Stories of Endurance


It’s remarkable what people can live through and yet not only survive but forgive, thrive and find purpose and meaning in their lives! As you dive into these memoirs, reflect on the challenges you have faced and how they have shaped you. While these memoirs capture the experience of loss, suffering and adversity, they are also very much about hope, perseverance, and a celebration of the human spirit. All of the following books are available through the Winnipeg Library.


The Choice: Embrace the Possible by Edith Eger

Edith Eger was sixteen years old when the Nazis came to her hometown in Hungary and took her family to Auschwitz. One of the few living Holocaust survivors to remember the horrors of the camps, Edie has chosen to forgive her captors and find joy in her life every day. Years after she was liberated from the concentration camps Edie went back to college to study psychology. She combines her clinical knowledge and her own experiences with trauma to help others who have experienced painful events large and small. Learn More


The Book of Joy by the Daili Lama and Desmond Tutu

Two great spiritual masters share their own hard-won wisdom about living with joy even in the face of adversity. Both the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu have been tested by great personal and national adversity, and here they share their personal stories of struggle and renewal. Now that they are both in their eighties, they especially want to spread the core message that to have joy yourself, you must bring joy to others. Learn More


Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

One of the comedy world's fastest-rising stars tells his wild coming-of-age story during the twilight of apartheid in South Africa. Noah provides something deeper than traditional memoirists: powerfully funny observations about how farcical political and social systems play out in our lives. Noah was born illegal - the son of a white, Dutch father and a black Xhosa mother, who had to pretend to be his nanny or his father's servant in the brief moments when the family came together. Learn More


From the Ashes by Jesse Thistle

Jesse Thistle, once a high school dropout and now a rising Indigenous scholar, chronicles his life on the streets and how he overcame trauma and addiction to discover the truth about who he is. From the Ashes is, in the end, about how love and support can help us find happiness despite the odds. Learn More


Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her "head-for-the-hills bag." The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara's older brothers became violent. As a way out, Tara began to educate herself, learning enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University. Her quest for knowledge would transform her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she'd traveled too far, if there was still a way home. Learn More


Thank you to Marianne Farag for compiling this reading list.