Best 2018, Best Books, Best Year-End, Biography & Memoir

The Best Biography & Memoir Books of 2018 (A Year-End List Aggregation)

2018 Biography and Memoir Books Lists

“What are the Best Memoir, Biograhy, and Autobiography books of 2018?” We aggregated 12 year-end lists and ranked the 139 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 the most. The top 39 books, all of which appeared on 2 or more “Best Biography or Memoir” book lists, are ranked below with images, summaries, and links for more information or to purchase. The remaining 100 books, as well as the top book lists are at the bottom of the page.

 

Make sure to take a look at our other Best of 2018 book lists:

You can also take a look at our Best Memoir and Biography books from last year as well as all the other Best 2017 articles!

 

Happy Scrolling!



Top 39 Biography and Memoir Books of 2018



39 .) A Life Of My Own: A Memoir written by Claire Tomalin

A Life Of My Own: A Memoir

Lists It Appears On:

  • BookMarks
  • NPR

Acclaimed biographer Claire Tomalin, the bestselling author of The Invisible Woman and Jane Austen, turns her critical eye to another fascinating literary life: her own. In this intimate and insightful memoir, Claire remembers moments of national literary history as well as intense personal emotion: a turbulent childhood disturbed by her parents’ custody battle; her escape to Cambridge University, where she met her husband, the journalist Nick Tomalin; life on Gloucester Crescent with neighbours Alan Bennett and Mary-Kay Wilmers. Personally, tragedy struck when her husband was killed while reporting in Israel; professionally, Claire’s career soared as she became literary editor of the New Statesman and the Sunday Times, working with Christopher Hitchens and Julian Barnes, before discovering her vocation as a biographer. An affair with a younger writer brought fleeting joy; the suicide of her daughter brought infinite pain. Now married to playwright Michael Frayn, Claire reflects on an extraordinary life filled with love, loss, and literature.



38 .) All You Can Ever Know: A Memoir written by Nicole Chung

All You Can Ever Know: A Memoir

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads 2
  • NPR

What does it mean to lose your roots—within your culture, within your family—and what happens when you find them? Nicole Chung was born severely premature, placed for adoption by her Korean parents, and raised by a white family in a sheltered Oregon town. From early childhood, she heard the story of her adoption as a comforting, prepackaged myth. She believed that her biological parents had made the ultimate sacrifice in the hopes of giving her a better life; that forever feeling slightly out of place was simply her fate as a transracial adoptee. But as she grew up—facing prejudice her adoptive family couldn’t see, finding her identity as an Asian American and a writer, becoming ever more curious about where she came from—she wondered if the story she’d been told was the whole truth. With warmth, candor, and startling insight, Chung tells of her search for the people who gave her up, which coincided with the birth of her own child. All You Can Ever Know is a profound, moving chronicle of surprising connections and the repercussions of unearthing painful family secrets—vital reading for anyone who has ever struggled to figure out where they belong.



37 .) And Now We Have Everything: On Motherhood Before I Was Ready written by Meaghan O’Connell

And Now We Have Everything: On Motherhood Before I Was Ready

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads 2
  • NPR

Operating Instructions for the Millennial set: a fiercely honest account of becoming a mother before feeling like a grown up. Meaghan O’Connell always felt totally alienated by the cutesy, sanctimonious, sentimental tone of most writing about motherhood. After getting accidentally pregnant in her twenties, she realized that the book she needed–a brutally honest, agenda-less take on the emotional and existential impact of motherhood–didn’t exist. So she decided to write it herself. And Now We Have Everything is O’Connell’s brave exploration of transitioning into motherhood as a fledgling young adult. With her dark humor and hair-trigger B.S. detector, O’Connell addresses the pervasive imposter syndrome that comes with unplanned pregnancy, the second adolescence of a changing postpartum body, the problem of sex post-baby, the weird push to make “mom friends,” and the fascinating strangeness of stepping into a new, not-yet-comfortable identity. Most unforgettably, O’Connell brings us into the delivery room as no writer has before, rendering childbirth in all its feverish gore and glory, and shattering the fantasies of a “magical” or “natural” experience that warp our expectations and erode maternal self-esteem. Channeling fears and anxieties that are, shockingly, still taboo and often unspoken, And Now We Have Everything is an unflinchingly frank, funny, and intimate motherhood story for our times, about needing to have a baby in order to stop being one yourself.



36 .) Barracoon: The Story Of The Last “Black Cargo” written by Zora Neale Hurston

Barracoon: The Story Of The Last

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads 1
  • NPR

In 1927, Zora Neale Hurston went to Plateau, Alabama, just outside Mobile, to interview eighty-six-year-old Cudjo Lewis. Of the millions of men, women, and children transported from Africa to America as slaves, Cudjo was then the only person alive to tell the story of this integral part of the nation’s history. Hurston was there to record Cudjo’s firsthand account of the raid that led to his capture and bondage fifty years after the Atlantic slave trade was outlawed in the United States. In 1931, Hurston returned to Plateau, the African-centric community three miles from Mobile founded by Cudjo and other former slaves from his ship. Spending more than three months there, she talked in depth with Cudjo about the details of his life. During those weeks, the young writer and the elderly formerly enslaved man ate peaches and watermelon that grew in the backyard and talked about Cudjo’s past–memories from his childhood in Africa, the horrors of being captured and held in a barracoon for selection by American slavers, the harrowing experience of the Middle Passage packed with more than 100 other souls aboard the Clotilda, and the years he spent in slavery until the end of the Civil War. Based on those interviews, featuring Cudjo’s unique vernacular, and written from Hurston’s perspective with the compassion and singular style that have made her one of the preeminent American authors of the twentieth-century, Barracoon masterfully illustrates the tragedy of slavery and of one life forever defined by it. Offering insight into the pernicious legacy that continues to haunt us all, black and white, this poignant and powerful work is an invaluable contribution to our shared history and culture.



