Books The Best Memoirs Ever Written  

Ranker Books
4.6k votes 1.2k voters 112k views 59 items
We hope you love the products we recommend! Just so you know, Ranker may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

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
370 68
The Glass Castle is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Jeannette Walls

2
248 45
The Diary of a Young Girl is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written

3
215 47
Angela's Ashes is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Frank McCourt

4
165 32
Night is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Elie Wiesel

5
140 40
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sing... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written

6
120 44
Running with Scissors is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Augusten Burroughs

7
127 52
A Child Called
Dave Pelzer

8
77 22
On Writing: A Memoir of the Cr... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written

9
70 19
Midnight in the Garden of Good... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written

10
73 21
All Creatures Great and Small is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written

11
90 32
The Liars' Club is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Mary Karr

12
109 44
Tuesdays With Morrie is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Mitch Albom

13
92 40
Me Talk Pretty One Day is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
David Sedaris

14
56 19
Just Kids is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Patti Smith

15
64 25
This Boy's Life: A Memoir is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
noiradelic added Tobias Wolff

16
53 19
'Tis: A Memoir is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Frank McCourt

17
49 17
Out of Africa is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Isak Dinesen

18
61 26
Girl, Interrupted is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Susanna Kaysen

19
49 18
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a ... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written

20
38 14
Persepolis is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Marjane Satrapi

21
47 22
The Autobiography of Malcolm X is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Alex Haley, Malcolm X

22
45 21
Marley & Me: Life and Love wit... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written

23
39 18
Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Ton... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written

24
37 17
The Color of Water: A Black Ma... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written

25
38 19
The Diving-Bell and the Butter... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Jean-Dominique Bauby