Are you trying to find biographies or memoirs here at Kirkwood? They aren’t shelved in a single section like in some public libraries, they are filled in the regular run of non-fiction books where they belong. An athlete’s biography is shelved with the sports books, a politician is shelved with history books or social change books, a scientist with the science books, an actor with the movie and television books, etc. Enjoy some of the titles we’ve added this year. You can also find a memoirs list laid out a different way on this LibGuide.
Check out our previous lists:
Against All Odds: My Story by Chuck Norris with Ken Abraham, Call Number: 796.809 N854a
NOTE: Norris was both a star of both movies and TV, but also one of the top martial artists of the 20th century in real life. (He’s still around but retired from both activities.)
Anne of Green Gables, My Daughter, and Me: What My Favorite Book Taught Me about Grace, Belonging and the Orphan in Us All by Lorilee Craker, Call Number: 362.734 C888a
NOTE: A simple question from her daughter sends an adult orphan deep into one of her favorite books to answer what does being an orphan really mean?
Bismarck: A Life by Johnathan Steinberg, Call Number: 943.083 B622s
NOTE: The 19th century politician who made Germany and helped shape modern Europe.
Call Me American: A Memoir by Abdi Nor Iftin, Call Number: 305.89 I239c
NOTE: “Abdi Nor Iftin first fell in love with America from afar. As a child, he learned English by listening to American pop and watching action films starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. When U.S. marines landed in Mogadishu to take on the warlords, Abdi cheered the arrival of these Americans, who seemed as heroic as those of the movies. Sporting American clothes and dance moves, he became known around Mogadishu as Abdi American, but when the radical Islamist group al-Shabaab rose to power in 2006, it became dangerous to celebrate Western culture. Desperate to make a living, Abdi used his language skills to post secret dispatches, which found an audience of worldwide listeners. Eventually, though, Abdi was forced to flee to Kenya.” And came to America.
CEO, China: The Rise of Xi Jinping by Kerry Brown, Call Number: 951.06 B878ce
NOTE: The story of the man who runs the business of China.
Craig and Fred: A Marine, A Stray Dog, and How They Rescued Each Other by Craig Grossi, Call Number: 636.7 G878c
NOTE: A marine in remote Afghanistan made friends with a stray dog. He was able to sneak the dog onto base and then got him into the United States to his family in Virginia. When Craig came home a few months later he credits the dog for saving him from Post-Traumatic Stress.
The Distance Between: A Memoir by Timothy J. Hillegonds, Call Number: 362.292 H651d
NOTE: A young man from Chicago goes to Colorado and tries to build a new life, but his problems follow him and he creates more of his own.
Eleanor and Hick: The Love Affair That Shaped a First Lady by Susan Quinn, Call Number: 973.917 R781q
Fail Until You Don’t: Find, Grind, Repeat by Bobby Bones, Call Number: 791.44 B712f
NOTE: Radio host, comedian, singer Bobby Bones jumped into life courting failure by taking big chances in order to achieve big success. This is the story of how he did it.
First: Sandra Day O’Connor by Evan Thomas, Call Number: 347.732 O188t
NOTE: The first female Supreme Court Justice.
The Fossil Hunter: Dinosaurs, Evolution, and the Woman Who Discoveries Changed the World by Shelley Emling, Call Number: 560.92 E539f
NOTE: “Mary Anning was only twelve years old when, in 1811, she discovered the first dinosaur skeleton–of an ichthyosaur–while fossil hunting on the cliffs of Lyme Regis, England. Until Mary’s incredible discovery, it was widely believed that animals did not become extinct. The child of a poor family, Mary became a fossil hunter, inspiring the tongue-twister, ‘She Sells Sea Shells by the Seashore.'”
Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen, Call Number: 616.89 K236g
NOTE: In 1967, Susanna Kaysen was committed to a mental institution against her will. This is her story.
The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King, Call Number: 791.45 R725k
NOTE: Television star and children’s expert’s life story.
