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The Best Biography & Memoir Books of 2016 (A Year-End List Aggregation)

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“What are the best Biography & Memoir Books of 2016?” We aggregated 23 year-end lists and ranked the 175 unique titles by how many times they appeared in an attempt to answer that very question!

There are thousands of year-end lists released every year and, like we do in our weekly Best Book articles, we wanted to see which books appear on them the most. We used 23 lists and found 175 unique titles. The top 13 books, all appearing on 3 or more lists, are below with images, summaries, and links for learning more or purchasing. The remaining books, along with the articles we used, can be found at the bottom of the page.

Be sure to check out our other Best Book of the year lists:

And if you want to see how they compare to last year, take a look at the 2015 lists as well!

Happy Scrolling!

 



The Top Biography and Memoir Books of 2016



13 .) Consequence: A Memoir by Eric Fair

consequence-a-memoir-by-eric-fair
Lists It Appears On:

  • Amazon
  • Kirkus 2
  • NPR

“Consequence is the story of Eric Fair, a kid who grew up in the shadows of crumbling Bethlehem Steel plants nurturing a strong faith and a belief that he was called to serve his country. It is a story of a man who chases his own demons from Egypt, where he served as an Army translator, to a detention center in Iraq, to seminary at Princeton, and eventually, to a heart transplant ward at the University of Pennsylvania.

In 2004, after several months as an interrogator with a private contractor in Iraq, Eric Fair’s nightmares take new forms: first, there had been the shrinking dreams; now the liquid dreams begin. By the time he leaves Iraq after that first deployment (he will return), Fair will have participated in or witnessed a variety of aggressive interrogation techniques including sleep deprivation, stress positions, diet manipulation, exposure, and isolation. Years later, his health and marriage crumbling, haunted by the role he played in what we now know as “”enhanced interrogation,”” it is Fair’s desire to speak out that becomes a key to his survival. Spare and haunting, Eric Fair’s memoir is both a brave, unrelenting confession and a book that questions the very depths of who he, and we as a country, have become.”

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12 .) Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance

hillbilly-elegy-a-memoir-of-a-family-and-culture-in-crisis-by-j-d-vance
Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Kirkus 2
  • Englewood Review

“Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.

The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love,” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually their grandchild (the author) would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of their success in achieving generational upward mobility.

But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that this is only the short, superficial version. Vance’s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother, struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, and were never able to fully escape the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. Vance piercingly shows how he himself still carries around the demons of their chaotic family history.”

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11 .) I’m Supposed to Protect You From All of This by Nadja Spiegelman

im-supposed-to-protect-you-from-all-this-by-nadja-spiegelman
Lists It Appears On:

  • Omnivoracious
  • Amazon
  • Huffington Post 2

“For a long time, Nadja Spiegelman believed her mother was a fairy. More than her famous father, Maus creator Art Spiegelman, and even more than most mothers, hers—French-born New Yorker art director Françoise Mouly—exerted a force over reality that was both dazzling and daunting. As Nadja’s body changed and “began to whisper to the adults around me in a language I did not understand,” their relationship grew tense. Unwittingly, they were replaying a drama from her mother’s past, a drama Nadja sensed but had never been told. Then, after college, her mother suddenly opened up to her. Françoise recounted her turbulent adolescence caught between a volatile mother and a playboy father, one of the first plastic surgeons in France. The weight of the difficult stories she told her daughter shifted the balance between them.
It had taken an ocean to allow Françoise the distance to become her own person. At about the same age, Nadja made the journey in reverse, moving to Paris determined to get to know the woman her mother had fled. Her grandmother’s memories contradicted her mother’s at nearly every turn, but beneath them lay a difficult history of her own. Nadja emerged with a deeper understanding of how each generation reshapes the past in order to forge ahead, their narratives both weapon and defense, eternally in conflict. Every reader will recognize herself and her family in this gorgeous and heartbreaking memoir, which helps us to see why sometimes those who love us best hurt us most. “

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10 .) Sex Object by Jessica Valenti

sex-object-by-jessica-valenti
Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Amazon
  • NPR

“Hailed by the Washington Post as “one of the most visible and successful feminists of her generation,” Jessica Valenti has been leading the national conversation on gender and politics for over a decade. Now, in a memoir that Publishers Weekly calls “bold and unflinching,” Valenti explores the toll that sexism takes on women’s lives, from the everyday to the existential. From subway gropings and imposter syndrome to sexual awakenings and motherhood, Sex Object reveals the painful, embarrassing, and sometimes illegal moments that shaped Valenti’s adolescence and young adulthood in New York City.

