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I Really Love it when this happens…

...when I fall in love with a book. For me it's like going to a store and buying several articles of clothing; jeans, blouses, tops and whatnot, which once upon a time I'd be (as usual) too pressed for time to try on, but praying when I got home they fit. And if I got home and found out they looked as good on me as they did on the rack, I'd celebrate like new shoes dancing for the mirror. This is how I feel when selecting books. I want to get to my reading spot, open the book and find a damn good felicitous read... just what happened to be the case for Condoleezza Rice's memoir, Extraordinary, Ordinary People.

Like other memoirs that have gotten me excited before finishing, I'm almost at the pictures and already deeply moved. Her voice sounds almost like I imagined, and I only say almost because what I've read so far, is far more than expected. Without apology, and very conversationally, she genuinely speaks about her family and how she came to be, who she came to be. And Me? I'm dancing like lovely music in new feel good shoes. This memoir certainly is wearing well on me because usually I'm skeptical about selecting celebrity, or "extraordinary, ordinary people" memoirs. There's too great a chance the memoirist will hold back. And no, I'm not one who cheers on anticipating 'saucy eye-bubbling' content... as surely I would have never picked up Condoleezza's memoir if I did.

But that's just it! I eagerly anticipate opening a book and finding a truly fulfilling, like opening a present—honest surprise. In celebrating the opening of National Book Month, which I laud all year long, I put together a list of ten memoirs that, like Condoleezza's memoir, truly surprised me most. (In no particular order).

Hope's Boy by Andrew Bridge

When We Were Colored by Eva Rutland

Maybe You Never Cry Again by Bernie Mac

The Kitchen Sink Papers by Mike McGrady

Life on the Color Line by Gregory Howard Williams

The Grace of Silence by Michele Norris

The Gifted Ones by Lisa Vaughn

All Souls: A Family Story from Southie by Michael Macdonald

A Country Called Nigeria by Robert Jr. Siller

The Black Girl Next Door by Jennifer Baszile


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