What is it like to navigate a world obsessed with outward beauty as a young woman with a severe facial disfigurement? The candid memoir Autobiography of a Face explores the toll – both physical and emotional – of multiple reconstructive surgeries. Ride through the hope and despair of a girl and then a young woman who wants nothing more than to be “normal,” but who will be anything but.

First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung recounts the dark details of the Khmer Rouge genocide as seen through the eyes of a child turned soldier.

It’s strange to find so much beauty in squalor, but that’s what “Angela’s Ashes” does for you. This aching memoir by Frank McCourt examines desperate poverty through the lens of a boy who is brighter than his surroundings in terms of brains but darker in terms of his “odd manner” and northern Irish looks. The …

These books and memoirs about losing a loved one helped me to laugh and cry through my grief. I hope they will help you, too. When my partner died of cancer, a fellow widower brought me a book that helped him through his own acute grief. He offered it in the hopes that it might …

A Fatal Grace got me thinking about life, death, and signs of life. If you read Still Life, then you know the delight of picking up a Louise Penny novel, and you’ll feel right at home going back to the quaint town of Three Pines. (Note: Though it’s not necessary to read all of the …

The writing in Still Life is the kind of writing that makes you want to write. That’s what my friend who is an avid reader told me and it made me pick up “Still Life,” which is a decision that I do not regret. The author that so inspires my reader friend is Louise Penny …