They are The Return by Hisham Matar, Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt and Joseph Anton by Salman Rushdie. I highly recommend all three. The first two have won the Pulitzer.
These three books all happen to be memoirs or autobiographies. I believe this is my favourite genre.
Truth fascinates me more than fiction.
The harder the obstacles the author has had to overcome, the more vulnerable they are in revealing their truth, the more I’m drawn in. Often too, they are in worlds far removed from my own. Worlds in the past that I’ll never inhabit.
The Return brings us to Gaddafi’s Lybia. Angela’s Ashes is set in poverty stricken Ireland and Joseph Anton to life in the UK and later the USA after a fatwa is issued in Iran.
In all these stories there is an appeal for me in the tenderness of a father’s love. And also the child’s need of their father. Missing my own father, I feel it all strongly. Also the subject and their loved ones’ lives are in peril. Their bravery and strength in overcoming their ordeals truly astounds and inspires me.
I’m constantly pressured by the fact that I’m not reaching my full potential and that it’s too late for me. When I feel this kind of defeat, these brave tales renew my resolve to make better use of this life.
It’s glaring that none of the above mentioned writers are women. But in fact, my favourite biography of all time would be the series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I read them as a child in primary school. Reading these books again as an adult feels fresh, comforting and exciting once again.
And no I don’t believe in banning books even if they are offensive now as some parts of this series are now seen to be offensive such as the depiction of the Native Americans. We are to learn from history and not erase it.