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Archive | Books 100 > Biography and Memoir

The Books 100 list was written in 2009 and 2010. It is not currently being updated.


Poet and Guggenheim Fellow Mary Karr recounts her descent into alcoholism and her relationship with her mother, her family, and her faith.

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7“Cheever: A Life”

Blake Bailey provides detailed personal insight into the simultaneously ordinary and extraordinary life of author John Cheever

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9“Just Kids”

In “Just Kids,” punk queen Patti Smith reveals the nuances of her creative relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in 1970s bohemian New York.

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21“The Wilderness Warrior”

Douglas Brinkley takes on Theodore Roosevelt’s efforts to save America’s wilderness in “The Wilderness Warrior,” a book as big as its subject.

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D.A. Powell’s poetry collection “Chronic” soars in its electric anger, celebration and suspicion of love.

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30“Cheerful Money”

Tad Friend, a staff writer for the New Yorker, pens a hilarious and touching memoir about quirky relatives on the brink of extinction.

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31“Anne Frank”

“Anne Frank” by Francine Prose combines literary gossip and historical facts to lay claim to the belief that the young WWII icon was nothing short of a literary genius.

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38“True Compass”

Published less than a month after his death, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s memoir, “True Compass” pays homage to the family and political life he loved.

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41“Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong”

The compelling biography “Pops” argues that Louis Armstrong’s cheerful manner and exultant playing were the man’s essence, not a stage act.

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52“Raymond Carver”

“Raymond Carver” follows the short story writer’s turbulent life, from the vices that caused his downfall to the people who contributed to his authorial success.

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