From Romania to Lebanon to the United States, here are five memoirs to pick from.
Poet Carmen Bugan spent her bucolic childhood surrounded by her family in Romania, but her teen years turned into a nightmare under the shadow of the Ceausescu regime. Winner of the Bakeless Prize for Nonfiction, this stunning memoir is a testament to one family's fight to survive under dire emotional and physical conditions.
After living under the tyranny of her adoptive mother, Jeanette Winterson fought her way out of a traumatic childhood to emerge as one of the more innovative writers of our time. Her rough path to discovery -- of her true calling as a writer as well as her sexuality -- makes this one of the year's most honest memoirs.
Breaching the never-ending barrage of bad news from the Middle East, Pulitzer Prize winner Anthony Shadid mined Lebanon's rich history and detailed his attempt to reconstruct the family home in this enduring tribute to the land he considered his own. This memoir is made all the more poignant because of Shadid's tragic death before its publication.
At once heartbreaking and triumphant, Richard Russo's memoir about his intimate relationship with his long-suffering mother creates, in his own words, "a story of intersections: of place and time, of private and public." In the process, Russo discovers how to turn obsession and "sheer cussedness" to his advantage by becoming a writer.
In his second memoir, noted novelist and essayist Paul Auster takes an unconventional look back from the perspective of the "winter" of his life, and reflects on episodes from his childhood as well as events in the recent past, including a respectful nod to his wife's home state of Minnesota.
MEGANNE FABREGA, FREELANCE WRITER