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Best Biography and Memoir Recommendations

For some readers, real life is much more compelling than fiction, and real people are far more interesting than any character an author could dream up. If you're one of those readers, then biographies, autobiographies and memoirs are for you. 

The types of true stories are endless—there are romantic memoirs and tragic memoirs. There are short, essay-length memoirs that give you just a taste of an author’s writing. Perhaps you’re interested in a travel memoir that will make you feel as though you’ve walked the same steps as the writer, or you’re an American history buff looking for a bucket list of biographies on every American president. You could read a first-hand account from a former slave who became a dressmaker for Mary Todd Lincoln, or immerse yourself in Ruth Gruber’s own account of how she helped 1000 refugees find asylum. 

From biographies of politicians, business leaders, artists and celebrities, to memoirs that tell unforgettable true stories with unflinching honesty, these are the books that let you fully step into someone else's shoes.

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Dive into the Beauty and Danger of Fred Waitzkin’s Deep Water Blues

A calm sea turns into a tempestuous storm in the Searching for Bobby Fischer author’s latest novel.

May Sarton’s Greatest Works: 12 Books That Will Move You

Get lost in the words of one of America’s most innovative writers.

20 Biographies of Remarkable Women That You Need to Read

These fascinating biographies deserve a spot on your must-read list.

9 Travel Writings That Will Take You on a Journey

Enjoy a sun-soaked voyage, a cross-country road trip, and other unforgettable adventures—all without leaving your couch.

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author Russell Baker Dies at 93

The journalist will be forever remembered through his award-winning biography, Growing Up. 

The Author of The Other Einstein Brings Hedy Lamarr's Incredible Story to Life

The Only Woman in the Room paints a fictionalized portrait of the Hollywood actress who was so much more than a pretty face.

 9 Books About President George H.W. Bush 

 Revealing reads about the political life and times of 41. 

100 Years: The Life and Work of Madeleine L’Engle 

The ability to understand a child’s imagination is just one of the reasons why the A Wrinkle in Time author’s work has stood the test of time. 

Crazy Horse and Custer, A Dual Biography

The author of Band of Brothers explores the parallel lives of two formidable 19th-century warriors.

The Durrells in Corfu, from Page to Screen

Discover the books behind the hit show on PBS Masterpiece.

8 Artist Biographies That Will Change Your World View

These artists laid the foundation for their craft and led incredibly fascinating lives.

Beyond Politics: An Inside Look at the Life of Elizabeth Warren

Learn more about this political leader in Antonia Felix’s new book, Elizabeth Warren: Her Fight. Her Work. Her Life. 

Aretha Franklin: The Queen of Soul Has Died at 76

Read an excerpt from this music legend’s biography. 

10 Captivating Writer Biographies

See these talented authors in a whole new light.

6 Gloria Steinem Books That Will Inspire You

Through her writing, the feminist icon shares the wisdom she's gained from decades of activism.

21 Beach Reads to Pick Up This Summer

Make the most out of your days in the sun.

Powerful Quotes About Depression from William Styron's Memoir Darkness Visible

Author William's Styron's public fight with depression has helped others who have struggled with mental illness.

Looking Back: Joyce Maynard on Her Career-Launching Essay and Relationship With J.D. Salinger

Joyce Maynard's 1972 essay captured life in 1960s America—and the attention of one of the world's most enigmatic icons.

11 Madeleine L'Engle Books You May Have Missed

Look beyond A Wrinkle in Time, and discover the true breadth of the Newbery winner's talent.