10 Great Memoirs: Perfect Summer Reading

July 23, 2013

I hope you are all soaking up every last minute of your summer. We spent most of last week indoors due to four days of Vacation Bible School as well as several days of soaking rains. It was lovely beating the heat for a few days, but my kids are ready to get out and about again.

We are spending a few days this week at the pool side.

Here are 10 of my favorite memoirs – the perfect kind of reading for the lounge chair.

Most of these should be available at your local library or for relatively cheap on Amazon Kindle.

Summer Reading

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

I read this book in one sitting. It’s rich with detail and emotion as the author chronicles her childhood, traveling across the United States with her eccentric parents and their strange parenting philosophies. Walls is unapologetic and very honest about her family and all of its disasters, but she also carries a deep and very real affection for her parents. One of my all-time favorite books.

What Remains: A Memoir of Fate, Friendship, and Love by Carole Radizwill

Several years ago, I purchased this book before a long flight. The author, a girl with middle class roots, grew up to be a journalist, and she soon found herself in the midst of American royalty – marrying an actual prince who also happened to be cousin and best friend to John F. Kennedy, Jr. Within the span of a month, Radizwill lost her husband to cancer and her best friends to the infamous plane crash near Martha’s Vineyard.

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway is an acquired taste, so I won’t be offended if you don’t love this one. This memoir is beautiful and heartbreaking, a little weird at times and poignant.

The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Having never been a huge graphic novel fan or even comic book fan, I was a bit skeptical reading an illustrated memoir, but this book is a fascinating firsthand account of a girl growing up in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution. It’s funny and enlightening.

Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist

I’ve mentioned this book several times this year, but it’s one of my favorites of 2013. The book addresses the table and its purpose in building community, opening our homes and welcoming others into our lives.

The Wilder Life by Wendy McClure

If you grew up a Laura Ingalls Wilder fan, you will love this book about McClure’s attempt to let a little more Laura in her life. I wrote a review about it here. 

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller

Donald Miller encounters a turning-point in his life when he meets a movie producer who wants to bring Miller’s book Blue Like Jazz to the big screen. Miller soon learns his real life is too boring for a movie, and he decides to start living in a way that tells a compelling story.

Bossypants by Tina Fey

Most women would love to be best friends with Tina Fey. She’s hilarious and real. This book just confirmed those feelings for me. In a series of essays, Fey reveals her journey from childhood to college to building her career as a comedian in a male-dominated industry. (Language warning on this one.)

Sparkly Green Earrings by Melanie Shankle

If you’ve been in the blogging world for any length of time, you’ll have heard about Big Mama. She’s a Texas girl, and she’s got a great little memoir about life as a mom and the learning curve that goes with it. So many of her stories ring “home” to me, and if you are a Native Texan (or a mom), you’ll totally understand what I mean.

A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans

This is a rather controversial book in the Christian community, but let me encourage you to ignore the hype. Don’t read with your eyes. Instead, read the book as one woman’s personal journey dealing with the hard truths that come with being a Christian woman, and you’ll appreciate it. You’ll laugh. You’ll think. You’ll grow.

What is your favorite kind of book to read by the pool?

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Kelly Wiggains

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Kelly Wiggains, a high school English teacher turned homeschooling mom, likes to surround herself with good literature, beautiful things, and big ideas, and she wants her home to reflect those things, too. Here at KellyWiggains.com she talks about everything From Literature to Living.
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4 responses to 10 Great Memoirs: Perfect Summer Reading

  1. I tend to go more for chick lit or YA stuff in the summer. But I do love a good memoir sometimes! I loved The Glass Castle and Persepolis.

    Do you like foodie memoirs? I read Luisa Weiss’s and Marcus Samuelsson’s last year, and I really liked both.

    • Hey Jessica, I like foodie memoirs. Unfortunately, my library does not. haha. There are several I would like to read. I like chick lit and YA in the summer, too. I hope you are doing well with that sweet one on the way!

  2. I’m currently trying to talk my husband into read The Glass Castle. I’ve not read any others on your list, but a few are on my To Read list.

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    […] Book Lovers will like this list of memoirs. Several people clicked on this classic: “Warning: Don’t Read with Your Eyes,” and the post most likely to help you pass your next English test: “Why Do Authors Use Symbolism in Novels?” […]