Biography and Memoir Suggestions
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1776McCullough, David973.3 MCCCould be used as a memoir on George Washington. Based on extensive research in both American and British archives, 1776 is the story of Americans in the ranks, men of every shape, size, and color, farmers, schoolteachers, shoemakers, no-accounts, and mere boys turned soldiers. And it is the story of the British commander, William Howe, and his highly disciplined redcoats who looked on their rebel foes with contempt and fought with a valor too little known. But it is the
American commander-in-chief who stands foremost -- Washington, who had never before led an army in battle.
yes (Ovitt also)no2005
All But My LifeKlein, Gerda Weissmann940.53 KLEINMoving story of a young woman's three frightful years as a slave laborer of the Nazis and her miraculous liberation. noyes1998
Always Running: LA Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A.Rodriguez, Luis J.

364.1092 ROD
Always Running is recommended reading for the college-bound student, but every student I know who has read it liked it. Its author, Luis J. Rodriguez, was born in Mexico, but grew up in Los Angeles, in many impoverished neighborhoods. He recounts his early life in Watts when his brother, who had “a hunger for cruelty,” regularly beats him up. He also spends time with friends recounting local urban legends and Mexican myths. (From my review on Check there for the complete review.)yes (Ovitt also)yes1993
American SniperKyle, Chris921 KyleThe astonishing autobiography of SEAL Chief Chris Kyle, whose record 255 confirmed kills make him the most deadly sniper in U.S. military history. yes (Ovitt also)yes2012
Angela's AshesMcCourt, Frank

920 MCC
"When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I managed to survive at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood." So begins the luminous memoir of Frank McCourt, born in Depression-era Brooklyn to recent Irish immigrants and raised in the slums of Limerick, Ireland. Frank's mother, Angela, has no money to feed the children since Frank's father, Malachy, rarely works, and when he does he drinks his wages. Yet Malachy-- exasperating, irresponsible and beguiling-- does nurture in Frank an appetite for the one thing he can provide: a story. Frank lives for his father's tales of Cuchulain, who saved Ireland, and of the Angel on the Seventh Step, who brings his mother babies. Perhaps it is story that accounts for Frank's survival. Wearing rags for diapers, begging a pig's head for Christmas dinner and gathering coal from the roadside to light a fire, Frank endures poverty, near-starvation and the casual cruelty of relatives and neighbors--yet lives to tell his tale with eloquence, exuberance and remarkable forgiveness. Angela's Ashes, imbued on every page with Frank McCourt's astounding humor and compassion, is a glorious book that bears all the marks of a classic. (Library of Congress record)yes (Ovitt also)yes1996
Autistic Brain, The Grandin, Temple616.8588yes2013autism
Autobiography of Malcolm XHaley, Alex921 Malcolm XWe often hear of Malcolm X and his militancy, but The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley helps the reader understand where Malcolm X came from, why he believed as he did, and how he came to change his views shortly before his death. (From my review on Check there for the complete review.)yes (Ovitt also)yes1965
Back in the Day: My Life and Times with Tupac ShakurBastfield, Darrin Keith921 ShakurBastfiled recalls seven years of friendship with Shakur.yes2002Baltimore, African America males, social conditions, success
Bad BoyMyers, Walyer Dean921 MyersThe author relates his experiences growing up in Harlem, the home of Sugar Ray Robinson and Langston Hughes, in the 1940s and 1950s. 921 MyersB Myers2001
Beautiful BoySheff, David362.299 SHEFrom as early as grade school, the world seemed to be on Nic Sheff's string. Bright and athletic, he excelled in any setting and appeared destined for greatness. Yet as childhood exuberance faded into teenage angst, the precocious boy found himself going down a much different path. Seduced by the illicit world of drugs and alcohol, he quickly found himself caught in the clutches of addiction. Beautiful Boy is Nic's story, but from the perspective of his father, David.--From (Ovitt also)yes2009
Becoming Dr. Q: My Journey from Migrant Framworker to Brain SurgeonQuiñones-Hinojosa, Alfredo921 Quinones-HinojosaTells the life story of Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa from impoverished childhood in a tiny village in Mexico to illegal immigrant, American citizen, student at the University of California, on to Harvard Medical School, and becoming an internationally renowned neurosurgeon. yes (Ovitt also)yes2011medical doctor, migrant farm worker, Harvard, neuroscientist, neurosurgeon, persistence
Before the Legend: The Rise of Bob MarleyFarley, Christopher John921 MarleyMarley from birth in Nine Miles, Jamaica to the making of his debut album "Catch a Fire."yes2006Rasta movement, reggae music, Jamaica,
Big Little Life, A: A Memoir of a Joyful DogKoontz, Dean636.0887 KOOShe arrived with her name, Trixie. I joked sometimes that it sounded more like a stripper than a dog. But if it sounded more like a stripper than a dog, it sounded more like an elf or a fairy than a stripper. Elves and fairies are magical beings, and so was she. A heartwarming memoir of a very special dog.yes (Ovitt also)no2009
Black Girl Next Door, TheBaszile, Jennifer921 BaszilleA powerful, beautifully written memoir about coming of age as a black girl in an exclusive white suburb in "integrated," post-Civil Rights California in the 1970s and 1980s.yesno2009race relations, Palos Verdes Estates,
Blue NightsDidion, Joan813.54 DIDShares the author's frank observations about her daughter as well as her
own thoughts and fears about having children and growing old, in a
personal account that discusses her daughter's wedding and her feelings
of failure as a parent.
yes (Ovitt also)no2011
Born on a Blue DayTammet, DanielDaniel Tammet has a unique brain. Although he has Asperger’s Syndrome, an autistic disorder, he is a savant as well. He lives independently and is capable of telling others what’s going on inside his head. And that’s just what he does in this memoir. Being a savant, Tammet can perform mathematical calculation as quickly as someone else who is using a calculator. He has learned several languages, each in only a few weeks. Yet his austism lends a need for routine (he eats his porridge at the exact same time daily and brushes his teeth the same number of strokes), for quiet (too much stimulus overwhelms him), and causes him to be very literal (questions like “Don’t you want dessert?” confound him because the negative ‘don’t’ is used). (From my review on Check there for the complete review.)no (Ovitt)no2007
BossypantsFey, Tina921 FEYFrom her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon, comedian Tina Fey reveals all, and proves that you're no one until someone calls you bossy. yes (Ovitt also)yes2011
Breaking Night: A MemoirMurray, Liz362.7409 MURThe memoir of a young woman who at age 15 was living on the streets but survived to make it to Harvard. yesno2010homeless children, child molestation, drug abuse
Breaking Through the Spiral CeilingHoopes, Laura L. May921 HoopesThe author details how she succeeded in science when women were not easily accepted and then went on to combine career and family.yesyes2010
Burn Journals, The Runyon, Brent362.28 RUN (Main)Brent Runyon was fourteen years old when he set himself on fire. In this book he describes that suicide attempt and his recovery over the following year. He takes us into the Burn Unit in a children's hospital and through painful burn care and skin-grafting procedures. Then to a rehabilitation hospital, for intensive physical, occupational, and psychological therapy. And then finally back home, to the frightening prospect of entering high school. But more importantly, Runyon takes us into his own mind. He shares his thoughts and hopes and fears with such unflinching honesty that we understand 'with a terrible clarity' what it means to want to kill yourself and how it feels to struggle back toward normality.(Ovitt)yes2004
Catch a Fire: The Life of Bob MarleyWhite, Timothy921 Marley"Rooted in a love for and undersatanding of Marlwey's music, Catcha Fire is also a social history of Marley's origins in Jamaica and the Rasta movement. Includes discography.yes
1998 (revised 2006)Rasta movement, reggae music, Jamaica,
Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of FaithHeiligman, Deborah

