A bio-memoir book recommendation: Art Sex Music by Cosey Fanni Tutti

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2wEoaUU.
Though the details of Tutti’s career are consistently fascinating, these glimpses of life outside it are what gives the book its warmth, and provide a much-needed counterbalance to the relentless awfulness of P-Orridge.
Book description from Google Books:
“A bravura rock memoir vibrating with fierce and fearless memories–a must-have item for Chris and Cosey and Throbbing Gristle fans”–Kirkus Reviews (Starred) Art Sex Music is the autobiography of a musician who, as a founding member of the avant-garde group Throbbing Gristle and electronic pioneers Chris & Cosey, has consistently challenged the boundaries of music over the past four decades. It is the account of an artist who, as part of COUM Transmissions, represented Britain at the IXth Biennale de Paris, whose Prostitution show at the ICA in 1976 caused the Conservative MP Nicholas Fairbairn to declare her, COUM and Throbbing Gristle ‘Wreckers of Civilisation’ . . . shortly before he was arrested for indecent exposure, and whose work continues to be held at the vanguard of contemporary art. And it is the story of her work as a pornographic model and striptease artiste which challenged assumptions about morality, erotica, and art. Wise, shocking, and elegant, this is the life of Cosey Fanni Tutti.
The book is rated 3.94/5 at goodreads.com, from 172 ratings. See 31 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2xjHYk4.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2xkgyKX.

A bio-memoir book recommendation: The Moth Presents All These Wonders: True Stories About Facing the Unknown by Catherine Burns

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2xgFVx7.
Some are heartbreakingly sad; some laugh-out-loud funny; some momentous and tragic; almost all of them resonant or surprising. They are stories that attest to the startling varieties and travails of human experience…
Book description from Google Books:
“Wonderful.” –Michiko Kakutani, New York Times Celebrating the 20th anniversary of storytelling phenomenon The Moth, 45 unforgettable true stories about risk, courage, and facing the unknown, drawn from the best ever told on their stages Carefully selected by the creative minds at The Moth, and adapted to the page to preserve the raw energy of live storytelling, All These Wonders features voices both familiar and new. Alongside Louis C.K., Tig Notaro, John Turturro, and Meg Wolitzer, readers will encounter: an astronomer gazing at the surface of Pluto for the first time, an Afghan refugee learning how much her father sacrificed to save their family, a hip-hop star coming to terms with being a “one-hit wonder,” a young female spy risking everything as part of Churchill’s “secret army” during World War II, and more. High-school student and neuroscientist alike, the storytellers share their ventures into uncharted territory–and how their lives were changed indelibly by what they discovered there. With passion, and humor, they encourage us all to be more open, vulnerable, and alive.
The book is rated 4.50/5 at goodreads.com, from 1041 ratings. See 188 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2wCb7mV.
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A bio-memoir book recommendation: You Say to Brick: The Life of Louis Kahn by Wendy Lesser

A critic review (source Star Tribune) can be read at: http://strib.mn/2wF0hg2.
This remarkable, readable and humane book pairs painstaking research with poetic interpretations. No detail is too small, as long as it sheds light on one of the 20th century’s most admired, influential architects.
Book description from Google Books:
Born in Estonia 1901 and brought to America in 1906, the architect Louis Kahn grew up in poverty in Philadelphia. By the time of his mysterious death in 1974, he was widely recognized as one of the greatest architects of his era. Yet this enormous reputation was based on only a handful of masterpieces, all built during the last fifteen years of his life. Wendy Lesser’s You Say to Brick: The Life of Louis Kahn is a major exploration of the architect’s life and work. Kahn, perhaps more than any other twentieth-century American architect, was a “public” architect. Rather than focusing on corporate commissions, he devoted himself to designing research facilities, government centers, museums, libraries, and other structures that would serve the public good. But this warm, captivating person, beloved by students and admired by colleagues, was also a secretive man hiding under a series of masks. Kahn himself, however, is not the only complex subject that comes vividly to life in these pages. His signature achievements—like the Salk Institute in La Jolla, the National Assembly Building of Bangladesh, and the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad—can at first seem as enigmatic and beguiling as the man who designed them. In attempts to describe these structures, we are often forced to speak in contradictions and paradoxes: structures that seem at once unmistakably modern and ancient; enormous built spaces that offer a sense of intimate containment; designs in which light itself seems tangible, a raw material as tactile as travertine or Kahn’s beloved concrete. This is where Lesser’s talents as one of our most original and gifted cultural critics come into play. Interspersed throughout her account of Kahn’s life and career are exhilarating “in situ” descriptions of what it feels like to move through his built structures. Drawing on extensive original research, lengthy interviews with his children, his colleagues, and his students, and travel to the far-flung sites of his career-defining buildings, Lesser has written a landmark biography of this elusive genius, revealing the mind behind some of the twentieth century’s most celebrated architecture.
The book is rated 4.29/5 at goodreads.com, from 65 ratings. See 19 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2wEIGFg.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2xkIXk9.
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A bio-memoir book recommendation: The Family Gene: A Mission to Turn My Deadly Inheritance into a Hopeful Future by Joselin Linder

