Why I Don't Read Memoirs {the.book.chat.}

This must be the first week I will publicly bash the book chat genre we are supposed to be celebrating, but I just have to be honest here.  And really, it's not bashing.  It's really more like my mini-memoir account of the memoir-reading struggles I have suffered from my entire life.

I've put some serious thought into our topic this week, and I've come up with a list of reasons I just cannot read memoirs.  Maybe you are like me and can relate, but if you are not like me, then maybe this will provide some insight to those of us with memoir-intolerance disorder. 

Reason #1

Are you still talking about yourself?  This question inevitably crosses my mind at some point in my memoir reading.  I know how delusional it is, trust me.  It doesn't matter how interesting or important the story they are telling is, it never fails that I grow old of hearing them talk about themselves.  
I guess when you boil it down, I tend to care more for fictional characters than real people.  Empathy for the win. 

Reason #2

People do amazing things.  People have been known to cut off their own arm in the name of survival.  Women cross giant deserts alone just days after a heroine binge and grow emotionally from it.  [Insert a million other epically amazing feats completed by human wonders of awesomeness]  
**eye roll** Yeah, sure, okay.

Reason #3

Hey kids, remember this guy?  Remember when Oprah was all liar-liar-pants-on-fire and he admitted to just fudging a bunch of that crazy emotional stuff in his book about addiction and all of us were GD devastated?  Yeah, well I read that book and I cried like a GD baby when "a certain person did something" and I guess I should have felt better that she didn't really do that....or exist at all.  So, now I'm ruined.  Fool me once...
Cut to this book about how the Cups of Tea guy is a big liar too.  Pants on fire!

Reason #4

Please stop whining.  I'm not proud to admit that, people, but it's true.  I can't listen to people complain about their lives.  I just can't.  Look, now I'm whining about it.

Reason #5

No one sparkles or rides on broomsticks and while people are pretty incredible at times, I still choose to hang out with the wizards and fancy vampires. 

But in all seriousness, I guess I just haven't really found a memoir I've loved.  I refuse to believe I'm just too skeptical to enjoy anyone's story.  I know there has to be one out there I can enjoy.

So now it's in your hands.  Help this poor soul.  Tell me what memoirs are worth reading, please!

Link up

The co-host this week is Daire of Doing it the Open Way.  You can follow her via Twitter or Bloglovin.  She blogs about life and books and art and goals.  She's pretty awesome.

To join in...
1. Please follow the host and co-host
2. Visit a few other book chat links and show some support.
3. Link back here in your post.  Or use the button provided.
4. Old posts are always welcome if you have blogged on the topic before.


Next week: Favorite Chick-lit


  1. I like reason number 5 the best.
    Gimme those Quidditch playing, the One Ring destroying, dystopian inhabiting character anyday!

    Except for presidents...I like reading them talk about themselves because their hindsight is usually self depricating and super reflective. That interests me for some reason.

  2. I can totally agree with this! The only "memoir" I have ever been able to finish and enjoy is American Sniper by Chris Kyle. Other than that, I have never been able to read them, nor have I ever cared to. I'd rather hang out with Ron, Harry and Hermione :)

  3. Really? Memoirs are my favorite! I look at this way: life is too short and I'll never experience everything. Memoirs give me a chance to live someone else's life for a little while.

  4. I really like Chelsea Handler's books...but those may or may not all be truth :P She did say the whole midget in Mexico story might have been made up. Kinda heart breaking...but hilarious either way.

  5. I had never thought about memoirs from this perspective before, but I think you made some interesting and valid points!
    I have not read any memoirs recently, mostly when I was a teenager and younger adult. I am wondering if my opinion has changed on them now and I just don't know it yet...

  6. I'm not big into memoirs either. The only sorta-memoir I really liked was "On Writing" by Stephen King, but it was mostly a writing book.

  7. I think that some memoirs can read like fiction and those are the ones I enjoy. Even though a book is classified as a "memoir," events and characters are always elaborated upon (although hopefully not as much as James Frey's book).

    Question: If you found out a fiction book was based on a real-life story, would it make you like it any less?

  8. I totally agree. memoirs have to be my least favorite genre!

  9. i actually really like memoirs. but i am pretty selective with what kinds i'll read. i like the ones where there is some sort of medical mystery going on.

    i do choose fiction first though.

  10. I think the reasons I don't read more memoirs or autobiographies are much the same you gave here, specially the first two haha

  11. I love all of your reasons, especially #5 as well. I very much prefer the fun side of reading.

    I've always been "read the book before the movie" but I make an exception for documentaries. I'd rather watch than read.

  12. All valid points! When I was on my Goodreads looking for memoirs I had read, I realized I hadn't actually read that many haha. I tend to read "biographical" memoirs (i.e. narrative nonfiction, e.g. "The Woman Who Wasn't There") rather than "autobiographical" memoirs, and part of that is probably because of the #1 reason you listed above. Turns out I've only actually read four memoirs (all of which I discussed in my post) and only liked two of them. Sigh. But I really did enjoy Lucky if you think you can stomach it!

  13. I seriously cannot believe that I JUST stumbled upon your blog. I was looking at your past Book Chat topics and I'm so disappointed that I'm so late to the party! I'll definitely be joining in from now on! :)

  14. Ha, I agree! I'd give a few a chance if it's funny or in my interests.

  15. So many people linked up this week!
    That's awesome =)

  16. I had NO idea you disliked memoirs so much LOL. It's funny to me that you wouldn't be interested in them, considering you're a personal blogger and read so many personal blogs. I find a *good* memoir to be such a succint, more well-written (edited) version of a blog, honestly! I understand that it isn't for everyone though!


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