According to our most recent Reader Survey, memoirs are one of the Top 5 favorite genres of BookPage readers. Thankfully, there have been a slew of outstanding memoirs this year. To date, we have recommended 29 memoirs in 2012. The writers' stories are about fatherhood, aging, exercise, cooking, friendship, loss, love—and so much more.

Keep reading to learn more about this must-read collection of memoirs. Which is your favorite? What will you read next? What memoir should we add to our list?

MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche
Ballantine, $15, 384 pages
Rachel Bertsche is a 20-something freelance writer and editor who, after following her husband to Chicago, found herself in need of a new best friend.

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No Cheating, No Dying by Elizabeth Weil
Scribner, $25, 192 pages
After nearly 10 years of marriage to her husband Dan, Elizabeth Weil still felt “proud, nearly giddy” about being his wife. She also worried: “Because just as I believed that marriages formed slowly over time, I also believed they broke that way.” Read more>>

Gypsy Boy by Mikey Walsh
Thomas Dunne/St. Martin's, $24.99, 288 pages
“Somehow, this time, I would make it work.” That’s the quiet plea of 12-year-old Mikey Walsh, desperate to fit in with his Romany Gypsy family. Read more>>

Immortal Bird by Doron Weber
Simon & Schuster, $25, 368 pages
Weber’s Immortal Bird is a love letter to his son, an account of Damon’s determination to fight a series of medical setbacks while fighting for his life. Read more>>

The Great Northern Express by Howard Frank Mosher
Crown, $25, 256 pages
As a young boy, Howard Frank Mosher would sit at the knee of his honorary uncle, Reg Bennett, and beg him to tell stories. Bennett promised that when Mosher turned 21, the two would embark on a road trip starting in Robert Frost’s New England. Read more>>

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?
by Jeanette Winterson
Grove, $25, 224 pages
With Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? Winterson pulls back the veil on her life as she really lived it and shows us that truth is not only stranger than fiction, but more painful and more beautiful as well. Read more>>

Burn Down the Ground by Kambri Crews
Villard, $25, 352 pages
As a PR booker for comedy clubs, Kambri Crews developed the slogan “Life’s Tough. Laugh More.” In her new memoir, Burn Down the Ground, Crews reveals the source of this motto in her hardscrabble childhood in rural Texas with deaf parents.
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King Peggy by Peggielene Bartels and Eleanor Herman
Doubleday, $25.95, 352 pages
Today, no one raises an eyebrow at seeing a female doctor, police officer or CEO. But a female king? Yet that is exactly what Peggielene Bartels, for more than 30 years a secretary at the Embassy of Ghana in Washington, D.C., is asked to become by the elders of Otuam, a small Ghanaian village. Read more>>

Mad Women by Jane Maas
St. Martin's, $24.99, 272 pages
The Lucky Strike-puffing, martini-fueled “mad men” of the glamorous heyday of advertising are sexy again, thanks to the hit TV show. But “mad women” were also making their mark in the testosterone-dominated advertising industry of the 1960s and ’70s. Read more>>

Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Knopf Doubleday, $25.95, 336 pages
A profound and moving pilgrimage through the wilderness of grief, Cheryl Strayed’s Wild is one of the best American memoirs to emerge in years.
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The Fourth Fisherman by Joe Kissack
Waterbrook, $19.99, 240 pages
The Fourth Fisherman, by Joe Kissack, is a story about men lost at sea—one lost in the sea of worldly success and excess, and the others lost in the actual vast waters of the Pacific Ocean. Read more>>

The Other Side of Suffering by John Ramsey
FaithWords, $24.99, 272 pages
The worst fate most parents can imagine is to live through the loss of a child—especially a child lost to murder. Read more>>

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen
Random House, $26, 208 pages
In the sublime Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, Quindlen, 59, clearly is embracing middle age (with just the tiniest bit of help from the dermatologist). Read more>>

Some Assembly Required by Anne Lamott
Riverhead, $26.95, 288 pages
Anyone who read
Operating Instructions, Anne Lamott’s seminal book on the trials and tribulations of motherhood, will be flabbergasted to learn that her infant son, Sam, is now a 19-year-old father. Read more>>

