Good Memoir Reads This Fall

Good Memoir Reads This Fall
Some of Write My Memoirs’ Facebook friends had a discussion about their favorite biographies and autobiographies in response to a friend who’d asked for recommendations. Here, we share the latter with their charming comments for your memoir-reading enjoyment this fall. We’ll continue the list next week.
If you like to read about suffering in USSR get Ida Nudel A hand in the darkness—a type of “Gulag” book.
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. I didn’t realize it was a memoir when I bought it (go ahead and laugh at me), and almost didn’t read it. It’s one of my favorite books, and I loved it so much that I begged for Half Broke Horses for a Christmas gift. I think you’ll love them!
Elie Wiesel’s Night is good, but you have to be in the right frame of mind for that one.
Hit by a Farm: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Barn is really good. By Catherine Friend.
I’ll mention Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China, by Jung Chang, though you’ve almost certainly read it already?
Did you read Life by Keith Richards? LOVED it.
If you’re into music, Who I Am by Pete Townshend is great.
I, Tina: My Life Story by Tina Turner. You probably can guess the main theme of the struggles she’s faced, but the details paint an even darker picture.
Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley.
Miles: The Autobiography, by Miles Davis with Quincy Troupe Davis. Steel yourself for some colorful language, but you get used to it as you become caught up in his rhythms and cadences.

Some of Write My Memoirs’ Facebook friends had a discussion about their favorite autobiographies in response to a friend who’d asked for recommendations. Here, we share their selections along with their charming comments for your memoir-reading enjoyment this fall. We’ll continue the list next week.

  • If you like to read about suffering in USSR, get Ida Nudel’s A Hand in the Darkness—a type of “Gulag” book.
  • The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. I didn’t realize it was a memoir when I bought it (go ahead and laugh at me), and almost didn’t read it. It’s one of my favorite books, and I loved it so much that I begged for Half Broke Horses for a Christmas gift. I think you’ll love them!
  • Elie Wiesel’s Night is good, but you have to be in the right frame of mind for that one.
  • Hit by a Farm: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Barn is really good. By Catherine Friend.
  • I’ll mention Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China, by Jung Chang, though you’ve almost certainly read it already?
  • Did you read Life by Keith Richards? LOVED it.
  • If you’re into music, Who I Am by Pete Townshend is great.
  • I, Tina: My Life Story by Tina Turner. You probably can guess the main theme of the struggles she’s faced, but the details paint an even darker picture.
  • Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley.
  • Miles: The Autobiography, by Miles Davis with Quincy Troupe Davis. Steel yourself for some colorful language, but you get used to it as you become caught up in his rhythms and cadences.

Think Writing a Memoir Is Hard For You? Look at Susan Spencer-Wendel

Think Writing a Memoir Is Hard For You? Look at Susan Spencer-Wendel
“…she found out her book would be published by HarperCollins. All she had to do was produce an 80,000 word manuscript in four months. On her iPhone. With one thumb.” And so, according to that report in The Huffington Post, Susan Spencer-Wendel, a victim of the ALS that was causing her body to rapidly degenerate, beat the deadline and wrote her 357-page memoir in just three months even though she could not move her arms. Her book, Until I say Good-Bye: My Year of Living with Joy, was published in spring 2013. Spencer-Wendel lost more bodily function throughout the summer but maintained her joy, and by August she’d found a tool that permitted her to write an essay from her hospice bed. To use the HeadMouse Extreme, she positioned her head to use a reflective dot attached to her nose as a pointer that moved the cursor over letters across her laptop screen.
To write your memoir, you probably can sit down at an ordinary computer and apply hands to keyboard. You can knock off a few chapters with your laptop on an airplane, or you can sit under a tree with a pen and legal pad.
I’m sharing Susan’s story not to “guilt you” into appreciating your health but, rather, to serve as inspiration and motivate you to share your experiences in a memoir before that health begins to erode. Unable to communicate easily, Susan put everything she wanted to say in one place. She made sure her three children would have a tangible way to remember their mom. In those ways, she’s just like every other memoirist—just like you. Read more about Susan here and here.
http://www.amazon.com/Until-Say-Good-Bye-Year-Living/dp/0062241451/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1378132136&sr=8-1&keywords=susan+wendel
http://shine.yahoo.com/healthy-living/paralyzed-als-susan-spencer-wendel-writes-memoir-beauty-194500854.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-wendel/until-i-say-good-bye_b_3021001.html
http://www.medicaldaily.com/susan-spencer-wendel-author-als-inspired-write-again-thanks-loyal-companion-french-bulldog-named