In the tradition of writers like Joan Didion and Mary Karr, Sex Object is a profoundly moving tour de force that is bound to shock those already familiar with Valenti’s work, and enthrall those who are just finding it.”

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9 .) Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin

shirley-jackson-a-rather-haunted-life-by-ruth-franklin
Lists It Appears On:

  • St. Lousi Post Dispatch
  • Kirkus
  • NPR

“The increasingly prescient Jackson emerges as a ferociously talented, determined, and prodigiously creative writer in a time when it was unusual for a woman to have both a family and a profession. A mother of four and the wife of the prominent New Yorker critic and academic Stanley Edgar Hyman, Jackson lived a seemingly bucolic life in the New England town of North Bennington, Vermont. Yet, much like her stories, which channeled the occult while exploring the claustrophobia of marriage and motherhood, Jackson’s creative ascent was haunted by a darker side. As her career progressed, her marriage became more tenuous, her anxiety mounted, and she became addicted to amphetamines and tranquilizers. In sobering detail, Franklin insightfully examines the effects of Jackson’s California upbringing, in the shadow of a hypercritical mother, on her relationship with her husband, juxtaposing Hyman’s infidelities, domineering behavior, and professional jealousy with his unerring admiration for Jackson’s fiction, which he was convinced was among the most brilliant he had ever encountered.

Based on a wealth of previously undiscovered correspondence and dozens of new interviews, Shirley Jackson―an exploration of astonishing talent shaped by a damaging childhood and turbulent marriage―becomes the definitive biography of a generational avatar and an American literary giant.”

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8 .) Shrill: Notes From A Loud Woman by Lindy West

shrill-notes-from-a-loud-woman-by-lindy-west
Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • NPR
  • Bookriot

“Coming of age in a culture that demands women be as small, quiet, and compliant as possible–like a porcelain dove that will also have sex with you–writer and humorist Lindy West quickly discovered that she was anything but.

From a painfully shy childhood in which she tried, unsuccessfully, to hide her big body and even bigger opinions; to her public war with stand-up comedians over rape jokes; to her struggle to convince herself, and then the world, that fat people have value; to her accidental activism and never-ending battle royale with Internet trolls, Lindy narrates her life with a blend of humor and pathos that manages to make a trip to the abortion clinic funny and wring tears out of a story about diarrhea.

With inimitable good humor, vulnerability, and boundless charm, Lindy boldly shares how to survive in a world where not all stories are created equal and not all bodies are treated with equal respect, and how to weather hatred, loneliness, harassment, and loss, and walk away laughing. Shrill provocatively dissects what it means to become self-aware the hard way, to go from wanting to be silent and invisible to earning a living defending the silenced in all caps.”

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7 .) The Lonely City: Adventures In The Art Of Being Alone by Olivia Laing

the-lonely-city-adventures-in-the-art-of-being-alone-by-olivia-laing
Lists It Appears On:

  • The Guardian
  • Verso
  • NPR

“What does it mean to be lonely? How do we live, if we’re not intimately engaged with another human being? How do we connect with other people? Does technology draw us closer together or trap us behind screens?

When Olivia Laing moved to New York City in her mid-thirties, she found herself inhabiting loneliness on a daily basis. Increasingly fascinated by this most shameful of experiences, she began to explore the lonely city by way of art. Moving fluidly between works and lives – from Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks to Andy Warhol’s Time Capsules, from Henry Darger’s hoarding to David Wojnarowicz’s AIDS activism – Laing conducts an electric, dazzling investigation into what it means to be alone.

Humane, provocative and deeply moving, The Lonely City is about the spaces between people and the things that draw them together, about sexuality, mortality and the magical possibilities of art. It’s a celebration of a strange and lovely state, adrift from the larger continent of human experience, but intrinsic to the very act of being alive.”

