Category Archives: Memoir

The Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie and the Gospel of Wealth by Andrew Carnegie

I enjoyed Andrew Carnegie’s lightly edited autobiography a lot more than I expected I would. He had a very interesting life and is truly an American Dream rags to riches success story. It’s a little bit over the top in showing how good he was and sometimes it rambled from one thing to another without any rhyme or reason. For the most part, though, even when it totally rambled, it was quite fascinating. I highly recommend The Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie and The Gospel of Wealth to older teens and adults interested in Carnegie.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 45
Pages Read in 2019: 11,663
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Filed under Memoir, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron

My Sixty Years on the Plains by William Thomas Hamilton

Written in 1905 when he was 82, My Sixty Years on the Plains is mostly about the skirmishes with Indians that the author was involved in. It’s pretty rambly, much as you might expect from a grandpa reminiscing. Whoever transferred it from print to digital did a pretty bad job (for example, Santa Fe was rendered multiple times as Santa F6). I recommend this book if you want to read a firsthand account of one of the earliest white men to head out west.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 32
Pages Read in 2019: 8794
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Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

With his trademark humor, Trevor Noah talks about race and growing up in South Africa and having his very birth being literally a crime under apartheid. Born a Crime is a quick, easy, and fun read with lots of things thrown in that really make you think. I highly recommend it to all Trevor Noah fans.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 27
Pages Read in 2019: 7680
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Filed under Memoir, Reason: I Like the Author, Reason: LitHub Bingo

China’s Son by Da Chen

Da Chen grew up during China’s Cultural Revolution. Due to his ancestry, he lost a lot of opportunities he otherwise would have had. China’s Son is his memoir of the years under Mao and just after the leader’s death. I found it to be fascinating. The writing is very good, often using similes and metaphors to create lovely word pictures. It reads quickly. I recommend it to anyone with an interest in the Cultural Revolution. This book makes a good addition to Red Scarf Girl as they cover life in very different locations of the country and positions in life during the same time period.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 21
Pages Read in 2019: 6220
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Filed under Memoir, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron, Reason: Pre-Reading for Fritz

Educated by Tara Westover

Tara Westover’s story is a bit crazy and a little unbelievable. But then I remember that I’ve known people who “homeschool” the way her parents did, who rely on herbs, oils, and the Lord only for healing, who are intense preppers, who abuse and gaslight their kids. I’ve never known one family who does all of that, but I’ve known enough who do one or more to believe that, in Educated, she presents her history as she recalls living it. Saying the book is good isn’t quite right because what she dealt with is horrifying, but her writing is completely absorbing. I didn’t want to put the book down. I found myself in shock by what she experienced, while at the same time rooting her on as she dealt with her past and managed to become a successful human being. I highly recommend this book.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 11
Pages Read in 2019: 2703
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Filed under Memoir, Reason: Book Club, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Pink Boots and a Machete by Mireya Mayor

If there is one thing I learned from Pink Boots and a Machete it’s that I am glad I’m not an explorer and don’t work for National Geographic. However, Mayor’s sense of humor sure made it fun to go along with her on some virtual expeditions. Sometimes I laughed out loud, sometimes I was grossed out. Her excitement over discovering the mouse lemur and her love of lemurs in general are obvious. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes animals.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 7
Pages Read in 2019: 1595
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Filed under Memoir, Reason: It sounded interesting, Reason: LitHub Bingo

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba

When his family could no longer afford to pay his school fees, Malawian teenager, William Kamkwamba, began checking books out from the library in an effort to stay caught up for when he could once again return to school. One of those books helped him figure out how to build a windmill to produce electricity. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is his story. I enjoyed it a whole lot. It’s amazing what a person can do if they set their mind to it. The story is told is a very engaging way and it reads pretty fast. I highly recommend this book to teens and up.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 28
Pages Read in 2018: 7107
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