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The Must-Read Memoirs You Should Add To Your Reading List

Memoirs can span a range of themes and moods: a journey through someone’s life, an exploration of their mindset and beliefs, an inspiration to those seeking answers, or they can even offer themselves as a source of hope and entertainment.

As we embrace the height of summer, we’re always looking for new must-reads to add to our list. We’ve rounded up the most popular memoirs at the moment, whether you’re looking for light-hearted escapism or something more hard-hitting, this is a selection that offers it all.

We Were Dreamers by Simu Liu

The star of Marvel’s first Asian superhero film, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, tells his own origin story of being a Chinese immigrant, his battles with cultural stereotypes and his own identity, becoming a TV star, and landing the role of a lifetime. We Were Dreamers is a story about growing up between cultures, finding your family, and becoming the master of your own extraordinary circumstances.

Finding Freedom in the Lost Kitchen by Erin French

Erin French overcame intimidating odds to find her calling with The Lost Kitchen, her tiny, world-renowned restaurant in Freedom, Maine. Erin’s rollercoaster memoir spans growing up on a farm, medical school, teenage pregnancy, addiction, and abuse, telling the story of how her son inspired her to rebuild her life around her love of food and the purpose and community it generates.

Good Pop, Bad Pop by Jarvis Cocker

Jarvis Cocker examines what stories our hidden possessions tell about our experiences and inner lives in this creative memoir from Pulp’s frontman. From a Gold Star polycotton shirt to a pack of Wrigley’s Extra, from his teenage attempts to write songs to the Sexy Laughs Fantastic Dirty Joke Book, this is the hard evidence of Jarvis’s unique life, Pulp, 20th century pop culture, the good times, and the mistakes he’d rather forget.

Getting Lost by Annie Ernaux

In Getting Lost, Annie Ernaux gives us access to raw diary entries about her secret love affair with a younger, married man, an attache to the Soviet embassy in Paris. The inspiration for her 1989 novel, Simple Passion, these entries show Ernaux at her most naked and vulnerable. Translated brilliantly for the first time by Alison L. Strayer, Getting Lost is a haunting record of a woman in the grips of love, desire and despair.

In Love by Amy Bloom

Amy Bloom traces the journey before, during, and after she and her husband Brian travelled to Switzerland where Dignitas helped him to end his life. In Love is Bloom’s intimate, authentic, and startling account of losing Brian, and charts the anxiety and pain of the process that led them to Dignitas while never avoiding the complex ethical problems that are raised by assisted death.

Swan Dive by Georgina Pazcoguin

New York City Ballet’s first Asian American female soloist Georgina Pazcouguin lays bare her story of training in the fascinating, cutthroat arena of one of the most revered ballet companies in the world. Pazcouguin rejoices in the passion for her craft with humour and reverence, while also being one of the few dancers to openly address the strict culture and abuse traditionally inherent in professional ballet.

Every Good Boy Does Fine by Jeremy Denk

Renowned classical pianist and MacArthur ‘Genius’ Jeremy Denk explores artistic practice and music’s universality through his development from six-year-old piano prodigy to Carnegie Hall regular. In this dynamic and funny memoir based on his popular New Yorker article, Denk writes a love letter to the act of teaching, exploring the complex student-teacher relationship and diving into the composers that shaped him to engage readers in powerful questions about music and its creation.

Notes on Heartbreak by Annie Lord

In Notes on Heartbreak, cult journalist and Vogue columnist Annie Lord tells us a love story in reverse, starting with a devastating breakup. Annie chronicles her heartbreak and relatable attempts to move on with unflinching honesty, while revisiting both the painful and the joyous moments in her relationship. It’s a book about the best and worst of love: the euphoric and the painful, the beautiful and the messy.

Be My Baby by Ronnie Spector!

The Ronnette’s Ronnie Spector gives us her whirlwind account of talent, stardom, and collaboration in her memoir, Be My Baby. When her career got lost in her husband, producer Phil Spector’s, success, Ronnie had to wrest back control of her life, her music, and her legacy. More than anything, Be My Baby is a testament to the fact that it is possible to stand up to a powerful abuser and start on a second – or third, or fifth – act.

This Is Not a Pity Memoir by Abi Morgan

Emmy and BAFTA-award winning screenwriter Abi Morgan releases her first book, a deeply personal and moving memoir about navigating her husband, Jacob’s, illness and recovery as a family, as a couple, as a community, and as an individual. But this is not a pity memoir. It’s about parties, sushi, crazed Google trawls, the wrong shoes, silence, and noise. It’s a story of moments big and small that make up a life and a love.

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