The best memoirs by very sexy writers

Who am I?

Raised by activist feminist parents and schooled by Quakers, I am surprisingly amusing. Eartha Kitt once held my left hand for five minutes. I work primarily as a playwright; Not a Cat is my first children’s book! Now when I show up at a little kid’s birthday instead of bringing a play I wrote, I can give the tot age-appropriate reading material. For me, reading a memoir is this intimate exchange with a writer where they’ve shared everything, and I’ve revealed nothing. What’s better than a good story beautifully curated? Okay, a cookie, but that’s it. I hope my book reaches all the kids out there who are told: be less this and more that


I wrote...

Not a Cat: A Memoir

By Winter Miller, Danica Novgorodoff (illustrator),

Book cover of Not a Cat: A Memoir

What is my book about?

Gato wants to make one thing perfectly clear: Although he has four legs, two ears, and a long, long tail, the word “cat” does not define him. His identity is his alone to describe and determine. With the help of Danica Novgorodoff’s laugh-out-loud illustrations, he takes us on a tour of his adventures, accomplishments, and daily activities that makes mincemeat of our first impressions. He wears a sweater and a leash, so is he a dog? He runs in pastures, so is he a horse? He swims, so is he a duck? He has flown in airplanes and ridden in subways, so is he a person? Maybe he’s all those things, but what he truly is, he wants us to know, is Gato.

The books I picked & why

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Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations

By Mira Jacob,

Book cover of Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations

Why this book?

This is one of the best graphic novels out there. Mira Jacob is so funny and tender as she is trying to explain racism to her pre-teen son, who is half Indian-American, half white and Jewish, and wholly obsessed with Michael Jackson. On a personal note, I went to college with Mira and we were in a short story class together and of course she was a fantastic writer at 18. The illustrations are gorgeous and clever, which makes sense because so is Mira Jacob. Get it for yourself and share it with a youth. 

Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations

By Mira Jacob,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Good Talk as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW, TIME, BUZZFEED, ESQUIRE, LIBRARY JOURNAL AND KIRKUS REVIEWS LONGLISTED FOR THE PEN/OPEN BOOK AWARD 'Hilarious and heart-rending' Celeste Ng 'Heartbreaking, but also infused with levity and humour. What stands out most is the fierce compassion with which she parses the complexities of family and love' Time How brown is too brown? Can Indians be racist? What does real love between really different people look like? Like many six-year-olds, Mira Jacob's half-Jewish, half-Indian son, Z, has questions about everything - and as tensions from the…


I Know I Am, But What Are You?

By Samantha Bee,

Book cover of I Know I Am, But What Are You?

Why this book?

First thing, even if she weren’t my best friend, I would choose Samantha Bee’s memoir. I read it years ago and I still have flashes of it come to me when I’m watering plants or whatever, descriptions of her life with her grandmother, like how she made Sam wear a one-piece cashmere sweat suit with a patent-leather belt to gym class and tell Sam she shouldn’t sweat in it because it was dry-clean only. As an atheist, I loved her fealty to Jesus Christ, and her vision that they would of course “listen to my disco records and eat Tang straight from the package, just like lovers did.” Yes obviously I’m her friend because I think she’s gorgeous. That’s the theme here, pure aesthetics and good with wordings. 

I Know I Am, But What Are You?

By Samantha Bee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Know I Am, But What Are You? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Candid, outspoken, laugh-out-loud funny essays from much-loved Samantha Bee, host of TBS's uproarious late-night show Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, executive producer and writer of TBS's comedy television series The Detour, and former The Daily Show with Jon Stewart’s Most Senior Correspondent.

In I Know I Am, But What Are You? she shares her unique and irreverent viewpoint on subjects as wide-ranging as:

BARBIE’S DREAM HOUSE
There were six main players in my coterie: G.I. Joe (macho, good-looking), Wonder Woman (hot, carpet-munching neighbor, busy with athletics), Marie Osmond (career gal, smart), Ken (gay, obviously), regular Barbie (slutty, dumb, eternally single),…


How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays

By Alexander Chee,

Book cover of How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays

Why this book?

