Memoir
Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me

Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me

Bronwyn first talked me into reading this one, but it got bumped up my list after I heard the author speak at FFW. The title sounds fancy and staid, but Prior had us in hysterics with her excerpt that linked Thomas Hardy with her teenage attempts to lose her virginity. A possible beach read.

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The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and “Women’s Work”

The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and “Women’s Work”

$8.95$5.17

“Quotidian” means “ordinary,” or “everyday,” and in this slim volume (88 pages!) Norris affirms the inherent worth of the mundane tasks that consume our everyday–the cooking, the cleaning, the dishes, the diapering. “What is it about repetitive acts that makes us feel that we are wasting our time?” Norris asks. Yet she insists that our daily activities are anything but trivial, and have the power to shape our souls, if we let them. A beautiful book worth reading over and over again.

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A Walk in the Woods

A Walk in the Woods

$7.99

Renowned travel writer Bryson takes to the Appalachian Trail in this laugh-out-loud travel memoir. After returning to America after 20 years in England, Bryson reconnects with his home country by walking 800 of the AT’s 2100 miles, many of them with his cranky companion Katz, who serves as a brilliant foil to Bryson’s scholarly wit. A superb hiking memoir that skillfully combines laugh-out-loud anecdotes with serious discussions about history, ecology, and wilderness trivia. Droll, witty, entertaining.

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Life In Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina

Life In Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina

$11.99$1.99Audiobook: 7.49 (Whispersync)
Author:
Series: Juicy memoirs
Genre: Memoir

You may know Misty Copeland from her stint as a guest judge on So You Think You Can Dance. (Don’t hate me—but I’ve never seen it.) Copeland made history by earning a spot as the only African American soloist at the American Ballet Theater. In this memoir she examines her path to success, from her peripatetic childhood to the incredible opportunities ballet has brought her. (I loved the chapter about dancing with Prince.) This look into Copeland’s life and the world of dance is fascinating, though the narrative sags in places.

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Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West: Meriwether Lewis Thomas Jefferson and the Opening

Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West: Meriwether Lewis Thomas Jefferson and the Opening

$13.99$3.99
Author:
Series: Adventure, Book 4
Genre: Memoir
Tag: 2012 Reading Guide

This sweeping history of the Lewis and Clark expedition reads like an adventure story. Drawing from the journals of William Clark and Meriwether Lewis, Ambrose re-creates the history of the expedition itself, and he succeeds in bringing the characters to life. The book’s a little slow to warm up, but once the expedition begins it’s fascinating.

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Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster

Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster

Krakauer climbed Mt. Everest while on assignment for Outside Magazine in 1996, which would become the deadliest year in the history of the mountain. 8 people died on the mountain the day Krakauer himself summited; 15 died that season. Krakauer made it back down to tell the tale of what it was like on the mountain that May. A first-class adventure story.

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All Creatures Great and Small

All Creatures Great and Small

$7.99$2.51Audiobook: 12.99 (Whispersync)

The first in Herriot's autobiographical series about life as a country vet in Northern England. When Herriot lands a position with an eccentric owner of an existing veterinary practice at the tender age of 23, he learns to treat the animals that popular Yorkshire farms—which also involves a good bit of care for their colorful owners. A delightful collection that's easy to read one short story at a time.

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The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle

Walls, a former New York gossip columnist, reveals the hardscrabble past she carefully hid for years in this family memoir, which centers on her charasmatic but highly dysfunctional parents: a father with "a little bit of a drinking situation" and a mother who was an "excitement addict," who moved their family all over the country, seeking the next big adventure. Walls spins a good story out of her bad memories.

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Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness

Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness

$19.955.95 (Audible Deal)

In this real-life medical drama, New York Post reporter Cahalan is hospitalized when she literally loses her mind. $1 million dollars worth of tests later, her doctors have no idea what's wrong with her—until her personal Dr. House joins the team and makes the diagnosis. Cahalan recovers, remembering nothing: she uncovered the material for this memoir by interviewing friends, family, and her medical team, reviewing her medical records, and watching hospital security videotapes of herself.

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Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art

Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art

This slim, conversational memoir articulated a lot of my swirling ideas about art and creativity. L'engle combines insights from her own journey with masterful storytelling to make her case for art as something necessary and vital, for Christians, for everyone. This book makes me want to do the work, and that's saying something. Read (and re-read) it slowly.

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Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times (The Midwife Trilogy Book 1)

Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times (The Midwife Trilogy Book 1)

$23.955.95 (Audible Deal)

The book was published back in 2002 but the BBC series made it famous. I've heard wonderful things about the books and the movies, and I want to read the books first.

