> Zed Book Club / Inside Story: 7 Fascinating Memoirs

Huma Abedin attends alice + olivia Celebrates Pride With Prom at Parrish Art Museum on June 24, 2021 in Water Mill, New York. Photo: Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

> Buzz

Inside Story: 7 Fascinating Memoirs

From confessional to professional, our must-read autobiographies include books by Katie Couric, Hayley Wickenheiser and Tomson Highway / BY Susan Grimbly / January 20th, 2022

As Victorian novelist George Meredith once wrote, “Memoirs are the backstairs of history.” They take you to intimate places in a way fiction cannot, with moments hidden behind the scenes. Herewith, a fine list of memoirs from confessional to professional, and beyond.

Obsessive Book Buyers: Zoomer editors have carefully curated our book coverage to ensure you find the perfect read. We may earn a commission on books you buy by clicking on the cover image.

1Both/And: A Life in Many Worlds by Huma Abedin

Don’t we all want to know why smart, poised Huma Abedin – Hillary Clinton’s aide and adviser – was married to a “sexting” knucklehead like New York representative Anthony Weiner? This personal account takes you inside both her political life and the scandal of its day. According to NPR reviewer Caitlyn Kim, “it’s the story of her parents — their family’s history — that sheds the most light on who Abedin is.”

2I Thought He Was Dead: A Spiritual Memoir by Ralph Benmergui

A wry title from the former CBC TV and Jazz-FM radio personality who had a spiritual awakening after a near-death experience. The son of Moroccan immigrants, who now has a practice in Hashpa’ah: Jewish Spiritual Direction, talks about his life, from the young Yuk-Yuks days through to learning what it’s like to become an “elder.”

3Going There by Katie Couric

Life as a TV news host is hell for women (The Morning Show, anyone?). But, if you love bitchy gossip, get out the Prosecco and dive into Going There. Couric, the first solo female anchor for a major network (CBS) evening news program, talks about sexism, rivalries, squirting breast milk and, yes, Matt Lauer (ugh). Messy, you bet. Life in the blond, 125-pound lane is rough. Slate called Going There “juicy, frank.”


4Permanent Astonishment: Growing Up in the Land of Snow and Skyby Tomson Highway

Playwright Tomson Highway, the son of a caribou hunter, has written a beautiful, amusing account of growing up – the 11th of 12 children – in northwestern Manitoba. Despite his radiant childhood (he says he was born in a snowbank), he doesn’t shy from the abuses at Guy Hill Residential School in The Pas, where he stayed from six to 15. Quill & Quire called the book a “powerful account of finding joy on the upper side of hardship.”


5The Whisper on the Night Wind by Adam Shoalts

Step east into Labrador, an ancient, unspoiled beauty. I’ve been fascinated by it ever since I read The Lure of the Labrador Wild, in which a trek leader starved to death 50 km from safety. (He wouldn’t ask for directions.) Modern adventurer Adam Shoalts is drawn by tales of a legendary creature that is “spooking” the community near the Mealy Mountains. Strange tracks? Missing sled dogs? Gather round the campfire …

6My Mother, My Translator by Jaspreet Singh

Writer Jaspreet Singh came to Canada from India in the early 90s. He coaxed his mother to write her memoir, but when she passed away in 2012, he took over. Her family had lived through the 1947 partition of India, and the anti-Sikh pogroms. “I found out, in my own way, that telling the story in first person liberated me somewhat,” he writes. “This way, it was also possible to imagine things my mother had not revealed.” It’s an interesting exercise, to write another person’s memoir, from one’s own point of view.


7Over the Boards: Lessons from the Ice by Hayley Wickenheiser

Let’s end on an upbeat note: a memoir from the greatest women’s hockey player of all time, Hayley Wickenheiser OC, four-time Olympic Gold medalist, physician and executive for the Toronto Maple Leafs (and still only 42). Born 1978 in Shaunoven, Sask., Wickenheiser started hockey at the age of 5, played minor hockey with the boys (changing in boiler rooms), and became the first woman who was not a goalie to play full-time, professional men’s hockey. Transcendent.


American novelist Joshua Cohen wins the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for “The Netanyahus”The 2022 Pulitzer prizes include this satirical look at identity politics, focused on the father of former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at a crucial time in the Jewish state’s history

Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro Among Canadian Authors Recognized in Commemorative Reading List Marking Queen’s Platinum JubileeThe authors are among six Canadian scribes included on the The Big Jubilee Read list.

