Experts > Eva Hoffman

Eva Hoffman's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Eva Hoffman recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Eva Hoffman's favorite book recommendations of all time.



A Metaphorical Memoir

In this powerful and provocative new memoir, award-winning author Lauren Slater forces readers to redraw the boundary between what we know as fact and what we believe through the creation of our own personal fictions. Mixing memoir with mendacity, Slater examines memories of her youth, when after being diagnosed with a strange illness she developed seizures and neurological disturbances—and the compulsion to lie. Openly questioning the reliability of memoir itself, Slater presents the mesmerizing story of a young woman who discovers not only what plagues her but also what cures her—the birth... more
Recommended by Eva Hoffman, and 1 others.

Eva HoffmanI came across Lying by happenstance, and I thought it was fascinating. It is by Lauren Slater, who is now a psychotherapist, although that comes as a very unexpected revelation given the book. It’s the memoir of a young woman who has temporal lobe epilepsy and a very dysfunctional mother. So on the face of it, it would seem to be a misery memoir. There has been such a deluge of misery memoirs in... (Source)

See more recommendations for this book...


Basil Street Blues

Recommended by Eva Hoffman, and 1 others.

Eva HoffmanThis was interesting to me because it gave me glimpses into a certain kind of Englishness. It is a family memoir by Michael Holroyd, one of the great English biographers. His family – his father’s family at least – is quite a privileged English family which has gone into decline. The memoir gave me a sense of the vicissitudes and non-belonging that one can feel within what appears to be a stable... (Source)

See more recommendations for this book...


Speak, Memory

From one of the twentieth century's great writers comes one of the finest autobiographies of our time. Speak, Memory is Vladimir Nabokov's moving account of a loving, civilized family, of adolescent awakenings, flight from Bolshevik terror, education in England, and émigré life in Paris and Berlin. The Nabokovs were eccentric, liberal aristocrats who lived a life immersed in politics and literature on splendid country estates until their world was swept away by the Russian Revolution when the author was eighteen years old. Speak, Memory vividly evokes a vanished past in the... more
Recommended by Anne Applebaum, Eva Hoffman, and 2 others.

Anne ApplebaumI still think it’s one of the most beautiful memoirs ever written. Although it’s not about the Russian revolution as such, it is permeated with a sense of loss and exile, as are all of Nabokov’s books. He evokes gorgeous countryside scenes of pre-revolutionary Russia, but at the same time has some distance from it – he recognises the awfulness of what he at one point calls his rather appalling... (Source)

Eva HoffmanI love it for several reasons. First, it made me feel that it is possible to give written form to nostalgia. The lyrical affirmation of that was quite important to me. Secondly, his preoccupation with language. I kept looking for books which talk about language, and at the end of the book Nabokov has a dedication to the Russian language, or an invocation of it and his incredibly poignant loss of... (Source)

See more recommendations for this book...


The Words

Jean-Paul Sartre's famous autobiography of his first ten years has been widely compared to Rousseau's Confessions. Written when he was fifty-nine years old, The Words is a masterpiece of self-analysis. Sartre the philosopher, novelist and playwright brings to his own childhood the same rigor of honesty and insight he applied so brilliantly to other authors. Born into a gentle, book-loving family and raised by a widowed mother and doting grandparents, he had a childhood which might be described as one long love affair with the printed word. Ultimately, this book explores and evaluates the... more
Recommended by Eva Hoffman, Richard Wolin, and 2 others.

Eva HoffmanThe Words is a memoir of Sartre’s childhood. It takes him up to the age of 10, and it is a brilliant piece of self-analysis. (Source)

Richard WolinThis is his autobiography and is a wonderful example of Sartre’s excellence as a prose writer. It brims with self-knowledge and self-criticism too. (Source)

See more recommendations for this book...


The Woman Warrior

A Chinese American woman tells of the Chinese myths, family stories and events of her California childhood that have shaped her identity. less
Recommended by Barack Obama, Eva Hoffman, and 2 others.

Barack ObamaWhen asked what books he recommended to his 18-year-old daughter Malia, Obama gave the Times a list that included The Naked and the Dead and One Hundred Years of Solitude. “I think some of them were sort of the usual suspects […] I think she hadn’t read yet. Then there were some books that are not on everybody’s reading list these days, but I remembered as being interesting.” Here’s what he... (Source)

Eva HoffmanThis is a very interesting memoir by a woman, Maxine Hong Kingston, who was born in America but of a Chinese immigrant family, so it is an immigrant memoir. It recounts her childhood and youth in a desperately poor family, originally from rural China, who are uneducated and think of Americans as “ghosts” – the literal Chinese name for the natives. Her father has a contemptuous attitude to women,... (Source)

See more recommendations for this book...

Don't have time to read Eva Hoffman's favorite books? Read Shortform summaries.

Shortform summaries help you learn 10x faster by:

  • Being comprehensive: you learn the most important points in the book
  • Cutting out the fluff: you focus your time on what's important to know
  • Interactive exercises: apply the book's ideas to your own life with our educators' guidance.