Category: Memoir

Birthday Girl’s Best Reads!

Michelle Obama is the queen we all need daily advice from. But since she’s sadly not on our speed dials, we will have to draw as much influence and inspiration from her recommended book list. For her birthday, we have put together a number of books this mega powerhouse of a lady thinks we should read. Make sure you snag these books as fast as possible if they aren’t already in your bookshelf!


1. an american marriage by tayari jones

image via amazon

Similar to BecomingAn American Marriage discusses race, gender roles, and of course, love. A newly married couple, Celestial and Roy, find their lives turned upside down when he is convicted of a crime he did not commit. Left on her own while Roy starts a 12-year prison sentence, Celestial drifts away from him, emotionally. So what will happen to their marriage now?



2. the grapes of wrath by john steinbeck

image via abe books

Published in 1939, this story is set against the backdrop of economic depression and ecological hardship, and has remained hugely popular to this day, and is a staple in Michelle’s list. It follows the fortunes of a family as they travel the iconic Route 66 from Oklahoma to California in search of a better life.


3. song of solomon by toni morrison

image via amazon

It’s no secret that Michelle is a Toni Morrison fan, because back in 2011, during Take Your Child to Work Day, Obama noted Song of Solomon was the book that made her love reading. Song of Solomon is a coming of age story that discusses, in a literal and figurative sense, what it means to fly. The book has stirred up quite some controversy as it confronts many topics some have found uncomfortable, including racism, murder, and abusive relationships.



4. white teeth by zadie smith

image via amazon

“I love the way the story weaves together so many complex and powerful forces that affect our lives and our relationships – family and parenting, religion and politics, and so much more. Plus, it’s just plain funny. I love books that make me laugh every now and then.”, says Michelle.


5. educated by tara westover

image via amazon

Michelle says: “It’s an engrossing read, a fresh perspective on the power of an education, and it’s also a testament to the way grit and resilience can shape our lives. Tara’s upbringing was so different from my own, but learning about her world gave me insight into lives and experiences that weren’t a part of my own journey.”



6. conversations with myself by nelson mandela

image via by amazon

“I like to flip through it from time to time because it always seems to give me an extra boost when I need it. I cherish this both because it was signed by him and because he gave it to me as a gift when my family visited his home in 2011.” says Michelle.



Michelle Obama is the inspirational spirit animal everyone needs, and although she may not be the First Lady anymore, her book list is a portrayal of her vision and guidance, and we are thrilled to be able to share it with everyone.


featured image via book riot

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Fighting Through The Tears

When we were born, the first thing we did was cry. We came out looking for food and then used our tears to control our parents to give us what we want; be it changed a diaper, a bottle, or just plain old attention. As we developed into the men and women that we are today, we now save our tears for the big heartbreaks, pain, and sadness. If you’re like me and you laugh way too hard, then you tend to cry in moments of joy as well.

The award-winning poet, Heather Christle, dives into dissecting how crying can both help and hurt us, using history and science. Dealing with her own struggles with depression and the birth of her child, Christle faces “her joy, grief, anxiety, impending motherhood, and conflicted truce with the world.”

Image Via

The Crying Book describes the delights and surprises of crying by bringing understanding to mental illnesses and the expressions of women’s agency. Christle explores this human behavior not only within herself, but how crying has been represented within the world. One of which is “the ways in which white women’s tears have been used to persecute people of color.” For me, that brings up the story of Emmett Till, who was accused in 1955 of whistling at a white woman and was beaten to death. It brings tears to my eyes to even think of something like that, but that’s the point of Christle’s book — to help you face your emotions head-on and the thoughts they evoke.

Image Via Fanthom Mag

As a new mother, Christle fears postpartum depression as it may affect her abilities as a parent. Instead of suppressing those emotions, she continues to dive into them in order to make them less strange. “Rather than denying that self-pity can be pleasurable, she reveals how that pleasure comes from enfolding oneself in imagined care.”

Instead of denying your tears, gain a better understanding of how people in history have dealt with them, and maybe it will help you do the same.

Featured Image Via The Adroit Journal


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The Courtney Love of Letters has Passed Away

Elizabeth Wurtzel, author of Prozac Nation has died at the age of 52 of metastatic breast cancer.



