Graphic Novel Memoirs and Biographies for Adults

Graphic Novel Memoirs and Biographies for Adults

Hate reading? Many successful writers of books are now writing graphic novels (aka comics for adults); including graphic novel memoirs.

Because, lets face it, not everyone is a born reader or loves to read. When a picture paints a thousand words – and some us just understand pictures, or drawings better a graphic novel is the answer.

No longer just for kids, this list of the best selling graphic novel memoirs and graphic novel biographies, is for Adults!  As a graphic novel has far fewer words it can draw you into the imagery of the story quicker – which is encouraging for slower and reluctant readers of all ages.

5 Best Selling Graphic Novel Memoirs for Adults

1. Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened – Allie Brosh

graphic novel memoir
Unique, witty and insightful, Hyperbole and a Half is a collection of comics that touch on many mundane and also serious subjects. This book contains a collection of comics, some that have appeared in Brosh’s hugely popular blog of the same name, but more than half are never before published material. While the illustrations are deceptively simple, Brosh demonstrates a special knack for capturing complex emotions and presenting her thoughts on a subject matter in a darkly humorous, yet brutally honest way.   To quote Allie, its about “stories about things that happened to me” and “stories about things that happened to other people because of me”.

2. Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir – Stan Lee

graphic novel memoir

One can only expect the man who created many of the most iconic comic book characters would be quite an interesting persona himself. Indeed, in his aptly titled memoir; presented in the medium which he has been known for, one will come to find out there are many interesting aspects of Stan Lee’s life that even the most hardcore fans of his work will be surprised and amused about. If you have always been a lifelong fan of superheroes and the graphic storytelling medium, you will enjoy reading about the man whose imagination they sprang from.

3. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic – Alison Bechdel

graphic novel memoir

When the ‘fun’ in the book title actually refers to funeral, you’d expect a dark and depressing memoir. While Fun Home does deal with dark themes like death, the pains of growing up homosexual and coming out of the closet, it is hardly a sullen memoir.

It is gripping, thoughtful and somewhat funny graphically rendered account of growing up in rural Pennsylvania. One can’t help but empathize with Bechdel, who managed to make peace with herself and her past after all.

Ed: This book is now a Broadway Musical!

4. Persepolis: – Marjane Satrapi

graphic novel memoir

Featured in many of our book lists before; our list of graphic novel memoirs would not be complete without this well known graphic novel.

Rendered in beautiful black and white illustrations, Persepolis is an autobiography that conveyed what it was like to experience the Iranian revolution and the Iran-Iraq war as a child in the 1970s and 80s. It presents a rare brutally honest view of Iranian society, without too much emphasis on history and sociology.

After all, the autobiography is not meant so much as a social commentary as it is a personal account of childhood during an interesting period in a nation’s history.

5. Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir – Roz Chast

graphic novel memoir

One of the greatest concerns many people have as they grow old is being a burden to their children. Cartoonist Chast is the only child, born to older parents. In her graphical memoir, she provides an honest and very personal account of her mixed feelings dealing with her parents as they aged, and eventually could no longer care for themselves. It may be a difficult story to read, but it does offer some food for thought on the uncomfortable subject of aging and losing one’s independence.

Political Biographies – mind blowing non fiction

Political Biographies – mind blowing non fiction

The saying ‘truth is stranger than fiction’ definitely applies to biographies of political leaders.

If you want some truly mind blowing non fiction to read, then try these. 5 biographies and autobiographies of some great past and present (and want to be) political leaders.

1. Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela

The book that inspired the major new motion picture Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.

This is the original and unabridged version of the inspiring autobiography by the internationally acclaimed South African president from the mid to late 1990’s.  Read his personal life account written in secret while spending 27 years in prison. Learn how to always have hope from a man who changed a nation due to an unbreakable devotion to freedom.

2. Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life StoryArnold Schwarzenegger

How can lifting weights lead to a being an international movie star surrounded by wealth and power? Arnold Schwarzenegger explains how he achieved this unforgettable dream life in his autobiography, Total Recall. Self-serving drives and a larger than life ego lead him to become the best at one thing, Body Building. But, if being the best at one thing can be achieved then why stop there? Discover “Arnold’s Rules” to success and his amazing transformation from a poor Austrian boy to a world icon who married into one of the most famous of families, The Kennedy’s. Definitely a mind blowing non fiction book that seems like it should be fantasy.

3. Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success – Michael D’Antonio

Although he’s not a rags to riches tale, Donald Trump has had a career of ups and downs that have ultimately led to him being one of the most successful businessmen in the world. Learn why the belief in yourself and an undying drive for success can lead to becoming a living symbol of wealth. Having one of the most entertaining personalities in the modern world, Trump tells us what he thinks it takes to be worthy of respect.  Whether he will succeed as a political leader, only time will tell.

4. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln – Doris Kearns Goodwin

Focusing on his political cabinet rather than his life story, we have a fresh look at Abraham Lincoln’s presidency and his rivals. An unpopular Illinois lawyer uses his opposing contenders to his advantage in the 1860 presidential nomination. This book of multiple biographies reveals how Lincoln used his leadership skills to keep a separating nation together with the help of his well accomplished rivals turned allies.

5. The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin – Steven Lee Myers

From his childhood struggling in the aftermath of WWII to his rise to the top of the Russian political climate, Vladimir Putin has a story worth studying. Author and journalist Steven Lee Myers gives us a serious understanding about the fascinating career of a man who is shaping modern history. This biography is one where we can truly learn to have a vision from a man who’s life was shaped by loyalty and ambition.

Want more mind blowing non fiction?  Visit our other biographical lists including Best Autobiographies of 5 Extraordinary Men

Best Autobiographies of 5 Extraordinary Men

Best Autobiographies of 5 Extraordinary Men

So what is Autobiography?  And we don’t mean the new Range Rover Autobiography! (hint thats a car)

The definition of autobiography is it’s an account of a person’s life, written by that person.  If the story is written by someone else it is a Biography.  Sometimes an autobiography is co-written by a journalist or other experienced writer.  If the story is written without the approval or permission the subject, it is an unauthorised biography

The benefits of reading autobiographies are many and perhaps unexpected.  The opportunity to look into other people’s lives in different times, different places can be more exciting than any fiction, with real people portrayed in real events and real experiences.  We can learn from others experiences, making their lessons our own; without the pain.  We can appreciate other points of views, develop compassion and empathy.

This list of best autobiographies covers five extraordinary men who have done extraordinary things from very different beginnings in very different arenas of life.

We all need hero’s to look up to, to encourage us and uplift us by their examples.  You may not be able to hang out with these men, but through their autobiographies you can get to know them, learn from them and learn their values, potentially transform yourself into a better you through their ‘mentorship’.  Add them to your list of hero’s to draw on in your personal mastermind.

1. Autobiography of a Yogi – Paramahansa Yogananda

Reading Paramahansa Yogananda’s autobiography feels like receiving a crash course in eastern mysticism, exemplified by the exceptional life experiences of an acclaimed yogi and spiritual teacher. While some of Yogananda’s talks of miraculous and extraordinary happenings may come across as bizarre, even unfathomable to some, his views provide good food for thought when approached and taken into consideration with an open mind. Plus, there is also a consistency and confidence to his tone that makes reading the autobiography somewhat provocative to the intellect, if not life-altering.

2. The Autobiography of Malcolm X

How can a kid who grew up in poverty and was once a hustler became one of the most respected human rights activists in the history of America? This book is an enlightening read, presenting Malcolm’s aggressively uncompromising – though at times, troubling – views on religion, society, race and African-American rights. From reading his unapologetic and candid thoughts, one can’t help but become more aware of the innate racism in our world and how it affects our daily lives.

3. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

There is something fascinating about getting a glimpse of what goes inside the minds of brilliant individuals who had led extraordinary lives; to find out what drove them to excellence. When someone as multi-faceted as Ben Franklin writes his life story, you know it will make for an interesting read. His autobiography, called a memoir by Franklin, is unfinished, initially written with his son in mind, to be a sort of guide. Even so, it paints a picture of a remarkable man who grew up in poverty, and invented himself through an unending thirst for knowledge and persistent effort to improve himself.

4. Toward- Freedom: An Autobiography of Jawaharlal Nehru

Written almost entirely during his imprisonment, the autobiography of India’s first Prime Minister offers a gripping personal insight on his outlook in various aspects of life. Jawaharlal Nehru was a freedom fighter and a prolific political figure, jailed for anti-government activities. In his autobiography, his views on marriage, religion, politics, colonialism and even nature are eloquently and sincerely documented. It is a reflection of his tenacity, wisdom and passion. Such a book by a remarkable individual is not to be missed!

5. Autobiography of Mark Twain

Writers have always sparked our imagination with their work. One has to wonder what really goes on in their active imaginations. The only way we can ever find out is if they even bother leaving behind a piece of writing about themselves, such as what Mark Twain did. The great American writer’s three-volume autobiography is filled with observations and accounts of his own life, peppered with the familiar wit and humor. Literature buffs who enjoyed Twain’s novels will find it a delight to get an overview of the writer’s world, from his own perspective. There is a curious fact to this lengthy autobiography; Twain specifically instructed that it was to be published 100 years after his death, for fear of offending some of the people whom he vented about in the book.

For women autobiographies, see our Best Ever list here