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Reading Behind Bars: A Memoir of Literature, Law, and Life as a Prison Librarian

Recommended for those studying library and information science or who are interested in America’s prison system.


Talking to Strangers: Selected Essays, Prefaces, and Other Writings 1967–2017

Despite the padding of several slight and flimsy items, this compilation will gratify Auster readers and grace most library shelves.

Sontag: Her Life and Work

This excellent portrait of a complicated, brilliant individual will appeal to those interested in late 20th-century culture, LGBTQ studies, and literary scholarship.


Magill’s Literary Annual, 2019

A good starting point for research into current literature or as a readers’ advisory tool.


Lisbon Tales

A slice of Lisbon to form a tantalizing tart of tales.


Gertrude Stein Has Arrived: The Homecoming of a Literary Legend

Accessible and engaging, this fresh look at Stein’s life is especially recommended for those interested in modernist literature.


Coventry: Essays

These 17 essays are sassy, honest, and memorable. Readers will come away with numerous “aha” moments.

White Flights: Race, Fiction, and the American Imagination

For readers fascinated by race and reparative writing, now and in American history, and the transformative potential of literature to change minds and emphasize our common humanity. [See Prepub Alert, 2/4/19.]

Make It Scream, Make It Burn: Essays

Jamison’s observational skills, genuine empathy, and lack of sentimentality create an intelligent blending of journalism, scholarship (she directs the graduate nonfiction program at Columbia Univ.), and memoir.


New Russian Drama: An Anthology

Extensive coverage of controversial topics such as sex, drug use, and violence could offend those with a general interest in drama. Moreover, the experimental nature of some of these works will be an obstacle for many readers. Recommended for scholars, theater makers, and readers with a serious interest in world theater.


March Sisters: On Life, Death, and Little Women

Recommended for readers seeking a new look at this much-loved classic, the source of Alcott’s inspiration, and how contemporary authors have seen themselves evolve over time.


Bagehot: The Life and Times of the Greatest Victorian

Grant’s readable work both illuminates Bagehot’s life and places his writings in the conservative gold standard context of his time. [See Prepub Alert, 1/7/19.]

George Marshall: Defender of the Republic

Recommended for those interested in the latest World War II biographies. [See Prepub Alert, 1/7/19.]

The Widow Washington: The Life of Mary Washington

All readers will value this vivid account that corrects Mary’s record and reveals the dilemmas and distorted sensibility of Virginian slave-holding white women, along with the devastation caused by the Revolutionary War

Kathleen Hale Is a Crazy Stalker: Six Essays

Recommended for readers interested in creative nonfiction, especially the essay genre.


You Don’t Know Me: The Incarcerated Women of York Prison Voice Their Truths

The writing is polished and the stories compelling and often heartbreaking, but what this volume does best is change the women from faceless criminals into human beings deserving of dignity and compassion. For literary and sociology collections.

I’m Telling the Truth, but I’m Lying: Essays

Visceral and unsettling, these essays will not easily be forgotten. A must-read.

Don’t Read Poetry: A Book About How To Read Poems

A wonderful guide to a misunderstood art. Essential for all libraries.

Shapes of Native Nonfiction: Collected Essays by Contemporary Writers

It’s not hard to imagine this work as a staple of creative writing course syllabi for years to come. A must for any library.


For the Love of Books: Stories of Literary Lives, Banned Books, Author Feuds, Extraordinary Characters, and More

The By the Book podcast meets Andre Bernard’s Now All We Need Is a Title, in this compulsively readable collection that may appeal to bibliophiles.


Magical Realism for Non-Believers

A solid choice for large collections, especially where memoirs are popular.


Mama’s Boy: A Story from Our Americas

This earnest memoir is somewhat overstuffed with discussions of religion and Hollywood; the greatest appreciation will likely come from readers interested in a heartfelt look at self-acceptance as well as the complexities of family or personal stories about mending divides between liberal and conservative

Notes from the Field

Creative and highly thought-provoking, this work should be read not only by those who wish to perform the monologs but by anyone seeking to understand an increasingly frightening and pervasive social ill.

Becoming Dr. Seuss: Theodor Geisel and the Making of an American Imagination

This attractive biography should be on the bedside reading table of thousands of Dr. Seuss lovers, and deservedly so.

Words and Worlds: From Autobiography to Zippers

Highly recommended for Lurie's fans and admirers of the essay genre.

The Ministry of Truth: The Biography of George Orwell's 1984

While similar in approach to William Steinhoff's George Orwell and the Origins of 1984, this is an important contribution to Orwell studies and a timely introduction to the man and his most famous achievement.

