What's the Difference Between Memoir and Autobiography? | Book Riot
Townie, Dubus III's memoir, recounts his days growing up with and without his father, becoming a fighter, and finally becoming a writer in his own right. We chose Townie for our Indiespensable book club a few years ago, and every single person in our office who read it — which was quite a few — was blown away by its beauty and honesty.
It is, in a way, a study of and repudiation of male violence, and Dubus treats the subject with empathy, thoughtfulness, and care. Touching, gripping, and mesmerizing, Townie is an exceptional achievement. First, a human skeleton he buys as a gift for his partner Hugh begins speaking to him, then he works to quit smoking. The result is a memoir just as funny and idiosyncratic, but more self-aware, more serious, and more emotional than his other work. This is the funniest sad book I have ever read. Less a life history than an exploration of a life in process, Why Be Happy captures the writer in her 50s, still trying to figure out how to love and be loved in the absence of a maternal model.
In , Joan Didion suddenly lost her husband of 40 years, while their daughter lay unconscious in a nearby hospital. The Year of Magical Thinking is a powerful and eloquent account of surviving such a profound loss.
Didion is especially effective at describing the emotional landscape of grief, its sudden depth charges and vortexes, as she calls those unexpected moments when loss sweeps in from yet another angle. To preface, I am an unabashed Sherman Alexie fan. His work — featuring Natives who are caught defining their identity in a modern, white world — is so deeply personal to me.
In his signature style, Alexie delivers stories of immeasurable pain cut with hilarious candor conveyed in both essays and poems. He shows us that we can learn just as much about ourselves as those we grieve for. Hello, Login.
How to Write a Memoir: 13 Key Elements of a Memoir You Need
The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson A seamless blend of memoir and cultural commentary, Maggie Nelson's The Argonauts is, among many other things, a book about relentless introspection and transformation, about confronting one's own truths and biases and finding meaning in collisions big and small. Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy Autobiography of a Face is the beautiful, heartbreaking, harrowing memoir of Lucy Grealy, an incredibly insightful, articulate woman who, at age nine, lost part of her jaw to cancer. Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell Long before Animal Farm and , George Orwell wrote about a time in his life when he was alternately barely scraping by and penniless.
Ongoingness by Sarah Manguso This slim volume contains poetic multitudes about time, mortality, motherhood, and writing. Ordinary Light by Tracy K. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis is a true-life account of childhood against the backdrop of radicalizing Iran. Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi I was assigned this book several times in college and graduate school, so I was shocked to learn that none of my coworkers had read it.
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion In , Joan Didion suddenly lost her husband of 40 years, while their daughter lay unconscious in a nearby hospital.
Memoir vs. Autobiography Basics
Not only do you get to walk in her shoes in the book, which I should probably mention is not for the faint of heart. But she will respond personally when you contact her to any questions, comments or even Guidence. Mila is going to save a lot of lives and suffering through this book. Elaine Edelman March 20, at PM Not only is this such a fantastic list I think I will have to spend a few hours to copy it out-- since my printer is broken -- but I find the descriptions and evaluations completely fascinating and so well articulated, I'll have to spend a few additional hours in order to copy them out too.
Unless someone at my favorite bookstore, Powells, will print this whole thing for me and email it to me Oh, having written that out here, I'm going to try to email it from here to myself. Hope this works! Whether you're curious to learn more, or you're ready to get started publishing, take the first step by claiming your free publishing guide.
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The Fundamental Differences between Memoir and Autobiography The line between memoir and autobiography is a fuzzy one, especially in this modern literary era where writers are constantly blurring the boundaries between genres to create a new, exciting one. Memoirs have been written since the ancient times, as shown by Julius Caesar 's Commentarii de Bello Gallico , also known as Commentaries on the Gallic Wars.
In the work, Caesar describes the battles that took place during the nine years that he spent fighting local armies in the Gallic Wars. His second memoir, Commentarii de Bello Civili or Commentaries on the Civil War is an account of the events that took place between 49 and 48 BC in the civil war against Gnaeus Pompeius and the Senate. The noted Libanius , teacher of rhetoric who lived between an estimated and AD, framed his life memoir as one of his literary orations , which were written to be read aloud in the privacy of his study.
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This kind of memoir refers to the idea in ancient Greece and Rome , that memoirs were like "memos", or pieces of unfinished and unpublished writing, which a writer might use as a memory aid to make a more finished document later on. The Sarashina Nikki is an example of an early Japanese memoir, written in the Heian period. A genre of book writing, Nikki Bungaku , emerged during this time.
In the Middle Ages , Geoffrey of Villehardouin , Jean de Joinville , and Philippe de Commines wrote memoirs, while the genre was represented toward the end of the Renaissance , through the works of Blaise de Montluc and Margaret of Valois , that she was the first woman to write her Memoirs in modern-style. While Saint-Simon was considered a writer possessing a high level of skill for narrative and character development, it wasn't until well after his death that his work as a memoirist was recognized, resulting in literary fame.
Over the latter half of the 18th through the midth century, memoirists generally included those who were noted within their chosen profession.
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- Memoir | Definition of Memoir by Merriam-Webster.
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These authors wrote as a way to record and publish their own account of their public exploits. Authors included politicians or people in court society and were later joined by military leaders and businessmen. An exception to these models is Henry David Thoreau 's memoir Walden , which presents his experiences over the course of two years in a cabin he built near Walden Pond.
Memoirs documenting incarceration by Nazi Germany during the war include Primo Levi 's If This Is a Man , which covers his arrest as a member of the Italian Resistance Movement , followed by his life as a prisoner in Auschwitz ; and Elie Wiesel 's Night , which is based on his life prior to and during his time in the Auschwitz, Buna Werke , and Buchenwald concentration camps.