The best memoirs and personal stories that capture something special

Why am I passionate about this?

I firmly believe we each have a unique story to tell, to record in order to help others and to record a history. I love the ordinary person who lives an extraordinary life. So many people don’t realize how wonderful they are. It is also cathartic to write your story, in doing so you forgive others as you forgive yourself for decisions poorly made.


I wrote...

Running with the Horses: A Memoir of Travel, Racetracks, & Foods

By Arlene S. Bice,

Book cover of Running with the Horses: A Memoir of Travel, Racetracks, & Foods

What is my book about?

I was a novice at the beginning of this racing journey and not greatly knowledgeable when it ended. But it was fun and encompassed so much more than horse racing. I picked a few winners too, mostly by being devoted to the feminine entering the field of jockeys. They were like a bud bursting into a flower at springtime. I also followed my instinct for the long shots and the racing form for the lesser payoff of favorites. These were pre-internet years when information was not readily available at my fingertips. Going to racetracks to watch the horses run were weekly trips between travels to Australia, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Tahiti, Canada, and the USA.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Taste: My Life Through Food

Arlene S. Bice Why did I love this book?

Stanley Tucci makes this book personal. He connects to any reader that loves the world of cooking and entertaining friends at his table and who loves to travel, too. He takes the reader into his personal life, not just memories of his good times, but his errors, too. He’s honest. He’s intriguing, letting you know who he truly is. He loves his life, all of it, and he passes that love onto you.

By Stanley Tucci,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Taste as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE NO.1 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

A Guardian book of the year
A Times book of the year
A Daily Mail book of the year

From award-winning actor and food obsessive Stanley Tucci comes an intimate and charming memoir of life in and out of the kitchen. For Stanley and foodie fans, this is the perfect, irresistible gift.

'It's impossible to read this without becoming ravenous!' -- Nigella Lawson

'It is as infectious as it is delicious, as funny as it is insightful. The only reason to put this book down, is to go cook and eat from it' -- Heston…


Book cover of The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild

Arlene S. Bice Why did I love this book?

The author has a passion for his life and choices. He cares enough to take risks and he shares His feeling with you, pulling you into the dangers and pleasures of living. I have no interest in Africa or its history but Spence showed me a wonderful way of living differently with courage and promise.

By Lawrence Anthony, Graham Spence,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The Elephant Whisperer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

When South African conservationist Lawrence Anthony was asked to accept a herd of "rogue" wild elephants on his Thula Thula game reserve in Zululand, his common sense told him to refuse. But he was the herd's last chance of survival: they would be killed if he wouldn't take them. In order to save their lives, Anthony took them in. In the years that followed he became a part of their family. And as he battled to create a bond with the elephants, he came to realize that they had a great deal to teach him about life, loyalty, and freedom.…


Book cover of The Bird and the Fish: Memoir of a Temporary Marriage

Arlene S. Bice Why did I love this book?

This all-American woman loved an Iranian student 25 years her junior. Her story takes you on an adventure, sparing no details of the emotional roller coaster ride, even learning his language. They created a bridge between East and West. She immersed herself to see life and Iranian customs through his eyes, willing herself to understand, hoping to influence him with American ways. Reading her story you will witness an extraordinary marriage and wonder if you could ever possibly do the same.

By Miriam Valmont,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Bird and the Fish as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Afshin, a captivating Iranian graduate student, rents a room in Miriam Valmont’s home. Landlady and tenant share an immediate and fast-growing attraction, despite the fact that Miriam is twice Afshin’s age. When Afshin proposes a temporary Islamic marriage, Miriam readily agrees, driven by desire and curiosity. What shocks her, though, is the role Afshin invites her to play at the end of the marriage so that he, as a Muslim, can continue to express affection. The Bird and the Fish is the story of two people with radically different lives who find a way to honor a passionate love.


Book cover of Snapshots: Memories and Recipes

Arlene S. Bice Why did I love this book?

Martin’s snaps are words from the life she lived growing up on a Bracey, Virginia farm to Virginia Beach to Manhattan, New York to time spent across country, around the world, and back to holding events in the Dairy Barn on the farm. Her adventures in the big cities as a literary agent and executive producer for television are balanced between recipes from her passion for cooking for friends.

Dreams play a major role as she executive produces the series The Power of Dreams for the Discovery Channel, interviewing names that every household recognizes.

Martin is a woman who has lived a fascinating life by making things happen, by following her intuition, listening to her dreams, and doesn’t mind talking about it. This is a fabulous read that will inspire others to go ahead, step out, and take a chance on life. I love this book!

By Sandra Martin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Snapshots as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Author Sandra Martin shares these stories which are fundamentally about the bones of her life; the structure from which she has built her life; her goals, her spiritual search, and her career.

Praise for Snapshots: Memories and Recipes

“Sandra Martin’s collection of vignettes from her remarkable life feels like the sun – whole worlds have revolved around her in a perfectly natural way. Riveting, engrossing, and delightful.” Dean Radin, Ph.D., Chief Scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS)

Have you ever taken your deep, vague spiritual yearnings to the bookstore aisle and found one volume of wisdom that spoke…


Book cover of Miles in My Shoes, Years at My Side

Arlene S. Bice Why did I love this book?

This fascinating memoir, written in journal style of all the highly unusual, paranormal incidents that have happened to the author from the time he was a youngster. It is a chronicle of the many supernatural events experienced by one ordinary man, a former deputy sheriff. Time after time, a divine power intervenes to heal and save him, leaving him a stunned witness to his own salvation. This unusual story reaffirms my faith in the unseen and the 6th sense not everyone has.

By Patrick J. Smith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Miles in My Shoes, Years at My Side as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How one man endured the hardships of poverty, illness, and numerous life-threatening events and yet came to know peace through God's grace.


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I Am Taurus

By Stephen Palmer,

Book cover of I Am Taurus

Stephen Palmer

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Philosopher Scholar Liberal Reader Musician

Stephen's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

The constellation we know as Taurus goes all the way back to cave paintings of aurochs at Lascaux. This book traces the story of the bull in the sky, a journey through the history of what has become known as the sacred bull.

Each of the sections is written from the perspective of the mythical Taurus, from the beginning at Lascaux to Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, and elsewhere. This is not just a history of the bull but also a view of ourselves through the eyes of the bull, illustrating our pre-literate use of myth, how the advent of writing and the urban revolution changed our view of ourselves, and how even bullfighting in Spain is a variation on the ancient sacrifice of the sacred bull.

I Am Taurus

By Stephen Palmer,

What is this book about?

The constellation we know as Taurus goes all the way back to cave paintings of aurochs at Lascaux. In I Am Taurus, author Stephen Palmer traces the story of the bull in the sky, starting from that point 19,000 years ago - a journey through the history of what has become known as the sacred bull. Each of the eleven sections is written from the perspective of the mythical Taurus, from the beginning at Lascaux to Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, Greece, Spain and elsewhere. This is not just a history of the bull but also an attempt to see ourselves through…


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