Everyone has one, whether it’s about the trials of growing up different, finding love, or learning a language unspoken for centuries. Well told, any story, about anything at all, can give us that aha moment, because, truth be told, what’s important is the connection we have to each other through sharing our experiences. Go ahead. I’m listening.
Memoirs & Biographies Top 10
Double Cup Love
Eddie Huang. Random/Spiegel & Grau, Apr. 19
In his second memoir, author, restaurateur, and first-generation Chinese-American Huang goes back to China to discover the food and where he fits in.
The Lady with the Borzoi: Blanche Knopf, Literary Tastemaker Extraordinaire
Laura Claridge. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Apr. 12
An intimate bio of the woman who, with her husband, founded Alfred A. Knopf in 1915, legitimizing hard-boiled detective fiction, introducing French writers, and lauding the literature of the Harlem Renaissance.
Living with a Dead Language: My Romance with Latin
Ann Patty. Viking, June 14
After leaving New York City and her high-powered publishing job, Patty finds a challenge in the study of Latin, which she recounts in this memoir that weaves her personal life into grammar and syntax.
Love, Loss, and What We Ate: A Memoir
Padma Lakshmi. Ecco, Mar. 8
Lakshmi describes her continent-hopping journey to Top Chef through food and a family of determined and unconventional women.
The Rainbow Comes and Goes: And Other Life Lessons I Learned From My Mom
Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt. Harper, Apr. 26
An exchange of emails between Cooper and his 91-year-old mother: a love letter to a mother, and life lessons to a grown son highlight the universal bond between parent and child.
Hisham Matar. Random House, July 5
In 2012, novelist Matar returns to Libya after Qaddafi is overthrown, to craft a study of the country his family left as political dissidents when he was 12 and to investigate the disappearance of his father, kidnapped by the Libyan government from the streets of Cairo.
A Series of Catastrophes and Miracles: A True Story of Love, Science, and Cancer
Mary Elizabeth Williams. National Geographic, Apr. 26
Diagnosed with a fatal form of cancer, Williams, a journalist and mother of two, takes a chance on a clinical trial for a revolutionary drug regimen and wins, while her best friend, also diagnosed with cancer, has very different results.
This Is Not My Beautiful Life: A Memoir
Victoria Fedden. Picador, June 7
Fedden, who is 36, nine months pregnant, and living with her parents when the DEA and the IRS break down the door, tells her tale with humor and revelation.
Scream: A Memoir of Glamour and Dysfunction
Tama Janowitz. Morrow/Dey Street, Apr. 19
Janowitz, who became the voice of a now-long-gone downtown Manhattan scene with the publication of Slaves of New York in 1986, looks at her life then and now.
White Sands: Experiences from the Outside World
Geoff Dyer. Pantheon, May 3
Dyer continues his search for tranquility with a series of pilgrimages, and combines travel stories with images and memories that he’s held since childhood.
Memoirs & Biographies Listings
Dimestore: A Writer’s Life by Lee Smith (Mar. 22, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-1-61620-502-7). Novelist Smith turns to nonfiction to conjure her early days in the small coal town of Grundy, Va., and beyond, in a moving, personal portrait and a broader meditation on embracing one’s heritage.
I Will Find You by Joanna Connors (Apr. 5, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0-8021-2260-5). Twenty-one years after her rape at knife point by a stranger who was caught and sentenced, Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter Connors, in a timely consideration of race, class, and education, embarked on a journey to uncover the story of her attacker. 10,000-copy announced first printing.
No Way but Gentlenesse: A Memoir of How Kes, My Kestrel, Changed My Life by Richard Hines (May 24, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-63286-502-1). Born and raised in a South Yorkshire mining village, Hines’s prospects were limited when he set out to “man” or train his kestrel and found salvation in the elite pastime of falconry.
Central Recovery Press
(dist. by HCI)
The Jaguar Man by Lara Naughton (July 12, trade paper, $15.95, ISBN 978-1-942094-20-3). While on vacation in Belize, Naughton was kidnapped, raped, and held in the tropical forest in Belize, where compassion was her only defense. Her survival and journey of healing runs against the grain of what we’re taught and how we speak about crime and victimhood.
Never Leave Your Dead: A True Story of War Trauma, Murder, and Madness by Diane Cameron (June 14, trade paper, $15.95, ISBN 978-1-942094-16-6). In 1953, former Marine Watkins murdered his wife and, released after 22 years, may have caused his second wife’s death. Watkins’s stepdaughter writes of war trauma and the 20th-century mental health system’s part in transforming a family.
