Do the accounts of extraordinary peoples' lives inspire your own life? Can the fortitude of individuals drive how you live your own life? Our authors in the Biographies and Memoirs genre bring you the stories of people who have survived and grown through the most difficult of situations. Their stories will move you to tears, to action, and to new levels in your own life. They will always do this for you on eBookHounds for free or for a discount.
Definition of the "Biographies and Memoirs Genre": Ebooks in both the Biographies and Memoirs genres focus on the life experiences of a single person. Biographies are generally broader in the subject matters of a person's life experiences, while memoirs are more honed into the memories of that person. However, there is very little difference between the two categories, which is why they are combined in a single genre. Ebooks in the Biographies and Memoirs genre also typically have a significant element of inspiration, as the stories which drove the writing of these ebooks are tremendously moving.
Examples of bestselling ebooks in the Biographies and Memoirs genre are Cheryl Strayed (Wild), Chris Kyle (American Sniper), Laura Hillenbrand (Unbroken), and Donna Mabry (Maude).
After graduating from college, Jennifer isn't sure what she wants to do with her life. She is drawn to the Appalachian Trail, a 2175-mile footpath that stretches from Georgia to Maine. Though her friends and family think she's crazy, she sets out alone to hike the trail, hoping it will give her time to think about what she wants to do next. The next four months are the most physically and emotionally challenging of her life. She quickly discovers that thru-hiking is harder than she had imagined: coping with blisters and aching shoulders from the 30-pound pack she carries; sleeping on the hard wooden floors of trail shelters; hiking through endless torrents of rain and even a blizzard. With every step she takes, Jennifer transitions from an over-confident college graduate to a student of the trail, braving situations she never imagined before her thru-hike. The trail is full of unexpected kindness, generosity, and humor. And when tragedy strikes, she learns that she can depend on other people to help her in times of need.
Upon the death of his father, a Ph.D. psychologist is driven to face his own mortality. In this autobiographical memoir, strange and haunting episodes of his own long life provide clues to the central question, “Who am I?”
Moments of pain leavened with unexpected humor set Waking Up Cattywampus apart from other memoirs. In this unflinching examination, the author ponders the impact of being bullied as a child. He examines how, as the oldest of eight children, he coped with his father’s alcoholism. He discusses with admirable frankness his successes and his failures.
Joyful and heartbreaking in turns, Cattywampus details the search for self - and provides a roadmap in seven delightful appendices. The search for meaning is a life-long quest and never straightforward. We are all born "cattywampus."
A New York Times Notable Book
The New York Times’ Critics’ Top Books of the Year
Named a Best Book of the Year by San Francisco Chronicle, National Public Radio, The Economist, Buzzfeed, Paste Magazine, Southern Living, HelloGiggles, and Shelf Awareness
Huffington Post’s Best Feminist Books of the Year
The New York Post’s Most Thrilling and Fascinating Books of the Year
The New York Public Library’s Ten Best Books of the Year
"A stunning debut novel." —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
This celebrated, unforgettable first novel (“A bright, big-hearted demonstration of female spirit.” –The Guardian), shortlisted for the prestigious Women's Prize for Fiction and set in Nigeria, gives voice to both husband and wife as they tell the story of their marriage--and the forces that threaten to tear it apart.
Yejide and Akin have been married since they met and fell in love at university. Though many expected Akin to take several wives, he and Yejide have always agreed: polygamy is not for them. But four years into their marriage--after consulting fertility doctors and healers, trying strange teas and unlikely cures--Yejide is still not pregnant. She assumes she still has time--until her family arrives on her doorstep with a young woman they introduce as Akin's second wife. Furious, shocked, and livid with jealousy, Yejide knows the only way to save her marriage is to get pregnant. Which, finally, she does--but at a cost far greater than she could have dared to imagine. An electrifying novel of enormous emotional power, Stay With Me asks how much we can sacrifice for the sake of family.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A story-driven collection of essays on the twelve powerful phrases we use to sustain our relationships, from the bestselling author of Glitter and Glue and The Middle Place
“Kelly Corrigan takes on all the big, difficult questions here, with great warmth and courage.”—Glennon Doyle
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY REAL SIMPLE AND BUSTLE
It’s a crazy idea: trying to name the phrases that make love and connection possible. But that’s just what Kelly Corrigan has set out to do here. In her New York Times bestselling memoirs, Corrigan distilled our core relationships to their essences, showcasing a warm, easy storytelling style. Now, in Tell Me More, she’s back with a deeply personal, unfailingly honest, and often hilarious examination of the essential phrases that turn the wheel of life.