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6 .) The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land In Between by Hisham Matar

the-return-fathers-sons-and-the-land-in-between-by-hisham-matar
Lists It Appears On:

  • The Guardian
  • NPR
  • The Economist

“When Hisham Matar was a nineteen-year-old university student in England, his father was kidnapped. One of the Qaddafi regime’s most prominent opponents in exile, he was held in a secret prison in Libya. Hisham would never see him again. But he never gave up hope that his father might still be alive. “Hope,” as he writes, “is cunning and persistent.”

Twenty-two years later, after the fall of Qaddafi, the prison cells are empty and there is no sign of Jaballa Matar. Hisham returns with his mother and wife to the homeland he never thought he’d go back to again. The Return is the story of what he found there. It is at once an exquisite meditation on history, politics, and art, a brilliant portrait of a nation and a people on the cusp of change, and a disquieting depiction of the brutal legacy of absolute power. Above all, it is a universal tale of loss and love and of one family’s life. Hisham Matar asks the harrowing question: How does one go on living in the face of a loved one’s uncertain fate?”

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5 .) Hero of the Empire: The Boer War, a Daring Escape, and the Making of Winston Churchill by Candice Millard

hero-of-the-empire-the-boer-war-a-daring-escape-and-the-making-of-winston-churchill-by-candice-millard
Lists It Appears On:

  • NPR
  • Amazon
  • St. Lousi Post Dispatch
  • Kirkus

“At age twenty-four, Winston Churchill was utterly convinced it was his destiny to become prime minister of England one day, despite the fact he had just lost his first election campaign for Parliament. He believed that to achieve his goal he must do something spectacular on the battlefield. Despite deliberately putting himself in extreme danger as a British Army officer in colonial wars in India and Sudan, and as a journalist covering a Cuban uprising against the Spanish, glory and fame had eluded him.

Churchill arrived in South Africa in 1899, valet and crates of vintage wine in tow, there to cover the brutal colonial war the British were fighting with Boer rebels. But just two weeks after his arrival, the soldiers he was accompanying on an armored train were ambushed, and Churchill was taken prisoner. Remarkably, he pulled off a daring escape–but then had to traverse hundreds of miles of enemy territory, alone, with nothing but a crumpled wad of cash, four slabs of chocolate, and his wits to guide him.”

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4 .) Kill ‘Em and Leave: Searching for James Brown and the American Soul by James McBride

kill-em-and-leave-searching-for-james-brown-and-the-american-soul-by-james-mcbride
Lists It Appears On:

  • Amazon
  • NPR
  • Kirkus
  • Booklist Online
  • The Vore

Kill ’Em and Leave is more than a book about James Brown. Brown’s rough-and-tumble life, through McBride’s lens, is an unsettling metaphor for American life: the tension between North and South, black and white, rich and poor. McBride’s travels take him to forgotten corners of Brown’s never-before-revealed history: the country town where Brown’s family and thousands of others were displaced by America’s largest nuclear power bomb-making facility; a South Carolina field where a long-forgotten cousin recounts, in the dead of night, a fuller history of Brown’s sharecropping childhood, which until now has been a mystery. McBride seeks out the American expatriate in England who co-created the James Brown sound, visits the trusted right-hand manager who worked with Brown for forty-one years, and interviews Brown’s most influential nonmusical creation, his “adopted son,” the Reverend Al Sharpton. He describes the stirring visit of Michael Jackson to the Augusta, Georgia, funeral home where the King of Pop sat up all night with the body of his musical godfather, spends hours talking with Brown’s first wife, and lays bare the Dickensian legal contest over James Brown’s estate, a fight that has consumed careers; prevented any money from reaching the poor schoolchildren in Georgia and South Carolina, as instructed in his will; cost Brown’s estate millions in legal fees; and left James Brown’s body to lie for more than eight years in a gilded coffin in his daughter’s yard in South Carolina.