“…she found out her book would be published by HarperCollins. All she had to do was produce an 80,000 word manuscript in four months. On her iPhone. With one thumb.” And so, according to that report in The Huffington Post, Susan Spencer-Wendel, a victim of the ALS that was causing her body to rapidly degenerate, beat the deadline and wrote her 357-page memoir in just three months even though she could not move her arms. Her book, Until I say Good-Bye: My Year of Living with Joy, was published in spring 2013. Spencer-Wendel lost more bodily function throughout the summer but maintained her joy, and by August she’d found a tool that permitted her to write an essay from her hospice bed. To use the HeadMouse Extreme, she positioned her head to use a reflective dot attached to her nose as a pointer that moved the cursor over letters across her laptop screen.

To write your memoir, you probably can sit down at an ordinary computer and apply hands to keyboard. You can knock out a few chapters with your laptop on an airplane, or you can sit under a tree with a pen and legal pad.

I’m sharing Susan’s story not to “guilt you” into appreciating your health but, rather, to serve as inspiration and motivate you to share your experiences in a memoir before that health begins to erode. Unable to communicate easily, Susan put everything she wanted to say in one place. She made sure her three children would have a tangible way to remember their mom. In those ways, she’s just like every other memoirist—just like you. Read more about Susan here and here.

TV Genealogy Show Strikes a Chord

TV Genealogy Show Strikes a Chord
As you write your memoir, you may seek information reaching back several generations. Or perhaps after writing a first memoir focusing on your life as you recall it, you will decide to develop a second, research-based book that documents your heritage.
If that topic interests you, you’re probably already a member of ancestry.com, tracing your roots and discovering fascinating information about the generations that preceded you. I suggest you also check out the TV show “Who Do You Think You Are?” This show was on NBC for three seasons, and after it was canceled it was picked up by TLC, which is now running a full season. Each episode follows the journey as a celebrity traces his or her ancestry, uncovering all sorts of interesting material. In the process, viewers learn how to go about a thorough genealogy search. The producers help the celebrities, of course, whereas you’re on your own! They do use ancestry.com to pull up documents, but they also meet with genealogists and view photos and paperwork in person. Perhaps you wouldn’t have as much access to these experts as the producers of a television show, but the professionals seem genuinely interested in enlightening descendants about relatives whose accomplishments have gone largely acknowledged. By the way, the TV show has a spinoff book of the same name.
If you do any sort of genealogical search and turn up interesting history, please email us at WriteMyMemoirs about it, and we will share here it on the blog.
http://www.tlc.com/tv-shows/who-do-you-think-you-are
http://www.amazon.com/Who-You-Think-Are-Essential/dp/0143118919s

As you write your memoir, you may seek information reaching back several generations. Or perhaps after writing a first memoir focusing on your life as you recall it, you will decide to develop a second, research-based book that documents your heritage.

If that topic interests you, you’re probably already a member of ancestry.com, tracing your roots and discovering fascinating information about the generations that preceded you. I suggest you also check out the TV show “Who Do You Think You Are?” This show was on NBC for three seasons, and after it was canceled it was picked up by TLC, which is now running a full season. Each episode follows the journey as a celebrity traces his or her ancestry, uncovering all sorts of interesting material. In the process, viewers learn how to go about a thorough genealogy search. The producers help the celebrities, of course, whereas you’re on your own! They do use ancestry.com to pull up documents, but the celebrities also meet with genealogists and view photos and paperwork in person. Perhaps you wouldn’t have as much access to these experts as the producers of a television show, but the professionals seem genuinely interested in enlightening descendants about relatives whose accomplishments have gone largely unacknowledged. By the way, the TV show has a spinoff book of the same name.

If you do any sort of genealogical search and turn up interesting history, please email us at WriteMyMemoirs about it, and we will share here it on the blog.

