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12 Memoirs Recommended by Reading Addicts

I love a good memoir, kind of half way between an autobiography and a novel they tell a story you can believe in, but a story it is so when you asked for more non-fiction polls it seemed a good place to start. Judging by the 250 or so replies, you like memoirs too and the votes were split between well over a hundred books. Of those I have taken the top twelve to give you the memoirs you really should read.

For those who always ask my own vote for this one goes to Corrie Ten Boom’s The Hiding Place, because it’s the only memoir I’ve read several times, it was the first book I ever read that dealt with the human side of war, I’ve gone through several copies after lending it out and it’s one of those books I always go to when I feel I need to stop feeling sorry for myself. I’m glad it found a place in our top twelve, which is as follows:

The Glass Castle – Jeanette Walls (27 votes)

I’d never heard of The Glass Castle until a review was submitted last week and since then I’ve bought it, read it and now it’s taken top spot in our top memoirs poll. It’s funny how that happens.

Glass Castle Review

Diary of A Young Girl – Anne Frank (23 votes)

A worthy second place and it’s easy to see why it remains so hugely popular. Whether at war time or peace time, that teenage voice is the same and a Diary of a Young Girl proves that.

Diary of a Young Girl (US)
Diary of a Young Girl (UK)

Angela’s Ashes – Frank McCourt (19 votes)

This book comes up time and time again in our polls and here it is again. If you want a memoir that will stay with you, this is what you should be reading according to our readers.

Angela’s Ashes (US)
Angela’s Ashes (UK)

Wild Swans – Jung Chang (9 votes)

With 9 votes is Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China and I have to confess I had to go and search this one on Google for some details. The book recounts the lives of three female generations in China and is our fourth most recommended memoir.

Wild Swans (US)
Wild Swans (UK)

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou (9 votes)

I love this book and I love Maya Angelou. It should be on everyone’s reading list alongside To Kill a Mockingbird and comes highly recommended by me, and nine of you too.

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings (US)
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings (UK)

Night – Elie Wiesel (8 votes)

Another that sent me to Google was Night, another WWII memoir about Wiesel’s experience with his father in concentration camps in 1944-45.

Night (US)
Night (UK)

Tuesday’s with Morrie – Mitch Albom (7 votes)

The memoir about the Tuesday’s Mitch spent with an ALS sufferer at the end of his life is world famous and loved by many. Albom has followed with many novels about death and dying, but none captures the emotion and power quite like this.

Tuesday’s With Morrie (US)
Tuesday’s With Morrie (UK)

Then in the bottom half of the list we have, with 5 votes:

The Hiding Place – Corrie Ten Boom

On Writing: A Memoir of a Craft – Stephen King

Then with 4 votes:

Dry – Augusten Burroughs

My Family and Other Animals – Gerald Durell

Call the Midwife – Jennifer Worth

Making our total twelve. I didn’t think memoirs were particularly in genre for me and then I realise I’ve read six of the dozen named! We hope you enjoyed our latest poll giving you some suggestions for the TBR pile!

Check out our other Polls and Discussions below:

Leave your vote


  • I’ve been reading novels, not just short stories since I was 3 yrs.old.
    My grandma encouraged me when she found me reading my granpas newspaper..I have an eclectic taste in literature, the only type of story I don’t reach for automatically is any romance genre, unless it includes a murder or go to books for comfort & reassurance are quite disparate in content, but perfect nonetheless.. Anne of Green Gables-Lucy Maude Montgomery.. One Door Away From Heaven-Dean Koontz.. I am seriously addicted to reading, anything, anytime, anywhere.. I would, in all honesty rather read than eat.,, my granma have me a priceless gift, one I will hopefully use til the very end… THANK y’all for this site, it’s so good to know that books are cherished all over the world.,,, thanx again?

    • Annette Hutchins says:

      Anne of Greene Gables is one of my favorites. I was surprised how widely read this was in Japan and of course England. Montgomery’ own biography I found moving along with her love for the beauty of her Canada.

  • Gara says:

    A wonderful Australian autobiography is ‘A Fortunate Life’ by Albert Facey, low-key but vividly showing the hardships of life in early 20th century rural Australia.

    A recent recommendation is The Latte Years by Philippa Moore, a witty and frank book about her struggles with weight loss and finding her niche in life.

  • judy murphy says:

    I’ve been addicted to books my whole life, from the time I discovered I could read! They are my one obsession in life, and thank God there’s no “cure” for my addiction!

  • Angela says:

    The Moon’s a Balloon, by David Niven is an amusing glimpse of Hollywood in its heyday and any by Patrick Leigh Fermor, if travel floats your boat.

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