Grace Hopper and the Invention of the Information by Kurt W. Beyer, Call Number: 0004.092 H798b
NOTE: “A Hollywood biopic about the life of computer pioneer Grace Murray Hopper (1906–1992) would go like this: a young professor abandons the ivy-covered walls of academia to serve her country in the Navy after Pearl Harbor and finds herself on the front lines of the computer revolution. She works hard to succeed in the all-male computer industry, is almost brought down by personal problems but survives them, and ends her career as a celebrated elder stateswoman of computing, a heroine to thousands, hailed as the inventor of computer programming…Hopper’s greatest technical achievement was to create the tools that would allow humans to communicate with computers in terms other than ones and zeroes. This advance influenced all future programming and software design and laid the foundation for the development of user-friendly personal computers.”
Growing Up X: A Memoir by the Daughter of Malcolm X by Ilyasah Shabazz with Kim McLarin, Call number: 320.54 S524g
NOTE: The story of one of the 6 daughters of legendary leader Malcolm X.
Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon, Call Number: 305.896 L427h
NOTE: A man born poor and black wrestles with the weight not only of his body, but with the legacy of history.
How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life by Scott Adams, Call Number: 741.569 A217h
NOTE: Cartoonist Scott Adams of Dilbert fame talks about everything he had to overcome to reach success.
How We Fight for Our Lives: A Memoir by Saeed Jones, Call Number: 811.6 J791h
NOTE: “This is the story of a young, black, gay man from the South as he fights to carve out a place for himself, within his family, within his country, within his own hopes, desires, and fears.”
I Am Football by Zlatan Ibrahimovic with Mats Olsson, Call Number: 796.334 I14i
NOTE: The story of a huge soccer star.
I am, I am, I am: Seventeen Brushes with Death by Maggie O’Farrell, Call Number 823.914 O31i
I Am Zlatan: My Story On and Off the Field, As told to David Lagercrantz, Call Number: 796.334 I14L
NOTE: The story of a huge soccer star.
Irena’s Children: A True Story of Courage by Tilar J. Mazzeo, Call Number: 940.53 S474m
NOTE: “In 1942, one young social worker, Irena Sendler, was granted access to the Warsaw ghetto as a public health specialist. While she was there, she began to understand the fate that awaited the Jewish families who were unable to leave. Soon she reached out to the trapped families, going from door to door and asking them to trust her with their young children. Driven to extreme measures and with the help of a network of local tradesmen, ghetto residents, and her star-crossed lover in the Jewish resistance, Irena ultimately smuggled thousands of children past the Nazis. She made dangerous trips through the city’s sewers, hid children in coffins, snuck them under overcoats at checkpoints, and slipped them through secret passages in abandoned buildings.”
Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by Dani Shapiro, Call Number: 818.6 S529i
NOTE: A DNA genealogy site revealed to Shapiro that the man who raised her was not her biological father. This is the story of the ramifications.
Know My Name: A Memoir by Chanel Miller, Call Number: 364.153 M647k
NOTE: The story of a sexual abuse victim who told her story and it went wild.
The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish, Call Number: 792.7 H126L
NOTE: The story of a new comedian from foster child to TV star.
Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela by Nelson Mandela, Call Number: 968.065 m271L
NOTE: The long time leader of the resistance, imprisoned for decades, and his lifelong dedication to the fight against racial oppression in South Africa won him the Nobel Peace Prize and the presidency of his country.
Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive by Stephanie Land, Call Number: 331.4 L253m
NOTE: A promising writers plans are derailed by an unplanned pregnancy and her struggles to find her way back to her dreams and to support her daughter. It tells the story of some of the lowest paid people in society.
The Making of a Justice: Reflections on My First 94 Years by Justice John Paul Stevens, Call Number: 347.732 S844m
NOTE: The life story of a Supreme Court Justice.
The Man Who Made the Movies: the Meteoric Rise and the Tragic Fall of William Fox by Vanda Krefft, Call Number: 791.43 F794k
The Mannings: The Fall and the Rise of a Football Family by Lars Anderson, Call Number: 796.332 M283a
NOTE: The story of a family that in 2 generations has produced 3 NFL superstars.
Marie Curie: A Life by Susan Quinn, Call Number: 540.92 C975q
NOTE: The noted scientist who overcame obstacles of country and gender to when multiple Nobel prizes and helped use her invention of X-Rays to the front lines during World War I.
