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The memoir of a year

I just finished reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.

This book falls into an increasingly common “genre” of book: the one year experiment, the memoir/autobiography of a year, a year in the life, stunt non-fiction. You know the genre… the author takes on a challenge, turns his/her life around, breaks out of the routine and lives in a new way for 365 days (or so…), chronicling his/her experience and sharing it with readers.

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
The 100-Hundred Mile Diet by Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon
Julie and Julia by Julie Powell
Wild by Cheryl Strayed








I only discovered this genre a few years ago. And I admit that I once (narrow minded-ly) thought people only read non-fiction for subject: to learn about history, science, marketing, travel. The one-year experiment genre expanded my perspective on non-fiction, as inspiring, motivating, uplifting, gratifying, reflective – something I surely would have discovered sooner had I ever picked up a biography or a memoir.

Care to discover this genre for yourself? Here are a few reading suggestions you may not have heard of. (Disclaimer: Some of these challenges took more than a year for the authors to complete. They still fall well into this category.)







Sleeping Naked is Green by Vanessa Farquharson
Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert
Cleaving by Julie Powell
The Year of Living Biblically by A. J. Jacobs
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingslover
The Voyage of the Northern Magic by Diane King Stuemer
My Life in France by Julia Child (This is more of a memoir than an experiment… I have a weakness for cooking books.)

Now inspired by my recent read, I’m off to purge my closets and weed my bookshelves.

(Warning Shameless Advertising: All weeded books will be donated to the Bibliothèque municipale de Gatineau’s Great Used Book Sale. Have some extra books lying around? Consider doing the same.)


About Kayleigh Felice

I am a 20-something public librarian trying to find my footing as I start my career, take on new challenges, and enter adulthood (whatever that means). I live in Ontario, and I work for the Gatineau Municipal Library in Québec. Disclosure: The views expressed in this blog are solely my own, not those of my employer.


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