Image via LA Times

Wurtzel wrote more than several influential books, but was known for her book Prozac Nation as it opened up a dialogue about depression that changed America. Wurtzel was very open about her struggles with mental illness. The book was eventually turned into a film in 2001 starring Christina Ricci. She was also known for her forward-thinking culture critiques and somewhat inflammatory opinions, as well as her strong feminist belief system. She was dubbed, “the Courtney Love of letters.”


image via the New York Times


She did far more than outrage people, especially with her second book, Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women; her words and writing style were suffused with a new kind of writing technique a la Sylvia Plath but in prose, a sort of confessional memoir panache where she talked about her very personal experiences while educating the reader on a woman’s value in society.



In her last book, More, Now, Again, she chronicled her struggles with substance abuse. She finally got clean and ended up going to Yale law school where she graduated and worked for Boies, Schiller & Flexner for more than several years. She left in 2012, to devote more time to writing. In 2015, she married James Freed Jr. on the roof of a loft in Soho. It was around this time she commenced treatment for stage two breast cancer.

She leaves behind a husband and a mother, not to mention a whole new generation of readers where she will no doubt strike a chord.


Featured Images via Cnn/Amazon


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10 Powerful Female Authors Owning 2020

We here at Bookstr love all the strong, women authors out there who are killing it in their fields! Be it a literary fiction piece or a personal memoir, these books are going to be tough to put down! So here is a compiled list, in no particular order, of these ten incredible writers who are launching their spectacular novels in 2020.


Liz moore- Long Bright river


Image Via Montgomery News


American author Liz Moore started as a musician in New York City, which inspired her writing and lead her to eventually launch a number of books, including the forthcoming mystery thriller, Long Bright River. The novel follows the insane lives of two sisters, Kacey and Mickey, in a Philadelphia neighborhood, when suddenly Kacey disappears! As Mickey starts looking for her sister, she realizes she has to act fast because a series of murders begins to take place in the neighborhood.


Image Via Amazon


Long Bright River is gripping, suspenseful, as well as heart-wrenching, as it keeps readers on their toes while the mystery unfolds, but also explores the emotional ties shared by siblings, which makes it a must read in our list!



Anna weiner – uncanny valley


Image Via Amazon


Anna Wiener is a contributing writer to The New Yorker, where she writes about Silicon Valley, startup culture, and technology. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, as well as in Best American Nonrequired Reading 2017.


Image Via Amazon 


In her memoir, Uncanny Valley, Weiner explores her life and choices as a twenty-something Her story starts with her living as a broke and stuck individual in New York City, who makes moves to San Francisco and landing at a big-data startup, ending up where else but in the heart of Silicon Valley. Part coming-of-age-story, part portrayal of an already bygone era, her memoir is a unique first-person glimpse into the ever-so-relevant startup culture of our time, highlighting unrelenting ambition and unregulated surveillance, alongside wild fortune and the influence of rising political power. This is a book which touches on relevant issues that’s taken over our society, all through the lens of a witty protagonist, who is eager to share her story.



tessa bailey – Love her or loose her


Image Via HarperCollins


New York Times bestselling romance author, Tessa Bailey, has done it again! And we can’t wait for her forthcoming novel, Love Her or Loose Her, which promises a page turning tale of high school sweethearts turned married couple, heading their way to something even more exciting – marriage boot camp! In order to save what they have, and to rekindle their old flame, Rosie is sure this is the right decision and has convinced her husband Dom, that he either agrees to it or walks. At the camp, things actually take a positive turn, and Rosie is quite impressed by her husbands progress and eagerness, but suddenly she comes across a secret Dom has kept from her, and it could destroy everything.


Image Via Amazon


Bailey keeps her hungry readers hooked with her endless plot twists about stories of people in love, and we want her to keep ’em coming!



jeanine cummins – american dirt


Image Via Twitter


Jeanine Cummins has taken us on a devastating journey before in her true crime memoir, A Rip in HeavenBut this time she wows her readers with this excellent piece of literary fiction, that circles around a family living in Acapulco, Mexico, who unexpectedly fall victim to life-threatening danger that’s brought by the drug cartel in the city. American Dirt is a gripping page turner, taut with suspense and claustrophobic encounters.


Image Via Amazon


What sets the novel apart is its share of protagonists, as both the mother Lydia, and son Luca, narrate the story, giving its readers a whole different level of intimacy, while keeping the suspense at a constant.




Abi darÉ – The girl with the louding voice


Image Via Curtis Brown


Abi Daré was inspired by her two daughters to write her debut novel The Girl with the Louding Voice, and it’s already won the Bath Novel Award for unpublished manuscripts in 2018 and was also selected as a finalist in the 2018 Literary Consultancy Pen Factor competition—so we know for a fact that she’s insanely talented.


Image Via Amazon


The novel circulates around fourteen-year old Adunni, a Nigerian girl who just wants an education. Her mother had told her that only an education will allow her a “louding voice”, which will give her the ability to speak for herself and decide her own future. But sadness strikes when her father sells her to be the third wife of a local man, who can’t wait to have a son, and Adunni runs away to the city in the hopes of a better life and finds herself a servant for a wealthy family. She is told time and time again, that she amounts to nothing, and that she would accomplish nothing, but she is relentless and knows that they may try to quiet her down, but they can never truly silence her voice.



lily king – writers & lovers


Image Via Goodreads


Lily King is the author of the Kirkus Prize winning novel Euphoria, and her New Adult novel, Writers & Lovers, doesn’t disappoint anyone either.


Image Via Amazon


The book follows Casey—a smart and vulnerable protagonist, who carries her heart in her fingertips—wandering through her last days of a long youth, she’s at a time when every element of her life comes to a crisis. King exhibits her traditional humor, heart and intelligence, creating a spectacular novel that explores the terrifying and exhilarating jump between the end of one chapter of life and the beginning of another. 




veronica roth – chosen ones


Image Via Amazon


The mega-selling author of the Divergent trilogy, Veronica Roth, needs no introduction, and her millions of fans across the globe are waiting impatiently for the release of her first book for adults, Chosen Ones.


Image Via Amazon


The novel goes back a decade near Chicago, when five teenagers defeated the otherworldly enemy known as the Dark One, whose reign of terror brought widespread destruction and death. Ten years after the fateful day of glory, though the world has moved on, one of the five teens, Sloane, never managed forget the gory details. As the nightmares of the Dark One continue to haunt her dreams, tragedy strikes again, and on the eve of the Ten Year Celebration of Peace, they face the death of one of their own. And when the heroes gather for the funeral, they discover to their horror that the Dark One’s reign never really ended and a new, bloody battle is about to begin.



marie benedict – lady clementine


Image Via Goodreads


Marie Benedict is the author of The Other Einstein, Carnegie’s Maid, The Only Woman in the Room, and the upcoming novel, Lady Clementine. Benedict takes the life of Clementine Churchill, in this fictionalized version of history, and does a splendid job of unfolding the bewildering tales of the ambitious woman beside Winston Churchill.


Image Via Amazon


This is the untold story of a partner who did not flinch through the sweeping darkness of war, and who would not surrender either to expectations or to enemies. Benedict’s ability to take the past and weave it into a compelling story for today’s generation is nothing short of remarkable, and her novel has been praised extensively for the behind-the-scenes account of a powerful woman, who played such a huge role in shaping history. 




yaa gyasi – transcendent kingdom


Image Via Gabriela Hasbun


Yaa Gyasi took the world by storm with her first novel, Homegoing, a national bestseller and is now about to launch the follow-up book, Transcendent Kingdom, which is a deeply moving portrait of a family of Ghanaian immigrants living in Alabama, ravaged by depression, addiction, and grief.


Image Via Amazon


The novel’s protagonist is Gifty, a fifth-year candidate in neuroscience at Stanford University, studying reward-seeking behavior in mice and the neural circuits of depression and addiction. Family tragedies have Gifty determined to discover the scientific basis for the suffering she sees all around her, but even as she turns to science to unlock the mystery of her family’s loss, she finds herself hovering over her childhood faith and obsessing with the biblical church in which she was raised, whose promise of salvation now seems only as real as a wild, pleasant dream.



marie Kondo – joy at work: organizing your professional life


Image Via Amazon


Marie Kondo has become a household name since the release of her book and her popular Netflix show, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Upand this organizing whiz keeps her promise to help us de-clutter even further with her new book, Joy At Work.


