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Some memorable memoirs of 2017

January 15, 2018

I read a lot of memoirs. So many, in fact, that I sometimes forget which ones I’ve read and start reading them again (yep, it goes with that time of life too). It’s rare that I put a memoir aside, but when I do, I don’t even review it. I cannot justify reviewing books I haven’t finished. But I do, occasionally, read books, love them and then forget them until doing this sort of thing. I recently posted a whole list of memoirs on Twitter, particularly those I enjoyed in 2017, but I know I missed out a couple of good ones, so I hope I can address that here.

I should say first off that two memoirs had me totally hooked: the first is John Le Carré’s The Pigeon Tunnel. I have long been a fan of his work and Absolute Friends is possibly among my all time favourite books ever, so I pounced on his collection of memoirs when it came out, and I was completely riveted to it. I’m so glad I bought the real book too as I know I’ll read it again. It’s just fascinating and of course, his writing is beautiful.

Here is the link to the book on the Book Depository, which is where I bought it.


The other memoir that had me riveted was Cathy Curran’s Second Hand Scotch, a vivid, sometimes shocking, but always colourful and honest account of the author’s eclectic immigrant family.  My review of her book is here.

Apart from these two, though, I read several marvellous memoirs last year, some of which are reviewed on this blog, but as I only started using it for writing reviews halfway through the year, not all of them are included in the posts below. I would therefore like to give special mentions to the following (links are to my Amazon reviews):

Marjory McGinn’s  A Scorpion in the Lemon Tree

Jo Carroll’s Everlasting

Roger Distill’s Hints and Tips for Life with your Feet under Water (which, being a boater myself, I found fascinating).

Beth Haslam’s Fat Dogs and French Estates 3 (I can’t find my review, but I know it’s there somewhere in amongst the other 5* praise, all of which is justified!)

These four each stood out for me in a special way and I loved them – for their writing, their powers of description and also for what I could learn from them. My thanks to the authors for these wonderful books!

Now then, after a festive season full of fiction, I am back to reading memoirs, so watch this space for more reviews about my glimpses into the fascinating lives of the not so famous, but oh so courageous folk who make up this world.

Lastly, I’ve reposted a link to a review about Lucinda E Clarke’s fabulous short memoir about The Very Worst Riding School in the World. Do yourselves a favour and sign up to her newsletter to receive both parts for free. Part 1 is for sale on Amazon for $1, but for part 2, you need to subscribe to her email list. Happy reading!


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