576.8209 HEI
Only after writing a list of pros and cons did Charles Darwin convince himself of the benefits of marriage. Yet once he’d decided in favor of matrimony, Charles had another concern: would his religious doubts cause marital strife? Though devout, the woman Charles married, Emma Wedgwood, happily read and edited Charles’s writing on evolution. She also debated him when she felt it necessary—and he gave her thoughts considerable weight. While their marriage was full of hardship, it was also full of happiness, not to mention intelligent and interesting discourse. (JLG Summary)yesno2009
Chinese Cinderella (Falling Leaves: The True Story of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter)Mah, Adeline Yen

921 MAH,

305.48 MAH
Adeline's affluent, powerful family considers her bad luck after her mother dies giving birth to her. Life does not get any easier when her father remarries. She and her siblings are subjected to the disdain of her stepmother, while her stepbrother and stepsister are spoiled. Although Adeline wins prizes at school, they are not enough to compensate for what she really yearns for - the love and understanding of her family. 921 MahB Mah1999
Clara's War: One Girl's Story of SurvivalKramer, Clara

940.5318 KRA
Kramer, president of the Holocaust Resource Foundation at Kean University, recounts her life as a frightened, hungry Jewish teenager living in Żółkiew, Poland, during the Holocaust. She and her parents were rescued by Righteous Gentiles. (LOC record)(Ovitt)no2009
Color of Water, The: A Black Man's Tribute to His White MotherMcBride, James808.883 MCBThe Color of Water is a dual biography of a man and his mother. By telling his mother’s story, says author James McBride, he is learning about his own. The narration alternates between McBride telling of his life growing up as one of twelve children and the life of his mother, Ruchel Dwajra Zylska (Ruth McBride Jordan). His own father died when his mother was pregnant with him—the eighth child. She later married Jordan and had four more children. McBride’s step-father is painted as a loving man who made no distinction between his step-children and his own. He was supportive to all, and his death is a blow to McBride. For McBride’s mother, it is an event that sends her into a tailspin. (From my review on Check there for the complete review.)yes (Ovitt also)yes1997
Come Back: A Mother and Daughter's Journey through Hell and BackFontaine, Claire306.874 FONNarrated from both the mother and daughter's perspective, a memoir that describes the life of a teenage runaway, her mother's determination to find her, and the daughter's struggle to overcome self-hatred and depression.yesno2006runaway teens
Counterfeiter: How a Norwegian Jew Survived the HolocaustNachtstern, Moritz940.53180 NACMoritz Nachtstern (1902-1969), was a Norwegian-Jewish typographer deported from Oslo in 1942. This is his story, as told to his wife and written down by her, then edited by journalist Ragnar Arntzen. It was originally published in Norwegian in 1949. It covers the three terrible years from his arrest and transportation to Germany, through the horrors of life in Auschwitz and Sachsenhausen to his escape in the last chaotic and terrifying days as the liberating American forces approached. At the center of this personal tale of courage and endurance is Nachtstern's absorbing description of how, in order to survive, he participated in the creation of exquisite forgeries, while working as slowly as possible, both to frustrate the Nazi plan and to ensure that he and his fellow forgers never became expendable. yesno2008
Dead Lucky: Life after Death on Mount EverestHall, Lincolnwishlist
Diary of Petr Ginz, 1941-1942, TheGinz, Petr940.5318 GINAs a fourteen-year old Jewish boy living in Prague in the early 1940s, Petr Ginz dutifully records the increasingly precarious texture of daily life. With a child’s keen eye for the absurd and the tragic, he muses on the prank he played on his science class and then just pages later, reveals that his cousins have been called to relinquish all their possessions, having been summoned east in the next transport. The diary ends with Petr's own summons to Thereisenstadt, where he would become the driving force behind the secret newspaper Vedem, and where he would continue to draw, paint, write, and read, furiously educating himself for a future he would never see.940.5318 GINno2007
Discovering Wes MooreMoore, Wes921 MooreThe author is a Johns Hopkins grad, a Rhodes Scholar, served as a paratrooper in Afghanistan and as a White House Fellow in the U. S. State Department. In this YA adaptation of his adult book "The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates." he looks at a neighborhood boy with the same name who is serving a life sentence in prison. How did they end up on these opposite paths?yes2012Baltimore, African America males, soldiers, criminals, social conditions, success
Distance Between Us, TheGrande, Reyna973.0468"As her parents make the dangerous trek across the Mexican border to “El
Otro Lado” (The Other Side) in pursuit of the American dream, Reyna and
her siblings are forced into the already overburdened household of their
stern grandmother. When their mother at last returns, Reyna prepares
for her own journey to “El Otro Lado” to live with the man who has
haunted her imagination for years, her long-absent father."
yes2012Mexican Americans, immigrants, immigrant experience, California, Mexico
Don't Let the Lipstick Fool YouLeslie, Lisa

