5 memoirs for your summer reading list

5 memoirs for your summer reading list

Since I launched the 2013 summer reading guide, I’ve had lots of requests for the archived 2012 edition. I don’t want to flood your inboxes, but I also don’t want to leave you hanging if you’re looking for good stuff to read. So for the rest of the summer, one week at a time, I’m sharing a category from the 2012 guide.

UPDATE: Get the free 2014 summer reading guide here.

5 memoirs for your summer reading list: A Million Miles in a Thousand Years | Modern Mrs Darcy

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life, Donald Miller.

When Miller plunged into the world of screenwriting to translate his memoir Blue Like Jazz into a screenplay, he learned what elements are needed to make a story great–and realized that his own day-to-day life wasn’t amounting to much of a story. A Million Miles is Miller’s chronicle of how he started living a better story. He’ll inspire you to do the same.

5 memoirs for your summer reading list: A Jane Austen Education | Modern Mrs Darcy

A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter, William Deresiewicz.

Deresiewicz had zero interest in reading Jane Austen–he thought it was chick-lit, fluffy and boring. But then as a young grad student he was forced to read Emma for class, and actually reading Austen shattered his preconceptions. Part memoir, part literary criticism: Deresiewicz reflects on the path of his own life through each of Jane Austen’s novels in turn. It works.

5 memoirs for your summer reading list: Garlic and Sapphires | Modern Mrs Darcy

Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise, Ruth Reichl.

When Ruth Reichl takes the plum job of New York Times food critic, she’s determined to let New Yorkers know exactly what it’s like to eat at the great restaurants of New York. Reichl goes undercover, donning a variety of disguises so she can experience New York’s great restaurants like any New Yorker would. Engaging reading for any foodie.

5 Memoirs for your summer reading list: You Learn by Living | Modern Mrs Darcy

You Learn By Living, Eleanor Roosevelt.

Roosevelt penned this book–part memoir, part advice manual–in 1960, when she was 76 years old.  It’s striking how fresh and wise her insights seem today, over fifty years later. Roosevelt offers an interesting perspective on history, unique insights into her life (which contained a surprising amount of personal tragedy), and a good bit of wisdom you might just apply to your own life.

5 memoirs for your summer reading list: My Life in France | Modern Mrs Darcy

My Life in France, Julia Child.

Child didn’t stumble into the world of French cooking until she was 36, when she moved to Paris with her husband Paul, who worked for the U.S. Foreign Service. It was 1948. Since she had no job and nothing else to do, she began shopping the French markets, learning the style, and taking cooking classes at Le Cordon Bleu. Julia’s tales will entertain, inspire, and make you laugh out loud.

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  1. Amanda says:

    Great suggestions! Memoir is probably my favorite genre and the only one of these I’ve read is the Donald Miller. I’m almost shamed to admit I didn’t care for it, given how mythic his following is 🙂

  2. Laura says:

    Oh I loved “My Life in France!” It’s a great book to listen to on tape, too. As a Jane Austen junkie, I’m looking forward to reading William Deresiewicz’s book. Thanks for these suggestions!

  3. Linda says:

    I’ll have to look for the Julia Child book. I don’t even want to admit out loud how many times I’ve watched the movie Julie and Julia.

  4. Delphine says:

    I really want to read My Life in France and You Learn By Living! I’m reading a memoir at the moment, too – Long Ago in France by MFK Fisher. It’s pretty good!

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