(dist. by PGW)
Look, Lean, Roll: A Woman, a Motorcycle, and Plunging into Risk by Bernadette Murphy (May 10, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-61902-597-4). Learning to ride a motorcycle at 48 becomes the catalyst that transforms a settled wife and professor with three teenage children into a woman on her own who finds deeper meaning out on the open road.
Life of the Party: The Remarkable Story of How Brownie Wise Built, and Lost, a Tupperware Party Empire by Bob Kealing (July 12, hardcover, $24, ISBN 978-1-101-90365-0). Soon to be a major motion picture starring Sandra Bullock, this is the story of Brownie Wise, the Southern single mother—and postwar #Girlboss—who built, and lost, a home-party empire
The Crossing: My Journey to the Shattered Heart of Syria by Samar Yazbek, trans. by Nashwa Gowanlock and Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp (July 1, trade paper, $16.95, ISBN 978-1-84604-488-5). Well-known in her native Syria as a writer and a journalist but, in 2011, forced into exile by the Assad regime, Yazbek revisited her homeland and to testify to the appalling reality that is Syria today.
Love, Loss, and What We Ate: A Memoir by Padma Lakshmi (Mar. 8, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-0-06-220261-1). A story of food and family, survival and triumph, traces the arc of Lakshmi’s unlikely path from immigrant childhood to a complicated life in front of the camera as a TopChef judge. 150,000-copy announced first printing.
Ice Diaries: A Memoir by Jean McNeil (Mar. 15, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-1-77041-318-4). McNeil, a fiction writer, chronicles her years spent on ice in the Antarctic and her subsequent travels in Greenland; Iceland; and Svalbard, Norway, confronting the lifelong effects of growing up in a cold place.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
The Lady with the Borzoi: Blanche Knopf, Literary Tastemaker Extraordinaire by Laura Claridge (Apr. 12, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-374-11425-1) is an intimate biography of Blanche Knopf, who founded Alfred A. Knopf with her husband in 1915 and quickly became a driving force behind the firm, helping to define American letters for the 20th century.
Black Dove: Essays on Mamá, Mi’jo, and Me by Ana Castillo (May 10, trade paper, $16.95, ISBN 978-1-55861-923-4). The intellectually spirited daughter of a Mexican-Indian immigrant family looks at what it means to be a single, brown, feminist parent in a world of mass incarceration, racial profiling, and police brutality.
Famous Nathan: A Family Saga of Coney Island, the American Dream, and the Search for the Perfect Hot Dog by Lloyd Handwerker (June 21, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-1-250-07454-6). Nathan Handwerker fled Eastern Europe in 1912, and on Coney Island’s boardwalk launched the hot dog and himself to national fame. When his two sons vie to inherit the family dynasty, a story of biblical proportions ensues.
Between Breaths: A Memoir of Panic and Addiction by Elizabeth Vargas (June 7, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-1-4555-5963-3) discusses Vargas growing up with anxiety—which began suddenly at the age of six when her father served in Vietnam—and how she eventually turned to alcohol, denial, rehab, and her first year of sobriety. 75,000-copy announced first printing.
Kingdoms in the Air: Dispatches from the Far Away by Bob Shacochis (June 7, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-8021-2476-0). The very best of National Book Award–winner and war journalist Shacochis’s culture and travel essays in one collection, spanning his global adventures and his passions, from surfing to his time in Nepal’s kingdom of Mustang
A Different Kind of Daughter: A Story of Squash, Survival, and Hope by Maria Toorpakai (May 10, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-1-4555-9141-1). In Pakistan’s violently oppressive northwest tribal region, Toorpakai passed as a boy in order to play the sports she loved, and then moved to Canada to pursue her dream. 40,000-copy announced first printing.
Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay (May 3, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-06-236259-9). From the bestselling author of Bad Feminist: a memoir of food, weight, self-image, and learning how to feed your hunger while taking care of yourself. 100,000-copy announced first printing.
The Rainbow Comes and Goes: And Other Life Lessons I Learned from My Mom by Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt (Apr. 26, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-06-245494-2). In an engaging exchange, Cooper conversed through email with his 91-year-old mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, in which they discussed their lives, the things that matter to them, and what they still want to learn about each other. 200,000-copy announced first printing.
