I have always loved reading books about people’s struggles and how they are able to overcome them. That’s why my favorite genre of books is memoirs. I love the real thing. I know fiction certainly portrays this theme, but I want to read about the real person with the real situation and the real human condition being played out. And truth be told, truth can be stranger than fiction.
I get inspired, empowered, motivated and hopeful when I read redemptive and transformational stories. That’s what people who ‘successfully’ rise above their challenges do; they become better (not bitter), they transform their lives with new meaning, new purpose and develop a richness where joy springs forth from the sadness, from the struggle. Usually a keener sense of appreciation and a humbling sense of gratitude arise for the ‘smaller’ things and for the beauty of the ‘everydayness’ of life.
I learn coping skills, inner reflection and awareness, new ways of viewing concepts and ideas, new ways of thinking and overall attitude adjustments.
Frailties surface and then inner resources of strength and resilience come through.
There are people with incredible odds stacked against them who are living incredible lives by pushing through their challenges and not allowing the ‘misfortunes’ to define their lives. They present lessons for living a rich and satisfying life; for living a good life. For we all know it’s not in having the least amount of issues that presents us with the good life. It’s rather what we do with what we have, and how we take what we get and make it into a good life; how we incorporate the difficulties into our lives.
We all know people who appear to ‘have’ everything, but yet are running on empty inside. Not that we ever want to have difficulties and/or losses, but it does seem that oftentimes, real substance and meaning comes out of the unasked for challenges that come our way.
I gain tremendous faith in the human spirit when I read or witness stories of people creating good lives around, through, despite and because of their challenges.
How do we grieve, how do we handle our losses, how do we find a place for our disappointments and still manage to live on with zest and a sense of awesomeness at the wonder of life?
Books open doors to these questions. They portray different ways of gaining one’s equilibrium, of dealing with crises, of even dying well.
So yes, I’m a memoir junkie.
Here’s my most recent list of uplifting memoirs:
The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
Enjoy Every Sandwich by Lee Lipsenthal
Thunderdog by Michael Hingson
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
(An oldie but goodie) Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom
What memoirs do you recommend? Please add some of your favorites. And if you have some fiction that hits upon this theme, you can share that too. I won’t say no to a novel.
I recently came across a wonderful blog with this as the first post I read, on memoirs: http://sunnyroomstudio.com/2012/03/30/the-human-journey/