Nonfiction Books: 15 Favorite Memoir/Biography #NonficNov

November 17, 2021

Nonfiction: Memoir/Biography #NonficNov

Nonfiction November poster (text in white against a green background against colorful fall leaves)

I’m eager to participate in Nonfiction November this year hosted by What’s Nonfiction, Doing Dewey, The Thousand Book Project, Plucked from the Stacks, and OCBookgirl. During the month of November, you will notice one nonfiction focused post each week:

Weekly Topics:
(Join us?)

Week 1: (November 1-5) – My Year in Nonfiction (with Rennie at What’s Nonfiction)

Week 2: (November 8-12) – Fiction/Nonfiction Book Pairing with Katie at Doing Dewey

Week 3: (November 15-19) – Be The Expert/Ask the Expert/Become the Expert with Veronica at The Thousand Book Project

Week 4: (November 22-26) – Stranger Than Fiction with Christopher at Plucked from the Stacks

Week 5: (November 29-December 3) — New to My TBR with Jaymi at OCBookgirl

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Nonfiction: Memoirs & Biographies

Nonfiction November is an opportunity to reflect on the year, to celebrate and appreciate nonfiction, and to share recommendations.

Playing The Expert: Today for Nonfiction November hosted by Veronica @ The Thousand Book Project, I am playing “the expert” and sharing books in a subgenre that I have read and highly recommend. These are my favorite memoir/biography recommendations. I chose them because they each share a personal story and help build my understanding of a specific life experience. Each one has affected me in a personal way. With only two exceptions, today’s list draws heavily from my original 2020 post. Do you have a favorite memoir or biography?

Please join me for Nonfiction November!

15 Favotite Memoirs & Biographies for #NonFicNov (Image: text over a tall stack of books on a blue painted wooden table)

Background Image Source: Canva

15 Favorite Memoirs and Biographies:

The Girl With Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee

(My review of Girl With Seven Names here)

The Girl With Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee (cover)

The Choice by Dr. Edith Eva Eger

(My review of The Choice here)

The Choice by Dr. Edith Eva Eger (cover) Image: black text on a white background and a black stemmed reddish flower is placed on the entire left margin

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

A young readers version of Born a Crime here.

(My review of Born a Crime here.)

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah (cover) Image: a casual Trevor Noah

Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics by Dolly Parton

(My review of Dolly Parton, Songteller here)

Dolly Parton, Songteller Icover) by Dolly Parton (Image: a portrait of Dolly Parton in a round portrait frame)

Finding Chika: A Little Girl, an Earthquake, and the Making of a Family by Mitch Albom

(My review of Finding Chika here)

Finding Chika by Mitch Albom (cover)

Wait Till Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin

(My review of Wait Till Next Year here)

Wait Till Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin (cover) Image: an old professional baseball stadium

Open by Andre Agassi

(My review of Open here)

Open by Andre Agassi (cover) Image: a head shot of Andre Agassi

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

Just Mercy movie here.

(My review of Just Mercy here)

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson cover

Unbroken: A WW11 Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

Unbroken movie and YA version here.

(Not reviewed because I read this before I started blogging or Goodreads)


The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

The Glass Castle movie.

(My review of Glass Castle here)

Glass Castle

Educated by Tara Westover

(My review of Educated here)

Educated by Tara Westover (cover) Image: a giant sharpened pencil as background

Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion by Gregory Boyle

(Not reviewed because I read this before blogging or using Goodreads)

Tattoos on the Heart

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas

The Bonhoeffer movie.

(Not reviewed because I read this before blogging or using Goodreads)

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas (cover)

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (childhood memoir) (MG)

(My review of Brown Girl Dreaming here)

Brown Girl Dreaming

We Beat the Street: How a Friendship Pact Led to Success by Sampson Davis (The Three Doctors) (MG)

(Not reviewed because I read this before blogging or using Goodreads)

we beat the street


ICYMI: Here’s my post for “Playing the expert” two years ago: Nonfiction and Racial Injustice
Here’s my memoir post from last year (which is only updated slightly for this year’s post)


See any favorites?

Have you read one of these titles?

I know you can help me add to this list! If my husband had helped with this list he would include titles by Ron Chernow for sure! Here, here, and here.

I’d love to hear your suggestions for a favorite memoir or biography.

Happy Reading Book Friends!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text

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***Blog posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.



  1. There are some interesting books here! Born a Crime, Educated, and Bonhoeffer will be added to my TBR.

    You always have such great recommendations!

  2. I love memoirs, so I really enjoyed this post and enjoyed remembering some of my favorites as well.

    Educated was astounding, and I am a long-time Doris Kearns Goodwin fan and loved her baseball memoir. Unbroken was definitely interesting, and Born a Crime and Dolly Parton:Storyteller are both on my tbr list.

    Happy Nonfiction November

  3. You picked three of my very favorite books of the past few years — The Choice, Born a Crime and Just Mercy. I’m always so humbled and amazed by the people who can face terrible suffering and then write about it with humor and hope and undiminished zest for life. There are still millions of such stories out there and I will keep reading them as long as I can. Thanks for adding more fuel to the fire!

  4. You have so many interesting memoirs here. Thanks for sharing this list. Several of these are my favorites too! I’ll look into a few others now. (I have Andre Agassi’s on my shelf right now; maybe I need to move it forward?) Thanks!

  5. Memoir is a great theme. I haven’t read any of your books, but I do like the look of the Trevor Noah and Dolly Parton ones.

    A biography that I enjoyed very much was Valerie Grove’s book about Dodie Smith (author of 101 Dalmatians, I Capture the Castle, and many more); I think it’s called ‘Dear Dodie’. Dodie had a fascinating life, and worked very hard for what she eventually got. And she and her beloved husband did indeed live surrounded by dalmatians!

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