Memoir and Fiction Editing Services

Book Editing Services: Recommended Reading, Memoirs and Essays

Reading List

Many of these books should be readily available at your local bookstore; others are harder to find, but well worth the effort. Look for descriptions and publisher information through your favorite online bookseller. Browse and enjoy!

Memoirs and Journals:

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
The Spiral Staircase by Karen Armstrong
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby
The Boys of My Youth by Jo Ann Beard
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
My Sky Blue Trades: Growing Up Counter in a Contrary Time by Sven Birkerts
My Lesbian Husband by Barrie Jean Borich
Angelhead and The Colorful Apocalypse by Greg Bottoms 
Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
Here If You Need Me by Kate Braestrup
Note Found in a Bottle: My Life as a Drinker by Susan Cheever
The Road from Coorain and True North by Jill Ker Conway
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
An American Childhood by Annie Dillard
Heaven’s Coast by Mark Doty
The Thief of Happiness: The Story of an Extraordinary Psychotherapy by Bonnie Friedman
Shot in the Heart by Mikal Gilmore
Fierce Attachments by Vivian Gornick
Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy
Without a Map by Meredith Hall
A Drinking Life by Pete Hamill
Still Life in Harlem by Eddy L. Harris 
The Kiss and The Mother Knot by Kathryn Harrison
An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison
Nervous System: Or, Losing My Mind In Literature by Jon Lars Jensen
The Liars’ Club, Cherry, and Lit by Mary Karr
Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
My Brother by Jamaica Kincaid
The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts by Maxine Hong Kingston
Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp
Road Song by Natalie Kusz
Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year by Anne Lamott
Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi
Zami: A New Spelling of My Name by Audre Lorde
Angela’s Ashes and 'Tis by Frank McCourt
Remembering the Bone House by Nancy Mairs
Undercurrents: A Life Beneath the Surface by Martha Manning
How to Stop Time: Heroin from A to Z by Ann Marlowe
Sita by Kate Millett
The Tender Bar by J.R. Moehringer
Are You Somebody? The Accidental Memoir of a Dublin Woman by Nuala O’Faolain
Stalking the Divine by Kristin Ohlson
Truth and Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett
Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez by Richard Rodriguez
Journal of a Solitude by May Sarton
Naked by David Sedaris
Drinking the Rain by Alix Kates Shulman
Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You and Love Sick by Sue William Silverman
Welcome to My Country, Prozac Diary, and Love Works Like This by Lauren Slater
The Cliff Walk by Don Snyder
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Night by Elie Wiesel
The Duke of Deception: Memories of My Father by Geoffrey Wolff
This Boy’s Life and In Pharoah’s Army by Tobias Wolff

Personal Essays:
The Art of the Personal Essay
edited by Phillip Lopate 
Best American Essays series, any year
My Misspent Youth by Meghan Daum
Slouching Toward Bethlehem and The White Album by Joan Didion
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
Broken Vessels and Meditations from a Movable Chair by Andre Dubus
Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman
Approaching Eye Level by Vivian Gornick
As Seen On TV by Lucy Grealy
Seeking Rapture: Scenes from a Woman's Life by Kathryn Harrison
Why I’m Like This: True Stories by Cynthia Kaplan
The Merry Recluse: A Life in Essays by Caroline Knapp 
The Periodic Table by Primo Levi
Plaintext and Voice Lessons: On Becoming a (Woman) Writer by Nancy Mairs
Dakota: A Spiritual Geography by Kathleen Norris
George Orwell’s “Shooting an Elephant” and “A Hanging” (various collections)
Barrel Fever and Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Other Great Nonfiction:

The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age by Sven Birkerts
In Cold Blood and Music for Chameleons by Truman Capote
Home Before Dark by Susan Cheever
Capote: A Biography by Gerald Clarke
Dispatches by Michael Herr
Hiroshima by John Hersey
Night Falls Fast and Touched With Fire by Kay Redfield Jamison
The Executioner’s Song by Norman Mailer
The Journalist and the Murderer, The Silent Woman, In the Freud Archives, and Two Lives by Janet Malcolm
Her Husband: Hughes and Plath, a Marriage and Anne Sexton by Diane Middlebrook 
The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean
The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression by Andrew Solomon
Illness as Metaphor and AIDS and Its Metaphors by Susan Sontag
The Best Thing I Ever Tasted: The Secret of Food by Sallie Tisdale

Books on Writing:


Writing Past Dark by Bonnie Friedman
Writing Down the Bones and Wild Mind by Natalie Goldberg
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
The Forest for the Trees: An Editor’s Advice to Writers by Betsy Lerner
On Writer’s Block by Victoria Nelson
Making a Literary Life by Carolyn See

Memoir and Personal Essay:

Writing the Memoir: From Truth to Art by Judith Barrington
The Situation and the Story: The Art of Personal Narrative by Vivian Gornick
Living to Tell the Tale: A Guide to Writing Memoir by Jane Taylor McDonnell
Writing Life Stories by Bill Roorbach
Fearless Confessions: A Writer's Guide to Memoir by Sue William Silverman