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Unforgettable Memoirs

Lose yourself in some of this year’s most compelling non-fiction.

Alexander, William
The $64 Tomato: How One Man Nearly Lost His Sanity, Spent a Fortune, and Endured an Existential Crisis in the Quest for the Perfect Garden
SB320.7.N7 A44 2006
In this appealingly witty memoir of one man's battle with nature, Alexander weaves a cautionary tale for those who have ever tasted a grocery-store tomato and vowed to grow a better one in their own backyard.
 
Burroughs, Augusten
Possible Side Effects
PS3552.U745 Z475 2006
From the bestselling author of Running with Scissors comes his most provocative collection of true stories yet. Readers should be forewarned and read the label: hilarious, troubling, and shocking results might occur.
 
Child, Julia
My Life in France
TX649.C47 A3 2006
In seamlessly flowing prose, My Life in France follows Child's growth as a cook into one of the best and most influential teachers of the twentieth century. Like Child herself, this memoir is earnest but never pedantic. Her eye for the ironic, her sense of humor, and her sharp sensitivity to the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and colors that surround her make lucid, lively reading.
 
Cooper, Anderson
Dispatches from the Edge: A Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival
PN4874.C683 A3 2006
With harrowing detail, the host of CNN's Anderson Cooper 360° shares his observations and insights on some of the worst natural and humanitarian disasters of our times.
 
Cross, June
Secret Daughter: A Mixed-Race Daughter and the Mother Who Gave Her Away
E185.97.C86 A3 2006
Using her 1997 Emmy Award–winning documentary, Secret Daughter, as inspiration for her memoir of the same name, Cross narrates her life as the daughter of a white woman and a well-known black vaudevillian who was handed over to a black couple for rearing.
 
Didion, Joan
The Year of Magical Thinking
PS3554.I33 Z63 2005
Didion describes with compelling precision exactly how grief feels, and how it impairs rational thought and triggers "magical thinking." The result is a remarkably lucid and ennobling anatomy of grief, matched by a penetrating tribute to marriage, motherhood, and love.
 
Gilbert, Elizabeth
Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything across Italy, India, and Indonesia
G154.5.G55 A3 2006
A memoir of self-discovery, Eat, Pray, Love is about what can happen when you claim responsibility for your own contentment. It is also about the adventures that can transpire when a woman stops trying to live in imitation of society's ideals. This is a story certain to touch anyone who has ever woken up to the unrelenting need for change.
 
Grogan, John
Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog
SF429.L3 G76 2005
Grogan and his wife were just beginning their life together. They were young and in love, with not a care in the world. Then they brought home Marley, a wiggly yellow furball of a puppy. Life would never be the same.
 
Jentz, Terri
Strange Piece of Paradise
HV6793.O7 J46 2006
The author was a Yale student biking cross-country during the summer of 1977 when she and her roommate were attacked by an axe-wielding cowboy while camping in Oregon. Jentz suffered multiple injures including a gashed arm and collapsed lung, while her friend was nearly blinded from head injuries. Fifteen years later, in 1992, Jentz returns to the scene of the attack to repair the psychic wound and attempt to close the case.
 
Moehringer, J. R.
Tender Bar: A Memoir
CT275.M5719 A3 2005
J.R. Moehringer grew up listening for the sound of his missing father, a disc jockey who disappeared before J.R. spoke his first words. His mother was his world, his anchor, but J.R. needed something more. So, he turned to the patrons of a grand old New York saloon. There, the flamboyant characters along the bar taught him, tended him, and provided a kind of fatherhood by committee.
 

Updated: 1/12/2010