Marley Dias Gets It Done and So Can You! by Marley Dias, Call Number: 305.23 D541m
NOTE: The story of the founder of #1000BlackGirlBooks.
The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty by Susan Page, Call Number: 973.928 B978pa
NOTE: Only the second woman to be first a First Lady and then a First Mother.
No One Tells You This by Glynnis Macnicol, Call Number: 306.7 M169n
NOTE: “If the story doesn’t end with marriage or a child, what then? This question plagued Glynnis MacNicol on the eve of her 40th birthday. Despite a successful career as a writer, and an exciting life in New York City, Glynnis was constantly reminded she had neither of the things the world expected of a woman her age: a partner or a baby. She knew she was supposed to feel bad about this. After all, single women and those without children are often seen as objects of pity, relegated to the sidelines, or indulgent spoiled creatures who think only of themselves. Glynnis refused to be cast into either of those roles and yet the question remained: What now?There was no good blueprint for how to be a woman alone in the world. She concluded it was time to create one.”
Notes from a Young Black Chef: A Memoir by Kwame Onwuachi, Call Number: 641.509 O598n
NOTE: “By the time he was twenty-seven years old, Kwame Onwuachi had opened—and closed—one of the most talked about restaurants in America. He had sold drugs in New York and been shipped off to rural Nigeria to “learn respect.” He had launched his own catering company with twenty thousand dollars made from selling candy on the subway and starred on Top Chef. Through it all, Onwuachi’s love of food and cooking remained a constant, even when, as a young chef, he was forced to grapple with just how unwelcoming the food world can be for people of color. In this inspirational memoir about the intersection of race, fame, and food, he shares the remarkable story of his culinary coming-of-age; a powerful, heartfelt, and shockingly honest account of chasing your dreams—even when they don’t turn out as you expected.”
On Her Own Terms: Annie Montague Alexander and the Rise of Science in the American West by Barbara R. Stein, Call Number: 570.92 A374s
Peter the Great: His Life and World by Robert K. Massie, Call Number: 947.05 P478m
NOTE: The story of the Russian Czar, Peter the Great.
Ronaldo (Updated ed.) by Luca Caioli, Call Number: 796.334 R768c
NOTE: Soccer star Cristiano Ronald.
Solitary: Unbroken by Four Decades in Solitary Confinement – My Story of Transformation and Hope by Albert Woodfox, Call Number: 365.609 W887s
NOTE: “Solitary is the unforgettable life story of a man who served more than four decades in solitary confinement―in a 6-foot by 9-foot cell, 23 hours a day, in notorious Angola prison in Louisiana―all for a crime he did not commit.”
A Stolen Life: A Memoir by Jaycee Dugard, Call Number: 364.15 D866s
NOTE: Dugard was kidnapped, held captive, and repeated raped for 18 years.
Three Little Words: A Memoir by Ashley Rhodes-Courter, Call Number: 362.733 R476t
NOTE: Ashley Rhodes-Courter spent 9 years of her life in 14 different foster homes. As her mother spirals out of control. Pushed through all the worst of the foster care system she finds the courage to succeed and the power of her own voice.
Topgun: An American Story by Dan Pedersen, Call Number: 358.4 P371t
NOTE: The story of the founder of the Topgun Program. Find out about being a naval aviator.
Tupac Shakur: The Life and Times of an American Icon by Tayannah Lee McQuillar and Fred L. Johnson III, Call Number: 782.421 S527m
Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team by Steve Sheinkin, Call Number: 796.332 S543u
Unstoppable: From Underdog to Undefeated: How I Became a Champion by Anthony Robles with Austin Murphy, Call number: 796.812 R666u
NOTE: Anthony Robles is a 3 time all-American wrestler, an NCAA champion, and a member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. He was also born without his right leg. He knew from the age of 5 he was going to be unstoppable.
When Everything Beyond the Walls is Wild: Being a Woman Outdoors in America by Lilace Mellin Guignard, Call Number: 796.082 G951w
When Nothing Else Matters: Michael Jordan’s Last Comeback by Michael Leahy, Call Number: 796.323 J824w
When They Call You A Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele, Call Number: 323.092 K452w