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Biography & autobiography

Priestdaddy: A Memoir

Lockwood is often referred to as an “outsider”—having taken neither the MFA nor NYC route, in fact not attending college at all—but reading this book made me wonder if perhaps we are the outsiders: we being the unlucky rest of us who do not reside in Lockwood’s poetic, unpredictable brain.

Rising Star

Perhaps with that freedom and national platform, he can prove his sincerity by returning to his roots as a community organizer and rallying a newly energized national community to make good, lasting things happen.

The Marriage Bureau

A fascinating look at the matrimonial aspirations and frustrations of an earlier generation, with special focus on wartime London.

The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life

The lesson we learn is that everything is unreliable: our memories, our cover stories, and the grander narratives nations tell to justify their actions. And only Le Carré, it becomes clear, could have made this point so convincingly.

Between Them

This magical little book expands on all those thoughts, particularly the last of them, the question of “how we experience what we experience”.

The Cake and the Rain

An insider’s view of the star-maker machinery and a treat for Webb’s many fans.

When You Find Out the World Is Against You

As might be expected from her Twitter account, Oxford has a gift for snarky one-liners and self-effacing humor, but her stories are weakly structured and often drift to their ends without resolution.

The Radium Girls

The story of real women at the mercy of businesses who see them only as a potential risk to the bottom line is haunting precisely because of how little has changed; the glowing ghosts of the radium girls haunt us still.

Priestdaddy: A Memoir

At her very best, Lockwood is antic, deadpan, heartbreaking — and so, so gross.

Rising Star

This impressive if gratuitously snarly biography is clearly intended to break the 44th president’s monopoly on his personal narrative.

My Soul Looks Back: A Memoir

“My Soul Looks Back” has a simmering warmth, however. Harris slowly gets over her shyness. She knows she’s arrived in New York City when, at a party, she hears Nina Simone call out, “Who’s the bitch in the red dress?”

Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life

Smith is very shrewd and accurate on the aftermath of the gruesome accident in Paris that ended Diana’s life, and she makes a point of establishing both Charles’s genuine grief and his serious attempt to mitigate, as much as possible, the effect of their mother’s demise on her children.

Stranger in a Strange Land: Searching for Gershom Scholem and Jerusalem

the last 20 pages beam with light — a radiant justification of the preceding darkness that comes close to, well, perfect.

Between Them

“Between Them” is a powerful reckoning with the in-between: the chemistry between two people — man and woman, parent and child — the gap between what we wish we’d done and what we did, and the inexpressible feelings that reside in the space between words.

The Marriage Bureau

The Marriage Bureau is a fascinating and fun piece of dating and matchmaking history.

Between Them

It’s through this innate desire to know, paired with Ford’s exceptional abilities as a prose craftsman, that these two ordinary people are made vital and vivid to us on the page.

Rising Star

The reader interested in Barack Obama’s life would do well to turn to those books, and not Garrow’s overstuffed and ultimately unfair work here. Or, go back to Obama’s own eloquent memoir.

Priestdaddy: A Memoir

Lockwood’s prose is cute and dirty and innocent and experienced, Betty Boop in a pas de deux with David Sedaris. When her stuff is good, it is very good.

Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom

Both supporters and skeptics of democracy promotion will come away from this book wiser and better informed.