Staff Picks - Biography & Memoirs

Read about the nice, the notable, and the notorious.

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Infidel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780743289696
Availability: Currently sold out, can usually be ready for pick-up or shipping in 2-5 business days
Published: Atria Books - April 2008

Proof that books save lives! In Somalia, Ali read torn paperback English mysteries that were passed around the school yard. She noticed (1) buses always ran on time, (2) everyone had enough to eat, and (3) women married who they wanted. This inspired her to escape an arranged marriage and leave Africa. She has since returned as a public speaker on human rights. -- Emmanuelle


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Testament of Youth (Movie Tie-In) Cover Image
By Vera Brittain, Shirley Williams (Preface by)
$18.00
ISBN: 9780143108382
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - May 26th, 2015

Brittain is so fierce and smart. Feminist, pacifist, a nurse in the trenches of WWI. A tragic, brilliant memoir of that time -- Kate


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A Month in the Country Cover Image
By J.L. Carr, Michael Holroyd (Introduction by)
$14.95
ISBN: 9780940322479
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: NYRB Classics - October 31st, 2000

A WWI vet goes to a small English village where he is to restore a mural in the local church and finds himself restored. A beautiful book about second chances. – Kerry


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The Basketball Diaries: The Classic About Growing Up Hip on New York's Mean Streets Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780140100181
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - July 7th, 1987

Musician and poet Jim Carroll’s account of his teenage years on the streets and blacktops of 1960s NYC. This small memoir packs a punch. -- Nick


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Stop-Time: A Memoir Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780140044461
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - February 24th, 1977

60s teenage memoir. A bit tough, really smart. Weird sun-bleached Florida and then NYC. Cool part about yoyos – Kate


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Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780345534538
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ballantine Books - April 22nd, 2014

The fascinating, tragic, and entirely true story of the reclusive Huguette Clark, one of the last great heiresses of the Gilded Age.


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Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9780393316049
Availability: Out of Print
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - April 17th, 1997

Playful and tragic, this is still one of the best scientific autobiographies and a great introduction to one of the finest minds of the twentieth century. – Kerry


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A Time of Gifts: On Foot to Constantinople: From the Hook of Holland to the Middle Danube Cover Image
By Patrick Leigh Fermor, Jan Morris (Introduction by)
$16.95
ISBN: 9781590171653
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: NYRB Classics - October 3rd, 2005

Ultimate gap year memoir. 1937, kicked out of Oxford, 19 years old -- he grabbed a rucksack and walked from Holland to Constantinople. He takes every detour, hangs out with anyone, shouts long Latin poems as he tramps through snowy Bavaria -- he’s a great writer and a great adventurer. Wonderful book! – Kate


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Charlotte Brontë: A Fiery Heart Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9780345803412
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - February 7th, 2017

Loved this book. Harman tells the story of Bronte’s life -- which is also the story of her siblings and her father -- like a novel. She brings to life Bronte’s growth as a writer, her growing fame and her drift towards marriage -- warts and all. I learned so much about Bronte and her world. Wonderful, rewarding read. – Marie


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The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts (Vintage International) Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780679721888
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - April 23rd, 1989

Memoir and myth. A classic in its portrayal of intersecting identities -- immigrant, female, Chinese, American. There’s a middle school bathroom torture scene that has haunted me for twenty years. Brilliant. -- Kate


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The Glass Castle: A Memoir Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780743247542
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - January 17th, 2006

This book will take you on a tremendous journey of one woman’s remarkable childhood. It spares no emotion in its tragic combination of love and the struggle of an impoverished family trying to survive in utter chaos. You’ll be moved by this book, I promise. – Erika


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Christ Stopped at Eboli: The Story of a Year (FSG Classics) Cover Image
By Carlo Levi, Frances Frenaye (Translated by), Mark Rotella (Introduction by)
$16.00
ISBN: 9780374530099
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - January 10th, 2006

In 1935, Levi -- a doctor, painter, and philosopher -- was banished to a tiny village in the south of Italy on account of his opposition to the fascists, who realized it was cheaper to put political prisoners in villages and have the local police responsible for them, than to put them in prison. Eboli was unchanged since the time of Christ, hence the title. Marvelous account. – Kate


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The Periodic Table (Everyman's Library Contemporary Classics Series) Cover Image
By Primo Levi, Raymond Rosenthal (Translated by)
$15.00
ISBN: 9780805210415
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Schocken - April 4th, 1995

Levi, a chemist, tells his life story -- from Italy to Auschwitz -- element by element. A slim, elegant, human story of the Holocaust from an unusual perspective. – Kate