If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know that we collect lists of top memoirs from people who write or study memoir. Now that summer is breathing down our necks, we are beginning to see summer reading lists popping up like dandelions.

The LA Times list was circulating on Twitter, and another list of beach books divided into categories can be found here.

And here is a special list–one from a reader, Carol Brown, who has made her own annotated list for students called “30 Moving Memoirs Every Student Should Read.”  You can find it here.

I especially encourage you to find this latter link if you are a teacher at any level who wants students to enjoy reading life stories well told as much as you do.

It’s wonderful to engage with readers and to have a gift like this list show up in my email. Thank you, Carol. And now, readers, what comments do you have on any of these books? Which ones do you want to add? Have you ever taken a memoir to the beach?

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Shirley Showalter


  1. Richard Gilbert on May 25, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    Fascinating list. I had not heard of most of them, though Just Kids and Let’s Take the Long Way Home are on my list. Memoirs are like novels–too many to keep up or to know them all.

    • shirleyhs on May 26, 2011 at 2:23 am

      So true! You have picked out two that I’d love to read also. Hope you saw Lanie Tankard’s great review of Just Kids here.

  2. Johanna on May 26, 2011 at 12:44 am

    Stunning, inspirational and a nailbiter is the new spiritual suspense memoir called ‘Graffiti On My Soul’ by Johanna: toss it in your bookbag! Rivalling The Shack, but true, it is the story of a girl who becomes a nun but leaves to marry and her life becomes embroiled with a relative who may be demonically possessed. Published by Eloquent Books. Check it out on Amazon…

  3. shirleyhs on May 26, 2011 at 2:25 am

    Hi, Johanna. Thanks for telling us about your book. Spiritual suspense memoir. Sounds intriguing.

  4. Susan Neufeldt on May 26, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    About “taking books to the beach” which is only a half mile from my house. I read so many books on my iPad or Kindle now, that I wouldn’t dare take to sit in the sand; ditto hardcover books, especially those scholarly tomes I collect. So only paperbacks qualify for reading at the beach–and a good pair of sunglasses and a hat!

    • shirleyhs on May 26, 2011 at 10:46 pm

      You live in one of the world’s most beautiful places, Susan! Hope you can find some good paperbacks and remember what it’s like to read a real book–sand, hat, and all!

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