Books shelved under “Memoirs”

31 reviews found

  1. Book cover for Once Upon a Time I Lived on Mars

    Once Upon a Time I Lived on Mars: Space, Exploration, and Life on Earth

    by Kate Greene

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Ever since I was a child, space has captivated my imagination. I love space. I love space science. I love science fiction. I have literally spent months of my life by this point, I would estimate, with the crews of the various starships Enterprise, Voyager, and the station Deep Space Nine. Yet never have I really had much desire to go to space. It seems like a cold, forbidding place, and the…

  2. Book cover for Into Thin Air

    Into Thin Air

    by Jon Krakauer

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    My best friend Amanda recommended this to me a few years back, but if you don’t put a book in my hands when you recommend it, then good luck! Fortunately I was reminded of this book while looking for excerpts of travel writing to show to my Grade 11/12 English class last week. I was in the mood for some “adventure non-fiction” as one might call Into Thin Air. The library had an ebook…

  3. Book cover for Love Lives Here

    Love Lives Here: A Story of Thriving in a Transgender Family

    by Amanda Jetté Knox

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    If I had read this book last year shortly after it came out, I would be writing this review from the position of a cisgender man and, like Amanda Jetté Knox, hopefully a trans ally trying to educate himself. Instead, I recently came out as transgender, not too long after having the epiphany that I am a trans woman (I’m still trying to work out the precise language I want to use to describe that…

  4. Book cover for Bossypants

    Bossypants

    by Tina Fey

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    My boss, fittingly, gave me Bossypants! She gave it to me in June after I broke my elbow, and I promptly put it on my shelf and did not read it, like I do with most books. But now is the time! The time to read Tina Fey’s comedic memoir.

    Let’s start with the obvious: Fey is a comedy genius. That isn’t in question. She is funny. This book is funny. If you like…

  5. Book cover for Not That Bad

    Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture

    by Roxane Gay

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    With the news coming out of the United States about abortion bans and lawmakers who actually use phrases like “consensual rape,” this seemed like the right time to read Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture. Also, I was going on a library run and it was available. Roxane Gay collects 30 essays about rape or rape culture, some previously published and others newly written for this book. This is a serious book, sure,…

  6. Book cover for Educated

    Educated

    by Tara Westover

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    It’s hard to describe or summarize this book. Educated is a memoir about growing up in rural Idaho to very religious parents who do not trust public education or the medical establishment. Westover’s father believes that the end of days will be on them soon, and he takes prepping to an extreme. Consequently, most of the family never goes to high school. As Westover watches some of her siblings leave home, either to college or…

  7. Book cover for Crash Override

    Crash Override: How Gamergate (Nearly) Destroyed My Life, and How We Can Win the Fight Against Online Hate

    by Zoe Quinn

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Watching GamerGate unfold from the outside and listening to Zoë Quinn describe it in her own words are two very different things. Crash Override: How Gamergate (Nearly) Destroyed My Life, and How We Can Win the Fight Against Online Hate is more than a memoir; it’s a comprehensive dissection of a flawed facet of the Internet. I read it not just because I wanted to hear Quinn’s account of what happened but understand, from the…

  8. Book cover for Everything All at Once

    Everything All at Once: How to Unleash Your Inner Nerd, Tap into Radical Curiosity and Solve Any Problem

    by Bill Nye

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    When I taught in England, I wore a bow-tie every day to work, because I was not down with neckties. They are too long and floppy. While I was, in part, emulating the Eleventh Doctor, I’d be remiss if I didn’t give some credit for this sartorial preference to a much older role model: Bill Nye the Science Guy.

    My favourite line of Everything All at Once comes in the very first chapter: “Thinking like…

  9. Book cover for Truth and Beauty

    Truth and Beauty

    by Ann Patchett

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I didn’t know how I felt after finishing Truth and Beauty, and to be honest, I still don’t know. This book made me feel a lot of complex and conflicting feelings. I guess that’s good? But I’m not sure I can articulate everything in the manner to which I’ve become accustomed.

