The difference between a biography and a memoir is the author. For a memoir, the author is the subject or involved in the account of events. For a biography, the author has researched and written about a individual.
I have also included some memoirs that could be found in either its own or merged with another category. The animal stories as an example, in a public library, these stories can be found amid the “how-to” style of caring for animals as well as in the biography section. The food memoir could be found in either memoir or a food/cooking sub-genre description. There are even in this genre guide what could be considered biography and/or memoir in other sections such as travel, history and true crime.
The Family Law. Benjamin Law.
This memoir is actually a series of link tales. The tales are of a self-described eccentric immigrant family and growing up in late twentieth century Australia. The tone is light, the language easy to read. Tales are laced with humour and recount many aspects of the trials of growing up. A side note, this has since also been made into a tv series (which can be a source of inspiration for reading by readers).
Ugly : my memoir. Robert Hoge.
Ugly is the author’s account of his life, from the time of his birth to the arrival of his own daughter. The deformities of his body at birth and the struggles that he and his family overcome as well as his early years as a young adult. This memoir, like The Family Law, is one about growing up different, this title is about disability. The author uses accessible easy to read language, and tales filled with an Australian sense of larrikinism and humour gives light to what could have been a heavy topic.
Going gray : what I learned about beauty, sex, work, motherhood, authenticity, and everything else that really matters. Anne Kreamer.
This memoir is centered around the issue of aging as a woman in modern Western society. The title of going gray refers to the decision and the implications of allowing the author’s hair to be its now natural gray. It is a series of events and interactions with people (a lot of name dropping) with links to author’s reflectios and observations about the aging process and society.
Hereward. Peter Rex.
A historical biography of the life of Hereward in eleventh century England, especially as an adult after the Battle of Hastings. A strong narrative which is easy to read though in parts can become dense. A list of ‘players’ is provided as are family trees, maps and a bibliography for further reading.
La dolce vita : sweet dreams & chocolate memories. Isabel Coe.
A mix of memoir and cookbook, this title could easily be found in food or cooking sub-genres as well as here in memoir. The style of book is a cooking narrative where personal tales and anecdotes surrounded family recipes. In the instance of this book, chocolate is the central ingredient of the conversation and the recipes. There are also family photos scattered throughout the book.
Bossypants. Tina Fey.
Bossypants is one of many ‘standard’ celebrity style memoirs, where the focus is on the upbringing and events that a person has lived up to the point of writing. They are very easy to read and in this instance, the author’s trademark humour is used as life stories are told.
This link directs to a review by a librarian of the audio book, which is read by the author, possibly an attraction in itself for readers. http://www.unrulyreader.com/2011/06/word-pants-is-funny-it-just-is.html
Come back, Como. Steven Winn.
This title is one of a subset of memoir and biography that focus on life with an animal. Usually described as heartwarming, this one is no exception. Como is a rescue shelter adult dog brought home and the book tells of the experiences, adventures, misadventures he has with his new adopted human family. In particular the author who must work to earn the trust of Como. The author writes in an easy to read highly narrative style of storytelling.
Dewey : the small-town library cat who touched the world. Vicki Myron.
Dewey, is a well known animal story memoir about an abandoned cat found in a library returns bin in Iowa, USA. The book recalls the life of Dewey as the library cat, the impact he had on the lives of a small community. Entwined with Dewey’s tales is the personal life of the author. The style of book is strong narrative with easy language.
A longer review from Citizen Reader: http://www.citizenreader.com/citizen/2008/10/all-right-im-a-sucker-for-orange-cats.html