Biography & Memoir Book Reviews

HAPPINESS IS A CHOICE YOU MAKE by John Leland
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 23, 2018

"In this edifying and often quite moving book, Leland presents the 'lessons' taught by his subjects even as they themselves are learning them, and he does so with an empathy and thoroughness that deserve our gratitude."
New York Times reporter Leland (Why Kerouac Matters, 2007, etc.) chronicles the year he spent communing with the "oldest old," gleaning as much of value about his own life as about those he followed. Read full book review >
A KIND OF MIRRACULAS PARADISE by Sandra Allen
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 23, 2018

"A glimpse of how schizophrenia looks and feels from the inside."
A schizophrenic's autobiographical manuscript serves as a creative-nonfiction project for his niece. Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 23, 2018

"A mostly informative and insightful look into the inner workings of YouTube and its wide-ranging influence."
The story of YouTube and the video platform's vast cultural influence. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 23, 2018

"The compelling story of a Horatio Alger who lived well into his 90s."
An admiring biography of the Vegas wheeler-dealer who made billions but whose personal life became quite tangled. Read full book review >
NORWICH by Karen  Crouse
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 23, 2018

"An inspiring story of a unique town."
In her debut, a New York Times sportswriter explores why a small town in Vermont has become the "perfect incubator for developing the ideal Olympic athlete." Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 23, 2018

"An insightful, highly significant account that makes no predictions but lays out the critical environmental problems already upon us."
A dual biography of two significant figures who "had little regard" for each other's work but "were largely responsible for the creation of the basic intellectual blueprints that institutions around the world use today for understanding our environmental dilemmas." Read full book review >
A GIFT FROM DARKNESS by Andrea C. Hoffmann
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 23, 2018

"Ibrahim's bold firsthand account is powerful testimony to resilience and survival in the face of a kind of warfare that is becoming ever more common, its terror visited mostly on women."
A memoir of abduction and sexual slavery at the hands of the Islamist Boko Haram militant group. Read full book review >
THE MILK LADY OF BANGALORE by Shoba Narayan
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 23, 2018

"A witty and tender story that endears readers to Indian culture and one of their most sacred symbols, the cow."
A culture writer and cookbook author leaves New York City to reconnect with her roots in this humorous and heartwarming story about cows, Indian culture, and the strength of female friendship. Read full book review >
REBEL by Nick Nolte
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 23, 2018

"Better than the usual run of actor memoirs and plenty of fun to boot."
The noted film actor and notorious bad boy hunkers down and tells a few tales of his life, some of which just may be true. Read full book review >
CRUCIBLE by Michael Nelson
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 22, 2018

"A useful compendium of tips if the sitting president had any interest in learning them, but otherwise of interest to students of governance and public policy."
An assemblage of economists, political scientists, and kindred policy wonks offer advice and observations to guide the sitting president. Read full book review >
TRUMP'S FIRST YEAR by Michael Nelson
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 22, 2018

"A concise and dispassionate analysis of the controversial president's performance over the year since his unexpected election win."
This academic publication from the publisher's First Year Project won't generate the bombshell headlines of more sensationalist and gossipy books, but it provides context and balance for its conclusions, ones that are consistently at odds with Trump's own assessment of his performance. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 16, 2018

"An entertaining recital of a notorious scandal."
The history of a crime of passion that revealed the sordid underside of the Gilded Age. 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 >