In “I Don’t Know,” Corrigan wrestles to make peace with uncertainty, whether it’s over invitations that never came or a friend’s agonizing infertility. In “No,” she admires her mother’s ability to set boundaries and her liberating willingness to be unpopular. In “Tell Me More,” a facialist named Tish teaches her something important about listening. And in “I Was Wrong,” she comes clean about her disastrous role in a family fight—and explains why saying sorry may not be enough. With refreshing candor, a deep well of empathy, and her signature desire to understand “the thing behind the thing,” Corrigan swings between meditations on life with a preoccupied husband and two mercurial teenage daughters to profound observations on love and loss.
With the streetwise, ever-relatable voice that defines Corrigan’s work, Tell Me More is a moving and meaningful take on the power of the right words at the right moment to change everything.
Praise for Tell Me More
“It is such a comfort just knowing that Kelly Corrigan exists: she is somehow both wise and self-deprecating; funny but unafraid of pain; frank but gentle. She is the sister/mother/best friend we all wish we could have—and because of this big-hearted book, we all get to.”—Ariel Levy, author of The Rules Do Not Apply
“With full-bodied humor and radical sensitivity, Kelly Corrigan transforms the mundane pain of life into a necessary spiritual text of sorts, one that reminds us that we have the right to grieve but the obligation to be grateful. This book will remind you that you are human—and of the fragile loveliness of being so.”—Lena Dunham
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
#1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER
Discover how to embrace your best basic self in this laugh-out-loud funny guidebook from the breakout star of Bravo’s hit reality show Vanderpump Rules, perfect for fans of the relatable and entertaining books by The Betches and Andi Dorfman.
Millions of Vanderpump Rules viewers and podcast listeners know Stassi Schroeder as a major defender of Basic Bitch rights. There’s nothing more boring than people who take themselves too seriously or think that you have to be pretentious to be cool. Stassi champions the things that many of us are afraid to love publicly for fear of being labeled basic: lattes, pugs, bubbly cocktails, millennial pink, #OOTD (outfit of the day, obvs), astrology, hot dogs, the perfect pair of Louboutins, romantic comedies...the list goes on and on.
This book is for people tired of pretending they would rather see a Daniel Day-Lewis movie about sewing or read War and Peace than watch a Saw marathon or read...well, this book!
In Next Level Basic, the reality star, podcast queen, and ranch dressing expert gives you hilarious and pointed lessons on how to have fun and celebrate yourself, with exclusive stories from her own life and on the set of Vanderpump Rules. From her very public breakups to her most intimate details about her plastic surgery, Stassi shares her own personal experiences with her trademark honesty—all with the hope you can learn something from them.
FAKE PAPERS: Survival Lessons from Grandma’s Escape
Fake Papers is a real-life escape story about a Holocaust survivor, who passes on survival lessons to her grandson, a documentary filmmaker working in war zones like Afghanistan.
Letty is waiting to die. She is 90 years old and eaten by regret. She once told her story of survival to her grandson to help him through a tragedy when he was a child. Now in his thirties, he rushes to learn the details of her story before it disappears, because in it are answers to questions that have haunted his life.
When World War II began, seventeen-year-old Letty from a rigid Orthodox Jewish family in Belgium is trapped in a resort nestled in the French Pyrenees with her mother and two sisters. Her oldest sister disowns the family to save herself as her mother’s distress turns into violent panic attacks. Ahead of Letty lay razzias, the French police round-ups of Jews, Nazi aircraft, young love, and uncertainty about who to trust or where to go in a country hell-bent on capturing her. Now her family’s fate, whether triumph or catastrophe, hinges on Letty’s escape plan.
