Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Diary of a Science Geek

A friend loaned me a copy of  look me in the eye by John Elder Robison, who has Asperger's and is also the brother of Augusten Burroughs. 

Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's

Augusten Burroughs, you'll remember, wrote Running With Scissors, a memoir of his (excuse my %$'s) F$@&*'d up childhood, as well as Dry and Magical Thinking .
Running with Scissors: A MemoirProduct DetailsProduct Details

This got me thinking about all the great memoirs I've read. So I thought I'd try to list some of the ones that have had the biggest impact on me (which means that I remember them, not that they necessarily changed my life)
  I'll Sleep When I'm Dead is the story of Warren Zevon, as told by his former wife.
Noone Here Gets Out Alive, about Jim Morrison
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, by Chuck Barris, of Gong Show fame...wherein he claims to have been a CIA agent.  I don't know if this is true or not, but I sure do remember reading that and going, "Huh."
Operating Instructions, by Anne Lamott, which is about becoming a mother, and Traveling Mercies, about spiritual stuff. 
In the eighties, when I was really cool, I read a lot of Hunter Thompson, which might be autobiographical, except...yeah.
I also read The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, which isn't strictly memoir, but was pretty darned interesting.
I seem to read more memoirs by Rock and Roll types than Movie Stars, or even Writers (who are usually too busy writing, to write, I guess).

Okay, there have been many, many more, and I'm sure I'll think of them all as soon as I hit "Publish Post".  But I would really like to know what the rest of you have read...who is interesting to you?  Why? 


  1. Sadly, I don't read a lot of memoirs -- I tend to prefer fiction. But I did read Anne Morrow Lindbergh's GIFT FROM THE SEA a long time ago, and I remember enjoying it a lot. I should reread it now, and see how it strikes me now that I'm older.

  2. I'm not sure I've read any memoirs, except maybe a Dave Sedaris collection and some Jen Lancasters. Both comedy, of course, and pretty much the only kind I can get in to.

  3. Two of my favorite memoirs are The Wishing Year and The Pirate Queen, which is part travel memoir, part mythology, part history, and all incredible. I'll have to take a look at some of the ones you've mentioned though. :)

  4. I got on a huge Warren Zevon kick about a year ago--I literally listened to nothing else for months. And read "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead." What an effing waste of brilliance. Sigh.