Memoir

Out of the Madness: From the Projects to a Life of Hope

By Jerrold Ladd

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"An incredible odyssey follows one African American's struggle through horrific circumstances, clinging to a heroin-addicted mother, attempting to get out of the violent, drug-ridden projects, and ultimately, out of sheer guts and self-education, creating a new life."

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On My Own at 107: Reflections on Life without Bessie

By Sarah L. Delany with Amy Hill Hearth

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The surviving sister of the pair whose story was told in Having Our Say recounts her transition from mourning the loss of her sister, Bessie, to a renewed zest for life, symbolized by Bessie's flower garden.

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Life Is So Good: One Man's Extraordinary Journey through the 20th Century and How he Learned to Read at Age 98

By George Dawson and Richard Glaubman

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"In this remarkable book, 103-year-old George Dawson, a slave's grandson who learned to read at age 98, reflects on his life and offers valuable lessons in living as well as a fresh, firsthand view of America during the twentieth century. Richard Glaubman captures Dawson's irresistible voice and view of the world, offering insights into humanity, history, hardships, and happiness. From segregation and civil rights, to the wars, presidents, and defining moments in history, George Dawson's description and assessment of the last century inspires readers with the message that-through it all-has sustained him: 'Life is so good. I do believe it's getting better.'"

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Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America

By Firoozeh Dumas

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"In 1972, when she was seven, Firoozeh Dumas and her family moved from Iran to Southern California, arriving with no firsthand knowledge of this country beyond her father’s glowing memories of his graduate school years here. More family soon followed, and the clan has been here ever since. Funny in Farsi chronicles the American journey of Dumas’s wonderfully engaging family: her engineer father, a sweetly quixotic dreamer who first sought riches on Bowling for Dollars and in Las Vegas, and later lost his job during the Iranian revolution; her elegant mother, who never fully mastered English (nor cared to); her uncle, who combated the effects of American fast food with an army of miraculous American weight-loss gadgets; and Firoozeh herself, who as a girl changed her name to Julie, and who encountered a second wave of culture shock when she met and married a Frenchman, becoming part of a one-couple melting pot. In a series of deftly drawn scenes, we watch the family grapple with American English (hot dogs and hush puppies?—a complete mystery), American traditions (Thanksgiving turkey?—an even greater mystery, since it tastes like nothing), and American culture (Firoozeh’s parents laugh uproariously at Bob Hope on television, although they don’t get the jokes even when she translates them into Farsi). Above all, this is an unforgettable story of identity, discovery, and the power of family love. It is a book that will leave us all laughing—without an accent."

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The Stars, the Snow, the Fire: Twenty-five Years in the Northern Wilderness

By John Haines

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For 25 years the poet John Haines lived, trapped, and hunted on the windswept hills above the Tanana River east of Fairbanks, Alaska. In this remarkable collection of essays he turns a poet's eye on his existence there and captures a life lived for the sake of survival.
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Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen: Reflections at 60 and Beyond

By Larry McMurtry

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The Pulitzer Prize-winning author presents a memoir of his odyssey from rancher's son to critically acclaimed novelist, in a reminiscence set against the backdrop of the Lone Star State.

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The Measure of My Days

By Florida Scott-Maxwell

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"Playwright and Jungian analyst Florida Scott-Maxwell explores the unique predicament of one's later years: when one feels both cut off from the past and out of step with the present; when the body rebels at activity but the mind becomes more passionate than ever. Written when Maxwell was in her eighties, The Measure of My Days offers a panoramic vision of the issues that haunt us throughout our lives: the struggle to achieve goodness; how to maintain individuality in a mass society; and how to emerge -- out of suffering, loss, and limitation -- with something approaching wisdom."

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A Child Called "It": One Child's Courage to Survive

By Dave Pelzer

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This book chronicles the unforgettable account of one of the most severe child abuse cases in California history. It is the story of Dave Pelzer, who was brutally beaten and starved by his emotionally unstable, alcoholic mother: a mother who played tortuous, unpredictable games--games that left him nearly dead. He had to learn how to play his mother's games in order to survive because she no longer considered him a son, but a slave; and no longer a boy, but an "it." Dave's bed was an old army cot in the basement, and his clothes were torn and raunchy.

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Neither Wolf Nor Dog: On Forgotten Roads with an Indian Elder by Kent Nerburn

Neither Wolf Nor Dog Cover

Sometimes a book tells a wonderfully enchanting story. Sometimes it is nonfiction and conveys information. There are a few books that are able to do both. Out of those few books that do both, there are a handful that can really cause you to question the reality that you have known as truth. Neither Wolf, Nor Dog, by Kent Nerburn, is one of those special books. 

Nerburn’s book is a true story. When he was a young anthropologist who specialized in Native Americans, he was invited to meet with an Indian Elder in order to write down his thoughts and memories. After Nerburn accepts the challenge, he and Dan, the Lakota elder, begin to go across the Black Hills on a spiritual journey that is both mystical and enlightening.

Scared Silent: The Mildred Muhammad Story

By Mildred Muhammad

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"Mildred Muhammad, the former wife of convicted 'D.C. sniper' John Muhammad, breaks her silence about the domestic violence she suffered during their marriage and the tragic events that occurred after their divorce, which led up to the October 2002 sniper killings in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area."

Includes discussion guide, listing of state coalitions against domestic violence, and a safety plan for victims in a domestic violence situation.

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