First, two books I forgot on my 2012 list:
–The Woman Who Fell from the Sky: An American Journalist in Yemen. Absolutely loved this memoir. The woman was bored with her journalism career in NYC and took a job for a few months in Yemen. Then she returned to NYC and…. decided to return to Yemen for another year. This memoir falls into the category of “books that make me really really glad I was born in America”. Her stories are fascinating though, especially when she falls in love with the married British ambassador.
–Forbidden Lessons in a Kabul Guesthouse: The True Story of a Woman Who Risked Everything to Bring Hope to Afghanistan. This memoir falls into the same category as above. What a terrifying country. This was written by a woman who grew up in Afghanistan but fled when she was a young woman and the political situation started to get bad (late 1970’s?). She came to America and built a successful life with her husband, but when he dies suddenly she feels the need to do something more fulfilling and starts a charity organization for Afghanistan. Along the way she ends up spending a lot of time in the country during a very dangerous period and the result (besides a thriving charity!) is a really good book. (That will make you thankful you live in America.)
Books so far in 2013:
–The Grace of Silence: This is a memoir by Michele Norris of NPR about growing up in Minneapolis during the 1970’s and learning about her family’s history and the secrets they had kept regarding racism towards them earlier in their lives. Her Dad grew up in Birmingham and it was shocking for me to read how African-Americans were treated there during and after WWII. It’s one thing to know the basic facts of segregation in the south, but this was truly sobering to read the account of one family’s story. And then when they bought a house in Minneapolis they were “block busters” and since I live here it hit so close to home that this could’ve been a family that lived right next store to my Mom’s and it is just crazy to think people were treated that way in what seems like the very recent past. Anyway, highly recommended book.
–Burying the Typewriter: A memoir about growing up in communist Romania with an activist father. As much as I love memoirs, I especially love “behind the iron curtain” memoirs. The woman who wrote it is not much older than I am and her family was terrorized by the secret police for years because of her father’s activities before they managed to come to the U.S. when she was a teenager. I really liked this book not just for the drama, but because of the descriptions of life in a small village in Romania, how everyone was connected and families were very close and life was simple and happy (when not being stalked by the secret police).
I also started and stopped three other memoirs that I will spare you the details/am too lazy to type out, and am in the middle of three more. My problem is I put them on the request list at the library and then they all come in at the same time and I can’t help starting them all. Plan for the rest of 2013: Read something other than memoirs?