True Story

Memoirs by Celebrities and Other Interesting People

Hello, nonfiction friends! As I was pulling together this week’s newsletter, I noticed there are a bunch of books by celebrities coming out this week. Five that caught my eye were Me by Elton John, Beautiful on the Outside by Adam Rippon, Dear Girls by Ali Wong, Medallion Status by John Hodgeman, and Home Work by Julie Andrews.

But I’m not going to talk about those! Instead, I’ve got three other memoirs to feature, plus seven more to add to you toppling TBR. Let’s go!

Life Undercover: Coming of Age in the CIA by Amaryllis Fox – At 21-years-old, Amaryllis Fox was recruited to join the CIA, where she began her career reading and summarizing classified cables for the president. Eventually, she was deployed as a spy, sent to infiltrate terrorist networks in the Middle East and Asia. I started reading a galley of this one and love it so far.



The First Cell: And the Human Costs of Pursuing Cancer to the Last by Raza Azra – In this memoir, an oncologist writes about how “medicine and our society (mis)treats cancer,” paralleling that story with her experience being her husband’s oncologist after he was diagnosed with leukemia. I think this one looks emotional and fascinating.


A Year Without a Name by Cyrus Grace Dunham – I’ve tried to summarize this one myself, but the opening paragraph of the jacket copy does a great job: “For as long as they can remember, Cyrus Grace Dunham felt like a visitor in their own body. Their life was a series of imitations – lovable little girl, daughter, sister, young gay woman – until their profound sense of alienation became intolerable.” This memoir explores the transition from Grace to Cyrus in a “thrillingly unresolved queer coming of age story.”

And finally, seven more books that looked interesting to me:

That’s all for this week! You can find me on Twitter @kimthedork, on email at, and co-hosting the For Real podcast here at Book Riot. This week, Alice and I chatted about some great new memoirs and took a deep dive into books about monsters. Happy reading! – Kim