Biography & Memoir Book Reviews (page 3)

GOLD FEVER by Steve Boggan
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 11, 2015

"An engaged—but not always engaging—travel/adventure memoir."
A British journalist muses on his journey through California Gold Country. Read full book review >
WHY I AM A SALAFI by Michael Muhammad Knight
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 11, 2015

"A vigorous treatment of how the sacred, in all its multifarious forms, continues to exercise power, even if sometimes it just feels like 'we're arguing over what the mystery god intended to say in his address to a mystic in a cave some fifteen centuries ago.'"
Knight (Tripping with Allah: Islam, Drugs, and Writing, 2013, etc.) traverses the scenic highways of Islamic history, seeking paths that connect him to Muhammad. Read full book review >

A WOMAN IN ARABIA by Gertrude Bell
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 11, 2015

"An impressive anthology by a scholar who knows how to separate the wheat from the chaff within the massive amount of primary source material Bell left behind at her death."
Gertrude Bell (1868-1926) shattered gender stereotypes while influencing British policy in the Middle East, particularly in the areas in and around present-day Iraq. Editor Howell (Gertrude Bell: Queen of the Desert, Shaper of Nations, 2007) brings the "female Lawrence of Arabia" to life through judicious selections from Bell's massive public writings and personal papers.Read full book review >
YOU'RE NEVER WEIRD ON THE INTERNET (ALMOST) by Felicia Day
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 11, 2015

"Day is delightfully good company and has an interesting story to tell, but a richer work would have made more room for a consideration of the darker aspects of geek culture."
Actress Day, best known for her "geek goddess" roles in such nerd-culture touchstones as the Web series The Guild and various Joss Whedon projects, recounts her unusual upbringing and the neuroses-strewn path that led to her obsessions with fantasy, science fiction, gaming, and online communities.Read full book review >
THE BRIDGE BUILDER by Zev Chafets
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 11, 2015

"In 2001, Eckstein self-published a fictionalized autobiography; here, Chafets furthers the rabbi's efforts to publicize and burnish his image."
Celebrating a controversial rabbi's life. Read full book review >

MESS by Barry Yourgrau
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 10, 2015

"Yourgrau provides engaging company for most of that span, but the actual decluttering in the book might have taken less than a chapter."
A memoir about decluttering an apartment. Read full book review >
Snapshots from my Uneventful Life by David I. Aboulafia
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 7, 2015

"The funny bits in this Everyman's true-life stories will remind readers to look on the bright side of life."
Debut author Aboulafia highlights absurd and memorable events from his life in humorous autobiographical essays. Read full book review >
THE RICHEST MAN WHO EVER LIVED by Greg Steinmetz
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 4, 2015

"A straightforward, engaging look at this 'German Rockefeller.'"
An intriguing exploration of the life of an Augsburg moneylender as a prototypical capitalist in the modern mold. Read full book review >
WALKING WITH ABEL by Anna Badkhen
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 4, 2015

"Readers with hectic lives may find the pace a bit slow, but the poetry in Badkhen's prose demands that readers slow down and savor her gentle, elegant story."
A journalist records her impressions of living with a group of nomads as they travel with their herds of cows back and forth across Mali. Read full book review >
JOY by Abigail Santamaria
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 4, 2015

"With access to unpublished documents and family papers, Santamaria has fashioned a compelling narrative, remaining cleareyed about her subject's many personal failings."
A woman's quest for faith and love. Read full book review >
ALICE IN CHAINS by David de Sola
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 4, 2015

"Exhaustively researched but too discursive for its own good."
Biography of a drug-ridden Seattle grunge outfit whose fame peaked in the mid-1990s. Read full book review >
STREET POISON by Justin Gifford
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 4, 2015

"'This is not a story without tragedy….But it is a story of redemption and breathtaking creativity, too,' writes Gifford, who not only tells the story well, but shows why it's so significant."
The first biography of Robert Beck, aka Iceberg Slim, (1918-1992), builds a compelling case that the pimp-turned-popular author provided the foundation for gangsta rap, Blaxploitation movies, and so much of the underground culture that became mainstream. 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 >