50 Best Memoirs of Past 50 Years – New York Times List


Fierce Attachments – Vivian Gornick
The Woman Warrior – Maxine Hong Kingston
Fun Home – Alison Bechdel
The Liars’ Club – Mary Karr
Hitch-22 – Christopher Hitchens
Men We Reaped – Jesmyn Ward
Palimpsest – Gore Vidal
Giving Up the Ghost – Hilary Mantel
A Childhood – Harry Crews
Dreams From My Father – Barack Obama
Patrimony – Philip Roth
All God’s Dangers: The Life of Nate Shaw – Theodore Rosengarten
Lives Other Than My Own – Emmanuel Carrère. Translated from the French by Linda Coverdale.
A Tale of Love and Darkness – Amos Oz. Translated from the Hebrew by Nicholas de Lange.
This Boy’s Life – Tobias Wolff
A Life’s Work – Rachel Cusk
Boyhood – J.M. Coetzee
Conundrum – Jan Morris
Wave – Sonali Deraniyagala
Always Unreliable: Unreliable Memoirs, Falling Towards England and May Week Was in June – Clive James
Travels With Lizbeth – Lars Eighner
Hold Still – Sally Mann
Country Girl – Edna O’Brien
Persepolis – Marjane Satrapi. Translated from the French by Mattias Ripa and Blake Ferris
Negroland – Margo Jefferson
Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys. – Viv Albertine
Experience – Martin Amis
Slow Days, Fast Company – Eve Babitz
Growing Up – Russell Baker
Kafka Was the Rage – Anatole Broyard
Between the World and Me – Ta-Nehisi Coates
The Year of Magical Thinking – Joan Didion
Barbarian Days – William Finnegan
Personal History – Katharine Graham
Thinking in Pictures – Temple Grandin
Autobiography of a Face – Lucy Grealy
Dancing With Cuba – Alma Guillermoprieto. Translated from the Spanish by Esther Allen.
Minor Characters – Joyce Johnson
The Memory Chalet – Tony Judt
Heavy – Kiese Laymon
Priestdaddy – Patricia Lockwood
H Is for Hawk – Helen Macdonald
The Color of Water – James McBride
Angela’s Ashes – Frank McCourt
Cockroaches – Scholastique Mukasonga. Translated from the French by Jordan Stump.
Life – Keith Richards
A Life in the Twentieth Century – Arthur Schlesinger Jr.
My Lives – Edmund White
Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? – Jeanette Winterson
Close to the Knives – David Wojnarowicz

See also – The 50 Greatest Rock Memoirs of All Time – Rolling Stone List