12 Memoir Books Every Girl Needs To Read Before She Turns 18

Fiction is so great, but I think a lot of people get caught up in that and ignore memoirs. You shouldn’t! You can learn so much from reading about someone else’s life, and about what they learned from dealing with their own problems and issues. We’re lucky enough to be living in a time when so many strong females are writing inspiring books, and you’d be silly not to add them to your book list. So, here are 12 memoirs every girl needs to read before she turns 18.


Congratulations to the finalists for the Third Annual Bisexual Book Awards! The nominees for Bisexual Memoir/Biography are:

  • Bad Dyke by Allison Moon, Lunatic Ink
  • A Cup of Water Under My Bed: A Memoir by Daisy Hernández, Beacon Press
  • Fire Shut Up In My Bones by Charles M. Blow, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Not My Father’s Son: A Memoir by Alan Cumming
  • Susan Sontag: A Biography by Daniel Schreiber, Northwestern University Press
  • The Tastemaker: Carl Van Vechten and the Birth of Modern America By Edward White, Farrar, Straus and Giroux

How cool is this!

The curator of the University of Michigan library’s Screen Arts Mavericks and Makers collection announced Thursday the discovery of an unpublished personal memoir Welles had titled “Confessions of a One-Man Band.”

The draft was discovered when archivists at the university’s special collections library began processing eight boxes of Welles’ material shipped earlier this month from the Croatian home of actress Oja Kodar, who was Welles’ partner in the last 24 years of his life

Welles’ draft of “One Man Band,” which he began in the 1970s, was written on a typewriter, but also contains handwritten notes and edits. Among the topics he covers in the memoir are his parents, second wife Rita Hayworth, Ernest Hemingway and D.W. Griffith.

Finally, at six o’clock in the evening of the 5th of May, a minute and a half after the cannon shot at tattoo, the Emperor died. The breaths, which had at first been at regular intervals, became progressively farther and farther apart, and the last, slower than those which preceded it, was only the breathing out of a long sigh. Alas! there was left of the Emperor nothing but the mortal remains. At this supreme moment all the eyes were filled with tears. What a sad and sublime spectacle was the death of a great man, and of a man of Napoleon’s stature! If his enemies had been present their eyes, too, would have been moist, and they would have wept over his lifeless body.

Louis Etienne “Ali” Saint-Dennis, Napoleon from the Tuileries to Saint-Helena, p. 275.

It was eleven minutes before six o’clock  - Napoleon was about to breathe his last! - a slight froth covered his lips - he was no more! - Such is the end of all human glory!

Antommarchi, The Last Days of the Emperor Napoleon, vol II, p. 156-157.

He was sitting at the  piano. I approached him and shouted into his ear (for he was deaf): ‘My name is Brentano.’ He smiled, extended his hand to me without standing up, and said: 'I have just written a beautiful song for you.’ He sang 'Do You Know the Land,’ without melody, without sweetness; his voice was harsh, resonating out beyond cultivation and pleasing sound through its outcry of passion. He asked me, 'Well, how do you like it?’ I nodded in approval; he sang it again with that fire that is fanned by the awareness of imparting its ardor. He then looked at me triumphantly; he saw that my cheeks and eyes were glowing and said: 'Aha!’ And now he sang the words 'Do not go dry, tears of eternal love! Oh, to even the half-dried eye, how desolate, how dead does the world appear!’ Then he wrote this sentence in characters on a writing board that he carried in his pocket, while allowing me to smooth out his disheveled hair.
—  Bettina von Arnim, ‘Beethoven’ (1832)

Mémoires de Hector Berlioz … comprenant ses voyages en Italie, en Allemagne, en Russie et en Angleterre, 1803-1865, avec un beau portrait de l’auteur.
Paris, Michel Lévy frères, 1870.
iii, 509 p. front. (port.) illus. (music) 26 cm.
The frontispiece is a mounted photograph.

This one goes out to wheninmusicology.

In addition to the lovely mounted photo of Berlioz (points if you can identify the musical snippet below the photo), the impression of the type on most pages can be felt and seen on the reverse of the page.

If you’ve ever been to a park or on a hike, you’ve probably come across a desire line.  A desire line is a rogue path caused by hundreds of feet, inadvertently causing a new trail. A desire line is usually the shortest distance between two points, a circuitous or ‘cheat’ route from beginning to end.

It’s a great example of human nature. We all try to take the path of least resistance in life. A memoir is often about what happens when you’re forced off the desire line by an extraordinary adventure – or experience – onto an unmapped and bewildering new course.

  • You want to have a baby with your new husband – until you realise you have endometriosis.
  • You’re ready to spend a quiet retirement – until your granddaughter and her newborn move in.
  • You’re complacently following a corporate career – then your teenage son is hospitalised for a drug overdose.
  • You’re unable to get over your painful divorce – when a scruffy stray dog shows up at your door.

What event took you off course? 

I know that this is nice, having some answers to our questions and then having more questions and then the Dragneel Brothers, but I really want to know, WHEN THE HELL IS JERZA APPEARING AGAIN!

Maybe I shouldn’t ask for this. I mean, I’m already bearing too many feelings and emotions from the recent chapters and then this huge ass plot twist. Yeah, I don’t think so. Maybe I do.

In rooms full of fine people, it’s nice to have three or four of them always around naked.  It’s nice to have a few others dressed in silver, in paisley, in leather, in fur, in something pastel and transparent that sways, in something brocade and velvet that swings; people on their way to a concert, a big deal, a little deal, a friend, or just going for (or returning from) a walk.  And it’s nice to have most of the people knocking around in something once beautiful, with wear grown comfortable.
—  Samuel R. Delany, Heavenly Breakfast

Anthony Ehlers writes: Continuing my series of posts on The Truth About Memoirs, I want to talk about the six ways in which you can tell your stories.

1.   Interior Monologue

2.   Dramatic Monologue

3.   Letter /Email Narration

4.   Diary Entries

5.   Detached Autobiography

6.   Observer Memoir

Follow this link for explanations and examples.