Biography and Memoir
Gay Like Me: A Father Writes to His Son by Richie JacksonWhat it is: Broadway, TV, and film producer Richie Jackson's letter to his teenage son that addresses their different experiences as gay men.
Read it for: an insightful exploration of generational differences within the LGBTQIA community and what younger folks can -- and should -- learn from LGTBQIA history.
Is it for you? Though the book's advice will resonate most with LGBTQIA audiences, readers who like family memoirs will also appreciate this "heartfelt, wise, and compassionate book" (Booklist).
Brother & Sister by Diane KeatonWhat it's about: actress Diane Keaton's fraught relationship with her younger brother, Randy, who grappled with addiction and mental illness throughout his life and dementia in his 70s.
What's inside: family documents (including letters and poetry) that reveal how Randy's volatility affected him and his loved ones; Keaton's frank reckoning with how she used her fame as an excuse for her estrangement from a sibling to whom she'd been close in childhood.
Want a taste? "I want to have another chance at being a better sister."
Mengele: Unmasking the "Angel of Death" by David G. MarwellWho it's about: Josef Mengele, the infamous Nazi physician who conducted brutal experiments on Auschwitz prisoners and evaded capture after the end of the war.
What sets it apart: Historian David G. Marwell has been researching his subject for decades: as a Department of Justice employee in the 1980s, he worked to locate Mengele.
Further reading: Debbie Cenziper's fast-paced history Citizen 865 tracks the efforts of Nazi hunters (including Marwell) whose efforts with the Office of Special Investigations helped bring war criminals to justice.
Uncanny Valley by Anna WienerWhat it is: a fast-paced memoir of author Anna Wiener's experiences working for a series of Silicon Valley startups.
Why you might like it: Though she's careful to avoid naming her former workplaces, Wiener's dishy context clues will have readers eager to figure it out for themselves.
Read it for: a glimpse of tech industry life that's equal parts humorous ("perks" included an office theme park and speakeasy) and horrifying (Wiener and other female employees were told to "trust karma" when they were passed up for promotions).
I'm Just Happy To Be Here: A Memoir of Renegade Mothering by Janelle HanchettWhat it's about: Renegade Mothering blog creator Janelle Hanchett's self-destructive early years of parenthood, during which she grappled with postpartum depression, an unhappy marriage, alcoholism, and cocaine addiction.
Is it for you? Hanchett's unflinching though ultimately inspiring portrait of redemption and recovery will resonate with readers weary of the "sanctity of motherhood" and those who like rousing stories of second chances.
The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath by Leslie JamisonWhat it is: a galvanizing memoir of Leslie Jamison's recovery from the alcohol addiction that dominated her 20s.
What's inside: perceptive profiles of famous alcoholics throughout history -- including writer Raymond Carver and singer Billie Holiday -- that explore the link between addiction and creativity.
Try this next: Olivia Laing's The Trip to Echo Spring: On Writers and Drinking.
A Common Struggle: A Personal Journey Through the Past and Future of Mental Illness... by Patrick J. Kennedy and Stephen FriedWhat it's about: former Rhode Island congressman Patrick Kennedy's battles with bipolar disorder and painkiller addiction.
Why you might like it: Kennedy's candid call to action will resonate with readers hoping for an empathetic approach to mental health policy and advocacy.
Don't miss: the resource guide that concludes the book.
Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls by T Kira MaddenWhat it's about: T Kira Madden’s privileged and dysfunctional upbringing spent navigating her parents’ abusive relationship, their addictions, and her identity as a biracial lesbian.
How she coped: Madden sought communion with the titular tribe of fiercely supportive teens in her Boca Raton community and later moved to New York City to study fashion design.
Book buzz: A finalist for the John Leonard First Book Prize, Madden's lyrical memoir in essays has received accolades from The Washington Post, Esquire, Variety, Autostraddle, and many more.
Air Traffic: A Memoir of Ambition and Manhood in America by Gregory PardloHow it began: In 1981, Gregory Pardlo's father was among the 11,000 federal employees fired by President Reagan in the wake of the air traffic controllers strike. Faced with limited employment options, he descended into alcoholism, a path Gregory and his brother would later follow.
Read it for: Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Pardlo's lyrical reflections on the trappings of family legacy and black masculinity.
Want a taste? "Alcoholism was the Muzak of our familial dysfunction. Most of the time, we didn't even notice it."
In Pain: A Bioethicist's Personal Struggle with Opioids by Travis RiederWhat it is: bioethicist and research scholar Travis Rieder's compelling memoir about the opioid addiction that led him to contemplate suicide after a gruesome motorcycle accident.
What sets it apart: The author's vocation gives him a unique perspective on this complicated issue and makes him "a convincing and effective advocate for opioid use reform" (Kirkus Reviews).
Is it for you? Rieder doesn't shy away from the details of his injuries or the withdrawals he experienced while in recovery.
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