There are so many interesting lives to read about.
I thought I would share some recent publications in this genre. These are all contemporary stories from across the globe and all have a unique and personal voice. The stories are bigger than the lives of the people and give us an insight into different worlds. It takes courage to write, and these writers have been courageous in sharing their personal stories with us. I hope you find an interesting read on this list.
The boy from Boomerang Crescent by Eddie Betts
Eddie Betts has had an outstanding career in AFL and is well known to many of us as an inspiration both on and off the field. Eddie has faced many challenges through his life and his story is worth knowing. He grew up in Port Lincoln and Kalgoorlie as a young indigenous boy in a culture where family, culture and sport were everything.
His move to Melbourne to play AFL was a big adjustment. He went on to have a brilliant career in AFL, with all the ups and downs of a career in Australian Rules. This is an enjoyable read from a person of true integrity.
The community-based outlook on life that Betts possesses is a unique perspective in a world that has often become individualistic.
Why Karen Carpenter Matters by Karen Tongson
Karen Tongson is a Filipino-American writer and queer studies scholar whose parents named her after the famous singer. In this book, Karen writes about the influence Karen Carpenter’s music had on her early life in the Philippines. The chart-topping music of The Carpenters was revered in the Philippines.
The book details many parts of the famous Karen’s life – her drumming skill, her love for her brother and her love of music. The writer wants us to remember Karen Carpenter as an amazing talent whose life should be celebrated.
Deftly weaves memoir, history, and cultural criticism to highlight the dynamic relationship between artists and listeners.
Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life by Yiyun Li
Yiyun Li is a Chinese-American fiction writer who has written this deeply personal memoir about her life during her time spent in a mental hospital. It is about the healing power of reading and the influences of writers such as Virginia Woolf, William Trevor and Katherine Mansfield.
It is original and startling in its ideas about what it is to write. It is unusual in structure and utterly captivating. There are many uplifting and funny anecdotes about this difficult time in the writer’s life. It is a book that requires you full attention and is a rewarding reading experience.
Yiyun has the talent, the vision and the respect for life’s insoluble mysteries. She is the real deal.
Found, Wanting by Natasha Sholl
Natasha Sholl was only 22 when she woke up to her long-time boyfriend Rob dying beside her. This unimaginable loss is explored in this memoir. The writer recollects the loneliness of grief from the early shocking days to the ongoing process of learning to live with loss.
It is an honest, fearless account of living through a momentous time. There is detail about the mundane and ordinary aspects of life during this time. The writer recalls the empty platitudes that many viewed as being sympathetic, but only made her angry. This is a richly observed and compelling book.
‘a beautifully written memoir that powerfully delivers the wisdom each of us will need at some point’
Desi girl by Sarah Malik
This is a collection of memoir style essays by Pakistani-Australian journalist Sarah Malik. The writer grew up in Western Sydney and is a second-generation Islamic woman who leaves home at 20 to study at university.
This is a book about identity. The writer explores themes of feminism, race, faith and belonging in Australia today. Many second-generation migrants will find this an important and relatable book. It is clear, lyrical and precise writing.
‘A triumph! Sarah’s candour, generosity, warmth and insight are a joy and comfort to read. The book I wish I’d had as a young writer.’