The three-time Olympic gold medalist, three-time MVP of the WNBA, and two-time world champion with the Los Angeles Sparks shares how she triumphed over adversity to become a world-famous athlete known for her poise, beauty, and tough play. (LOC record)yesno2009
Down These Mean StreetsThomas, Piri974.71 THOPiri Thomas recounts the journey that took him from adolescence in Spanish Harlem to a lock-up in Sing Sing to the freedom that comes of self-acceptance, faith, and inner confidence.yesyes1967gangs, Puerto Ricans, New York, Spanish Harlem, drugs, street fighting, prison, rehabilitation
Elizabeth and Hazel:Two Women of Little RockMargolick, David379.263 MARThe names Elizabeth Eckford and Hazel Bryan Massery may not be well known, but the image of them from September 1957 surely is: a black high school girl, dressed in white, walking stoically in front of Little Rock Central High School, and a white girl standing directly behind her, face twisted in hate, screaming racial epithets. This famous photograph captures the full anguish of desegregation -- in Little Rock and throughout the South -- and an epic moment in the civil rights movement. In this gripping book, David Margolick tells the remarkable story of two separate lives unexpectedly braided together. He explores how the haunting picture of Elizabeth and Hazel came to be taken, its significance in the wider world, and why, for the next half-century, neither woman has ever escaped from its long shadow. He recounts Elizabeth's struggle to overcome the trauma of her hate-filled school experience, and Hazel's long efforts to atone for a fateful, horrible mistake. The book follows the painful journey of the two as they progress from apology to forgiveness to reconciliation and, amazingly, to friendship. This friendship foundered, then collapsed -- perhaps inevitably -- over the same fissures and misunderstandings that continue to permeate American race relations more than half a century after the unforgettable photograph at Little Rock. And yet, as Margolick explains, a bond between Elizabeth and Hazel, silent but complex, endures"--Provided by publisher. (Ovitt)yes2011
Endurance; Shackleton's incredible voyageLansing, Alfred999 LAN (Main)(Ovitt)no (others on the topic)1959
EscapeJessop, Carolyn289.3092 JESI have to admit that I’ve become somewhat fascinated with polygamists cults in the last few years. As I read headlines about kids being removed from polygamist parents—and given back—I can’t help but wonder what it would be like to live in such an alternative universe. The idea of living with a husband and several ‘sister wives’ really has an ick factor for me because of the sexual issues, but I also think I wouldn’t be able to live with ‘sister wives’ in my house even if they weren’t my husband’s concubines. Who wants some other woman telling her how to run her household? In “Escape,” Carolyn Jessup affirms my suspicions about too many women in the home. When she’s only eighteen years old, Carolyn is forced to marry a man who is something of an enemy to her family—a man who already has three other wives and will go on to have at least two more (the six that are discussed in the book) and is more than thirty years Carolyn’s senior. OK, so this had more than an ick factor for me—it was just plain gross. (From my review on Check there for the complete review.)yes (Ovitt also)yes2007
Falling Through the EarthTrussoni, Danielle

