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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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Before He Was Muhammad Ali: The Amateur Boxer Who Won Gold at the 1960 Olympics 

The boxer won the Light Heavyweight gold medal at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome when he was just 18 years old.

7 Donald Trump Books Written By Authors from Both Sides

Orange-faced ogre, or the savior of our country? Opinions vary...vastly.

Paul Monette's Fiercely Honest AIDS Memoir

The author candidly writes about the death of his partner, Roger Horwitz.

Can't Get Enough of the Big News? Here Are Some More Royal Reads!

You may not make Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding guest list, but these books are your personal invitations to the world of royalty.

The Durrells in Corfu Returns to PBS for Season 2

The series is based on Gerald Durrell’s Corfu Trilogy, which details his family’s life after moving from England to Greece in the 1930s.

Battle of the Sexes: The Real Story Behind the Billie Jean King vs. Bobby Riggs Tennis Match Up 

In "Game, Set, and Match," sportswriter Herbert Warren Wind tells the story of how this famous tennis match came to be.

10 Touching Memoirs for Fans of The Glass Castle

Dysfunctional families and unconventional upbringings were the norm for these authors.

Portrait of an Icon: 8 Books About Marilyn Monroe

We reflect on the actress' troubled but extraordinary life.

A Wrinkle in Time Trailer is a Visual Feast

Watch the first trailer for the upcoming adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s time travel classic.

Food for the Soul: 10 Best Culinary Memoirs

Feast on these delicious and inspiring reads.

Adult Books for Fans of A Wrinkle in Time

Charlotte Jones Voiklis and Lena Roy discuss their grandmother's incredible adult novels.

Step Inside the White House With These Entertaining Reads

Learn what really goes on behind those closed Palladian doors.

How Ruth Gruber Helped 1000 European Refugees Find Asylum in America

In Haven, the award-winning journalist recounts her incredible—and controversial—involvement in the rescue of thousands of Jews.

9 Extraordinary Biographies About Strong Women

Dig into the histories of women who shaped the world.

Girl Squad: Fierce Females Throughout History

If girl squads were a thing in the past, these gals would put Taylor and her supermodels to shame.

In Defense: Elizabeth Gilbert

Gilbert haters cite Eat, Pray, Love as proof of her failings, and in the process neglect her fantastic, near-perfect novel.

Holidays Abroad: Kate Christensen’s Thanksgiving in Tuscany

Writer Kate Christensen shares a traditional Thanksgiving dinner in the Florentine hills—and her recipe for persimmon pudding.

11 Bizarre Facts From Robert Caro’s The Years of Lyndon Johnson

One writer listens to 150 hours of the four-volume LBJ biography so you don't have to.