2016 Reading Challenge: “Read a Memoir” Recap

2016 Reading Challenge

“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities;

Truth isn’t.” – Mark Twain


February is almost over which means it’s time to report on our memoirs!

My Pick: Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy and Hard Times by Jennifer Worth

Here’s what I thought:

I loved it! I love the PBS series based on this novel, so much in fact, that I was a little worried that the book might not live up to my expectations. Boy, was I wrong! I loved it as much as the TV series and maybe even more. Call the Midwife had everything I love about memoirs – how life can be a mixture of love and grief, grit and inspiration, hard but rewarding work, and a lot of faith. Jenny lives and works with the Sisters at Nonnatus House as a midwife for the residents in the East End of London. It was a rough area, poor and overcrowded, but the people had a pecking order and respected the nuns and midwives greatly. The book isn’t so much about Jenny, but about the people around her – the other midwives, the nuns and her patients. The life stories she dives into are often heart wrenching, but there are also stories of family and love, strengthen and determination. Without being boring or too technical, I learned a bit of history about the post-WWII London, workhouses of the past, and the progression of medicine (especially midwifery) in the past two centuries. It was fascinating to hear about her life at the convent, although she was not a nun and not religious, and how the nuns had a profound influence on her and her life.

As soon as I finished the book, I went on Thriftbooks.com and ordered the next two books in the series. I was nearly in a depression that they took several days to arrive in the mail. I’m so eager to finish this series.

I loved this category and could stay with “read a memoir” for several more months but, alas, we must move on! The whole point of this is to expand our reading, right?! I’ll be posting the next challenge soon!

Now it’s your turn: What memoir did you pick and what did you think of it? Any highlights? Would you recommend it?



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9 thoughts on “2016 Reading Challenge: “Read a Memoir” Recap

  1. I’m sad to say that I might not finish my book on time! I’m reading “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed and I love it! I’ve had so much on the go though thst reading time is hard to come by. But, I will push on. I might finish it a week into March!


    • These monthly challenges are more of a guideline than a rigid schedule. Plus, February is a short month! 🙂 Once you finish, you can watch the movie! I don’t know why but I always enjoy having a movie version to watch after I finish the book (which is odd because I’m usually disappointed or frustrated by the movie versions!).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hehe… It really is a short month! And it has felt even shorter than usual! Yes I can’t wait to watch the movie. I thought about watching it first, but I didn’t want the movie to taint the book while I read it…. Haha… Same thing here, I don’t like to be disappointed by the movie version 🙂


      • Same here! I love finding out a book was turned into a movie/tv show. You’re right though, it’s usually disappointing. I just can’t help getting excited about seeing the characters and settings up on the screen.


  2. I’ve heard of Call the Midwife but never considered reading it until your post! It actually sounds pretty intriguing.

    I ADORED my memoir, Stephen King’s On Writing! Since I’m a fan of his books, it was fascinating to hear about the inspiration and writing process for his novels. He also gives extremely useful advice. I have absolutely no interest in writing a book, but his tips are just as helpful for everyday writing.


    • Sounds like I’m going to have to add On Writing to my TBR list. He’s a brilliant writer (although I’m too much of a scaredy- cat to read most of his books – ha!) so I’m sure what he has to say about writing is fascinating and helpful.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I adore On Writing. I recommend it to my students all the time as his tips are good for any kind of writing – fiction or non-fiction.


  3. I read My Southern Journey by Rick Bragg this month. Bragg is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist from near my hometown in Alabama. He has written several memoirs, the best of which are All Over but the Shoutin’ and Ava’s Man, and writes a monthly column in Southern Loving magazine. His biography of Jerry Lee Lewis is also amazing. My Southern Journey is a short story collection, primarily of previously published material, combined to provide a travelogue of sorts – a journey through food, culture, and hospitality as experienced by Bragg throughout his life in the South. The best story is What Stands in a Storm, an ode to the hospitality Southerners are known for following the horrific tornadoes that killed hundreds of people in 2011. Some are funny, some serious, but all are a fantastic read. Highly recommend!


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