What We're Reading: Memoirs We Can't Put Down

03/28/2013 at 06:30 PM EDT

Books: Wild, Brain on Fire, Magical Journey
Magical Journey, Brain on Fire and Wild
A great memoir grips you from the start – and never lets go.

This week our staffers share the true-to-life life tales they're loving right now, from a writer's brave solo sojourn up the Pacific Crest Trail to a young woman's strange, terrifying descent into madness due to a rare autoimmune disease. Check 'em out – and then let us know what you're reading!









What We're Reading: Memoirs We Can't Put Down| Book Reviews, Real People Stories, What We're Reading

Alicia Dennis, Senior Writer
Her pick: Wild by Cheryl Strayed

I'm a big believer in impulsive decisions; I think they can shape a life. Strayed's account of tackling 1,110 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail alone after a string of personal tragedies is breathtaking. I got so into it, when I was in San Diego on assignment I attempted to hike a portion of the trail myself!












What We're Reading: Memoirs We Can't Put Down| Book Reviews, Real People Stories, What We're Reading

Howard Breuer, Staff Writer
His pick: Brain On Fire by Susannah Cahalan

For a month in 2009, Cahalan, then a promising young reporter at the New York Post, developed a rare autoimmune condition that stumped doctors and literally drove her crazy. The story of how she unraveled the mystery of her illness is fascinating. It's like a real-life episode of House!











What We're Reading: Memoirs We Can't Put Down| Book Reviews, Real People Stories, What We're Reading

Jill Smolowe, Senior Writer
Her pick: Magical Journey by Katrina Kenison

Facing an empty nest, a friend's death, and changes at work, Kenison resists her usual antidote to unwanted change: keeping busy. Instead, she stops and takes stock of her life. It was so beautifully written, I wore out a yellow marker highlighting my favorite lines.

Check back every Thursday for another round of staff picks, and see more book reviews each week in PEOPLE magazine, on newsstands now. Plus, check out last week's "books that inspire us"" and more book club finds here

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