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Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, as You Are

Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, as You Are

$9.99$4.99

I love Shauna's writing, and each of her three books has been better than the one before. Niequist calls this collection her attempt at paying attention to the things that really matter, and to encourage you to do the same, with 365 daily devotions. Also included are 21 recipes (poppy seed cake, green chile strata, Thai beef salad) as a fun and tangible reminder to savor your life, where you are, as you are.

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The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent A Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun

The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent A Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun

$8.99$2.99Audiobook: 12.99 (Whispersync)

THP is great summer reading because while it’s not difficult, it’s thought-provoking and a lot of fun. It’s also perfect for summer because it’s very easy to read in short chunks (by the pool, on the deck, in the coffee shop). Read this now so you’ll be ready to read Rubin’s next installment Happier at Home, due out September 4.

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Bossypants

Bossypants

$12.99$4.99

This easy reading memoir is part comedy, part auto-biography. Fey covers a lot of ground here: from her Pennsylvania childhood to her awkward college years, her crappy job at the YMCA to the big leagues of SNL. Filled with funny and fascinating anecdotes, like what a photo shoot is really like, and how she finally nailed Sarah Palin’s precise lip color shade. Fast and fun.

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Happier at Home

Happier at Home

$11.99$1.99Audiobook: 7.99 (Whispersync)

I've been meaning to re-read this one since I made my 2013 goals last year. Rubin reminds me it's worth making the effort to do the little things--especially in my home—because they really do make a difference.

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Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected

Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected

$12.99$0.99Audiobook: 10.99 (Whispersync)

Life changed in an instant for Kelle Hampton when her second child was unexpectedly born with Down Syndrome. In Bloom, she relates the grief–and the joy–that little Nella brought her. Hampton’s insights into life, love, friendship, and the beauty in the unexpected will make you laugh and make you cry--often on the same page.

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Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader

Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader

If you’re crazy (or compulsive) about reading, you’ll recognize yourself on the pages of this essay collection. Perhaps you’ve experienced the pain/pleasure of merging libraries with a new spouse (“Marrying Libraries”), or utilize questionable bookmarking strategies (“Never Do That to a Book”), or self-identify as a compulsive proofreader (“Insert a Carat”--my favorite!). Smart, interesting, and laugh-out-loud funny.

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Building a Life Out of Words

Building a Life Out of Words

Shawn tells the story of how he took a scary leap to transition to full-time writing after his business went bust. Practical tips from other accomplished writers on writing and the writing life are woven throughout, effectively breaking up the narrative and pacing the story. Shawn writes beautiful, reflective prose but somehow manages to avoid being heavy-handed with his words. This is no small feat. Beautiful story, beautifully written.

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Delancey: A Man, A Woman, A Restaurant, A Marriage

Delancey: A Man, A Woman, A Restaurant, A Marriage

$7.99$0.99Audiobook: 7.49 (Whispersync)

Wizenberg is one of the original food bloggers, and her brand of intimate, chatty conversation—mixed with reliable recipes—works well in long form. If you’re new to her work, you may enjoy starting with her first book A Homemade Life, in which, among other events, she meets and marries her husband Brandon after he contacts her through her blog. In this sequel-of-sorts, Brandon and a somewhat reluctant Molly have their first "baby": a pizza place named Delancey. In her familiar style, Wizenberg reflects on the messy and marvelous muddle that is her young marriage, and her younger restaurant, and shares recipes for the simple, delicious food that chefs like to eat at home.

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The Sweet Life In Paris: Delicious Adventures In The World’s Most Perplexing City

The Sweet Life In Paris: Delicious Adventures In The World’s Most Perplexing City

$9.99$1.99

If you're the type that tends to over-romanticize the City of Lights, let David Lebovitz snap you back to reality. As an American expat who chose to move to France (but didn't feel like he really belonged until the day he put on dress pants and a freshly ironed shirt to take out the trash), he loves Paris—of course he does—but he also has no qualms about exposing the ridiculous, baffling, and frustrating side of le France. You'll be inspired to make (or at least eat) French favorites like warm goat cheese salad, chocolate mousse, and macarons. For those who have lived in Paris, been to Paris, or just want a good laugh.

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The Making Of A Chef: Mastering Heat At The Culinary Institute Of America

The Making Of A Chef: Mastering Heat At The Culinary Institute Of America

If you've ever daydreamed about what it might be like to attend culinary school, wonder no longer: you can vicariously experience the training of a top-tier chef through the eyes of journalist Ruhlman, who talked his way into the CIA because he thought the resulting experience would make for a good book. He was right. Ruhlman finds the CIA to be a world of imposing personalities, towering egos, high drama, and amazing food. You'd never guess that the making of a brown sauce, the unmolding of a terrine, or the trussing of a chicken could be occasions for high drama, but in Ruhlman's hands, these culinary adventures read like the pages of a spy thriller. The first of a trilogy.