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3 .) Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

born-to-run-by-bruce-springsteen
Lists It Appears On:

  • Amazon
  • Goodreads
  • Washington Post
  • Kirkus 2
  • The Guardian 2
  • NPR
  • The Economist
  • Huffington Post 2

“In 2009, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band performed at the Super Bowl’s halftime show. The experience was so exhilarating that Bruce decided to write about it. That’s how this extraordinary autobiography began.
Over the past seven years, Bruce Springsteen has privately devoted himself to writing the story of his life, bringing to these pages the same honesty, humor, and originality found in his songs.
He describes growing up Catholic in Freehold, New Jersey, amid the poetry, danger, and darkness that fueled his imagination, leading up to the moment he refers to as “The Big Bang”: seeing Elvis Presley’s debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. He vividly recounts his relentless drive to become a musician, his early days as a bar band king in Asbury Park, and the rise of the E Street Band. With disarming candor, he also tells for the first time the story of the personal struggles that inspired his best work, and shows us why the song “Born to Run” reveals more than we previously realized.”

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2 .) Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

lab-girl-by-hope-jahren
Lists It Appears On:

  • Amazon
  • Goodreads
  • Washington Post
  • Kirkus 2
  • The Guardian 2
  • NPR
  • Bookriot
  • Huffington Post 2
  • Omnivoracious

“An illuminating debut memoir of a woman in science; a moving portrait of a longtime friendship; and a stunningly fresh look at plants that will forever change how you see the natural world

Acclaimed scientist Hope Jahren has built three laboratories in which she’s studied trees, flowers, seeds, and soil. Her first book is a revelatory treatise on plant life—but it is also so much more.

Lab Girl is a book about work, love, and the mountains that can be moved when those two things come together. It is told through Jahren’s remarkable stories: about her childhood in rural Minnesota with an uncompromising mother and a father who encouraged hours of play in his classroom’s labs; about how she found a sanctuary in science, and learned to perform lab work done “with both the heart and the hands”; and about the inevitable disappointments, but also the triumphs and exhilarating discoveries, of scientific work.”

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1 .) When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

when-breath-becomes-air-by-paul-kalanithi
Lists It Appears On:

  • Amazon
  • Amazon
  • Goodreads
  • Washington Post
  • Kirkus 2
  • NPR
  • The Economist
  • Huffington Post 2
  • Omnivoracious
  • Better Reading

“At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.

What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir.”

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#14-175 Best Memoire & Biography Books of 2016



 

