Biographies & Memoirs

My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf

My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf

First off, yes, it is that Dahmer. Secondly, yes, this book is written and drawn by a man named Derf Backderf.

My Friend Dahmer is much more than just a grisly expose on the teenage life of a future serial killer; it is also a rumination on the culture of 1970's suburbia, where teens were left to their own devices in the wake of divorce or career-minded parents.

A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen

A Street Cat Named Bob cover

 A Street Cat Named Bob is the true story of a young man who is a recovering heroin addict who was homeless in London. He became part of a government program that found him an apartment and started him in a rehab program. Then he met Bob, the orange street cat who became attached to him and refused to leave the apartment’s hallway for weeks. James finally let Bob into his apartment, and they developed a fast friendship that benefited both of them. 

Jim Henson: The Biography by Brian Jay Jones

Jim Henson: The Biography by Brian Jay Jones

Jim Henson: The Biography approaches the man through his work. This makes sense since, as he was the artist who redefined puppetry, Henson created and entertained almost non-stop for four decades.

Kate Waller Barrett

Kate Waller Barrett

Kate Waller Barrett (1857-1925), gently-raised daughter of a prominent Stafford County family, was confronted as a young woman by a heart-wrenching scene that played out before her in her home. It stirred her heart and propelled her into a public life. The humanitarian work inspired by Kate Waller Barrett’s experience led eventually to established shelters and services across this country and abroad known generally as the Florence Crittenton Mission.

Lost Boy, Lost Girl: Escaping the Civil War in Sudan by John Bul Dau and Martha Arual Akech

Lost Boy, Lost Girl: Escaping the Civil War in Sudan by John Bul Dau and Martha

When you’re thirteen, it seems as though everything will be the same always, especially if you live in a traditional culture. For John Bul Dau, life with his large family and many friends as cattle keepers in the Dinka tribe was wonderful. The elders were wise and taught them what they needed to know to become strong men and women. There was time for work and time for play. All of that changed the night the Northern soldiers destroyed their village, as told in John Bul Dau and Martha Arual Akech’s Lost Boy, Lost Girl: Escaping the Civil War in Sudan.

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley

Lucy Knisley's graphic novel Relish: My Life in the Kitchen zigzags between biography, cookbook, travelogue, and manifesto of all things culinary. What's more, her fun, vibrantly colorful artwork often made me very hungry. This is the mark of success for such a book.

Relish explores every aspect of food's vast appeal, whether it is for purposes of comfort, nourishment, or to just satisfy that insatiable craving for sautéed mushrooms.

Feynman by Jim Ottaviani

Feynman by Jim Ottaviani

Richard Feynman was one of the younger scientists entrusted to work on the atomic bomb, but the graphic novel biography Feynman shows that there is so much more to his life than just those few years.

For one thing, the Nobel-winning physicist was equally fascinated with art, using diagrams to explain his science in a way for which he could not always find the right words. What better representation for an artistic scientist's life than a graphic novel?

Rurally Screwed: My Life Off the Grid with the Cowboy I Love by Jessie Knadler

Rurally Screwed: My Life Off the Grid with the Cowboy I Love by  Jessie Knadler

Jessie Knadler, transplanted from Montana, is living a less than satisfying life in the Big Apple. She’s just been laid off from her position as a magazine editor; she recently learned that her lover has a proclivity for (really) young girls; and she’s certain that her late nights spent drinking into the wee hours will not prolong her life. When she’s offered a freelance opportunity to return to Montana to write a story on a popular rodeo event, Jessie figures she’s got nothing better to do…plus there’s always the nagging fact of needing cash. In Rurally Screwed: My Life Off the Grid with the Cowboy I Love, Jessie’s trip back West will dramatically change her life.

If you like Breaking Night by Liz Murray

Breaking Night by Liz Murray
This readalike is in response to a patron's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids.  You can browse the book matches here.
 
Breaking Night by Liz Murray: "The memoir of a young woman who at age 15 was living on the streets but survived to make it to Harvard. Murray's story was featured in the Lifetime Original Movie 'Homeless to Harvard.'" 
 
If you enjoyed this title and are looking for similar nonfiction titles, here are some books you may enjoy:
 
Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt
The author chronicles his impoverished childhood and early experiences in the Catholic church, and describes his father's alcoholism and talent for storytelling, as well as the challenges and tragedies his mother faced, balancing painful memories with humor. (catalog description)
 
 
 
 
Another Place at the Table by Kathy Harrison
For more than a decade, Kathy Harrison has sheltered a shifting cast of troubled youngsters-the offspring of prostitutes and addicts; the sons and daughters of abusers; and teenage parents who can't handle parenthood. What would motivate someone to give herself over to constant, largely uncompensated chaos? How does she manage her extraordinary blended family? Why would anyone voluntarily take on her job? (catalog description)
 
 
 

If you like The Places In Between by Rory Stewart

The Places In Between
This readalike is in response to a patron's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids.  You can browse the book matches here.
 
The Places In Between by Rory Stewart: "In January 2002 Rory Stewart walked across Afghanistan-surviving by his wits, his knowledge of Persian dialects and Muslim customs, and the kindness of strangers. By day he passed through mountains covered in nine feet of snow, hamlets burned and emptied by the Taliban, and communities thriving amid the remains of medieval civilizations. By night he slept on villagers' floors, shared their meals, and listened to their stories of the recent and ancient past" (Book Description).
 
If you enjoyed this book, here are some other titles you may enjoy:
 
Arabian Sands by Wilfred Thesiger
Wilfred Thesiger, repulsed by what he saw as the softness and rigidity of Western life - 'the machines, the calling cards, the meticulously aligned streets' - spent years exploring in and around the vast, waterless desert that is the 'Empty Quarter' of Arabia. Travelling amongst the Bedu people, he experienced their everyday challenges of hunger and thirst, the trials of long marches beneath the relentless sun, the bitterly cold nights and the constant danger of death if it was discovered he was a Christian 'infidel'. He was the first European to visit most of the region, and just before he left the area the process that would change it forever had begun - the discovery of oil. (catalog description)
 
Author recounts his travels through thirteen Muslim countries in the Middle East: the ordinary people, the conflicts, and the land. (worldcat.org)