Biography & Memoir Book Reviews

ANDRE THE GIANT by Brandon Easton
Released: Nov. 24, 2015

"An earnest if colorless picture of both a career and a character."
A graphic biography of a gentle (outside the ring, anyway) giant who helped take professional wrestling from a grubby, localized sport to today's glittering international spectacle. Read full book review >
What A Ride! by Anthony Francis DiBello

"An autobiography that feels like a teaser to garner interest in a film adaptation, but it never delivers the full picture."
DiBello's debut memoir assures readers that his life is the stuff that movies are made of. Read full book review >

Emma G. Loves Boyz by Taro Meyer
Released: Oct. 1, 2015

"Sweet but deafening, Emma's contagious enthusiasm amplifies this wholesome fan letter for younger readers."
The exuberant journal of a star-struck fan who vows to stop at nothing—even doing chores!—for a chance to see her favorite boy band perform live. Read full book review >
NO BAGGAGE by Clara Bensen
Released: Jan. 5, 2016

"An engaging memoir of travel, love, and finding oneself."
A 20-something's debut memoir about a whirlwind romance with an eccentric professor who took her on a three-week luggageless trip in Europe. Read full book review >
SPEER by Martin Kitchen
Released: Nov. 24, 2015

"Kitchen ably portrays a hollow, cold, bourgeois man totally lacking in morals or scruples—exactly the type that made National Socialism possible and could do so again."
Kitchen (Emeritus, History/Simon Fraser Univ.; The Third Reich: Charisma and Community, 2014, etc.) sets the record straight on Albert Speer's assertions of ignorance of the Final Solution and claims to being the "good Nazi."Read full book review >

DAVID LYNCH by Dennis Lim
Released: Nov. 3, 2015

"A streamlined and breezily engaging—but impressively rigorous—evaluation of a unique film talent; essential reading for fans of Lynch and the immersive, elusive worlds he creates."
The director of programming at the Film Society of Lincoln Center delivers a short, sharp reckoning with the dangerous visions of celebrated filmmaker David Lynch. Read full book review >
YOU COME TOO by Lesley Lee Francis
Released: Dec. 11, 2015

"Some Frost aficionados will undoubtedly find some delight in a text that many other readers will find soporific."
One of the poet's granddaughters combines reminiscence with literary criticism in this memoir. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 10, 2015

"As satisfying as any trip by Paul Theroux but with a much less prickly and much more forgiving narrator."
Journalist/translator and intrepid traveler Porter (Zen Baggage: A Pilgrimage to China, 2008, etc.) takes readers on another virtual journey into the China few Westerners know.Read full book review >
WILKIE COLLINS by Peter Ackroyd
Released: Oct. 6, 2015

"A compact, pithy, and generous biography of a novelist who found great success despite writing in the age of Dickens, Eliot, and Trollope."
The latest installment in the author's Brief Lives series is dedicated to the popular British novelist Wilkie Collins (1824-1889). Read full book review >
Released: Dec. 15, 2015

"A detailed, entertaining history of a successful, if bumpy, military alliance."
Anglo-American cooperation during World War II worked, more or less. Read full book review >
RICHARD III by David Horspool
Released: Dec. 15, 2015

"Among the better histories on this subject, this book rocks no boats while delivering a densely detailed account of a man who was no more villainous than the average 15th-century baron."
Richard III's villainy owes much to Shakespeare. Modern histories are more understanding, and this includes this thoughtful biography by Times Literary Supplement history editor Horspool (Alfred the Great, 2014, etc.), who stresses that Richard (1452-1485) was a man of his times, although they were nasty times.Read full book review >
THE CITY AT THREE P.M. by Peter LaSalle
Released: Dec. 15, 2015

"An up-and-down collection of essays on what a fiction writer does when he isn't writing fiction."
A collection of what could be called literary travel criticism. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Vanessa Diffenbaugh
September 1, 2015

Vanessa Diffenbaugh is the New York Timesbestselling author of The Language of Flowers; her new novel, We Never Asked for Wings, is about young love, hard choices, and hope against all odds. For 14 years, Letty Espinosa has worked three jobs around San Francisco to make ends meet while her mother raised her children—Alex, now 15, and Luna, six—in their tiny apartment on a forgotten spit of wetlands near the bay. But now Letty’s parents are returning to Mexico, and Letty must step up and become a mother for the first time in her life. “Diffenbaugh’s latest confirms her gift for creating shrewd, sympathetic charmers,” our reviewer writes. View video >