At its core, Fake Papers is about a girl coming of age in a time of brutal intolerance and how it shapes her relationship with her grandson years later, addressing identity, and the tangled emotions and patterns of family relationships, repeated through generations, that make us who we are.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “As sweet and funny and sad and true and heartfelt a memoir as one could find.” —from the foreword by Augusten Burroughs
Ever since he was young, John Robison longed to connect with other people, but by the time he was a teenager, his odd habits—an inclination to blurt out non sequiturs, avoid eye contact, dismantle radios, and dig five-foot holes (and stick his younger brother, Augusten Burroughs, in them)—had earned him the label “social deviant.” It was not until he was forty that he was diagnosed with a form of autism called Asperger’s syndrome. That understanding transformed the way he saw himself—and the world. A born storyteller, Robison has written a moving, darkly funny memoir about a life that has taken him from developing exploding guitars for KISS to building a family of his own. It’s a strange, sly, indelible account—sometimes alien yet always deeply human.
Trailblazing food writer and beloved restaurant critic Ruth Reichl took the job (and the risk) of a lifetime when she entered the glamorous, high-stakes world of magazine publishing. Now, for the first time, she chronicles her groundbreaking tenure as editor in chief of Gourmet.
“This is the rare case of an amazing writer living an amazing life.”—Ann Patchett
When Condé Nast offered Ruth Reichl the top position at America’s oldest epicurean magazine, she declined. She was a writer, not a manager, and had no inclination to be anyone’s boss. Yet Reichl had been reading Gourmet since she was eight; it had inspired her career. How could she say no?
This is the story of a former Berkeley hippie entering the corporate world and worrying about losing her soul. It is the story of the moment restaurants became an important part of popular culture, a time when the rise of the farm-to-table movement changed, forever, the way we eat. Readers will meet legendary chefs like David Chang and Eric Ripert, idiosyncratic writers like David Foster Wallace, and a colorful group of editors and art directors who, under Reichl’s leadership, transformed stately Gourmet into a cutting-edge publication. This was the golden age of print media—the last spendthrift gasp before the Internet turned the magazine world upside down.
Complete with recipes, Save Me the Plums is a personal journey of a woman coming to terms with being in charge and making a mark, following a passion and holding on to her dreams—even when she ends up in a place she never expected to be.
Advance praise for Save Me the Plums
“No one writes about food like Ruth Reichl. She also happens to be a mesmerizing storyteller. I consider this book essential nourishment.”—Nigella Lawson
“Endearing . . . Gourmet magazine readers will relish the behind-the-scenes peek at the workings of the magazine. . . . Reichl’s revealing memoir is a deeply personal look at a food world on the brink of change.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Ruth Reichl is the best sort of storyteller—intimate, wise, frank, and completely engaging. Here she beautifully details her ten years running Gourmet, with all the triumphs and tribulations, and it’s a brilliant tale. Every page is rich and delicious; the book is such a treat!”—Susan Orlean, New York Times bestselling author of The Library Book
A New York Times Bestseller * An Amazon Best Book of the Year * A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice * A Time Best Book for Summer
Between the world wars, no sport was more popular, or more dangerous, than airplane racing. While male pilots were lauded as heroes, the few women who dared to fly were more often ridiculed—until a cadre of women pilots banded together to break through the entrenched prejudice.
Fly Girls weaves together the stories of five remarkable women: Florence Klingensmith, a high school dropout from Fargo, North Dakota; Ruth Elder, an Alabama divorcée; Amelia Earhart, the most famous, but not necessarily the most skilled; Ruth Nichols, who chafed at her blue blood family’s expectations; and Louise Thaden, the young mother of two who got her start selling coal in Wichita. Together, they fought for the chance to fly and race airplanes—and in 1936, one of them would triumph, beating the men in the toughest air race of them all.
