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Amanda's Memoir Picks

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Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9780399589065
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: One World - March 24th, 2020

This is Mira Jacob's story of growing up as a person of color in the United States, with a special focus on raising her young son in a post 9/11 New York City. Her son has a lot of questions about race and her best attempts to answer them honestly are poignant. By turns hilarious and heart-rending, it plunges fearlessly into the murky gray areas of race and family, of struggling to find common ground, of trying to talk to our children and help them make sense of it all. It's exactly the book America needs at this moment.


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Stray: A Memoir Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9781101875964
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - May 19th, 2020

This memoir is Stephanie Danler’s account of her past, living through parental failures, addressing issues of mental health, substance abuse, and trauma, which I found truly heartbreaking and immersive. I loved her brutal honesty, which evoked thought provoking questions within myself throughout the book. Danler viscerally strips herself bare for the reader, but then at the end something incredible happens: She doesn't tie everything up in a bow, but still ends up leaving the reader with so much hope.


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Hollywood Park: A Memoir Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781250621566
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Celadon Books - May 26th, 2020

Mikel Jollett's memoir is a moving exposition of many topics, from cults to chronic depression, addiction, and the power of family to both hurt and heal. This was a heart-wrenching read for me, that elicited so many emotions. I didn't just read it; I felt it on a deeply personal level. Most impressive to me is the way Mikel structured his story, which he narrates first from the perspective of a young child, then a teenager, and finally, an adult. Jollett emits both sadness and strength, even as a small child. He pulled me into the depth of his emotions, so that I could feel the words he wrote. This is truly a powerful book.


Can't Help Myself: Lessons & Confessions from a Modern Advice Columnist Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781455543779
Availability: Special Order
Published: Grand Central Publishing - April 3rd, 2018

For fans of Cheryl Strayed's Tiny Beautiful Things!


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Know My Name: A Memoir Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780735223707
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Viking - September 24th, 2019

I remember feeling inspired, impressed, and in awe of Miller’s victim impact statement as Emily Doe when it came out in 2016. Miller brings that same level of strength and eloquence to this stunning memoir. She takes back her power – after having been reduced to an unconscious victim – by writing beautifully and vulnerably about herself and her life, both before and after the assault. Her story shows us that we must do better, we must be better, in a society that so corruptly mistreats survivors of sexual assault.


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In the Dream House: A Memoir Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781644450031
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Graywolf Press - November 5th, 2019

Machado redefines what a memoir can be and do through her inventive and incredibly honest story that masterfully grapples with domestic violence in queer relationships. Her prose yet again blew me away, equal parts sensitive and staggering. Carmen's story is hard to describe due to its endless layers, but some words that come to mind are beautiful, devastating, lovely, strange, and utterly unique from any memoir I have experienced before. In the Dream House is essential reading that shines a light on an often neglected corner of the human experience.


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Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781451621389
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - August 6th, 2013

Cahalan’s is a tale of survival. It is amazing, in the 21st century, how much we do not know about the human brain. Her story is incredibly well written and she does a remarkable job about being open and honest, in even unflattering ways, to be true to her story and to present an accurate picture of just what this terrifying disease can do to you. A fine balance of personal story blended with real science, you’ll have a hard time putting this book down!


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The Witches Are Coming Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780316449885
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Hachette Books - November 5th, 2019

Lindy West is back with a new collection of essays that are the ultimate clap back, sure to make you laugh, while simultaneously firing you up to change the world. Let’s face it, being a woman in today’s political climate is hard. Reading her essays made me feel like I wasn’t alone  I felt empowered and a sense of solidarity knowing that there are other women out there who are angry and who are actively fighting for change. Lindy doesn’t present anything with rose colored glasses, but rather gives us the blunt honesty that we desperately need. The witches are coming, and we can join and help them!


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Shrill Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780316348461
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Hachette Books - February 28th, 2017

Society has long held women to near-impossible standards of beauty and urged them to remain quiet and reserved. Outspoken women, who champion women’s rights and advocate the importance of feminism, are often labeled with a slew of derogatory terms with negative associations. Lindy West – brave feminist, bold writer, and delightful humorist – was never destined for a life of submissive silence. In her savvy memoir, West recounts her transition from a shy child who was ashamed of her body to a successful woman who loves her body and isn’t afraid to be loud. 