A di Prima Duo | Literature, March 2019

Literary Criticism, December 2018 | Best Sellers

Pride and Prejudice Redux | Fiction Reviews


Book The Halls: 28 Holiday Titles To Add to Your Wish Lists


The Traveling Feast: On the Road and at the Table with America's Finest Writers

This literary travelog is ideal for fans of Bass and the authors he celebrates. [See Prepub Alert, 1/8/18.]

A Literary Guide to Washington, DC: Walking in the Footsteps of American Writers from Francis Scott Key to Zora Neale Hurston

The perfect accompaniment for a literature-inspired vacation in the U.S. capital. The compact size, clearly labeled maps, and succinct, informative text make this a handy guide to slip into your suitcase.

The Milk Lady of Bangalore: An Unexpected Adventure

An absolute joy to read. Through her close encounters with the bovine kind, Narayan shows how Indian traditions are incorporated into contemporary ways of life. (Memoir, 10/20/17)

I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death

A heartfelt meditation on the fragility and wonder of life, O'Farrell's work emphasizes the body's desire to fight for survival, even as it takes on challenges from all sides. (Memoir, 12/13/17)

First Time Ever

An engrossing read for all, even those who don't know their folk music history. (Memoir, 12/13/17)


Gurba is a writer for our times; her memoir brings a powerful perspective. (Memoir, 10/20/17)

Flunk. Start. Reclaiming My Decade Lost in Scientology

An early candidate for memoir of the year, this is a thrilling story of one woman's search for truth and her place in the world. (Memoir, 1/12/18)

A Literary Tour de France: The World of Books on the Eve of the French Revolution

Deftly written, this thoughtful and well-researched work will appeal to a wide variety of readers; scholars and casual fans of printing history will enjoy this insider's look that is both informative and entertaining.

Frankenstein: How a Monster Became an Icon; The Science and Enduring Allure of Mary Shelley's Creation

Readers fond of Shelley's original work, as well as those who enjoy consuming the culture it's spawned and influenced, will find this a book to savor, and despite edited compilations not being the usual choice for book groups, this could be a stellar choice for any pop-culture savvy group that's recently worked with Shelley's title. Recommended.

Making the Monster: The Science Behind Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

Anyone interested in where Shelley's ideas may have come from will find a multitude of context in Harkup's volume. This is fascinating for those interested in the development of sf and in the difficult life of one of the genre's first authors.

Highbrow, Lowbrow, Brilliant, Despicable: Fifty Years of New York Magazine

This gift-worthy coffee-table book will delight readers of the magazine and enthusiasts of its namesake city.

The Story of The Face: The Magazine That Changed Culture

Fans of 1980s and 1990s alternative music and fashion will appreciate this retrospective, as will students of journalism and graphic design.

The Wine Lover's Daughter

A fascinating book with something to interest anyone; a pure reading pleasure. [See "Reconciling Histories, Unraveling Mysteries,"].

Montaigne in Barn Boots: An Amateur Ambles Through Philosophy

One couldn't hope for a better introduction to the work of Perry or Montaigne. [See "Families & Addiction, Philosophers, Two Debuts, & Joyce Maynard";]

Where the Past Begins

Readers of Tan's novels will enjoy learning about the inspiration behind many of her stories. Book clubs and those who enjoy writers' memoirs, stories about difficult families, or children-of-immigrants narratives will also find much to savor. [See Prepub Alert, 4/24/17.]

Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8: A Young Man's Voice from the Silence of Autism

Recommended with reservations for readers who enjoyed The Reason I Jump or those seeking deeper insight into one man's distinctive struggle. [See Prepub Alert, 2/16/17.]

Sleepless Nights and Kisses for Breakfast: Reflections on Fatherhood

A perfect summer read that will allow parents, dads especially, to reflect upon their own experiences raising children.

Man of the Year

A very fine family memoir that proves, in a variety of ways, that things are not always what they seem.

Ars Botanica: A Field Guide

This singular account will make readers wish that Taranto was a more polished writer and thinker.

We Are All Shipwrecks

Moving and complex, this is an exquisitely written tale of perseverance and unconditional love. A worthwhile addition to any collection.

Stitching with Beatrix Potter: Stitch, Sew & Give 10 Adorable Projects Featuring Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle-Duck & Friends

Hill's designs celebrate the best-known works of Potter, while also bringing some of her lesser-known botanical illustrations to the forefront. Quilters interested in machine appliqué, as well as fans of Potter's work, will enjoy this collection.

'Over the Hills and Far Away': The Life of Beatrix Potter

Dennison writes a concise summary of Potter's inspirations and legacy; fans already familiar with her life and works may want a more comprehensive retelling.

The Norse Myths: A Guide to the Gods and Heroes

Concise and accessible, it successfully covers a broad range of topics. This book serves as an excellent primer on Norse mythology and is recommended for all readers interested in the subject.

