Read about the nice, the notable, and the notorious.
Proof that books save lives! In Somalia, Ali read torn paperback English mysteries that were passed around the school yard. She noticed (1) buses always ran on time, (2) everyone had enough to eat, and (3) women married who they wanted. This inspired her to escape an arranged marriage and leave Africa. She has since returned as a public speaker on human rights. -- Emmanuelle
Brittain is so fierce and smart. Feminist, pacifist, a nurse in the trenches of WWI. A tragic, brilliant memoir of that time -- Kate
A WWI vet goes to a small English village where he is to restore a mural in the local church and finds himself restored. A beautiful book about second chances. – Kerry
Musician and poet Jim Carroll’s account of his teenage years on the streets and blacktops of 1960s NYC. This small memoir packs a punch. -- Nick
60s teenage memoir. A bit tough, really smart. Weird sun-bleached Florida and then NYC. Cool part about yoyos – Kate
The fascinating, tragic, and entirely true story of the reclusive Huguette Clark, one of the last great heiresses of the Gilded Age.
Playful and tragic, this is still one of the best scientific autobiographies and a great introduction to one of the finest minds of the twentieth century. – Kerry
Ultimate gap year memoir. 1937, kicked out of Oxford, 19 years old -- he grabbed a rucksack and walked from Holland to Constantinople. He takes every detour, hangs out with anyone, shouts long Latin poems as he tramps through snowy Bavaria -- he’s a great writer and a great adventurer. Wonderful book! – Kate
Loved this book. Harman tells the story of Bronte’s life -- which is also the story of her siblings and her father -- like a novel. She brings to life Bronte’s growth as a writer, her growing fame and her drift towards marriage -- warts and all. I learned so much about Bronte and her world. Wonderful, rewarding read. – Marie
Memoir and myth. A classic in its portrayal of intersecting identities -- immigrant, female, Chinese, American. There’s a middle school bathroom torture scene that has haunted me for twenty years. Brilliant. -- Kate
This book will take you on a tremendous journey of one woman’s remarkable childhood. It spares no emotion in its tragic combination of love and the struggle of an impoverished family trying to survive in utter chaos. You’ll be moved by this book, I promise. – Erika
In 1935, Levi -- a doctor, painter, and philosopher -- was banished to a tiny village in the south of Italy on account of his opposition to the fascists, who realized it was cheaper to put political prisoners in villages and have the local police responsible for them, than to put them in prison. Eboli was unchanged since the time of Christ, hence the title. Marvelous account. – Kate
Levi, a chemist, tells his life story -- from Italy to Auschwitz -- element by element. A slim, elegant, human story of the Holocaust from an unusual perspective. – Kate