35 .) Before She Was Harriet written by Lesa Cline-Ransome

Before She Was Harriet

Lists It Appears On:

  • Booklist
  • Booklist Online

A lush and lyrical biography of Harriet Tubman, written in verse and illustrated by an award-winning artist. We know her today as Harriet Tubman, but in her lifetime she was called by many names. As General Tubman she was a Union spy. As Moses she led hundreds to freedom on the Underground Railroad. As Minty she was a slave whose spirit could not be broken. An evocative poem and opulent watercolors come together to honor a woman of humble origins whose courage and compassion make her larger than life. A Junior Library Guild Selection



34 .) Belonging: A German Reckons With History And Home written by Nora Krug

Belonging: A German Reckons With History And Home

Lists It Appears On:

  • Kirkus
  • NPR

A revelatory, visually stunning graphic memoir by award-winning artist Nora Krug, telling the story of her attempt to confront the hidden truths of her family’s wartime past in Nazi Germany and to comprehend the forces that have shaped her life, her generation, and history. Nora Krug was born decades after the fall of the Nazi regime, but the Second World War cast a long shadow throughout her childhood and youth in the city of Karlsruhe, Germany. For Nora, the simple fact of her German citizenship bound her to the Holocaust and its unspeakable atrocities and left her without a sense of cultural belonging. Yet Nora knew little about her own family’s involvement in the war: though all four grandparents lived through the war, they never spoke of it. In her late thirties, after twelve years in the US, Krug realizes that living abroad has only intensified her need to ask the questions she didn’t dare to as a child and young adult. Returning to Germany, she visits archives, conducts research, and interviews family members, uncovering in the process the stories of her maternal grandfather, a driving teacher in Karlsruhe during the war, and her father’s brother Franz-Karl, who died as a teenage SS soldier in Italy. Her extraordinary quest, spanning continents and generations, pieces together her family’s troubling story and reflects on what it means to be a German of her generation. Belonging wrestles with the idea of Heimat, the German word for the place that first forms us, where the sensibilities and identity of one generation pass on to the next. In this highly inventive visual memoir—equal parts graphic novel, family scrapbook, and investigative narrative—Nora Krug draws on letters, archival material, flea market finds, and photographs to attempt to understand what it means to belong to one’s country and one’s family. A wholly original record of a German woman’s struggle with the weight of catastrophic history, Belonging is also a reflection on the responsibility that we all have as inheritors of our countries’ pasts.



33 .) Between the Lines: How Ernie Barnes Went from the Football Field to the Art Gallery written by Sandra Neil Wallace

Between the Lines: How Ernie Barnes Went from the Football Field to the Art Gallery

Lists It Appears On:

  • Booklist
  • Booklist Online

When Ernie Barnes was growing up in North Carolina in the 1940s, he loved to draw. Even when he played as a boy with his friends he drew with a stick in the mud. And he never left home without a sketchbook. He would draw the junk man, families walking home from church, or the old man on the sofa. He drew what he saw.



32 .) Boots on the Ground: America’s War in Vietnam written by Elizabeth Partridge

Boots on the Ground: America’s War in Vietnam

Lists It Appears On:

  • Booklist
  • Booklist Online

In March 1965 President Lyndon B. Johnson sent troops into Vietnam. 57,939 American soldiers would be killed and seventeen years would pass before this controversial chapter of American history concluded with the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in 1982. The history of this era is complex; the cultural impact extraordinary. But it’s the personal stories of eight people–six American soldiers, one American nurse, and one Vietnamese refugee–that form the heartbeat of Boots on the Ground. From dense jungles and terrifying firefights to chaotic medic rescues and evacuations, each individual’s story reveals a different facet of the war and moves readers forward in time. Alternating with these chapters are profiles of key American leaders and events, reminding readers what was happening at home, including Kent State, Woodstock, and Watergate.



31 .) Facing Frederick: The Life of Frederick Douglass, a Monumental American Man written by Tonya Bolden

Facing Frederick: The Life of Frederick Douglass, a Monumental American Man

Lists It Appears On:

  • Booklist
  • Booklist Online

Frederick Douglass (1818–1895) is best known for the telling of his own emancipation. But there is much more to Douglass’s story than his time spent enslaved and his famous autobiography. Facing Frederick captures the whole complicated, and at times perplexing, person that he was. Statesman, suffragist, writer, and newspaperman, this book focuses on Douglass the man rather than the historical icon.



30 .) Gandhi: The Years That Changed the World, 1914-1948 written by RAMACHANDRA GUHA

Gandhi: The Years That Changed the World, 1914-1948

Lists It Appears On:

  • Open Letters Review
  • The New York Times

Gandhi lived one of the great 20th-century lives. He inspired and enraged, challenged and delighted many million men and women around the world. He lived almost entirely in the shadow of the British Raj, which for much of his life seemed a permanent fact, but which he did more than anyone else to destroy, using revolutionary and inspirational tactics. In a world defined by violence on a scale never imagined before and by ferocious Fascist and Communist dictatorship, he was armed with nothing more than his arguments and example. This magnificent book tells the story of Gandhi’s life, from his departure from South Africa to his assassination in 1948. It is a book with a Tolstoyan sweep, both allowing us to see Gandhi as he was understood by his contemporaries and the vast, unbelievably varied Indian societies and landscapes which he travelled through and changed beyond measure. Drawing on many new sources and animated by its author’s wonderful sense of drama and politics, the publication of Gandhi is a major event.



29 .) Heart Berries: A Memoir written by Terese Marie Mailhot

Heart Berries: A Memoir

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads 2
  • NPR

Heart Berries is a powerful, poetic memoir of a woman’s coming of age on the Seabird Island Indian Reservation in the Pacific Northwest. Having survived a profoundly dysfunctional upbringing only to find herself hospitalized and facing a dual diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder and bipolar II disorder; Terese Marie Mailhot is given a notebook and begins to write her way out of trauma. The triumphant result is Heart Berries, a memorial for Mailhot’s mother, a social worker and activist who had a thing for prisoners; a story of reconciliation with her father―an abusive drunk and a brilliant artist―who was murdered under mysterious circumstances; and an elegy on how difficult it is to love someone while dragging the long shadows of shame. Mailhot trusts the reader to understand that memory isn’t exact, but melded to imagination, pain, and what we can bring ourselves to accept. Her unique and at times unsettling voice graphically illustrates her mental state. As she writes, she discovers her own true voice, seizes control of her story, and, in so doing, reestablishes her connection to her family, to her people, and to her place in the world.



