True stories speak to us. There’s perhaps no genre of writing more universally devoured than memoirs. Why do we love memoirs so much? Because we see ourselves—our potential, as well as our flaws—through the outsider’s lens of someone else’s trauma and triumphs. Sometimes we relate. Sometimes we’re just left humbled and thankful for what we have.
Heart-wrenching, real-life stories make us feel less alone, less like outcasts for the things we cannot control. And when a memoir is particularly gripping—whether it’s the subject matter, the writing, the shock-and-awe of it, or a combination of all three—it can create an unmistakable buzz that captures more than just your attention.
Here are 8 new memoirs that will have everyone buzzing this year.
1. Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Roxane Gay is one of the most influential and searing writers on the contemporary feminist scene. This time, Gay turns her attention to her body, food, and self-image. With her trademark candor, she shares with readers her most personal struggles and triumphs as she learns to love herself, understand the balance between self-love and denial, and feel comfortable and safe in her own skin.
For fans of deep, haunting personal-as-political writing like that of Maggie Nelson and Jesmyn Ward.
2. The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy
Release Date: March 14, 2017
At thirty-eight, Ariel Levy left for Mongolia on a writing assignment. In less than a month, she lost a pregnancy, her marriage crumbled, and her overall stability vanished. Levy unleashes a heartbreaking story about resilience and the ability to overcome unimaginable pain.
For fans of inspirational, pick-me-up tales like Cheryl Strayed’s Wild and and Melissa Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love.
3. South and West: From a Notebook by Joan Didion
Release Date: March 7, 2017
The master of intellectualizing pain and sadness, Joan Didion is the Joni Mitchell of literary memoirists. Like most serious writers, Didion kept notebooks. She opens the pages that capture two separate journeys. One, a road trip she took in June 1970 with her husband, John Gregory Dunne, through Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. The second, her experiences in San Francisco while researching the Patty Heart trial for Rolling Stone in 1976. Both, reflections on a changing American landscape.
For fans of moody introspection like Life Boy’s Life by Tobias Wolff.
4. The Moth Presents All These Wonders: True Stories About Facing the Unknown by Catherine Burns and Neil Gaiman
Release Date: March 21, 2017
Sticking with the platform that has made The Moth Podcast and live shows so popular (real life stories told without scripts or notebooks to look at) to celebrate the 20th anniversary of The Moth, editors Neil Gaiman and Catherine Burns curated 45 powerful stories adapted for the page that reflect on courage, fear, and the unknown. This compelling anthology features pieces from well-known figures like comedians Louis C.K. and Tig Notaro, as well as nobodies like you and me who just have really interesting, relatable stories to share.
For fans of bite-sized, real-life stories like Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham and anthologies like Modern American Memoirs edited by Annie Dillard.
5. Juliet’s Answer: One Man’s Search for Love and the Elusive Cure for Heartbreak by Glenn Dixon
Release Date: January 3, 2017
Memoirs often take a sad, melancholic plot, so it’s refreshing when one can lose themselves in a book with higher spirits. Suffering a recent and devastating heartbreak, Dixon, an instructor of Shakespeare, packs up his things and moves to Verona, Italy, the setting for the most famous love story of all time: Romeo and Juliet. He takes a position as the single man among a group of secretaries hired for the sole purpose of responding to the thousands of letters addressed to Juliet received every year. As he reads the letters from the lovelorn, Dixon tries to repair himself while helping others.
For fans of for-hire literary mail correspondent stories like My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff.
6. The Secrets of My Life by Caitlyn Jenner
Release Date: April 25, 2017
When Caitlyn Jenner debuted herself on the cover of Vanity Fair in 2015, the news was both shocking and inspiring. Now a major figure in the transgender community with a bevy of controversial opinions, Jenner takes readers back in time to revisit her childhood, Olympics glory days, celebrity marriages, and decision to transition.
For fans of revealing celebrity memoirs like Not My Father’s Son by Alan Cumming and Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher.
7. How to Be A Bawse By Lilly Singh
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Lilly Singh is most famous for her YouTube Channel Superwoman, but now, the 2017 People’s Choice Award Winner dishes hard-earned, candid wisdom from her path to stardom and success. Half-advice and half-memoir, Singh’s debut book focuses on harnessing determination to get what you want out of your professional and personal lives.
For fans who want to run the world like Sophia Amoruso (#Girlboss) and Sheryl Sandberg.
8. The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui
Release Date: March 7, 2017
For a change of pace, try an illustrated memoir. Centering on Bui’s family’s escape from a fallen South Vietnam in the 1970s, readers follow the family in their search for a new place to call home. Their journey tests their understanding of what makes a family and a home, as well as the boundaries and conventions of motherhood and love.
For fans of graphic autobiographies like Fun Home by Rachel Bechdel and Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi.