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5 Memoirs That Will Inspire You


Article by Kate Baxendale

Photography by Stock Images + Provided

Does the current climate have you feeling discouraged? Then it's time to pick up one of these profound memoirs. Reading the story of someone else's trials and triumph can be the spark you need to make it all seem OK. Here are five titles to check out now.

Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt

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"When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I managed to survive at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood."
"So begins the Pulitzer Prize winning memoir of Frank McCourt, born in Depression-era Brooklyn to recent Irish immigrants and raised in the slums of Limerick, Ireland. ... Angela's Ashes, imbued on every page with Frank McCourt's astounding humor and compassion, is a glorious book that bears all the marks of a classic." –

The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls

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"A tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that, despite its profound flaws, gave the author the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms. ... What is so astonishing about Jeannette Walls is not just that she had the guts and tenacity and intelligence to get out, but that she describes her parents with such deep affection and generosity. Hers is a story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms." –

Spinster: Making a Life of One's Own by Kate Bolick

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"A bold, original, moving book that will inspire fanatical devotion and ignite debate.
Whom to marry, and when will it happen—these two questions define every woman's existence. So begins Spinster, a revelatory and slyly erudite look at the pleasures and possibilities of remaining single.
Using her own experiences as a starting point, journalist and cultural critic Kate Bolick invites us into her carefully considered, passionately lived life, weaving together the past and present to examine why­ she—along with over 100 million American women, whose ranks keep growing—remains unmarried." –

The Charge: Activating the 10 Human Drives That Make You Feel Alive by Brendon Burchard

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On a dark and steamy Caribbean night, Brendon Burchard stood bleeding atop the crumpled hood of his wrecked car. That night he learned about mortality, discovering that at the end of our lives we will all ask, “Did I live? Did I love? Did I matter?”
Since that fateful night, Brendon has lived a fully charged life, and he’s helped millions of people around the globe transform their lives and feel more alive, engaged, and fulfilled. Brendon observes that the emotional energy of the world has flatlined, and he sets out to fix it. People are stressed, restless, and wanting more out of life. Despite the fact that most people have what they “need” to be happy, they rarely feel the levels of excitement, engagement, or satisfaction they deserve. So what’s the solution?
In The Charge, Brendon argues that the only way to measurably improve the quality of your life is to learn how to activate the very 10 drives that make you most human. These drives are your desires for more control, competence, congruence, caring, connection, change, challenge, creative expression, contribution, and consciousness. These drives shape everything you think, feel, and do in life, so understanding and mastering them is critical to your success and happiness. Strategically activating these drives on a consistent basis is the fastest path to living a fully charged life." –

No One Makes It Alone by Andrew Valdez

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"No One Makes It Alone, by author Andrew Valdez, is the true story of how a poor, fatherless, westside Latino paperboy—destined to be a respected judge—is plucked off a cold, wintery Salt Lake City street corner by an Anglo business owner who mentors and fathers him. Jack Keller, affectionately known as 'Jack Mormon,' shows streetwise Andy Valdez how to face adversity and take responsibility. Most importantly, Jack sets Andy on the right path to grow into manhood.
No One Makes It Alone starts in the present when Judge Andrew Valdez discovers his mentor, Jack, confused and disheveled at a local grocery store. Over the years they lost track and now Jack is penniless and suffering the first symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. The once strong and able-bodied World War II veteran is desperate and alone.
This chance meeting sets in motion reflections and memories of those days long ago when Andy and Jack spent their time under the cooling canopy of century-old trees at the tennis courts in Liberty Park. It was Jack's guidance and the game of tennis that taught Andy about honesty, competition, honor and fair play. Tennis opened the door to a new world of possibilities—and Andy walked through." –