Making Babies by Anne Enright
Norton, $24.95, 208 pages
The subtitle of Making Babies, Anne Enright’s marvelously irreverent look at having children later in life, is “Stumbling into Motherhood,” and that is just what the Irish writer did when she and her husband had their first child after 18 years of marriage.
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Up: A Mother and Daughter’s Peakbagging Adventure by Patricia Ellis
Broadway, $14, 256 pages
I was bracing to be slightly annoyed by the ambitious mother and her overachieving mountain-climbing daughter in Up: A Mother and Daughter’s Peakbagging Adventure. But Patricia Ellis Herr is no tiger mom, pushing her daughter Alex to the brink.
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Bloom by Kelle Hampton
Morrow, $24.99, 288 pages
As soon as the doctor laid the baby in her arms, Kelle Hampton knew her daughter had Down syndrome. “I will never forget my daughter in my arms, opening her eyes over and over . . . she locked eyes with mine and stared . . . bore holes into my soul. Love me. Love me. I’m not what you expected, but oh please love me.”
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My Story, My Song by Lucimarian Roberts
Upper Room, $28, 144 pages
My Story, My Song is the slim but lyrical memoir of Lucimarian Roberts, the mother of “Good Morning America” co-anchor Robin Roberts.
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A Wedding in Haiti
by Julia Alvarez
Algonquin, $22.95, 304 pages
In her humorous and poignant memoir of a wedding and an earthquake in the Dominican Republic, novelist Julia Alvarez (How the García Girls Lost Their Accents) attempts to answer this question as she tells the tale of a young worker on her coffee plantation, Piti, and his efforts to make a life by traveling from his home in Haiti to work in the neighboring country. Read more>>

Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel
HMH, $22, 304 pages
Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir about her mother is not, immediately, a memoir about her mother. Or at any rate, it’s not only that.
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Let's Pretend This Never Happened
by Jenny Lawson

Amy Einhorn, $25.95, 336 pages
This is the kind of book where, once you’ve got the lay of the land, a sentence like “[My neighbor] seemed more concerned this time, possibly because I was belting out Bonnie Tyler and crying while swinging a machete over a partially disturbed grave” makes total sense. Read more>>


Paris, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down
by Rosencrans Baldwin
FSG, $26, 304 pages
When Rosecrans Baldwin, author of the critically acclaimed novel You Lost Me There, landed a gig with a French ad agency, his longtime dream to live in Paris came true. Though his French was iffy—and his wife Rachel’s was nonexistent—they packed up and traded Brooklyn for the third arrondissement. Read more>>


How to Cook Like a Man by Daniel Duane
Bloomsbury, $24, 224 pages
It’s hard to imagine cooking as an extreme sport, but that’s what we find in Daniel Duane’s How to Cook Like a Man: A Memoir of Cookbook Obsession. Read more>>


Eat and Run by Scott Jurek
HMH, $26, 288 pages
Scott Jurek is an ultramarathoner whose exploits were profiled in the 2009 bestseller Born to Run. Now this amazing runner tells his own story in Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramara­thon Greatness. Read more>>

Dan Gets a Minivan by Dan Zevin
Scribner, $24, 240 pages
Humorist Dan Zevin, a 40-something father of two, finds himself totally digging his new wheels in Dan Gets a Minivan: Life at the Intersection of Dude and Dad. Read more>>


Full Body Burden by Kristen Iversen
Crown, $25, 432 pages
On its surface, Kristen Iversen’s childhood in suburban Denver was idyllic. She and her three younger siblings had horses to ride, a local lake and a neighborhood filled with kids. But just under the surface lurked dangers that Iversen doesn’t fully understand until she is much older. Read more>>


The Cost of Hope by Amanda Bennett
Random House, $26, 240 pages
While on assignment in China, journalist Amanda Bennett met and fell in love with a complicated man. They married, moved back to the U.S., created a family, and had their reality turned on its ear when her husband, Terence Foley, was diagnosed with kidney cancer.
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Coming to My Senses by Alyssa Harad
Viking, $25.95, 272 pages
Woodsy and seductive, with a hint of spice, Coming to My Senses: A Story of Perfume, Pleasure, and an Unlikely Bride offers a luscious immersion in the world of perfume obsession. Read more>>


Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson
Random House, $27, 336 pages
Marcus Samuelsson made his name as one of the youngest executive chefs in Manhattan and a familiar face on the Food Network. What might be less familiar is Samuelsson’s fascinating personal history, which he lays bare in Yes, Chef. Read more>>


 

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