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK
AN NPR BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
ONE OF JANET MASLIN’S MUST-READ BOOKS OF THE SUMMER
A NEW YORK TIMES EDITOR'S CHOICE
ONE OF OUTSIDE MAGAZINE’S BEST BOOKS OF THE SUMMER
ONE OF AMAZON'S BEST NONFICTION BOOKS OF THE YEAR SO FAR
“A powerful and affecting story, beautifully handled by Slade, a journalist who clearly knows ships and the sea.”—Douglas Preston, New York Times Book Review
“A Perfect Storm for a new generation.”
—Ben Mezrich, bestselling author of The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook
On October 1, 2015, Hurricane Joaquin barreled into the Bermuda Triangle and swallowed the container ship El Faro whole, resulting in the worst American shipping disaster in thirty-five years. No one could fathom how a vessel equipped with satellite communications, a sophisticated navigation system, and cutting-edge weather forecasting could suddenly vanish—until now.
Relying on hundreds of exclusive interviews with family members and maritime experts, as well as the words of the crew members themselves—whose conversations were captured by the ship’s data recorder—journalist Rachel Slade unravels the mystery of the sinking of El Faro. As she recounts the final twenty-four hours onboard, Slade vividly depicts the officers’ anguish and fear as they struggled to carry out Captain Michael Davidson’s increasingly bizarre commands, which, they knew, would steer them straight into the eye of the storm. Taking a hard look at America's aging merchant marine fleet, Slade also reveals the truth about modern shipping—a cut-throat industry plagued by razor-thin profits and ever more violent hurricanes fueled by global warming.
A richly reported account of a singular tragedy, Into the Raging Sea takes us into the heart of an age-old American industry, casting new light on the hardworking men and women who paid the ultimate price in the name of profit.
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK
The first comprehensive, authoritative biography of American icon Arthur Ashe—the Jackie Robinson of men’s tennis—a pioneering athlete who, after breaking the color barrier, went on to become an influential civil rights activist and public intellectual.
Born in Richmond, Virginia, in 1943, by the age of eleven, Arthur Ashe was one of the state's most talented black tennis players. Jim Crow restrictions barred Ashe from competing with whites. Still, in 1960 he won the National Junior Indoor singles title, which led to a tennis scholarship at UCLA. He became the first African American to play for the US Davis Cup team in 1963, and two years later he won the NCAA singles championship. In 1968, he won both the US Amateur title and the first US Open title, rising to a number one national ranking. Turning professional in 1969, he soon became one of the world’s most successful tennis stars, winning the Australian Open in 1970 and Wimbledon in 1975. After retiring in 1980, he served four years as the US Davis Cup captain and was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1985.
In this revelatory biography, Raymond Arsenault chronicles Ashe’s rise to stardom on the court. But much of the book explores his off-court career as a human rights activist, philanthropist, broadcaster, writer, businessman, and celebrity. In the 1970s and 1980s, Ashe gained renown as an advocate for sportsmanship, education, racial equality, and the elimination of apartheid in South Africa. But from 1979 on, he was forced to deal with a serious heart condition that led to multiple surgeries and blood transfusions, one of which left him HIV-positive. In 1988, after completing a three-volume history of African-American athletes, he was diagnosed with AIDS, a condition he revealed only four years later. After devoting the last ten months of his life to AIDS activism, he died in February 1993 at the age of forty-nine, leaving an inspiring legacy of dignity, integrity, and active citizenship.
Based on prodigious research, including more than one hundred interviews, Raymond Arsenault’s insightful and compelling biography puts Ashe in the context of both his time and the long struggle of African-American athletes seeking equal opportunity and respect.
Based on an Athabascan Indian legend passed along for many generations from mothers to daughters of the upper Yukon River Valley in Alaska, this is the suspenseful, shocking, ultimately inspirational tale of two old women abandoned by their tribe during a brutal winter famine.
Though these women have been known to complain more than contribute, they now must either survive on their own or die trying. In simple but vivid detail, Velma Wallis depicts a landscape and way of life that are at once merciless and starkly beautiful. In her old women, she has created two heroines of steely determination whose story of betrayal, friendship, community, and forgiveness "speaks straight to the heart with clarity, sweetness, and wisdom" (Ursula K. Le Guin).