#BookAuthorSource
(Appear On 2 Lists Each)
14A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of TragedySue KleboldGoodreads
Washington Post
15Bullies: A FriendshipAlex AbramovichKirkus 2
NPR
16Eleanor And Hick: The Love Affair That Shaped A First LadySusan QuinnKirkus
NPR
17Eleanor Roosevelt, Volume 3: The War Years And After, 1939-1962Blanche Wiesen CookKirkus
NPR
18In the DarkroomSusan FaludiWashington Post
Kirkus 2
19Louisa: The Extraordinary Life Of Mrs. AdamsLouisa ThomasKirkus
NPR
20Lust & Wonder: A MemoirAugusten BurroughsGoodreads
Amazon
21March: Book ThreeJohn Lewis, with Andrew Aydin, illustratedBookriot
NPR
22My Father the PornographerChris OffuttOmnivoracious
Amazon
23Party of One: A Memoir in 21 SongsDave HolmesGoodreads
NPR
24Pumpkinflowers: A Soldier’s StoryMatti FriedmanAmazon
Omnivoracious
25The Civil Wars of Julia Ward Howe. A BiographyElaine ShowalterBooklist Online
The Economist
26The Firebrand and the First Lady: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social JusticePatricia Bell-ScottBooklist Online
Kirkus
27The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories From My LifeJohn le CarréThe Guardian 2
Washington Post
28Truevine: Two Brothers, a Kidnapping, and a Mother’s Quest: A True Story of the Jim Crow SouthBeth MacyAmazon
St. Lousi Post Dispatch
(Appear On 1 List Each)
2932 Yolks: From My Mother’s Table To Working The LineEric Ripert, with Veronica ChambersNPR
30A BODY, UNDONE: LIVING ON AFTER GREAT PAINChristina CrosbyKirkus 2
31A Life in QuestionsThe Guardian 2
32A Smile in One Eye: a Tear in the OtherRalph WebsterGoodreads
33A Thousand Naked Strangers: A Paramedic’s Wild Ride to the Edge and BackKevin HazzardGoodreads
34Aerican HeiressJeffrey ToobinSt. Lousi Post Dispatch
35Alive, Alive Oh!: And Other Things That MatterDiana AthillNPR
36ALL TOMORROW’S PARTIES: A MEMOIRRob SpillmanKirkus 2
37Alligator Candy: A MemoirDavid KushnerNPR
38American Philosophy: A Love StoryJohn KaagNPR
39American Rhapsody: Writers, Musicians, Movie Stars, and One Great BuildingClaudia Roth PierpontBooklist Online
40American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. GrantRonald C. WhiteAmazon
41Around The Way Girl: A MemoirTaraji P. Henson, with Denene MillnerNPR
42Assimilate or Go Home: Notes from a Failed Missionary on Rediscovering FaithD.L. MayfieldEnglewood Review
43At the Existentialist CaféThe Guardian
44Australian MidwivesPaula HeelanBetter Reading
45Avalanche: A Love StoryJulia LeighHuffington Post 2
46BANDITMolly BrodakKirkus 2
47Becoming UnbecomingUnaHuffington Post 2
48Being a BeastThe Guardian
49Black Lotus: A Woman’s Search For Racial IdentitySil Lai AbramsNPR
50Born A Crime: Stories From A South African ChildhoodTrevor NoahNPR
51Boy ErasedGarrard ConleyHuffington Post 2
52BufferingHannah HartGoodreads
53BushJean Edward SmithSt. Lousi Post Dispatch
54But You Did Not Come BackMarceline Loridan-IvensThe Economist
55BUZZ RIDEP.M. WhiteHuffington Post
56Casanova: The World of a Seductive GeniusLaurence BergreenDallas Voice
57CelesteRoland PerryBetter Reading
58Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune And Random Failure In Silicon ValleyAntonio Garcia MartinezNPR
59CHARLOTTE BRONTË: A FIERY HEARTClaire HarmanKirkus
60Dark Ages AheadJane JacobsVerso
61Dead PresidentsBrady CarlsonSt. Lousi Post Dispatch
62Dimestore: A Writer’s LifeLee SmithAmazon
63Dog Medicine: How My Dog Saved Me From MyselfJulie BartonHuffington Post 2
64Double DissolutionLee ZachariahBetter Reading
65El Olvido Que SeremosHéctor Abad FaciolinceVerso
66Elizabeth: The Forgotten YearsJohn GuyThe Economist
67Empire of Self: A Life of Gore VidalJay PariniBooklist Online
68Eyes On The Street: The Life Of Jane JacobsRobert KanigelNPR
69Falling Free: Rescued from the Life I Always WantedShannan MartinEnglewood Review
70Fashion is FreedomTala RaassiBetter Reading
