Memoir Monday

Memoir Monday!!

This is the two year anniversary of Memoir Monday and I have to admit that it only gets better all the time. Yes, I have run across a few memoirs that I haven’t enjoyed and more than one that I couldn’t bring myself to finish, but it’s still a favorite feature.

I enjoy getting a chance to showcase real women’s stories. This is important for a lot of reasons, the two that stand out most are that women’s lives vary greatly and that we do a lot more than we get credit for historically. That may sound like the same thing, but I assure you that it isn’t. Also, biographies are great but they are only as great as the perception of the person writing them. A memoir, or autobiography, has the subject’s own voice and perspective. The stories in their lives that they feel is important, not what someone else has decided. I know that others can sometimes see a little into the things that shape us in ways that we miss, but you get the idea.

It does make me work a little harder during WIT Month, but that’s also well worth it. I do want to have read the world one day. Alas, those kinds of goals along with having read the women Nobel recipients are the goals reserved for one day. One day when I have more time to read. One day when I have more ability to find these books. I don’t know when one day will happen, but I know that I squeak closer to these goals at a snail’s pace and if one day never materializes, I’ll at least have some small measure of accomplishment.

Of all, the memoirs I’ve read, there are a few that I continue to come back to and that I think of regularly. I’ve also noticed a trend that I don’t like reading on the same subject much when it comes to memoirs. Like, I appreciate books about people improving their lives, but I’ve read enough of them now that I think the pattern is pretty well proven and I just can’t anymore.

There are a few things that make a memoir good for me. First, it can’t be a story I feel like I’ve read already. Second, the voice of the author has to be good. I’ve always been more of a character over plot kind of person, so I can literally read about or watch interesting characters do nothing with less irritation than watching people I don’t care about run around a good plot. Voice is so important. Third, have something to say. It’s not so much that the memoir has to be going somewhere, but I enjoy those with a theme more than those without. Memoirs by activists tend to be terribly depressing but worth it to see what they went through that changed them or put them on this path. They always have something to say. But even memoirs about women and normal lives can have something to say. That idea always brings me back to Furiously Happy. Her memoir has all those things, even though it’s just about normal life.

Not a requirement, but I do also generally look for memoirs that are not by celebrities. Nothing against them, and I’ve read some great ones, but I try to stick to the every woman. Try. It’s really about what’s grabbing my interest about it. For the last two years, I’ve tried to put as many memoirs as possible in my Read Harder TBR too and that’s been fairly challenging but totally worth it.

Altogether, I’ve been enjoying this weekly feature of my blog and look forward to continuing it. Does anyone else read memoirs?

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2 comments

  1. I like reading memoir where’s some insight and attainment of a new perspective, I don’t like the total misery memoir or extreme behaviour(s) abuse(s) that seem to be used as selling points, but overcoming some kind of adversity or challenge or coming to understand her flawed-self better is what I like.

    I’ve been reading a few on similar theme (lost, abandoned, adopted children searching) and then felt a bit of reluctance, which I recognise from your observation above, that I might need a break from. That said, it is also for research, so I will still read the others I have, but I recently read a beautifully written one Without a Map by Meredith Hall from a young mother’s perspective, which provides variation and was equally insightful.
    Sometimes, when I like a writer’s novels, they make me curious about the author, especially if the novel is well-researched or comes from a culture/geography I know little about.

    I read Leslie Marmon Silko’s memoir The Turquoise Ledge because of its geographic location – I’d never heard of the author, but wanted a nature writing book, either essays or memoir set in or near Tucson – and then discovered her novels, letters and poetry. I love the journey and now I need not go there, I read there.

    Like

    1. I also enjoyed The Turquoise Ledge. I had picked up because of Silko’d heritage in November. I’m with you on memoir with overall depressing narratives. I just can’t get through them sometimes. I’ll push through for the Nobel Laureates though. So many of them are persecuted and imprisoned but they’re fighting for something. I’ll have to check out Without a Map. Thanks for the recommendation! I

      Liked by 1 person

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