A critic review (source Star Tribune) can be read at: http://strib.mn/2wyNg7G.
In her crisply written, deeply informed memoir, “The Family Gene,” Joselin Linder captures the dread and fatigue that accompanies such an odyssey, how it ripples out to engulf multiple branches of a family.
Book description from Google Books:
A riveting medical mystery about a young woman’s quest to uncover the truth about her likely fatal genetic disorder that opens a window onto the exploding field of genomic medicineWhen Joselin Linder was in her twenties her legs suddenly started to swell. After years of misdiagnoses, doctors discovered a deadly blockage in her liver. Struggling to find  an explanation for her unusual condition, Joselin compared the medical chart of her father—who had died from a mysterious disease, ten years prior—with that of an uncle who had died under similarly strange circumstances. Delving further into the past, she discovered that her great-grandmother had displayed symptoms similar to hers before her death. Clearly, this was more than a fluke. Setting out to build a more complete picture of the illness that haunted her family, Joselin approached Dr. Christine Seidman, the head of a group of world-class genetic researchers at Harvard Medical School, for help. Dr. Seidman had been working on her family’s case for twenty years and had finally confirmed that fourteen of Joselin’s relatives carried something called a private mutation—meaning that they were the first known people to experience the baffling symptoms of a brand new genetic mutation. Here, Joselin tells the story of their gene: the lives it claimed and the future of genomic medicine with the potential to save those that remain. Digging into family records and medical history, conducting interviews with relatives and friends, and reflecting on her own experiences with the Harvard doctor, Joselin pieces together the lineage of this deadly gene to write a gripping and unforgettable exploration of family, history, and love. A compelling chronicle of survival and perseverance, The Family Gene is an important story of a young woman reckoning with her father’s death, her own mortality, and her ethical obligations to herself and those closest to her.
The book is rated 4.10/5 at goodreads.com, from 334 ratings. See 69 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2xcYYIL.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2wyj4Ka.

A bio-memoir book recommendation: The Rules Do Not Apply: A Memoir by Ariel Levy

A critic review (source Star Tribune) can be read at: http://strib.mn/2s10TOM.
Levy is an incredibly talented writer who has built a solid body of work, but “The Rules Do Not Apply” does not have the same energy that her magazine writing is known for.
Book description from Google Books:
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * A gorgeous memoir about a woman overcoming dramatic loss and finding reinvention “Cheryl Strayed meets a Nora Ephron movie. You’ll laugh, ugly cry, and finish it before the weekend’s over.”–theSkimm Named one of the best books of 2017 so far by Time and Entertainment Weekly When Ariel Levy left for a reporting trip to Mongolia in 2012, she was pregnant, married, financially secure, and successful on her own terms. A month later, none of that was true. Levy picks you up and hurls you through the story of how she built an unconventional life and then watched it fall apart with astonishing speed. Like much of her generation, she was raised to resist traditional rules–about work, about love, and about womanhood. In this “deeply human and deeply moving” (The New York Times Book Review) memoir, Levy chronicles the adventure and heartbreak of being, in her own words, “a woman who is free to do whatever she chooses.” Her story of resilience becomes an unforgettable portrait of the shifting forces in our culture, of what has changed–and of what is eternal. Praise for The Rules Do Not Apply “Levy has the rare gift of seeing herself with fierce, unforgiving clarity. And she deploys prose to match, raw and agile. She plumbs the commotion deep within and takes the measure of her have-it-all generation.”–The Atlantic “[The Rules Do Not Apply] is a short, sharp American memoir in the Mary Karr tradition of life-chronicling. Which is to say that Levy, like Karr, is a natural writer who is also as unsparing and bleakly hilarious as it’s possible to be about oneself. . . . I devoured her story in one sitting.”–Financial Times “It’s an act of courage to hunt for meaning within grief, particularly if the search upends your life and shakes out the contents for all the world to sift through. Ariel Levy embarks on the hunt beautifully in her new memoir.”–Chicago Tribune “I read it in one big messy gulp, because it is beautiful and heartbreaking and unruly and real. You should preorder it immediately so you can fall into her complicated, funny, and finely wrought world as soon as humanly possible.”–Lenny.com “A thoroughly modern memoir, the elements of The Rules Do Not Apply seem plucked not from the script of Girls, which has also been exploring reproductive issues of late, but Transparent–even Portlandia.”–The New York Times “Frank and unflinchingly sincere . . . A gut-wrenching, emotionally charged work of soul-baring writing in the spirit of Joan Didion, Helen Macdonald, and Elizabeth Gilbert, The Rules Do Not Apply is a must-read for women.”–Bustle “Unflinching and intimate, wrenching and revelatory, Ariel Levy’s powerful memoir about love, loss, and finding one’s way shimmers with truth and heart on every page.”–Cheryl Strayed “Every deep feeling a human is capable of will be shaken loose by this profound book. Ariel Levy has taken grief and made art out of it.”–David Sedaris “Ariel Levy is a writer of uncompromising honesty, remarkable clarity, and surprising humor gathered from the wreckage of tragedy. Her account of life doing its darnedest to topple her, and her refusal to be knocked down, will leave you shaken and inspired. I am the better for having read this book.”–Lena Dunham
The book is rated 3.82/5 at goodreads.com, from 8210 ratings. See 1019 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2s0BuFe.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tHdwzm.

