Writers Who Read: Wisdom from Others

We all have our favorite genres of books. Some prefer fiction, science fiction, fantasy, while others choose nonfiction, memoirs, and biographies. For this month’s “Writers Who Read,” let’s take a look at some of our writers’ favorite memoirs and autobiographies.

One More Time by Carol Burnett

Published in 1986, One More Time is a memoir about legendary comedian Carol Burnett’s experiences. Readers are given insight into Burnett’s earliest memories in San Antonio, to growing up in Hollywood during the Great Depression, and her early years in New York. According to writer Denise Heidel, the book is actually a letter to her daughters. In fact, Hollywood Arms, a play written by Burnett and her daughter, Carrie Hamilton, is based on the story. “It is a way for her daughters to know the grandparents they never met, as well as, Carol’s own grandmother who raised her,” Denise said. She also adds that One More Time is filled with humor and heartbreak. “Carol Burnett is one of the top two people I would love to meet (Tom Hanks being the other). Without question, this is my favorite biography/ autobiography I’ve ever read.” If you are a fan of Burnett or want a good laugh, this is a pick for you.

Coretta: My Life, My Love, My Legacy by Coretta Scott King with the Rev. Dr. Barbara Reynolds

Wife of the iconic Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Coretta Scott King describes her life from birth to death in this autobiography. Along with excerpts from interviews and conversations with Dr. Reynolds, Mrs. King tells readers about her marriage, her family’s racially-charged tribulations during the Civil Rights Movement, and her accomplishments after the assassination of her husband. Writer Brittany Orie explains that Coretta: My Life, My Love, My Legacy showcases the strength, intelligence, and perseverance of a woman who didn’t fit the mold of a wife and mother during that time period. “Mrs. King was very quiet and reserved, but spoke out when she felt led to,” commented Brittany. “She was the true architect of her husband’s legacy and taught her four children to beautifully perpetuate the legacy of nonviolence and civil rights through the decades. Mrs. King’s story shows the capabilities of any woman if she believes in something strongly enough.”

I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had: My Year as a Rookie Teacher at Northeast High by Tony Danza

I have always been a fan of Tony Danza and watched Who’s the Boss? reruns growing up. One day, while on Amazon, I came across this book. It looked like a good read, so I thought “Why not?” and bought it. I’m so glad I did because this book was one I couldn’t put down. I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had is a memoir about the year Danza spent teaching tenth-grade English at Philadelphia’s largest high school, Northeast High. He took on this challenge to film a documentary about teaching in America. What I love about this book is that Danza truly fills the teacher role, by lecturing on various classic novels, helping coach the football team, taking students on a field trip, and organizing a talent show. Throughout the novel, readers are given laughter, tears, and wisdom. In the end, Danza learns how hard it is to keep students engaged, the many different roles teachers play in a day, the life outside of school that students bring into the classroom, and just how committed teachers are to the profession. Whether you are an educator or not, I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Hadis a story everyone should read.


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