Book List No. 9: Heritage
Photo from Kahakai Kitchen.
This month’s theme is taking us back to our roots. The theme is Heritage, chosen by our organizer our Cape Town, South Africa team and brought to you by MailChimp. It’s a theme that hits home for everyone, as every person has a perspective on heritage uniquely their own
For this month’s book list, we chose stories that tackled topics like identity, discovery, family, and transition— motifs to get you thinking about the power of heritage and the role that it plays in our daily lives. Who knows, maybe these reads will get you thinking about your own memoir..
The Top Ten:
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
In her debut memoir, poet Maya Angelou tells a coming-of-age story of growing up in a small Southern town in Arkansas in the face of prejudice, tragedy, and independence. Violated in more ways than one as she moved from childhood to adolescence, Maya perseveres and shares her story.
Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America, by Firoozeh Dumas
Suggested by one of our CreativeMornings/Austin attendees, Funny in Farsi chronicles the life of author Firoozeh Dumas as she deals with the culture shock of moving from Iran to Southern California.
When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present, by Gail Collins
New York Times columnist Gail Collins recounts the history of American women over the past half-century in this book, documenting the change in gender roles, expectations, and realities faced by women over the course of a generaton.
My Beloved World, by Sonia Sotomayor
As the first Hispanic and third woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor tells the story of her path, from growing up in a housing project in the Bronx to taking a seat on the Federal District Court.
Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
In Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie tells the tale of Ifemelu and Obinze, young lovers who are separated when they leave military-ruled Nigeria for the West. They grapple with race and identity in this story, as they each determine what that means for them in their new environments.
Arte Huichol, by Johannes Neurath
Suggested by a member of our community, Arte Huichol displays the beauty of wixarika art: carvings covered with beads and gourds decorated with geometric designs.
The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
In this powerful, heart-wrenching book, Khaled Hosseini shares a story of an unlikely friendship between two boys of different social statuses, their fathers, and their homeland.
Dreams from My Father, by Barack Obama
Delving into stories of his childhood, Barack Obama depicts the facets of a struggle growing up as the son of a black African father and white American mother. Discovering his own heritage takes Barack back to Kenya to come to terms with his divided inheritance.
When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice, by Terry Tempest Williams
Terry Tempest Williams’ mother was the matriarch of a large Mormon clan in northern Utah, leaving behind a series of journals when she died, telling her daughter to not open them until after she was gone. Opening the journals, one by one, Terry discovered that they were empty.
The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros
Telling the story of Esperanza Cordero through a series of several vignettes, The House on Mango Street tells the tale of a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago as she imagines what she will become.
Have any recommendations? Leave them in the comments below.