Give mem­oirs and bi­ogra­phies this hol­i­day sea­son

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - SUNDAY LIFE - — Terri Sch­lichen­meier, for The Ok­la­homan

The im­pulse to tell one's life story doesn't come from van­ity; it stems in­stead from a de­sire to leave more be­hind than an epi­taph, to say "I was here" and to share the lessons learned over a life­time.

Here are some qual­ity mem­oirs and bi­ogra­phies for the sto­ry­teller in your life.

What does it take to be a man? Can a boy learn it from his fa­ther? In “Air Traf­fic” by Gre­gory Pardlo, the au­thor looks at the legacy his fa­ther left him and how it made him the man he is to­day. And if your gif­tee loves to read about lega­cies left, wrap up “Jackie, Janet & Lee” by J. Randy Tara­bor­erelli, a book about the for­mer first lady, her mother and her younger sis­ter.

For the teacher who’s most im­por­tant in your child’s life, look for “Once a Pro­fes­sor: A Mem­oir of Teach­ing in Tur­bu­lent Times” by Jerry Apps. It’s a book about ed­u­ca­tion — both of stu­dents in the 1960s and the teacher who watched them protest.

If the first thing your gif­tee turns to each morn­ing is a weather fore­cast, he’ll love “The Man Who Caught the Storm” by Brant­ley Har­grove. It’s the story of Tim Sa­ma­ras, who was a leg­end in storm chas­ing, un­til he and two oth­ers were killed by a mas­sive El Reno tor­nado on May 31, 2013.

For the gif­tee who’s con­sid­er­ing adopt­ing, “Some­one Has Led This Child to Be­lieve” by Regina Louise could change the path. It’s the story of Louise’s life in and out of the United States fos­ter care sys­tem and what hap­pened to her af­ter she “aged out.” Wrap it in tis­sues. Se­ri­ously. And for more cur­rent-events mem­oirs, look for “A Dream Called Home” by Reyna Grande, a story by a woman who im­mi­grated to Mex­ico by her­self at age 9 to find her par­ents who came here be­fore her.

Here’s to the hob­by­ist: the car lover on your gift list will love to have “Driven” by Melissa Stephen­son. It’s a mem­oir about loss, bit­ter­sweet mem­o­ries and keep­ing them alive, all writ­ten with ve­hi­cles as back­drop. For the nos­tal­gia lover (and Hol­ly­wood fan), “My Days: Happy and Other­wise” by Mar­ion Ross (with David Lau­rell) will be a de­light to un­wrap. It’s all about “Mrs. C” and the woman be­hind her, and it’ll leave some­one rock­ing and rolling all week long.

An­other high­lyan­tic­i­pated (and muchde­sired) gift to look for is “In Pieces” by Sally Field ,a book by the girl Amer­ica has grown up with. It’s filled with be­hind-the-story sto­ries and celeb names you’ll also rec­og­nize. Wrap it up with a “The Fly­ing Nun” DVD or two, or a copy of “Smokey and the Ban­dit.”

If you’ve got some­one on your gift list who’s a Kennedy watcher, they’ll love read­ing “Eu­nice: The Kennedy Who Changed the World” by Eileen McNa­mara. It’s, of course, about Eu­nice Kennedy Shriver, her life, and her times. An­other celeb bi­og­ra­phy to try is “Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe: The Pri­vate Life of a Pub­lic Icon” by Charles Casillo. It’s for the gif­tee who only thinks she knows every­thing about MM that there is to know.

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