20 of Your Favourite Memoirs, Written by Women

I’m a big fan of memoirs, so you can consider this poll reading research for myself. We’ve had a general memoirs poll, one for books written by men, and today we have your favourite memoirs with female authors. Unsurprisingly the list is full of books by strong, sassy women and hopefully will offer you a few suggestions for the TBR.

There were many, many books suggested and after adding up the votes we have the top twenty memoirs written by women, for you!

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou’s tale of growing up in the deep South of America is a worthy winner of this poll, and should be on everyone’s reading list. I personally miss this lady’s wit and wisdom.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings US
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings UK

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Review

The Glass Castle – Jeanette Walls

I read this after it was suggested on our Facebook page last year and it’s a great book. Walls’ story of growing up with inadequate, yet somehow endearing parents is one that will grab you to the last page.

The Glass Castle US
The Glass Castle UK

The Glass Castle Review

Wild Swans – Jung Chang

Wild Swans explores three female generations of one family in China, spanning one hundred years of family history.

Wild Swans US
Wild Swans UK

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The Diary of Anne Frank

The moving tale of Anne Frank is required reading the world over and rightly so as we learn that a young girl is just a young girl, whatever strange circumstances she finds herself in.

The Diary of Anne Frank US
The Diary of Anne Frank UK

Review of The Diary of Anne Frank

Out of Africa – Isak Dinesen

Out of Africa is Isak Dinesen’s memoir of her years in Africa, from 1914 to 1931, on a four-thousand-acre coffee plantation in the hills near Nairobi.

Out of Africa US
Out of Africa UK

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Testament of Youth – Vera Brittainn

Testament of Youth is the first part of the memoir of Vera Brittain, English nurse, writer, feminist and pacifist. The memoir centres around her time during the first world war, and is a beautiful read.

Testament of Youth US
Testament of Youth UK

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How to Be a Woman – Caitlin Moran

I have this on my to be read, but if the recommendations (and my experience of How to Build a Girl) are anything to go by it’s going to be a laugh out loud enjoyable read.

How to Be a Woman US
How to Be a Woman UK

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84 Charing Cross Road – Helene Hanff

A lovely book about a bookshop, or rather the 20 year correspondence between the author, and Frank Doel, chief buyer of Marks and Co located at the eponymous address.

84 Charing Cross Road US
84 Charing Cross Road UK

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I Am Malala – Malala Yousafzi

Malala was shot by the Taliban on her way to school but survived. Since the she has become and advocate for peace and the education of girls. This is her story.

I Am Malala US
I Am Malala UK

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A Piece of Cake – Cupcake Brown

A Piece of Cake is a hefty book, I remember picking it up and thinking ‘Really?’ but it kept me gripped at every page, and Cupcake’s indomitable spirit wins out, and wins your heart along the way.

A Piece of Cake US
A Piece of Cake UK

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11. Wait Till Next Year – Doris Kearns Goodwin

12. Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal – Jeanette Winterson

13. Brown Girl Dreaming – Jacqueline Woodson

14. Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter – Simone de Beauvoir

15. M Train – Patti Smith

16. Somewhere Towards the End – Diana Athill

17. You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) – Felicia Day

18. Wild – Cheryl Strayed (review)

19. Dear Fatty – Dawn French

20. An Unfinished Woman – Lilian Hellman

And if you want to balance out the TBR by adding some male authors too, our memoirs written by men results are worth checking out.

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