28 .) Heartland: A Memoir Of Working Hard And Being Broke In The Richest Country On Earth written by Sarah Smarsh

Heartland: A Memoir Of Working Hard And Being Broke In The Richest Country On Earth

Lists It Appears On:

  • Amazon
  • NPR

An eye-opening memoir of working-class poverty in the American Midwest. During Sarah Smarsh’s turbulent childhood in Kansas in the 1980s and 1990s, the forces of cyclical poverty and the country’s changing economic policies solidified her family’s place among the working poor. By telling the story of her life and the lives of the people she loves, Smarsh challenges us to look more closely at the class divide in our country and examine the myths about people thought to be less because they earn less. Her personal history affirms the corrosive impact intergenerational poverty can have on individuals, families, and communities, and she explores this idea as lived experience, metaphor, and level of consciousness. Smarsh was born a fifth generation Kansas wheat farmer on her paternal side and the product of generations of teen mothers on her maternal side. Through her experiences growing up as the daughter of a dissatisfied young mother and raised predominantly by her grandmother on a farm thirty miles west of Wichita, we are given a unique and essential look into the lives of poor and working class Americans living in the heartland. Combining memoir with powerful analysis and cultural commentary, Heartland is an uncompromising look at class, identity, and the particular perils of having less in a country known for its excess.



27 .) I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes With Death written by Maggie O’Farrell

I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes With Death

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads 2
  • Indigo

We are never closer to life than when we brush up against the possibility of death. I Am, I Am, I Am is Maggie O’Farrell’s astonishing memoir of the near-death experiences that have punctuated and defined her life. The childhood illness that left her bedridden for a year, which she was not expected to survive. A teenage yearning to escape that nearly ended in disaster. An encounter with a disturbed man on a remote path. And, most terrifying of all, an ongoing, daily struggle to protect her daughter–for whom this book was written–from a condition that leaves her unimaginably vulnerable to life’s myriad dangers. Seventeen discrete encounters with Maggie at different ages, in different locations, reveal a whole life in a series of tense, visceral snapshots. In taut prose that vibrates with electricity and restrained emotion, O’Farrell captures the perils running just beneath the surface, and illuminates the preciousness, beauty, and mysteries of life itself.



26 .) Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor: The Woman Who Loved Reptiles written by Patricia Valdez

Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor: The Woman Who Loved Reptiles

Lists It Appears On:

  • Booklist
  • Booklist Online

For fans of Ada Twist: Scientist comes a fascinating picture book biography of a pioneering female scientist–who loved reptiles! Back in the days of long skirts and afternoon teas, young Joan Procter entertained the most unusual party guests: slithery and scaly ones, who turned over teacups and crawled past the crumpets…. While other girls played with dolls, Joan preferred the company of reptiles. She carried her favorite lizard with her everywhere–she even brought a crocodile to school! When Joan grew older, she became the Curator of Reptiles at the British Museum. She went on to design the Reptile House at the London Zoo, including a home for the rumored-to-be-vicious komodo dragons. There, just like when she was a little girl, Joan hosted children’s tea parties–with her komodo dragon as the guest of honor. With a lively text and vibrant illustrations, scientist and writer Patricia Valdez and illustrator Felicita Sala bring to life Joan Procter’s inspiring story of passion and determination.



25 .) Leadership: In Turbulent Times written by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Leadership: In Turbulent Times

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads 1
  • NPR

Are leaders born or made? Where does ambition come from? How does adversity affect the growth of leadership? Does the leader make the times or do the times make the leader? In Leadership, Goodwin draws upon the four presidents she has studied most closely—Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson (in civil rights)—to show how they recognized leadership qualities within themselves and were recognized as leaders by others. By looking back to their first entries into public life, we encounter them at a time when their paths were filled with confusion, fear, and hope. Leadership tells the story of how they all collided with dramatic reversals that disrupted their lives and threatened to shatter forever their ambitions. Nonetheless, they all emerged fitted to confront the contours and dilemmas of their times. No common pattern describes the trajectory of leadership. Although set apart in background, abilities, and temperament, these men shared a fierce ambition and a deep-seated resilience that enabled them to surmount uncommon hardships. At their best, all four were guided by a sense of moral purpose. At moments of great challenge, they were able to summon their talents to enlarge the opportunities and lives of others.



24 .) Look Alive Out There: Essays written by Sloane Crosley

Look Alive Out There: Essays

Lists It Appears On:

  • Amazon
  • MindBodyGreen

From the New York Times-bestselling author Sloane Crosley comes Look Alive Out There―a brand-new collection of essays filled with her trademark hilarity, wit, and charm. The characteristic heart and punch-packing observations are back, but with a newfound coat of maturity. A thin coat. More of a blazer, really. Fans of I Was Told There’d Be Cake and How Did You Get This Number know Sloane Crosley’s life as a series of relatable but madcap misadventures. In Look Alive Out There, whether it’s scaling active volcanoes, crashing shivas, playing herself on Gossip Girl, befriending swingers, or staring down the barrel of the fertility gun, Crosley continues to rise to the occasion with unmatchable nerve and electric one-liners. And as her subjects become more serious, her essays deliver not just laughs but lasting emotional heft and insight. Crosley has taken up the gauntlets thrown by her predecessors―Dorothy Parker, Nora Ephron, David Sedaris―and crafted something rare, affecting, and true. Look Alive Out There arrives on the tenth anniversary of I Was Told There’d be Cake, and Crosley’s essays have managed to grow simultaneously more sophisticated and even funnier. And yet she’s still very much herself, and it’s great to have her back―and not a moment too soon (or late, for that matter).



23 .) Maya Lin: Thinking with Her Hands written by Susan Goldman Rubin

Maya Lin: Thinking with Her Hands

Lists It Appears On:

  • Booklist
  • Booklist Online

“In the tradition of DELICIOUS, WIDENESS & WONDER, and EVERYBODY PAINTS!, this is Susan Goldman Rubin’s extensively researched and very accessible biography of civic activist Maya Lin, most famous for her design of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., is one of the most famous pieces of civic architecture in the world. But most people are not as familiar with the reserved college student who entered and won the design competition to build it. This accessible biography tells the story of Maya Lin, from her struggle to stick with her vision of the memorial to the wide variety of works she has created since then. Illustrated extensively with photos and drawings, the carefully researched text crosses multiple interests–American history, civic activism, art history, and cultural diversity–and offers a timely celebration of the memorial’s 35th anniversary, as well as contributing to the current, important discussion of the role of women and minorities in American society”–



22 .) Meet Cindy Sherman: Artist, Photographer, Chameleon written by Sandra Jordan and Jan Greenberg

Meet Cindy Sherman: Artist, Photographer, Chameleon

Lists It Appears On:

  • Booklist
  • Booklist Online

How does someone become a ground-breaking artist? Does it start when you’re very little and discover that you like to play dress up? Does it happen when you’re ten years old and someone gives you a Polaroid camera for Christmas? Maybe it begins in college, when you’re finally on your own to discover the world as you see it for the first time. Looking at the life of legendary photographer Cindy Sherman, Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan have created an unconventional biography, that much like Cindy Sherman’s famous photographs, has something a little more meaningful under the surface. Infusing the narrative with Sherman’s photographs, as well as children’s first impressions of the photographs, this is a biography that goes beyond birth, middle age, and later life. It’s a look at how we look at art.



