The Best Memoirs Ever, IMHO

As the author of a new memoir, And the Heart Says Whatever, Emily Gould picks her favorites of the genre, many of which you’ve probably never heard of.

07.17.10 8:47 PM ET

The names of these authors, with rare exceptions, probably aren’t going to look familiar to you from the bestseller list or even a college syllabus, unless you went to an even hippie-er alternaschool than I did. These books are weird and idiosyncratic explorations of neglected corners of human experience; few of them can be satisfactorily summed up in a few sentences. A few themes run throughout: druggy, decadent bohemia, forbidden or strange sex, art, and power, and, um, cooking. I encourage anyone who’s interested in first-person writing—which, to me, is the same thing as being interested in other people’s minds and experiences—to seek them out.

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Emily Gould is the author of And The Heart Says Whatever, published by Free Press in May 2010. She writes at and lives in Brooklyn.