So, for any of the other categories, feel free to read biographies. But memoirs and autobiographies are inherently less trustworthy, so I feel that they need to be pulled out into their own category. I certainly think that they’ll spark some great discussions, and are very valuable, but they’re not the same as ‘third person’ non-fiction.


8 responses to “Memoirs/Autobiographies

  1. Madam Secretary is one of my favorite memoirs.

  2. I dont understand . Why is an autobiography less trustworthy? The author was there. The person writing the biography was NOT there.
    How can you say a person not involved is more trustworthy that the person who WAS involved? You’re basically saying that hearsay is more trustworthy than the witness – if you want to put it in terms of a trial.

    I have an autobiography of Benazir Bhutto that I would like to read for this challenge. She was there to see what she wrote about.

    Another query.
    I want to join this challenge – doing post graduate. So you have 6 categories and for the post graduate one must read 7 books – one from each category. So far I only see 6 categories.

    What are the 7 categories please?

    Thank you.

  3. Hi BiblioHistoria! I’ll answer your last question first: I said in the rules that it’s 7 books *including* one from each category. So that means the seventh book can be in whatever category you want.

    As to your first question…here we go. First of all, to extend the trial analogy, I’m not saying hearsay is more trustworthy than an eyewitness. I’m saying forensics is more trustworthy, which I believe is a valid argument. Essentially, a biographer conducts a lot of research about the person’s life, and various events therein (assuming it’s a well-written biography) before writing the book. Thus, the biographer has a more well-rounded perspective than someone who was there.

    Additionally, when someone writes a memoir or autobiography, they obviously want to present themselves in a certain light. This might lead to them omitting things, perhaps not even consciously, or putting a different slant on a story. It’s the difference between a subjective and objective account.

    You’re more than welcome to read Bhutto’s autobiography for the memoir/autobiography category. I’ll be interested to know whether she mentions the corruption that was a part of her government or not.

  4. Thank you EVE, for those answers and the comment you left on my blog.

    Roll on January 1st – just 3 days to go !!!!!

  5. OOPS that should be Eva – sorry

  6. Glad I could help. 🙂

  7. Interesting discussion about the veracity of memoirs. Everything written by a human being is subject to external and internal forces that knowingly and unknowingly shape the degree of subjectivity and objectivity of its content. Hence Churchill’s quip “History is written by the victors.”

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