Royalty, Sports, & the Oppressed | Memoir & Biography Previews, Mar./Apr. 2018

Allen, Ray & Michael Arkush. From the Outside: My Journey Through Life and the Game I Love. Dey Street: HarperCollins. Mar. 2018. 288p. ISBN 9780062675477. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062675491. MEMOIR/SPORTS
Two-time National Basketball Association champion Allen, celebrated for his three-point shot, shares about his upbringing in a military family (which taught him discipline and respect) and reflects on fellow players, coaches, owners, and friends. With a 75,000-copy first printing.

Baylor, Elgin with Alan Eisenstock. Hang Time: My Life in Basketball. Houghton Harcourt. Apr. 2018. 320p. ISBN 9780544617056. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780544618459. MEMOIR/SPORTS
Baylor was a game changer on and off the courts, challenging racism during 13 seasons of play in the National Basketball Association and more than two decades as general manager for the L.A. Clippers. Payoff time: In 2006, he was named NBA Executive of the Year. With a 50,000-copy first printing.

Dyson, Freeman. Maker of Patterns: An Autobiography Through Letters. Liveright: Norton. Mar. 2018. 320p. ISBN 9780871403865. $27.95. SCIENCE
This collection of letters penned by leading theoretical physicist Dyson between 1940 and the early 1980s is subtitled an autobiography but BISACed as science, which seems fitting. Even as the letters relate events in Dyson’s life, they effectively chronicle modern science and discoveries made by the likes of J. Robert Oppenheimer, Richard Feynman, and Stephen Hawking. Science is so hot.

Harrington, Joel F. Dangerous Mystic: Meister Eckhart’s Path to the God Within. Penguin Pr. Mar. 2018. 384p. ISBN 9781101981566. $30; ebk. ISBN 9781101981580. Downloadable: Penguin Audio. BIOGRAPHY
Medieval scholar Harrington (The Faithful Executioner) presents an accessible life of the great 14th-century Christian mystic Meister Eckhart, who rattled his rigidly hierarchical church by espousing a direct and personal connection to God. Eckhart went on to influence thinkers from Jean-Paul Sartre and Thomas Merton to the Dalai Lama and Eckhart Tolle. Spiritual seekers, don’t miss; everyone from Jewish Kabbalists to Sufi Muslims love Eckhart.

Hinton, Anthony Ray with Laura Love Hardin. The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row. St. Martin’s. Mar. 2018. 272p. ISBN 9781250124715. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250124722. CD: Macmillan Audio. MEMOIR
Arrested in 1985 Alabama and charged with two counts of capital murder for a crime he did not commit, Hinton spent nearly three decades on death row before his 2015 release. In the intervening years, he decided to survive by serving as a source of spiritual strength to others on death row. With a 100,000-copy announced market distribution.

Junor, Penny. The Duchess: Camilla Parker Bowles and the Love Affair That Rocked the Crown. Harper. Mar. 2018. 320p. ISBN 9780062471109. $28.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062471123. BIOGRAPHY
In the 30 years that she’s been covering the royal family, British journalist Junor has penned biographies of the Prince and the Princess of Wales, their two sons, and two British prime ministers, so why not Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall? Junor argues that while Camilla helped wreck the marriage of Charles and Diana, in the end she has restored the reputation of the royal family. With a 50,000-copy first printing.

Kuusisto, Stephen. Have Dog, Will Travel: A Poet’s Journey. S. & S. Mar. 2018. 256p. ISBN 9781451689792. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781451689815. MEMOIR
“It’s not as dark as you think” says poet/memoirist Kuusisto’s website, referencing his Planet of the Blind, a New York Times Notable Book. Though he has not been able to see since birth, Kuusisto never had a guide dog until age 38, when a spunky yellow Labrador named Corky arrived in his life and changed it entirely, giving him greater independence and an ability to travel. A celebration of Corky and guide dogs everywhere.

Lipska, Barbara K. & Elaine McArdle. The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind: My Tale of Madness and Recovery. Houghton Harcourt. Apr. 2018. 224p. ISBN 9781328787309. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781328787279. MEMOIR
Lipska specializes in the neuroscience of mental illness, so it’s blisteringly ironic that in January 2015 she was diagnosed with melanoma that had leeched into her brain, eventually leading to dementia- and schizophrenia-like symptoms. Then the immunotherapy kicked in, and Lipska returned to normal, but with a clear memory of (and hence extraordinary insight into) what it’s like to lose one’s mind. With a 100,000-copy first printing.

Michaelis, Arno & Pardeep Kaleka with Robin Gaby Fisher. The Gift of Our Wounds: A Sikh and a Former White Supremacist Find Forgiveness After Hate. St. Martin’s. Apr. 2018. 288p. ISBN 9781250107541. MEMOIR/POLITICAL SCIENCE
The 2012 massacre at a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, WI, hit Kaleka hard; his father was temple leader. It hit Michaelis hard, too; founder of a racist skinhead organization, he suddenly felt enormous guilt about the crimes he had committed in the name of white power and vowed to do something about it. Together, Arno and Pardeep formed an organization called Serve 2 Unite, which aims to battle hate and build loving and nonviolent environments in our schools and communities.

