stack of books in front of a fireplace with the text Nonfiction November

NonFiction November: Memoirs

Hey folks! It’s that time of year again. Because I have a habit of hiding in swoony romance, pew pew romance, and historical fiction, i like to spend the month of November catching up on all the nonfiction I’ve accumulated. So each week I’m going to pick a topic and go from there. This week is going to be featuring memoirs. I love a good memoir. Julia Child’s My Life in France, Eddie Izzard’s Believe Me, Patricia Lockwood’s Priestdaddy are a few of my favorites.

Today’s Topic: Memoirs

Horror Stories by Liz Phair

There was a very specific time in my twenties when I lived in Okinawa that I listened to Liz Phair obsessively (I was also involved with a pagan coven and lived on an Air Force base so there was a mood). This pick is mostly a nostalgic one. I don’t know much about her so this will either be amazing or terrible. But the trip down memory lane will be worth it. I hope.

Dear Girls: Intimiate Tales, Untold Secrets, and Advice for Living Your Best Life by Ali Wong.

I adore Ali Wong. A collection of essays written to her daughters is exactly what I’m looking for. I’ve already read the introduction and it’s a damn delight. I’m still bitter I missed her stand up because of the big move this summer so maybe reading this will make up for it. I doubt it, but it’s still gonna be a fun read.

Something that May Shock and Discredit You by Daniel Ortberg

I read Texts from Jane Eyre years ago and while some went over my head (I still haven’t read Jane Eyre, but it’s going on my 2020 resolutions list), I throughly enjoyed Ortberg’s sense of humor. I’m definitely here for a more intimate collection of his thoughts.

Pub date: January 28, 2020

Recollections of my Nonexistence by Rebecca Solnit

I can’t believe this is the first memoir we’ve gotten from Solnit, but I’m so here for it. I haven’t read everything that she’s written, but what I have read has inspired and given food for thought.

Pub date: March 10, 2020

Save Yourself by Cameron Esposito

I really like Esposito’s standup and am intrigued to hear about her life and stories. Just from her routine, you know there is a wealth of background to be explored and she’s made an impact on comedy and society.

March 24, 2020

Sorted: Growing Up, Coming Out, and Finding My Place by Jackson Bird

I met Jackson Bird once in New York where he hosted a Pictionary tournament between Sarah Andersen and Valentine De Landro which was everything I ever wanted. He is a smart, passionate person who I admire. I had somehow missed he was writing a memoir, but now that I have it, I can’t wait to read it and pass it down to my oldest who has been exploring their identity.

Are you doing Nonfiction November? What are your favorite memoirs?

*Edited to add publishing dates.

Review at a Glance: The Woman Who Would Be King

Title: The Woman Who Would Be King: Hatshepsut’s Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt
Author: Kara Cooney
Release Date: October 14, 2014
Publisher: Crown Publishing
Genre: Non-Fiction, History
Source: LibraryThing

Let me say, Hatshepsut should have had Cleopatra’s publicist. She needs the press that Cleo has received throughout the years. Not to tear Cleopatra down at all. They both are deserving of the attention so Cleo should have shared. There is not nearly enough out there about Hatshepsut. I vaguely knew her as a ruler who had her statues and such destroyed by the pharaoh after her. No details of her rise to rule or her reign.

I have a keen interest in Ancient Egypt. I have been since 6th grade and reading The Golden Goblet by Eloise Jarvis McGraw and learning the ways of the Egyptians.  I even went on to read McGraw’s other book on Egypt Mara, Daughter of the Nile. Through the years I have picked up a few Cleopatra historical fictions, glanced at a few non fiction books about the era, but somehow missed the deets on King Hatshepsut. Recently I did a little unintentional theme reading when I started a historical fiction about Cleopatra’s daughter then was recommended a book based on Hatshepsut Daughter of the Nile by Stephanie Thornton. After I finished that, I realized I’d had another series on my e-reader by L.M. Ironside that focused on Hatshepsut’s life before and even after her rule. Then The Woman Who Would Be King showed up on my radar. It was kismet.

In The Woman Who Would Be King Kara Cooney thoughtfully and meticulously lays out Hatshepsut’s life and even what happens after her unprecedented rule. I felt like Cooney did a masterful job of painting what life might have been like for not only Hatshepsut, but the people who would have been around her and their relationships with her. Hatshepsut is not portrayed as manipulative or as completely selfless, but as a human being who was ambitious and from all accounts a shrewd ruler who had her faults. It is too bad there was not a lot of diary writing back in those days. It seemed the Egyptians weren’t much for the drama parts of life because it would have been interesting to know more about not only her motivations, but also the motivations of the the people around her, like her steward, Senenmut; her daughter, Neferure; or her nephew Thutmose III. I usually consume non fiction as audiobooks and this one would have been perfect.