What’s Your Favorite Spiritual Memoir? (and other reading notes)

Some book and article notes in a sec, but first: What’s your favorite spiritual memoir? I’m looking for a good one. I’ve enjoyed Mary Karr, Anne Lamott, Martha Beck, and Kate Braestrup, to give you a sense of what I like. Any other favorites out there?

On the bedside table: I abandoned The Sun Also Rises a few weeks ago upon my second attempt. I had hoped that my enjoyment of The Paris Wife would turn me into a Hemingway fan. Alas, I still find it boring and repetitive. BUT then I was in between books and picked up A Moveable Feast, Hemingway’s non-fictional account of his years in Paris. This one, written much later in life than The Sun Also Rises but set in the same time period, I find quite enjoyable. Lovely writing, engaging and sympathetic characters. And I’m about to embark upon The Goldfinch for my book club.

As for shorter stuff:

I’ve been working on a short essay about money, so these articles particularly caught my eye:

http://ow.ly/sBSmy ‘It Is Expensive to Be Poor’ #Poverty@B_Ehrenreich @TheAtlantic

“For the first time in my life, I actually knew desperately poor people” http://ow.ly/sOwD2 #poverty @DaleHBourke@CTmagazine

http://ow.ly/sOAIQ We are letting #money #addiction drive too much of our society @nytimes


Dear ‘Daddy’ in Seat 16C ow.ly/sBKbg #Autism #SpeicalNeeds#Parenting @HuffPostBlog

Why are #parents “more focused on the braininess of their sons and the waistlines of their daughters”? @seththoughts http://ow.ly/sOzuP

#StayAtHomeDad leaves post-its for his wife http://ow.ly/sOz2T#Fatherhood #marriage

How influential is #media to the young people in our society?http://ow.ly/sBVve #TeenPregnancies #TeenMom @AnnieLowrey@nytimes


Why is it important for #families of children with #DownSyndrometo share their stories as publicly as possible? http://ow.ly/sC031

“[Don't let] societal #expectations dictate all that a child can be” Bret Bowerman http://ow.ly/sBS1q #DownSyndrome #Disability

 Reading and Writing

 Successfully using #SocialMedia as a #marketing toolhttp://ow.ly/sBXDq @thewritelife

Happy reading, and, again–what’s your favorite spiritual memoir?

About Amy Julia Becker

Amy Julia Becker writes and speaks about family, faith, disability, and culture. A graduate of Princeton University and Princeton Theological Seminary, she is the author of Penelope Ayers: A Memoir, A Good and Perfect Gift (Bethany House), and Why I Am Both Spiritual and Religious (Patheos Press).


  1. I’m not sure if it is my favourite, but a number of years ago our book club did Karen Armstrong’s The Spiral Staircase. It was really good.

  2. Perhaps Corrie ten Boom. Or any of Madeleine L’Engle’s non-fiction books I certainly didn’t see an of them as a “spiritual memoir” but I don’t see the books by any of those writers memoirs. I suppose I’m naive, they were just books that were interesting and that I wrote down quotes from in my “common place book”.

    • Marcie, So glad to be reminded of L’Engle. I loved Circle of Quiet but it has been a long time so I suspect I could return to those and enjoy them quite a bit. Thanks!

      • Walking on Water and the Irrational Season were the ones that spoke to me most. I had the privilege to be an acquaintance of hers, I gave her a lap quilt I made that she used for Evening Prayer and she sent us a lovely note 20 years ago when our 19 y/o son was killed in a drunk driving accident.

  3. Emily Levine says:

    Still: Notes on a Mid-faith Crisis by Lauren Winner is good to read for those times when you feel disconnected.

  4. LisaLaverty says:

    St. Therese of Lisieux, Story of a Soul. I’ve read it at least nine times cover to cover and always find something new!

  5. Amy Julia – try “The Old Man and the Sea”!

    • I do love The Old Man and the Sea. But nothing else has struck my fancy…You?

      • Nope, I didn’t care for the others either, when I read them long, long ago. FWIW, my two favorite novels, by far, each of which could be (sort of) considered a spiritual memoir, are Moby-Dick and The Great Gatsby. – - – I consider Moby-Dick the greatest thing ever written in English of which I am aware, of any genre, any time, any author. – Brian

  6. For spiritual memoirs, the most enjoyable (as in the one that really hit me right between the eyes and left me gasping for breath at times) is Karen swallow Prior’s Booked: http://timfall.wordpress.com/2012/12/05/hooked-by-booked-literature-in-the-soul-of-me-a-review/

  7. Frederick Buechner’s Now & Then was a formative memoir for me during seminary and my brief time as a boarding school chaplain. I have also found great depth in Richard Lischer’s Open Secrets and his more recent Stations of the Heart, the latter of which is profoundly breathtaking and rich even as the story itself is a heart wrenching lament for his son.

  8. I recently read “The Search for God and Guiness.” It’s the story of how Mr. Guiness honored God by caring for the welfare of his workers and the lasting legacy that carried on after his death.