Skip to ContentGo to accessibility pageKeyboard shortcuts menu
OpenStax Logo

The following titles are good examples of essays, memoirs, and poems that tell personal stories.

Akbar, Kaveh. “How I Found Poetry in Childhood Prayer: In the Presence of the Long Faultless Tongue of God.” Literary Hub, 12 Sept. 2017,

Angelou, Maya. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Random House, 1969.

Anzaldúa, Gloria. Borderlands / La Frontera: The New Mestiza. 4th ed., Aunt Lute Books, 2012.

Baldwin, James. Notes of a Native Son. 1955. Beacon Press, 2012.

Beasley, Sandra. Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life. Crown, 2011.

Bryson, Bill. I’m a Stranger Here Myself: Notes on Returning to America after 20 Years Away. Broadway Books, 1999.

Lamott, Anne. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. Pantheon Books, 1994.

McCourt, Frank. Angela’s Ashes. Scribner, 1996.

O’Brien, Tim. The Things They Carried. Houghton Mifflin, 1990.

Pausch, Randy. The Last Lecture. With Jeffrey Zaslow, Hyperion, 2008.

Schutz, Samantha. I Don’t Want to Be Crazy. Scholastic, 2006.

Walls, Jeanette. The Glass Castle: A Memoir. Scribner, 2006.

Woodson, Jacqueline. Brown Girl Dreaming. Nancy Paulsen Books, 2014.

Read some of Ta-Nehisi Coates' articles to study his writing style:

Coates, Ta-Nehisi. “Ta-Nehisi Coates.” The Atlantic, Accessed 17 Mar. 2022

Order a print copy

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.


This book may not be used in the training of large language models or otherwise be ingested into large language models or generative AI offerings without OpenStax's permission.

Want to cite, share, or modify this book? This book uses the Creative Commons Attribution License and you must attribute OpenStax.

Attribution information
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a print format, then you must include on every physical page the following attribution:
    Access for free at
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a digital format, then you must include on every digital page view the following attribution:
    Access for free at
Citation information

© Dec 19, 2023 OpenStax. Textbook content produced by OpenStax is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License . The OpenStax name, OpenStax logo, OpenStax book covers, OpenStax CNX name, and OpenStax CNX logo are not subject to the Creative Commons license and may not be reproduced without the prior and express written consent of Rice University.