True accounts from a memoirist can be a valuable source of wisdom, experience, and knowledge. Here are the best memoir books to read in 2023.
Best memoir books to read in 2023
Memoirs can be a valuable source of life lessons drawn from other people’s experiences. And when it comes to the best memoirs in the market, the teachings come in abundance. If you’re looking for the best titles to read in 2023, this article will recommend several must-reads in the memoir genre.
What are memoirs?
Much like an autobiography, a memoir is a nonfiction book that chronicles the author’s own story. Yet, while a biography or autobiography usually recounts the entire life of the author, a memoir represents a retelling of a particular event or time period.
Derived from the Latin memoria, meaning remembrance or memory, memoirs are true stories. Still, they may contain elements of creative nonfiction. In particular, the author can slightly change specific story details to improve literary flow and make the prose more inviting.
Whether a short memoir or a novel-length piece, the best books in the genre will always provide insight into profound personal knowledge. A quality memoir may fall into any story type, from coming-of-age to a journal from a long journey. Furthermore, it can be a work of a first-time self-publishing author or an established celebrity. The crucial aspect is that the author has based the memoir on their own experiences and can relay a worthwhile message.
Most memoirs are written in first-person, which comes naturally due to their intimate atmosphere and personal topics.
Best memoirs for your 2023 reading list
There have been countless memoir writers since the antique and classical eras. Today, many famous people have become memoir authors, sharing their unique perspectives and experiences. Here’s a list of the best memoirs you shouldn’t miss in 2023.
All Over but the Shoutin’ by Rick Bragg
Rick Bragg is a New York Times reporter and Pulitzer Prize laureate. However, his upbringing didn’t suggest a successful career. As a poor child of a hard-drinking father in 1960s Alabama, Bragg could’ve hoped for nothing more than a penitentiary at worst or working at a cotton mill at best.
Bragg’s personal memoirs deal with his childhood and describe the numerous challenges that his family went through. At the same time, his story represents an honest and artistic account of people showing their worst and best in an environment that both nourished the family members and suppressed their personal growth.
Educated by Tara Westover
The memoir of Tara Westover tells the astonishing journey of self-discovery and improvement against the odds. The author is an Idaho native who spent all her early life in a family of survivalists. Isolated in Idaho’s mountains and far away from society, Tara didn’t receive formal education until she was 17.
Despite her circumstances, she had a passion for knowledge which became more prominent once her brother got into college. At that point, Tara decided to pursue her dreams, which meant going far away from home. She made it all the way overseas, getting to Harvard, and finally, Cambridge University where she earned her Ph.D.
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
A particularly beloved title, Eat, Pray, Love is sometimes considered a self-help book due to its exploration of one’s true nature. Elizabeth Gilbert had a successful career, marriage, and home in the U.S. Yet, she felt there was more to understand about life and herself.
Feeling the call of personal discovery, Elizabeth decided to leave America and go on a worldwide journey of self-exploration. She spent a year traveling with a purpose, from Italy, through India, and, finally, to Indonesia. Learning different lessons in each country and culture, she gathered profound knowledge and shaped it into a witty memoir full of universal wisdom.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Childhood can be an incredibly challenging period of life, full of mystery, pain, and joy. Nowhere is this more true than in the case of Maya Angelou. Brought up in the South, Maya endured loneliness, prejudice, and even a severe physical attack. At the same time, she witnessed her family’s efforts to keep her safe and teach her strength and self-sufficiency.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings tells the story of a woman learning the power of kindness, love for oneself, and strength of spirit. As she discovers those qualities, Maya is able to free herself and overcome the issues brought up by her early life in a less-than-hospitable environment.
Listen to life-changing memoirs on Speechify
If you love reading memoirs, listening to them might provide an even better and more immersive experience. In that case, you’ll find Speechify has more than enough quality memoir audiobooks to suit your needs.
Speechify is an audiobook service with numerous titles across various genres, including memoirs. The service is convenient and easy to set up and use, with a user-favorite app and exciting perks, especially for new customers.
You can use the search function to find a specific title or browse Speechify’s vast and growing library of titles. Better yet, your first title will come at no charge. If all that sounds interesting, visit Speechify and try one of the best audiobook services today.
What is a memoir vs. biography?
While both memoirs and biographies are types of nonfiction that deal with a person’s life story, they have distinct differences, especially in scope. A biography describes life events in chronological order, while a memoir describes a particular experience from the author’s life.
Is a memoir a short story?
Memoirs usually have a word count of 60,000-65,000, which is the length of many novels. In contrast, a short story should be brief enough for the reader to finish it in one sitting.
Is a memoir a novel?
A memoir may be as long as a novel, yet, unlike novels, memoirs should be almost entirely nonfiction. The author can change people’s names and embellish the story slightly, but all of the events described in the book must be true.
Can a memoir be a work of fiction?
A memoir is supposed to represent an accurate account of events from the author’s own life. However, some published memoirs contain plenty of fictional elements. Although no hard rules prevent an author from publishing a fictional memoir, the practice is considered highly unethical.