Norse Mythology

A spectacularly entertaining and elucidating collection of stories with wide crossover appeal. Essential for all collections.

Should I Still Wish

Evans's prose is often pedestrian, and his insights don't always resonate. This is a book that would be more enjoyable to pick up and read in increments rather than all the way through.

Insomniac City: New York, Oliver, and Me

Admirers of Sacks will want to seek this out for the glimpses into his personal life; general readers need not bother.

We Were the Future: A Memoir of the Kibbutz

A highly recommended introduction to the kibbutz movement.

Detroit Hustle: A Memoir of Love, Life & Home

Pictures of the house in question would have enhanced this book, and, at times, the prose is overwrought. Still, it is surprisingly full of practical advice and always entertaining.

Bullies: A Friendship

This essential memoir, which could have been twice as long and remained as fascinating, is recommended for general readers.

The Inventors

A remarkable model of the art of the memoir, this book will satisfy all readers. Highly recommended.

Burdens by Water: An Unintended Memoir

An original and funny/sad compilation of writings that will appeal to a wide readership.

Dinner with Edward: A Story of an Unexpected Friendship

This is a book full of life lessons, a reminder that no matter how old we grow, we still have much to share, and to learn.

The Penny Poet of Portsmouth: A Memoir of Place, Solitude, and Friendship

The author writes with great honesty about the challenges of caring for someone who can be a difficult patient. Readers with an interest in pursuing "the writing life," or who have struggled with caring for aging relatives or friends, will appreciate this open look at the subjects.

Sex with Shakespeare: Here's Much To Do with Pain, but More with Love

A thoroughly enjoyable read, not just for the juicy bits of Shakespeare, but also for the sex-positive message. Recommended for readers who are interested in a different reading of Shakespeare, as well as anyone working through issues of sexuality and identity.

The Song Poet: A Memoir of My Father

Yang powerfully demonstrates that much of what society doesn't hold valuable—gifts and talents that don't translate into monetary or educational success—still carry immense value, if only we choose to see it.

Navel Gazing: True Tales of Bodies, Mostly Mine (But Also My Mom's Which I Know Sounds Weird)

Fans of Black (VH1 series I Love the…; The State) will of course want to seek this one out. Most others need not bother.

The Alaskan Retreater's Notebook: On Man's Journey into the Alaskan Wilderness

The work's one drawback is its somewhat haphazard organization. Still, readers will appreciate this fascinating story of a modern-day homesteader.

GoatMan: How I Took a Holiday from Being Human

Though one of the more amusing memoirs in recent memory, its audience will probably be limited to academics and intellectuals.

Reasons To Stay Alive

Haig's inspiring account is an essential read for anyone who has suffered from depression, or knows someone who has. It should lead to a greater understanding of the illness.

White Walls: A Memoir About Motherhood, Daughterhood, and the Mess In Between

This is a modern woman's look at how we construct who we are

Controlled: The Worst Night of My Life and Its Aftermath

Teen readers who have had a similar experience may find it healing to read about someone talking openly about her own sexual assault. Parents would also benefit from this account. Arter's experiences underscore the need for their engagement and support.

Wild Mama: One Woman's Quest To Live Her Best Life, Escape Traditional Parenthood, and Travel the World

With so much pressure on modern parents to "live for their kids," this title is a refreshing reminder that it's both possible and necessary to live for oneself, too.

Welcome to Marwencol

Sometimes tragedies can be catalysts for immense creativity. This is an encouraging read for anyone struggling with issues of self-expression and illustrates the many interlocking components of artistic expression and identity.

My Confection: Odyssey of a Sugar Addict

A delicious morsel of memoir writing that will resonate with junk-food junkies and their clean-living counterparts.

Born on the Bayou

Readers looking for a little Southern flair in their memoirs should check out Rick Bragg's All Over But the Shoutin' and Mary Carr's The Liars' Club, which offer better places to start.

The Point of Vanishing: A Memoir of Two Years in Solitude

A deeply felt and moving journey into no longer taking life, or the world around us, for granted.


Though not for all readers, those who stick with this slim volume will find much to recommend. A truly wonderful book. [See "Nobel Prize Winner Modiano," LJ 9/1/15.

Red Velvet Underground: A Rock Memoir, with Recipes

An appealing choice for readers who are looking for a humorous take on parenthood and food. Recommend to those who enjoy books that combine elements of storytelling with recipes such as Laura Esquivel's Like Water for Chocolate and Ruth Reichl's Comfort Me with Apples.

You Think It Strange

Burt describes the world he grew up in well. His reactions to his experiences are less strong, making for an unsuccessful memoir.

