For a long time I was resistant to reading nonfiction because I thought it was “dry” and “boring” — but then my mom suggested I try starting with biographies and memoirs, because they’re stories about people and (in some cases) can read like fiction. So I followed her advice, for once in my life, and
to no one’s surprise she was right! Maybe I should listen to my mother more often.
And since March is Women’s History Month, what better way to honor some amazing, inspirational women than by sharing their stories, as told by themselves?
- The Story of My Life is one of my first favorite nonfiction books/autobiographies, and possibly the book that got me interested in the genre in the first place! It’s been years since my last reread, but I remember being utterly absorbed by the narrative, empathizing with Helen Keller’s frustrations and her joys, cheering for her triumphs.
- Another of my early favorites, The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank picks up nuance and new meanings every time I revisit it. This is one of the books I actually wish had been required reading in school — it’s not polished or politically correct, but it’s honest about the struggle that is adolescence. How do you stay true to yourself in such a situation, especially when you’re not sure who you are or who you want to be?
- Confession: I have not yet actually read Becoming, but I greatly admire Michelle Obama’s work and her reputation, and I have heard only good things from the many, many people I know who have read her memoir.
- I love seeing Mindy Kaling on screen (The Mindy Project is one of my go-to shows, or at least it was while I had Hulu 😅), and Why Not Me? is so intensely relatable. There are lots of awkward moments, shameless moments, and some brutally honest explanations of what really goes on in the entertainment industry. (I would absolutely recommend her other book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), as well.)
- Reading So Much I Want to Tell You: Letters to My Little Sister is exactly like sitting down for a heart-to-heart with Anna Akana herself, getting honest advice and personal anecdotes about life, adulting, creating, and feminism.
- Scrappy Little Nobody is exactly as hilarious as you would expect from something written by Anna Kendrick, if you’re at all familiar with how she portrays herself in movies/interviews/tweets, with adorable photographs and fun stories. This collection is just a good time.
Who are some of your female role models? Are there any historical (or living) public figures who you wish would write a memoir?