959.704 TRU
One of the New York Times Book Review's 10 Best Books of the Year From her charismatic father, Danielle Trussoni learned how to rock and roll, outrun the police, and never shy away from a fight. Spending hour upon hour trailing him around the bars and honky-tonks of La Crosse, Wisconsin, young Danielle grew up fascinated by stories of her dad's adventures as a tunnel rat in Vietnam, where he'd risked his life crawling head first into narrow passageways to search for American POWs. A vivid and poignant portrait of a daughter's relationship with her father, this funny, heartbreaking, and beautifully written memoir "makes plain that the horror of war doesn't end in the trenches" (Vanity Fair). (Publisher’s synopsis)yesno2006
Fire in the Ashes: Twenty-Five Years Among the Poorest Children in AmericaKozol, Jonathan362.7756 KOZKozol returns to the scene of his prize-winning books Rachel and her children and Amazing Grace, and to the children he's portrayed there, to share their journeys and unexpected victories as they grow into adulthood. "Why certain children rise above it all, graduate from high school, do well in college, while others are defeated by the time they enter adolescence, lies at the essence of this work."yes2012poverty, social conditions, succes,
Frederick Douglass: A Noble LifeDavid A. Adler
Full of Heart: My Story of Survival, Strength and SpiritMartinez, J. R.921 MartinezThis book tells the story of an inspirational journey from tragedy to triumph. In 2003, at age nineteen, the author was on a routine patrol in Iraq when the Humvee he was driving hit an antitank mine, resulting in severe injuries and burns. Out of that tragedy came an improbable journey of inspiration, motivation, and dreams come true. Raised in Louisiana and Arkansas by a single mother from El Salvador, he was well known for his good looks and his smart mouth. When his college football dreams collapsed, he turned to the U.S. Army. After his Humvee hit a mine, he spent 34 months in grueling recovery. His spirits were low, until he was asked to speak to another young burn victim. He then realized how valuable and gratifying it was to share his experiences with other patients and listen to theirs. He had found a calling. His resilience, optimism, and charm were also noted by Hollywood and scored him roles on All My Children and Dancing with the Stars, where he was the season 13 champion.yes Ovitt also--many copies)2012Iraq, soldiers, war, burn victims
Girl SoldierMcDonneell, Faith J. H. and Grace Akallo967.61 MCDFor several decades a brutal army of rebels has been raiding villages in northern Uganda, kidnapping children and turning them into soldiers or wives of commanders. More than 30,000 children have been abducted over the last twenty years and forced to commit unspeakable crimes. Grace Akallo was one of these. Her story, which is the story of many Ugandan children, recounts her terrifying experience. This unforgettable book--with historical background and insights from Faith McDonnell, one of the clearest voices in the church today calling for freedom and justice--will inspire readers around the world to take notice, pray, and work to end this tragedy. (Publisher's synopsis)yesyes2007
Girlbomb: A Halfway Homeless MemoirErlbaum, Janice

362.74 ERL
At 15, sick of her mom's spineless reactions to abusive men--and afraid of her stepfather's unpredictable behavior--Janice Erlbaum walked out of her family's apartment and never returned. From her first frightening night at a shelter, trying to sleep in a large room filled with yelling girls, Janice knew she was in over her head. She was beaten up, shaken down, and nearly stabbed--but it was still better than home. She was halfway homeless, one step away from being sent "upstate to Lockdown." Yet she continued to attend high school, harbor crushes, even play the lead in the spring production of Guys and Dolls. She also roamed the streets, clubs, bars, and parks of New York City with her two girlfriends, on the prowl for hard drugs and boys on skateboards. This is an unflinching look at street life, survival sex, female friendships, and first loves.--From publisher description. yes2006homelesness, drug use, family problems, child abuse
Glass Castle, TheWalls, Jeannette

362.82 WAL
Yes, memoirs of dysfunctional families and abused children are quite popular among adults now as they are among teens. “The Glass Castle” could be grouped into this genre, but it is set apart by the fact that Walls’ parents are not overtly abusive—they seem to love their children—but they are so neglectful that it defies imagination. How the Walls children managed to grow up and escape a life of poverty is a great read. Walls’ father was an alcoholic and her mother was an (unsuccessful) artist. Both are completely impractical and have no parenting skills. They allow the kids to do as they please and to raise themselves. Jeannette severely burns herself when she is three because she catches fire trying to make herself a hotdog. The dangerous mix of children and fire still doesn’t sink in for the parents, and there are several close encounters throughout the book. (From my review on Check there for the complete review.)yesyes2005
Half Broke HorsesWalls, JeannetteNote: As a true-life 'novel' this may not be accepted by your teacher as memoir. A true-life novel about Lily Casey Smith (the author's grandmother) who at age six helped her father break horses, at age fifteen left home to teach in a frontier town, and later as a wife and mother runs a vast ranch in Arizona where she survived tornadoes, droughts, floods, the Great Depression, and the most heartbreaking personal tragedy--but despite a life of hardscrabble drudgery still remains a woman of indomitable spirit. (LOC record)yes (Ovitt also)yes2009
Harriet Tubman: The Road to FreedomClinton, Catherine921 TubmanA scout, a spy, and a nurse for the Union Army, Tubman left her family in her early 20s to escape to Philadelphia and became the first and only woman, fugitive slave, and black to work as a conductor on the Underground Railroad.yes2004slavery, Underground Railroad
Hiding Place, TheTen Boom, Corrie940.53 TENThe story of the Ten Boom family, who risked their lives during WWII to rescue Jews from the Nazis. They had a 'hiding place' in their house (The house was called the Beje) in Haarlem, Holland. Although they were caught and sent to concentration camps where some of them died, the people they hid were not captured. The Ten Boom family were very religious Christians--they risked their lives to follow God's laws and they forgave the brutality of the Nazis who destroyed their lives (on earth,anyway).yes (Ovitt also)yes1974
His Name Was Raoul Wallenberg: Courage, Rescue, and Mystery During World War IILouise Borden921 WALLENBERG (children's nonfiction)An amazing and inspirational World War II story about how one man saved the lives of many. yes2012Holocaust, Holocaust rescuers
Holler if You Hear MeDyson, Michael Eric

Examines the life of rap musician Tupac Shakur, explores the reasons why his music and message continue to grow years after his death, and includes interviews with people who knew and/or admired the rapper, including his mother, Quincy Jones, Jada Pinkett Smith, and others. yesyes2001hip hop, social conditions, African American males, success
I Am Scout: The Biography of Harper LeeShields, Charles J.

