Biography & Memoir Book Reviews

THE LIFE OF DEATH by Ralph  R. Rossell
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 17, 2017

"A candid, sensitive, and occasionally humorous account of life as a funeral director."
A debut memoir that meticulously documents every aspect of growing up and working in a Flushing, Michigan, funeral parlor. Read full book review >
THE ART OF MISDIAGNOSIS by Gayle Brandeis
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 14, 2017

"A uniquely graceful, gorgeously written and composed collage of grief, misunderstanding, love, and an attempt at familial closure through art and prose."
A novelist, poet, and writing teacher mourns the tragic loss of her tormented mother. Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 14, 2017

"A sparklingly intelligent and well-researched cultural history."
A New-York Historical Society historian examines the impact of 20th-century newspaper columnist and women's self-help guru Marjorie Hillis (1889-1971). Read full book review >
COUNTING BACKWARDS by Henry Jay  Przybylo
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 14, 2017

"A fascinating tour of a mystifying, unnerving, yet precious medical necessity."
A veteran anesthesiologist probes the origins and mysteries of medically induced unconsciousness. Read full book review >
DRAGON AT THE EDGE OF A FLAT WORLD by Joseph  Keckler
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 14, 2017

"An intermittently engaging scenester's account from the city that never sleeps."
A category-defying publishing debut by a category-defying singer. Read full book review >

THE NEWCOMERS by Helen Thorpe
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 14, 2017

"Humane and informative stories about refugees and their plights in America."
Personal stories of child refugees as they integrate into American society. Read full book review >
THE BOOK OF RESTING PLACES by Thomas  Mira y Lopez
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 14, 2017

"Some pieces register better than others, but these are wide-ranging and often tender meditations on death."
A series of essays functions as a memento mori. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 14, 2017

"A readable tech history, but it helps to have a background in computers to get the most out of Dear's account. As good an account of PLATO as we're likely to get—or to need."
An exploration of the computer system that was too far ahead of its time to succeed but whose legacy quietly endures. Read full book review >
EVERYTHING'S BIGGER IN TEXAS by Mary Lou Sullivan
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 14, 2017

"A solid if conventional biography that doesn't go deep enough into the man behind the brand."
The life of the one-and-only Kinky Friedman (b. 1944). Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 14, 2017

"A fierce and persuasive call to action that demands women, especially millennials, rethink the relationship between maternity and career ambitions."
An impassioned guide for working women, especially working mothers, to dismantling the patriarchal systems that hold them back at work and at home, as told by a woman who shattered the mold. Read full book review >
THE LAST SHERIFF IN TEXAS by James P.  McCollom
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 14, 2017

"Of interest to students of Texas history as well as aspiring law enforcement officers, who should read it as an example of how not to conduct themselves."
A true-crime story centering on a South Texas lawman who became a law unto himself. Read full book review >
QUEEN VICTORIA'S MATCHMAKING by Deborah Cadbury
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 14, 2017

"An instructive European history that effectively shows 'the influence of [Victoria's] matchmaking on the remarkable rise of the royal dynasty.'"
Digging deeper into Queen Victoria's extensive brood, their intermarriages, and their wars. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Katey Sagal
author of GRACE NOTES
April 10, 2017

In her memoir Grace Notes, actress and singer/songwriter Katey Sagal takes you through the highs and lows of her life, from the tragic deaths of her parents to her long years in the Los Angeles rock scene, from being diagnosed with cancer at the age of twenty-eight to getting her big break on the fledgling FOX network as the wise-cracking Peggy Bundy on the beloved sitcom Married…with Children. Sparse and poetic, Grace Notes is an emotionally riveting tale of struggle and success, both professional and personal: Sagal’s path to sobriety; the stillbirth of her first daughter, Ruby; motherhood; the experience of having her third daughter at age 52 with the help of a surrogate; and her lifelong passion for music. “While this book is sure to please the author’s many fans, its thoughtful, no-regrets honesty will no doubt also appeal to readers of Hollywood memoirs seeking substance that goes beyond gossip and name-dropping,” our critic writes. “A candid, reflective memoir.” View video >