I like reading about real people — what happens to them and how they feel about their experiences. But I don’t want to read harrowing tales of survival. I want something lighter. I’ve read a number of these types of books recently that I recommend.
- In “Hammer Head: the Making of a Carpenter,” journalist Nina MacLaughlen decides she needs a change and answers an advertisement for a carpenter’s apprentice. She discovers she enjoys working with tools like a hammer, a saw and a level.
- “Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek” by Maya Van Wagenen was written for teens, but I think adults could learn from it. A middle school girl makes changes to the way she approaches people and how she presents herself to the world.
- “My Kitchen Year” by Ruth Reichl describes how the writer coped during the year following the loss of her job due to the closing of Gourmet magazine. Reichl includes recipes of the foods she cooked during this time.
- “Pardon My French: How a Grumpy American Fell in Love With France” by Allen Johnson chronicles his year living in France, making friends and struggling with the language (which he had studied) and the cultural differences. I enjoyed his sense of humor.
- “Education of a Traitor: A Memoir of Growing Up in Cold War Russia” by Svetlana Grobman tells about coming of age in a place very different from where she lives now. I found it interesting to read about someone growing up during the same time I did but in a very different environment.
- In “Wildflower,” Drew Barrymore tells about her life after she met the mentors and role models who helped her become a responsible adult.
- In “Melissa Explains It All,” Melissa Joan Hart tells about growing up working in the acting business. She knows a lot of other celebrities and reveals some behind-the-scenes moments from “Clarissa Explains it All” and “Sabrina the Teenage Witch.”
- In “You’re Never Weird on the Internet,” Felicia Day tells about being homeschooled and having little interaction with her peers. The Internet was one way she could connect with people. Unfortunately, the anonymity of the Internet also led to problems once she got older.
- In “Bossypants” by Tina Fey and “Yes, Please” by Amy Pohler, both comedy writers use humor to relate some of their experiences.
Do you have a favorite celebrity? Maybe they’ve written a book. Need inspiration to make a change in your life? Read about other people who tried something different. And yes, we even have memoirs about surviving horrible circumstances if that’s your thing. The library has something for everyone.