71Five Presidents: My Extraordinary Journey with Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and FordThe Vore
72FLYING COUCH: A GRAPHIC MEMOIRAmy KurzweilKirkus 2
73Full BoreWilliam McInnes William McInnesBetter Reading
74Future SexEmily WittVerso
75GEORGE LUCAS: A LIFEBrian Jay JonesKirkus
76Guilty ThingThe Guardian
77Half-Lion: How P.V. Narasimha Rao Transformed IndiaVinay SitapatiThe Economist
78HAPPY CHASING HAPPYJerome “jay” IsipHuffington Post
79Harry & ArthurLawrence J. HaarSt. Lousi Post Dispatch
80Hidden Figures: The American Dream And The Untold Story Of The Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win The Space RaceMargot Lee ShetterlyNPR
81Hot Dog Taste TestLisa HanawaltNPR
82HUNGRY FOR TOUCHLaureen Marie PeltierHuffington Post
83Hungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love, and WritingJennifer WeinerGoodreads
84I Am Brian WilsonThe Guardian 2
85I Will Find You: A Reporter Investigates the Life of the Man Who Raped HerJoanna ConnorsHuffington Post 2
86IN OTHER WORDSJhumpa Lahiri, translatedKirkus 2
87IN THE COUNTRY WE LOVEDiane GuerreroBookriot
88James Joyce: Portrait of a Dubliner—A Graphic BiographyThe Vore
89JEAN COCTEAU: A LIFEClaude Arnaud, translatedKirkus
90Joe Gould’s TeethJill LeporeNPR
91JOHN AUBREY, MY OWN LIFERuth ScurrKirkus
92Jumpin’ Jack FlashThe Guardian
93Karl Marx: Greatness and IllusionGareth Stedman JonesThe Economist
94Keeping KyrieEmily ChristensenGoodreads
95Kenneth Clark: Life, Art and “Civilisation”James StourtonThe Economist
96KooKooLandGloria NorrisNPR
97KRAZY: GEORGE HERRIMAN, A LIFE IN BLACK AND WHITEMichael TisserandKirkus
98LandmarksRobert MacfarlaneNPR
99Life As I Know ItMichelle PayneBetter Reading
100Life of the PartyBob KealingBetter Reading
101Love By All Sorts of MeansThe Guardian 2
102Love WarriorGlennon Doyle MeltonGoodreads
103Lucky Bastard: My Life, My Dad, And The Things I’m Not Allowed To Say On TVJoe BuckNPR
104Mad EnchantmentRoss KingBetter Reading
105Martin LutherThe Guardian
106Martín Ramírez: Framing His Life and ArtVictor M. EspinosaBooklist Online
107My Father and Atticus FinchJoseph Madison BeckDallas Voice
108My Marathon: Reflections On A Gold Medal LifeFrank Shorter, with John BrantNPR
109MY MILLION-DOLLAR DONKEYHuffington Post
110Native: Dispatches From An Israeli-Palestinian LifeSayed KashuaNPR
111nbspTom HartHuffington Post 2
112ND THEN THERE WERE THREEJulia FoxHuffington Post
113Negroland: A MemoirMargo JeffersonThe Economist
114Nobody’s SonMark SloukaWashington Post
115NujeenNujeen MustafaBetter Reading
116On My OwnDiane RehmWashington Post
117ORSON WELLES, VOLUME 3: ONE-MAN BANDSimon CallowKirkus
118Outlandish Knight: The Byzantine Life of Steven RuncimanMinoo DinshawThe Economist
119Patient H.M.: A Story Of Memory, Madness, And Family SecretsLuke DittrichNPR
120Paul McCartney: The LifeThe Vore
121Penguin BloomCameron Bloom, Bradley Trevor GreiveBetter Reading
122POOR YOUR SOULMira PtacinKirkus 2
123Preston Tucker and His Battle to Build the Car of TomorrowSteve Lehto, forewordDallas Voice
124Radiant Child: The Story Of Young Artist Jean-Michel BasquiatJavaka SteptoeNPR
125RAOUL WALLENBERG: THE BIOGRAPHYIngrid Carlberg, translatedKirkus
126RedeemableErwin JamesBetter Reading
127Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of AmericaDouglas BrinkleyBooklist Online
128RIVERINE: A MEMOIR FROM ANYWHERE BUT HEREAngela PalmKirkus 2
129Roger RogersonDuncan McNabBetter Reading
130Shoe Dog: A MemoirPhil KnightGoodreads
131Sinatra: The ChairmanJames KaplanBooklist Online
132Switched On: A Memoir of Brain Change and Emotional AwakeningJohn Elder RobisonWashington Post
133Talking to My CountryStan GrantBetter Reading
134Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised LifeThe Vore
135The Accidental Life: An Editor’s Notes on Writing and WritersTerry McDonellAmazon