21 .) Room to Dream written by David Lynch and Kristine McKenna

Room to Dream

Lists It Appears On:

  • Amazon
  • Goodreads 2

In this memoir, David Lynch – co-creator of Twin Peaks and writer and director of groundbreaking films like Eraserhead, The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive – opens up about a lifetime of extraordinary creativity, the friendships he has made along the way and the struggles he has faced – sometimes successful, sometimes not – to bring his projects to fruition. Part-memoir, part-biography, Room to Dream interweaves Lynch’s own reflections on his life with the story of those times, as told by Kristine McKenna, drawing from extensive and explosive interviews with ninety of Lynch’s friends, family members, actors, agents, musicians and collaborators. Lynch responds to each recollection and reveals the inner story of the life behind the art.



20 .) Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library written by Carole Boston Weatherford

Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library

Lists It Appears On:

  • Booklist
  • Booklist Online

In luminous paintings and arresting poems, two of children’s literature’s top African-American scholars track Arturo Schomburg’s quest to correct history. Where is our historian to give us our side? Arturo asked. Amid the scholars, poets, authors, and artists of the Harlem Renaissance stood an Afro-Puerto Rican named Arturo Schomburg. This law clerk’s life’s passion was to collect books, letters, music, and art from Africa and the African diaspora and bring to light the achievements of people of African descent through the ages. When Schomburg’s collection became so big it began to overflow his house (and his wife threatened to mutiny), he turned to the New York Public Library, where he created and curated a collection that was the cornerstone of a new Negro Division. A century later, his groundbreaking collection, known as the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, has become a beacon to scholars all over the world.



19 .) Sharp: The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion written by Michelle Dean

Sharp: The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion

Lists It Appears On:

  • BookMarks
  • NPR

The ten brilliant women who are the focus of Sharp came from different backgrounds and had vastly divergent political and artistic opinions. But they all made a significant contribution to the cultural and intellectual history of America and ultimately changed the course of the twentieth century, in spite of the men who often undervalued or dismissed their work. These ten women—Dorothy Parker, Rebecca West, Hannah Arendt, Mary McCarthy, Susan Sontag, Pauline Kael, Joan Didion, Nora Ephron, Renata Adler, and Janet Malcolm—are united by what Dean calls “sharpness,” the ability to cut to the quick with precision of thought and wit. Sharp is a vibrant depiction of the intellectual beau monde of twentieth-century New York, where gossip-filled parties at night gave out to literary slugging-matches in the pages of the Partisan Review or the New York Review of Books. It is also a passionate portrayal of how these women asserted themselves through their writing in a climate where women were treated with extreme condescension by the male-dominated cultural establishment. Mixing biography, literary criticism, and cultural history, Sharp is a celebration of this group of extraordinary women, an engaging introduction to their works, and a testament to how anyone who feels powerless can claim the mantle of writer, and, perhaps, change the world.



18 .) The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian’s Art Changed Science written by Joyce Sidman

The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian’s Art Changed Science

Lists It Appears On:

  • Booklist
  • Booklist Online

One of the first naturalists to observe live insects directly, Maria Sibylla Merian was also one of the first to document the metamorphosis of the butterfly. In this visual nonfiction biography, richly illustrated throughout with full-color original paintings by Merian herself, the Newbery Honor–winning author Joyce Sidman paints her own picture of one of the first female entomologists and a woman who flouted convention in the pursuit of knowledge and her passion for insects.



17 .) The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After written by Clemantine Wamariya

The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After

Lists It Appears On:

  • Amazon
  • Goodreads 2

A riveting story of dislocation, survival, and the power of stories to break or save us. Clemantine Wamariya was six years old when her mother and father began to speak in whispers, when neighbors began to disappear, and when she heard the loud, ugly sounds her brother said were “thunder.” In 1994, she and her fifteen-year-old sister, Claire, fled the Rwandan massacre and spent the next six years wandering through seven African countries, searching for safety–perpetually hungry, imprisoned and abused, enduring and escaping refugee camps, finding unexpected kindness, witnessing inhuman cruelty. They did not know whether their parents were dead or alive. When Clemantine was twelve, she and her sister were granted asylum in the United States, where she embarked on another journey–to excavate her past and, after years of being made to feel less than human, claim her individuality. Raw, urgent, and bracingly original, The Girl Who Smiled Beads captures the true costs and aftershocks of war: what is forever destroyed; what can be repaired; the fragility of memory; the disorientation that comes of other people seeing you only as broken–thinking you need, and want, to be saved. But it is about more than the brutality of war. It is about owning your experiences, about the life we create: intricately detailed, painful, beautiful, a work in progress.



16 .) The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border written by Francisco Cantú

The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border

Lists It Appears On:

  • Amazon
  • BookMarks

For Francisco Cantú, the border is in the blood: his mother, a park ranger and daughter of a Mexican immigrant, raised him in the scrublands of the Southwest. Haunted by the landscape of his youth, Cantú joins the Border Patrol. He and his partners are posted to remote regions crisscrossed by drug routes and smuggling corridors, where they learn to track other humans under blistering sun and through frigid nights. They haul in the dead and deliver to detention those they find alive. Cantú tries not to think where the stories go from there. Plagued by nightmares, he abandons the Patrol for civilian life. But when an immigrant friend travels to Mexico to visit his dying mother and does not return, Cantú discovers that the border has migrated with him, and now he must know the whole story. Searing and unforgettable, The Line Becomes a River makes urgent and personal the violence our border wreaks on both sides of the line.



