Biography Reviews

The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man's Love Affair with Nature

In a series of linked essays about his childhood in rural Edgefield, South Carolina, Lanham reclaims an environmental love and ethos for people of color. He is a self-described "eco-addict," who loves nature because "I've yet to have a wild creature question my identity.

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The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man's Love Affair with Nature Cover Image
$24.00
ISBN: 9781571313157
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Published: Milkweed Editions - October 11th, 2016

"In me, there is the red of miry clay, the brown of spring floods, the gold of ripening tobacco. All of these hues are me; I am, in the deepest sense, colored." From these fertile soils of love, land, identity, family, and race emerges The Home Place, a big-hearted, unforgettable memoir by ornithologist and professor of ecology J. Drew Lanham.


Tru and Nelle

Tru and Nelle by Neri G. is a terrific young adult book about the friendship between Truman Capote and Nelle Harper Lee. Based on real events in the lives of these two literary figures, the book in many ways mirrors To Kill a Mockingbird, hinting at the real characters and events in Monroeville, Alabama that gave birth to their parallels in the novel. It's beautifully written and has both the adventure and moral peril present in To Kill a Mockingbird. Highly recommended by Kelly.

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$16.99
ISBN: 9780544699601
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Published: Houghton Mifflin - March 1st, 2016

Long before they became famous writers, Truman Capote (In Cold Blood) and Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird) were childhood friends in Monroeville, Alabama. This fictionalized account of their time together opens at the beginning of the Great Depression, when Tru is seven and Nelle is six.


Eleanor and Hick

Eleanor and Hick: The Love Affair That Shaped a First Lady by Susan Quinn. Though it's no secret that Eleanor Roosevelt had a long-term affair with journalist Lorena Hickok, Quinn's careful examination of their decades-long correspondence reveals the depth of both their love and fear during a time when such relationships were strictly verboten. The narrative views the tumultuous days of Depression, world war, and social change through the window of cultural trespass, which offers interesting insights into both a much-studied era and political icon.

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ISBN: 9781594205408
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Published: Penguin Press - September 27th, 2016

A warm, intimate account of the love between Eleanor Roosevelt and reporter Lorena Hickok--a relationship that, over more than three decades, transformed both women's lives and empowered them to play significant roles in one of the most tumultuous periods in American history


Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth

Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth, by Warsan Shire. Kenyan Born and Somalian, Shire provides a unique perspective into femininity and religiosity. As each poem unfolds, an unyielding benevolence to her surroundings and interactions with her family, peers, and her Islamic background begin to converge and take on a new shape. Celebrated by Beyonce, I was intrigued to see what she deemed poetic, I was pleasantly surprised by the depth and emotion displayed in each and every word. A powerful insight into a traumatic, veiled world. Recommended by Jenna

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Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth (Mouthmark) Cover Image
$12.00
ISBN: 9781905233298
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Published: Flipped Eye Publishing Limited - August 3rd, 2012

What elevates 'teaching my mother how to give birth', what gives the poems their disturbing brilliance, is Warsan Shire's ability to give simple, beautiful eloquence to the veiled world where sensuality lives in the dominant narrative of Islam; reclaiming the more nuanced truths of earlier times - as in Tayeb Salih's work - and translating to the realm of lyric the work of the likes of Nawal El Sa


The Bridge Ladies

Embedded in the title of Betsy Lerner's The Bridge Ladies is the book's extended metaphor: by taking bridge lessons so she can participate in her mother's long-running bridge club, Lerner is able to renew what has always been a fraught relationship with her mother. At turns poignant and hilarious, this memoir potrays an all-too-common drama between mothers and daughters, crossing a chasm of misunderstanding to reach a patch of common ground of insecurities and affection they didn't know they shared. Recommended by Kelly

The Bridge Ladies: A Memoir Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9780062354464
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Published: Harper Wave - May 3rd, 2016

A fifty-year-old Bridge game provides an unexpected way to cross the generational divide between a daughter and her mother. Betsy Lerner takes us on a powerfully personal literary journey, where we learn a little about Bridge and a lot about life.


The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks

Lovers of Terry Tempest Williams' writing (and those who never read her before--these are usually the only two categories) rejoice. In time for the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, her new book The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks chronicles one of America's best-known and beloved nature writer's visits to twelve national parks and monuments.

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$27.00
ISBN: 9780374280093
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Published: Sarah Crichton Books - May 31st, 2016

America's national parks are breathing spaces in a world in which such spaces are steadily disappearing, which is why more than 300 million people visit the parks each year.


And Then All Hell Broke Loose: Two Decades in the Middle East

NBC war correspondent, Richard Engel, recalls 20 years of experience and history of the Middle East and North Africa. From the Arab Spring to the rise of major terrorist cells, he retells his life story as a writer, getting kidnapped, and coming home. He addresses questions such as how ISIS formed, why its numbers continue to grow, and whether or not the United States is at fault.

And Then All Hell Broke Loose: Two Decades in the Middle East Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781451635119
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Simon & Schuster - February 9th, 2016

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"Gripping reading...an astute, fast-paced overview... Engel] gives us sharp, unnerving snapshots." --Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times


Girl in a Band

STAFF REVIEW: Disclaimer: I don’t listen to much Sonic Youth, but I loved Kim Gordon's Girl in a Band. If you’re looking for tabloid fodder about Gordon’s breakup with Thurston Moore, you won’t be disappointed, but the real draw here is Gordon’s clear, frank portrayal of her long career in art and music. Like any good artist memoir, it’s full of celebrity cameos and funny anecdotes.

Girl in a Band: A Memoir Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9780062295903
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Published: Dey Street Books - December 1st, 2015

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Kim Gordon, founding member of Sonic Youth, fashion icon, and role model for a generation of women, now tells her story—a memoir of life as an artist, of music, marriage, motherhood, independence, and as one of the first women of rock and roll, written with the lyricism and haunting beauty of Patti Smith's Just Kids.


Negroland

STAFF REVIEW: Negroland, the memoir by journalist Margo Jefferson, adds another stunning voice to the dialogue about race.

Negroland: A Memoir Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780307378453
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Published: Pantheon Books - September 8th, 2015

Winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography


Trouble Boys

Bob Mehr’s Trouble Boys is one of the best rock n’ roll books I’ve ever read. Certainly a book about a band as volatile, destructive, and self-destructive as The Replacements makes for vicarious fun reading. But rock critic Mehr refuses to make Trouble Boys a simple catalog of smashed guitars and shattered hotel rooms. Mehr exposes the darkness and insecurities underlying the tragic story of The Replacements, a band that could’ve made it but never did.

Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements Cover Image
$27.50
ISBN: 9780306818790
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Published: Da Capo Press - March 1st, 2016

Based on all-new interviews and including 72 rare photos, Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements is the definitive boigraphy of one of the last great rock 'n' roll bands of the twentieth century.


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