921 LEE
As soon as Nelle Harper Lee was old enough to write stories of her own, her father gave her a rugged, steel-encased Underwood No. 5 typewriter. She and her neighbor Truman immediately began writing stories set on their street, South Alabama Avenue, casting the residents as characters. “In small town life and in rural life . . . you know everything about your neighbors,” Lee later said. She would draw heavily on this knowledge when writing her masterpiece, To Kill a Mockingbird. Notes. Bibliography. Media sources. Index. Black-and-white photographs. (Junior Library Guild Summary)yesno2008
I Beat the OddsOher, Michael

921 OHER
The football star made famous in the hit film "The Blind Side" reflects on how far he has come from the circumstances of his youth. While many people are now familiar with Oher’s amazing journey, this is the first time he shares his story in his own words. yes (Ovitt also)yes2011
Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, TheSkloot, Rebecca616.027 SKLHer name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer, yet her cells--taken without her knowledge--became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first "immortal" human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer and viruses; helped lead to in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions. Yet Henrietta Lacks is buried in an unmarked grave. Her family did not learn of her "immortality" until more than twenty years after her death, when scientists began using her husband and children in research without informed consent. The story of the Lacks family is inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of--From publisher description. yes (Ovitt also)yes2010
In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust RescuerOpdyke, Irene Gut940.5318 OPDMany of the books that are popular with young adults have a life crisis as their theme. All teenagers can relate to trauma and good novels and biographies often help the reader to see through the anguish. They can show us how others behave in difficult situations, how they manage to survive and grow stronger. One such book is In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer. This memoir, written by Irene Gut Opdyke, discusses the author’s experience as a Holocaust rescuer in Poland. Opdyke, now a senior citizen living in Southern California, decided to write about her experiences during the Holocaust when she saw Southern Californian teenagers claiming to be ‘neo-Nazis.’ (From my review on Check there for the complete review.)yes (Ovitt also)yes1999
Inside Out: Portrait of an Eating DisorderShivak, Naida616.8526 SHI (Main) In this book the author gives readers a harrowing look inside her battle with anorexia and bulimia through pictures and captions (Graphic Novel format) yes (Ovitt also)no2007
Into the Fire: A Firsthand Account of the Most Extraordinary Battle in the Afghan WarMeyer, Dakota958.1047A Medal of Honor-awarded Marine sniper shares the controversy-marked story of his heroic contributions during a 2009 Taliban ambush during which he saved a company of Afghan soldiers and Marine advisors, a victory that compelled him to disobey orders and assume command without reinforcements or artillery support. yes2012soldiers, Marines, Afghanistan, war,
Into the WildKrakauer, Jon917.98 KRAIn April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter. How McCandless came to die is the unforgettable story of Into the Wild. yes (Ovitt also)yes1996
Into Thin AirKrakauer, Jon796.522 KRAThe author describes his spring 1996 trek to Mt. Everest, a disastrous expedition that claimed the lives of eight climbers, and explains why he survived. yesyes1997
Iron ManIommi, Tony921 Iommi"Journey through heaven and hell with Black Sabbath"yesno2011
Isaac Newton: Giants of ScienceKrull, KathleenHe was one of the most brilliant and influential scientists in history. Isaac Newton described gravity and the physical laws of motion, made astonishing insights into optics, and invented calculus—among other things. He was also secretive, vindictive, petty, and withdrawn; Newton went out of his way to destroy any scientists who dared challenge his findings. Against a backdrop of the Scientific Revolution taking place in seventeenth-century England and Europe, this book reveals a complex and fascinating figure. Black-and-white drawings. (Junior Library Guild Summary)(Others on topic)(Others on topic)
It Calls You BackRodriguez, Luis J.921 RodriguezAlways Running chronicled Rodriguez's early life as a young Chicano gang member surviving the dangerous streets of East Los Angeles. The follow-up, It Calls You Back, is the story of RodrÍguez starting over, at age eighteen, after leaving gang life. It Calls You Back opens with RodrÍguez's final stint in jail as a teenager and follows his struggle to kick heroin, renounce his former life, and search for meaningful work. He describes with his challenges as a father and his difficulty leaving his rages and addictions completely behind. yesyes2011
Just KidsSmith, Patti780.92 SMIIn this memoir, singer-songwriter Patti Smith shares tales of New York City : the denizens of Max's Kansas City, the Hotel Chelsea, Scribner's, Brentano's and Strand bookstores and her new life in Brooklyn with a young man named Robert Mapplethorpe--the man who changed her life with his love, friendship, and genius. yesno2010
Katie.comTarbox, Katherine.364.153 TARKatherine Tarbox was thirteen when she met twenty-three-year-old "Mark" in an online chat room. Katie was a lonely and self-conscious eighth-grader who craved the attention her workaholic parents couldn't give her. "Mark" seemed to understand her. When they set a date to finally meet while Katie was in Texas for a swim competition, she walked into a hotel room and discovered who - and what - her cyber soul mate really was. Katie's harrowing experience with her online boyfriend would affect her life for years to come and result in her becoming the first "unnamed minor" to test a federal law enacted to protect kids from online sexual predators. yesyes2000
Lady Gaga: Behind the FameHerbert, EmilyChronicles the life of singer Lady Gaga, exploring her childhood, musical accomplishments, unique fashion sense, influence on popular culture, and other related topics. other biographies of her)yes2010
Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)Lawson, Jenny921 LawsonIn an illustrated memoir, the creator of the Bloggess blog shares humorous stories from her life, including her awkward upbringing in Texas and her relationship with her husband. (Summary doesn't indicate how wildly funny this is.)yes2012journalists, humorists, Texas
Little PrincesGrennan, Connor362.76 GREDescribes how the author's three-month service as a volunteer at the Little Princes Orphanage in war-torn Nepal became a commitment for advocacy and reform when he discovered that many of his young charges were victims rescued from human traffickers.yesno2010
Lone SurvivorLuttrell, Marcus958.1 LUTThe leader, and only survivor, of a team of U.S. Navy SEALs sent to northern Afghanistan to capture a well-known al Qaeda leader chronicles the events of the battle that killed his teammates and offers insight into the training of this elite group of warriors. yesyes2007Operation Redwing Seal Team 10
Long Way Gone, A: Memoir of a Boy SoldierBeah, Ishmael966 BEAPerhaps you saw the movie “Blood Diamond.” If so, you may recognize the place, the names and some of the action of this first-person account of the civil war in Sierra Leone, Africa. Although diamonds are not discussed in this memoir, the same rebel group—the RUF—is rampaging through 1990s Sierra Leone, destroying villages and killing the occupants, save the young boys that it forces to be soldiers. Ishmael Beah miraculously lived through many such village takeovers. When his own village is attached, he escapes, but loses track of all but his older brother. They, along with some friends, journey from village to village, half-starved, hiding from the RUF. Often, they are cruelly treated, as the general population has grown afraid of groups of boys—and with good reason. However, there are brave or at least just souls who sometimes feed the boys and allow them a place to stay. Often these same people are killed by the rebels and the boys return to villages to find hacked bodies being eaten by dogs and vultures. (From my review on Check there for the complete review.)yes (Ovitt also)yes2007
Los Angeles DiariesBrown, JamesPlagued by the suicides of both his siblings, heir to alcohol and drug abuse, divorce and economic ruin, James Brown lived a life clouded by addiction, broken promises and despair. InThe Los Angeles Diaries, he reveals his struggle for survival, mining his past to present the inspiring story of his redemption.noyes2011 (?)
Lucky ManFox, Michael J.

