Biography & Memoir Book Reviews

LEONARDO DA VINCI by Walter Isaacson
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 17, 2017

"Totally enthralling, masterful, and passionate, this book should garner serious consideration for a variety of book prizes."
A majestic biography of "history's most creative genius." Read full book review >
THE LETTERS OF SYLVIA PLATH VOLUME 1 by Sylvia Plath
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 17, 2017

"A literary milestone: essential to any student of Plath's work and, by extension, of modern literature."
A monumental gathering, in the first of two volumes, of the scattered correspondence of the now iconic—and canonical—poet and novelist. Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 17, 2017

"In deftly capturing an 'epochal moment when medicine and science merged,' the author also offers an important reminder that, while many regard science as the key to progress, it can only help in so far as people are willing to open their minds to embrace change."
Medical historian and popular blogger Fitzharris narrates the quest of a tenacious 19th-century doctor to save his patients; in the process, he transformed the world of surgery and medicine. Read full book review >
LIONESS by Francine Klagsbrun
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 10, 2017

"A terrific chronicle of a unique world leader."
An evenhanded new biography of one the larger-than-life Israeli leader. Read full book review >
THE GOURMANDS' WAY by Justin Spring
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 10, 2017

"A literary meal both luscious and lively—and essential to understanding our vacillating love affair with the French."
A thoroughly researched account of how Americans fell in and out of love with French cuisine and cooking. Read full book review >

LOU REED by Anthony DeCurtis
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 10, 2017

"Essential reading for Reed fans and strongly recommended for anyone interested in rock as art."
A full-length portrait of legendary musician Lou Reed (1942-2013). Read full book review >
RED FAMINE by Anne Applebaum
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 10, 2017

"An authoritative history of national strife from a highly knowledgeable guide."
A new history of Stalin's oppressive regime, which led to the death by starvation of nearly 4 million Ukrainians between 1931 and 1934. Read full book review >
CODE GIRLS by Liza Mundy
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 10, 2017

"A well-researched, compellingly written, crucial addition to the literature of American involvement in World War II."
A previously untold history of the American women who served as codebreakers during World War II. Read full book review >
HOOVER by Kenneth Whyte
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 10, 2017

"A thoughtful resurrection of a brilliant man who, aside from the Founding Fathers, did more good before taking office than any other president in American history."
A biography of Herbert Hoover (1874-1964) meant "to spring [him] from the Depression and present him in another context, that of his full life." Read full book review >
BIRDING WITHOUT BORDERS by Noah Strycker
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 10, 2017

"Colorful but unassuming—and unexpected—lessons for living life fully, presented from a birder's-eye view."
Discovering the universal nature of humanity's kindness while pursuing a birding world record. Read full book review >
GOING INTO TOWN by Roz Chast
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 3, 2017

"Chast's voice and vision make this a singular love letter to a singular city."
The highly regarded New Yorker cartoonist lets readers see the city she loves through her eyes. Read full book review >
THE COLLECTOR OF LIVES by Ingrid D. Rowland
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 3, 2017

"Rowland and Charney do more than deliver a richly detailed life of this singular Renaissance figure. They raise intriguing questions about how tastes and standards develop."
The life and times of a true Renaissance man who knew everyone—and immortalized them forever. 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 >