April’s Best Biographies & Memoirs

The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynastyby Susan Page
Even before publication, this memoir of the former first lady made headlines for its candid observations about the current state of presidential politics, but journalist Page covers the entirety of Bush’s life, informed by extensive research, personal diaries, and interviews with family, friends, and Mrs. Bush herself during the last six months of her life. Sometimes controversial and frequently underestimated, Barbara Bush molded herself into the powerful head of a family that produced two United States presidents while navigating her role as a prominent woman across generations of change.

Finding My Voice: My Journey to the West Wing and the Path Forward, by Valerie Jarrett
Jarrett is best known as the ultimate insider: the trusted aid and confidante to both of the Obamas, and the one consistent voice during all of their years in the White House. Of course, there’s much more to the story: born in Iran to parents who sought better opportunities there than were to be found in segregated America, she grew up in Chicago of the 1960s before becoming a corporate lawyer while a black single mother during a time when those roles carried even greater challenges. She was a key figure in in the administration of Harold Wilson, Chicago’s first black mayor, but when she interviewed young lawyer Michelle Robinson for a city job in 1991, a new phase of her life and career began.

Life Will Be the Death of Me. . . and you too!, by Chelsea Handler
Part confessional, part journey of self-discovery, Handler’s latest memoir describes a year in her life. Following the tumult of the 2016 presidential election, the comedian, writer, and television host made a commitment to confront her past and look her choices square in the face, embarking on a year of change, growth, and self-sufficiency through therapy, political activism, and picking up her own dog’s poo. It’s a funny and insightful journey, offering a roadmap to those of us looking to keep a smile on our faces as we chart new paths in life.

Backstage Pass, by Paul Stanley
It’s entirely possible we’ll never again see a band with the scope, longevity, and popularity of KISS, and Starchild Paul Stanley is a big part of the reason. It’s one thing to rock ‘n’ roll all night and party every day, but Stanley has also been a canny marketer and a smart businessman, helping to bring a behind-the-scenes discipline to the glam band that’s allowed it to thrive for nearly 50 years. Here, Stanley shares lessons from a life in rock.

Jimmy Page: The Definitive Biography, by Chris Salewicz
Jimmy Page is rock royalty many times over, but the guitarist has remained an elusive figure during his six decades in the business, only rarely giving interviews or discussing his personal life. Salewicz takes on the task of crafting the definitive biography of a fascinating figure, a key part of the history of rock whose longstanding interest in the occult has only burnished his mysterious reputation. Relying on original research as well as years’ worth of interviews with Page himself, this one is destined to be a legendary rock biography.

Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir, by Ruth Reichl
Chef, food writer, and producer of Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie on PBS, Reichl had an impressive career well before she was offered the top job at America’s oldest food and wine magazine, Gourmet. Having no experience of management and no interest in corporate politics, she said no before she said yes, spending a decade as editor-in-chief at the journal during a time when restaurants and foodie culture were on the rise, but print media was just beginning a steep decline. Her latest memoir is the story of those years, and includes some of the recipes and examples of the food writing for which she’s so well loved.

Shotgun Angels: My Story of Broken Roads and Unshakeable Hope, by Jay DeMarcus with Timothy D. Willard
A part of the trio that makes up one of the most popular pop country groups of the past two decades, Rascal Flatts’ Jay DeMarcus takes fans backstage for the story of his early years in Ohio, his discovery of music, and the rise of one of the biggest bands in the world. Describing his surprises and setbacks with humor and heart, DeMarcus details a journey took him from anonymity in in Columbus, Ohio to fame and fortune in Nashville and beyond.

Tiger Woods, by Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian
We thought we knew Tiger Woods—one of the world’s most famous and talented athletes—until a 2009 car crash exposed serial infidelities and caused his complicated personal life to bleed over into his professional career. Suddenly, the public image of golf’s shining star became a lot more complicated. Relying on years of reporting and new interviews with hundreds of people in Woods’ sphere, Benedict and Keteyian have crafted a portrait of the brilliant athlete that, for the first time, creates a 360-degree portrait of a complex figure.

Whose story inspires you?

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