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Biography & autobiography

My Life, My Love, My Legacy

A touching memoir from an important figure in the civil rights movement.


Eat Live Love Die: Selected Essays

Aging is a hot literary topic these days, but no one else I've read has captured the bizarre acceleration of time as we age quite the way Fussell does.


When Breath Becomes Air

It is a book that leaves its reader full-hearted: at once wishing that it had never been written, and yet moved and enriched by its humanity and accomplishment.


Nicotine

His lapidary prose will sometimes put you in mind of the chain-smoking Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgaard’s, though Mr. Knausgaard is generally more penetrating.


A Really Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life

Ms. Waldman brings a huge dose of compassion and, yes, good sense to “A Really Good Day.” Whatever her foibles or stylistic lapses, she makes a persuasive case for the therapeutic use of psychedelics.


Krazy

“Krazy” is absolutely an essential companion to any deep dig into Herriman’s work via the many critical books and blogs on comics and, of course, the original “Krazy Kat” cartoons in anthologies and online.


The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan

I think both the subject and the writing in The Underground Girls of Kabul are compelling.


George Lucas: A Life

George Lucas: A Life is stuffed with stories about Lucas using his talent (and love) for editing as his most efficient tool for retaining control over a film.


Nicotine

This is a memoir that transcends its genre and demands to be read as much more than just a man's look at his lifetime inhaling smoke.


A Really Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life

“A Really Good Day” is informed by her previous career as a federal public defender. She worked on numerous drug cases and became an outspoken critic of harsh narcotics sentencing guidelines.


The Feud: Vladimir Nabokov, Edmund Wilson, and the End of a Beautiful Friendship

The Feud” shows Nabokov’s mean streak at its most extreme.


Based on a True Story: A Memoir

He’s an oddball by nature who also seems to have genuinely cultivated a disregard for conventional success. This memoir’s evasive clowning is in keeping with all that. Some might hate it, but most won’t completely hate it.


Open to Debate

It’s to Hendershot’s credit that she allows us to enjoy the Oscar Wilde side of a towering figure while never letting us forget that, even when served with aplomb and a smile, cruel ideas remain cruel ideas.


We Were The Future: A Memoir of the Kibbutz

We Were the Future is as much an elegy as it is an exposé, which suits the movement that many outside of Israel identify as one of the country’s most curious creations.


Al Capone: His Life, Legacy, and Legend

Bair concludes, Capone illustrates venerable American traditions: a tendency to conflate fame with notoriety and, when a legend outruns a man and the facts, to “print the legend.”


18 and Life on Skid Row

It’s a messy and ramshackle memoir, bouncing from era to era and story to story with little more than a vague chronology. Still, it works because of Bach’s puppyish enthusiasm—for music, yes, but also for booze, for drugs, and for sex in unusual places. Rock it up!


Stand Tall

“Stand Tall” is as much a celebration of one man’s tenacious spirit as it is an indictment of the criminal justice and foster care systems.


A Life Discarded

The diaries in “A Life Discarded” are spiritual English trash — they live in an English landscape of dreaming woods and quelled hopes; they use an English vocabulary.


Genghis Khan and the Quest for God: How the World's Greatest Conqueror Gave Us Religious Freedom

What is most remarkable about this fine and fascinating book is Weatherford’s central claim that the Great Khan’s ecumenism has as its legacy the very same rigid separation of church and state that underpins no less than the American idea itself.


The Feud: Vladimir Nabokov, Edmund Wilson, and the End of a Beautiful Friendship

“The Feud” celebrates the idiosyncrasy of literature rather than its monumentality, and the charismatic Nabokov would seem the perfect embodiment of idiosyncrasy.