidate Eliot Spitzer. He is the younger brother of author Frank McCourt.
The Amazing Story of One Man, His Passion, and the Community He Inspired.
In 1975 Robert “Raven” Kraft, a high school dropout and aspiring songwriter, made a New Year’s Resolution to run eight miles on Miami’s South Beach each evening. Over 125,000 miles later, he has not missed one sunset, thunderstorm or hurricane.
Along the way, Raven has changed the lives of thousands who have run with him—many of them hundreds of times. From all fifty states and dozens of countries, across all age groups and backgrounds, they come to run with Raven, and in the process find friendship, inspiration—and a nickname.
Among them is author Laura Lee “White Lightning” Huttenbach, who has logged over a thousand miles of Raven Runs. Here she explores the stories of dozens of others about why they started running with Raven—and why they keep coming back. Taxman, an accountant in his mid-60s, has done 1800+ runs. Dizzy, a middle school principal from Cuba, met his wife and his best friend on Raven Runs. Butcher, an ex-convict, credits Raven with saving his life. In an uncertain world Raven shows up, no matter what.
Quirky and appealing, tenacious and magnetic, Raven is a legend of the running world. As he says, “I may be the only thing that hasn’t changed around here in the last forty years.” Laura Lee Huttenbach reveals how one man’s daily ritual has blossomed into an uncanny gift for weaving people together—and an invaluable reminder that the journey means little without the connections forged along the way.
A great collection, huh? Each of these people are uniquely interesting and a wonderful addition to our world.
We’re giving away these books. Just tell us what makes you so unique. We’ll announce winners soon.