    A friend gave this to me as a kind of housewarming present after I tweeted that “I wish we talked more about friendship…

  10. Book cover for Between the World and Me

    Between the World and Me

    by Ta-Nehisi Coates

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I was really looking forward to finally digging into Between the World and Me. It seemed like the perfect type of summer reading: intellectually stimulating, yet short; intense in its topics and writing, yet luxurious in its prose. Ta-Nehisi Coates' conscious emulation of the structure and style of early twentieth century writers like James Baldwin (whom, to be fair, I haven't read) makes for a nice departure from more prosaic non-fiction. Epistolary as it…

  11. Book cover for An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth

    An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth

    by Chris Hadfield

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Buckle up and make sure you’re wearing your g-suit, because this is one of those rare books that live up to all the hype. An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth comes with ridiculously high expectations: it has a bunch of awards, and everyone gives it such glowing reviews. So, naturally, I tempered my excitement. As anyone who has read my reviews knows, I love space and science fiction. I welcomed the opportunity to read…

  12. Book cover for Substitute

    Substitute: Going to School With a Thousand Kids

    by Nicholson Baker

    1 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Four years ago, I moved to England to begin my career as a teacher. Fresh out of Lakehead University's Faculty of Education, the dry job market in Ontario left me looking across the Atlantic. Thanks to Engage Education, an agency that specializes in recruiting teachers overseas for the English school system so desperately clamouring for them, I managed to land a classroom right away. When I moved back to Thunder Bay, I got on the…

  13. Book cover for Decoded

    Decoded

    by Jay-Z

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    A friend lent Decoded me after I expressed a desire to “get into hip hop”. This is not a whim on my part but a recognition of a gap in my otherwise wide musical listening. Although I would say that my “favourite” music tends towards a fairly narrow swath of sound, and my tastes are decidedly more pop than hard rock in later years, I appreciate a lot of different sounds, albeit perhaps not equally.…

  14. Book cover for Unaccountable

    Unaccountable: Truth and Lies on Parliament Hill

    by Kevin Page

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I didn’t intend to read two non-fiction books, two books about economics, consecutively. That’s just how it happened. However, Unaccountable: Truth and Lies on Parliament Hill, is about as far away as you might get from Trekonomics. The latter is speculating on what might or could be; the former is a deeply personal tale about politics and events that actually happened. Kevin Page, who shares a hometown of Thunder Bay with me, recounts…

  15. Book cover for The Art of the Heist

    The Art of the Heist: Confessions of a Master Art Thief, Rock-and-Roller, and Prodigal Son

    by Myles J. Connor

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Almost a year ago (has it been that long? gah) I read Master Thieves: The Boston Gangsters Who Pulled Off the World’s Greatest Art Heist. As you will know, I am a sucker for heist stories. That book led me to The Art of the Heist: Confessions of a Master Art Thief, Rock-and-Roller, and Prodigal Son. Myles Connor was (still is) a primary suspect in the Gardner heist, despite the fact he was…

  16. Book cover for In Order to Live

    In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl's Journey to Freedom

    by Yeonmi Park

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    In In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom, Yeonmi Park simply and starkly relates her struggle, and the struggles of her family, to just survive under the brutal North Korean regime and in their subsequent escape to China. She does not sugarcoat or elide any part of her suffering—nor does she glorify it, use it as an excuse to discount or erase the suffering of others. Indeed, what strikes me…

  17. Book cover for Furiously Happy

    Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things

    by Jenny Lawson

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    After my pre-ordered copy of Furiously Happy arrived in the mail last week, I went looking for my copy of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. I wanted to tweet a photo of the two books together—Jenny Lawson now has a running theme of taxidermied animals on her book covers; I think she should stick with it. The copy of her first book was not on my bookshelf under “L.” I briefly pondered if I…

  18. Book cover for You're Never Weird on the Internet

    You're Never Weird on the Internet

    by Felicia Day

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    When I heard that Felicia Day had a book coming out, my knee-jerk (emphasis on jerk) reaction was, “Isn’t she a little young to be writing memoirs?” The word connotes a sharing of memories as one surveys one’s entire life. A memoir, to mee, is something that people write at the end of their careers; Day doesn’t seem anywhere near the end of her career.

    But I think that’s the whole point of You’re

  19. Book cover for Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

    Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

    by Mindy Kaling

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Mindy Kaling is absolutely right: men do take too long to put on their shoes. At least, I do, and I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Send help!

    It’s safe to say I probably wouldn’t have read this book if my friend Rebecca had not literally put it in my hands. (As Goodreads friend Megan remarked recently, this is the one way to ensure I will actually read a book you recommend…

  20. Book cover for Just a Geek

    Just a Geek

    by Wil Wheaton

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I am not in the habit of reading actor memoirs. In fact, I think the only actor memoirs I’ve read are from Star Trek actors: Shatner’s, one of Nimoy’s (I think I Am Spock as opposed to the more bitter predecessor volume), and now Wil Wheaton’s Just a Geek. I added this to my to-read list years back, when Wil Wheaton first surfaced on my social networking radar on Twitter and here on Goodreads.…

  21. Book cover for Ghost in the Wires

    Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World's Most Wanted Hacker

    by Kevin D. Mitnick

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    For most people, computers are magic. Which is to say, they are technology sufficiently advanced to the point of mystification. I include myself in this camp, for despite my comfort with computers and my fluency in programming, a great deal of mystery still surrounds them. With the emergence of the Internet into the public sphere and the rise of the Web, computers and the phone system are now fundamentally intertwined, and vast swathes of our…

