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Picking a book from the vast collections available in libraries, bookstores, and online can dismay even the most audacious reader. Let us direct your next read from this fabulous list of four of the best-selling memoirs of all time.
Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance
Vance’s personal journey out of a dysfunctional, working-class family to the cherished halls of Yale is a rarity—but an important insight into a culture that lives in secret. Vance’s childhood of neglect and parental drug and alcohol abuse in a rural Ohio community speaks to the plight of working-class America. The post-war relocation of numerous manufacturing industry jobs left people in Vance’s part of the world without decent work, money, and hope. This memoir is a lucid account of ignored, dispossessed, yet surprisingly resilient blue-collar Americans and J.D. Vance’s journey to the top.
A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemmingway
Some novels are intimidating to readers, but we encourage you to take a leap of faith and read A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemmingway. This 20th-century classic marks Hemmingway’s tragic psychological decline, which makes this novel’s success even more triumphant. A Moveable Feast doesn’t read as the desperate ruminations of a bereft and demoralized man, but rather a hopeful meditation on even the most bitter aspects of Hemingway’s life, which includes a failing writing career and a broken marriage. Hemingway speaks honestly about the legendary writers he befriends in 1920’s Paris and crafts a story of his demise using language so masterful, we are likely to never see anything quite like it again.
My Life in France by Julia Child
She’s the woman who opened our eyes to French cooking, but to the people who knew her, Julia Child was much more than just a chef. She was a brilliant spirit, in love with the universality of food and dedicated to culinary excellence. Her enthusiasm for adventure spills over into her memoir, making it a truly absorbing read meant for more than satisfying people’s idle curiosity. Julia wakes you up, forces you to see your life for what it could be, and sends your senses into a whirlwind. It’s hard to know what to do when you put this book down, but you’ll probably want to dance, eat, or move to France.
On Writing by Stephen King
Stephen King’s books possess an aura of authority: after all, Stephen King is the wealthiest author in the world and the godfather of horror novels. Despite his chosen genre which tends to polarize readers, On Writing is a shrewdly-developed compilation of Stephen King’s greatest insights as a writer. His voice is down-to-earth and humble, which is an unexpected surprise from such a source of profound wisdom for many aspiring writers. If you’re interested in honing your writing skills, this book is for you. Even if you’re not, On Writing is an honest reflection of one of this generation’s most beloved writers.