Memoirs?

I’ve read some memoirs – just last month I had a little spree of them.  There was The Unexpected Professor (John Carey and his literary career),  The Rose Hotel (family of Iranian refugees)  and My Name is Malala (Pakistani school girl/nobel winner).    The best ones … I don’t know – I’m not a fan of memoirs – too many of the popular ones are … well … not very careful –  Think “A Million Little Pieces” by James Frey  or “Love and Consequences” by Margaret Seltzer or “The Blood Runs like a River” by Nasdii or A Long Way Gone –  or Three Cups of Tea or

And then there’s “Dutch: a Memoir of Ronald Reagan”  wherein the author,  Edmond Morris, made stuff up – the premise is that Morris is remembering Reagan – but he invents characters and all sorts of bizarro stuff.

I do remember that Alex Haley did the writing for “The Autobiography of Malcolm X.”  (1965)  Haley’s name was not on the cover the first few years but then a few years later “Roots” had made Haley important so his name had to go on there –  “with the assistance of Alex Haley” and then “as told to Alex Haley.”

Now they say often say “as told to”  or “as written by”  or “co-authored by”  or “with”  or something for when the subject tells his story and the writer writes it up.

Malala –  by Malala Yousafzia with Christina Lamb as a contributor
 I like travelogues where the focus is the place and the writer is good.  Siberia by Ian Frazier is good – I suppose it’s a memoir of that trip – not of his whole life or even his childhood – certainly not of his mother.  lol –
 Many travelogues are not memoirs but biographies of other people’s travels.  Travelogues are a whole genre unto themselves but frequently cross with a couple others – history (Black Lamb Grey Falcon by Rebecca West) and biography (Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer)  and memoir (Eat, Pray, Love –  yuk – by Elizabeth Gilbert)  and so on. Heroditous and Richard ________ and some others are great.
Wild by Cheryl Strayed is a memoir/travelogue that truly sucks.  That is one stupid woman and her memoir shows how flakey she is.  I darned near threw my iPad across the room at the trash – if it had been a paper edition …   The travel bits aren’t worth reading – go get a nice big picture book of the high Sierras,  buy some maps,  pack a solid pack and buy some quality boots. Then put it on and practice walking around – find a willing friend and go for a day hike in the foothills and then try a long weekend.  Then start fantasizing about 3 or 4-months of walking the John Muir – lol –
I would love to read Ibn Batuta – very early travel writer –  probably more reliable than Marco Polo.

Btw,  I tried to read Lila long ago,  but didn’t finish.  ZatAoMM was good but the focus was not on the material accuracy of the bike ride – it was on Pirsig’s philosophy.

Bek
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