The Best Memoirs from Literati Book Clubs

A good memoir invites you into the world of its protagonist and gives you the opportunity to walk a mile in their shoes—whether they’re red-bottom Louboutins, sturdy hiking boots, or unassuming sandals.

That’s what makes memoirs some of the best books to read. They offer an unparalleled intimacy and an irresistible combination of masterful storytelling and the resonance of realness.

Our Literati Luminaries, including Stephen Curry, Malala, and Richard Branson—book lovers and thought leaders in their own right—have handpicked their latest favorite memoirs for our valued readers to devour. Take a peek at some of their favorite memoirs below!

Stephen Curry’s Pick: Haben by Haben Girma

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In Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law, Haben Girma shares her remarkable journey to become the first Deafblind graduate of Harvard Law School in one of the most inspiring and best autobiographies in recent memory.

In this memoir, readers accompany Girma from a precarious iceberg in Alaska to the classrooms of Harvard Law School (even making a stop at the White House to meet former President Obama!). Girma shares her adventurous spirit as she crosses the world, shattering barriers and becoming a powerful advocate and innovator for people with disabilities.

Pick up this book if you love:

  • Intersectional and inspirational stories that exhibit the intrepid spirit of human beings
  • Stories about innovation and growth that imagine a better future

Malala’s Pick: Aftershocks by Nadia Owusu

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Nadia Owusu’s coming-of-age memoir, Aftershocks, charts her roving childhood; her father, a Ghanaian United Nations official, constantly moves her family back and forth from Europe to Africa.

Abandoned by her mother when she was only two years old, Nadia experiences an unfathomable loss again at age 13 when her father dies. His death opens the floodgates of family secrets and conflict, and Nadia struggles to discern the truth within the tsunami. 

When she moves to New York as an adult, Nadia is alone and uncertain, but eager to crystallize her identity. Her memoir provides an intimate portrayal of her depression and struggles as she tries to keep herself and her siblings together and, ultimately, discovers writing and reflection as a radical act of self-acceptance and healing.

Pick up this book if you love:

  • Exploring the highs and lows of a nomadic life
  • Pondering the sometimes fragile facets that form our identities
  • Memoirs that skip around time lines

Richard Branson’s Pick: Just Kids by Patti Smith

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From sleeping on park benches to sold-out shows, Patti Smith’s story is as visceral and ethereal as her music. Smith tells the story of her and photographer Robert Mapplethorpe’s romantic and artistic lives, long before they achieved fame.

Smith and Mapplethorpe meet in Brooklyn in the summer of love and riots, and travel the city together, eventually finding themselves among Andy Warhol and his contemporaries at Max’s Kansas City. The pair become enmeshed with New York’s most influential artists as poetry, rock and roll, art, and sexual politics collide.

Just Kids offers a peek into the profound bond between two devoted artists as they hustle and work, unknowingly on the precipice of fame. Smith’s memoir invites readers to feel every chapter, down to the cool metallic touch of the entrancing Persian necklace that brings her and Mapplethorpe together. Smith invites you to experience every moment of love, struggle, and aching excitement to create art. 

Pick up this book if you love:

  • The late ’60s and early ’70s counterculture movements and their artistic disciples, like Warhol, Smith, and Mapplethorpe
  • To read about young artists wholly committed to each other, their craft, and success
  • Gritty yet beautiful origin stories

Make Memories with Literati’s Book Clubs

Memoirs answer questions we have about how other people move through the world, live, and love. They tell us that we’re not alone because we all share common pain, hopes, and dreams.

If you’re hoping to add phenomenal memoirs to your book nook, Literati’s book club subscription will pair you with distinguished change makers and leaders like Malala, Stephen Curry, and Richard Branson. You’ll receive a handpicked book in your monthly book box as well as exclusive access to our in-app discussions, book guides, and interviews.

Make Literati a part of your own autobiography by joining your favorite Luminary on a reading odyssey!

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