You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)

Day's writing is warm and charming. Fans of her work will gobble this up, but anyone who has ever despaired of finding their passions would benefit from a read as well.

That Thing You Do With Your Mouth: The Sexual Autobiography of Samantha Matthews as Told to David Shields

While not a memoir about surviving abuse, this history of Matthews's sexual past is daring, juicy, and theatrical.

Head Case: My Brain and Other Wonders

Cohen's distinctive voice makes this tale of navigating elementary school through young adulthood while literally missing a part of her brain a charming, enjoyable read.

Cabin Fever: The Sizzling Secrets of a Virgin Airlines Flight Attendant

For readers who have ever wondered what it's like to be a flight attendant or to sleep with different men in exotic locales, this memoir is for them. It's like Sex and the City on a 747.

A Field Guide to Awkward Silences

Petri is willing to put herself in the middle of hilariously awkward situations with no fear of looking stupid. Readers will delight in accompanying her on the ride.

Leave the Dogs at Home

An excellent choice for those touched by grief, ready for a change, or just wanting to read a beautifully written memoir.

What Comes Next and How To Like It

It's a credit to Thomas's detailed powers of observation and calm reportage that when she suggests that we all hold hands and "rush into the surf together," the future seems a less daunting destination. [See Prepub Alert, 9/22/14.]

Gorge: My Journey Up Kilimanjaro at 300 Pounds

A classic tale of a woman overcoming her demons to achieve a lofty goal, this memoir will resonate with anyone who has ever felt the joy and satisfaction that comes with proving oneself.

Visiting Hours: A Memoir of Friendship and Murder

While the writing is haunting in its eloquence, this is not a memoir of true crime but of a complicated friendship, omitting any perspective from the victim or her family.

The World's Largest Man

Smart, funny, and wildly engaging, this personal narrative of a man's bumpy relationship with his upbringing and specifically his father is beyond relatable. It reads like fiction that is too crazy to be anything but truth. Fans of memoir, personal essays, and humor writing will devour this in one sitting.

The Rose Hotel: A Memoir of Secrets, Loss, and Love from Iran to America

Andalibian's story provides a sweeping account of life in Iran following the revolution and how the aftermath of a political uprising affected one family in a profound way.

Primates of Park Avenue

This anthropological journey into the wilds of New York City's most exclusive zip code could have easily devolved into condescension, but instead it proves that mothers everywhere want the same thing: health and happiness for their progeny. [See Prepub Alert, 12/15/14.]

Motorcycles I've Loved

This is a road trip book in the literal and figurative sense as the author takes readers on a scenic ride through the backcountry roads of being a woman in what is often considered a man's world. Ideal for readers who enjoyed the motorcycle sections of Robert M. Pirsig's cult classic Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance but could have done without the zen. [See Prepub Alert, 10/20/14.]

It Was Me All Along

A worthwhile addition to memoir collections.

The Book of Love: Improvisations on a Crazy Little Thing

True to its subtitle, this is a collection of "improvisations," meandering in a way that allows readers to pick it up and begin from any page in this tiny, precious book. [See Prepub Alert, 7/7/14.]

The Light of the World

While it's impossible to avoid comparisons to Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking (2005), this work is set apart by the fluid translation of Alexander's poetic ability into sentences so beautiful they beg to be reread. [See Prepub Alert, 10/20/14.]

Girl in the Dark

This memoir, which reads like a diary, will remind readers in good health of the simple things often taken for granted, such as watching television, cooking, and being outdoors. Readers battling an illness for which doctors have little explanation may find this work quite bleak. [See Prepub Alert, 9/21/14.]

Screening Room: Family Pictures

A fine addition to Lightman's oeuvre, this a great story tinged with nostalgia for an America that no longer exists. The author grew up in Memphis, TN, and the book is full of quirky history and details about that iconic American city. [See Prepub Alert, 8/4/14.]

All the Wrong Places: A Life Lost and Found

Though at times too revealing about his life (his need to tell us about his phone sex experiences struck this reviewer as odd), this is an honest and frank account of one man's coming to terms with a tragic personal event. [See Prepub Alert, 8/4/14.]

Whipping Boy: The Forty-Year Search for My Twelve-Year-Old Bully

Criticisms of this memoir qua memoir aside, Kurzweil paces his book beautifully and it is recommended even for those who normally don't read nonfiction or memoirs. It moves like a thriller, is very funny, and in the right hands, would make a great movie. [See Prepub Alert, 7/7/14.]


Readers from many backgrounds will be able to identify with the author because his book is really a plea for us to accept everybody for who they are, no matter what their story may be, or what kinds of lives they may lead. [See Prepub Alert, 9/21/14.]

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