This weeks Top Ten Tuesday, a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Books Of X Genre (I know, I know. Picking all time faves. I’m MEAN. But I like knowing people’s definitive faves). Can also break it down into sub-genre if that helps?
My favorite genre is Science Fiction, but one could hardly ask me to pick favorites there. I decided instead to do my favorite of the memoirs that I’ve read. My full list of memoirs are here, with some biography and anthologies of women sprinkled in.
The list, which is in no particular order, has some of the back cover information )but all for all of them would have been far too long), a link to my review (the title), my star rating, and a link to the book’s Amazon page (the cover) just in case. So, without further ado:
WINNER OF THE 2011 NOBEL PEACE PRIZE
As a young woman, Leymah Gbowee was broken by the Liberian civil war, a brutal conflict that tore apart her life and claimed the lives of countless relatives and friends. Years of fighting destroyed her country—and shattered Gbowee’s girlhood hopes and dreams. As a young mother trapped in a nightmare of domestic abuse, she found the courage to turn her bitterness into action, propelled by her realization that it is women who suffer most during conflicts—and that the power of women working together can create an unstoppable force. In 2003, the passionate and charismatic Gbowee helped organize and then led the Liberian Mass Action for Peace, a coalition of Christian and Muslim women who sat in public protest, confronting Liberia’s ruthless president and rebel warlords, and even held a sex strike. With an army of women, Gbowee helped lead her nation to peace—in the process emerging as an international leader who changed history. Mighty Be Our Powers is the gripping chronicle of a journey from hopelessness to empowerment that will touch all who dream of a better world.
She also gives a great TED talk here on the intelligence, passion, and greatness of girls.
A MEMOIR BY THE YOUNGEST RECIPIENT OF THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE
I AM MALALA is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls’ education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons.
I AM MALALA will make you believe in the power of one person’s voice to inspire change in the world.
The instant New York Times bestseller from “queen of the geeks” Felicia Day, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) is a “relentlessly funny and surprisingly inspirational” (Forbes.com) memoir about her unusual upbringing, her rise to internet stardom, and embracing her weirdness to find her place in the world.
At last, Tina Fey’s story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty onSaturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon — from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence.
Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we’ve all suspected: you’re no one until someone calls you bossy.
Do you want to get to know the woman we first came to love on Comedy Central’s Upright Citizens Brigade? Do you want to spend some time with the lady who made you howl with laughter on Saturday Night Live, and in movies like Baby Mama, Blades of Glory, and They Came Together? Do you find yourself daydreaming about hanging out with the actor behind the brilliant Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation? Did you wish you were in the audience at the last two Golden Globes ceremonies, so you could bask in the hilarity of Amy’s one-liners?
If your answer to these questions is “Yes Please!” then you are in luck.
One of the most famous and admired African-American women in U.S. history, Sojourner Truth sang, preached, and debated at camp meetings across the country, led by her devotion to the antislavery movement and her ardent pursuit of women’s rights. Born into slavery in 1797, Truth fled from bondage some 30 years later to become a powerful figure in the progressive movements reshaping American society.
This remarkable narrative, first published in 1850, offers a rare glimpse into the little-documented world of Northern slavery. Truth recounts her life as a slave in rural New York, her separation from her family, her religious conversion, and her life as a traveling preacher during the 1840s. She also describes her work as a social reformer, counselor of former slaves, and sponsor of a black migration to the West.
A spellbinding orator and implacable prophet, Truth mesmerized audiences with her tales of life in bondage and with her moving renditions of Methodist hymns and her own songs.
In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls. Mindy Kaling really is just a Girl Next Door—not so much literally anywhere in the continental United States, but definitely if you live in India or Sri Lanka.
One would think that with her impressive list of bestselling self-improvement memoirs Jen Lancaster would have it all together by now. One would be wrong.
After all, she’s no Martha Stewart. And that’s why Jen is going to Martha up and live her life according to the advice of America’s overachieving older sister—the woman who turns lemons into lavender-infused lemonade. By immersing herself in Martha’s media empire, Jen embarks on a yearlong quest to take herself, her house, her husband (and maybe even her pets) to the next level—from closet organization to party planning.
Gretchen Berg has met the recession: she has eaten cereal for dinner, given up the gym membership, and come face to face with looming unemployment. To cope, she decided to uproot her life and move to the Middle East. She expected to make some good money, pay off some bad debt, and take some photos of camels. She did not expect to feel at home. She did not expect to fall for a student. She did not expect Diet Coke withdrawal.
Irreverent, hilarious, and completely relevant, I Have Iraq in My Shoe takes a single, broke, fashion-conscious American female who prefers Project Runaway to CNN and tosses her into Iraq in exchange for cash and vacation time.
Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.
Dr. Jamison is one of the foremost authorities on manic-depressive (bipolar) illness; she has also experienced it firsthand. For even while she was pursuing her career in academic medicine, Jamison found herself succumbing to the same exhilarating highs and catastrophic depressions that afflicted many of her patients, as her disorder launched her into ruinous spending sprees, episodes of violence, and an attempted suicide.
Here Jamison examines bipolar illness from the dual perspectives of the healer and the healed, revealing both its terrors and the cruel allure that at times prompted her to resist taking medication. An Unquiet Mind is a memoir of enormous candor, vividness, and wisdom—a deeply powerful book that has both transformed and saved lives.
So there they are, my top ten favorite women’s memoirs. I realized in compiling the list that the main factor in making them favorites was that each one gives some great insight into something. Sometimes it’s life, sometimes it’s work, sometimes it’s historic, and sometimes it’s something totally random, but it was always good.
Has anyone else read memoirs they love? Check out the TTT’s at The Broke and the Bookish!