The best memoirs that inspire you to live a great story

Who am I?

I’m a writer, a storyteller, and a dreamer of absurdly ridiculous dreams. I’m an empath who feels big feelings and trusts my intuition as I make my way in this world. I know full well the power and importance of encouraging words, of being a friend, of looking for hope when nothing seems to be going your way. These are the books I turn to when my soul, the truest part of what makes me “me,” needs a reminder of why I write, why I tell stories, and what it means to be human. These are the books that dance across my synapses whenever I sit down to write and tell my own stories.

I wrote...

A Year of Playing Catch: What a Simple Daily Experiment Taught Me about Life

By Ethan D. Bryan,

Book cover of A Year of Playing Catch: What a Simple Daily Experiment Taught Me about Life

What is my book about?

Ethan D. Bryan played and wrote about baseball for years. Then his daughters challenged him to set out on a yearlong experiment: to play catch with someone every day. This whimsical experience led him across 10 states and 12,000 miles on a quest both quixotic and inspiring.

Taking you from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to the home of the Daytona Tortugas in Florida, from the Field of Dreams to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Bryan played ball and swapped stories with public school teachers, journalists, musicians, entertainers, and athletes of every level. For baseball fans and everyone who loves a good story, A Year of Playing Catch is an inspiring journey about the sacredness of play and being fully present in the human experience.

The books I picked & why

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The Sound of Life's Unspeakable Beauty

By Martin Schleske,

Book cover of The Sound of Life's Unspeakable Beauty

Why this book?

Martin Schleske is a German luthier and theologian. My daughter is a violinist. I picked up this book at the recommendation of Byron of Hearts & Minds Books, hoping to learn more about the violin-making process, and it has remained one of my favorite books ever since. Schleske slowly and carefully walks the reader through his process, from choosing the right trees, to designing the structure, to helping “closed” violins discover their sound. Along the way, he shares how his work crafting violins helps him grow in his faith.

I can only read a couple pages of this book at a time, as Schleske’s profound wisdom often leaves me with thoughts I need time to process and sort through. This is a book about how God, as the Artist, will continue to shape me, work with me, and help me be the best instrument I can be to make music with all of my life.

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: How I Learned to Live a Better Story

By Donald L. Miller,

Book cover of A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: How I Learned to Live a Better Story

Why this book?

I am a storyteller. I believe in the power of stories to bring people together, to teach us about who we are and how we are to live on this beautiful ball of dirt. Stories give meaning to our struggles and inspire us to push on when we want to give up. Miller’s book is all about living a good story.

This book has one of my favorite definitions of story, “A character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it." Miller uses that definition as the structure of his memoir in which he goes through the hard work of overcoming conflict to truly live an epic adventure. I read this book when I want to remember whose story I’m living.

The Soul of Baseball: A Road Trip Through Buck O'Neil's America

By Joe Posnanski,

Book cover of The Soul of Baseball: A Road Trip Through Buck O'Neil's America

Why this book?

For one year, award-winning sportswriter Joe Posnanski traveled with baseball ambassador Buck O’Neil all over the country, sharing stories about those who played in the Negro Leagues. This is a book about baseball, yes, but this is a book about choosing hope time and time again, even when it doesn’t make sense.

This is a book full of stories of those who were denied a chance to play in the major leagues because of something beyond their control—the color of their skin. But this is also a book about how love is the strongest power in the universe, breaking down hate, and replacing it with hope. I read this book almost every spring, as MLB players are headed to Spring Training.

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

By Elizabeth Gilbert,

Book cover of Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Why this book?

Big Magic is a book about living life as a creative. It’s a book about having the courage to create what you were made to create, to be all of the glorious you that God whispered into being when the world around you is trying to shape you into some other mold.

I’ve read this book several times and listened to it on audiobook. After living through my catch-playing year and writing about it, when my story forever got connected to the story of Dan Bryan and Ethan C. Bryan, I personally experienced Big Magic.

“Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.”

This world is desperate for creative revolutions that bring joy, wonder, hope, and love. This book reminds me to do just that.

The Echo Within: Finding Your True Calling

By Robert Benson,

Book cover of The Echo Within: Finding Your True Calling

Why this book?

Several years ago, I read this book and was amazed by its humor, its wisdom, and the place other people have in helping us discover our place on this planet. After reading the book, I reached out to the author, who responded and met me for dinner. At that dinner, I asked Benson if he thought I could be a writer. He said, “This world is desperate for good sentences, for good stories, and for those who are willing to do the hard work necessary to bring them to life.”

This book is exactly like sitting down with a good friend and finding yourself in a conversation so good that you completely lose track of time.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in life satisfaction, Christianity, and baseball?

5,887 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about life satisfaction, Christianity, and baseball.

Life Satisfaction Explore 120 books about life satisfaction
Christianity Explore 342 books about Christianity
Baseball Explore 86 books about baseball

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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