Biography & Memoir Book Reviews

THE HOUSE OF TWENTY THOUSAND BOOKS by Sasha Abramsky
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 1, 2015

"If you finish this brilliant, realized book thinking you need to own more books, you're to be forgiven. A wonderful celebration of the mind, history, and love."
Memoir of Jewish intellectual life and universal history alike, told through a houseful of books, their eccentric collectors, and the rooms in which they dwelled. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 1, 2015

"A brief, genuine, heartfelt memoir of an awe-inspiring life."
A South African nurse's memoir of how she escaped grinding poverty to become a beloved advocate for and caretaker of homeless children. Read full book review >

THE WAR CAME HOME WITH HIM by Catherine Madison
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 1, 2015

"A heartfelt account of a family fractured by war and its awful aftereffects."
In her first book, former Utne Reader editor in chief Madison comes to terms with her father, a scarred veteran who waited until the day before he died at 78 to tell her he loved her. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 1, 2015

"Well-written and scholarly without being pedantic—an enlightening history of the broad influence the Vikings exerted in a very short period."
The investigation into the origins of the 92 ivory chessmen discovered on the Isle of Lewis in the early 1800s provides a good avenue for Brown (Song of the Vikings: Snorri and the Making of Norse Myths, 2012, etc.) to explore the rich tapestry of Icelandic and Viking history.Read full book review >
TALES FROM THE BACK ROW by Amy Odell
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 1, 2015

"A sharply amusing fashion memoir."
The editor of Cosmopolitan.com dishes on the world of haute couture and its "exclusivity, shameless self-promotion, and extreme ideals of what is and isn't beautiful." Read full book review >

ESCAPE POINTS by Michele Weldon
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 1, 2015

"Weldon pins life to the mat in this valiant, passionate, purposeful memoir."
A single mother of three juggles multiple roles as a wrestling mom and a survivor of cancer and an abusive marriage. Read full book review >
THE AUDACIOUS ASCETIC by Flagg Miller
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 1, 2015

"Dense, scholarly, and bizarrely compelling."
A painstakingly researched examination of a "never-before-studied" collection of 1,500 audiotapes detailing Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida's theoretical and organizational development. Read full book review >
THE BADGER by William Fotheringham
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 1, 2015

"Fotheringham draws Hinault to fierce perfection: a workingman born to the bicycle seat, massively successful because he had the grit and no need for better living through chemistry."
Guardian cycling correspondent Fotheringham (Half Man, Half Bike: The Life of Eddy Merckx, Cycling's Greatest Champion, 2013, etc.) recalls the days when bicyclists were bold and doping was second nature. "Leave me in peace; everybody takes dope," said French hero Jacques Anquetil—except the subject of this book, Bernard Hinault (b. 1954), who won five Tour de France titles.Read full book review >
A BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO PARADISE by Alex Sheshunoff
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 1, 2015

"A sincerely funny debut memoir extolling the benefits of spontaneous escape and personal reflection."
A crestfallen 20-something techie leaves everything behind for a new life on a tropical island. Read full book review >
ALEXANDER MCQUEEN by Andrew Wilson
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 1, 2015

"Wilson ably and unsparingly portrays the heady, competitive, solipsistic world that celebrated, and ultimately doomed, McQueen."
The astonishing creations and tormented life of British fashion designer Alexander McQueen (1969-2010). Read full book review >
FRANCIS, POPE OF GOOD PROMISE by Jimmy Burns
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 1, 2015

"A sprawling study that, though enlightening, takes readers on more of a journey than they may have bargained for."
A wide-ranging biography of the current pope. Read full book review >
LOVE BECOMES A FUNERAL PYRE by Mick Wall
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 1, 2015

"Solid overall, as we have come to expect from Wall, though some readers might prefer Jerry Hopkins and Danny Sugarmen's canonical No One Here Gets Out Alive (1980) for sheer rock-'n'-roll esprit."
In which the Lizard King is revealed to have been human after all. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Vanessa Diffenbaugh
September 1, 2015

Vanessa Diffenbaugh is the New York Timesbestselling author of The Language of Flowers; her new novel, We Never Asked for Wings, is about young love, hard choices, and hope against all odds. For 14 years, Letty Espinosa has worked three jobs around San Francisco to make ends meet while her mother raised her children—Alex, now 15, and Luna, six—in their tiny apartment on a forgotten spit of wetlands near the bay. But now Letty’s parents are returning to Mexico, and Letty must step up and become a mother for the first time in her life. “Diffenbaugh’s latest confirms her gift for creating shrewd, sympathetic charmers,” our reviewer writes. View video >