Sharing Personal Stories Connects Us All – The Best Memoirs to Read in 2021
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Everyone Has a Unique and Personal Story

On Thanksgiving it is a tradition to mindfully appreciate the good in our lives and recognize all the people who support us. Everyone’s story is unique with many blessings as well as challenges, and it is a good time to be thankful and to realize that others may not be as lucky. Listening with an open heart as others tell their story can be inspirational and provide insight into your own life. Dive in to a great memoir during the holiday season; it may be eye opening, educational, relatable, heartbreaking and hopeful. Reading this genre can lead to a better understanding of humanity and to developing more empathy, allowing us to see how others see the world. Be thankful for your own beautiful story and enjoy some of these incredible personal stories as we approach the final month of 2021.

19 Memoirs I Have Enjoyed

The Girl Who Smiled Beads

The Girl Who Smiled Beads by Clemantine Wamariya

A young girl in 1994 wanders through Africa for 6 years and ultimately escapes Rwanda to create a better life during the genocide.

Finding Chika

Finding Chika by Mitch Albom

Heartfelt story of how Albom takes a young Haitian orphan into his family to pursue medical treatment.


Troublemaker by Leah Remini

Actress Leah Remini’s harrowing experiences growing up in the Scientology community.


Becoming by Michelle Obama

The former first lady tells about her life in her own, unique and inspiring voice, before and in the White House.

Bill Hayes

How We Live Now by Bill Hayes

Author/photographer Bill Hayes (Oliver Sacks’ partner at the time of his passing) shares his life in NYC during the pandemic.


Inheritance by Dani Shapiro

Shapiro’s shocking story of identity, paternity and family secrets.

All In - Billie Jean King

All In by Billie Jean King

BJK’s incredible life as a super star tennis player and advocate for women in sports.


Group by Christie Tate

How an eclectic therapy group saved Tate’s life.

The Sun Does Shine

The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton

Hinton’s inspirational story about being in prison for 30 years as an innocent man.


Untamed by Glennon Doyle

Doyle’s authentic life lessons on navigating divorce, blending families and living your truth.

When Breath Becomes Air

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Thoughts from a neurosurgeon with terminal cancer.

Wild Game

Wild Game by Adrienne Brodeur

Brodeur shares stories of her youth, damaging secrets she kept and her relationship with her mother.

Hollywood Park

Hollywood Park by Mikel Jollett

Growing up in a cult in California faced with poverty, addiction and emotional abuse.

The Yellow House

The Yellow House by Sarah Broom

100 years of one family, 13 children, class, race and inequity in a house in New Orleans before and after Hurricane Katrina.


Educated by Tara Westover

Growing up in Appalachia and fighting to get an education.


LifeLines by Melissa Bernstein

Melissa of the toy company, Melissa & Doug shares her mental health struggles.

She Said

She Said by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey

The Pulitzer Prize winning women investigate Harvey Weinstein and others to break the silence and kick off the #metoo movement.

Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls

Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls by T Kira Madden

Shoe man, Steve Madden’s niece shares her unconventional and difficult childhood.

I want to be Where the Normal People Are

I Want to Be Where the Normal People Are by Rachel Bloom

Star of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend shares her struggle with anxiety through humorous stories.

19 New Memoirs to Add to My List

Going There

Going There by Katie Couric

Katie Couric reveals her personal life’s journey from the girl next door to a household name.


Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey

The actor shares stories of his life based on notes in his diaries collected over the years.

Born a Crime

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah’s path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of the Daily Show.

Sorry, Not Sorry

Sorry, Not Sorry by Alyssa Milano

Personal essays that reveal Alyssa Milano’s heart and humanitarianism.


Taste by Stanley Tucci

Tucci’s life in and out of the kitchen.

Beautiful Country

Beautiful Country by Qian Julie Wong

An undocumented Chinese child living in poverty in the United States in the 1990s.

Crying in H Mart

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

Zauner’s grief over losing her Korean American mother, their connection to each other and to food.

The Beauty of Living Twice

The Beauty of Living Twice by Sharon Stone

Sharon Stone’s slow journey bak to health after a stroke.

World Travel

World Travel: An Irreverent Guide by Anthony Bordain

Anthony Bordain’s guide to some of the most fascinating places.

The Empathy Diaries

The Empathy Diaries by Sherry Turkle

How MIT psychologist and author, Turkle finds meaning through her life’s work.

Will Smith

Will by Will Smith

Will Smith’s life through the world of music and film.

Sunshine Girl

Sunshine Girl: An Unexpected Life by Julianna Margulies

Stories of Margulies’s life growing up with divorced parents and her successful acting work on tv.


Unfinished by Priyanka Chopra Jonas

Her life story rooted in India and the United States.

Cicely Tyson

Just As I Am by Cicely Tyson

From church girl to actress in her 90s, Tyson has something to say.

Year Book

Year Book by Seth Rogan

Humorous stories about Rogan’s life.


Unprotected by Billy Porter

Inspirational story of growing up black and gay in Pittsburgh to Emmy, Grammy and Tony award winning performer.

Dear Girls

Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets & Advice For Living Your Best Life by Ali Wong

Hilarious letters to her daughters covering what they need to know about life.

Broken Horses

Broken Horses by Brandi Carlile

The story of her life shaped by music.

The Storyteller

The Storyteller by Dave Grohl

Stories of his life as a musician.


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