I have always gravitated toward stories written by non-traditional authors. Fun Home and There is an Urgency in particular are deeply personal stories that have that raw and unfiltered quality missing from a lot of other memoirs or biographies.
Stories of Your Life and Others, by Ted Chiang
The book is a collection of sci-fi short stories that are less interested in futuristic technology and space travel and more concerned with how technology and innovative ideas create thought-provoking questions about the human condition. Most of the stories lack exposition or hand-holding and expect you to piece things together as you read along, but this has the benefit of making you a more thoughtful and inquisitive reader. Chiang has the ability to blow your mind on the last page in some stories, or leave you feeling emotions that you haven’t felt before in others. Each story can be read in a short sitting, nice to read when winding down at night.
“If you could see your whole life laid out in front of you, would you change things?”
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic , by Alison Bechdel
Fun Home is a graphic novel style memoir of her experiences growing up in a less than ideal household. Alison uses her stories and illustrations as a way of understanding her family and herself. She doesn’t whack you over the head with her conclusions, and you feel like you’re there learning with her. It feels more natural than just having the story explained at you. It has plenty of sarcasm and wit to keep you entertained, and some fantastic illustrations to boot.
“I’d been upstaged, demoted from protagonist in my own drama to comic relief in my parents’ tragedy.”
There is an Urgency, by Gregrhi Love
I had the pleasure of working with Mr. Love for the better part of 3 years before I got to redpepper. He looks and dresses like a hardened drill sergeant, but he’s easily one of the most caring, compassionate, and genuine people I know. Mr. Love was born into a world of torture and chaos. While he was placed in horrifying foster homes, they were nothing compared to the experiences he had with his Father Bobby. This book is a memoir of his life and how he uses his experiences to make a difference in the lives of children who grow up much like he did. There is an Urgency is not an easy read and will leave you wanting to put the book down at times due to the unfathomable abuse he endured, but his triumph in life is what makes it so gripping to read. 100% of profits generated from the book go to organizations dedicated to helping children like Mr. Love get out of terrible situations.
“Bobby is the only father that I knew as a child. Without question or argument, Bobby was the most evil creature I have ever known.”