I’ve compiled the following 1o best sellers from Amazon.com. The books represent Amazon’s highest sales ranked life story books listed from 1997 to 20o8. If you’re starting to build your personal history library you couldn’t go wrong by adding these titles. Two books that I’ve used and like are: How to Write Your Own Life Story by Lois Daniel and Legacy : A Step-By-Step Guide to Writing Personal History by Linda Spence. Click on the titles for further information. (all reviews from Amazon.com)
- Writing Your Life: An Easy-to-Follow Guide to Writing an Autobiography (Spiral-bound) by Mary Borg. Cottonwood Press, Inc.; 3rd edition (April 1, 1998)
- Legacy : A Step-By-Step Guide to Writing Personal History by Linda Spence. 178 pages. Swallow Press (November 1, 1997)
Linda Spence’s Legacy proves to be just that: the creation of a family heirloom that money couldn’t buy. Through a series of thought-provoking questions about each phase in human life, Spence helps readers record their personal history, think back to feelings that any number of snapshots could never capture, and reflect upon their lives. What events occurred during your childhood? What did you like most about school? What do you wish your parents had done for you? The text includes sample essays by the author and quotations by other writers to encourage your muse.
- How to Write Your Own Life Story: The Classic Guide for the Nonprofessional Writer by Lois Daniel. Chicago Review Press; 4 Sub edition (August 1, 1997)
Writing the story of one’s life sounds like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. This warmhearted, encouraging guide helps readers record the events of their lives for family and friends. Excerpts from other writers’ work are included to exemplify and inspire. Provided are tips on intriguing topics to write about, foolproof tricks to jog your memory, ways to capture stories on paper without getting bogged down, ways to gather the facts at a local library or historical society, inspired excerpts from other writers, and published biographies that will delight and motivate.
- Your Life as Story by Tristine Rainer.Tarcher; 1st Trade Paperback Ed edition (April 13, 1998)
Every person’s life tells a story, but few of us dare to consider our own story worthy of being written. Tristine Rainer shows us how to apply the structure of story telling to an ordinary life to give it shape, meaning, and clarity. Learning the tricks to becoming a better autobiographic writer may not lead to getting published, nor should that be the goal. Rather, it is a process that helps us re-remember the past so that we can better understand the meaning of the present.
- The Heart and Craft of Lifestory Writing: How to Transform Memories Into Meaningful Stories by Sharon M. Lippincott. Lighthouse Point Press (July 2, 2007)
I can’t imagine a better guide to lifestory writing. Sharon Lippincott pushes, cajoles, encourages, shares, and stays with you every step of the way. Don’t worry if writing and computers are new to you. Do your children and grandchildren a favor. Get this book, take a deep breath, and give them your story. –John Kotre, Ph.D. Emeritus Professor of Psychology, University of Michigan, Dearborn.
- Living Legacies: How to Write, Illustrate, and Share Your Life Stories by Duane Elgin. Conari Press; illustrated edition edition (January 11, 2001)
Creating stories allows individuals and their families to see and honor their connection to older and younger generations. The authors believe that through such writing, individuals not only communicate the meaning and spirit of their lives to their loved ones but also gain perspective on the larger world. This beautifully designed and illustrated guide escorts readers through the process of writing down their stories and illustrating them with photographs, memorabilia, and other images, including digital format. By offering readers questions to draw out events and memories, the book emphasizes a person’s full life, in all of its highs and lows, magic moments, and simple pleasures. The book’s supportive approach will inspire even first-time writers to forge a collection of stories to share and pass on to the important people in their lives.
- Your Story: A Guided Interview Through Your Personal and Family History. Gift To The Future 2000 (December 1, 1998)
From the Publisher
Your Story offers comprehensive, yet fun questions that help generate memories and thoughts about our past. Your Story was designed to help the writer recall and record memories about early childhood, school, parents, friends, first love and so forth. After each thought provoking question there is space for writing responses, attaching pictures and/or small momentos. The reader and writer will be grateful for the many memories, thoughts and experiences that these interview questions illicit.
- Writing Life Stories: How To Make Memories Into Memoirs, Ideas Into Essays And Life Into Literature by Bill Roorbach. Writers Digest Books; 2 edition (July 1, 2008)
Writing Life Stories is a classic text that appears on countless creative nonfiction and composition syllabi the world over. This updated 10th anniversary edition gives readers the same friendly instruction and stimulating exercises along with updated information on current memoir writing trends, ethics, Internet research, and even marketing ideas. Readers will discover how to turn their untold life stories into vivid personal essays and riveting memoirs by learning to open up memory, access emotions, shape scenes from experience, develop characters, and research supporting details. With creativity sparking ideas from signing a form releasing yourself to take risks in your work to drawing a map of a remembered neighborhood, this book is full of innovative techniques that prove that real stories are often the best ones.
- The Legacy Guide: Capturing the Facts, Memories, and Meaning of Your Life by Carol Franco. Tarcher (December 28, 2006)
From Publishers Weekly
Veteran authors Franco and Lineback lead readers from beginning to end through the daunting process of writing a memoir-for fun, loved ones or publishing. Examining each stage of life, the authors outline the issues to consider and the questions to ask oneself, as well as techniques for successful writing.
- Turning Memories Into Memoirs: A Handbook for Writing Lifestories by Denis Ledoux. Soleil Press (September 20, 2005)
Baltimore Sun Review
Anyone intent of writing a family history should read Turning Memories Into Memoirs.
Photo by Julia Laing