921 FOX
A memoir in which actor Michael J. Fox shares the story of his life, discussing his childhood in Canada, his career in show business, his marriage and family, and his struggle with Parkinson's disease. yes (Ovitt also)yes2002
MeMartin, Ricky

In this intimate memoir, international superstar Ricky Martin opens up for the first time about his early childhood, experiences in the famed boy band Menudo, reflections on coming to terms with his sexuality, relationships that allowed him to embrace love, and life-changing decisions like devoting himself to helping children around the world and becoming a father. yes2010GLBTQ, Menudo (band), coming out, sexual identity, fame, People for Children project,
Meaning of Matthew, TheShepard, Judy364.1523 SHEThe mother of Matthew Shepard shares her story about her son's death and the choice she made to become an international gay rights activist. Today, the name Matthew Shepard is synonymous with gay rights, but before his grisly murder in 1998, Matthew was simply her son. For the first time in book form, Judy Shepard speaks about her loss, sharing memories of Matthew, their life as a typical American family, and the pivotal event that changed everything. The book follows the Shepard family in the days after the crime, when their incapacitated son was on life support; how they learned of the response from strangers all across America who held candlelit vigils and memorial services for their child; and finally, how they struggled to navigate the legal system as Matthew's murderers were on trial. It not only captures the historical significance and civil rights issues, but it also chronicles one ordinary woman's struggle to cope with the unthinkable.--From publisher description. yesyes2009
Measure of a Man, ThePoiter, Sidney921 POITIER"In this luminous memoir, a true American icon looks back on his celebrated life and career. His body of work is arguably the most morally significant in cinematic history, and the power and influence of that work are indicative of the character of the man behind the many storied roles. Sidney Poitier here explores these elements of character and personal values to take his own measure--as a man, as a husband and father, and as an actor." yes (Ovitt also)yes2000
Mistaken Identity: Two Families, One Survivor, Unwavering HopeVan Ryn, Don and Susie and Newell, Colleen and Whitney Cerak362.1 MISI must have been in hiding in 2006 because I don’t remember this story from the news at all. However, it is so bizarre, the fact that it is true boggles the mind. I think you’ll race through this memoir of two families (despite the fact that the writing isn’t great) because your disbelief will keep you turning the pages. Whitney Cerak and Laura Van Ryan were students at Taylor University, a small, Christian college with campuses in Michigan and Indiana. Both are victims of an accident that killed five of the six students in a school van. One girl, who lived, was thrown 50 feet from the accident and sustained traumatic brain injuries. (From my review on Check there for the complete review.)(Ovitt)yes2008
Mountains Beyond MountainsKidder, Tracy921 FARMERWhen teachers ask students to read biography or memoir, I know their secret hope is that students will learn something about a role model. Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder is a book that honors that secret hope. It’s the story of Paul Farmer, a doctor who specializes in infectious diseases and who has dedicated his life to helping the poorest of the poor in the central plateau of Haiti. Farmer is a graduate of Harvard, and as a young man established the Haitian clinic Zanmi Lasante. (The name means Partners in Health in Creole.) This is the only health care available to thousands upon thousands of Haitian peasants. Farmer is now one of the world’s leading experts in treating communicable diseases including AIDS and tuberculosis. He has more energy than most of us could imagine; he seems to me to be a sort of secular saint who now has medical organizations in many areas of the world. (From my review on Check there for the complete review.)yes (Ovitt also)yes2004
My Beloved WorldSotomayor, Sonia921 SotomayorSupreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor shares details about her life, discussing her childhood, education, health, career, appointment, and more. yes (Ovitt also)yes2013Supreme Court, Hispanics, the Bronx, children of alcoholics, juvenile diabetes, Princeton, Yale, adversity
My BrotherKincaid, Jamaica

