Suggestions of memoirs as gifts for my wife
July 21, 2008 7:28 AM   Subscribe

Seeking recommendations for memoirs published in the past two years.

My wife's birthday is coming up, and her favorite genre is memoirs (but not biographies.) In the past, she's liked ones by authors working in travel and food, but please don't let that limit you. (and yes, the Fisher, Mayle, Pepin, Reichl, and David lodes were completely mined out as of 2007, and Bourdain is not to her taste.)

Read any you recommend?

BTW, I've asked for your help in years past:
2006
and
2004

Thanks
posted by mojohand to Writing & Language (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I enjoyed Steve Martin's memoirs recently.
posted by nougat at 7:49 AM on July 21, 2008


Eat Pray Love sounds right up her alley, if she hasn't read it already.

"At the age of thirty-one, Gilbert moved with her husband to the suburbs of New York and began trying to get pregnant, only to realize that she wanted neither a child nor a husband. Three years later, after a protracted divorce, she embarked on a yearlong trip of recovery, with three main stops: Rome, for pleasure (mostly gustatory, with a special emphasis on gelato); an ashram outside of Mumbai, for spiritual searching; and Bali, for "balancing." These destinations are all on the beaten track, but Gilbert's exuberance and her self-deprecating humor enliven the proceedings: recalling the first time she attempted to speak directly to God, she says, "It was all I could do to stop myself from saying, 'I've always been a big fan of your work."
posted by kidsleepy at 8:15 AM on July 21, 2008


I've recently enjoyed the two just mentioned: Steve Martin's and Eat Pray Love. One of the best memoirs I've read in the last few years is Here if You Need Me by Kate Braestrup, who is a chaplain for the game warden service in Maine.

Passing for Normal by Amy S. Wilensky is a fascinating, well-written, and humorous memoir about obsessive-compulsive disorder (the scene where she and a friend who also has OCD have to leave a restaurant because they are both compelled to sit in the same chair and neither of them is able to bend on the issue is both poignant and hilarious).

Foreskin's Lament by Shalom Auslander is the most laugh-out-loud funny book I've read this year.

All in My Head: An Epic Quest to Cure an Unrelenting, Totally Unreasonable, and Only Slightly Enlightening Headache was really good.

Her Last Death by Susanna Sonnderberg didn't make my "best books" category but was an interesting read about a being raised by a charismatic, beautiful, crazy woman.

David Sheff's Beautiful Boy and David Gilmour's The Film Club were both decent (but not fabulous) memoirs about fathers and sons. In the first case, a son who is a drug addict; in the second case, the dad lets his son drop out of school as long as he agrees to watch three movies with his father every week.
posted by not that girl at 8:30 AM on July 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Been kinda curious about Ernest Borgnine's new autobiography. Marvelous career, knew everyone, etc.
posted by RavinDave at 8:36 AM on July 21, 2008


I haven't read them myself, but I've heard that Alan Alda's memoirs are great. The first one was Never Have Your Dog Stuffed: and Other Things I've Learned, and I think he just released a second, Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself.
posted by buka at 8:40 AM on July 21, 2008


Recently reprinted (originally published in 1964): Land of the High Flags: Afghanistan When the Going Was Good by Rosanne Klass. Things I Didn't Know by Robert Hughes. A heartbreaking and unusual memoir: A Three Dog Life by Abigail Thomas. An oldie but goodie: We Took To The Woods by Louise Dickinson Rich.

Highly recommended, if she is open to memoirs partly in graphic form are Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel and Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi.
posted by gudrun at 5:44 PM on July 21, 2008


I have one more--not published in the last two years but one of the most fun reads I've ever had: Confessions of a Master Jewel Thief. Surprisingly well-written for a book with a ghostwriter, really fun, and also educational--if your wife reads it, she'll learn a lot about security and how it fails.
posted by not that girl at 8:32 AM on July 22, 2008


I have one more--not published in the last two years but one of the most fun reads I've ever had: Confessions of a Master Jewel Thief. Surprisingly well-written for a book with a ghostwriter, really fun, and also educational--if your wife reads it, she'll learn a lot about security and how it fails.

Wait, one more. Continuing to break the rules, in this case by over a hundred years: Has she read The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garard? He was on Scott's last trip to Antarctica--the one where they suffered and suffered only to get to the pole and find that the Norwegians had beaten them to it. It's great travel writing, by far the best book on polar exploring I've read. One of the most memorable books I've read. Funny penguin stories and tales of ultimate suffering will live on in your brain for years, side by side.

Seconding Fun Home.
posted by not that girl at 8:38 AM on July 22, 2008


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