Ever since I was a kid, I’ve had my nose in a book. I remember the summer I turned nine my school had a summer reading challenge and the goal was to read 10 books. I read 78. (Neeeerd.)

And while I read lots of genres, nothing enthralls me like a good memoir.

Summer is coming, the season of languid poolside reading sessions, so I wanted to provide some reading material for my fellow bookworms. More specifically, I wanted to share my favorite memoirs, most of which are either food or travel memoirs. Go figure.


Food Memoirs

Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China

Late Dinner: Discovering the Food of Spain

Mastering the Art of French Eating

Animal Vegetable Miracle

The Sweet Life in Paris

Stir: My Broken Brain and the Meals That Brought Me Home

The Apprentice: My Life in the Kichen (Jacques Pépin’s memoir!)

The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food

Tender at the Bone: Growing up at the Table (Ruth Reichl’s memoir!)

It Was Me All Along

Blood Bones and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef

Pretty Good Number One: An American Family Eats Tokyo


Travel Memoirs

Mother Tongue: My Family’s Globe-Trotting Quest to Dream in Mandarin, Laugh in Arabic, and Sing in Spanish

Into Thin Air: My Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster

What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding (sooo funny!)

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

A House in the Sky

A Year in Provence

Notes from a Small Island

In a Sunburned Country

Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe


Other Incredible Memoirs:

Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness

Call the Midwife (a three-part series and also a fantastic BBC show available on Netflix!)

The Year of Magical Thinking


Also I recommend almost anything by Bill Bryson, Joan Didion, David Sedaris, or Cheryl Strayed – they’re all incredible memoirists.

Library Hotel NYC

On My List!

Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls

At the Crossroads of Should and Must

Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City one Step at a Time


An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace

Braving It: A Father, a Daughter, and an Unforgettable Journey Into the Alaskan Wild

What’s on your summer reading list? Are you a memoir fan or more of a fiction reader?

Fellow bookworms/francophiles – check out this post, too! The 10 Best Books to Read Before Visiting Paris

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Ashley Fleckenstein

Ashley is an American travel blogger and freelance writer who moved to Paris at 21, traveled the world for a year and now lives in Denver. She's usually in pursuit of skiing, languages and perfectly ripe cheese. Her writing has been featured in National Geographic, Viator and Jetstar Australia.
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