Biography & Memoir Book Reviews

DARLING DAYS by iO Tillett Wright
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 27, 2016

"An earnest and heartfelt memoir cloaked under a battle-toughened exterior."
A gender nonconforming cultural impresario recalls a life marked by drugs, displacement, a mentally ill mother, and rare but cherished pockets of solace. Read full book review >
SHIRLEY JACKSON by Ruth Franklin
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 27, 2016

"A consistently interesting biography that deftly captures the many selves and multiple struggles of a true American original."
An engaging, sympathetic portrait of the writer who found the witchery in huswifery. Read full book review >

FIELDS OF BATTLE by Brian Curtis
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 27, 2016

"A fine sports book with a stirring extra dimension."
A veteran sports journalist revisits "the most unusual yet meaningful Rose Bowl Game" ever. Read full book review >
A LIFE EVERLASTING by Sarah Gray
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 27, 2016

"An informative account of the various aspects of organ donation and an inspiring affirmation of the potential value of every life, however brief."
How the author gave meaning to the short life of her son, who was diagnosed with anencephaly, a fatal neural defect. Read full book review >
ELEANOR AND HICK by Susan Quinn
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 27, 2016

"A relentlessly captivating study of two remarkable individuals who helped extend the roles of American women in the public policy realm."
A dual biography of the 30-year relationship between Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) and Lorena Hickok (1893-1968). Read full book review >

THE NAMES OF THE STARS by Pete Fromm
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 27, 2016

"Fromm's finely tuned reflections on this small but fully inhabited piece of the backwoods make this an adventure worth savoring."
A middle-aged novelist and creative-writing teacher spends a month in the wilderness keeping an eye on baby fish for the National Forest Service and reliving his earlier experiences in the wild. Read full book review >
ASYLUM by Moriz Scheyer
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 27, 2016

"A well-written book full of desperate hope, intense fear, and a demand for vigilance against the mentality of hate."
Scheyer (1886-1949), arts editor of Vienna's Neues Wiener Tagblatt until his expulsion in 1938, describes his desperate struggle to remain free after the Anschluss. Read full book review >
TREEHAB by Bob Smith
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 27, 2016

"A truth-telling tour conducted by an agile guide."
The first openly gay comedian to perform on the Tonight Show delivers a collection of witty essays exploring his remarkable career and life. Read full book review >
JEAN COCTEAU by Claude Arnaud
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 27, 2016

"Arnaud's biography provides a useful corrective and will inspire renewed interest in Cocteau's work."
The first substantial life of the French surrealist writer and artist to appear in English since 1970. Read full book review >
Stepmother by Marianne Lile
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 27, 2016

"A beautiful examination of a family and the sometimes-fragile ligatures that bind its members."
A debut memoir offers a poignant meditation on the joys and challenges of being a stepmother. Read full book review >
ALGREN by Mary Wisniewski
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 1, 2016

"'In backpacks across America, Algren still lives.'"
Since it's been 25 years since the only comprehensive biography of Nelson Algren (1909-1981), this discerning book is welcome. Read full book review >
THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF WILDE by Emer O'Sullivan
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 4, 2016

"A familiar portrait of Oscar with a fresh look at his eccentric relatives."
A lively biography chronicles Oscar Wilde's unconventional Victorian family. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Jeff Chang
September 20, 2016

In the provocative essays in journalist Jeff Chang’s new book We Gon’ Be Alright, Chang takes an incisive and wide-ranging look at the recent tragedies and widespread protests that have shaken the country. Through deep reporting with key activists and thinkers, personal writing, and cultural criticism, We Gon’ Be Alright links #BlackLivesMatter to #OscarsSoWhite, Ferguson to Washington D.C., the Great Migration to resurgent nativism. Chang explores the rise and fall of the idea of “diversity,” the roots of student protest, changing ideas about Asian Americanness, and the impact of a century of racial separation in housing. “He implores readers to listen, act, and become involved with today’s activists, who offer ‘new ways to see our past and our present,’ ” our reviewer writes in a starred review. “A compelling and intellectually thought-provoking exploration of the quagmire of race relations.” View video >