This powerful memoir touched the hearts of both readers and reviewers. Theresa Wisner follows in the wake of her fishing brothers to the far outposts of the world in an attempt to please her fishing father. With impeccable detail, Wisner paints a picture of life at sea from a young woman’s perspective. With courage and grit, she tells the story of addiction and recovery, and coming of age far later than most. Daughter of Neptune powerfully captures the beauty and the coarseness of a foreign world that creates the backdrop for healing.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • As a young mother facing a terminal diagnosis, Julie Yip-Williams began to write her story, a story like no other. What began as the chronicle of an imminent and early death became something much more—a powerful exhortation to the living.
“An exquisitely moving portrait of the daily stuff of life.”—The New York Times Book Review (Editors’ Choice)
That Julie Yip-Williams survived infancy was a miracle. Born blind in Vietnam, she narrowly escaped euthanasia at the hands of her grandmother, only to flee with her family the political upheaval of her country in the late 1970s. Loaded into a rickety boat with three hundred other refugees, Julie made it to Hong Kong and, ultimately, America, where a surgeon at UCLA gave her partial sight. She would go on to become a Harvard-educated lawyer, with a husband, a family, and a life she had once assumed would be impossible. Then, at age thirty-seven, with two little girls at home, Julie was diagnosed with terminal metastatic colon cancer, and a different journey began.
The Unwinding of the Miracle is the story of a vigorous life refracted through the prism of imminent death. When she was first diagnosed, Julie Yip-Williams sought clarity and guidance through the experience and, finding none, began to write her way through it—a chronicle that grew beyond her imagining. Motherhood, marriage, the immigrant experience, ambition, love, wanderlust, tennis, fortune-tellers, grief, reincarnation, jealousy, comfort, pain, the marvel of the body in full rebellion—this book is as sprawling and majestic as the life it records. It is inspiring and instructive, delightful and shattering. It is a book of indelible moments, seared deep—an incomparable guide to living vividly by facing hard truths consciously.
With humor, bracing honesty, and the cleansing power of well-deployed anger, Julie Yip-Williams set the stage for her lasting legacy and one final miracle: the story of her life.
Praise for The Unwinding of the Miracle
“Everything worth understanding and holding on to is in this book. . . . A miracle indeed.”—Kelly Corrigan, New York Times bestselling author
“A beautifully written, moving, and compassionate chronicle that deserves to be read and absorbed widely.”—Siddhartha Mukherjee, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies
“Scott Parazynski’s drive, curiosity, inventiveness, and great humor shine through the pages of The Sky Below and will certainly inspire future generations to pursue their dreams with every fiber in their being.” —John Glenn, NASA astronaut
An epic memoir from a man whose life is defined by exploration and innovation, The Sky Below re-creates some of the most unforgettable adventures of our time. From dramatic, high-risk spacewalks to author Scott Parazynski’s death-defying quest to summit Mount Everest—his body ravaged by a career in space—readers will experience the life of an elite athlete, physician, and explorer.
This intimate, compelling account offers a rare portrait of space exploration from the inside. A global nomad raised in the shadow of NASA’s Apollo missions, Parazynski never lost sight of his childhood dream to one day don a spacesuit and float outside the airlock. With deep passion, unbridled creativity, resilience, humility, and self-deprecation, Parazynski chases his dream of the ultimate adventure experience, again and again and again. In an era that transitioned from moon shots to the Space Shuttle, space station, and Mars research, Parazynski flies with John Glenn, tests jet packs, trains in Russia to become a cosmonaut, and flies five missions to outer space (including seven spacewalks) in his seventeen-year NASA career.
An unparalleled, visceral opportunity to understand what it’s like to train for—and deploy to—a home in zero gravity, The Sky Below also portrays an astronaut’s engagement with the challenges of his life on Earth, including raising a beautiful autistic daughter and finding true love.
The quintessential story of what it means to be the first generation to live two lives across one border, The House of Broken Angels is Pulitzer Prize finalist Luis Alberto Urrea's unforgettable portrait of the De La Cruz family as they celebrate the lives of two of their most beloved members over the course of one raucous and bittersweet weekend.