Memoir

Good for Book Clubs

Read It Forward features celebrity biographies and fascinating memoirs. For readers who enjoy reading real-life stories that amaze and inspire.

Author Essay Good for Book Clubs

The Accidental Memoir: On Writing, Grieving and the Virtues of Navel-Gazing

Approaching middle age, Deedra Climer experienced an unimaginable tragedy―the death of her only son, Joshua, in a motorcycle accident. The spiral of grief that followed reopened ugly wounds that had never fully healed: being raised by a mentally ill and drug-addicted mother, the struggles she faced as a young single mother, and the guilt from exposing her children to one toxic boyfriend after another. Stripped bare emotionally, Deedra is forced to face who she is and where she came from. In sifting through the stark pain of the past, she is finally able to piece together her own sense of self and begin to imagine an unburdened future. Told with crushing honesty and an unflinching eye, Wailing Wall shares one woman’s struggle to make sense of her shattered life in the year following her son’s motorcycle death, weaving social media, poetry and fiction to expose her tragic past and the contours of the new American South. Framed by the devastation of loss, Deedra’s story reaches beyond heartbreak to show the strength of her spirit, illuminated by the persevering hope of redemption.

I didn’t mean to write a memoir.

When I started writing Wailing Wall on the back of an envelope on the way to bury my son, Joshua, all I knew was that I had to write.

My life depended on it. Transforming what was in my mind into words on the page was a confession of sorts, and I trusted those words to bring me through the darkness that slithered around me and wrapped my body so tightly I forgot to breathe.

Memoir saved my life.

Giveaways Good for Book Clubs

Enter to Win Jhumpa Lahiri’s New Book

For Jhumpa Lahiri, that love was for Italian, which first captivated and capsized her during a trip to Florence after college. Although Lahiri studied Italian for many years afterward, true mastery always eluded her.Seeking full immersion, she decides to move to Rome with her family, for “a trial by fire, a sort of baptism” into a new language and world. There, she begins to read, and to write—initially in her journal—solely in Italian. In Other Words, an autobiographical work written in Italian and presented in a dual-language format, investigates the process of learning to express oneself in another language, and describes the journey of a writer seeking a new voice.

Giveaways Good for Book Clubs

Enter to Win Bill Bryson’s New Book

“At its best as the history of a love affair, the very special relationship between Bryson and Britain. We remain lucky to have him.” —Matthew Engel, Financial Times

In 1995 Bill Bryson got into his car and took a weeks-long farewell motoring trip about England before moving his family back to the United States. The book about that trip, Notes from a Small Island, is uproarious and endlessly endearing, one of the most acute and affectionate portrayals of England in all its glorious eccentricity ever written. Two decades later, he set out again to rediscover that country, and the result is The Road to Little Dribbling. Nothing is funnier than Bill Bryson on the road—prepare for the total joy and multiple episodes of unseemly laughter.

Giveaways Good for Book Clubs

Gorgeous Memoir Giveaway: Before I Forget

“I know where I’m going. I’m still myself. I just can’t remember things as well as I once did. So on short trips, I work hard not to be confused. I’ll say to myself, What are we going to do? How long are we staying? It’s like I’m talking to my other self—the self I used to be. She tells me, This is what we need to buy—not that. I’m conscious of that other self guiding me now.”

Restaurateur, magazine publisher, celebrity chef, and nationally known lifestyle maven, B. Smith is struggling at 66 with a tag she never expected to add to that string: Alzheimer’s patient. She’s not alone. Every 67 seconds someone newly develops it, and millions of lives are affected by its aftershocks.

B. and her husband, Dan, working with Vanity Fair contributing editor Michael Shnayerson, unstintingly share their unfolding story. Crafted in short chapters that interweave their narrative with practical and helpful advice, readers learn about dealing with Alzheimer’s day-to-day challenges: the family realities and tensions, ways of coping, coming research that may tip the scale, as well as lessons learned along the way.

At its heart, Before I Forget is a love story: illuminating a love of family, life, and hope.

Enter to Win the Ultimate Foodie Library + $200 Giftcard to Chef’d

What goes together better than great books and great food? Pretty much nothing.

That’s why we’ve partnered with our friends over at Tastebook to giveaway this AMAZING prize. A selection of our favorite cookbooks and novels/memoirs related to food. The cookbooks are filled with thousands of recipes from baked goods to asian cuisine from our favorite chefs. The novels and non-fiction books all tell stories related to food that will make you laugh, cry, and see food in a whole new light. As an extra special treat, we partnered with our friends at Chef’d to give one lucky grand prize winner a $200 gift card for Chef’d! Chef’d provides chef-curated recipe kits that are delivered right to your door, no grocery shopping necessary! Good luck, and bon appétit!

Your Reading Life Good for Book Clubs

Loved That? Read This! Celebrity Author Edition

Naturally, many of us are curious about celebrities beyond what we see on the big (and little) screen. More so now than ever before, celebs are writing their memoirs and use them as an opportunity to take a stand on political issues, share juicy on-set details and let us into their personal histories from before they were ever mobbed by paparazzi. We’ve paired five current celeb bestsellers with read-alikes from the vault to keep you in good celebrity memoir standing. All are interesting, insightful and poignant. Enjoy!

Loved That? Modern Love by Aziz Ansari

Read This: A Sort of History of the United States by Dave Barry

We love funny men. Much like Aziz Ansari’s recounting of our collective romantic history in Modern Love, A Sort of History retells the story of the founding of our nation in the droll voice we have come to expect from Barry, an award-winning author best known for his long-running humor column in The Miami Herald.

Loved That? Down the Rabbit Hole by Holly Madison

Read This: Here’s the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice by Maureen McCormick

Marcia, Marcia, Marcia! Just as Holly describes the (horrifying) behind-the-scenes world of the Playboy mansion, McCormick rehashes the dark side of growing up in the spotlight and shedding her squeaky-clean image. Surprisingly more disturbing than Madison’s tale, you will not be able to put this memoir down.

Perfect for Book Clubs Good for Book Clubs

Book Club Kit for Spinster by Kate Bolick

Why are you excited about reading Spinster? Tell us in a comment and you could win a gorgeous printed copy of the Spinster Book Club Kit!

Spinster is – in the words on the author, Kate Bolick – “a memoir by way of biography – the story of my own coming-to-adulthood woven through the lives of five women from the last century: columnist Neith Boyce, essayist Maeve Brennan, social visionary Charlotte Perkins Gilman, poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, and novelist Edith Wharton. I call them my ‘awakeners,’ for how their genius, tenacity, and flair for drama emboldened me to live independently at the dawn of this century, and showed me that contemporary debates about settling down, and having it all, are timeless. Explore these awakeners with these limited edition paper dolls, a cocktail menu, a recommended reading list, and a discussion guide.”

Giveaways Good for Book Clubs

Win the Book Everybody’s Going to Be Talking About: Spinster by Kate Bolick

A bold, original, moving book that will inspire fanatical devotion and ignite debate.

We know people like to say that a lot – “this book is going to get everybody talking!” – but we really mean it with Spinster by Kate Bolick. It’s already been named one of Flavorwire’s ’10 Books That Will Define the Conversation in 2015,’ one of Newsday‘s ‘Books Not to Miss,’ one of Bookpage’s ’15 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2015,’ and the list goes on and on. You get the idea.

Spinster is going to change the way we think about those splendid years when we were young and unencumbered, or middle-aged and finally left to our own devices. It’s about living an authentic life: unbounded and our own to savor.