15 .) The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke written by Jeffrey C. Stewart

The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke

Lists It Appears On:

  • Amazon
  • Open Letters Review

Winner of the 2018 National Book Award for Nonfiction. A tiny, fastidiously dressed man emerged from Black Philadelphia around the turn of the century to mentor a generation of young artists including Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and Jacob Lawrence and call them the New Negro — the creative African Americans whose art, literature, music, and drama would inspire Black people to greatness. In The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke, Jeffrey C. Stewart offers the definitive biography of the father of the Harlem Renaissance, based on the extant primary sources of his life and on interviews with those who knew him personally. He narrates the education of Locke, including his becoming the first African American Rhodes Scholar and earning a PhD in philosophy at Harvard University, and his long career as a professor at Howard University. Locke also received a cosmopolitan, aesthetic education through his travels in continental Europe, where he came to appreciate the beauty of art and experienced a freedom unknown to him in the United States. And yet he became most closely associated with the flowering of Black culture in Jazz Age America and his promotion of the literary and artistic work of African Americans as the quintessential creations of American modernism. In the process he looked to Africa to find the proud and beautiful roots of the race. Shifting the discussion of race from politics and economics to the arts, he helped establish the idea that Black urban communities could be crucibles of creativity. Stewart explores both Locke’s professional and private life, including his relationships with his mother, his friends, and his white patrons, as well as his lifelong search for love as a gay man. Stewart’s thought-provoking biography recreates the worlds of this illustrious, enigmatic man who, in promoting the cultural heritage of Black people, became — in the process — a New Negro himself.



14 .) The World Is Not a Rectangle: A Portrait of Architect Zaha Hadid written by

The World Is Not a Rectangle: A Portrait of Architect Zaha Hadid

Lists It Appears On:

  • Booklist
  • Booklist Online

A Washington Post Best Children’s Book of 2017 Parents’ Choice Recommended Get to know Zaha Hadid in this nonfiction picture book about the famed architect’s life and her triumph over adversity from celebrated author-illustrator Jeanette Winter. Zaha Hadid grew up in Baghdad, Iraq, and dreamed of designing her own cities. After studying architecture in London, she opened her own studio and started designing buildings. But as a Muslim woman, Hadid faced many obstacles. Determined to succeed, she worked hard for many years, and achieved her goals—and now you can see the buildings Hadid has designed all over the world.



13 .) Arthur Ashe: A Life written by Raymond Arsenault

Arthur Ashe: A Life

Lists It Appears On:

  • NPR
  • Open Letters Review
  • The New York Times

Born in Richmond, Virginia, in 1943, by the age of eleven, Arthur Ashe was one of the state’s most talented black tennis players. Jim Crow restrictions barred Ashe from competing with whites. Still, in 1960 he won the National Junior Indoor singles title, which led to a tennis scholarship at UCLA. He became the first African American to play for the US Davis Cup team in 1963, and two years later he won the NCAA singles championship. In 1968, he won both the US Amateur title and the first US Open title, rising to a number one national ranking. Turning professional in 1969, he soon became one of the world’s most successful tennis stars, winning the Australian Open in 1970 and Wimbledon in 1975. After retiring in 1980, he served four years as the US Davis Cup captain and was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1985.



12 .) Becoming written by Michelle Obama

Becoming

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads 2
  • Indigo
  • NPR

An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the United States. In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African-American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare. In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.



11 .) Calypso written by David Sedaris

Calypso

Lists It Appears On:

  • Kirkus
  • MindBodyGreen
  • NPR

David Sedaris returns with his most deeply personal and darkly hilarious book. If you’ve ever laughed your way through David Sedaris’s cheerfully misanthropic stories, you might think you know what you’re getting with Calypso. You’d be wrong. When he buys a beach house on the Carolina coast, Sedaris envisions long, relaxing vacations spent playing board games and lounging in the sun with those he loves most. And life at the Sea Section, as he names the vacation home, is exactly as idyllic as he imagined, except for one tiny, vexing realization: it’s impossible to take a vacation from yourself. With Calypso, Sedaris sets his formidable powers of observation toward middle age and mortality. Make no mistake: these stories are very, very funny–it’s a book that can make you laugh ’til you snort, the way only family can. Sedaris’s powers of observation have never been sharper, and his ability to shock readers into laughter unparalleled. But much of the comedy here is born out of that vertiginous moment when your own body betrays you and you realize that the story of your life is made up of more past than future. This is beach reading for people who detest beaches, required reading for those who loathe small talk and love a good tumor joke. Calypso is simultaneously Sedaris’s darkest and warmest book yet–and it just might be his very best.



10 .) Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom written by David W. Blight

Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom

Lists It Appears On:

  • Amazon
  • BookMarks
  • The New York Times

36 Hours The definitive, dramatic biography of the most important African-American of the nineteenth century: Frederick Douglass, the escaped slave who became the greatest orator of his day and one of the leading abolitionists and writers of the era. As a young man, Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) escaped from slavery in Baltimore, Maryland. He was fortunate to have been taught to read by his slave owner mistress, and he would go on to become one of the major literary figures of his time. He wrote three versions of his autobiography over the course of his lifetime and published his own newspaper. His very existence gave the lie to slave owners: with dignity and great intelligence he bore witness to the brutality of slavery. Initially mentored by William Lloyd Garrison, Douglass spoke widely, often to large crowds, using his own story to condemn slavery. He broke with Garrison to become a political abolitionist, a Republican, and eventually a Lincoln supporter. By the Civil War and during Reconstruction, Douglass became the most famed and widely traveled orator in the nation. He denounced the premature end of Reconstruction and the emerging Jim Crow era. In his unique and eloquent voice, written and spoken, Douglass was a fierce critic of the United States as well as a radical patriot. He sometimes argued politically with younger African-Americans, but he never forsook either the Republican party or the cause of black civil and political rights. In this remarkable biography, David Blight has drawn on new information held in a private collection that few other historian have consulted, as well as recently discovered issues of Douglass’ newspapers. Blight tells the fascinating story of Douglass’s two marriages and his complex extended family. Douglass was not only an astonishing man of words, but a thinker steeped in Biblical story and theology. There has not been a major biography of Douglass in a quarter century. David Blight’s Frederick Douglass affords this important American the distinguished biography he deserves.



