Beyond Bestsellers: Memoirs and Biographies

by Lois H.

Happy June and welcome to another month of Beyond Bestsellers! I hope you had some good laughs last month as we celebrated all things humorous. This month, we’ll be taking a walk in another person’s shoes. That’s rightit’s Memoir and Biography month.

Need a refresher on Beyond Bestsellers? Here’s a quick rundown.

Beyond Bestsellers: Biographies and Memoirs

Biographies and memoirs are probably my favorite type of non-fiction to read. I love finishing a book and feeling like I just had an in-depth conversation with a new friend. This sentiment is probably why I am more drawn to memoirs. Reading about someone’s life in their own words feels intimate.

However, biographies often provide a more thorough look at an individual’s life. While memoirs often focus on one part of the author’s life, biographies usually try to cover the entirety of their subject’s life. Biographers also have the added bonus of time and an outside perspective, especially if their subject lived hundreds of years ago. Some subjects might not consider this a bonus, depending on how they’re portrayed.

And autobiographies? Well, it’s complicated. The terms “memoir” and “autobiography” are often used interchangeably but there are some differences. For a more comprehensive explanation of the differences, check out Book Riot’s article on memoirs versus autobiographies.

Read Along With Us

To get you started, we’ve divided the genre into four categories. For some reading inspiration, check out these lists of political memoirs, historical biographies, humorous memoirs, and graphic memoirs and biographies. Don’t know where to start? Take this quiz to find out which type of memoir or biography is right for you.

For those of you who enjoy reading eBooks or listening to eAudiobooks, we have a selection of titles that you can download without waiting. Our eBook this month is Hunger by Roxane Gay. Our eAudiobook titles include: Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot, Cooking as Fast as I Can by Cat Cora, The Year of Less by Cait Flanders, First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung, and more!

We would love to see your favorite memoirs and biographies as well. Be sure to make lists of books you’ve read or books you would recommend for this genre. You might just see your list featured at the end of the month!

Name That Memoir

One thing I thoroughly enjoy about this genre is memoir titles. STORI Telling by Tori Spelling? Wild. Coreyography by Corey Feldman? Amazing. Naturally Tan by Tan France? Beautifully punny.

There’s even an online trend of sharing the title of your own hypothetical memoir. I think mine would be something like “Crying Over Fictional Characters: A Memoir by Lois.”

What would the name of your memoir be?

To get the month started, comment below with the title of your memoir or share your quiz result! And don’t forget to join us throughout the month by making lists of your favorite memoirs and biographies!

Happy reading!

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2 responses to “Beyond Bestsellers: Memoirs and Biographies”

  1. Lindsey A. says:

    Some of the decisions in this quiz were SO HARD to make! I ended up with Humorous Memoirs, which makes sense. So many memoirs are tragic in nature and that just isn’t me (unless it has a side of black humor, like Augusten Burroughs’ or Alison Bechdel’s work). Right now I’m listening to Naturally Tan by Tan France from Queer Eye and it’s so fun and heartfelt. I definitely recommend it for anyone who loves Queer Eye!

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