Our July Adult Summer Reading Challenge is to read one memoir or biography and email the title, author and your impression of the book to our reference email, reference@middlesexlibrarynj.org.

Why Read Memoirs and Biographies?

Through reading memoirs or biographies of people we admire or respect, we learn more about their life, their journey and how they got to a place of notoriety.

Memoirs and biographies connect us to something beyond ourselves and show us that we all have struggles, doubts, hard times and how we can pick ourselves up and keep going.

Memoirs and biographies also allow us to experience a broader worldview. Why does someone feel the way they do? What experiences did they have that made them feel that way or believe that?

Why do you read memoirs or biographies? Leave a comment below and let us know!

Below you will find some of the many memoirs and biographies in our collection. Some are new, some are old. They are in no particular order and cover a wide range of experiences.

Adult Memoirs and Biographies

Ms. Gloria Steinem: A Life by Winifred Conkling

Published June 30, 2020

Winifred Conkling documents everything from Ms. Steinem’s boundary-pushing journalistic career to the foundation of Ms. magazine to being awarded the 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown by Anne Glenconner

Published October 17, 2019

An extraordinary memoir of drama, tragedy, and royal secrets by Anne Glenconner–a close member of the royal circle and lady-in-waiting to Princess Margaret. As seen on Netflix’s The Crown. 

The House of Kennedy by James Patterson

Published April 13, 2020

A fascinating account of America’s most storied family. The Kennedys were raised to take risks and excel, and they do, but at a price. This book captures the charmed, cursed, familiar and unknowable side of this family.

Hollywood Park by Mikel Jollett

Published May 26, 2020

A remarkable memoir of a child raised in one of the most famous cult’s in the US. A story of poverty, addiction, emotional abuse and a fierce love of family.

Lou Gehrig: The Lost Memoir by Lou Gehrig

Published: May 12, 2020

The lost memoir from baseball icon Lou Gehrig—a sensational discovery, published for the first time as a book.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcom X and Alex Haley

Malcolm X’s life in his own words. He chronicles his journey from hoodlum to prison cell to Muslim minister. He relates how his conversion to Islam helped channel his rage and recognize the brotherhood of all mankind.

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama’s story in her own words from her childhood obstacles to becoming the First Lady to her vision to create the White House as a welcoming and inclusive place to establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls.

Unbroken: A WWII Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

An unforgettable story of a man’s journey into extremity, Unbroken is a testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit.

Educated by Tara Westover

Tara Westover was 17 the first time she stepped foot in a classroom. She was raised by survivalists in Idaho, worked beside her parents and had a different kind of education.

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Based on more than 40 interviews conducted with Steve Jobs over a two year period, this book seeks to give us a glimpse into the mind of one of the most creative entrepreneurs of our time.

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah’s mother had to hide him because he had a white father and a black Xhosa mother, a crime in South Africa. This is the story of his coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

In April, 1992, a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, a party of moose hunters found his decomposed body. How McCandless came to die is the unforgettable story of Into the Wild.

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen’s story in his own words. From being the esteemed grandchild, celebrated like royalty in a house with no heat in Freehold, NJ to one of the most renowned rock musicians. New Jerseyans will delight in recognizing places that the iconic signer writes about in this book.

Life by Keith Richards and James Fox

Keith created the riffs, lyrics and songs for the Rolling Stones. In this biography, he gives a glimpse of the man behind the music.

My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsburg

A witty, engaging, serious, and playful collection of writings and speeches from the woman who has had a powerful and enduring influence on law, women’s rights, and popular culture.

Know My Name by Chanel Miller

She was known as Emily Doe after being assaulted by Brock Turner on the Stanford campus in 2015. She takes back her voice and tells her story.

Five Presidents: My Extraordinary Journey with Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and Ford by Clint Hill with Lisa McCubbin

Secret Service agent Clint Hill brings history intimately and vividly to life as he reflects on his seventeen years protecting the most powerful office in the nation.

A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win WWII

The never-before-told story of one woman’s heroism that changed the course of the Second World War 

Raising Trump by Ivana Trump

In Raising Trump, Ivana Trump reflects on her extraordinary life and the raising of her three children—Donald Jr., Eric, and Ivanka—and recounts the lessons she taught her children as they were growing up.

Yes, Please by Amy Poehler

A fun biography filled with Amy Poehler’s signature hilarious look at everything from sex and love to friendship and parenting.