Althea: The Life of Tennis Champion Althea Gibson by Sally H. JacobsWhat it's about: the life and career of trailblazing tennis player Althea Gibson, the first African American to win a Grand Slam tournament.
Read it for: a comprehensive portrait of a complex woman, who battled racial and gender discrimination, poverty, and abuse in her journey toward stardom.
Further reading: Serving Herself: The Life and Times of Althea Gibson by Ashley Brown.
The Country of the Blind: A Memoir at the End of Sight by Andrew LelandWhat it's about: The Believer editor Andrew Leland's life with retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic eye disease that leads to blindness.
Why you might like it: Featuring a candid mix of his own reflections and interviews with other blind folks, Leland's thought-provoking debut reveals the myriad ways in which people experience their disabilities.
Featuring: cheeky commentary on representations of blindness: "a tour through the Western canon offers of highlight reel of blind abjection."
Congratulations, The Best Is Over!: Essays by R. Eric ThomasWhat it is: the latest freewheeling essay collection from bestselling author and playwright R. Eric Thomas (Here For It).
Topics include: Thomas' return to his hometown of Baltimore after years away; home renovation attempts; mishaps at his 20th high school reunion; coping with death and depression.
Reviewers say: "A funny, poignant, astute collection" (Kirkus Reviews); "unfailingly entertaining" (Publishers Weekly).
Lexington: The Extraordinary Life and Turbulent Times of America's Legendary... by Kim WickensWhat it is: a lively and richly detailed biography of Lexington, the racehorse who broke the world speed record for a four-mile race in 1855.
Did you know? Twelve Triple Crown winners are descended from Lexington, among them Secretariat and Seabiscuit.
Further reading: Horse, Geraldine Brooks' award-winning novel inspired by the Black horsemen who were instrumental to the prized thoroughbred's success.
Resistance: A Songwriter's Story of Hope, Change, and Courage by Tori AmosWhat it's about: Grammy-nominated musician Tori Amos' life in music and political activism.
Who it's for: Peppered with song lyrics, this thoughtful blend of memoir and call to action will resonate with artists and Amos' many fans.
Try this next: For another candid memoir by a 1990s alt-rock icon and activist, check out Ani DiFranco's No Walls and the Recurring Dream.
Naturally Tan by Tan FranceWhat it is: a charming coming-of-age memoir from Queer Eye fashion expert Tan France.
Why you might like it: With wit and candor, France tackles topics both affecting (the racist bullying he endured as a Pakistani Muslim teen in England) and amusing (his penchant for no-nonsense sartorial advice).
For fans of: fellow Fab Five personality Karamo Brown's Karamo: My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing, and Hope.
Sunshine Girl: An Unexpected Life by Julianna MarguliesWhat it is: a candid memoir from Emmy Award-winning ER and The Good Wife actress Julianna Margulies.
Topics include: how Margulies' unconventional upbringing fueled her desire to perform; her decision to leave ER at the height of the show's popularity, turning down $27 million to renew her contract; finding love after a series of unfulfilling relationships.
For fans of: well-crafted celebrity memoirs that favor deep reflection over gossip, like Gabriel Byrne's Walking with Ghosts.
Unprotected by Billy PorterWhat it's about: Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Award-winning actor Billy Porter's inspiring and hard-fought success in the entertainment industry.
Is it for you? Porter's intimate debut doesn't shy away from the hardships he's faced, including childhood sexual abuse, bankruptcy, racist and homophobic treatment in Hollywood, and living with HIV.
Try this next: Fans of moving and conversational celebrity memoirs will want to read Gabrielle Union's You Got Anything Stronger?.
Just As I Am by Cicely TysonWhat it is: an engaging memoir by iconic Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress Cicely Tyson, published just two days before her death in January 2021 at age 96.
Topics include: how Tyson broke barriers and combatted stereotypes in the entertainment industry, including being the first Black actress to wear her natural hair on TV and earning an Oscar nomination for 1972's Sounder, her first lead film role; her volatile relationship with Miles Davis, to whom she was married for eight years.
Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets & Advice for Living Your Best Life by Ali WongWhat is: an upbeat and unfiltered collection of letters addressed to comedian Ali Wong's toddler-age daughters, offering hard-won advice from her life on and off the stage.
Topics include: Wong's Vietnamese Chinese upbringing; early career failings; marriage and motherhood; hobnobbing with celebrities.
Reviewers say: "A down-to-earth collection that is raw but not irreverent" (Kirkus Reviews).
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