9 .) Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret written by Craig Brown

Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret

Lists It Appears On:

  • BookMarks
  • NPR
  • The New York Times

She made John Lennon blush and Marlon Brando clam up. She cold-shouldered Princess Diana and humiliated Elizabeth Taylor. Andy Warhol photographed her. Jack Nicholson offered her cocaine. Gore Vidal revered her. John Fowles hoped to keep her as his sex-slave. Dudley Moore propositioned her. Francis Bacon heckled her. Peter Sellers was in love with her. For Pablo Picasso, she was the object of sexual fantasy. “If they knew what I had done in my dreams with your royal ladies” he confided to a friend, “they would take me to the Tower of London and chop off my head!” Princess Margaret aroused passion and indignation in equal measures. To her friends, she was witty and regal. To her enemies, she was rude and demanding. In her 1950’s heyday, she was seen as one of the most glamorous and desirable women in the world. By the time of her death, she had come to personify disappointment. One friend said he had never known an unhappier woman. The tale of Princess Margaret is pantomime as tragedy, and tragedy as pantomime. It is Cinderella in reverse: hope dashed, happiness mislaid, life mishandled. Combining interviews, parodies, dreams, parallel lives, diaries, announcements, lists, catalogues and essays, Ma’am Darling is a kaleidoscopic experiment in biography, and a witty meditation on fame and art, snobbery and deference, bohemia and high society.



8 .) Robin written by Dave Itzkoff

Robin

Lists It Appears On:

  • Amazon
  • Goodreads 1
  • Indigo

From New York Timesculture reporter Dave Itzkoff, the definitive biography of Robin Williams – a compelling portrait of one of America’s most beloved and misunderstood entertainers. From his rapid-fire stand-up comedy riffs to his breakout role in Mork & Mindy and his Academy Award-winning performance in Good Will Hunting, Robin Williams was a singularly innovative and beloved entertainer. He often came across as a man possessed, holding forth on culture and politics while mixing in personal revelations – all with mercurial, tongue-twisting intensity as he inhabited and shed one character after another with lightning speed. But as Dave Itzkoff shows in this revelatory biography, Williams’s comic brilliance masked a deep well of conflicting emotions and self-doubt, which he drew upon in his comedy and in celebrated films like Dead Poets Society; Good Morning, Vietnam; The Fisher King; Aladdin; and Mrs. Doubtfire, where he showcased his limitless gift for improvisation to bring to life a wide range of characters. And in Good Will Hunting he gave an intense and controlled performance that revealed the true range of his talent. Itzkoff also shows how Williams struggled mightily with addiction and depression – topics he discussed openly while performing and during interviews – and with a debilitating condition at the end of his life that affected him in ways his fans never knew. Drawing on more than a hundred original interviews with family, friends, and colleagues, as well as extensive archival research, Robin is a fresh and original look at a man whose work touched so many lives.



7 .) The Monk Of Mokha written by Dave Eggers

The Monk Of Mokha

Lists It Appears On:

  • Amazon
  • Goodreads 1
  • Indigo

The Monk of Mokha is the exhilarating true story of a young Yemeni American man, raised in San Francisco, who dreams of resurrecting the ancient art of Yemeni coffee but finds himself trapped in Sana’a by civil war. Mokhtar Alkhanshali is twenty-four and working as a doorman when he discovers the astonishing history of coffee and Yemen’s central place in it. He leaves San Francisco and travels deep into his ancestral homeland to tour terraced farms high in the country’s rugged mountains and meet beleagured but determined farmers. But when war engulfs the country and Saudi bombs rain down, Mokhtar has to find a way out of Yemen without sacrificing his dreams or abandoning his people.



6 .) The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath written by Leslie Jamison

The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath

Lists It Appears On:

  • BookMarks
  • Kirkus
  • NPR

By the New York Times bestselling author of The Empathy Exams, an exploration of addiction, and the stories we tell about it, that reinvents the traditional recovery memoir. With its deeply personal and seamless blend of memoir, cultural history, literary criticism, and journalistic reportage, The Recovering turns our understanding of the traditional addiction narrative on its head, demonstrating that the story of recovery can be every bit as electrifying as the train wreck itself. Leslie Jamison deftly excavates the stories we tell about addiction–both her own and others’–and examines what we want these stories to do, and what happens when they fail us. All the while, she offers a fascinating look at the larger history of the recovery movement, and at the literary and artistic geniuses whose lives and works were shaped by alcoholism and substance dependence, including John Berryman, Jean Rhys, Raymond Carver, Billie Holiday, David Foster Wallace, and Denis Johnson, as well as brilliant figures lost to obscurity but newly illuminated here. For the power of her striking language and the sharpness of her piercing observations, Jamison has been compared to such iconic writers as Joan Didion and Susan Sontag. Yet her utterly singular voice also offers something new. With enormous empathy and wisdom, Jamison has given us nothing less than the story of addiction and recovery in America writ large, a definitive and revelatory account that will resonate for years to come.



5 .) Heavy: An American Memoir written by Kiese Laymon

Heavy: An American Memoir

Lists It Appears On:

  • BookMarks
  • Goodreads 2
  • Kirkus
  • The New York Times

In this powerful and provocative memoir, genre-bending essayist and novelist Kiese Laymon explores what the weight of a lifetime of secrets, lies, and deception does to a black body, a black family, and a nation teetering on the brink of moral collapse. Kiese Laymon is a fearless writer. In his essays, personal stories combine with piercing intellect to reflect both on the state of American society and on his experiences with abuse, which conjure conflicted feelings of shame, joy, confusion and humiliation. Laymon invites us to consider the consequences of growing up in a nation wholly obsessed with progress yet wholly disinterested in the messy work of reckoning with where we’ve been. In Heavy, Laymon writes eloquently and honestly about growing up a hard-headed black son to a complicated and brilliant black mother in Jackson, Mississippi. From his early experiences of sexual violence, to his suspension from college, to his trek to New York as a young college professor, Laymon charts his complex relationship with his mother, grandmother, anorexia, obesity, sex, writing, and ultimately gambling. By attempting to name secrets and lies he and his mother spent a lifetime avoiding, Laymon asks himself, his mother, his nation, and us to confront the terrifying possibility that few in this nation actually know how to responsibly love, and even fewer want to live under the weight of actually becoming free. A personal narrative that illuminates national failures, Heavy is defiant yet vulnerable, an insightful, often comical exploration of weight, identity, art, friendship, and family that begins with a confusing childhood—and continues through twenty-five years of haunting implosions and long reverberations.