Image Via Amazon


In Joy at Work, Kondo and Rice University business professor Scott Sonenshein offer stories, studies, and strategies to help eliminate clutter and make space for work that really matters. The workplace is a magnet for clutter and mess, and it’s only normal to feel drained by the disorganized piles of papers and the modern-day hazards of working limit our chances of career progress, and undermine our well-being. Using the now popular KonMari Method and cutting-edge research, Joy at Work hopes to help us overcome the challenges of workplace mess and enjoy the productivity, success, and happiness that comes with a tidy desk and mind. 



From searching for lost sisters, to keeping your work desk tidy, this list should excite you for all the incredible books these powerhouse female authors are bestowing us with in 2020, because I know I am!

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The Best Celebrity Books of 2019!

What’s better than a regular memoir, you ask? A celebrity memoir, that’s what! With the year winding down and the holidays right around the corner, now is the perfect time to snuggle up with a book that motivates you and pumps you up for the brand new year.

Here are some of our favorite Celebrity Memoirs to get you all excited; be it as a travel companion, or to keep you up on your couch as you take a break from the Christmas movie binge, they’re all here for you!


Me by Elton John

Image via Amazon

Elton John’s first ever official autobiography, Me, has won the hearts of millions of fans. The memoir explores fragments of his extraordinary life from when the legendary superstar was a shy, young boy named Reginald Dwight, growing up in the suburbs of London. In Me, Elton also talks about his drama filled life revolving around music, his drug addiction, finding love and becoming a father. This is a great read for anyone who’s a fan of the singer, or just wants to know how one man transformed his life and became the icon that he is now.


Inside out by Demi moore

Image via Amazon

Demi Moore’s long awaited memoir, coined as raw and emotionally charged, has garnered a lot of responses from both fans, and others. In her story, she speaks out about growing up and trying to maintain sanity in the constant scrutiny of the press and public, battling addiction and body image issues, as well as touching on her prolific movie roles and her long string of high profile relationships. In Inside Out, Demi exhibits constant resilience and tremendous strength, which has made her the strong woman she is today. Anyone reading it, can hope to get a dose of inspiration from the outstanding life of a woman who started off as just ordinary.

Home work by julie andrews

Image via Amazon

As her previous memoir, Home, did exceptionally well, Home Work is Julie Andrews’ follow-up memoir, which she released alongside the help of her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton. In this memoir, Andrews focuses on her life in Hollywood, and paints vivid images in the minds of readers as she describes her earliest hit movies like, The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins. Alongside Hollywood, Andrews also discusses her long journey tackling such a tremendously different and extraordinary life, embracing motherhood, step-motherhood, the start and end of marriages, all while discovering who she is and can be.

Queer eye: Love yourself. love your life.

Image via Bookstr

Who better than the fantastic men of Queer Eye to help guide us on the spectacular journey of self love and acceptance for the upcoming year?

While they have a book they released together, four of the Fab Five members have now launched their own, and we couldn’t be more hyped! Karamo Brown’s book, Karamo: My Story of Embracing, Purpose, Healing, and Hope, explores his life through the lens of culture, love and acceptance, while sweet Antoni Porowski’s awesome cookbook, Antoni in the Kitchen, offers us delicious yet easy recipes to keep us full for the upcoming year!

JVN never disappoints in the show, and neither does his fabulous, heart wrenching memoir, Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love, which is a real tear-jerker, but equally heart-warming and powerful and a definite must read. But the gorgeous Tan France’s Naturally Tan has to be my personal favorite, as he breaks boundaries by discussing what it was like to come out as gay in a traditional Muslim household, and in the end, marrying a Mormon cowboy from Salt Lake City. Now we just need the flawless Bobby Berk to gear up and launch his own book ASAP, so we can finally complete our collection!

The beautiful ones by Prince

Image via Amazon

The last mention in our list is the story of a star who may no longer be with us today, but has left a legacy that will never diminish. In this posthumous memoir, megastar Prince Rogers Nelson, tells us the story of how Prince became Prince. And about his relentless effort to self-create and how to master artistry. How his passing left this world with his timeless music. This book, with the work of his editor Dan Piepenbring, manages to capture all hearts.

So, there you have it. This master-list of highly influential and inspiring individuals, who took charge of their lives and became such powerful figures and should put you in the perfect mindset to conquer 2020!

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