Memoirs Made for Gift Giving

By Brandon Miller
A collage of various memoirs and autobiographies showcasing personal journeys and stories of notable individuals.

The holiday season is fast approaching, and we’re already earmarking some remarkable memoirs for our gift lists. As windows into the lives of others, good memoirs offer new perspectives on people, issues, and life itself. Here is an eclectic mix of some of our favorite memoirs that we look forward to giving — or receiving! — this year.

Cover of the book "undaunted: my fight against america's enemies, at home and abroad" by john o. brennan, former director of the cia, labeled as a new york times bestseller.

Undaunted: My Fight Against America’s Enemies, At Home and Abroad

By John O. Brennan

In this insightful memoir, former CIA director John Brennan discusses his life and career, offering a behind-the-scenes look into government and national security. Through Undaunted, Brennan shares a direct, insider account of important historical moments, like the invasion of Iraq, the day that Osama bin Laden was killed, and more. If you have ever wondered what it is really like to work in intelligence, this is the book for you.

The image appears to be a cover of a book titled "hollywood park" by mikel jollett. the design is split into two vertical halves: the left side features a blurry, faded image, while the right side shows a nostalgic photograph of two smiling children enjoying a bright, sunlit day. it is labeled as a "new york times bestseller" and is characterized as "a memoir.

Hollywood Park

By Mikel Jollett

This unflinching bestseller, written by musician Mikel Jollett, is proof that an unconventional, turbulent upbringing need not restrict one from achieving big things. Starting with his earliest memories living inside a cult, Jollett unveils a childhood filled with trauma, emotional abuse, and addiction. But ultimately, the love of family helps him find his voice as a musician and writer.

Black and white portrait of a smiling woman looking off to the side with the title "forward" in bold letters at the bottom, indicating a memoir with a focus on progress and personal journey.


By Abby Wambach

Olympic gold medalist Abby Wambach details her life as a world-renowned athlete, as well as the path she took to get there. All about inner struggle and outward excellence, Forward is a must-read memoir from a record-breaking woman who will go down in the history books. If you’re a fan, be sure to also check out her second book, Wolfpack, inspired by her celebrated commencement speech at Barnard College.

Monochromatic portrait of a woman with striking features and headwear, conveying intensity and elegance.

More Myself

By Alicia Keys

You already knew she could write a fantastic song, but it turns out Alicia Keys can also pen a beautiful book. Unlike a traditional memoir, More Myself includes Keys’ autobiographical narrative interspersed with recollections from others she has met along her journey. It offers a powerful and inspirational look inside the life and struggles of one of music’s biggest superstars.

A black dog wearing a red collar is sitting centered in front of a background fading from peach to yellow. above the dog, the title "good boy" is presented in large, bold letters, and below that, the text reads "my life in seven dogs," followed by "a memoir" and the author's name, "jennifer finney boylan," in smaller letters. the text "good boy" is colored with a rainbow gradient that symbolizes diversity, often associated with lgbtq+ pride.

Good Boy: My Life in Seven Dogs

By Jennifer Finney Boylan

In this book, author and transgender activist Jennifer Finney Boylan discusses the transformative power of living with — and loving — dogs throughout her boyhood and into her life as a middle-aged woman. At the most fundamental level, this is a memoir of how our relationships with our pets can teach us, nourish our soles, and transform our lives. It will resonate with any pet lover on your gift list.

Here We Are: To Migrate To America… It’s the Boldest Act of One’s Life

By Aarti Namdev Shahani

This memoir from NPR correspondent Aarti Namdev Shahani is not your average tale of an immigrant family searching for their American Dream. Shahani’s story starts with her Queens upbringing in the 1980s, her time as a scholarship student at an elite Manhattan prep, and becoming documented in the U.S. But after her father unsuspectingly sold merchandise to the Cali drug cartel, Aarti’s life revolved around visiting Rikers Island, navigating the justice system, and fighting for her father’s right to remain an American citizen.

Silhouette of a person standing before a vast landscape with a peach substituting for the sun, set against a stylized backdrop, highlighting the book title 'david chang: eat a peach, a memoir'.

Eat a Peach

By David Chang

In Eat a Peach, David Chang, the famed restauranter behind Momofuku, details how he was able make it to the top of his industry, and he offers us a look inside restaurant life. But it is more than just a how-to guide for wannabe-chefs — the book delves into topics like race, religion, and mental health with both raw honesty and a solid dose of humor.

The cover of the book "when breath becomes air," a #1 new york times bestseller with a feather symbol and a note indicating it was a finalist for the pulitzer prize. the foreword is by abraham verghese.

When Breath Becomes Air

By Paul Kalinithi

A Pulitzer Prize finalist, When Breath Becomes Air is a tale about life and death, written from the unique perspective of a neurosurgeon who, on the cusp of finishing a decade of medical training, learns that he has stage four lung cancer. The author died while writing this book, but his words continue to impact readers worldwide as they are brought inside his private world.

Profile of a determined man on the cover of 'walking with the wind: a memoir of the movement' by john lewis.

Walking with the Wind

By John Lewis

Walking with the Wind is a fantastic recounting of the American civil rights movement, and the fight for justice and equality in the 1960s. Written by the late John Lewis, a civil rights pioneer and former congressman, the book recounts Lewis’ role in the Nashville movement, the Selma marches, Bloody Sunday, and the Freedom Rides, all the while affirming his commitment to nonviolence and approach to leadership.

A smiling woman poses confidently for a portrait on the cover of her book titled "becoming," which is highlighted as a #1 new york times bestseller.


By Michelle Obama

Former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Becoming — for which she recently won a Grammy for the audiobook — offers a peek inside the life of one of America’s most beloved and respected women. In this memoir, Obama discusses her childhood, career, motherhood, and yes, being First Lady. It is a fascinating tracing of the path that took Michelle Obama from young girl to American icon.

A confident woman with her hair styled in soft waves looks directly at the camera, dressed in a crisp white outfit. the book cover features the title "i am these truths", signaling a personal memoir by the author sunny hostin, focusing on themes of identity, justice, and living between worlds.

I Am These Truths

By Sunny Hostin

You might know Sunny Hostin as a co-host on The View, but this memoir will teach you that becoming television personality is but one in a long list of accomplishments. I Am These Truths follows Hostin from a poverty-stricken childhood in the Bronx all the way through college, law school, a career as a federal prosecutor, and a second career as a legal journalist.

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