Home Topics Lifestyle 10 writers' memoirs that will change your perspective

10 writers’ memoirs that will change your perspective

There’s nothing like a book to open your eyes (and heart) to new possibilities. You can be transported to another world or, while turning the page, experience someone else’s lived experience. The feeling of being immersed in a book is addicting and when it’s good you never want it to end – if you know, you know! In honor of Women’s History Month, of course, we asked our editorial team to share the best memoirs they’ve read by women writers.

These moving stories not only captured our hearts, they changed our perspective and changed our lives in the process – add these books while you’re at it too. Are you ready to find out which 10 volumes made the cut? Continue reading.

1 of 10

Riley Reed | Contributing Editor

Why I recommend it:
I couldn’t write words here that would be enough. Bassey Ikpi’s memoirs moved me deeply. She explores her life as a Nigerian-American immigrant, black woman, slam poet, artist and certainly not least a mother and daughter. The words she shares so easily are given to us through the lens of her sanity and diagnosis of Bipolar II and anxiety. Ikpi completely uproots our societal, conditioned ideas of the mind. This book is incredibly honest, intimate, and raw. Ikpi leaves no stone unturned. You will leave after learning what it means to discover the self through an exploration of stories.

Favorite quotes:
“I’ll give you the suggestion. Allow yourself the morning. I tell them it means that today may have been a rolling ball of fear and tremors, a face that is clammy and tear-streaked, but when you can come into the morning, when you can allow yourself a new day for a change promote then you can get through it. Treat yourself to the morning. “

“You are proud of the way the night loved you so much that it gave you stars for your face.”

2 of 10best memoirs by women authors

Suruchi Avasthi | Food editor

Why I recommend it:
Everyone who knows me knows that I love Mindy Kaling with all my heart. I read this book when it came out in 2012 and recently listened to the audio version on my 20-hour drive from Minnesota to Texas. Best. Decision. Ever. This book isn’t just full of hilarious anecdotes and quotes (who wouldn’t want a glimpse of what it was like to be in it? The office Author’s room?), There were also little gems of wisdom throughout the book when Mindy took us on her journey which felt like advice from a best friend who believes in you so much. I’ve laughed and torn apart several times throughout this book, and it’s really just a wonderful dose of joy.

Favorite quotes:
“I’ll give you one final piece of advice: when you have it, flaunt it. What if you don’t have it? Show it off. Because what are we even doing here if we don’t flaunt it? “

“If I’m at a party that I’m not having fun at, I’ll put some cookies in my jacket pocket and leave without saying goodbye.”

3 of 10best memories 2021

Brandy Joy Smith | Maternity Contributors

Why I recommend it:
It’s a look into the life of an everyday black woman, her life in Brooklyn, and her relationship with beauty and style as defined by her blackness. She is vulnerable, honest, and insightful. Address topics from style to motherhood.

Favorite quotes:
“Staring in the mirror at your reflection; Touch what you love and hug what you don’t. Sometimes we need to love and mother ourselves. “

4 of 10best memories from women

Raised by Tara Westover

Lourdes Avila Uribe | writer

What it is about and why I recommend it:
What is formed is a fascinating and often shocking look at the intense and complicated childhood of the author Tara Westover. Westover and her siblings were raised by fundamentalist Mormon survivalist parents and grew up in an isolated mini-cult led by their father, who believed himself to be a prophet. Though Tara had never set foot in a classroom, her desire for a different life led to a quick self-education that eventually landed her at Harvard University and Cambridge University. Her beautiful and rich prose is full of compassion for her family, even as she analyzes painful and abusive experiences. It’s an inspiring and unique story that touches on universal themes like love, family, and acceptance.

Favorite quote:
“Whoever you become, whatever you do yourself, you always have been.”

5 out of 10best memoir for reading

Sacha Strebe | Deputy Editor in Chief

Why I recommend it:
If you’re a fan of Patti’s music you’ll love hearing her story. Your memoirs, Children only is like reading a huge poem. Every detail of her life is inspiring. It moves you, stimulates the creative mind and forces you to create, be curious and free your mind from the shackles of modern thinking. I loved immersing myself in their world and experiencing early New York City which became the melting pot for so many incredible artists, singers, poets, and writers. I read the book, then bought the hardcover, and then listened to the audio version of Patti reading her own story to you – I highly recommend it.

