Biography & Memoir Book Reviews

NOW I SIT ME DOWN by Witold Rybczynski
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 23, 2016

"Rybczynski is totally engaging in this smoothly flowing, sharp, witty narrative—another winner from a top-notch writer on design."
The acclaimed popularizer and purveyor of all things architectural scrutinizes a "tool for sitting." Read full book review >
TRUFFLE BOY by Ian Purkayastha
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 23, 2016

"An informative and charming food and travel memoir."
A 20-something's account of how he became a leading importer of truffles and other exotic specialty foods for some of America's most elite restaurants. Read full book review >

THE COMMANDER by Laila Parsons
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 23, 2016

"A remarkably evenhanded biography of an important player in Arab history that doubles as a crucial scholarly reinterpretation of the rise and fall of Arab nationalism."
Biography of the famous early-20th-century Arab nationalist and soldier Fawzi al-Qawuqji (1890-1977). Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 16, 2016

"Race, patriotism, and personal heroism come together in this eye-opening early episode in Civil War history."
A Civil War tale starring a free black sailor. Read full book review >
THE ART OF RIVALRY by Sebastian Smee
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 16, 2016

"Smee takes readers deep into the beginnings of modern art in a way that not only enlightens, but also builds a stronger appreciation of the influences that created the environment that fostered its development."
An exploration of the relationships among eight artists who were friends, mentors, and/or rivals and the particular incidents that changed their lives. Read full book review >

UPROOT by Jace Clayton
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 16, 2016

"An engrossing tour of the global cutting edge, balanced between memoir, musicology, and technology."
Sharply detailed exploration of how technology and globalization have transformed participatory audio culture for top-dollar DJs and African ensembles alike. Read full book review >
RIVERINE by Angela Palm
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 16, 2016

"An intelligent, evocative, and richly textured memoir."
The haunting account of how the author tried to escape her rural Indiana past. Read full book review >
BORN BRIGHT by C. Nicole Mason
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 16, 2016

"A thoughtful, well-crafted rejoinder to Claude Brown's half-century-old Manchild in the Promised Land, speaking to the power of hope and the institutional changes needed to make hope possible."
The aspirational story of a young African-American woman's rise from poverty. Read full book review >
Army Wife by Vicki Cody
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 16, 2016

"An Army wife's absorbing testament to the power of family and faith to weather difficult times."
A soldier's spouse reflects on marriage, sacrifice, and patriotic service. Read full book review >
THE GIRL WITH THE LOWER BACK TATTOO by Amy Schumer
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 16, 2016

"A hilarious and effective memoir from a woman with zero inhibitions."
The provocative comedian takes to the pen in this unabashed memoir. Read full book review >
THE GLAMOUR OF STRANGENESS by Jamie James
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 9, 2016

"Abundant primary sources inform James' sharply drawn, sympathetic portraits."
Six artists in quest of the exotic. Read full book review >
HOW EVERYTHING BECAME WAR AND THE MILITARY BECAME EVERYTHING by Rosa Brooks
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 9, 2016

"Legal theorists and policymakers will approve the scholarship and close analysis; general readers will appreciate the sensitive storytelling, the wit, and the uncommon good sense."
A former senior Defense Department adviser explores the military's expanded role in a time when the lines between war and peace are dangerously blurred. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Andrea Beaty
August 30, 2016

In Andrea Beaty and David Roberts’ new picture book Ada Twist, Scientist is like her classmates, builder Iggy and inventor Rosie: scientist Ada, a character of color, has a boundless imagination and has always been hopelessly curious. Why are there pointy things stuck to a rose? Why are there hairs growing inside your nose? When her house fills with a horrific, toe-curling smell, Ada knows it’s up to her to find the source. Not afraid of failure, she embarks on a fact-finding mission and conducts scientific experiments, all in the name of discovery. But this time, her experiments lead to even more stink and get her into trouble! Inspired by real-life makers such as Ada Lovelace and Marie Curie, Ada Twist, Scientist champions girl power and women scientists, and brings welcome diversity to picture books about girls in science. “Cool and stylish,” our reviewer writes. View video >