Submitted by swalzer on

Readers have been buzzing about these memoirs, written by brave and insightful women. These stories are at times quirky, hilarious, astonishing, and heartbreaking. Have you read all twelve yet?

1. Wild (From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail)
Strayed, Cheryl
B Strayed
A young women treks alone along the Pacific Crest Trail from California to Washington. Encountering bears, unpredictable terrian, and other hikers, all while facing her inner demons, Cheryl completes her 1,100 mile hike with a story to tell.

 

2. Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison
Kerman, Piper
B Kerman
The memoir that the Netflix TV show is based on! Piper tells all about her 15-month stint in federal correctional facility. After smuggling drug money for a former girlfriend ten years earlier, Piper must navigate the spoken and unspoken rules of jail. Underneath the toughness of the other inmates, she encounters moments of surprising generosity.
 

3. Bossypants
Fey, Tina
B Fey
This memoir is guaranteed to elicit a few laughs. If you're a fan of Fey from SNL or 30 Rock, her clever, ironic sense of humor really shines through here. Fey writes about her personal life and her work, offering candid advice along the way.

 

4. Let's Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir)
Lawson, Jenny
F Lawson
Another unconvential memoir. Lawson is an over-the-top blogger, whose book is filled with anecdotes. From her upbringing with a taxidermist father, to her unfiltered observations, Jenny decided to just embrace all the bizarre moments of life...and to share them with the world.
 

5. Hyperbole and a Half : unfortunate situations, flawed coping mechanisms, mayhem, and other things that happened
Brosh, Allie
B Brosh
Another blog-turned-book, this time in the format of a graphic novel (also known as comic book). Brosh's quirky style and keen observations make for funny writing that is all-too-true. But it's not all cupcakes and sunshine; Brosh doesn't shy away from confronting her struggle with depression, making her even more relatable.

 

6. Mom & Me & Mom
Angelou, Maya
B Angelou
As if I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings weren't powerful enough, Angelou's latest memoir is focused on her relationship with her mother--a relationship filled with both disappointment and profound respect. Maya was abandoned by her mother at a young age, but the two reunited many years later. In her characteristic tone, Maya faces her challenges with indomitable optimism.
 

7. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)
Kalig, Mindy
818.602 Kal
The title sets the tone for this book, filled with various personal anecdotes from Kalig's life growing up and becoming a successful comedian while facing the normal challenges of everyday life. The style of this book is a conversational tone, so that you'll feel like you're having a conversation with your best friend. At times, she jumps from one topic to the next, but that type of randomness is part of her charm.

 

8. A House in the Sky
Lindhout, Amanda
B Lindhout
Growing up, Amanda imagined herself traveling the world, to avoid the pain of real life. After saving up enough to travel, she became a news reporter, visiting some of the most dangerous places in the world to report on uprisings and war. On her fourth day in Somalia, she is abducted and held hostage for over a year. Again she had to rely on her imagination to escape her dire circumstances.
 

9. Below Stairs : The Classic Kitchen Maid's Memoir That Inspired "Upstairs, Downstairs" and "Downton Abbey"
Powell, Margaret
B Powell
Fan of "Downton Abbey"? This memoir from a maid in 1920's England is proof that the popular PBS television series isn't exactly as far-fetched as it might seem. Between forbidden relationships and underhanded mischief, it's a wonder these servants got any work done.

 

10. Men We Reaped
Ward, Jesmyn
B Ward
Jesmyn chroncles her life's losses one tragedy at a time, trying to figure out why five men she cared about all died so young. Searching for the answers leads her to examine issues of race and poverty, as Ward grew up poor in an African-American community in rural Mississippi. Those who read Salvage the Bones will understand Ward's intentions even more clearly after reading about her life.
 

11. Coming Clean
Miller, Kimberly Rae
B Miller
After several reality TV shows about hoarding, this memoir details the experience of growing up in the home of a hoarder. Kim's father takes hoarding to an extreme, filling up their Long Island home with so much junk that they are forced to leave it behind. Kim goes to great lengths to hide her situation, and the emotional burden takes a toll. Yet she still expresses nothing but love for her parents, recognizing the mental disorder that caused such behavior.

 

12. Wave
Deraniyagala, Sonali
B Deraniyagala
Sonali lost everything and everyone dear to her in the 2004 Tsunami in Sri Lanka. She heartbreakingly recounts her life from that first earth-shattering moment of terror and pain to the present day, where she has learned to cope and carry on. 

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