Back in May of 2019 I had this idea to do a series of book lists featuring your favorite most unputdownable books. The first (and only) edition was of course on nonfiction and then I dropped the ball, but I’m bring backing The Unputdownables here and now.
To start, I’ll share two or three of my favorite and more readable memoirs. Then I’ll share all of yours. I didn’t add anything to the list, this is all sourced from YOU! If something is missing, and you want your picks to be included in future editions of The Unputdownables make sure you’re following The Stacks on Instagram, and participating when you see the question box appear.
Heavy by Kiese Laymon – This should come as a surprise to approximately zero people. I love this book with my whole heart. Laymon is constantly examining and revising what is means to be Black, Southern, curious, alive, and free through the pages of his memoir. Not only is Heavy rhythmic and well written it is also generous and vulnerable and rich. If you’ve never read this book, please make time for it. I can not speak highly enough of the book itself and the man who wrote it. Kiese Laymon has also appeared on The Stacks podcast and in conversation with me on The Stacks Instagram.
The Other Side by Lacy M. Johnson – A brutal and powerful story of Johnson’s kidnapping, rape, and attempted murder at the hands of her ex-boyfriend. This memoir will make your heart race, however the violence and trauma is handled with care. It is incredibly readable and thought provoking. Johnson is a professional writer and The Other Side reads as a piece of art and a indictment on the ways violence against women is an accepted part of America’s identity. You can also hear Lacy M. Johnson on The Stacks from 2019.
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah – An incredible story of Beah’s childhood as a solider in Sierra Leone. The book follows his journey, the atrocities he saw, and the ways he coped. Deeply moving and a reminder that you never know what other people carry with them.
Here are a list of books submitted by you of your most unputdownable memoirs. If the book came up multiple times I will note that by placing the number times it came up in parenthesis. If I have read the book, I will note that too, by putting the book in bold. The books are in alphabetical order by title. Ok. here is your list of totally bingeable memoirs as told to me by YOU.
- 37 Seconds: Dying Revealed Heaven’s Help–A Mother’s Journey by Stephanie Arnold with Sari Padorr
- A Piece of Cake by Cupcake Brown
- All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson
- All That Is Bitter and Sweet by Ashley Judd with Maryanne Vollers
- All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung (2)
- An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison
- The Answer Is…:Reflections on My Life by Alex Trebek
- The Beauty in Breaking by Michele Harper
- Becoming by Michelle Obama (5)
- Belonging: A german Reckons with History and Home by Nora Krug
- The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui (2)
- Black Boy by Richard Wright
- Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah (3)
- Call Me American by Abdi Nor Iftin
- Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets & Advice for Living Your Best Life by Ali Wong
- The Dragons, the Giant, the Women by Wayétu Moore
- Educated by Tara Westover (2)
- Everything Sad is Untrue by Daniel Nayeri
- Fairest by Meredith Talusan
- The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (2)
- Good Talk by Mira Jacobs (3)
- Heavy by Kiese Laymon (13)
- Here for It by R. Eric Thomas
- How We Fight for our Lives by Saeed Jones
- Hunger by Roxane Gay (2)
- I’m Still Here by Austin Channing Brown
- In My Own Moccasins by Helen Knott
- Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by Dani Shapiro
- Invisible Man Got the Whole World Watching by Mychal Denzel Smith
- In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado (11)
- Journey into the Whirlwind by Eugenia Ginzburg
- Just Kids by Patti Smith
- Know My Name by Chanel Miller (10)
- Lab Girl bby Hope Jahren
- The Liar’s Club by Mary Karr
- Lit by Mary Karr
- Little Weirds by Jenny Slate
- Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls by T. Kira Madden (3)
- Love Thy Neighbor: A Muslim Doctor’s Struggle for Home in Rural America by Ayaz Virji with Alan Eisenstock
- March Trilogy by John Lewis with Andrew Aydin illustrated by Nate Powell
- The Meaning of Mariah Carey by Mariah Careyamericansa
- Memorial Drive by Natasha Trethewey (3)
- Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward (8)
- Monsoon Mansion by Cinelle Barnes
- Most Talkative: Stories from the Front Lines of Pop Culture by Andy Cohen
- The Mother of Black Hollywood by Jenifer Lewis
- My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor
- Negroland by Margo Jeffersomn
- No One Tells You This by Glynnis MacNicol (2)
- Not My Father’s Son by Alan Cumming
- Not Quite Not White: Losing and Finding Race in America by Sharmila Sen
- Obviously by Akilah Hughes
- Open Book by Jessica Simpson (2)
- Ordinary Hazards by Nikki Grimes
- The Perfect Predator: A Scientist’s Race to Save Her Husband from a Deadly Superbug by Steffanie Strathdee and Thomas Patterson
- The Prisoner’s Wife by asha bandele
- Rabbit by Patricia Williams with Jeannine Amber
- Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock
- The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy
- Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl
- Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story by Jacob Tobia
- Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty
- The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner
- Stray by Stephanie Danler
- The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life, Freedom, and Justice by Anthony Ray Hinton with Lara Love Hardin (2)
- We Have Always Been Here by Samra Habib
- We’re Going to Need More Wine: Stories That Are Funny, Complicated, and True by Gabrielle Union (2)
- When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi (2)
- Wild Game: My Mother, Her Secret, and Me by Adrienne Brodeur
- Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner by Judy Melinek and T. J. Mitchell
- The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom
- Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
Thats the list for The Unputdownables: Memoir. Make sure to share which books you would add to this list in the comments. Stay tuned for the next round of The Unputdownables, coming soon.
To contribute to The Stacks, join The Stacks Pack, and get exclusive perks, check out our Patreon page (https://www.patreon.com/thestacks). We are beyond grateful for anything you’re able to give to support the production of The Stacks.
The Stacks participates in affiliate programs. We receive a small commission when products are purchased through links on this website, and this comes at no cost to you. This in no way effects opinions on books and products reviewed here. For more information click here.
One thought on “The Unputdownables: Memoir”
This is a great list! I really loved Born A Crime by Trevor Noah. It is a book that should be enjoyed in audiobook form because he reads it himself and switches between voices and languages in a way that seriously brings his amazing story to life.