Memoirs: Adventures in Life and Business

Memoirs-350x262Often my favourite books are memoirs, especially the adventurous kind, whether that adventure be in business or in life, mainly the latter. On the podcast, Nicola suggested I write a blog post sharing my favourite ones. Here it is. [Challenges are the name of the game on the podcast right now. This week? Whistling!]

Expecting Adam by Martha Beck

A true story of birth, transformation and unconditional love. How Martha’s life was transformed from the moment of the conception of her extraordinary son Adam. Expect miracles. I’ve read this twice and it holds a special place in my heart. Boy, can Martha write!

A Walk In The Woods by Bill Bryson

I am a Bill Bryson fan and have read most of his books and heard him talk live in London. He is very funny and this is far and away my favourite of his, it makes me cry with laughter and again it is another I’ve read more than once. I keep it on my kindle like a guilty pleasure holiday type of treat. Indeed I may start it again later today, now that I think about it. My best bit concerns his friend Katz, who walks the Appalachian Trail with Bill. Katz is a tubby who enjoys his food and insists on stocking up with all sorts of inappropriate foodstuffs, most of which he has jettisoned before their first meal on their intended 2,100 mile walk because it is too heavy to carry! Oh Katz, I know you and I feel your pain.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

A new fave this, Cheryl’s journey from lost to found after her mother died of cancer when Cheryl was still in her twenties. Cheryl’s grief initially took her down into drugs and sex until she decided to walk her way back on a journey of 1,100 miles. Her challenge of choice was the other side of America from Bill, on the Pacific Crest Trail. She walked alone with a massive backpack called Monster. This is a fantastic unputdownable read, I gobbled it up in three nights and it is also a film starring Reese Witherspoon as the ‘Queen of the PCT’,  a role for which she has been BAFTA-nominated; results tonight. The film is good, but it isn’t a patch on the book. Either way, it is a great story.

About Jenga by Leslie Scott

The remarkable business of creating a game that became a household name. I’ll confess, Leslie is my oldest school friend who also just happened to invent Jenga and go on to tell her story of the game in this memoir. We are all in it – me (accountant), my brother (banker) and my mother (demonstrator in Harrods). We lived some of this story and we are proud as punch of Leslie. Check out Leslie’s other games on sale at Oxford Games, a company she now runs with her daughter, Freddie, who is technically my god daughter although we have never had that ratified by Him Upstairs.

Love With a Chance of Drowning by Torre DeRoche

The story of a girl who travels from Australia to California for a year and falls in love with a handsome Argentinian who works in IT in Silicon Valley. He has plans to sail round the world and wants to take our fearful water-averse world-traveller heroine with him. As she says at the end of the gripping sample, that isn’t going to happen. Until it does. I’m half way through this one and can’t wait to get back to bed later to read some more of Torre’s true story on the scary open water between LA to Oz.

For the love of Africa by Sheelah Turner and Oyvind Helgerud

This is the book which is currently keeping me up at night and, like Love With a Chance of Drowning, it is another book I challenge you NOT to buy when you get to the end of the kindle sample, if you think you can! This book has one advantage over the others in this list in that she and her husband write it together which you means you get his chapter, writing as Viking Explorer, and her chapter, writing as African GirlChild, and they take turn and turn about to tell you of their overland adventure from Norway through Europe, crossing from Spain to Morocco and onwards through Africa, always their goal. This writing device is refreshing as they tell of how they gave up their home, possessions and cats in the UK to go on the first of what will no doubt turn into a series of adventures. They are adventurers through and through, they can’t help themselves, nor do they intend to try. Quite right, that’s the way to have a well-lived life.

Honourable mention must also go to Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, the ending of which kept me up till 2 a.m. I remember. One woman’s search for everything.

This list could easily be longer and were I to write it another day, no doubt the list would be different although there are, for sure, a couple of keepers in here.

  • Are you writing your memoir, or at least keeping notes so you can one day? I do hope so.
  • Which is your favourite memoir to read and re-read?

I have written my memoirs and published them on this blog in the past. Right now, they are offline while I live and write the current chapter which puts all the rest of them into perspective. Coming soon.

 

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