Beyond Amazon.com: Your Memoir As a Keepsake

Beyond Amazon.com: Your Memoir As a Keepsake
Continuing with our look at William Zinsser’s essay, “How to Write a Memoir,” I want to share with you Zinsser’s thoughts about publishing a memoir. At Write My Memoirs, we encourage you to publish your work in some form—but that does not have to be traditional book form. Zinsser says:
“When my father finished writing his histories he had them typed, mimeographed, and bound in a plastic cover. He gave a copy, personally inscribed, to each of his three daughters, to their husbands, to me, to my wife, and to his 15 grandchildren, some of whom couldn’t yet read. I like the fact that they all got their own copy; it recognized each of them as an equal partner in the family saga. How many of those grandchildren spent any time with the histories I have no idea. But I’ll bet some of them did, and I like to think that those 15 copies are now squirreled away somewhere in their houses from Maine to California, waiting for the next generation.”
Zinsser adds that being a memoirist doesn’t have to mean you aspire to being a “published author.” The memoir writing itself, he says, is valuable:
“Writing is a powerful search mechanism, and one of its satisfactions is that it allows you to come to terms with your life narrative. It also allows you to work through some of life’s hardest knocks—loss, grief, illness, addiction, disappointment, failure—and to find understanding and solace.” Very true!
http://theamericanscholar.org/how-to-write-a-memoir/#.UaTLItKsjTo

Continuing with our look at William Zinsser’s essay, “How to Write a Memoir,” I want to share with you Zinsser’s thoughts about publishing a memoir. At Write My Memoirs, we encourage you to publish your work in some form—but that does not have to be traditional book form. Zinsser says:

“When my father finished writing his histories he had them typed, mimeographed, and bound in a plastic cover. He gave a copy, personally inscribed, to each of his three daughters, to their husbands, to me, to my wife, and to his 15 grandchildren, some of whom couldn’t yet read. I like the fact that they all got their own copy; it recognized each of them as an equal partner in the family saga. How many of those grandchildren spent any time with the histories I have no idea. But I’ll bet some of them did, and I like to think that those 15 copies are now squirreled away somewhere in their houses from Maine to California, waiting for the next generation.”

Zinsser adds that being a memoirist doesn’t necessarily mean you aspire to being a “published author.” The memoir writing itself, he says, is valuable:

“Writing is a powerful search mechanism, and one of its satisfactions is that it allows you to come to terms with your life narrative. It also allows you to work through some of life’s hardest knocks—loss, grief, illness, addiction, disappointment, failure—and to find understanding and solace.” Very true!

Children Need the Memoir, Part II

Children Need the Memoir, Part II
It seems Write My Memoirs is not the only one blogging about the link between children’s resilience and knowing their family history (see last week’s blog post). On its “Learning Network” blog, The New York Times cites the same researcher that we did—Bruce Feiler, who has studied the factors that go into making a family effective and the children well-adjusted.
The blog says that after reviewing a study by Dr. Marshall Duke, who developed a “Do You Know” scale asking children questions about their family history, Feiler concluded, “The single most important thing you can do for your family may be the simplest of all: develop a strong family narrative….The more children knew about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully they believed their families functioned.”
The questions the blog lists as examples from the “Do You Know” scale could serve as a guide for content for your memoir: “Do you know where your grandparents grew up? Do you know where your mom and dad went to high school? Do you know where your parents met? Do you know of an illness or something really terrible that happened in your family? Do you know the story of your birth?” In your memoir, make sure you provide the next generation with details about the family that give them a real sense of where they come from.

It seems Write My Memoirs is not the only one blogging about the link between children’s resilience and knowing their family history (see last week’s blog post). On its “Learning Network” blog, The New York Times cites the same researcher that we did—Bruce Feiler, who has studied the factors that go into making a family effective and the children well-adjusted.

The blog says that after reviewing a study by Dr. Marshall Duke, who developed a “Do You Know” scale asking children questions about their family history, Feiler concluded, “The single most important thing you can do for your family may be the simplest of all: develop a strong family narrative….The more children knew about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully they believed their families functioned.”

The questions the blog lists as examples from the “Do You Know” scale could serve as a guide for content for your memoir: “Do you know where your grandparents grew up? Do you know where your mom and dad went to high school? Do you know where your parents met? Do you know of an illness or something really terrible that happened in your family? Do you know the story of your birth?” In your memoir, make sure you provide the next generation with details about the family that give them a real sense of where they come from.

