200: Our 2021 Memoir Recommendations
We always love sharing our latest memoir recommendations with you all! In this episode, Sara, Jen, and Ashley each pick a memoir that we have read or listened to recently that we loved and want to recommend! Today, our memoir recs include Jenny Lawson’s Broken (In the Best Possible Way), Ashley C. Ford’s Somebody’s Daughter, and Michelle Zauner’s Crying in H Mart. This is a topic we love to revisit because there are always new amazing memoirs coming out to discuss; don't miss episode 138 where we share some nonfiction picks. We end our episode with aspirations for a new hobby to try as our Give Me One topic.
Our Memoir Recommendations
Mentioned in Episode
Book Riot: The Podcast episode: “Summer Draft Results and SOMEBODY’S DAUGHTER by Ashley Ford”
Memoir Posts on the Blog
If you love this topic, here are a few other posts on the blog that highlight memoir recommendations!
Give Me One - One Hobby You'd Like to Try
Listen in to hear the hobbies we hope to try, and join us on Instagram on Monday to let us know your pick!
(A note to our readers: click on the hashtags above to see our other blog posts with the same hashtag.)
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Ashley was reading . . .
Maureen Johnson’s Truly Devious (Amazon | Bookshop.org)
"Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. 'A place,' he said, 'where learning is a game.'
"Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym 'Truly, Devious.' It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.
"True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester.
"But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.
"The two interwoven mysteries of this first book in the Truly Devious series dovetail brilliantly, and Stevie Bell will continue her relentless quest for the murderers in books two and three."
Jen was reading . . .
T. J. Newman’s Falling (Amazon | Bookshop.org)
"You just boarded a flight to New York.
"There are one hundred and forty-three other passengers onboard.
"What you don’t know is that thirty minutes before the flight your pilot’s family was kidnapped.
"For his family to live, everyone on your plane must die.
"The only way the family will survive is if the pilot follows his orders and crashes the plane.
"Enjoy the flight."
Sara was reading . . .
Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook's Battle for Domination (Amazon | Bookshop.org)
"Once one of Silicon Valley’s greatest success stories, Facebook has been under constant fire for the past five years, roiled by controversies and crises. It turns out that while the tech giant was connecting the world, they were also mishandling users’ data, spreading fake news, and amplifying dangerous, polarizing hate speech.
"The company, many said, had simply lost its way. But the truth is far more complex. Leadership decisions enabled, and then attempted to deflect attention from, the crises. Time after time, Facebook’s engineers were instructed to create tools that encouraged people to spend as much time on the platform as possible, even as those same tools boosted inflammatory rhetoric, conspiracy theories, and partisan filter bubbles. And while consumers and lawmakers focused their outrage on privacy breaches and misinformation, Facebook solidified its role as the world’s most voracious data-mining machine, posting record profits, and shoring up its dominance via aggressive lobbying efforts.
"Drawing on their unrivaled sources, Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang take readers inside the complex court politics, alliances and rivalries within the company to shine a light on the fatal cracks in the architecture of the tech behemoth. Their explosive, exclusive reporting led them to a shocking conclusion: The missteps of the last five years were not an anomaly but an inevitability—this is how Facebook was built to perform. In a period of great upheaval, growth has remained the one constant under the leadership of Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg. Both have been held up as archetypes of uniquely 21st century executives—he the tech 'boy genius' turned billionaire, she the ultimate woman in business, an inspiration to millions through her books and speeches. But sealed off in tight circles of advisers and hobbled by their own ambition and hubris, each has stood by as their technology is coopted by hate-mongers, criminals and corrupt political regimes across the globe, with devastating consequences. In An Ugly Truth, they are at last held accountable. "
Our Memoir Recommendations
Ashley recommended . . .
Jenny Lawson’s Broken (In the Best Possible Way) (Amazon | Bookshop.org)
"As Jenny Lawson’s hundreds of thousands of fans know, she suffers from depression. In Broken, Jenny brings readers along on her mental and physical health journey, offering heartbreaking and hilarious anecdotes along the way.
"With people experiencing anxiety and depression now more than ever, Jenny humanizes what we all face in an all-too-real way, reassuring us that we’re not alone and making us laugh while doing it. From the business ideas that she wants to pitch to Shark Tank to the reason why Jenny can never go back to the post office, Broken leaves nothing to the imagination in the most satisfying way. And of course, Jenny’s long-suffering husband Victor―the Ricky to Jenny’s Lucille Ball―is present throughout.
"A treat for Jenny Lawson’s already existing fans, and destined to convert new ones, Broken is a beacon of hope and a wellspring of laughter when we all need it most."
Jen recommended . . .
Ashley C. Ford’s Somebody’s Daughter (Amazon | Bookshop.org)
"Through poverty, adolescence, and a fraught relationship with her mother, Ashley C. Ford wishes she could turn to her father for hope and encouragement. There are just a few problems: he’s in prison, and she doesn’t know what he did to end up there. She doesn’t know how to deal with the incessant worries that keep her up at night, or how to handle the changes in her body that draw unwanted attention from men. In her search for unconditional love, Ashley begins dating a boy her mother hates. When the relationship turns sour, he assaults her. Still reeling from the rape, which she keeps secret from her family, Ashley desperately searches for meaning in the chaos. Then, her grandmother reveals the truth about her father’s incarceration . . . and Ashley’s entire world is turned upside down.
"Somebody’s Daughter steps into the world of growing up a poor Black girl in Indiana with a family fragmented by incarceration, exploring how isolating and complex such a childhood can be. As Ashley battles her body and her environment, she embarks on a powerful journey to find the threads between who she is and what she was born into, and the complicated familial love that often binds them."
Sara recommended . . .
Michelle Zauner’s Crying in H Mart (Amazon | Bookshop.org)
"In this exquisite story of family, food, grief, and endurance, Michelle Zauner proves herself far more than a dazzling singer, songwriter, and guitarist. With humor and heart, she tells of growing up one of the few Asian American kids at her school in Eugene, Oregon; of struggling with her mother's particular, high expectations of her; of a painful adolescence; of treasured months spent in her grandmother's tiny apartment in Seoul, where she and her mother would bond, late at night, over heaping plates of food.
"As she grew up, moving to the East Coast for college, finding work in the restaurant industry, and performing gigs with her fledgling band--and meeting the man who would become her husband--her Koreanness began to feel ever more distant, even as she found the life she wanted to live. It was her mother's diagnosis of terminal cancer, when Michelle was twenty-five, that forced a reckoning with her identity and brought her to reclaim the gifts of taste, language, and history her mother had given her.
"Vivacious and plainspoken, lyrical and honest, Zauner's voice is as radiantly alive on the page as it is onstage. Rich with intimate anecdotes that will resonate widely, and complete with family photos, Crying in H Mart is a book to cherish, share, and reread."
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