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Ruhlman’s Chef Trilogy

Ruhlman’s Chef Trilogy

In The Making of a Chef, journalist Ruhlman enrolls at the Culinary Institute of America to discover how top-tier chefs are trained. In The Soul of a Chef, Ruhlman studies what makes a chef great, observing the Master Chef exam at the Culinary Institute of America and profiling successful celebrity chefs Michael Symon at Lola and Thomas Keller at The French Laundry. In The Reach of a Chef, Ruhlman explores the paradox of every profession: get good enough at what you do, and soon you’ll be managing the work instead of doing it yourself.

Ruhlman excels at injecting a sense of drama into his food writing: he draws strong characters and is able to turn something as simple as preparing a classic sauce into a dramatic event.

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A Homemade Life

A Homemade Life

$11.99$0.99

After her father died, Molly Wizenburg didn’t know what to do with herself. So she went to Paris, and later, she started a blog. No spoilers here, so let’s just say I especially loved hearing about how the internet introduced the author to new, life-changing relationships. This memoir made me laugh, cry, check airfare to Paris, and curse my low carb diet. Completely and utterly charming, accompanied by tasty recipes.

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Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes

Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes

Imagine the best of the Food Network, with a lot more girl talk mixed in. Niequist's food writing will make your mouth water, but this book isn't just about the food. Her recipes are vehicles—to conversation, community, and all good things that happen when people gather around the table. Bread and Wine contains some great-looking recipes (Green Well salad, Michigan blueberry crisp, magical white bean soup) that will inspire you to get cooking. The short chapters make this perfect summer reading. Just clear your calendar for that dinner party you'll want to throw when you're finished with it.

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A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

$9.99$1.99

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.

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Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life Of A Critic In Disguise

Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life Of A Critic In Disguise

When Ruth Reichl takes the plum job of New York Times food critic, she’s determined to let ordinary diners know what the city’s great restaurants are really like. What's so hard about that? But she soon discovers that the Times food critic is no ordinary diner: her headshot adorns the wall of every kitchen in the city so the staff can spot her—and wow her. Not you. So Reichl goes undercover, enlisting the help of an old theater friend to become a sultry blond, a gregarious redhead, and a tweedy brunette, each with her own backstory. Her mission: to experience the city's great restaurants as just another diner. A fascinating read for any foodie, or student of human nature.

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The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices into Fearless Home Cooks

The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices into Fearless Home Cooks

While shopping one night, Le Cordon Bleu grad Flinn bumps into a woman whose cart is filled with hyper-processed food. They strike up a conversation, and it turns out the woman simply can’t cook. Following this grocery store epiphany, Flinn collects 9 volunteers--all non-cooks--for weekly cooking lessons, and The Kitchen Counter Cooking School is born. Flinn’s belief in the power of home cooking is contagious, and her foundational (and fantastic) recipes might just change the way you cook.

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Drop Dead Healthy: One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection

Drop Dead Healthy: One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection

$11.99$3.99

First Jacobs spent a year following the Bible as literally as possible (The Year of Living Biblically) and then he read the Encyclopedia Brittanica from cover to cover (The Know-It-All). The genre is called stunt journalism, and Jacobs is good at it. In Drop Dead Healthy, he sets out to become the world’s healthiest man, consulting experts of all stripes, test-driving the conventional wisdom on health and fitness, and exploring a lot of crazy new stuff, too.

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The Main Dish

The Main Dish

Michael Ruhlman has written more than a dozen books on cooking and has worked with an impressive list of chefs (among them Thomas Keller, Michael Symon, Eric Ripert). Ruhlman knew since he was a kid that he wanted to write for a living, but he never intended to be a food writer. In this Kindle single (10,000 words/35 pages, and just $2), Ruhlman shares the improbable story of how he found his calling. Remember, he’s friends with Bourdain--this one’s briefly crude at two or three places.

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Any Day A Beautiful Change: A Story Of Faith And Family

Any Day A Beautiful Change: A Story Of Faith And Family

Marriage, ministry, and motherhood may not sound like riveting beach reading material, but hear me out: the author is a pastor and a wife and a mom, and she writes beautifully about the places where those things collide–and sometimes those collisions are pretty bumpy (and hilarious). This 114-page collection of bite-sized essays is genuine, inspirational, and moving, with enough laugh-out-loud moments to make it beach reading material.

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