Best New Memoirs to Give as Gifts

Inspiring, humorous or heart-wrenching—new memoirs of all kinds were released in 2017. Considering buying one for your book-loving friends? Any of these good reads are sure to keep them entertained.

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Here’s a book that’ll be passed around this holiday season: “Hazard” by Margaret Combs. It’s the story of family, growing up in the 1950s through the 1970s and being a sibling of a brother with autism. It’s perfect for Baby Boomers (and even more perfect if your giftee is a sib!). Wrap it up with “The Glass Eye” by Jeannie Vanasco, a memoir of grief, unsettled questions, mental health and memories that can haunt.

If there’s someone on your list who loves true-life tales, look for “Granite Mountain” by Brendan McDonough (with Stephan Talty). It’s the story of one man’s inner battle to leave his addiction behind, his new life and his “brothers,” the brave men who died in an Arizona firestorm.

For the wandering soul on your list this year, “The Drive” by Teresa Bruce will make a great gift. It’s the story of the recreation of a meaningful trip. The original one started and ended in tragedy. Would this one, through Central and South America, turn out better? Wrap it up with “Traveling with Ghosts” by Shannon Leone Fowler, a book about loss and losing one’s self on the road in order to deal with it.

If there’s an art lover-slash-historian on your list, you can’t go wrong with “Leonardo Da Vinci” by Walter Isaacson, a sweeping new bio on the genius artist-creator. It’s an eye-opener (and a door-opener, it’s that big!). Also look for “Elizabeth Taylor: Tribute to a Legend” by Boze Hadleigh, a series of quotations and observations from the people who knew Liz best.

The child of the Sixties on your list will love opening “Joni: The Anthology,” edited by Barney Hoskyns. Filled with interviews, reviews, memories and columns about Joni Mitchell, it will also put a smile on the face of anyone who loves music. Pair it with “Sensing the Rhythm” by America’s Got Talent finalist Mandy Harvey (and Mark Atteberry) or “Goodnight, L.A.” by Kent Hartman, a book that chronicles the popularity of classic rock, for a tuneful gift.

If there’s an unabashed advice giver on your list this year, then give them “Strangers Tend to Tell Me Things” by columnist Amy Dickinson. Part humor, part memoir and yes, part advice, this book will have your giftee smiling. Wrap it up with “The Best of Us” by Joyce Maynard, which is another excellent memoir-story of love, loss and life afterward.

For the person on your gift list who has always been obsessed with “Little House on the Prairie,” give them “The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder” by Marta McDowell. Absolutely loaded with illustrations, this book takes a look at the land and the landscapes that Wilder would have noted. Bonus: lots of personal photographs.

Here’s a can’t-miss gift for your movie buff: “Makeup Man” by Michael Westmore with Jake Page, foreword by Patrick Stewart. Who’s behind the mask, the monster, and the many ways that movie and TV actors become who they portray? Find out in this lively, photo-filled book. Wrap it up with “Rabbit: The Autobiography of Ms. Pat” by comedian, actress and writer Patricia Williams, for a look at another side of fame.