Biography and Memoir
Tears of Salt: A Doctor's Story by Pietro BartoloWhat it's about: Physician Pietro Bartolo, head of the only medical clinic on the Italian island of Lampedusa, describes 25 years of caring for the thousands of desperate Middle Eastern and African refugees who have arrived on the island in hopes of a better life.
Why you might like it: Through moving and poignant vignettes, Bartolo recounts the moments of life, hope, illness, and death that are at the heart of the European migrant crisis.
Media buzz: Author Bartolo is featured in the 2016 Academy Award-nominated film Fire at Sea.
The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam by Max BootWhat it is: a biography of CIA operative Edward Lansdale that challenges commonly held perceptions of the man who orchestrated the American "hearts and minds" strategy during the Vietnam conflict.
Don't miss: With the aid of Lansdale's own writings, author Max Boot details the operative's life -- he was once called "one of the ten greatest spies of all time" by CIA Director William Colby -- while also providing a detailed military history of the Vietnam war.
You might also like: The Spy Who Loved Us by Thomas Bass.
The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border by Francisco CantúWhat it's about: Third-generation Mexican American Francisco Cantú writes eloquently of his time as a U.S. Border Agent in the American Southwest. Cantú shares how, during his four years on the job, he found himself on both sides of the immigration issue: he was as an enforcer of the law but also sympathetic to the plight of those trying to cross the border.
About the author: Cantú is a former Fulbright fellow who has received both a Whiting Award and the Pushcart Prize, and was featured on NPR's This American Life.
Furnishing Eternity: A Father, a Son, a Coffin, and a Measure of Life by David GiffelsWhat it's about: With the help of his 81-year-old father, author David Giffels embarks on a surprising endeavor -- to build his own coffin -- only to unexpectedly lose his mother and his best friend. In this moving memoir, Giffels shares the extraordinary events of that year, offering a heartfelt meditation on life, mortality, and his Midwestern roots.
Reviewers say: "Tender, witty and, like the woodworking it describes, painstakingly and subtly wrought" (New York Times Book Review).
The Gambler: How Penniless Dropout Kirk Kerkorian Became the Greatest Deal... by William C. RempelWhat it is: the rags-to-riches life story of billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, who died at the age of 98 in 2015. Journalist William Rempel examines Kerkorian's activities as an aviator in World War II, his investments in the high-stakes world of Las Vegas real estate, and his complicated personal life, which became tabloid fodder despite his reclusive nature.
Reviewers say: "A remarkably detailed and fascinating look at the career of an idiosyncratic tycoon" (Booklist).
Andre the Giant: Life and Legend by Box BrownWhat it's about: French-born André Roussimoff (better known as Andre the Giant -- famous for both his wrestling career and the movie The Princess Bride) was larger than life, measuring an astounding seven feet, four inches tall.
Why you might like it: In this "exquisitely rendered" (Kirkus Reviews) graphic novel, Box Brown chronicles André's complex life, from the medical condition that caused his gigantism to his roles in the ring and on screen.
Further reading: For another graphic biography on the legendary wrestler, try Andre the Giant by Brandon Easton.
In the Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane GuerreroWhat it's about: When actress Dianne Guerrero (Orange is the New Black; Jane the Virgin) was just 14 years old, she returned home from school one day to find that her parents and older brother -- undocumented Colombian immigrants -- had been deported. Guerrero, born in the U.S., could stay, but she was completely on her own, as she shares in this timely and heartbreaking memoir.
You might also like: Dreamers: An Immigrant Generation's Fight for Their American Dream by Eileen Truax.
Yes, My Accent Is Real: And Some Other Things I Haven't Told You by Kunal NayyarWhat it is: a collection of charming, irreverent essays that answer the question "How did a London-born, New Delhi-raised student who came to the U.S. to get a degree in business administration end up playing an astrophysicist on The Big Bang Theory?" In answering that question, actor Kunal Nayyar also shares reminiscences about his life both on and off the small screen.
Don't miss: Nayyar's infatuation with the fictional Winnie Cooper; his marriage to a former Miss India.
Silver Screen Fiend: Learning About Life From an Addiction to Film by Patton OswaltWhat it's about: the four-year period in comedian Patton Oswalt's life during which he compulsively watched new releases, classic films, and unknown movies -- more than 250 of them, to be exact, all in Los Angeles movie theaters. His entertaining analysis of his journey from wanna-be stand-up comic to on-screen success during that time is sure to appeal to film junkies and Oswalt's fans.
Reviewers say: Silver Screen Fiend is "downright impossible to put down" (Booklist).
Her Again: Becoming Meryl Streep by Michael SchulmanWhat it's about: Nominated for 20 Academy Awards and the winner of three (at least as of this writing), Meryl Streep is undoubtedly one of the best actors of her generation. In Her Again, author Michael Schulman profiles the iconic star and examines her early achievements, from her time at Vassar College to her success on the New York Stage to her career-making performances in films like Kramer vs. Kramer.
Read it for: an entertaining, fast-paced celebrity biography bursting with gossipy tidbits.
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