November’s Best Biographies and Memoirs

Becoming, by Michelle Obama
The memoir of any first lady is a major publishing event, but Michelle Obama stands doubly apart as a uniquely consequential figure who became a powerful advocate for women and girls around the world during her tenure, even while raising a family under the watchful eye of the media. Her life didn’t begin when her husband became president: the Princeton and Harvard Law graduate was a lawyer, educator, and executive before ever stepping foot in the White House. In her own words, she candidly talks about her life, her career, her family, and her continuing story.

All the Way: Football, Fame, and Redemption, by Joe Namath and Sean Mortimer with Don Yaeger
Fifty years after Joe Namath lead the New York Jets to a Super Bowl victory against the Baltimore Colts, the icon tells the story of his journey from small-town Pennsylvania kid to sports legend. Across half a century, Namath climbed to the very height of celebrity, but also dealt with debilitating injuries that led to an addiction to to painkillers and alcohol. Here, he reveals that the charmed life he appeared to lead masked real challenges.

Back in the Game: One Gunman, Countless Heroes, and the Fight for My Life, by Steve Scalise with Jeffrey E. Stern
One of the most dramatic and horrific stories of our modern political era occurred in the summer of 2017 when a gunman took aim at a baseball practice among a group of Republican members of Congress, near-fatally wounding Majority Whip Steve Scalise. Here, Scalise offers a minute-by-minute account of the attack, as well as the stories of the women and men—on the scene and in the days and weeks afterward—who helped to save his life.

Let Her Fly: A Father’s Journey, by Ziauddin Yousafzai with Louise Carpenter and Malala Yousafzai
In 2014, Malala Yousafzai became the youngest Nobel Prize laureate in history for her work in promoting education for young women. Here, her father tells his own story, and shares what he’s learned from his life and his remarkable children. Ziauddin Yousafzai was born in a mud hut in Shangla, Pakistan and witnessed the rise of the Taliban in that region, a circumstance that ultimately led to his daughter’s shooting and the family’s subsequent uprooting to the UK. Himself a UN Special Advisor and activist, Ziauddin Yousafzai’s story is the fascinating true account of the father of a girl who became a world leader.

Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back): A Memoir of Recording and Discording with Wilco, Etc., by Jeff Tweedy
Chicago’s Wilco has a following like few other bands, but despite their reverent attention, its lead singer and songwriter Jeff Tweedy hasn’t always been particularly forthcoming. In this new memoir, Tweedy talks about his entire life, with a particular focus on the live-music circuit and the Chicago scene that forged musical legends.

Slowhand: The Life and Music of Eric Clapton, by Philip Norman
Clapton’s influence on rock is indisputable: the 17-time Grammy winner has been inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame three separate times. As a solo guitarist—and as a member of bands the Yardbirds, John Mavall’s Bluesbreakers, Cream, Blind Faith, Derek and the Dominoes—he’s been on the scene for more than a half-century. This biography, written by one of rock’s preeminent chroniclers in cooperation with Clapton and his family, follows the long road from an unconventional childhood, to the excesses of the ’60s and ’70s, through the tragic death of a child, and beyond.

Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose, by Joe Biden
The former vice president’s memoir, now in paperback, is his first since leaving the White House. It focuses on an extraordinary and difficult year in the life of Biden’s family: the 12 months surrounding the decline and death of his son, Beau, from a malignant brain tumor in 2015. The book provides a portrait of life in and out of the White House during a year of political challenges and world travel, set against the backdrop of a deeply personal story of loss.

Whose story inspires you?

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