More on Memoirs of War Vets

Last week, we told you about the Veterans Writing Project, which offers free workshops and seminars to help veterans and their families write about their military-related experience. But this nationwide program is not the only game in town. Other groups, too, encourage veterans to write out their war experiences. Listed in a recent New York Times article were also Warrior Writers and a local one, the Syracuse Veterans’ Writing Group. If you know of others, leave us a comment below and we’ll post them.
For the article, the reporter asked one of the veterans who had written a memoir why this type of autobiography is so important. He told the reporter, “We write to bear witness.” This seems especially true for vets of recent wars—Iraq and Afghanistan—who experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). “The traditional therapies and approaches to PTSD are not getting the job done,” Travis L. Martin, editor of The Journal of Military Experience, told the reporter. “Vets are looking for alternative ways to heal, and they are latching onto writing as a way to do it.”
The article makes the point that writing is therapeutic no matter what type of trauma the writer has experienced. “Expressive writing is used in clinical settings to help patients examine anxieties and abuse that are otherwise unspeakable,” the article goes on to say. “Exposure therapy— retelling a traumatic event over and over until it loses its hold over a patient—often uses writing to extinguish the emotional and physical reaction to trauma.”
If you’re a veteran, we at Write My Memoirs hope you find our site to be a helpful tool that enables you to work through your memories.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/03/education/edlife/veterans-learn-to-write-and-heal.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
http://www.warriorwriters.org/home.html
http://wrt.syr.edu/syrvetwriters/

Last week, we told you about the Veterans Writing Project, which offers free workshops and seminars to help veterans and their families write about their military-related experiences. But that nationwide program is not the only game in town. Other groups, too, encourage veterans to write out their war experiences. Listed in a recent New York Times article were also Warrior Writers and a local one, the Syracuse Veterans’ Writing Group. If you know of others, leave us a comment below and we’ll post them.

For the article, the reporter asked one of the veterans who had written a memoir why this type of autobiography is so important. He told the reporter, “We write to bear witness.” This seems especially true for vets of recent wars—Iraq and Afghanistan—who experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). “The traditional therapies and approaches to PTSD are not getting the job done,” Travis L. Martin, editor of The Journal of Military Experience, told the reporter. “Vets are looking for alternative ways to heal, and they are latching onto writing as a way to do it.”

The article makes the point that writing is therapeutic no matter what type of trauma the writer has experienced. “Expressive writing is used in clinical settings to help patients examine anxieties and abuse that are otherwise unspeakable,” the article goes on to say. “Exposure therapy— retelling a traumatic event over and over until it loses its hold over a patient—often uses writing to extinguish the emotional and physical reaction to trauma.”

If you’re a veteran, we at Write My Memoirs hope you find our site to be a helpful tool that enables you to work through your memories.

Veterans Find Comfort in Writing War Memoirs

Veterans Find Comfort in Writing War Memoirs
If you’re a veteran struggling with your memories of war atrocities, there’s substantial evidence that it benefits you to write about your recollections. Even if you served but were not at war, perhaps you witnessed some disturbing events. The Veterans Writing Project wants you to write your story and will help you do that with free workshops and seminars. There’s no charge to you, because the organization is a non-profit and receives funding. Are you a family member of someone who has served? Then you, too, qualify to take the free writing training. The website says:
“We approach our work with three goals in mind. The first is literary. We believe there is a new wave of great literature coming and that much of that will be written by veterans and their families. The next is social. We have in the United States right now the smallest ever proportion of our population in service during a time of war. Less than 1% of Americans have taken part in these most recent wars. Our WWII veterans are dying off at a rate of nearly 1000 per day. We want to put as many of these stories in front of as many readers as we can. Finally, writing is therapeutic. Returning warriors have known for centuries the healing power of narrative. We give veterans the skills they need to capture their stories and do so in an environment of mutual trust and respect.”
The New York Times recently did a story about the growing popularity among veterans to write their memoirs and the increasing number of organizations available to help them. More on that next time.
http://veteranswriting.org/

