Looking for a good true story to read? Below we have collected ten of the best memoirs and autobiographies—some you may not know about. Add these to your personal collection and let us know what you think!

Elie Wiesel, All Rivers Run to the Sea

All Rivers Run to the Sea
All Rivers Run to the Sea by Elie Wiesel

All Rivers Run to the Sea focuses on the life of Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor of the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps. Through an exploration of his childhood, his religion, travel, and discovering love, this memoir will connect with all readers on an emotional level.

Buy the book here.

Elena Gorokhova, A Mountain of Crumbs

In A Mountain of Crumbs, Elena Gorokhova details her life in Soviet Russia and her tumultuous relationship with her overbearing and protective mother, whom she often compares to the motherland she so hopes to escape by marrying an American student.

Read our review of it here.
Buy it here.

Mountain of Crumbs Cover
A Mountain of Crumbs by Elena Gorokhova

3. Jeanette Walls, The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle
The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls

Jeanette Walls writes The Glass Castle, detailing her nomadic life with her siblings and her parents as they move from one Southwest town to the next, living off of odd jobs and struggling to put food on the table.

Eventually, they move to West Virginia but her father, a drunk, continuously steals their money and leaves them for days at a time. Jeanette struggles to make it out of poverty and live a life of her own.

Buy it here.

4. Amy Poehler, Yes Please

Amy Poehler’s autobiography takes readers on a journey through her imaginative childhood and high school to her stints with Upright Citizens Brigade and Saturday Night Live and the creation of Parks and Recreation, along with tales of the friendships she has made along the way.

This funny and inspirational read will leave you wanting more from Amy Poehler.

Buy it here.

Yes Please
Yes Please, Amy Poehler

5. William Kamkwamba, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind divulges the inspirational story of William Kamkwamba, a young boy in Malawi that strives for education during a time his rural African village is experiencing famine and its after effects. Relentlessly, Kamkwamba researches textbooks in his local library to find a solution to help his family gain nongovernment-run electricity.

That is when he comes up with the perfect idea: a windmill.

Read our review of it here.
Buy it here.

6. Maya Angelou, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

Maya Angelou’s debut autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings tells the tale of her and her brother’s childhood in rural Arkansas with her grandmother and uncle, where they experience racism from the whites in their town. At eight years old, she and her brother are sent to live with their mother in St. Louis where her mother’s boyfriend abuses her. She then details her experiences in San Francisco. This story is now considered a modern American classic, essential for all readers.

Buy it here.

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

7. Malala Yousafzai, I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban

I Am Malala
I Am Mala by Malala Yousafzai

I am Malala is the story of Malala Yousafzai who fought for the right to education in Swat Valley in Pakistan and refused to be silenced. One day while riding the bus home from school, she was shot in the head but she survived and became a symbol of global peace, and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Buy it here.


8. Tina Fey, Bossypants

 Tina Fey’s autobiography Bossypants is the tale of Fey’s childhood, nerdy teenage years, and her marriage (both to her husband and to comedy). She covers her days on Saturday Night Live as Sarah Palin and playing Liz Lemon on 30Rock. Be prepared to receive hilarious—and true—advice on physical beauty and being a mom. If you loved her sister in comedy Amy Poehler’s Yes Please, you’ll love Bossypants.

Buy it here.

Bossypants by Tina Fey

9. Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

The Bell Jar
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar is a semi-autobiographical tale, taking place in Esther Greenwood’s successful life that slowly slides downhill when Esther has a breakdown and begins descending into insanity. Dark, twisted, and vexing, Sylvia Plath draws you into the madness of Esther’s mind with such detail, it will leave you stunned and emotional.

Buy it here.

10. Howard Dully, My Lobotomy

My Lobotomy is the story of Howard Dully, a boy whose family paid for him to have a $200 icepick lobotomy at the age of 12. Dully never understood why his family lobotomized him. At age 44, he decides to find out why his life was taken from him. This story will leave readers speechless.

Buy it here.

My Lobotomy

Selina R. Dukes

Editorial Assistant at NY Literary Magazine
Selina is a senior studying Public and Professional Writing and Management at Auburn University. She is set to graduate in December 2017.
Selina enjoys reading international literature and exploring community literacy, both real and virtual. She is an avid blogger and promotes the expression of social commentary.