The Best Memoirs of the Decade (2010-2019)

We love memoirs here at For Reading Addicts. Memoirs are the perfect bridge between novel and biography, factual but not dry, full of truths but written like a story.

As we approach the end of the year, and double whammy, the end of the decade, today we’re looking back at the memoirs of the decade. The ten memoirs that we think are the best in their genre, in the last ten years.

We’re sure you’ll have your own ideas, so feel free to add your suggestions in the comments.

In the Dream House – Carmen Maria Machado

Released earlier this year, we’ve given Machado’s description of a relationship gone bad and the descent into domestic abuse several mentions here on FRA, and it’s even made it into the best of the decade list too.

In the Dream House

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Becoming – Michelle Obama

The bestselling memoir of all time, award winning, nominated for an Emmy. Whatever your political affiliation it would be disingenuous to argue this memoirs inclusion into the list.

Becoming

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H is for Hawk – Helen McDonald

H is for Hawk was a NY Times Book Review book of the year in 2016 and was included on at least 25 must read lists. Helen Macdonald’s story of adopting and raising one of nature’s most vicious predators has soared into the hearts of millions of readers worldwide, and has made it onto our best of the decade list.

H is for Hawk

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Just Kids – Patti Smith

Winner of the 2011 National Book Award, Just Kids begins as a love story and ends as an elegy. It serves as a salute to New York City during the late sixties and seventies and to its rich and poor, its hustlers and hellions. A true fable, it is a portrait of two young artists’ ascent, a prelude to fame.

Just Kids

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This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay

Part memoir, part hilarious secret diary, Adam Kay’s account of being a doctor within a busy NHS hospital is unputdownable and was nominated for several awards.

This is Going to Hurt

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Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal – Jeanette Winterson

One of the best memoirs of the last 50 years according to the New York Times. This is the story of a life’s work trying to find happiness, by one of the best loved authors of our time.

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal

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Ordinary Light – Tracey K. Smith

The dazzling memoir from U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith, author of Wade in the Water and Life on Mars. Named one of the best books of the year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Denver Post, and Oprah.com.

Ordinary Light

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The Yellow House – Sarah M. Broom

Winner of the 2019 National Book Award for nonfiction, Sarah Broom’s The Yellow House is part memoir, part oral history, part urban history, part celebration of a bygone way of life.

The Yellow House

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Negroland – Margo Jefferson

Negroland won a raft of awards in 2015. This memoir is incendiary and icy, mischievous and provocative, celebratory and elegiac—here is a deeply felt meditation on race, sex, and American culture through the prism of the author’s rarefied upbringing and education among a black elite concerned with distancing itself from whites and the black generality while tirelessly measuring itself against both.

Negroland

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The Argonauts – Maggie Nelson

Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts is a genre-bending memoir, a work of “autotheory” offering fresh, fierce, and timely thinking about desire, identity, and the limitations and possibilities of love and language.

The Argonauts

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We hope you find some good suggestions there and we’ll be back with more recommendations lists soon. If you want to ensure you never miss any of these, subscribe now.



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