Memoirville

You Can Go Home Again: SMITH’s Summer Reading Picks

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

By Meghan Milam

With summer in full swing and the World Cup coming to a close it’s time to put together a hearty summer reading list, hit the beach, and jump in the water every 50 pages or so. Below is a roundup of memoirs recommended by SMITH for your summer enjoyment, almost all of which share a similar theme around journeys of one stripe or another . Click on the title below for SMITH Mag’s interview with each author.

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen
What happens when, as a grown woman, you return to live with your parents in a strictly conservative Mennonite community? Janzen writes about what led her back home and her experiences re-entering a world she had left behind. Bonus: This unlikely tale is a NYT bestseller.

Orange is the New Black: My Life Inside a Women’s Prison by Piper Kerman
Kerman details not only the events that led to her year long imprisonment, but also provides an intimate account of her days inside prison and the women with whom she befriended and lived. Bonus/full disclosure: Kerman’s husband is that handsome SMITH Mag founder, Larry Smith.

I Know I Am But What Are You? by Samantha Bee
The Daily Show correspondent and all-around hilarious woman, Samantha Bee, writes an honest and sharp account of her formative years–unhappy childhood and strings of awful jobs included.

I love You and I’m Leaving You Anyway by Tracy McMillan
A jailed father, drug-addicted mother, foster families, drugs, and divorces all go into McMillan’s illuminating memoir about relationships, parenting, and love.

Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life by Steve Almond
Almond writes with hilarious emotional honesty and takes the reader on a journey through his drooling fanaticism, recounting the bands and musicians that inspire him and pulse through his veins, all with a bitchin’ soundtrack.

If You Knew Suzy by Katherine Rosman
Rosman, a Wall Street Journal reporter, writes about her mother’s and death from lung cancer with a brave and unflinching journalistic approach that is humorous and honest.

Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern
Inspired by his popular twitter feed which catalogs daily hilarious outbursts of wisdom and rants from his father, Halpern’s memoir is about family and living with the hard-lined, wise, and crotchety ways of his father. Bonus: It’s currently the bestselling nonfiction book in the country and being made into a TV series with William Shatner as…dad.

To Teach: They Journey, In Comics by Bill Ayers and Ryan Alexander-Tanner
Ayers, author of To Teach: The Journey of a Teacher, pairs up with cartoonist Alexander-Tanner to create a nonfiction graphic novel about teaching and the student-teacher relationship.

Forget Sorrow by Belle Yang
Yang’s beautifully drawn graphic memoir follows her life as she gets herself out of an abusive relationship, moves to China, and then moves back home with her parents to heal and grow.

And the Heart Says Whatever by Emily Gould
Infamous blogger, Emily Gould, continues in her personal exposition with this memoir of her life from high school through her years as a young professional in media. Here on SMITH, Gould talks to New Yorker editor, Ben Greenman, about the fine, often lost art of letter writing.

Repeat Until Rich by Josh Axelrad
Axelrad’s fast-paced memoir follows him in and out of casinos and through various cities as a professional blackjack player who blew it all and could barely get it together to meet his book’s deadline. Warning: Don’t try this at home.

The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore
A memoir about two men who share the same name yet possess vastly different fates. Both men grew up in tough neighborhoods, but one Wes Moore ends up a veteran and Rhodes Scholar, and the other faces life in prison.

All Over the Map by Laura Fraser
Laura Fraser’s follow-up memoir to An Italian Affair approaches love and life from a tenuous perspective between her desire to continue traveling the world and that part of her that wants to settle down and stay put.

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