Books that Inspire: 5 Memorable Memoirs

From the literary life to a candid account of aging and awe-inspiring adventures, here are 5 must-reads — plus a book to help you pen your own life story.

 

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FIND A WAY by Diana Nyad

As a young Olympian in peak physical form, swimmer Diana Nyad embarked on what would be a record-breaking one hundred mile journey in shark-infested waters from Cuba to Florida. She was unsuccessful. At the age of sixty-four, she tried again. This time she made it, becoming the first to make the historic crossing without the aid of a shark cage. If there’s an example of reaching for, and achieving, a dream no matter what your age, this is it.

books-2-membering‘MEMBERING by Austin Clarke

He’s not called “Canada’s first multicultural writer” for nothing. His novels and short stories about the immigrant experience in this country have won Clarke numerous awards, including the Giller for his novel, The Polished Hoe. Telling things as he ‘members them, Clarke takes readers on a lyrical journey of his life, from his early years in Barbados to finding a home in Toronto.

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A DIARY OF MY SIXTY-FIRST YEAR by Ian Brown

From the author of the award-winning The Boy in the Moon comes this candid, bittersweet and at times, brutally funny account of crossing the big 6-0 milestone. A book that will strike a definite chord with those of us who feel we’ve somehow misplaced a decade or two.

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THIS IS HAPPY by Camilla Gibb

From the bestselling author of Sweetness in the Belly and The Beauty of Humanity Movement, comes a moving and beautifully-wrought memoir about motherhood, loss, and finding family, and happiness, in the most unexpected places.

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ALONE AGAINST THE NORTH: AN EXPEDITION INTO THE UNKNOWN by Adam Shoalts

In case you think there’s little of our planet left to explore in this high tech age of space and satellite imagery, you’ll want to read Adam Shoalts’ chronicle of his adventures in the Hudson Bay Lowlands. The Ontario native, who has been called Canada’s Indiana Jones, single-handedly paddled the mysterious and previously unmapped Again River — and found himself face-to-face with unexpected dangers.

 

books-6THE ART OF MEMOIR by Mary Karr

Once the province of film stars and prime ministers, the memoir as a genre is not only massively popular but also increasingly democratic, with more people penning their life stories for their own enjoyment or to pass on to the kids and grandkids. Mary Karr, bestselling author of The Liars’ Club can tell you just how to do so. Not only does she pull back the curtain on her own writing process, she also gives insight on how to open up memory and bring the past to life.