4 .) There Will Be No Miracles Here: A Memoir written by Casey Gerald

There Will Be No Miracles Here: A Memoir

Lists It Appears On:

  • Amazon
  • Kirkus
  • NPR
  • The New York Times

The testament of a boy and a generation who came of age as the world came apart–a generation searching for a new way to live. Casey Gerald comes to our fractured times as a uniquely visionary witness whose life has spanned seemingly unbridgeable divides. His story begins at the end of the world: Dallas, New Year’s Eve 1999, when he gathers with the congregation of his grandfather’s black evangelical church to see which of them will be carried off. His beautiful, fragile mother disappears frequently and mysteriously; for a brief idyll, he and his sister live like Boxcar Children on her disability checks. When Casey–following in the footsteps of his father, a gridiron legend who literally broke his back for the team–is recruited to play football at Yale, he enters a world he’s never dreamed of, the anteroom to secret societies and success on Wall Street, in Washington, and beyond. But even as he attains the inner sanctums of power, Casey sees how the world crushes those who live at its margins. He sees how the elite perpetuate the salvation stories that keep others from rising. And he sees, most painfully, how his own ascension is part of the scheme. There Will Be No Miracles Here has the arc of a classic rags-to-riches tale, but it stands the American Dream narrative on its head. If to live as we are is destroying us, it asks, what would it mean to truly live? Intense, incantatory, shot through with sly humor and quiet fury, There Will Be No Miracles Here inspires us to question–even shatter–and reimagine our most cherished myths.



3 .) In Pieces written by Sally Field

In Pieces

Lists It Appears On:

  • Amazon
  • Goodreads 2
  • Indigo
  • NPR
  • The New York Times

One of the most celebrated, beloved, and enduring actors of our time, Sally Field has an infectious charm that has captivated the nation for more than five decades, beginning with her first TV role at the age of seventeen. With raw honesty and with all the humility and authenticity her fans have come to expect, Field brings readers behind-the-scenes for not only the highs and lows of her star-studded early career in Hollywood, but deep into the truth of her lifelong relationships–including her complicated love for her own mother. Powerful and unforgettable, In Pieces is an inspiring account of life as a woman in the second half of the twentieth century.



2 .) Small Fry written by Lisa Brennan-Jobs

Small Fry

Lists It Appears On:

  • Amazon
  • BookMarks
  • Goodreads 2
  • NPR
  • The New York Times

Born on a farm and named in a field by her parents–artist Chrisann Brennan and Steve Jobs–Lisa Brennan-Jobs’s childhood unfolded in a rapidly changing Silicon Valley. When she was young, Lisa’s father was a mythical figure who was rarely present in her life. As she grew older, her father took an interest in her, ushering her into a new world of mansions, vacations, and private schools. His attention was thrilling, but he could also be cold, critical and unpredictable. When her relationship with her mother grew strained in high school, Lisa decided to move in with her father, hoping he’d become the parent she’d always wanted him to be. Small Fry is Lisa Brennan-Jobs’s poignant story of a childhood spent between two imperfect but extraordinary homes. Scrappy, wise, and funny, young Lisa is an unforgettable guide through her parents’ fascinating and disparate worlds. Part portrait of a complex family, part love letter to California in the seventies and eighties, Small Fry is an enthralling book by an insightful new literary voice.



1 .) Educated: A Memoir written by Tara Westover

Educated: A Memoir

Lists It Appears On:

  • Amazon
  • Goodreads 2
  • Indigo
  • MindBodyGreen
  • NPR
  • The New York Times

An unforgettable memoir in the tradition of The Glass Castle about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills bag”. In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father’s junkyard. Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. Then, lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important world events like the Holocaust and the civil rights movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home. Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty and of the grief that comes with severing the closest of ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes and the will to change it.




The 100 Additional Best Autobiography & Biography Books of 2018



#BookAuthorsLists
40A Carnival Of Losses: Notes Nearing NinetyDonald HallNPR
41A Gift From DarknessPatience Ibrahim and Andrea C. HoffmannNPR
42A Hard Rain: America In The 1960s, Our Decade Of Hope, Possibility, And Innocence LostFrye GaillardNPR
43A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership 
Goodreads 2
44
A River in Darkness: One Man’s Escape from North Korea
 
Goodreads 2
45Ali: A LifeJONATHAN EIG
The New York Times
46All The AnswersMichael KuppermanNPR
47All Things Consoled: A Daughter’s Memoir Indigo
48American Eden: David Hosack, Botany and Medicine in the Garden of the Early RepublicVICTORIA JOHNSON
The New York Times
49An American MarriageTayari Jones
MindBodyGreen
50Bad BloodJohn Carreyrou
MindBodyGreen
51Be PreparedVera BrosgolNPR
52
Boom Town: The Fantastical Saga of Oklahoma City, Its Chaotic Founding, Its Apocalyptic Weather, Its Purloined Basketball Team, and the Dream of Becoming a World-class Metropolis
 
Goodreads 1
53Born To Be Posthumous: The Eccentric Life And Mysterious Genius Of Edward GoreyMark DeryNPR
54Brave 
Goodreads 2
55Brothers of the Gun: A Memoir of the Syrian WarMARWAN HISHAM AND MOLLY
The New York Times
56Bruce Lee 
Open Letters Review
57Cake: A CookbookMaira Kalman and Barbara Scott-GoodmanNPR
58CALL ME AMERICAN: A MEMOIR Kirkus
59Chalk: The Art and Erasure of Cy Twombly 
Open Letters Review
60Chasing Hillary: Ten Years, Two Presidential Campaigns, And One Intact Glass CeilingAmy ChozickNPR
61Che: A Revolutionary LifeJon Lee Anderson, illustratedNPR
62Churchill: Walking With DestinyANDREW ROBERTS
The New York Times
63Creative QuestQuestloveNPR
64Crux: A Cross-Border MemoirJean GuerreroNPR
65Deviation: A NovelLuce D’Eramo, translatedNPR
66Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her SuperpowerBrittney CooperNPR
67
Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved
 