If you’re a veteran struggling with your memories of war atrocities, there’s substantial evidence that it benefits you to write about your recollections. Even if you served but were not at war, perhaps you witnessed some disturbing events. The Veterans Writing Project wants you to write your story and will help you do that with free workshops and seminars. There’s no charge to you, because the organization is a non-profit and receives funding. Are you a family member of someone who has served? Then you, too, qualify to take the free writing training. The website says:

“We approach our work with three goals in mind. The first is literary. We believe there is a new wave of great literature coming and that much of that will be written by veterans and their families. The next is social. We have in the United States right now the smallest ever proportion of our population in service during a time of war. Less than 1% of Americans have taken part in these most recent wars. Our WWII veterans are dying off at a rate of nearly 1000 per day. We want to put as many of these stories in front of as many readers as we can. Finally, writing is therapeutic. Returning warriors have known for centuries the healing power of narrative. We give veterans the skills they need to capture their stories and do so in an environment of mutual trust and respect.”

The New York Times recently did a story about the growing popularity among veterans to write their memoirs and the increasing number of organizations available to help them. More on that next time.

Procrastination: A Writer’s Enemy

Procrastination: A Writer’s Enemy
Well, look at that date! It’s Friday, and this blog normally is updated every Tuesday. What happened? I got busy!
We’re all busy, and that’s never more evident than when you’re trying to maintain a writing routine. If you’re writing your memoirs, you’ve probably experienced a lapse at some point. Maybe you wrote every day for two weeks, and then you missed a day because you had to travel, or someone came to visit, or you needed to attend to a home repair—it doesn’t take much to derail a writing habit. Plus it’s February. This is the time of year for breaking all sorts of resolutions, whether it’s to exercise, diet or write. About six weeks into the year, your determination gets tested.
So what do you do if you’ve let your writing slide? You do what I did: get back to it. Yes, today is Friday instead of Tuesday, but who really cares? I could have just skipped this week altogether, but then when next Tuesday rolled around I’d be even more out of the blog habit, maybe be busy again and then I’d let it go another week and a new habit would be forming—a habit of not writing. No, the way to rerail the derail is to go back to that last piece you wrote, read it over, add a sentence and then add another sentence. Tomorrow, do the same. It’s fine to get off schedule and skip a day or a week. Forgive yourself! But you want to write your memoir, and as long as you’re thinking about it there’s no time like the present to just write.

Well, look at that date! It’s Friday, and this blog normally is updated every Tuesday. What happened? I got busy!

We’re all busy, and that’s never more evident than when you’re trying to maintain a writing routine. If you’re writing your memoirs, you’ve probably experienced a lapse at some point. Maybe you wrote every day for two weeks, and then you missed a day because you had to travel, or someone came to visit, or you needed to attend to a home repair—it doesn’t take much to derail a writing habit. Plus it’s February. This is the time of year for breaking all sorts of resolutions, whether it’s to exercise, diet or write. About six weeks into the year, your determination gets tested.

So what do you do if you’ve let your writing slide? You do what I did: get back to it. Yes, today is Friday instead of Tuesday, but who really cares? I could have just skipped this week altogether, but then when next Tuesday rolled around I’d be even more out of the blog habit; maybe I’d be busy again and then I’d let it go another week and a new habit would be forming—a habit of not writing. No, the way to rerail the derail is to go back to that last piece you wrote, read it over, add a sentence and then add another sentence. Tomorrow, do the same. It’s fine to get off schedule and skip a day or a week. Forgive yourself! But you want to write your memoir, and as long as you’re thinking about it there’s no time like the present to just write.

Why We’re Drawn To Biography, Part IV

Why We’re Drawn To Biography, Part IV
So far in this blog series we’ve been focusing on famous authors. But they’re not the only ones who write popular memoirs. Just this past Sunday, the New York Times Book Review section featured an essay on the “self-help” memoir. Because there are now so many of these books, they have formed a “new subgenre,” maintains the essay’s author, Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow, who says that the modern self-help memoir is a “a kind of long-form personal narrative fused with life coaching.” The author of such a memoir, typically not a famous person, has achieved a positive change and writes a book coaching readers in how to do the same. “The selling point is not that their challenges are exceptional, but that they are common,” Tuhus-Dubrow writes. “Like us, the authors are just trying to find true love or raise good kids or enjoy life more.”
Some of you who are crafting your stories on WriteMyMemoirs fall into this group. You write your memoir not only to document the facts of your life, but also to share with friends, and perhaps the world, how you managed to achieve a level of happiness or peace of mind.
“The journey from wretchedness to redemption is one of the most common narrative arcs in memoir,” write Tuhus-Dubrow. “But rather than redemption, the self-help memoir culminates in improvement….The self-help memoirist goes from suboptimal to systematically upgraded.” By writing out the steps of progress, the autobiographer gives readers a method to duplicate the achievement.