Of the very, very many books about writing and reading, Alexander Chee’s book of essays is among the best. His prose is honest and soul-baring and his descriptions are the kind you wish you’d thought of. The collection is basically a coming-of-age story divided into anecdotal episodes—as an exchange student wanting love in Mexico, working at a famous gay bookstore in San Francisco while AIDS decimated his community, and time in academia. Chee has an affection for his readers and students that is engaging. He’s also a great Twitter presence and like Jacob, also a looker. At a Christmas party we both attended, we discovered we are Leos, so, we’re basically bonded for life. 

How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays

By Alexander Chee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Write an Autobiographical Novel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Shortlisted for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay

Named a Best Book of 2018 by TIME, Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly, Wired, Esquire, Buzzfeed, Paste, Bitch, Bustle, The Chicago Review of Books and iBooks

As a novelist, Alexander Chee has been described as 'masterful' by Roxane Gay, 'incendiary' by the New York Times, and 'brilliant' by the Washington Post. With How to Write an Autobiographical Novel, his first collection of nonfiction, he secures his place as one of the finest essayists of his generation.

How to Write an Autobiographical Novel is the author's exploration of the entangling of…


Punch Me Up to the Gods: A Memoir

By Brian Broome,

Book cover of Punch Me Up to the Gods: A Memoir

Why this book?

This one is a true outlier, because I don’t know Brian Broome, but after reading his incredible memoir, I wish I did because he’s an amazing human and a wonderful storyteller. His book is dealing with blackness, queerness and the expectations surrounding black manhood and his struggle to reject violence in favor of love and ultimately, of self-love as well. I haven’t seen him up close, but in photos, he totally looks super pretty, so he has that in common with every one of these authors. I loved his book and can’t wait for his next.  

Punch Me Up to the Gods: A Memoir

By Brian Broome,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Punch Me Up to the Gods as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE KIRKUS PRIZE • A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK •  A NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS' PICK • NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, KIRKUS REVIEWS, LIBRARY JOURNAL, AMAZON AND APPLE BOOKS • A TODAY SUMMER READING LIST PICK • AN ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY BEST DEBUT OF SUMMER PICK • A PEOPLE BEST BOOK OF SUMMER PICK


A raw, poetic, coming-of-age “masterwork” (The New York Times) about Blackness, masculinity and addiction


“Punch Me Up to the Gods obliterates what we thought were the limitations of not just the American memoir, but the possibilities of the…


Not My Idea: A Book about Whiteness

By Anastasia Higginbotham,

Book cover of Not My Idea: A Book about Whiteness

Why this book?

This is sort of a cheat of the assignment, because it’s not Anastasia Higginbotham’s actual lived experience, but it is not one unfamiliar to her, about growing up in a country in which white parents cover up racism even unintentionally. I’ve known Anastasia for 30 years and no less than six children’s books she’s published. Her book series, Ordinary Terrible Things, published by dottir press is among my favorites because the illustrations are collaged and stunning and she creates indelible characters. Her other kid’s books deal with divorce (Divorce is Stupid), sex (Talk to Me about Sex, Grandma), incest (You Ruined It), so you can see, she’s doesn’t pull punches. Book by book, Anastasia is building a more just and beautiful world. Like the others, on this list, she’s also hot. 

Not My Idea: A Book about Whiteness

By Anastasia Higginbotham,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Not My Idea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An honest explanation about how power and privilege factor into the lives of white children, at the expense of other groups, and how they can help seek justice. -THE NEW YORK TIMES

ONE OF HUFFPOST'S RECOMMENDED "ANTI-RACIST BOOKS FOR KIDS AND TEENS"

**A WHITE RAVEN 2019 SELECTION**

NAMED ONE OF SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL'S BEST BOOKS OF 2018

Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness is a picture book about racism and racial justice, inviting white children and parents to become curious about racism, accept that it's real, and cultivate justice.

This book does a phenomenal job of explaining how power…


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