The best quasi-memoirs by women (that are secretly about money)

Anne Elizabeth Moore Author Of Gentrifier: A Memoir
By Anne Elizabeth Moore

Who am I?

We had money for a while when I was a kid in the Midwest and then, suddenly, we did not. I watched my world of opportunity change dramatically almost overnight, and my mother struggle to redefine herself as not only a mother but now also a breadwinner. It took time for me to understand that the questions I was asking then about gender and access to money weren’t unique to my life, or the lives of Midwestern white women; they got at some grand-scale problems that people had been writing about for a long time about gender and capitalism. Those are the works that helped me formulate my own memoir.


I wrote...

Gentrifier: A Memoir

By Anne Elizabeth Moore,

Book cover of Gentrifier: A Memoir

What is my book about?

In 2016, a Detroit arts organization grants writer and artist Anne Elizabeth Moore a free house—a room of her own, à la Virginia Woolf—in Detroit’s majority-Bangladeshi “Banglatown.” Accompanied by her cats, Moore moves to the bungalow in her new city where she gardens, befriends neighborhood youth, and grows to intimately understand civic collapse and community solidarity. When the troubled history of her prize house comes to light, Moore finds her life destabilized by the aftershocks of the housing crisis and governmental corruption.

Part investigation, part comedy of a vexing city, and part love letter to girlhood, Gentrifier examines capitalism, property ownership, and whiteness, asking if we can ever really win when violence and profit are inextricably linked with victory. One of NPR’s Best Books of 2021.

The books I picked & why

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Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America

By Barbara Ehrenreich,

Book cover of Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America

Why this book?

I was electrified by the concept of this book—a journalist goes undercover in the world of women’s blue-collar labor—and totally shaken by what it revealed about our political economy. This book helped formulate my approach to crafting a nonfiction project—which must start far before the fingertips ever hit the keyboard.

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America

By Barbara Ehrenreich,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Beautifully repackaged as part of the Picador Modern Classics Series, this special edition is small enough to fit in your pocket and bold enough to stand out on your bookshelf.

A publishing phenomenon when first published, Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed is a revelatory undercover investigation into life and survival in low-wage America, an increasingly urgent topic that continues to resonate.

Millions of Americans work full time, year round, for poverty-level wages. In 1998, Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that a job―any job―can be the ticket…


Mill Town: Reckoning with What Remains

By Kerri Arsenault,

Book cover of Mill Town: Reckoning with What Remains

Why this book?

A truly engaging personal history of a paper mill’s impact on a working-class town in Maine. Arsenault tracks rising public health hazards and the decline of the working class through her rural hometown and over the course of her life, reckoning with the meaning and nature of home and abandonment.

Mill Town: Reckoning with What Remains

By Kerri Arsenault,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In Mill Town "[Kerri] Arsenault pays loving homage to her family's tight-knit Maine town even as she examines the cancers that have stricken so many residents."-The New York Times Book Review

"Mill Town is a powerful, blistering, devastating book. Kerri Arsenault is both a graceful writer and a grieving daughter in search of answers and ultimately, justice. In telling the story of the town where generations of her family have lived and died, she raises important and timely questions." -Dani Shapiro, author of Inheritance

Kerri Arsenault grew up in the rural working class town of Mexico, Maine. For over 100…


King Kong Theory

By Virginie Despentes, Frank Wynne (translator),

Book cover of King Kong Theory

Why this book?

A hard-hitting work of theory that hinges heavily on Despentes’ personal experience in the worlds of punk and sex work, the French writer and filmmaker goes further than most in her demands for feminist solidarity. Brilliant, fun, and captivating, King Kong Theory sits alongside Paolo Freire, James C. Scott, and Emma Goldman in my personal pantheon of thinkers.

King Kong Theory

By Virginie Despentes, Frank Wynne (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'I write from the realms of the ugly, for the ugly, the frigid, the unfucked and the unfuckables, all those excluded from the great meat market of female flesh, and for all those guys who don't want to be protectors, for those who would like to be but don't know how, for those who are not ambitious, competitive, or well-endowed. Because this ideal of the seductive white woman constantly being waved under our noses - well, I'm pretty sure it doesn't exist.'

Powerful, provocative and personal, King Kong Theory is a candid account of how the author of Baise-moi came…


Everybody Talks About the Weather...We Don't

By Ulrike Meinhof, Luise Von Flotow (translator),

Book cover of Everybody Talks About the Weather...We Don't

Why this book?

When respected journalist Ulrike Meinhof abandoned her middle-class, job-holding lifestyle to join a group of revolutionaries she’d been covering as a reporter, she was talked about as if she’d been kidnapped. But her own writing reveals a far more devastating reckoning with notions of social class, privilege, and the urgent need for cultural change. 

Everybody Talks About the Weather...We Don't

By Ulrike Meinhof, Luise Von Flotow (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Everybody Talks About the Weather...We Don't as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

No other figure embodies revolutionary politics and radical chic quite like Ulrike Meinhof, who formed, with Andreas Baader and Gudrun Ensslin, the Red Army Faction (RAF), also known as the Baader–Meinhof Gang, notorious for its bombings and kidnappings of the wealthy in the 1970s. But in the years leading up to her leap into the fray, Meinhof was known throughout Europe as a respected journalist, who informed and entertained her loyal readers with monthly magazine columns.
What impels someone to abandon middle-class privilege for the sake of revolution? In the 1960s, Meinhof began to see the world in increasingly stark…


Real Estate: A Living Autobiography

By Deborah Levy,

Book cover of Real Estate: A Living Autobiography

Why this book?

Writers are not generally supposed to publicly acknowledge books that track too closely to their own, but of the spate of autobiographical books by women about property ownership that came around at the same time as my book, Levy’s stood out for its intellectual honesty and consideration of the meaning of home. Haunting.

Real Estate: A Living Autobiography

By Deborah Levy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Fearless and essential - the highly anticipated final instalment in Deborah Levy's critically acclaimed 'Living Autobiography'

Following the international critical and commercial success of The Cost of Living, this final volume of Levy's 'Living Autobiography' is an exhilarating, thought-provoking and boldly intimate meditation on home and the spectres that haunt it. It resumes and expands Levy's pioneering examination of a female life lived in the storm of the present tense, asking essential questions about womanhood, modernity, creative identity and personal freedom. From one of the great thinkers and writers of our time, Real Estate is a memoir and a manifesto…


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