Favorite quotes:
“Where is all this going? What will become of us? These were our young questions, and young answers were revealed. It leads to each other. We become ourselves. “

“What will happen to us?” I asked. “There will always be us,” he replied.

“We went our separate ways, but only a few minutes’ walk from each other.”

“I had no evidence that I had what it takes to be an artist, even though I was hungry to be one.”

6 of 10Memories of women

Camille Styles | Editor-in-chief

Why I recommend it:
Diane von Furstenberg tells the story of her fascinating life, starting with a suitcase full of leotard dresses and the determination to be an independent woman. It’s one of those lives that feels like many in you: from being a princess to becoming a fashion icon; From near losing their business to bankruptcy to surviving cancer, this is a real turnaround that any woman, entrepreneur, or anything else of value will learn about what it means to live the life of your dreams.

Favorite quotes:
“My definition of beauty is strength and personality.”

“Landscapes change, people come and go, but all landscapes, all experiences, all people are woven into the fabric of your life. Love isn’t just about people you’ve done business with. Love is about moments of intimacy, about paying attention to others, about connection. If you learn that love is everywhere, you will find it everywhere. “

7 of 10Memoirs by women authors

Anne Campbell | Contributing Editor

Why I recommend it:
This abridged edition of the chapter book by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai Full-length memoir is an inspiring story of heroism and courage (and even hope) against all odds. Malala’s moving story of bravery and defiance is accessible to young readers and an excellent choice for adults to read with children.

Favorite quotes:
“Peace in every house, every street, every village, every country – that is my dream. Education for every boy and girl in the world. “

8 of 10memories

Will be by Michelle Obama

Michelle Nash | Senior Producer

Why I recommend it:
Every woman should read this book. Michelle takes us on her personal journey that eventually led her to the White House as the First Lady of the United States. She tells stories from her childhood in Chicago and how these roots shaped her and which ups and downs determined the course of her future. From the trip to Princeton to meeting Barack, she takes us through the experiences that shaped her. As sister, daughter, wife, mother and first lady, your report is honest, wise and welcoming – and inspires us all to find our own voice and defy expectations.

Favorite quotes:
“For me, becoming does not mean arriving somewhere or achieving a certain goal. Instead, I see it as moving forward, as a means of advancement, as a way of continually moving towards a better self. The journey doesn’t end. “

9 of 10Memories of women

Suruchi Avasthi | Food editor

Why I recommend it:
I just read this book for a monthly book club (I’ve been doing this with two best friends for almost three years) and when I say this book has given us one of the best discussions, laughs, and thought-provoking moments, I mean it . Welteroth, Teen Vogue’s first Black EIC and now co-host on CBS The conversation shares her story with lessons about race, identity and success. While I loved taking a behind-the-scenes look at what it really takes to get what you want and the honesty she shares about how hard the work was to make her dreams come true, Welteroth shares the lessons also associated with the struggles of being a barrier breaker in so many areas of her life and what it can mean to be first in so many places and places. Her writing is incredibly personal and relatable, and at times we almost felt like we were reading a novel rather than an autobiographical piece. I left this book on my shelf feeling inspired, hopeful, and with an added spark of faith in all that we can and that we really are all enough.

Favorite quotes:
“Sometimes just being yourself is radical. When you take up space in systems that were not built for you, your authenticity is your activism. “

“If we are not vigilant, we can move through our entire life and feel smaller than we actually are – by playing it safe, unconsciously giving up our power, dim our charisma, not realizing that there is always so much more waiting for it us on the other side of fear. But when we’re brave enough – to go there, grab what we want, unlock who we are – it feels so good. “

10 of 10Read memoirs

Chris Styles (Camille’s mother!)

Why I recommend it:
As a memoir lover, I had a hard time deciding which one to recommend. The book I eventually chose, Drinking: A Love Story by Carolyn Knapp, is a book I still think about after reading it years ago. The writing is beautiful and honest and insightful, and the reading gave me a new understanding of the insidious nature of addiction. I read this book in two days because I needed to find out if the author got her life back after losing so much to alcoholism.

Favorite quotes:
“Anyone who has ever gone from general affection and enthusiasm for a lover to total obsession knows what I mean: the relationship is just there and takes up a little corner of your heart, and then you wake up one morning to an indefinable tide has turned forever and you can’t go back. You need it, it’s a central part of who you are. “

Is there a memory that we missed? Share the best memories of any writer you read (and loved) in the comments section below!


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