Goodreads 2
68Famous Father Girl: A Memoir Of Growing Up BernsteinJamie BernsteinNPR
69
Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History
 
Goodreads 1
70Full DisclosureStormy DanielsNPR
71
God Save Texas: A Journey Into the Soul of the Lone Star State
 
Goodreads 1
72Hey, KiddoJarrett J. KrosoczkaNPR
73Hiking With Nietzsche: On Becoming Who You AreJohn KaagNPR
74Homelands: Four Friends, Two Countries, And The Fate Of The Great Mexican-American MigrationAlfredo CorchadoNPR
75House of Dreams: The Life of L. M. Montgomery 
Goodreads 1
76How To Change Your Mind: What The New Science Of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, And TranscendenceMichael PollanNPR
77How To Write An Autobiographical Novel: EssaysAlexander CheeNPR
78
In the Hurricane’s Eye: The Genius of George Washington and the Victory at Yorktown
 
Goodreads 1
79
Indianapolis: The True Story of the Worst Sea Disaster in U.S. Naval History and the Fifty-Year Fight to Exonerate an Innocent Man
 
Goodreads 1
80Inseparable: The Original Siamese Twins And Their Rendezvous With American HistoryYunte HuangNPR
81
Jefferson’s Daughters: Three Sisters, White and Black, in a Young America
 
Goodreads 1
82Just The Funny Parts: …And A Few Hard Truths About Sneaking Into The Hollywood Boys’ ClubNell ScovellNPR
83
Killing the SS: The Hunt for the Worst War Criminals in History
 
Goodreads 1
84Lands Of Lost Borders: Out Of Bounds On The… Indigo
85LessonsGisele Bündchen
MindBodyGreen
86
Lincoln’s Last Trial: The Murder Case That Propelled Him to the Presidency
 
Goodreads 1
87Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine HansberryIMANI PERRY
The New York Times
88Memphis Rent Party: The Blues, Rock & Soul In Music’s HometownRobert GordonNPR
89Mr. Lear: A Life of Art and NonsenseJenny UglowBookMarks
90My Life As A Goddess: A Memoir Through (Un)Popular CultureGuy BranumNPR
91My Own Devices: True Stories From The Road On Music, Science, And Senseless LoveDessaNPR
92Night MovesJessica HopperNPR
93Nine Perfect StrangersLiane Moriarty
MindBodyGreen
94No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black and Free in AmericaDARNELL L. MOORE
The New York Times
95On The Other Side Of Freedom: The Case For HopeDeRay MckessonNPR
96Origin Story: A Big History of Everything 
Goodreads 1
97Packing My Library: An Elegy And Ten DigressionsAlberto ManguelNPR
98PASSING FOR HUMAN: A GRAPHIC MEMOIR Kirkus
99Patriot Number One: American Dreams in ChinatownLAUREN HILGERS
The New York Times
100Photographic: The Life Of Graciela IturbideIsabel Quintero, illustratedNPR
101REPORTER: A MEMOIR Kirkus
102
Rise and Kill First: The Inside Story and Secret Operations of Israel’s Assassination Program
 
Goodreads 1
103
Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man’s First Journey to the Moon
 
Goodreads 1
104Rush 
Open Letters Review
105She Begat This: 20 Years Of The Miseducation Of Lauryn HillJoan MorganNPR
106Small Animals: Parenthood In The Age Of FearKim BrooksNPR
107Split ToothTanya TagaqNPR
108Swell: A Sailing Surfer’s Voyage of Awakening Amazon
109Tears Of Salt: A Doctor’s Story Indigo
110
Tell Me More: Stories about the 12 Hardest Things I’m Learning to Say
 
Goodreads 2
111The Big Fella: Babe Ruth and the World He CreatedJane LeavyBookMarks
112
The Billionaire Raj: A Journey Through India’s New Gilded Age
 Amazon
113The Boy on the Beach: My Family’s Escape from… Indigo
114The Cost of Living: A Working AutobiographyDEBORAH LEVY
The New York Times
115The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer And The Plot To Kill HitlerJohn HendrixNPR
116
The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers
 
Goodreads 1
117The Great BelieversRebecca Makkai
MindBodyGreen
118The ImmortalistsChloe Benjamin
MindBodyGreen
119The Kiss QuotientHelen Hoang
MindBodyGreen
120The Library BookSUSAN ORLEAN
The New York Times
121The Mirage Factory: Illusion, Imagination, And The Invention Of Los AngelesGary KristNPR
122The Personality Brokers: The Strange History Of Myers-Briggs And The Birth Of Personality TestingMerve EmreNPR
123The Prison Letters Of Nelson MandelaNelson Mandela, Sahm Venter (editor)NPR
124
The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam
 Amazon
125
The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels
 
Goodreads 1
126
The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row
 
Goodreads 2
127
The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote
 
Goodreads 1
128These Truths: A History of the United States 
Goodreads 1
129This Is Me: Loving the Person You Are Today 
Goodreads 2
130Thomas Cromwell: A Revolutionary Life 
Open Letters Review
131Tiger Woods 
Open Letters Review
132Tigers & Tea With ToppyBarbara Kerley and Rhoda Knight Kalt, illustratedNPR
133To Throw Away Unopened: A MemoirViv AlbertineNPR
134Tragedy Plus Time: A Tragi-Comic Memoir 
Goodreads 2
135
Unbeaten: Rocky Marciano’s Fight for Perfection in a Crooked World
 
Open Letters Review
136
When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir
 
Goodreads 2
137Who Is Michael Ovitz?Michael OvitzNPR
138William Penn 
Open Letters Review
139You’re On An Airplane: A Self-Mythologizing MemoirParker PoseyNPR


12 Best Memoir Books of 2018 Sources/Lists



SourceArticle
Amazon Best biographies and memoirs of 2018
Booklist Booklist Top 10 Books For Biography 2018
Booklist Online Top 10 Biographies for Youth: 2018
BookMarks The Best Reviewed Books of 2018: Memoir and Biography
Goodreads 1 Best History & Biography
Goodreads 2 Best Memoir & Autobiography
Indigo Top 10 Best Biographies of 2018
Kirkus Best Memoirs of 2018
MindBodyGreen Mindbodygreen Best Bio Books 2018
NPR Our Guide To 2018’s Great Reads
Open Letters Review Open Letters Review Best Biography Books 2018
The New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2018

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