Biography and Memoir
Alexander the Great: His Life and His Mysterious Death by Anthony EverittWhat it is: a riveting, richly contextualized biography of the Macedonian conqueror's life that de-mythologizes history's prior depictions of him.
Chapters include: "First Blood;" "The Empire Strikes Back;" "Show Me the Way to Go Home."
Book buzz: In a starred review, Kirkus Reviews says Alexander the Great is "a story for everyone" that "reads as easily as a novel."
Sontag: Her Life and Work by Benjamin MoserWhat it is: an admiring biography of "America's last great literary star" and provocative multi-hyphenate intellectual Susan Sontag.
Why you might like it: With insights gleaned from private archival materials and more than 300 interviews, Sontag has been touted as the definitive portrait of a complicated figure.
Topics include: Sontag's struggles with her sexuality and later happiness with long-term partner Annie Leibovitz; her private insecurities in the face of celebrity; her battles with cancer (to which she succumbed in 2004).
The Ungrateful Refugee: What Immigrants Never Tell You by Dina NayeriWhat it's about: In 1988, eight-year-old Dina Nayeri and her family fled Iran, eventually finding asylum in the United States. Now an award-winning novelist, Nayeri grapples with living as an immigrant in a world that often diminishes her humanity.
Don't miss: "Camp," a chapter of eye-opening interviews Nayeri conducted with refugees from Afghanistan, Iran, and Syria at a camp in Greece.
And How Are You, Dr. Sacks?: A Biographical Memoir of Oliver Sacks by Lawrence WeschlerThen: In the early 1980s, journalist Lawrence Weschler met with Oliver Sacks to write a New Yorker profile on the renowned neurologist, though the project was eventually scrapped due to the then-closeted Sacks' concerns about his privacy.
Now: In this immersive blend of biography and memoir, Weschler revisits that period and discusses his friendship with Sacks, who in his final years of life urged Weschler to publish the profile.
Prince Albert: The Man Who Saved the Monarchy by A.N. WilsonWhat it is: a lively and accessible portrait of Queen Victoria's German-born Prince Consort, published to commemorate his 200th birthday.
Read it for: Albert's successful efforts to define his role and influence in his adopted homeland (such as spearheading the Great Exhibition of 1851), despite facing significant prejudice.
Book buzz: Prince Albert is the companion biography to A.N. Wilson's award-winning Victoria: A Life, the basis for the PBS series Victoria.
Passing for Human by Liana FinckWhat it is: a "meta-memoir" of New Yorker cartoonist Liana Finck's attempts to write this memoir; a contemplative journey of self-discovery from a woman who grapples with feeling at odds with the world.
Art alert: Delicate and disjointed black, white, and yellow illustrations complement Finck's whimsical yet introspective narrative.
Reviewers say: "In its ambition, framing, and multiple layers, this raises the bar for graphic narrative" (Kirkus Reviews).
Super Late Bloomer: My Early Days in Transition: An Up and Out Collection by Julia KayeWhat it's about: transgender cartoonist Julia Kaye's fraught first year undergoing hormone replacement therapy.
Art alert: This collection of black and white strips from Kaye's candid webcomic Up and Out features simple yet expressive snapshot-style illustrations that will endear her to readers.
Something New: Tales From a Makeshift Bride by Lucy KnisleyWhat it is: a breezy account of Lucy Knisley's DIY-wedding planning, featuring tips and how-tos for crafty nuptials-bound readers.
Art alert: Knisley's bright and charming full-color illustrations underscore her conflicted feelings about weddings and her desire to shake up tradition for her own ceremony.
For fans of: Adrian Tomine's Scenes from an Impending Marriage.
Belonging: A German Reckons with History and Home by Nora KrugWhat it's about: German artist Nora Krug's affecting journey to learn the truth about her family's Nazi ties.
Art alert: Krug intimately conveys her fractured relationship to her homeland by combining mixed-media illustrations, letters, and photographs in fragmented or superimposed arrangements.
Book buzz: Belonging is the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and was named a Best Book of the Year by the New York Times.
The Arab of the Future 3: A Childhood in the Middle East, 1985-1987 by Riad SattoufWhat it's about: Young Riad Sattouf grapples with life during Hafez al-Assad's regime and the dueling cultural expectations placed upon him by his Syrian father and French mother.
Art alert: Cartoony, minimally colored graphics starkly complement the disturbing and darkly humorous narrative.
Series alert: The 4th installment of Sattouf's acclaimed series, spanning the years 1987-1992, is out next month.
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