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I Miss You When I Blink: Essays Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781982102807
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Atria Books - April 2nd, 2019

This book is a collection of witty and heartfelt essays which are beautifully written and have bits of wisdom and humor sprinkled throughout. As a fellow Type A personality, Mary Laura is open and honest about personal anxiety, family life, and professional complacency. Her book is written with such authenticity that I felt like I was getting to know a friend. 


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From the Corner of the Oval: A Memoir Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780525509127
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Spiegel & Grau - July 10th, 2018

When Beck answers a Craigslist posting for a job, she figures it won't amount to anything. She's more than shocked to find out that this isn't a random clerical job—it's a position as a stenographer in the Obama White House. From the Corner of the Oval follows Beck as she learns the ropes of her job and White House protocol, builds friendships with her colleagues in different positions throughout the administration, and begins to travel the country—and the world—viewing current events and the president's reactions to them at close range.  This book offered a fun and unique glimpse into the Obama White House! 


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Karamo: My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing, and Hope Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781982111977
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Gallery Books - March 5th, 2019

I loved this memoir. Karamo is such a sweet soul and you can tell throughout his book that he has such an affinity for helping people and putting them on a path toward being their best selves. I loved how open and honest he was throughout his story when discussing past issues of physical and emotional abuse, drug and alcohol addiction, colorism, identity confusion, and public infamy. I also appreciated how in certain parts of the book he is straightforward in telling the reader when discussing someone else that he won't go into details because it is their story to tell. So much of what he said really hit home for me including, "Emotions do not happen in response to events, they happen in response to our thoughts around that event. Having the vocabulary to name your emotions helps you to see how the way you're thinking is creating them. When I mastered identifying my feelings, I recognized their temporary nature--which freed me from much suffering and gave me clarity so I could grow through my conflicts." If you love Queer Eye, do yourself a favor and read Karamo's story! 


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This Is Me: Loving the Person You Are Today Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780062837905
Availability: Backordered
Published: Dey Street Books - March 19th, 2019

Critically-acclaimed actress Chrissy Metz, who rose to fame playing Kate Pearson in the NBC hit drama series This Is Us, has penned a compelling debut memoir. Chrissy relates her abusive and underprivileged childhood and how hard work and perseverance made her into the inspirational figure and television superstar she is today.


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Once More We Saw Stars: A Memoir Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781524733537
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Knopf - May 14th, 2019

Once More We Saw Stars is a hopeful book in so many ways. It teaches you how to grieve perhaps, and understand that at the core we are all the same people. We feel the same things. Jayson Greene takes us through this journey of loss, grief, and the coping process. Jayson's clarity of thought - how he describes and presents memories  to us is stunning.  There is anger. There is frustration. There is also the knowledge  that life must carry on and in that process we know that love will remain.


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Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780393351903
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 28th, 2015

Caitlin Doughty has cooked up a book that is part memoir, part guidebook through the world of what lies beyond, and part advocacy for new ways of dealing with our remains. Smoke Gets in your Eyes is rich with information not only about contemporary mortuary practices, but on practices in other cultures and on how death was handled in the past. Doughty's glee is infectious, in a good way. She is so passionate about what she does and I found her writing and her humor pulling me in right away.


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Goodbye, Sweet Girl: A Story of Domestic Violence and Survival Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062497680
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Perennial - June 11th, 2019

Sundburg writes about brutality and suffering with strength, grace, generosity, and beauty. The insight into why people choose to stay with their abusers and how they gather the courage to leave was raw and unfiltered. This was a real, honest take on domestic abuse.


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Educated: A Memoir Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780399590504
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - February 20th, 2018

Difficult to read. Impossible to put down. Tara’s process of self-discovery is beautifully captured in Educated. Educated is a triumph, a remarkable work, beautifully told, of the journey from an isolated, fundamentalist, survivalist childhood, through the trials of becoming, to adulthood as an erudite and accomplished survivor. It is a powerful look at the ties, benefits, and perils of families. Ultimately, Educated is a rewarding odyssey you do not want to miss.