books The Best Memoirs Ever Written  

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The best memoirs throughout literary history have managed to both educate and entertain readers over the years. They have introduced characters as compelling as any work of fiction - the world is able to know Elie Wiesel, Anne Frank, David Sedaris, and Maya Angelou through the pages of their famous memoirs. What are the best memoirs of all time? This list of popular memoirs includes literary works of art that provide historical accounts and biographies that were written from personal knowledge of historical accounts.

The thing that sets a top memoir apart from other literary works such as biographies or autobiographies is that it includes the personal experiences and first-hand accounts of the author. For example, Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl only discusses key experiences she lived through during the Holocaust, and the effects it had on her as a child.

In contrast, an autobiography will cover the entire span of the author’s life, such as The Education of Henry Adams by Henry Adams. Such works of literary will be a broader-focused perspective of an author’s life experiences instead of a more narrowed, single approach to a historical event. Both memoirs and autobiographies are true because they discuss true events that the author experienced or were a part of in some way. There are many different genres of memoirs that discuss a variety of topics. For a lighthearted read, Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom is one of reader’s top picks. If you’re looking for a more serious approach, consider Corrie Ten Boom’s The Hiding Place.
list ordered by

1
258 32
The Glass Castle is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
The Glass Castle Jeannette Walls

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2
162 24
The Diary of a Young Girl is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written

3
112 15
Night is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Night Elie Wiesel

4
145 28
Angela's Ashes is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Angela's Ashes Frank McCourt

5
102 15
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sing... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written

6
90 24
Running with Scissors is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Running with Scissors Augusten Burroughs

7
92 30
A Child Called
A Child Called "It" Dave Pelzer

8
61 16
The Liars' Club is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
The Liars' Club Mary Karr

9
71 23
Me Talk Pretty One Day is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Me Talk Pretty One Day David Sedaris

10
52 11
On Writing: A Memoir of the Cr... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written

11
48 9
This Boy's Life: A Memoir is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
noiradelic added This Boy's Life: A Memoir Tobias Wolff

12
49 11
All Creatures Great and Small is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written

13
49 12
Midnight in the Garden of Good... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written

14
42 9
Just Kids is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Just Kids Patti Smith

15
74 31
Tuesdays With Morrie is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Tuesdays With Morrie Mitch Albom

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die The Best Books Written Under Pen Names

16
36 6
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a ... is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written

17
38 8
Out of Africa is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Out of Africa Isak Dinesen

18
38 8
The Autobiography of Malcolm X is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
The Autobiography of Malcolm X Alex Haley, Malcolm X

19
44 13
Girl, Interrupted is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Girl, Interrupted Susanna Kaysen

20
37 10
'Tis: A Memoir is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
'Tis: A Memoir Frank McCourt

21
30 7
The Diving-Bell and the Butter... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly Jean-Dominique Bauby

22
27 5
Persepolis is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Persepolis Marjane Satrapi

23
35 12
Naked is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Naked David Sedaris

24
35 13
Prozac Nation is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Prozac Nation Elizabeth Wurtzel

25
31 10
Dry is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Dry Barbara Sapergia, Augusten Burroughs

26
26 7
Marley & Me: Life and Love wit... is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written

27
27 8
Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Ton... is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written

28
24 6
Born Standing Up: A Comic's Li... is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written

29
23 7
The Hiding Place is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
The Hiding Place Corrie ten Boom

95+ Amazing Behind the Scenes Photos from Iconic Movies Things You Miss Most About College

30
23 8
The Autobiography of Benjamin ... is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written

31
23 8
The Color of Water: A Black Ma... is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written

32
20 6
Lucky is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Lucky Alice Sebold

33
19 6
Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Me... is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written

34
25 12
Nickel and Dimed is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Nickel and Dimed Barbara Ehrenreich

35
23 12
Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feyn... is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written

36
17 8
The Life and Times of the Thun... is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written

37
20 11
Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524... is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written

38
12 4
Boy: Tales of Childhood is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written

39
13 5
Chronicles: Volume One is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written

40
17 9
Not without my daughter is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Not without my daughter William Hoffer, Betty Mahmoody

41
17 9
The Last Lecture is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
The Last Lecture Randy Pausch, Jeffrey Zaslow

42
18 10
Kitchen Confidential: Adventur... is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written

43
18 10
My Life in France is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
My Life in France Julia Child, Alex Prud'homme

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44
13 7
Cheaper by the Dozen is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Cheaper by the Dozen Frank Gilbreth^! Jr., Ernestine Carey

45
12 7
Tender at the bone is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Tender at the bone Ruth Reichl

46
9 4
The Rum Diary is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Kyle Painter added The Rum Diary Hunter S. Thompson

47
10 7
Garlic and Sapphires is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Garlic and Sapphires Ruth Reichl

48
6 6
Lucky Man is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
fivefour68 added Lucky Man

49
5 5
Testimony is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
alfeyerabend added Testimony Solomon Volkov - Dmitri Shostakovich

50
35 38
Eat, Pray, Love is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Eat, Pray, Love Elizabeth Gilbert