2022's Cherished Memoirs

'A memoir is a literary form in which the author relates and reflects on experiences from their own life. Memoirs and autobiographies share many similarities, as both are types of self-written biographies. But while an autobiography provides a comprehensive account of someone’s life, a memoir is a series of formative or notable memories or events that impacted the author in some way. Memoirs also focus on the author’s thoughts and feelings about those events, what they learned, and how they integrated the experiences into their life.'

I Guess I Haven't Learned That Yet: Discovering New Ways of Living When the Old Ways Stop Working
Shauna Niequist
author website

'Just after her fortieth birthday, author Shauna Niequist found herself in a season of chaos, change, and loss unlike anything she'd ever faced.  She discovered that many of the beliefs and practices that she usually turned to were no longer serving her.

After trying--and failing--to pull herself back up using the same old strategies and systems, she realized she required new ones: courage, curiosity, and compassion.  She discovered the way through was more about questions than answers, more about forgiveness than force, more about tenderness than trying hard.'

Shauna's short essays on making her way through a season of awful losses and drastic upheaval were truly cathartic for me.  Her writing has never been more deeply reflective and richly nuanced.  Herein is superb bibliotherapy.


Amanda Held Opelt

'Shivah provides that next right step for friends who want to offer comfort but who are afraid to encroach on the bereaved, afraid of not knowing what to say or what to do.  And it shows a mourner how to receive love.  Shivah is indeed intrusion.  Death must be trespassed upon.  In shivah, fear is interrupted by friendship.  Loneliness is interrupted by love.  Pain is interrupted by presence.'

The sister of Rachel Held Evans writes of the stunning impact of Rachel's sudden death even as she herself was going through her own devastating series of miscarriages.  There is a beautiful, gentle strength to her cadence, her writing style, that drew me right in on page one.  

As she weaves her story, Amanda seamlessly incorporates research on how rituals are able to aid in healing.  And to my surprise, I discovered how much I'm drawn to this Jewish ritual of 'sitting shivah.' 

I made my way through these pages slowly, in no hurry to finish up.  Probably because I found Amanda to be a gentle companion in my own grieving journey.


Waymaker: Finding the Way to the Life You've Always Dreamed Of
Ann Voskamp 
author website

'I haven't just tipped into heart failure right now; I've been falling in failure for far too long, failing my darling Darryl, failing my marriage, failing my sons and daughters, failing the kindest of friends and long-suffering family, failing in bruised relationships, and failing God.  I've curved inward instead of turned, blamed instead of owned, controlled instead of calmed, dismissed instead of peeling back everything and lavishing attention on souls just yearning to be seen ...'

Named by Christianity Today as one of the 50 women most shaping culture and the church, Ann's surprisingly raw, candid, and vulnerable memoir is a stark reminder that no matter who you are, life has excruciating seasons.  And in those darkest of days, God is always inviting us to something deeper and more holy.  
Kindle - $14.99
Hardcover - $15.36


Lauren Winner
author website

'The child of a Reform Jewish father and a lapsed Southern Baptist mother, Lauren Winner eventually chose to become an Orthodox Jew—but then, as she faithfully observed the Sabbath rituals and studied Jewish laws, she found herself increasingly drawn to Christianity.  Taking a courageous step, she leaves behind what she loves, and converts.  Now, the even harder part: How does one reinvent a religious self?  How does one embrace the new without abandoning the old?  How does a convert become spiritually whole?' 

This is not your typical conversion story.  It's a stunning memoir, exquisitely written, mesmerizing.  This Episcopal priest and associate professor has a brilliant mind, a tender heart, and a writing style that will pull you right into her world.  
Kindle - $14.59

If surface-y chit chat leaves you bored, restless, or uneasy ... and you find yourself craving deep conversation with kindred spirits who can't help but leave an indelible impact on your soul, these are your books.

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