Readers' Favorite

March 13, 2016

3 Memoirs to Read

reviews by Susan Roberts

The Sound of Gravel

The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner

First, let me say that I rarely read memoirs - it's just not something that I enjoy. I am so glad that I made an exception with this book. Ruth Wariner's story is one that will stay in my mind. How she survived her childhood is amazing. At the start of her book, she tells us that she is the 39th of her father's 42 children and is part of a polygamous cult in Mexico. She lived in a run down home with no electricity with her mom and brothers and sisters, several of whom were special needs kids, she was a happy child even as her family's life spun out of control. The book was amazing and even though it was difficult to read in parts, I am very glad that I read it. The author does an amazing job of telling her story and the one word that comes to mind when I think of her is RESILIENCE.

Buy The Sound of Gravel at Amazon

When Breath Becomes Air

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

This is more than a book about a man who dies. It's a book about a talented neuro surgeon who tried to understand the meaning of life as he tried to save people but didn't really understand until he was faced with his own death. Yes, it's sad and yes, you will cry but my overwhelming feeling at the end was not of sadness but of joy for reading about a life well lived.

Buy When Breath Becomes Air at Amazon

The Shift

The Shift: One Nurse, Twelve Hours, Four Patients' Lives by Theresa Brown

If you've ever wondered what it was like to be a nurse, you need to read this book. Theresa writes about a 12 hour shift as an oncology nurse at a busy hospital - all of the stress, decision making, heartbreaking, tiring things that can and do happen in a mere 12 hours. And then what do nurses do after a grueling 12 hour shift? Most of them go home, get a few hours rest and do it all over again. I thought that this was an excellent look at all of the painful and uplifting things that can happen on any shift on any day at any hospital. Great job! (A free book was provided by LibraryThing for this review)

Buy The Shift: One Nurse, Twelve Hours, Four Patients' Lives at Amazon

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  1. I am so happy I came across this blog post! I am a big non-fiction fan too and I have added "When Breath Becomes Air" to my TBR list. I recently read a really enthralling memoir about prison life by author Don Alfredano called "Real Men Wear Beige" ( This book gives you a fascinating real life look at the criminal justice system as well as what life is like in state prison. The author manages to inject humor, insight, and deep emotions throughout his memoir. I couldn't put it down. I am a big fan of Orange is the New Black and this reminded me of it but gave me a whole new perspective of what it's like as a man. Hope you will check it out