Memoirs – some favourites, some new ones

Reviewing my memoirs bookcase (yes, I have such a thing, though a few novels lurk there too), I see that I haven’t included some of my favourites in my blog listings. There are are also some literary memoirs (“heavy-lit’ers”) that I haven’t read, and am eager to start on.

Here are some favourite books (mixed genre):

Frank McCourt, Teacher Man. Not as wrenching as Angela’s Ashes (thank god) but a fine memoir, all the same. How sad we’ve lost Frank McCourt now. It’s always the same selfish thought when we lose a gifted writer: Oh! No more stories….

Whale for the Killing;  Never Cry Wolf; Aftermath; The Serpent’s Coil (memoirs and creative non-fiction), by Farley Mowat. Farley Mowat is so good at what he does…we just take him for granted. Re-read any of these, and enjoy.

Evelyn Lau: the one, the only. You probably wouldn’t wish her life experiences on the most loathed individual in your life – but “the business” aside, you can’t deny this writer’s huge talent. There have been times when the world just stopped when I read her prose.  Inside Out is such a book.

The Hungry Ocean, The Lobster Chronicles: Life on a very small island; All Fishermen are Liars, by Linda Greenlaw. All of these of good – but the best by far is the first memoir, The Hungry Ocean.  Linda Greenlaw was only female captain of a swordfish vessel on the East Coast of the U.S. She was also a big money-maker, who all the guys wanted to crew for. And none of this would matter if she wasn’t such a good writer. You can have all the great stories in the world, but if you can’t tell them worth a bean … no one will read your books.

Little Horse of Iron, by Lawrence Scalan. Speaking of good writers, here’s one. Of course I am a little bit prejudiced in the area of horses – but subject aside, Scalan is a top-notch writer. He’s done so many fine books on horses, including one children’s book on our own Big Ben.

One I am looking forward to: The Vintage Book of Canadian Memoirs, edited by George Fetherling. Looks like a terrific read.

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