‘Boys in the Trees’ by Carly Simon
Carly Simon was the first artist to ever win a Grammy Award, Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award for her song “Let the River Run” — on top of having a successful solo career that resulted in 13 Top 40 hits. Now, the daughter of the co-founder of publishing giant Simon & Schuster reminisces on a childhood filled with music and culture in a family whose secrets would eventually tear them apart, events that would spark the inspiration for her most popular songs.
‘Dear Mr. You’ by Mary-Louise Parker
In her literary debut, award-winning actress Mary-Louise Parker has composed countless letters to the men — both real and imaginary — who have been instrumental in shaping her into the woman she is today. Parker writes to a menagerie of men, from the grandfather she never met, a cherished priest from her childhood and former lovers to the correspondence between herself and the uncle of her adopted daughter. Told with impressive depth and power, this unconventional memoir gives touching insight into the complex relationships that are both fraught and loving.
‘Fast Girl’ by Suzy Favor Hamilton
In the 1990s, Suzy Favor Hamilton had three track and field Olympic medals under her belt and was the American poster child for living a healthy, wholesome life. But then her manic depression and bipolar disorder upended her life, and Hamilton decided to start over with a new identity as a high-end Las Vegas escort. Now, Hamilton is sharing the story of how she overcame mental illness with the help of a diagnosis, therapy and the unrelenting support of her husband in the hopes of raising awareness and offering understanding to those facing their own hardships.
At 19, Dana Liesegang was an athletic, lively U.S. Navy engineman when a fellow sailor sexually assaulted her, threw Liesegang off a cliff and left her to die. Against all odds she survived, but awoke in a hospital bed, paralyzed from the neck down and was told by doctors that walking again would be impossible. But Liesegang had an unbreakable spirit, and on her journey to become the advocate and inspiration she is today, she learned to forgive, persevere and eventually walked again. Now a college student, motivational speaker, life coach and expert in spinal cord injury recovery, Liesegang overcame all odds to create a beautiful life from the ashes of tragedy in the hopes that her story will inspire others.
‘Fourteen’ by Leslie Johansen Nack
Following the divorce of her parents, Leslie Johansen Nack’s father began to abuse her at the age of 9. Then, when he was granted full custody of Nack and her two younger sisters, he moved the family from their large Northern California ranch to a 45-foot sailboat, which the family of four lived on for two years to prepare for their father’s dream to sail around the world. Fourteen is a coming-of-age story about fighting against abuse, learning to both love and fear the natural world, and finding the strength to endure the dangers of the world all while trying to grow up.
‘Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl’
Pop music icon, guitarist for Sleater-Kinney and now one-half of the television series Portlandia duo, Carrie Brownstein shares profoundly personal insight on growing up and finding yourself in music. Raised in a turbulent family in the Pacific Northwest, Brownstein and her bandmates were named “America’s best rock band” and rose to fame in the emerging feminist punk-rock movement that would define 1990s pop and music culture. Raw and heartfelt, Brownstein’s narrative captures what it means to be a performer, an outsider and a young woman growing up in the world of rock and roll.
‘In Order to Live’ by Yeonmi Park
Yeonmi Park was the second daughter of a close-knit and loving family, but by the time she was 13, the condition of life in her home country of North Korea was so brutal that her family’s only chance at survival was to risk being smuggled out of the country. Weighing only 60 pounds and ill from a botched appendectomy, Park and her mother fled to China where they were sold as sex slaves before eventually seeking refuge in South Korea. Now a human rights activist striving to bring light to the oppression still taking place in North Korea, Park’s riveting true account of escape and survival is a rare and important story that will both inspire and break your heart.
‘Smoke Gets in Your Eyes’ by Caitlin Doughty
When she graduated from college with a degree in medieval history and an interest in death and all things macabre, Caitlin Doughty took a job at Westwind Cremation and Burial, where she learned about the history and traditions of cremation and funeral practices. In her candid, bizarre and many times hilarious memoir, Doughty talks about caring for the dead of all shapes and sizes and argues that our obsession with the fear of death, dying and aging are warping our society and the ways we deal with the concept of death.
‘Postcards from the Sky’ by Erin Seidemann
Did you know that women make up only 5 percent to 6 percent of pilots worldwide? When Erin Seidemann caught the flying bug, she worked hard to break into the male-dominated world of aviation — and succeeded — but was unprepared for the struggles of being one of the only women in her field. Frank and funny, Seidemann recounts her not-so-great experiences of working in a mainly male career along with her incredible stories from the sky and how she fell in love with the amazing, addictive feeling of freedom high above the ground.
‘Wildflower’ by Drew Barrymore
Her first book, written at the age of 14, detailed her crazy childhood which already included a serious addiction to drugs and alcohol and a stint in rehab. Now, Drew Barrymore is back to share the challenges, lessons and adventures that have led her to the happy, healthy life with her husband and two daughters she has today.
10 Best memoirs of the fall: Inspiring & shocking true stories by women
These memoirs will inspire you, break your heart and amaze you with their hope and perseverance.
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