1. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed (2012): A powerful, inspiring, and beautifully written memoir of one woman’s 1,100-mile solo hike that broke down a wall of grief and transformed her life.
2. Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover (2018): A coming-of-age story of a young woman who, kept from the outside world, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University.
3. The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls (2006): A heartbreaking and inspiring memoir of a resilient young woman who, despite her chaotic upbringing, manages to find success and happiness.
4. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion (2005): A heartbreaking and honest memoir of a woman dealing with the unexpected death of her husband and the life-altering illness of her daughter.
5. Just Kids by Patti Smith (2010): An intimate and inspiring coming-of-age memoir of the author’s relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and their life in New York City in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
6. The Liar’s Club by Mary Karr (1995): A raw and honest memoir of a young girl’s chaotic childhood in an East Texas oil town.
7. The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother by James McBride (1996): A powerful and moving memoir of a man’s exploration of his mother’s past, her decisions, and her courage to provide for her children.
8. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt (1996): A heartbreaking and inspiring memoir of poverty and survival in the slums of Limerick, Ireland during the 1930s and 1940s.
9. The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore (2010): A powerful and thought-provoking memoir of two boys with the same name who grew up in the same city, but whose lives take drastically different paths.
10. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (1969): A powerful and inspiring memoir of a young girl’s courage and determination in the face of adversity and racism.