Memoir Writer's Top Six “Must-Read” Recent Memoirs

I Don’t Love Every Memoir I Read, But These Six (Well, Seven) Are Undeniably Special

Travis W. King
8 min readJan 3


You don’t have to read them. You don’t have to read this—you can do whatever you want—you’re an adult! Go get some ice cream! But, if you’re a book lover, I highly recommend these six recent memoirs below.

1–2–3–4–5–6! Photo by Kimberly Farmer on Unsplash

They all achieve the goal of bringing you behind the curtain to learn from the experiences that shaped the author most. The stories they would tell around the dinner table, and the stories they thought only a diary would know.

I love memoirs as a genre. However, I don’t have high praise for every memoir out there. I love the craft of memoir writing so much, that I’ve even taken the time to criticize some memoirs that don’t embrace the spirit of the assignment. Those that end up more like a flattering Instagram page than a truly deep transmission of the human experience.

If you love really meeting someone through a memoir, check out these six recent memoirs, starting with my very favorite.

What a fucking book. Image credit to Bloomsbury publishing.

1. Just Kids by Patti Smith

This book made me feel my feelings more than I’m comfortable with. That’s how I knew it was one of the best books I’ve ever read. I ended almost every chapter with overly wet eyes (I‘M NOT CRYING, YOU’RE CRYING). It was so powerful that I’d also include this on a “ten books you should read before you die” list if I were to ever write one.

Patti is the perfect combination of artist, writer, and beautiful soul that really makes a memoir shine. Not only does she have incredible stories with legendary characters (Andy Warhol, Jimmy Hendricks, Janis Joplin, and Bob Dylan to name a few), she has the ability to tell the story in a concise, yet poetic way. No extra words, no fluff, just heart-breaking honest writing.

Not many works of art come this close to perfect. I have no notes Patti, no notes. I‘ll just say—thank you for sharing so honestly. Thank you for encouraging me to share my story with the same commitment to the truth.



Travis W. King

Traveling, writing, & working abroad for 10 years. Former Remote Year Dir. of Community. Check out my travel memoir—Not That Anyone Asked—at