This past year I not only read a million books about farming and homeschooling, but I also read quite a few memoirs. I have to say that I love reading a good memoir. It’s like getting a secret peek into the life of someone else. This probably means I have voyeuristic tendencies of some sort, but oh well. At least I’m reading interesting stuff, right?
So I thought, gentle reader, that I would give you a list of my favorite memoirs. That way you can read them too and then we can gossip about these people like we are high school girls.
1- Growing a Farmer: How I Learned to Live Off the Land by Kurt Timmermeister. First, right of the bat, you have to give the author some serious props for being saddled with that last name. Secondly, this book is about how Mr. Timmermeister went from working in a restaurant to becoming a small farmer. I thought his tale was interesting and kind of cool. Then again I want to raise chickens and bees when I grow up, so take this recommendation with a grain of salt.
2- Waiting for Birdy: A Year of Frantic Tedium, Neurotic Angst, and the Wild Magic of Growing a Family by Catherine Newman. I absolutely adored this book. I truly feel that on many levels the author and I are spiritual twins who were separated at birth. The writing is superb and the book alternately makes me laugh and cry. I’m going to buy my own copy someday. I cannot give higher praise than that.
3- Educating ESME: Diary of a Teacher’s First Year, by Esme Raji Codell. I’ve been reading a lot of books written by public school teachers lately and this one is by far my favorite. Ms. Codell pulls no punches when she talks about her first year of teaching: fighting with the administration, working with underprivileged children, dealing with lack of funds or support. However, the book has enough lighthearted moments that the reader is not left desolate or depressed.
4- Columbine by Dave Cullen. Technically, this book is actually a biography telling what really occurred at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999. I was amazed to learn that this was not an incident about bullying or misfit teenagers seeking revenge. This was a carefully thought out mass killing spree perpetrated by a psychotic killer. The author is a reporter who studied this event for ten years before writing and publishing this book. While the book is an emotional and grisly journey (I’m not going to lie to you gentle reader) it is wonderfully organized to give its audience time to regroup and reflect. I highly recommend this book.
5- Love in a Time of Homeschooling: a Mother and Daughter’s Uncommon Year, by Laura Brodie. If you ever wondered what homeschooling is really like, warts and all, this is a good book to read. The mother in this memoir homeschooled one of her daughters for a single year and wrote about her experiences. What I love best about this book is that the author not only asks the question “What is best for my child?” but goes on to question “What is best for the whole family?”
So there are my top five memoir suggestions, gentle reader. Please feel free to give me any of your recommendations of what to read as well, because I shouldn’t be the only bossy person around these parts.