808.883 KIN
“When I was young, younger than I am now, I started to write about my own life and I came to see that this act saved my life. When I heard about my brother’s illness and his dying, I knew, instinctively, that to understand it, or to make an attempt at understanding his dying, and not to die with him, I would write about it.” So, Jamaica Kincaid has written a small book about the death from AIDS of her youngest brother. At 198 pages, this memoir comes so close to that 200 page minimum for a book project that you might get your teacher to overlook those last two pages. After all, Kincaid is an established literary writer and she has all the stuff your teachers hope you’ll enjoy in literature—a style of her own and the many literary elements you are taught and tested on, especially wonderful figurative language. This book is as much a writing exercise as it is a memoir, as much the story of Kincaid’s love/hate relationship with her mother as her relationship with her brother. (From my review on Check there for the complete review.)yes (Ovitt also)no1997
My Brother's VoiceNasser, Stephen940.5318 NASStephen Nasser somehow dug deep within his soul to survive the brutal and inhumane treatment his captors inflicted on the Jews. He was the only one of his family to survive--but the memory of his brother's dying words compelled him to live.yesyes2003Holocaust, death camps, teens, Hungary
Narnian, The: The Life and Imagination of C. S. LewisJacobs, Alan

No Angel: My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells AngelsDobyns, Jay and Nils Johnson-Shelton

364.1066 DOB
The first federal agent to infiltrate the inner circle of the Hells Angels, Dobyns finally tells the inside story of the 21-month operation that almost cost him his family, his sanity, and his life. 364.1066 DOB (Ovitt also)no2009
No Easy DayOwen, Mark958.1047 OWEFor the first time anywhere, the first-person account of the planning and execution of the Bin Laden raid from a Navy Seal who confronted the terrorist mastermind and witnessed his final moments. yesyes2012terrorism. Osama bin Laden, Pakistan, Navy SEALs
No One Gets Out of Here AliveHopkins, Jerry921 MORRISONBiography of Jim Morrisonyesyes1980rock music, delinquency,
Other Wes Moore, TheMoore, Wes975.26 MOOTwo kids with the same name were born blocks apart in the same decaying city within a few years of each other. One grew up to be a Rhodes Scholar, army officer, White House Fellow, and business leader. The other is serving a life sentence in prison. Here is the story of two boys and the journey of a generation. (Ovitt)(Teen version)2010
Poster ChildRapp, Emily

362.19 RAP
Emily Rapp was born with a birth defect that required, at the age of four, that her left foot be amputated. By the time she was eight she'd had dozens of operations and had lost her entire leg from just above the knee. She had also become the smiling, always perky, indefatigable poster child for the March of Dimes, and spent much of her childhood traveling around Wyoming making appearances and giving pep talks. All the while she was learning to live with what she later called "my grievous, irrevocable flaw." This is Rapp's brutally honest and often darkly humorous account of wrestling with the tyranny of self-image as a teenager and then ultimately coming to terms with her own body as a young woman. It's about what it's like to live inside a broken body in a society that values beauty above almost everything else. (From publisher description.)yesno2007
Rapture PracticeHartzler, AaronPublisher's Weekly: "no television, secular music, or movies-even when he doesn't fully understand them. He's also a joyful soldier of the Lord, happy to help his mother lead their neighborhood Good News Club, or lend accompaniment to his preacher father at church services. But when Aaron turns 16, his natural desire to explore the larger world outside his faith, including listening to pop music, dating and experiencing sexual attraction, and experimenting with alcohol, is perceived as rebellion, stirring up big trouble at home and at his ultra-conservative Christian school."yes2012Christian biography, teenagers and religion, GLBTQ
Reading Lolita in TehranNafisi, AzarThe subtitle of this work—“A Memoir in Books”—shows us that Nafisi plans to discuss not only her life in post-revolutionary Iran under Islamic rule and the Ayatollah Khomeini, but also the books that she read during this period of her life and how and why they mattered. As a young woman, Nafisi had lived in the United States. When she returns to Iran after the revolution, she finds it utterly changed. Her love of literature, her reading, has become a subversive activity. A professor at the University of Tehran, she loses her post because she refuses to wear the veil. She decides to hand select a group of young women who also love literature and to hold clandestine meetings at her house to discuss “immoral” books such as those by Jane Austin, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Henry James, and of course, Nabokov, the author of “Lolita.” (From my review on Check there for the complete review.)yes (Ovitt also)no2003
Real Benedict Arnold, TheMurphy, Jim

Benedict Arnold was a heroic soldier and patriot, yet the only monument to his bravery at the Battle of Saratoga is a statue of a leg. Why? Because his leg, wounded in the battle, was believed to be the only part of Arnold that did not later betray his country. This biography tells the fascinating, tragic story of Arnold’s life—his conversion to the Revolutionary cause, his military adventures, and the frustrations that led him to turn against the country to which he had devoted his life. Notes. Sources. Index. (Junior Library Guild Summary)yes (Ovitt)yes2007easy
Rebel for the Hell of It: The Life of Tuac ShakurWhite, Armond780.92 WHIDetails Shakur's development, of rap and ghetto culture.yes2002hip hop, gangs, social conditions, success
Red Scarf GirlJiang, Ji-li