  22. Book cover for Prisoner Of The State

    Prisoner Of The State

    by Zhao Ziyang

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I’m not exactly up on the Chinese history; it’s not a subject that we covered much in school. Most of what I know comes by way of hazy pop culture references and exposure via the slightly counterfactual nature of science fiction and historical fiction. Moreover, having been born and raised subsequent to the Cold War and the height of anti-communist sentiment in the West, not to mention just after the Tienanmen Square incident, the history…

  23. Book cover for Homage to Catalonia

    Homage to Catalonia

    by George Orwell

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    It’s not very often that I commend a blurb. I prefer to mock them, especially for their brevity or generic flavour—fantasy and science fiction are particularly guilty of this. For Homage to Catalonia I can make an exception: my edition has a blurb on the back cover from Antony Beevor, who calls this “an unrivalled picture of the rumours, suspicions and treachery of civil war.” This describes the book perfectly.

    A couple of burdens of…

  24. Book cover for Notes from a Small Island

    Notes from a Small Island

    by Bill Bryson

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Since I moved to England this fall, I haven’t done too much travelling around the country. I’ve been to London a couple of times, neither of which I did much that could be described as a touristy; the same applies to my trips to Cambridge. I went up to Scotland during the half-term and had a good time there, but I’m looking forward to visiting a few other places around the UK. Until I do,…

  25. Book cover for God Sleeps in Rwanda

    God Sleeps in Rwanda: A Journey of Transformation

    by Joseph Sebarenzi

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    The Rwandan genocide is one of those events that looms in my mind as something that happened when I was alive but too young to really understand that there was a world outside of my country, or even my community, really. Politics was something that came via the television, an artifact of the history we were studying in school, not a daily fact of life. War and genocide was something that had happened in the…

  26. Book cover for Let's Pretend This Never Happened

    Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir

    by Jenny Lawson

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    One of the best books I’ve read this year.

    Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is funny, at least to my own humour schema. I’m aware that some people will not find this book funny, and that their reactions will vary from a grumpy, “Hmph” to wide-eyed sense of shock to “I’m grabbing my torch and pitchfork to burn this”. I’m the one writing this review, though, and unlike DVD commentary, the views and opinions…

  27. Book cover for My Spiritual Journey

    My Spiritual Journey

    by Dalai Lama XIV

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    He’s just this guy, you know?

    My Spiritual Journey is a collection of the Dalai Lama’s writings, speeches, and thoughts as they pertain to his life as a human being, as a Buddhist monk, and as the Dalai Lama. This is not a traditional autobiography or memoir. Instead, some of the chapters (passages? sections?) are quite short—even less than a page—but no less meaningful or inspiring. Rather than looking for some kind of chronological theme,…

  28. Book cover for Bluebeard

    Bluebeard

    by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I read Vonnegut now. Vonnegut is cool.

    I have vague memories of reading Vonnegut before—I have some very old, very pulp editions of some of his other novels that I … er … “liberated” from my father. I swear I’ve read Breakfast of Champions before, and I’m pretty sure I read either Cat’s Cradle or Player Piano at my sister’s wedding. I remember this because I was only 15, but the server still offered me…

  29. Book cover for Maps and Legends

    Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands

    by Michael Chabon

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I began this book as a sometime reader of Michael Chabon. I klepped The Yiddish Policemen's Union from my dad's shelf, and I've also read Wonder Boys and Summerland at some point. (I actually liked the movie of the former better than Chabon's book, oddly enough.) Chabon is one of those writers who is at the periphery of my awareness, someone whose books I respect even though I only accord them a lukewarm enthusiasm when…

  30. Book cover for Wish I Could Be There

    Wish I Could Be There: Notes From a Phobic Life

    by Allen Shawn

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    To be honest, I bought this book more because it was in a bargain bin for $5 than because it looked interesting. Although I don't go out much, I've never considered myself agoraphobic so much as misanthropic. Nevertheless, there was something intriguing about the idea of a memoir/professional discussion of phobias.

    By telling aspects of his life through the lens of phobia, Allen Shawn engages in what is probably the most interesting part of the…

  31. Book cover for Shake Hands with the Devil

    Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda

    by Roméo Dallaire

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Genocide is depressing. One of the few things more depressing than genocide, however, is apathy, like that exhibited by the world governments during the genocide of Rwanda.

    Reading Dallaire's memoir, I was tempted to blame the U.S., France, the U.N., et al., for their lack of response to his constant prescient warnings about the situation. However, Dallaire's message is clear and correct. Rather than pointing fingers, we need to come together as an international community…