Biography & Memoir Book Reviews


"A vivid, moving account of addiction, trauma, and hard-won triumph by two survivors."
Two adults overcome damaging childhoods and addictions to find each other and rebuild their lives together in this affecting debut memoir. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 10, 2015

"A revealing biography that should serve as the starting point for future evaluations of the 41st president."
An admiring life of the president who navigated the end game of the Cold War and stood up to Saddam Hussein. Read full book review >


A well-wrought memoir that turns simple observations and memories into powerful illustrations of grief and illness.
A writer recounts the emotions and memories of losing her mother and battling cancer. Read full book review >
Dog Medicine by Julie Barton
Released: Nov. 10, 2015

"A heartfelt page-turner about depression and how dogs can save us from ourselves."
In this moving debut autobiography, a chronically depressed short story writer tells how her relationship with her dog saved her life. Read full book review >
BOYS IN THE TREES by Carly Simon
Released: Nov. 24, 2015

"Memoirs by rock icons of the 1960s and '70s are flying fast and furious these days. This is one of the best, lively and memorable. Check the new album that accompanies the book, too."
Understated but revealing memoir by the long-absent but still much-played pop star. Read full book review >

Bi by Lawrence J.W. Cooper
Released: July 2, 2015

"A thoughtful retrospective offering an unusual look at bisexuality from a poetic and historic angle."
Cooper pours his heart onto the page in this debut, which is unequal parts autobiography, poetry, and self-help aimed at those who have struggled or are struggling with questions of sexuality, love, and belonging. Read full book review >
NEMESIS by Misha Glenny
Released: Feb. 9, 2016

"Glenny does an admirable investigative job, delving deeply into the complicated causes and effects of Rio's drug trafficking."
A page-turning chronicle of the life and career of a favela don illustrates the larger challenges of a deeply impoverished, class-ridden Brazilian society.Read full book review >
ON MY OWN by Diane Rehm
Released: Feb. 2, 2016

"The prose reads like journal entries or letters to readers, punctuated by sometimes-trite remarks: 'Death is the ultimate finality,' she writes. 'There is no turning back.' Nevertheless, her perspectives on old age are brave and uplifting."
NPR host Rehm (Life with Maxie, 2010, etc.) reflects on loneliness, loss, and aging.Read full book review >
SWITCHED ON by John Elder Robison
Released: March 22, 2016

"A fascinating companion to the previous memoirs by this masterful storyteller."
The bestselling author shares his experience as a participant in a cutting-edge study of the effects of transcranial magnetic stimulation on the brains of people on the autism spectrum. Read full book review >
THE VIOLET HOUR by Katie Roiphe
Released: March 8, 2016

"Never overly sentimental, this is a poignant and elegant inquiry into mortality."
How five artists dealt with that carriage that kindly stopped for them. Read full book review >

"A poignant reminder of the Jonestown madness and the lives it destroyed."
The victims of one of the most bizarre tragedies in American history, the mass suicide of 909 members of the San Francisco-based People's Temple Christian Church in their jungle compound, are memorialized in this haunting photo album. Read full book review >
LUST & WONDER by Augusten Burroughs
Released: March 29, 2016

"A satisfying success story from a reliably outspoken raconteur."
The bestselling author is back with a chronicle of his exasperating love life in New York City following addiction and recovery. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Jason Gay
November 17, 2015

In the 1990s, copies of Richard Carlson’s Don't Sweat the Small Stuff (and its many sequels) were seemingly everywhere, giving readers either the confidence to prioritize their stresses or despondence over the slender volume’s not addressing their particular set of problems. While not the first book of its kind, it kicked open the door for an industry of self-help, worry-reduction advice guides. In his first book, Little Victories, Wall Street Journal sports columnist Gay takes less of a guru approach, though he has drawn an audience of readers appreciative of reportage that balances insights with a droll, self-deprecating outlook. He occasionally focuses his columns on “the Rules” (of Thanksgiving family touch football, the gym, the office holiday party, etc.), which started as a genial poke in the eye at the proliferation of self-help books and, over time, came to explore actual advice “both practical and ridiculous” and “neither perfect nor universal.” The author admirably combines those elements in every piece in the book. View video >