Biography & Memoir Book Reviews

THE LIFE OF DEATH by Ralph  R. Rossell
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 17, 2017

"A candid, sensitive, and occasionally humorous account of life as a funeral director."
A debut memoir that meticulously documents every aspect of growing up and working in a Flushing, Michigan, funeral parlor. Read full book review >
THE ART OF MISDIAGNOSIS by Gayle Brandeis
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 14, 2017

"A uniquely graceful, gorgeously written and composed collage of grief, misunderstanding, love, and an attempt at familial closure through art and prose."
A novelist, poet, and writing teacher mourns the tragic loss of her tormented mother. Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 14, 2017

"A sparklingly intelligent and well-researched cultural history."
A New-York Historical Society historian examines the impact of 20th-century newspaper columnist and women's self-help guru Marjorie Hillis (1889-1971). Read full book review >
COUNTING BACKWARDS by Henry Jay  Przybylo
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 14, 2017

"A fascinating tour of a mystifying, unnerving, yet precious medical necessity."
A veteran anesthesiologist probes the origins and mysteries of medically induced unconsciousness. Read full book review >
THE NEWCOMERS by Helen Thorpe
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 14, 2017

"Humane and informative stories about refugees and their plights in America."
Personal stories of child refugees as they integrate into American society. Read full book review >

THE ABU DHABI BAR MITZVAH by Adam Valen  Levinson
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 14, 2017

"While Karachi or Aleppo may not be next year's hot vacation destinations, Levinson proves there's ample reason to go."
While the blank spaces on the maps have long since been filled in, the psychological barriers walling off regions of the world where Westerners dare not tread are as tall as ever. Here, a "multimedia backpack journalist" explores some of them. Read full book review >
BLACK TUDORS by Miranda  Kaufmann
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 14, 2017

"An eminently readable book that offers contemporary readers valuable insights into racial relations of centuries past."
An intriguing history of Africans in Tudor England. Read full book review >
THE WINE LOVER'S DAUGHTER by Anne Fadiman
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 7, 2017

"Reading this daughter's graceful, often melodious billet-doux to her father is not unlike imbibing several equally felicitous glasses of wine, their salutary effects leaving one pleasantly sated."
Fadiman (At Large and at Small: Confessions of a Literary Hedonist, 2008, etc.) decants a harmonious blend of biography, wine lore, and memoir in this account of a literary daughter's relationship with her celebrated literary father. Read full book review >
THE MAYFLOWER by Rebecca Fraser
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 7, 2017

"The story of the Winslows is an effective way to experience the emotions and fears of the small band who dauntlessly sailed off to the New World."
Fraser (The Story of Britain: From the Romans to the Present, 2005, etc.) personalizes the legend of the Pilgrims by focusing on Edward Winslow and family and their voyage from England to Holland to Plymouth. Read full book review >
IT'S ALL RELATIVE by A.J. Jacobs
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 7, 2017

"A delightful, easy-to-read, informative book."
The bestselling immersion journalist embarks on a world-spanning journey of family and genealogy. Read full book review >
THE DAWN WATCH by Maya Jasanoff
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 7, 2017

"An insightful perspective on Conrad's life and turbulent times."
An absorbing biography melds history and literary analysis. Read full book review >
MEAN by Myriam  Gurba
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 7, 2017

"With its icy wit, edgy wedding of lyricism and prose, and unflinching look at personal and public demons, Gurba's introspective memoir is brave and significant."
A gritty memoir exploring gender politics and growing up mixed-race Chicana. 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 >