Have You Read These Autobiographies or Memoirs?
Autobiographies and memoirs are fascinating forms of literature that offer a glimpse into the personal lives and experiences of individuals. They provide a unique perspective on historical events, social issues, and cultural movements, and allow readers to connect with the authors on a deeper level. From celebrities and politicians to activists and ordinary people, there are countless memoirs and autobiographies that are worth reading. Here are just a few that you might want to check out!
Before Gabrielle Hamilton opened her acclaimed New York restaurant Prune, she spent twenty hard-living years trying to find purpose and meaning in her life. Blood, Bones & Butter follows an unconventional journey through the many kitchens Hamilton has inhabited through the years: the rural kitchen of her childhood, where her adored mother stood over the six-burner with an oily wooden spoon in hand; the kitchens of France, Greece, and Turkey, where she was often fed by complete strangers and learned the essence of hospitality; Hamilton’s own kitchen at Prune, with its many unexpected challenges; and the kitchen of her Italian mother-in-law, who serves as the link between Hamilton’s idyllic past and her own future family—the result of a prickly marriage that nonetheless yields lasting dividends. By turns epic and intimate, Gabrielle Hamilton’s story is told with uncommon honesty, grit, humor, and passion.
When a box from her mother showed up on Katy Tur’s doorstep, months into the pandemic and just as she learned she was pregnant with her second child, she didn’t know what to expect. The box contained thousands of hours of video—the work of her pioneering helicopter journalist parents. They grew rich and famous for their aerial coverage of Madonna and Sean Penn’s secret wedding, the Reginald Denny beating in the 1992 Los Angeles riots, and O.J. Simpson’s notorious run in the white Bronco. To Tur, these family videos were an inheritance of sorts, and a reminder of who she was before her own breakout success as a reporter.
In Rough Draft, Tur writes about her eccentric and volatile California childhood, punctuated by forest fires, earthquakes, and police chases—all seen from a thousand feet in the air. She recounts her complicated relationship with a father who was magnetic, ambitious, and, at times, frightening. And she charts her own survival from local reporter to globe-trotting foreign correspondent, running from her past. Tur also opens up for the first time about her struggles with burnout and impostor syndrome, her stumbles in the anchor chair, and her relationship with CBS Mornings anchor Tony Dokoupil (who quite possibly had a crazier childhood than she did).
Born in Leipzig, Germany, into a Jewish family, Eddie Jaku was a teenager when his world was turned upside-down. On November 9, 1938, during the terrifying violence of Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, Eddie was beaten by SS thugs, arrested, and sent to a concentration camp with thousands of other Jews across Germany. Every day of the next seven years of his life, Eddie faced unimaginable horrors in Buchenwald, Auschwitz, and finally on a forced death march during the Third Reich’s final days. The Nazis took everything from Eddie—his family, his friends, and his country. But they did not break his spirit.
Against unbelievable odds, Eddie found the will to survive. Overwhelming grateful, he made a promise: he would smile every day in thanks for the precious gift he was given and to honor the six million Jews murdered by Hitler. Today, at 100 years of age, despite all he suffered, Eddie calls himself the “happiest man on earth.” In his remarkable memoir, this born storyteller shares his wisdom and reflects on how he has led his best possible life, talking warmly and openly about the power of gratitude, tolerance, and kindness. Life can be beautiful if you make it beautiful. With The Happiest Man on Earth, Eddie shows us how.
From her early years in Nutbush, Tennessee to her rise to fame alongside Ike Turner to her phenomenal success in the 1980s and beyond, Tina candidly examines her personal history, from her darkest hours to her happiest moments and everything in between.
My Love Story is an explosive and inspiring story of a woman who dared to break any barriers put in her way. Emphatically showcasing Tina’s signature blend of strength, energy, heart, and soul, this is a gorgeously wrought memoir as enthralling and moving as any of her greatest hits.
In the mid-seventies, Steve Martin exploded onto the comedy scene. By 1978 he was the biggest concert draw in the history of stand-up. In 1981 he quit forever. This book is, in his own words, the story of “why I did stand-up and why I walked away.”
Emmy and Grammy Award–winner, author of the acclaimed New York Times bestsellers Shopgirl and The Pleasure of My Company, and a regular contributor to The New Yorker, Martin has always been a writer. His memoir of his years in stand-up is candid, spectacularly amusing, and beautifully written.
At age ten Martin started his career at Disneyland, selling guidebooks in the newly opened theme park. In the decade that followed, he worked in the Disney magic shop and the Bird Cage Theatre at Knott’s Berry Farm, performing his first magic/comedy act a dozen times a week. The story of these years, during which he practiced and honed his craft, is moving and revelatory. The dedication to excellence and innovation is formed at an astonishingly early age and never wavers or wanes.
Martin illuminates the sacrifice, discipline, and originality that made him an icon and informs his work to this day. To be this good, to perform so frequently, was isolating and lonely. It took Martin decades to reconnect with his parents and sister, and he tells that story with great tenderness. Martin also paints a portrait of his times—the era of free love and protests against the war in Vietnam, the heady irreverence of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in the late sixties, and the transformative new voice of Saturday Night Live in the seventies.
If you love getting an inside peek into someone’s life – then autobiographies and memoirs can do just that. They offer readers the chance to learn about someone’s personal experiences and perspectives – and perhaps, find some motivation or inspiration along the way. Which one of these books will you read first?
***All book descriptions courtesy of Amazon