Saving Alex: When I Was Fifteen I Told My Mormon Parents I Was Gay, and That’s When My Nightmare Began by Alex Cooper, with Joanna Brooks (Mar. 1, hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-0-06-237460-8). The tribulations of Alex Cooper, who was held captive in a “residential treatment program” until she escaped to make legal history in Utah, winning the right to live under the law’s protection as an openly gay teenager. 50,000-copy announced first printing.
If at Birth You Don’t Succeed: My Adventures with Disaster and Destiny by Zach Anner (Mar. 8, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-1-62779-364-3). Comedian Anner entered the world with cerebral palsy and an uncertain future, but blossomed into a viral Internet sensation.
In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri, trans. by Ann Goldstein (Feb. 9, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-1-101-87555-1). Pulitzer Prize–winner Lahiri’s nonfiction debut, an autobiographical work written in Italian and presented in a dual-language format that investigates the process of learning to express oneself in another language.
Sex with Shakespeare: Here’s Much to Do with Pain, but More with Love by Jillian Keenan (Apr. 26, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-06-237871-2) recounts the story of a young woman who came to understand love and sexuality through the works of Shakespeare. 75,000-copy announced first printing.
Jane Doe January: My Twenty-Year Search for Truth and Justice by Emily Winslow (May 24, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-0-06-243480-7). A real-life crime mystery and gripping memoir of the cold case prosecution of a serial rapist as told by one of his victims. 50,000-copy announced first printing.
Scream: A Memoir of Glamour and Dysfunction by Tama Janowitz (Apr. 19, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-06-239132-2). With the publication of her story collection Slaves of New York, in 1986, Janowitz was crowned the Lit Girl of New York. She recalls the quirky world of young downtown New York in the go-go 1980s and reflects on her life today far away from the city so crucial to her work. 75,000-copy announced first printing.
(dist. by PRH)
Life from Scratch: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Forgiveness by Sasha Martin (Mar. 1, trade paper, $15.95, ISBN 978-1-4262-1653-4). Food writer and blogger Martin set out to cook and eat a meal from every country in the world, which unlocked memories of a difficult childhood and led to her redemption through food.
A Series of Catastrophes and Miracles: A True Story of Love, Science, and Cancer by Mary Elizabeth Williams (Apr. 26, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-4262-1633-6). Diagnosed in her early 40s with a “rapidly fatal” form of cancer—Williams, a journalist and mother of two, recounts her experiences as a patient and the clinical trial that cured her cancer.
Life Without a Recipe: A Memoir of Food and Family by Diana Abu-Jaber (Apr. 18, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0-393-24909-5). Caught between cultures with an independent German grandmother and a flamboyant Arab father, Abu-Jaber spends years learning to ignore their contradictory prescriptions about food, work, marriage, and motherhood, but learns to cook up a life without a recipe.
White Sands: Experiences from the Outside World by Geoff Dyer (May 3, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-1-101-87085-3). Dyer’s perennial search for tranquility, for “something better,” continues in this series of pilgrimages—as he weaves stories about places to which he has recently traveled with images and memories that have persisted since childhood.
The War at Home: A Wife’s Search for Peace (and Other Missions Impossible): A Memoir by Rachel Starnes (July 5, trade paper, $16, ISBN 978-0-14-310866-5). An account of the difficulties facing the wife of a Naval fighter pilot and instructor in the Topgun program portrays the strains of military life on families and what it means to be left behind.
This Is Not My Beautiful Life: A Memoir by Victoria Fedden (June 7, trade paper, $16, ISBN 978-1-250-07528-4) is a memoir of a just-functional family, and the story of how Fedden, nine months pregnant and living back home, lost her parents to prison and nearly lost her mind when the DEA came knocking.
Until We Are Free by Shirin Ebadi (Mar.8, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0-8129-9887-0). The Nobel Prize winner tells the story of how the Iranian government destroyed her marriage, friends, colleagues, home, legal career, and even her Nobel, though it was unable to break her spirit.
The Return by Hisham Matar (July 5, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-8129-9482-7). Matar’s family went into exile from Libya when he was 12, and his father was kidnapped in Cairo eight years later. Here, he returns to Libya to explore the changes since Qaddafi was deposed, and to search for knowledge of his father.
Random/Spiegel & Grau
Double Cup Love by Eddie Huang (Apr. 19, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0-8129-9546-6). In a second memoir, Chinese-American Huang travels to China in search of food, identity, and whether to propose marriage to his Italian-American girlfriend.