So far in this blog series we’ve been focusing on famous authors. But they’re not the only ones who write popular memoirs. Just this past Sunday, the New York Times Book Review section featured an essay, “I Change, You Change,” on the “self-help” memoir. Because there are now so many of these books, they have formed a “new subgenre,” maintains the essay’s author, Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow, who says that the modern self-help memoir is a “a kind of long-form personal narrative fused with life coaching.” The author of such a memoir, typically not a famous person, has achieved a positive change and writes a book coaching readers in how to do the same. “The selling point is not that their challenges are exceptional, but that they are common,” Tuhus-Dubrow writes. “Like us, the authors are just trying to find true love or raise good kids or enjoy life more.”

Some of you who are crafting your stories on WriteMyMemoirs fall into this group. You write your memoir not only to document the facts of your life, but also to share with friends, and perhaps the world, how you managed to achieve a level of happiness or peace of mind.

“The journey from wretchedness to redemption is one of the most common narrative arcs in memoir,” write Tuhus-Dubrow. “But rather than redemption, the self-help memoir culminates in improvement….The self-help memoirist goes from suboptimal to systematically upgraded.” By writing out the steps of progress, the autobiographer gives readers a method to duplicate the achievement.

Why We’re Drawn To Biography, Part III

Why We’re Drawn To Biography, Part III
In this blog arc, we’re exploring why nonfiction best-seller lists nearly always include, and are sometimes dominated by, biographies and autobiographies, and also why most of them focus on famous people. What’s there left to learn about a very famous person whose life unfolds daily in newspapers and magazines? Take Abraham Lincoln for example. In the past 150 years, hasn’t everything about him, and particularly his assassination, already been written? Yet today we still seem to be quite taken with our 16th president, as evidenced by Bill O’Reilley’s best-seller Killing Lincoln and the two 2012 movies Lincoln and Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (okay, perhaps that one is fiction). Other names on the best-seller list—Winston Churchill, Joseph Kennedy, Bruce Springsteen—what are we still hoping to learn about them we don’t already know?
Secrets! We’d like to know the “real” story behind some action or development, or we’re hoping to hear a confession about how someone felt about someone else, or we want to know a little tidbit never before revealed. Certainly someone writing a memoir will share with us some deep, dark secret; exposing a love affair is a popular choice.
Sometimes it’s just about the point of view. No matter how much has been written about a fascinating person, when a different author tackles the familiar material there’s bound to be a nugget of something new in the biography. And when the book is a memoir, we can be sure we’ve never before heard the story from that point of view.

In this blog arc, we’re exploring why nonfiction best-seller lists nearly always include, and are sometimes dominated by, biographies and autobiographies, and also why most of them focus on famous people. What’s left to learn about a very famous person whose life unfolds daily in newspapers and magazines? Take Abraham Lincoln for example. In the past 150 years, hasn’t everything about him, and particularly his assassination, already been written? Yet today we still seem to be quite taken with our 16th president, as evidenced by Bill O’Reilley’s best-seller Killing Lincoln and the two 2012 movies Lincoln and Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (okay, perhaps that one is fiction). Other names on the best-seller list—Winston Churchill, Joseph Kennedy, Bruce Springsteen—what are we still hoping to learn about them we don’t already know?

Secrets! We’d like to know the “real” story behind some action or development, or we’re hoping to hear a confession about how someone felt about someone else, or we want to know a little tidbit never before revealed. Certainly someone writing a memoir will share with us some deep, dark secret; exposing a love affair is a popular choice.

Sometimes it’s just about the point of view. No matter how much has been written about a fascinating person, when a different author tackles the familiar material there’s bound to be a nugget of something new in the biography. And when the book is a memoir, we can be sure we’ve never before heard the story from that point of view.