Beach books? Memoirs Recommended by Readers

The CBC Canada Reads Book Club picked these ten memoirs as their top ten:

1. The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls
2. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah
3. Iran Awakening: A Memoir of Revolution and Hope by Shirin Ebadi
4. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
5. Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
6. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
7. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
8. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
9. Night by Elie Weisel
10. Nothing to be Frightened Of by Julian Barnes

If you want to know why, watch the video here

It’s hard to put together a top ten memoirs list! But Sally Rogers, the grand prize winner of the beautiful sentences contest, did it, and, again, she is the contest winner! She will receive another memoir in the mail. Congrats, Sally.

Since Sally seems to love spiritual memoir with an English background, I selected the prototype for The Vicar of Dibley TV show–Joy Carroll Wallis’ The Woman Behind the Collaras her prize:

Below are all the suggestions I received, starting with Sally’s:

1. C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy
2. Luci Shaw  and Madeleine L’Engle, Friends for the Journey
3. P.D. James, Time To Be In Earnest
4.Annie Dillard, An American Childhood
5. Frank McCourt, Angela’s Ashes
6.Malcolm Muggeridge, Chronicles of Wasted Time (Some years ago (late 1970s, I think it was) a friend of our visitedand interviewed Malcolm Muggeridge and his wife in their home inEngland. In recent years I transcribed the tape of that visit!)
7. C.K. Chesterton, Autobiography
8. Phyllis Tickle, The Shaping of a Life
9.Frances Anne Kemble, Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation
(I have an 1863 first edition of this book. It’s stunning.)
10.Vaughn Williams – Sea Symphony A musical work which provides a plan and inspiration for writing my own memoir someday. See the text for the last movement, which I can provide.
From Mary Terzian:

Just published – “Resurrection with Cane and Shoe” by Harut Barsamian, the story of a handicapped child who repatriates with his family to Soviet Armenia, bears the brunt of the Soviet Regime, immigrates to the USA in 1966, practically penniless, reaches the heights of Corporate America in record time, wins numerous honors including a Life Fellow of IEEE. He is now a Professor at University of Irvine, California.

“The Immigrants’ Daughter,” is (Mary Terzian) my story, growing up in Egypt, during World War II, in a community of Armenian immigrants traumatized by genocide. Attendance at an English high school inspires me enough to stand up to old-fashioned oppressive parents, to leave home (unheard of in the Middle East), work with the United Nations in different countries and settle in the United States. The book won Best Books 2006 Award and placed finalist in Indie Excellence 2007 Book Awards.

Isn’t it exciting to have the author herself participate? I encourage you to go to Amazon and check out the book here. Five stars from 13 reviewers is excellent!

Finally, Chin Oh  not only offered two good books but her insightful descriptions of why she is attracted to them!

1. “The Last Lecture” by late Dr. Randy Pausch. This one touched me to the core about the shortness of the life we live in. It’s a memoir about a brilliant computer science prof for his your children about his life, fulfilling his childhood dreams, his love for his family, and his journey fighting for more pancreatic cancer research.

2. “Always Looking Up – The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist” by Michael J. Fox. I’m still reading it. The first chapter caught my attention as Michael explains (in detail) what a Parkinson’s patient go through each day. I love how simply this memoir was written yet powerful in its delivery from the author.

How about the rest of you? No need to come up with ten. How about one or two you would offer to a friend for his or her summer reading list?

I have not forgotten my promise to provide my own top ten list. But, like I said, it’s harder than I thought to do this!  Seeing other lists is a big help.  Criteria help, also.  I may need to think more about this. What criteria do you think I should use?

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About Shirley Hershey Showalter

Author of memoir Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World. Blogging about Magical Memoir Moments and Jubilación -- vocation in the second half of life.
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