We Are Not Such Things by Justine van der Leun (June 28, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-8129-9450-6). American journalist van der Leun moves to South Africa, becomes intrigued with the murder of a young American antiapartheid activist by black Cape Town residents, and discovers that the facts are not simple.
Fearless: A Cartoonist’s Guide to Life by Robb Armstrong (Apr. 26, hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-1-62145-287-4). Born and raised in a rough neighborhood in West Philadelphia, Amstrong was one of five fatherless kids living in a cramped apartment. Yet he grew up to be one of a handful of African-American artists to have a comic strip nationally syndicated in more than 300 publications.
Boy Erased: A Memoir by Garrard Conley (May 10, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-1-59463-301-0). At 19, Conley was forced to either attend a church-supported conversion therapy facility to be cured of homosexuality, or lose his family, friends, and God. Instead, he found identity and understanding, and emerged transformed.
Available: A Memoir of Heartbreak, Hookups, Love and Brunch by Matteson Perry (May 24, hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-1-5011-0143-4). The dating adventures of a self-described nice guy who comes up with a plan, when his girlfriend dumps him, to stay single but date lots of women, and discover who he is.
The Girl Behind the Door: A Father’s Quest to Understand His Daughter’s Suicide by John Brooks (Feb. 9, hardcover, $24, ISBN 978-1-5011-2834-9) relates the story of an adoptive father’s search to understand his teenage daughter’s suicide, examining her life from her abandonment at birth in Poland, to the orphanage where she lived until 15 months old, to her adoption by Brooks and his wife.
Girl Walks Out of a Bar: A Memoir by Lisa Smith (Apr. 1, trade paper, $17.95, ISBN 978-1-59079-321-3). A candid portrait of alcoholism, this is the story of a young lawyer at a prestigious firm in New York City in the early ’90s and the addiction that took over her life.
Coming Home to Tibet: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Belonging by Tsering Wangmo Dhompa (May 31, trade paper, $19.95, ISBN 978-1-61180-329-7).
A daughter’s pilgrimage to her mother’s native Tibet becomes a journey of self-discovery that offers an inside view of life in contemporary Tibet, among ordinary people trying to negotiate the changes enforced by Chinese rule and modern society.
Simon & Schuster
Alligator Candy: A Memoir by David Kushner (Mar. 15, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-4516-8253-3) recounts the murder of the journalist’s young brother by two sadistic drifters, and how a family survives an unthinkable tragedy.
Kardashian Dynasty by Ian Halperin (Apr. 26, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-5011-2888-2). A #1 New York Times bestselling author and investigator, Halperin pulls back the curtain on America’s notorious Kardashian family—exposing the shaky foundation of their fame—one shocking revelation at a time.
Frank & Charli: Woodstock, True Love, and the Sixties by Frank Yandolino (July 5, hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-1-5107-0640-8) is Yandolino’s memories of riding the hippie counterculture movement, ranging from putting together the Woodstock Festival in 1969 to art directing at Penthouse magazine. 10,000-copy announced first printing.
The Longest Kill: The Story of Maverick 41, One of the World’s Greatest Snipers by Craig Harrison (Feb. 16, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-1-250-08523-8). A journey into the heat of the action in the Balkans, Iraq, and Afghanistan by the sniper who holds the world record for long-distance kills.
Lust & Wonder by Augusten Burroughs (Mar. 29, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-0-312-34203-6). Memorist Burroughs chronicles the development and demise of the relationships he’s had while living in New York, and what it means to be in love and what it means to be in lust.
Univ. of Georgia
Blood, Bone, and Marrow: A Biography of Harry Crews by Ted Geltner (May 15, hardcover, $39.95, ISBN 978-0-8203-4923-7). In 2010, when Geltner drove to Gainesville, Fla., to ask Harry Crews if he would be willing to be the subject of a literary biography, Crews was on board, for this first full-length biography.
Univ. of Hawaii
Picture Bride Stories by Barbara Kawakami (June 15, hardcover, $39.99, ISBN 978-0-8248-6624-2) reveals the story of the more than 20,000 “picture brides” who immigrated from Japan and Okinawa to Hawaii to marry husbands they knew only through photographs; based on 16 firsthand interviews.
Living with a Dead Language: My Romance with Latin by Ann Patty (June 14, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-1-101-98022-4) explores the richness and relevance of the Latin language and literature, with an inspiring account of finding renewed purpose through learning something new and challenging.