Biography and Memoir
A Good American Family: The Red Scare and My Father by David MaranissFeaturing: Elliott Maraniss, a WWII vet and Detroit Times journalist who was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1952 and subsequently blacklisted.
Author alert: Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and Washington Post associate editor David Maraniss penned this affecting tribute to his father.
Reviewers say: "a beautifully realized account of an ordinary family in extraordinary circumstances" (Booklist).
How to Forget: A Daughter's Memoir by Kate MulgrewWhat it is: actress Kate Mulgrew's moving account of her father's death from lung cancer and her mother's decline from Alzheimer's.
What happened: After her parents received their diagnoses, Mulgrew returned to her hometown of Dubuque, Iowa to care for them, confronting both old wounds and new challenges.
Don't miss: the well-earned moments of levity, including Mulgrew's mother knocking back eight whiskeys in a New York City bar.
Focus on: Space Exploration
No Dream Is Too High: Life Lessons From a Man Who Walked on the Moon by Buzz Aldrin with Ken AbrahamWhat it is: Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin's inspiring memoir/self-help guide, peppered with the author's humorous mottoes ("second comes right after first") and motivational lessons.
Want a taste? "If you are afraid to fail, you will probably not accomplish much in life."
Did you know? Aldrin's mother's maiden name was Moon.
Neil Armstrong: A Life of Flight by Jay BarbreeWhat it's about: Neil Armstrong's aviation career, from his service in the Korean War to the Apollo 11 mission, where he became the first person to walk on the moon.
What sets it apart: NBC News correspondent Jay Barbree is the only reporter to have covered all 166 American manned space missions; he was also a friend of Armstrong's.
Is it for you? Though it offers glimpses into its notoriously private subject's personal life, Neil Armstrong is a mostly career-centric account.
Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars by Nathalia HoltIntroducing: Barby Canright, Macie Roberts, Helen Yee Chow, Barbara Lewis, Janez Lawson, Susan Finley, and others.
Why they mattered: From the 1940s to the 1960s, this talented group of women calculated rocket trajectories, designed satellites, and analyzed massive amounts of experimental data for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Chasing Space: An Astronaut's Story of Grit, Grace, and Second Chances by Leland MelvinWhat it's about: Leland Melvin's career as an "unexpected astronaut," which almost ended after a training accident left him deaf in one ear.
Read it for: Melvin's grace and humility in the face of various professional setbacks, including a sidelined NFL career in the 1980s.
Who it's for: NASA fans and general readers alike will be charmed by Melvin's ability to make his larger-than-life experiences relatable.
Hidden Figures by Margot Lee ShetterlyWhat it is: the inspiring New York Times bestselling biography of NASA's African American female mathematicians, whose work in the 1950s and '60s played a pivotal role in launching American astronauts into orbit.
Media buzz: The 2016 film adaptation of Hidden Figures was a big hit with both audiences and critics, earning three Academy Award nominations (including one for Best Picture).
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