An outstanding student and much admired leader of her class, Ji-Li Jiang was poised for a shining future in the Communist party until the Cultural Revolution of 1966. Told with simplicity, innocence and grace, this unforgettable memoir gives a child's eye view of a terrifying time in 20th-century history--and of one family's indomitable courage under fire. (LOC record)yes (Ovitt also)
Regine's BookStokke, Regine362.1969 STO"Regine Stokke began to blog about her day-to-day life shortly after she was diagnosed with leukemia in 2008. Regine's stated purpose with her posts was to give people a sense of "what it's like to live with" such a serious illness, and her blog became an almost instant classic. It was first adapted into book form in 2010, and became a best seller in Norway. Regine was also a very gifted photographer, and had her photos exhibited at both the 2009 and the 2010 Nordic Light photography festivals in Kristiansund"--Dust jacket yesyes2012cancer, leukemia, Norway, bloggers, teen girls, death and dying
Rin Tin TinOrlean, SusanAllegedly found in the ruins of a bombed-out dog kennel in France during World War I, then brought to Los Angeles by Lee Duncan, the soldier who found and trained him, by 1927 Rin Tin Tin had become Hollywood's number one box-office star. Susan Orlean's book--about the dog and the legend--is a poignant exploration of the enduring bond between humans and animals. It is also a richly textured history of twentieth-century entertainment and entrepreneurship. It spans ninety years and explores everything from the shift in status of dogs from working farmhands to beloved family members, from the birth of obedience training to the evolution of dog breeding, from the rise of Hollywood to the past and present of dogs in war.--From publisher description. 636.7376 ORL6367.737 Orlean2011
Running with ScissorsBurroughs, Augusten808.883 BURAugustine Burroughs has written several memoirs, the most famous of which is “Running with Scissors,” which was made into a movie. “Running” is one of those crazy books that should make you weep for the terrible life of an emotionally and psychologically abused child, but that makes you laugh out loud as well. In it Burroughs discusses his childhood. His mentally ill mother hands him over to her (rather crazy) psychiatrist who adopts Burroughs. He describes his life in the doctor’s home as a mad house. (From my review on Check there for the complete review.)yes (Ovitt also)
Same Kind of Different as MeHall, Ron and Denver Moore with Lynn Vincent920 HALMs. G here at COHS recommended this book to me because it was so moving that she couldn’t put it down. It’s quite a tale—and I think you, too, will be moved to tears. Author Ron Hall is married to a woman who cares so deeply for others that her story is pure inspiration to the reader. Debra Hall’s willingness to not only feed and clothe but befriend the homeless shows us what true faith can do—it knocks the patronizing ego right off the shelf and helps us see the real person we are connecting with. Debra’s faith is the force that lets her recognize Denver Moore as a man for whom God has big plans. (From my review on Check there for the complete review.)yesyes2006
Sigmund Freud: Giants of ScienceKrull, KathleenAs a young man, Sigmund Freud was determined to accomplish “deeds of improbable greatness.” His quest led him from the study of zoology to medicine to the nascent field of psychiatry. At the time, psychiatrists believed emotional disorders were purely physical in origin. Freud, however, came to a different conclusion. In a quiet room in Vienna, listening to his patients talk and chain-smoking cigars, Sigmund Freud would completely revolutionize our understanding of the unconscious mind. Appendix. Bibliography. List of Web sites. (Junior Library Guild Summary)(Others on topic)(Others on topic)
Slavaged PagesZapruder, Alexander940.5318 SALYoung writers' diaries of the Holocaustyesyes2002Holocaust, children, Holocaust victims
Smashed: The Story of a Drunken GirlhoodZailckas, Koren616.861 ZAIThe author discusses her relationship with alcohol, telling how she began drinking at the age of fourteen and continued drinking for the express purpose of getting drunk, bolstering her courage, or medicating her moods, and sharing the reasons why she decided to give up alcohol nine years later. yes (Ovitt also)yes2005
Start Something that MattersMycoskie, Blake658.408 MYCKnown as the founder of TOMS Shoes and as a contestant on The Amazing Race, Mycoskie uses his experience with TOMS, as well as interviews with leaders of non-profits and corporations, to convey valuable lessons about entrepreneurship, transparency of leadership, and living by one's values. yes (Ovitt also)yes2011
Steve JobsIssacson, Walter921 JobsBased on more than forty interviews with Jobs conducted over two years, as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues, the author has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.yes (Ovitt also) others that are shorter as wellyes (another that is shorter as well)2011
Stolen InnocenceWall, Elissa364.1555 WALIn September 2007, a packed courtroom in St. George, Utah, sat hushed as Elissa Wall, the star witness against polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs, gave captivating testimony of how Jeffs forced her to marry her first cousin at age fourteen. This harrowing and vivid account proved to be the most compelling evidence against Jeffs, showing the harsh realities of this closed community and the lengths to which Jeffs went in order to control the women in it. Now, in this courageous memoir, Elissa Wall tells the incredible and inspirational story of her time in the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), detailing how she emerged from its confines to help bring one of America's most notirious criminals to justice."--Back cover. yesyes2008
Stolen Into Slavery: The True Story of Solomon Northup, Free Black ManJudith Fradin

306.362 FRA
The true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man living in upstate New York, who was kidnapped in 1841 and spent 12 years as a slave on deadly Louisiana coastal plantations.
no (Ovitt yes)2012easy
Stolen Life, A: A memoirDugard, Jaycee921 DUGARDThe memoir of Jaycee Dugard who was kidnapped on June 10, 1991, when she was 11 years old, and was missing for over 18 years before her reappearance in 2009. yesno2011kidnapping, child abuse, child sexual assault