136The Arab Of The Future 2: A Childhood In The Middle East, 1984-1985: A Graphic MemoirRiad SattoufNPR
137THE ART OF WAITING: ON FERTILITY, MEDICINE, AND MOTHERHOODBelle BoggsKirkus 2
138The Black Calhouns: From Civil War to Civil Rights with One African American FamilyGail Lumet BuckleyAmazon
139The ClaimantPaul TerryBetter Reading
140THE GENERAL VS. THE PRESIDENT: MACARTHUR AND TRUMAN AT THE BRINK OF NUCLEAR WARH.W. BrandsKirkus
141The Girl with the Lower Back TattooAmy SchumerAmazon
142The Glass Universe: How The Ladies Of The Harvard Observatory Took The Measure Of The StarsDava SobelNPR
143The Good Immigrant editedNikesh ShuklaVerso
144THE HERO’S BODY: A MEMOIRWilliam GiraldiKirkus 2
145THE ICEBERGMarion CouttsKirkus 2
146The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New WorldAndrea WulfBooklist Online
147The Lady with the Borzoi: Blanche Knopf, Literary Tastemaker ExtraordinaireLaura ClaridgeBooklist Online
148The Latter Days: A MemoirJudith FreemanNPR
149THE MAKING OF DONALD TRUMPDavid Cay JohnstonKirkus
150The Mathews Men: Seven Brothers and the War Against Hitler’s U-boatsWilliam GerouxAmazon
151The Most Famous Writer Who Ever LivedTom ShroderWashington Post
152The Only Pirate at the PartyLindsey StirlingGoodreads
153The Point Is: Making Sense Of Birth, Death, And Everything In BetweenLee EisenbergNPR
154The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son On Life, Love, and LossAnderson CooperGoodreads
155The Red Parts: Autobiography Of A TrialMaggie NelsonNPR
156The Romanovs: 1613-1918Simon Sebag MontefioreNPR
157The Sound of GravelRuth WarinerGoodreads
158The Speed Of Sound: Breaking The Barriers Between Music And Technology: A MemoirThomas DolbyNPR
159THE TEACHINGS OF SHIRELLE – LIFE LESSONS FROM A DIVINE KNUCKLEHEADDouglas GreenHuffington Post
160The Vanishing ManThe Guardian
161THE VIOLET HOUR: GREAT WRITERS AT THE ENDKatie RoipheKirkus
162Their Promised LandThe Guardian
163This Long PursuitThe Guardian 2
164TRADING PLACES: BECOMING MY MOTHER’S MOTHERSandra Bullock SmithHuffington Post
165Tree of Treasures: A Life in OrnamentsBonnie MackayDallas Voice
166Trouble Boys: The True Story Of The ReplacementsBob MehrNPR
167Turkey: The Insane and the MelancholyEce Temelkuran, translatedVerso
168UnashamedLecrae MooreGoodreads
169Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American RevolutionNathaniel PhilbrickAmazon
170Victoria The QueenJulia BairdBetter Reading
171Where Am I Now?: True Stories Of Girlhood And Accidental FameMara WilsonNPR
172Why Look at Animals?John BergerVerso
173Working Class BoyJimmy BarnesBetter Reading
174YOU CAN’T TOUCH MY HAIRPhoebe RobinsonBookriot
175You Will Not Have My HateAntoine LeirisAmazon

 



The 23 Best Biography and Memoir Book Lists Used



 

SourceArticle
Amazon Best biographies and memoirs of 2016
Better Reading 20 of the Best Biographies and Memoirs in 2016
Booklist Online Top 10 Biographies: 2016
Bookriot HERE YOU HAVE IT! BOOK RIOT’S FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2016.
Dallas Voice Holiday Gift Guide: Reading list!
Englewood Review Englewood Honor Books – Best Books of 2016
Goodreads BEST MEMOIR & AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Huffington Post The Best Self-Published Books of 2016
Huffington Post 2 The Best Memoirs of 2016
Kirkus Best Biographies of 2016
Kirkus 2 Best Memoirs of 2016
NPR NPR’s Book Concierge Our Guide To 2016’s Great Reads
Omnivoracious The Best Biographies & Memoirs of the Year
St. Lousi Post Dispatch The Best Books of 2015
The Economist Books of the Year 2016
The Guardian The best biography and autobiography books of 2016
The Guardian 2 Tim Adams’s best biographies of 2016
The Vore 10 new Biography books out now in 2016 top list
Verso Staff Picks: Books of the Year 2016—Chosen by Verso
Washington Post Best memoirs of 2016