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Autobiography

  • A Course Called Ireland

    A Course Called Ireland: A Long Walk in Search of a Country, a Pint, and the Next Tee by Tom Coyne  "The true story of a Sports Illustrated writer who decides to play every links course in Ireland traveling on foot -- he walks the entire coast of Ireland, playing forty courses, carrying a backpack and his clubs and staying in B&Bs along the way. It takes him four months and he meets all kinds of characters. He plays 963 holes of golf at 635 over par, and it seems like he hits every single pub along the way. A very funny, light read with great reviews of all the courses. Makes you want to go play golf in Ireland."

  • A long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

    A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah. I spend enough time in Starbucks (where this has long been on display), I ought to have picked it up by now. But while I have not, one of you had read and recommended it.

  • A.L.T.: A Memoir

    A.L.T.: A Memoir by Andre Leon Talley. “The autobiography of a Vogue editor, who leaves the deep South and family traditions to become a gay NYC fashionista, meeting the who’s who of pop culture along the way. (Also, he went to Brown & was art history major so there’s a lot of art stuff in it too) Really well told. Made a big impression on me – e.g., how certain moments in your childhood and little things you take for granted, can stay with you long after you’ve left."

  • After Long Silence

    After Long Silence by Helen Fremont. "Fremont's memoir is an incredible tale of survival, a beautiful love story and a suspenseful account of how the author's investigation of her roots shattered fiercely guarded family secrets. Raised Roman Catholic in a Michigan suburb, Fremont knew that her parents had been in concentration camps. Her Polish mother, Batya, was interned in Mussolini's Italy, and her Hungarian-born father, Kovik, was sentenced to life in the Siberian gulag. But her parents refused to talk about their past, and they never let on that they had been born Jews. Fremont, a Boston lawyer and public defender, and her sister, Lara, a psychiatrist, pieced together their parents' hidden past by examining archives and tracking down Holocaust survivors."

  • Between the World and Me

    Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. “He's a beautiful writer.  Extremely thought provoking.  I would highly recommend to anyone interested in language, social issues, history.  The list goes on and on.”

  • Black Boy

    Black Boy by Richard Wright. “If you haven't read this classic coming of age autobiography in school or in college, you should make sure you read it now.   It is a beautifully written memoir of life in the deep South in the early 20th century for a black boy who is struggling to figure out how to come to terms with his family and the way society deals with racial issues.   Eventually he finds his way north to Chicago and as a young adult tries to forge his identity as he becomes involved in political movements.  The story is compelling and forceful and difficult to put down.”

  • Clapton

    Clapton: The Autobiography "With striking intimacy and candor, Eric Clapton tells the story of his eventful and inspiring life in this poignant and honest autobiography. Clapton is the powerfully written story of a survivor, a man who has achieved the pinnacle of success despite extraordinary demons. It is one of the most compelling memoirs of our time."

  • Don't lets Go to the Dogs Tonight

    Don't Lets Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller. Don't go to the dogs, but do read this autobiography!  Fuller is unsentimental, but tender in relaying her memories of her childhood in Africa.  It is riveting, sad, intense and immensely readable.  Her parents were hard drinking, sometimes neglgent, but loving in their way.  And they were really tough, as they had to be, living in Africa at a time when the natives were trying to get out from under British rule and not happy with white settlers.  It's remarkably agenda-less, which is nice (though it ticked off a lot of Amazon reviewers who clearly wanted her to have written a different novel than she did).

  • Dress your family in Denim and Corduroy

    Dress Your Family in Denim & Corduroy, Holidays on Ice, Me Talk Pretty One Day, or anything at all by humorist David Sedaris.  “I devoured them all on spring break.”

  • Father's Paradise

    My Father's Paradise: A Son's Search for His Family's Past by Ariel Sabar. Interesting story of one family journey from Aramaic speaking Kurdish Iraq to Israel and to the United States in just three generations. The author retraces not only his grandfather and father's lives but the history and decline of the last remnants of the Aramaic language as a living tongue."

  • Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise

    Garlic and Sapphires: : The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise By Ruth Reichl. This is the autobiography of a New York Times food critic. “It's humorous and light and not too long. The book also includes some of her reviews and recipes. An engaging and easy read.”

  • Glass Castle

    The Glass Castle By Jeannette Walls. This emerged as the “must read” for the summer of 2006. Has been called an American Angela’s Ashes. “So touching, sweet, sad and hilariously funny. Page one and you are hooked. You MUST read it!"

  • Infidel

    Infidel: Ayaan Hirsi Ali  "What can I say – the story of an intelligent, gorgeous woman who escaped a culture and religion that (personal opinion) completely crushes women.  One way to try to begin to understand the Muslim issue and how it affects the 'West.'" Infidel shows the coming of age of this distinguished political superstar and champion of free speech as well as the development of her beliefs, iron will, and extraordinary determination to fight injustice.

  • Journal of Helene Berr

    The Journal of Helene Berr by Helene Berr:  "This is the adult version of the Diary of Anne Frank. Helene Berr was an incredibly bright and well-educated young French Jewish woman. She began a journal as the Germans occupied Paris and details what happened to her family and how they were affected by the war and occupation, but also how their normal life was conducted and how they tried to maintain that normalcy.  What is so affecting about it is the insight it gives into why she and part of her family decided to stay in Paris rather than trying to escape. It is gripping and heartbreaking and so illuminating of the personal side of the war and its effect on Jewish families. One needs to read about one quarter of the book before it becomes entrancing, but it is well worth it."

  • Magical Thinking

    Magical Thinking By Augusten Burroughs. “This is more like a composition of short stories about the author and so far it is very funny - a good light and quick read for the beach.” This is the guy who wrote Running with Scissors and Dry. He seems to be entertaining people with his basket-casedness.

  • Middle Place

    The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan "Quick, funny, heart wrenching read - very enjoyable. I am looking forward to her next novel." A story about a mother of two who finds out she has cancer and her father also has cancer.

  • My Stroke of Insight

    My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor. "inspirational and educational story of this 37-year-old Harvard brain scientist’s massive stroke." As she observed her mind deteriorate to the point that she could not walk, talk, read, write, or recall any of her life-all within four hours-Taylor alternated between the euphoria of the intuitive and kinesthetic right brain, in which she felt a sense of complete well-being and peace, and the logical, sequential left brain, which recognized she was having a stroke and enabled her to seek help before she was completely lost. It would take her eight years to fully recover.

  • oh the glory of it all

    Oh the Glory of it All by Sean Wilsey, son of a San Francisco bsinessman and a socialite/peace activist, and stepson of another socialite.  He had a wildly extravagant but in many ways very sad childhood.  "A much talked about memoir...some of us know the players...I found it sad, funny, insightful, and a little self-serving."  It has a great first line:  "In the beginning we were happy. And we were always excessive. So in the beginning we were happy to excess."

  • Open: An Autobiography

    Open: An Autobiography by J R Moerhinger. “This may be an unpopular opinion, but OHMYGOD is Andre Agassi a whiny little bitch. I love JR Moerhinger's memoir (The Tender Bar), so I wanted to read this Agassi memoir to see how one of my favorite writers handled Agassi's story. The writing is only as strong as Agassi's life will allow, but it's relatively well written. I'll confess to having skimmed through some of the earlier chapters because I wanted to get to the parts about Brooke Shields (I know, I'm shallow). Worth the read whether in paperback, second-hand hardcover, or from the library.” and: “Andre opens up his life, heart and mind for inspection in a highly detailed personal account notable for its eloquence and humor. One need not be a tennis or an Agassi fan to be gripped by the experiences of a little boy whose relentless father determined that his son would one day be the best tennis player in the world.”

  • Power of One

    The Power of One: A Novel by Bryce Courtenay. "Episodic and bursting with incident, this sprawling memoir of an English boy's lonely childhood in South Africa during WW II pays moderate attention to questions of race but concerns itself primarily with epic melodrama." The New York Times: "The Power of One has everything: suspense, the exotic, violence; mysticism, psychology and magic; schoolboy adventures, drama in the boxing ring."