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Winter Newsletter 2023 Biography & Memoir

A Man of Two Faces by Viet Thanh Nguyen

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen has performed an acrobatic literary feat. His memoir about being a refugee in America™ is playful on the page, damning in its bite, smart, lyrical, funny, tender, and true. While ranging wide into culture and critique, it is at its heart a tribute to his Vietnamese parents and a reckoning with how we see them, with how we see. This book touches deep like a testimony—it is a marvel to read and essential to understand.  


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A Man of Two Faces: A Memoir, a History, a Memorial By Viet Thanh Nguyen Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802160508
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grove Press - October 3rd, 2023

The World According to Joan Didion by Evelyn McDonnell

Journalist, essayist, and novelist Joan Didion, who passed away in 2021, remains one of my favorite writers of all time. Evelyn McDonnell, herself a literary jack-of-many-trades, offers a literary biography that seeks to go beyond the where and when of Didion’s life and get at the heart of her process as a researcher and writer, and to explore the various ways she saw the world and transmuted what she saw into powerful, revelatory prose. 


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The World According to Joan Didion By Evelyn McDonnell Cover Image
ISBN: 9780063289079
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperOne - September 26th, 2023

Everything I Learned, I Learned in a Chinese Restaurant by Curtis Chin

Chung’s Cantonese Cuisine was more than just a restaurant. From its inception in 1940, it provided food, service, and refuge across race and class lines, and starting in the ’60s, it became the backdrop for Curtis Chin’s coming-of-age story—a memoir so rich with family, community, and honesty that its pleasures blend seamlessly with its underlying importance. Chin pens life in 20th-century Detroit so well, and in so doing, he captures the entire American experience. It is delicious.  


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Everything I Learned, I Learned in a Chinese Restaurant: A Memoir By Curtis Chin Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316507653
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown and Company - October 17th, 2023

Leslie F*cking Jones by Leslie Jones

Whether you know Leslie Jones from Saturday Night Live, stand-up, or even her viral Olympics commentary, you are aware of one thing: She is hilarious. And fearless. (Okay, that’s two things.) In her new memoir, Jones walks us through some of the most memorable moments of her life and career from trauma in her childhood to landing on SNL at age 47. Despite facing vicious racism (especially in reaction to the all-female remake of Ghostbusters), she has followed her dad’s advice to “be undeniable” and created a space for herself as a Black woman in comedy.  


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Leslie F*cking Jones By Leslie Jones Cover Image
ISBN: 9781538706497
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grand Central Publishing - September 19th, 2023

How to Say Babylon by Safiya Sinclair

Poet Safiya Sinclair tells the gripping story of her upbringing in a strict Jamaican Rastafari house, where her father fills her with equal doses of Black empowerment and long-held misogyny. As Sinclair begins to fight against this childhood doctrine, she uses poetry as liberation, ultimately coming to America, against her father’s wishes. Writer Marlon James says, “To read it is to believe that words can save, words can heal, and words can imbue us with near divine power.”  


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How to Say Babylon: A Memoir By Safiya Sinclair Cover Image
ISBN: 9781982132330
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: 37 Ink - October 3rd, 2023

Going Infinite by Michael Lewis

I confess I am obsessed with Sam Bankman-Fried, and while there are countless podcasts and exposes to devour, I still can’t wait for the brilliant Michael Lewis’s take. The author of The Big Short gives the reader a peek into the man behind FTX, and explores the economic background to explain why SBF’s fall was both entirely unprecedented and entirely predictable. Perfect for someone wanting a psychological profile or a deeper understanding of the madcap trainwreck of crypto.  


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Going Infinite: The Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon By Michael Lewis Cover Image
ISBN: 9781324074335
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - October 3rd, 2023

Legitimate Kid by Aida Rodriguez

Legitimate Kid is an engrossing memoir. Aida Rodriguez candidly shares the story of her life, and its love and trauma are the source of much of her stand-up comedy. Rodriguez immerses you in her experiences, as the Latine daughter of a teenage single mom; as a smart, shy, kid burgeoning with talent; as a single mom herself, struggling to keep the roof over her kids’ heads; and as a triumphant rising comedian. This memoir is a joy to read, and I can’t wait for more from Aida Rodriguez.  


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Legitimate Kid: A Memoir By Aida Rodriguez Cover Image
ISBN: 9780063241282
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperOne - October 17th, 2023

Super-Infinite: The Transformations of John Donne by Katherine Rundell

John Donne was a contradiction. Writer and preacher both, the man wrote lewd poetry and fiery sermons. His story is fascinating, but never has it been painted so vividly. Katherine Rundell’s use of language is so beautiful, it made me gasp out loud several times. Even if you don’t like history, even if you don’t read nonfiction, do yourself a favor and bask in the best writing I’ve seen in a long time.  


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Super-Infinite: The Transformations of John Donne By Katherine Rundell Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250872500
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador - September 5th, 2023

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