If you know me even a little bit you might know that I heavily favor nonfiction in my reading habits. many people find this puzzling. and it’s often difficult to convince people that nonfiction can make for some fascinating reading. I am trying to open myself up more to reading fiction, but i think my heart will always lie with nonfiction. In the past couple years I’ve really been drawn to the memoir. I think I can say that memoir (or autobiography) is perhaps my favorite genre.
Let me also say that I distinguish memoir from personal essays. In fact, I’ll do another series on The Essay. That might be my second favorite genre. or maybe it’s a tie for first. Anyway… I am going to share with you 5 (maybe 6) memoirs that I love and have connected with very deeply (in no particular order).
You will notice 2 dominating themes: God & Food.
First up, God stuff:
1. Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back by Frank Schaeffer
I heard the author, Frank Schaeffer, interviewed by Terry Gross on NPR’s fresh air in December of 2008 (you can find the interview here-don’t let the tagline or headline deter you.). It was what NPR would call a “driveway moment” for me. It stopped me dead in my tracks. I could barely speak. When I tried to respond verbally, my voice would start to break. That may sound absurd, but it’s the truth. I immediately bought the book. If you don’t know my background (how I was raised, schooling, etc), you will understand it (and me) much better after reading this book. Frank Schaeffer is able to articulate so much of what I have felt since becoming an adult and have begun to reflect back on my upbringing. Listening to this interview and then reading this book was like accessing this part of me that I had not be able to get at yet. This book hit me at my core and I was able to find a lot of healing and freedom in it. I have since felt a better understanding of myself and how I relate to the world. In short, if you grew up in an evangelical (read: pretty conservative. quick test: how does the word secular make you feel?) Christian household/environment, I strongly, strongly recommend this book. In fact, if you did grown up in similar circumstances and I know about it then I have no doubt already tried to push this book on you.
I also wrote a little about this book and the author in this post back in February of this year.
you might also like:
Patience with God: Faith for People Who Don’t Like Religion (or Atheism) by Frank Schaeffer
Sex, Mom, and God: How the Bible’s Strange Take on Sex Led to Crazy Politics—and How I Learned to Love Women (and Jesus) Anyway by Frank Schaeffer
A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith by Brian D. Mclaren