What's a Raconteur?

rac·on·teur
/ˌräˌkänˈtər/

A person who tells anecdotes in a skillful and amusing way; a storyteller; a narrator

Biographies and Memoirs You Should Read

Biographies and Memoirs You Should Read

(That Will Inspire You to Put Your Own Down on Paper)


November 2, 2018 | Olivia Savoie

All of us have a story inside. And a story worth telling, too. But if we don’t have experience with writing a book-length work, the task can be terrifying. That’s why we professional life story writers at Raconteur Story Writing Services recommend you read the incredible autobiographies and memoirs listed below. Pay close attention to their craft, writing style, and layout. You may just be inspired to document your own life story. 

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway 

Like all of Hemingway’s writing, this one’s a beaut. The setting—1920s Paris—is rich and thrilling. He writes subtly, yet evocatively, about a brief span of time, rather than focusing on his entire life’s journey. 

 


 

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou 

This memoir spans all of Angelou’s early years. It is told episodically, tugging the reader into certain pivotal moments in Angelou’s young life. The writing is poetic and honest. It reveals the beauty of storytelling in small doses and really fleshing out memorable scenes.  



The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby 

This memoir was written by an invalid stroke victim, who penned the entire book by blinking a series of blinks that corresponded with a letter of the alphabet. Despite the difficulty in documenting the memoir, the writing is gorgeous and compelling. It’s a work of genius that is sure to inspire. 

 


 

Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt

McCourt shares the story of his upbringing in Ireland. This story is harrowing, yet full of hope. The writing is raw and rousing and a great example of investigating how one’s childhood builds the person they become later on. 

 


 

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

This classic memoir was penned by the youngest author on our list: Anne Frank. Her writing is unashamed, emotional, and ahead of her time. The wise, examining words crafted by the young author tell a distressing story of a few short years of her life. 

 


 

Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi

Nafisi’s memoir focuses on a crux in her adult years: hosting a book club in the Islamic Public of Iran and reading forbidden books with students. Even though the topic is heavy, the writing is poetic and astounding. This memoir highlights the beauty of focusing on one great trial turned triumph during one’s adult years. 

 


All Over but the Shoutin’ by Rick Bragg

This memoir spans a great deal of time, at first focusing on Bragg’s upbringing and family relations and later highlighting his adult years. The book splits the two time periods nearly in a perfect half-and-half ratio. This book is candid, absorbing, and a great example of illuminating a large amount of one’s life in a single memoir. 

 

After you’ve read enough true, life stories, you will be inspired. Then, you can start documenting your life story in your own memoir.  


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The subject(s) of the book is alive and able to communicate their story to a writer
The subject(s) of the book has passed away and other loved ones will relay their story to the writer
The subject(s) of the book has written pieces of their life story, but needs a writer to add to and refine the work for publication
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