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best memoirs to read

3 Recent Travel Memoirs Take You on Inner Journeys

IMG_8118Travel Memoir has become a popular genre, savored by armchair travelers who may never leave home and devoured by those who want to follow in the footsteps where globe-trotting authors have led. The best of these memoirs take readers along for an emotional, spiritual and intellectual ride, as the authors connect with people around the world and learn about their own beliefs and perspectives in the process.

Over the last few years, readers have traipsed through the Sierras with Cheryl Strayed in Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail; experienced absorbing affairs around the world with Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love; and explored the Australian Outback with Bill Bryson’s In a Sunburned Country, just to name a few.

Dozens more travel memoirs have been published during the last 18 months, written by authors who recount their physical journeys and also capture the passion and thrill of their experiences. If you enjoy reading travel memoirs that chronicle authors’ outer and inner journeys, try these three books, all published in 2015.

  1. On a Mission: An 800-mile Walk to Discover California’s El Camino Real, by Maggie Espinosa. In what the author describes as “the journey of a lifetime,” Espinosa walks between each of California’s 21 Spanish Colonial missions, discovering the spiritual and historical landscapes that continue to influence California today.
  2. Around the World in 50 years: My Adventure to Every Country on Earth, by Albert Podell. This inspiring book tells the story of Podell’s visits to each of the world’s countries as he survives wars, robberies, earthquakes, wild animal attacks and hilarious encounters with his own species.
  3. Worlds Elsewhere: Journeys Around Shakespeare’s Globe, by Andrew Dickson. Traveling to countries on four continents, Dickson found surprising places where Shakespeare’s plays tap into the psyches of citizens from diverse cultures. From Nelson Mandela’s former prison cell on Robben Island in South Africa to modern Shanghai, China, Dickson encountered people and events that showcased the continuing relevance of the Bard’s words.

Best Mother Memoirs for 2015

Just in time for Mother’s Day, four authors recently have written poignant and endearing books about their mothers. One year ago I suggested five Mother Memoirs (see my blog, May 1, 2014). Since then, a new crop has been published to inspire you as you write about your own mother and the relationship you shared.

10 Best Travel Memoirs for Summer Reading

Memoirs about travel have been enjoyed for hundreds of years, at least as far back as Marco Polo, who wrote about his sojourn from Venice throughout the Asian continent in the 13th century. His adventures still captivate us today and you can even find a Kindle version of The Travels of Marco Polo (Modern Library Classics, 2012).

Today’s travel memoirs continue to reflect a fascination for far-flung travel. They give us a chance to experience the intrigue of the unknown vicariously, in a time when “travel” often involves being wrapped in the safe cocoon of a cruise ship or on a bus with like-minded passengers who speak the same language. (more…)

Best Memoirs to Read for the 4th of July

For Americans, July is a time to celebrate the founding of our nation and to think about the unparalleled achievement of a small number of men who started an experimental new form of government led by elected leaders.

Many biographies have been written about the first American leaders, offering instructive and inspiring insights into their character. Yet, for real, authentic understanding of these individuals, it’s valuable to read what they wrote about their own lives. Their writings show us their motivations and transport us to a time and place when the concept of a modern government by and for the people was largely untested. (more…)

Father’s Day: A Time to Read and Write Memoirs About Dads

With Father’s Day on the horizon, you may be thinking about your relationship with your father and perhaps may be inspired to write about it. Traditionally, in Western society, fathers are more removed than mothers from our day-to-day experiences as children and young adults. Fathers often are seen as patriarchs who are above criticism, perhaps ready to judge us, but not to be judged by our writing. So some writers find them to be a more difficult subject than writing about mothers.

Perhaps, though, this is the year for you to write about your dad. Father memoirs don’t have to have an axe to grind, as some memoirs by famous people do. They can be insightful accounts and loving tributes. If you do write about your dad, prepare to gain new truths about yourself as well as your relationship with this important person in your life. (more…)

5 Recommended 2014 Best Selling Memoirs

Memoirs are an increasingly popular genre, with dozens of them published each year. If you plan to write one, you should read some too. This blog looks at five books about real life experiences that have been published since the beginning of 2014 and are listed on The New York Times Best Seller lists. They remind us that memoirs are about a slice of life, rather than an account of an author’s experiences since birth, as with autobiography. Memoirs usually cover a topic such as coming of age, a successful career, overcoming an illness, a love affair, a time in the military or a period of emotional growth.

In the following selection of books, we see a variety of themes: a changing mother-daughter relationship; living in Hollywood during the glamour years; becoming an AIDS activist; finding happiness through meditation; and grappling with a restrictive evangelical upbringing. Perhaps one or more of these books will provide you with the inspiration you need to complete your own memoir. (more…)

Memoir Ideas: Writing Mother Memoirs for Mother’s Day

mother memoir | Kay SangerThe occasion of Mother’s Day provides a timely motivation to write about our mothers.  And if we are mothers, the day may inspire us to write about how that experience has changed our lives.

The mother-child bond involves one of the most profound connections forged between humans. It is a relationship filled with deep emotions and differing perceptions of shared experiences. Writing about it can be challenging, but also rewarding.

Where to start? (more…)