Biography & Memoir Book Reviews

I LOVE MY SELFIE by Ilan Stavans
by Ilan Stavans, photographed by ADÁL
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 31, 2017

"Bright but uneven, inspiring but occasionally misguided, the book is a curious intellectual snapshot with a finger over the lens: a broad cultural landscape pulled unnecessarily into portraiture."
A bit of light academia on society's latest narcissistic trend, equal parts philosophical exploration and art criticism. Read full book review >
HOW TO MAKE A FRENCH FAMILY by Samantha Vérant
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 1, 2017

"Those looking for a breezy read about a transplanted American in France may be satisfied, but the book dwells more on Vérant's personal life than on observations of the world around her."
A determinedly positive memoir about starting life over as mother to a family in southwestern France. Read full book review >

THE YELLOW ENVELOPE by Kim Dinan
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 1, 2017

"Readers won't accuse the author of sugarcoating her experiences, and if the narrative sometimes seems to bog down in self-analysis, it's likely an accurate account of her interior life on the road."
In 2012, sick of her job and uncertain about her marriage, Dinan (Life on Fire: A Step-By-Step Guide to Living Your Dreams, 2013, etc.) quit work and persuaded her reluctant husband to sell their house and other belongings and take off for more than two years to travel around the world. Read full book review >
I'M JUST DEAD, I'M NOT GONE by Jim Dickinson
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 1, 2017

"There's plenty of material, both in this book and from the decades the author doesn't cover, to suggest that a full-scale biography is overdue."
A memoir of sorts by the late Memphis musical legend. Read full book review >
SEA TRIALS by Wendy Hinman
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 1, 2017

"Highly readable and sufficiently evocative to sense the scent of sea air in the pages."
Hinman (Tightwads on the Loose, 2012) serves up a second real-life maritime adventure. Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 1, 2017

"An honest, revealing glimpse of the dangers inherent in acting on good intentions based on ignorance."
A U.S. Marine recounts his experiences in combat leading the first Iraqi Army battalion trained by the American military. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 1, 2017

"A welcome new look at Dos Passos and another sad chapter in the life of Hemingway."
The story of the close yet volatile friendship between John Dos Passos and Ernest Hemingway. Read full book review >
30 DAYS A BLACK MAN by Bill Steigerwald
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 1, 2017

"Sprigle's audacity was forgotten, but Steigerwald turns it into rollicking, haunting American history."
Fascinating account of an anti-Jim Crow muckraking adventure. Read full book review >
LOVE OF COUNTRY by Madeleine Bunting
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 1, 2017

"In the end, it is clear from Bunting's lively, literate book why, in the words of an Irish poet, the Hebrides might become part of one's 'soul territory.'"
Touring the northwest quadrant of the "damp Atlantic archipelago of the British Isles." Read full book review >
RAPTOR by James Macdonald Lockhart
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 3, 2017

"This illuminating book serves as homage to a brilliant naturalist and extraordinary birds. If you loved H Is for Hawk, put this next on your reading list."
Fifteen birds of prey lead the author on an enthralling journey across the British Isles. Read full book review >
JANE CROW by Rosalind Rosenberg
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 3, 2017

"Assiduous research and clear prose give Murray her due."
A cradle-to-grave account about one of the most interesting, accomplished, and controversial figures in 20th-century America who is far too little known. Read full book review >
SLIGHT EXAGGERATION by Adam Zagajewski
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 4, 2017

"An illuminating prose album of candid musings on the 'melancholy and joyful' gifts of art."
Reflections on art, music, poetry, and family from an acclaimed Polish poet. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Laini Taylor
March 27, 2017

In bestselling YA writer Laini Taylor’s new fantasy novel, Strange the Dreamer, the dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he's been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance to lose his dream forever. What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving? “Lovers of intricate worldbuilding and feverish romance will find this enthralling,” our critic writes. View video >