Simpson, Cam. The Girl from Kathmandu: Twelve Dead Men and a Woman’s Quest for Justice. Harper. Mar. 2018. 400p. ISBN 9780062449719. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062449733. POLITICAL SCIENCE
In August 2004, 12 men from Nepal left home to work at a five-star luxury hotel in Amman, Jordan. Or so they thought. Actually, they had been subcontracted by the United States government to build an American military base in Iraq. Then they were kidnapped and murdered by Islamic extremists, and Cam—who won the George Polk Award and Overseas Press Club Award for the series on which this book is based—relates how the widow of one of the men sought justice for them all. With a 40,000-copy first printing.

Skidmore, Chris. Richard III: England’s Most Controversial King. St. Martin’s. Apr. 2018. 400p. ISBN 9781250045485. $29.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466844117. BIOGRAPHY
People are talking again about hunchbacked Richard III ever since the 2012 discovery of his skeleton beneath a Leicester parking lot. Now it’s time for a reassessment, offered here by Skidmore, an MP who had a double first in History at Christ Church, Oxford. Did Richard really murder his nephews? Was he the victim of the 1400s equivalent of nasty politicking and fake news? What’s it like to live in such a bloody, brutal time?

Smart, Elizabeth A. Where There’s Hope: Healing, Moving Forward, and Never Giving Up. St. Martin’s. Mar. 2018. 288p. ISBN 9781250115522. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250115546. CD: Macmillan Audio. MEMOIR
Smart knows something about hope; she was abducted at age 14 and held for nine months, as she chronicled in her New York Times best-selling My Story. Now she’s president of the Elizabeth Smart Foundation, which has as its aim “bringing hope and ending victimization through prevention, recovery, and advocacy.” Here, she tells us how to carry on after adversity.

Tolokonnikova, Nadya. Rules for Rulebreakers: A Pussy Riot Guide to Revolution. HarperOne. Mar. 2018. 256p. ISBN 9780062741585. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062741592. MEMOIR/POLITICAL SCIENCE
A founding member of the female Russian activist group Pussy Riot, Tolokonnikova was imprisoned for her part in Pussy Riot’s performance of an anti-Putin protest song in a Moscow church, and her political activism has included leaping barbed wire, kissing police officers, and going on a hunger strike in jail. Here she tells her story while clarifying her activist beliefs and encouraging our own. Not a specialty act: Pussy Riot’s recent music videos “Straight Outta Vagina,” “Make America Great Again” and “Chaika” have more than five million views on YouTube.

Wamariya, Clemantine & Elizabeth Weil. The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After. Crown. Apr. 2018. 304p. ISBN 9780451495327. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780451495341. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. MEMOIR

In 1994, six-year-old Wamariya fled genocidal violence in Rwanda with her older sister, Claire, and spent the six years moving through seven African countries before landing in America, never knowing if her parents had survived. This raw-to-the-bone memoir grew out of an Association of Magazine Media Ellie Award finalist posted on Medium, and Wamariya is known to Oprah watchers and readers of David Brooks’s New York Times columns. What a story; big promotion.

Wood, Levison. Walking the Americas: 1,800 Miles, Eight Countries, and One Incredible Journey from Mexico to Colombia. Atlantic Monthly. Mar. 2018. 304p. ISBN 9780802127495. $27. TRAVEL
As the subtitle suggests, award-winning travel writer Wood, who’s already taken us walking along the Nile and in the Himalayas, now points us toward the New World. The book was published last February in the UK, where it was a Sunday Times Top 10 Bestseller and served as the basis of a TV series that captured over two million viewers per episode. A great travel adventure that’s also relevant to this country’s immigration debate.

Yurchyshyn, Anya. My Dead Parents: A Memoir. Crown. Mar. 2018. 336p. ISBN 9780553447040. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780553447057. Downloadable: Random Audio. MEMOIR
Cleaning out the family home, Yurchyshyn found letters and artifacts that completely changed her perception of her chronically depressed mother, just deceased, and her seemingly cold father, who had died mysteriously in Ukraine. Theirs was in fact a loving, glamorous marriage ultimately destroyed by Soviet-era repression. Spotting Yurchyshyn’s anonymous Tumblr blog on this subject, a BuzzFeed editor asked her for an essay that got 225,000 views in just two weeks, big numbers for long-form work. So there’s a built-in audience.




Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.

Comment Policy:
  1. Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  2. Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  3. Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  4. Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media, per our Terms of Use.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through (though some comments with links to multiple URLs are held for spam-check moderation by the system). If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.

We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it and please limit the number of links submitted in your comment. For more info, see the full Terms of Use.

Speak Your Mind