A bio-memoir book recommendation: Plot 29: A Love Affair With Land by Allan Jenkins

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2wB4Esp.
This is, among other things, a brilliant and brave book about the psychology of gardening. Many gardeners are over-solicitous about their plants, treating them almost like people, but Jenkins takes this worry to an extreme, seeing himself as a parent keeping his children company.
Book description from Google Books:
‘When I am disturbed, even angry, gardening has been a therapy. When I don’t want to talk I turn to Plot 29, or to a wilder piece of land by a northern sea. There, among seeds and trees, my breathing slows; my heart rate too. My anxieties slip away.’ As a young boy in 1960s Plymouth, Allan Jenkins and his brother, Christopher, were rescued from their care home and fostered by an elderly couple. There, the brothers started to grow flowers in their riverside cottage. They found a new life with their new mum and dad. As Allan grew older, his foster parents were never quite able to provide the family he and his brother needed, but the solace he found in tending a small London allotment echoed the childhood moments when he grew nasturtiums from seed. Over the course of a year, Allan digs deeper into his past, seeking to learn more about his absent parents. Examining the truths and untruths that he’d been told, he discovers the secrets to why the two boys were in care. What emerges is a vivid portrait of the violence and neglect that lay at the heart of his family. A beautifully written, haunting memoir, Plot 29 is a mystery story and meditation on nature and nurture. It’s also a celebration of the joy to be found in sharing food and flowers with people you love.
The book is rated 4.06/5 at goodreads.com, from 51 ratings. See 3 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2xfirsd.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2wB4Fwt.

A bio-memoir book recommendation: Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2uqy5kK.
Roxane Gay’s luminous new memoir, “Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body,” is a profound example of this theory in praxis. An uncompromising look at the specific, often paradoxical details of her embodiment, the book examines the experience of living in her body in the world as through a kaleidoscope from every angle…
Book description from Google Books:
The Instant New York Times Bestseller From the New York Times best-selling author of Bad Feminist, a searingly honest memoir of food, weight, self-image, and learning how to feed your hunger while taking care of yourself.  “I ate and ate and ate in the hopes that if I made myself big, my body would be safe. I buried the girl I was because she ran into all kinds of trouble. I tried to erase every memory of her, but she is still there, somewhere. . . . I was trapped in my body, one that I barely recognized or understood, but at least I was safe.”  New York Times bestselling author Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and bodies, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as “wildly undisciplined,” Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care. In Hunger, she casts an insightful and critical eye on her childhood, teens, and twenties—including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life—and brings readers into the present and the realities, pains, and joys of her daily life.  With the bracing candor, vulnerability, and authority that have made her one of the most admired voices of her generation, Roxane explores what it means to be overweight in a time when the bigger you are, the less you are seen. Hunger is a deeply personal memoir from one of our finest writers, and tells a story that hasn’t yet been told but needs to be.   
The book is rated 4.36/5 at goodreads.com, from 12899 ratings. See 2112 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2uI4mPI.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2uHW1LS.