Queen Elizabeth II’s Aide Reveals Details of Life in Royal Pandemic Lockdown in New Addition to BookAngela Kelly, who's worked for the Queen for 20 years, discusses everything from cutting the Queen's hair to "the light and laughter that was shared ... even in the darkest moments."

New Leonard Cohen Story Collection, ‘A Ballet of Lepers,’ Set for October ReleaseThe collection features a novel, short stories and a radio play written between 1956 and 1961.

Archived Letters Reveal How Toni Morrison Helped MacKenzie Scott Meet Future Husband Jeff BezosBezos hired Scott at the hedge fund where he worked after receiving a recommendation from Morrison. Shortly thereafter, the pair married and Scott helped Bezos launch Amazon.

Prince Harry’s Memoir is Set to Rock the MonarchyFriends say the California-based royal got a million-pound book deal to write "an intimate take on his feeling about the family."

European Jewish Congress Asks Publisher to Pull Anne Frank BookThe Congress says 'The Betrayal of Anne Frank' has "deeply hurt the memory of Anne Frank, as well as the dignity of the survivors and the victims of the Holocaust."

Canadian Author Details Anne Frank Cold-Case Investigation That Named Surprise Suspect in Her Family’s Betrayal in New BookAhead of the 75th anniversary of the publication of Frank's 'The Diary of a Young Girl' in June, a team that included a retired FBI agent and around 20 historians, criminologists and data specialists identified a relatively unknown figure as a leading suspect in revealing her family's hideout.

Man Who Tricked Authors Into Handing Over Unpublished Manuscripts Arrested by FBI in New YorkFilippo Bernardini, an employee of a well known publication house, has been arrested for stealing hundreds of unpublished manuscripts.

Hollywood Legend Betty White Has a Last Laugh in New Biographic Comic BookThe creators of the biographical comic book have released similar books about Hollywood legends like Carrie Fisher, Lucille Ball, David Bowie and Elizabeth Taylor.

Barack Obama Reveals His List of Books That Left “A Lasting Impression” in 2021Obama's favourite 2021 reads include two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author Colson Whitehead's 'Harlem Shuffle' and 'Klara and the Sun,' by Nobel Prize-winning author Kazuo Ishiguro

“Interview With the Vampire” Author Anne Rice Dies at 80 — Tributes Pour in From Stuart Townsend and OthersThe author, who was best known for her work in gothic fiction, died on Saturday evening as a result of complications from a stroke.

Norma Dunning wins $25,000 Governor General’s English fiction prize for ‘Tainna’The Edmonton-based Inuk writer explores themes of displacement, loneliness and spirituality in six short stories

Omar El Akkad wins $100,000 Giller prize for “What Strange Paradise”The former Globe and Mail reporter, who published "American War" to acclaim in 2017, tackles the global migrant refugee crisis in his second novel

South African Author Damon Galgut Wins the Booker Prize For ‘The Promise’Galgut received nominations for his 2003 and 2010 works before finally taking home the prize this year. 

Hollywood Legend Paul Newman Discusses Life, Acting and Aging Gracefully in Newly Discovered MemoirPublishers of the newly discovered memoir say the Hollywood legend wrote the book in the 1980s in response to the relentless media attention he received during that time.

Here’s What You Need to Know About the Toronto International Festival of AuthorsDirector Roland Gulliver lands in Toronto to open his second, much-expanded virtual festival with more than 200 events

Tanzanian Novelist Gurnah Wins 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature for Depicting the Impact of Colonialism and Refugee StoriesGurnah, 72, is only the second writer from sub-Saharan Africa to win one of the world's most prestigious literary awards

Miriam Toews Garners Third Giller Prize Nomination for “Fight Night” after Shortlist AnnouncedSophomore efforts from novelists Omar El Akkad and Jordan Tannahill join debut books from Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia and Angélique Lalonde

Tina Brown’s New Book, ‘The Palace Papers’, Covers the Royal Family’s Reinvention After Diana’s Tragic DeathTina Brown's sequel to her 2007 release 'The Diana Chronicles' is set to hit shelves April 12, 2022. 

Audible.ca Releases Andrew Pyper’s Exclusive Audiobook “Oracle” For New Plus Catalogue LaunchThe thriller about a psychic FBI detective is one of 12,000 titles now available for free to members

Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen to Release Book Based On Their “Renegades” PodcastThe new book will feature a collection of candid, intimate and entertaining conversations

Prince Harry Will Publish a Memoir in Late 2022Harry says he's writing the book "not as the prince I was born but as the man I have become."


Sign Up for the Weekly Book Club Newsletter