Staff Picks: Memoirs -The Stories Make Us

Posted by Aaron on

Maybe I like reading memoirs because I’m curious about why people do the things they do and why people are the way they are, or maybe it’s because I’m searching to see how my life experience measures up against theirs. Whatever the reason, I’ve read a few good ones in the past month that you can find on our library’s shelves.

Bettyville: A Memoir by George Hodgman

When George Hodgman left Manhattan for Paris, Missouri, to visit his aging mother, he didn’t realize it would be the beginning a long stay as her caregiver. As these two unforgettable characters try to bring their different worlds together, Hodgman moves readers from Missouri to the sophisticated corridors of Vanity Fair. Hodgman’s bestselling debut is an exquisitely told tale of a prodigal son’s return.

Unforgettable:  A Son, a Mother and the Lessons of a Lifetime by Scott Simon

A moving meditation on the NPR host’s relationship with his mother, inspired by the popular tweets he shared during her final days, traces their shared love of family while profiling his mother’s heroic work as a dedicated single parent.

∼ Maria, Library Administration, Warrenton central library

Not My Father’s Son by Alan Cumming

Always a fan of biographies and memoirs, I found this one by accident scanning the new book shelves—and what a happy accident it turned out to be.  As Cumming learns about his maternal grandfather, whom his mother barely knew, through his participation in the television show, Who Do You Think You Are?, he also recounts his traumatic childhood and a bombshell thrown at him by his own detached father. His journey of discovery is bittersweet but he and his family are better for it in the end.

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast

New Yorker cartoonist, Roz Chast, documents the final years of her parents’ lives with a mix of her original illustrations, photos and documents in this poignant, yet humorous, book.  As an only child of older parents, Chast grew up inheriting her father’s anxiety and learning to live with her mother’s quick temper.  Now an adult and parenting her elderly parents, she recounts her feelings as she and her parents navigate the end of their lives.

∼ Dawn, Library Administration, Warrenton central library

Other recommended memoirs:

Cheerful Money: Me, My Family, and the Last Days of WASP Splendor by Tad Friend

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance

The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls

Dimestore: A Writer’s Life by Lee Smith

Book listsreviews from our book clubs and favorites from library staff are great resources when searching for your next book. Or stop by the reference desk at your local library.

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