A bio-memoir book recommendation: Insomniac City: New York, Oliver, and Me by Bill Hayes

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2v3SV4R.
Hayes has now written a memoir of his own, “Insomniac City.” It’s a loving tribute to Sacks and to New York. He provides tender insights into living with both. But Sacks was by far the more eccentric of his two loves.
Book description from Google Books:
A moving celebration of what Bill Hayes calls “the evanescent, the eavesdropped, the unexpected” of life in New York City, and an intimate glimpse of his relationship with the late Oliver Sacks. “A beautifully written once-in-a-lifetime book, about love, about life, soul, and the wonderful loving genius Oliver Sacks, and New York, and laughter and all of creation.”–Anne LamottBill Hayes came to New York City in 2009 with a one-way ticket and only the vaguest idea of how he would get by. But, at forty-eight years old, having spent decades in San Francisco, he craved change. Grieving over the death of his partner, he quickly discovered the profound consolations of the city’s incessant rhythms, the sight of the Empire State Building against the night sky, and New Yorkers themselves, kindred souls that Hayes, a lifelong insomniac, encountered on late-night strolls with his camera. And he unexpectedly fell in love again, with his friend and neighbor, the writer and neurologist Oliver Sacks, whose exuberance–“I don’t so much fear death as I do wasting life,” he tells Hayes early on–is captured in funny and touching vignettes throughout. What emerges is a portrait of Sacks at his most personal and endearing, from falling in love for the first time at age seventy-five to facing illness and death (Sacks died of cancer in August 2015). Insomniac City is both a meditation on grief and a celebration of life. Filled with Hayes’s distinctive street photos of everyday New Yorkers, the book is a love song to the city and to all who have felt the particular magic and solace it offers.
The book is rated 4.48/5 at goodreads.com, from 1389 ratings. See 255 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2uKxlXR.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2v3qzYK.

A bio-memoir book recommendation: Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2uqy5kK.
Roxane Gay’s luminous new memoir, “Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body,” is a profound example of this theory in praxis. An uncompromising look at the specific, often paradoxical details of her embodiment, the book examines the experience of living in her body in the world as through a kaleidoscope from every angle…
Book description from Google Books:
The Instant New York Times Bestseller From the New York Times best-selling author of Bad Feminist, a searingly honest memoir of food, weight, self-image, and learning how to feed your hunger while taking care of yourself.  “I ate and ate and ate in the hopes that if I made myself big, my body would be safe. I buried the girl I was because she ran into all kinds of trouble. I tried to erase every memory of her, but she is still there, somewhere. . . . I was trapped in my body, one that I barely recognized or understood, but at least I was safe.”  New York Times bestselling author Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and bodies, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as “wildly undisciplined,” Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care. In Hunger, she casts an insightful and critical eye on her childhood, teens, and twenties—including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life—and brings readers into the present and the realities, pains, and joys of her daily life.  With the bracing candor, vulnerability, and authority that have made her one of the most admired voices of her generation, Roxane explores what it means to be overweight in a time when the bigger you are, the less you are seen. Hunger is a deeply personal memoir from one of our finest writers, and tells a story that hasn’t yet been told but needs to be.   
The book is rated 4.36/5 at goodreads.com, from 12600 ratings. See 2070 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2uI4mPI.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2uHW1LS.

A bio-memoir book recommendation: A Florence Diary by Diana Athill

A critic review (source National Post arts) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2uQh26Z.
The photos punctuating the diary are black and white shots the reader’s imagination can eagerly colour. This wonderful book is as near to time travel as anyone could wish and probably just as fun.
Book description from Google Books:
In August 1947, Diana Athill travelled to Florence by the Golden Arrow train for a two-week holiday with her good friend Pen. In this playful diary of that trip, delightfully illustrated with photographs of the period, Athill recorded her observations and adventures — eating with (and paid for by) the hopeful men they meet on their travels, admiring architectural sights, sampling delicious pastries, eking out their budget, and getting into scrapes. Written with an arresting immediacy and infused with an exhilarating joie de vivre, A Florence Diary is a bright, colourful evocation of a time long lost and a vibrant portrait of a city that will be deliciously familiar to any contemporary traveller.
The book is rated 3.58/5 at goodreads.com, from 102 ratings. See 30 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2uxE33y.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2uPwnoD.