The new year always puts me in an introspective mood. While I’m certainly looking forward to what 2019 has in store, I often find myself ruminating on how to improve the quality of my life. A good trick to help you with your resolutions? Guidance through reading the works of celebrated authors, of course. So whether you have resolutions to travel more or to become a better listener, I found that these memoirs will make you want to become a better person overall. Yes, I know a colleague of mine just wrote about the magical effects of tidying up. But trust me when I say that these 5 memoirs are life-changing and therefore, worth purchasing:
1. The Year Of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
“Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends,” writes Joan Didion as she describes the sudden death of her husband in the middle of dinner. Heartbreaking yet empowering at the same time, the book talks about grief and how one learns to live with it rather than overcome it.
2. The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison
I first came across one of Leslie Jamison’s essays on female pain at a creative writing class back in college. Her voice–unapologetic for the emotions that she was undergoing and always self-aware–was enough for me to grab a copy of her collection of essays, The Empathy Exams. After reading the book, you may start asking yourself how to be more understanding towards others.
3. A Cook’s Tour: In Search of the Perfect Meal by Anthony Bourdain
In this book, the late Anthony Bourdain documents his travels through the unforgettable meals he has eaten in each destination. But what really sets him apart from others in the same industry are his keen observation skills and his brutal honesty. Ultimately, this is a book about humanity.
4. The Diary of Anaïs Nin by Anaïs Nin
If you need a good reason to keep a journal, take inspiration from this author, who truly seemed to live her life to the fullest. Always self-examining and non-judgmental, her entries could be summarized with one of her quotes: “Introspection does not need to be a still life. It can be an active alchemy.”
5. The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy
“I wanted what we all want: everything. We want a mate who feels like family and a lover who is exotic, surprising. We want to be youthful adventurers and middle-aged mothers…but we can’t have it all,” writes Levy. This heartbreaking memoir teaches us to let go of the life we have pictured for ourselves because in the end, we can only control so much.
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