Perhaps the best written of all the slave narratives, this book recounts how Solomon Northup, born a free man in New York, was lured to Washington, D.C., in 1841 with the promise of fast money, then drugged and beaten and sold into slavery. He spent the next twelve years of his life in captivity on a Louisiana cotton plantation. Nonfiction. 170 pages.
Luis Rodrigues began to relate the futility of his life in Los Angeles as a gang member; now at 30 years of age, realizing his son is following the same way of life in Chicago, finishes his life story as a legacy to his son. Nonfiction. 262 pages.
Before Nic Sheff became addicted to crystal meth, he was a charming boy, joyous and funny, a varsity athlete and honor student adored by his two younger siblings. After meth, he was a trembling wraith who lied, stole, and lived on the streets. This candid memoir was written by a father who wouldn't give up on his son. Nonfiction. 340 pages.
A memoir of growing up in the tough world of Baltimore in the 1980s chronicles the relationship between the author and his father, a Vietnam vet and Black Panther affiliate, and his campaign to keep his sons from falling victim to the temptations of the streets. Nonfiction. 227 pages.
African American detective Ron Stallworth tells his story of how he went undercover to investigate the Ku Klux Klan in Colorado Springs in 1978. This book is the basis of the award winning movie by Spike Lee. Nonfiction. 191 pages.
Noah's path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother, he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. A moving yet funny portrait. Nonfiction. 288 pages.
In this powerful memoir, Nicole Mason tells her story, navigating between an unpredictable home life and school, where she excelled. While showing us her own path out of poverty, Mason examines the conditions that make it nearly impossible to escape poverty and exposes the presumption harbored by many--that the poor don't help themselves enough. Nonfiction. 242 pages.
From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon, comedian Tina Fey reveals all, and proves that you're no one until someone calls you bossy. Nonfiction. 275 pages.
When Garrard Conley was a nineteen-year-old college student, he was outed to his parents, and was forced to make a life-changing decision: either agree to attend a church-supported conversion therapy program that promised to 'cure' him of homosexuality; or risk losing family, friends, and the God he had prayed to every day of his life. This memoir is a testament to love that survives despite all odds. Nonfiction. 340 pages.
Having come from Mexico to California ten years ago, 14-year-old Francisco is still working in the fields but fighting to complete his education. In this autobiographical story, Jimenez celebrates his Mexican roots even as he learns to be an American. Young Adult Fiction. 195 pages.
This is the story of Dave Pelzer, who was brutally abused by his emotionally unstable, alcoholic mother. He had to learn how to play his mother's games to survive because she considered him not a son, but a slave, and no longer a boy, but an "it." Nonfiction. 184 pages.
The popular indie rock performer describes her battle against the hereditary mental illness that decimated her mother's health and prompted the author to engage in a self-destructive downward spiral before discovering her musical talent. Nonfiction. 267 pages.
Reyna Grande writes about her childhood in Mexico when her father, and later her mother left for the United States, and then she makes her own journey to "El Otro Lado" to live with her long absent father. Nonfiction. 325 pages.
In this lyrical, unsentimental and compelling memoir, the son of a black African father and a while American mother searches for a workable meaning to his life as a black American. Nonfiction. 457 pages.
An incredible and heart-wrenching memoir and a testament to the power of education, written by Tara Westover, who survived her survivalist, ultra-religious upbringing to step into a classroom for the first time at age 17. Nonfiction. 334 pages.
Bobby Brown has been one of the most compelling American artists, a magnetic figure who successfully crossed over many musical genres. In this memoir, the world will be able to hear the truth from the mouth of America's "bad boy" himself. Nonfiction. 326 pages.
"These are the memories that inspired the television show. The author is the thirty-year-old proprietor of Baohaus, the hot East Village hangout where foodies, stoners, and students come to stuff their faces with delicious Taiwanese street food late into the night. But before he created the perfect home for himself in a small patch of downtown New York, he wandered the American wilderness looking for a place to call his own." Nonfiction. 276 pages.
In 1972, when she was seven, the author and her family moved from Iran to Southern California. Funny in Farsi is a humorous and unforgettable story of culture shock, discovery, and the power of family love. Nonfiction. 227 pages.
In this is a moving account of one woman's journey into madness and back, .Susanna Kaysen writes about the 17 months she spent on a ward for teenage girls at McLean Psychiatric Hospital. Nonfiction. 168 pages.
Amy Schumer, Emmy Award-winning comedian and actress, mines her past for stories about her teenage years, her family and sex, and shares the experiences that have given her the courage to bare her soul and stand up for what she believes in, all while making us laugh. Nonfiction. 323 pages.
"I ate and ate and ate in the hopes that if I made myself big, my body would be safe." In this powerful best seller, Roxanne Gay explores what it means to be overweight in a time when the bigger you are, the less you are seen. Nonfiction. 306 pages.
When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. On Tuesday October 9, 2012, she almost paid the ultimate price. Nonfiction. 327 pages.
Heart-wrenching and ultimately uplifting, this stirring memoir chronicles one Asian-American immigrant's struggle to find himself--and to transcend the dangers of gang life in Los Angeles. Nonfiction. 249 pages.
In his New York Times bestselling chronicle of military life, Anthony Swofford weaves his experiences win war with vivid accounts of boot camp, reflections on the mythos of the marines, and remembrances of battles with lovers and family. Nonfiction. 260 pages.
Deborah Rodriguez went to Afghanistan in 2001 to help. Not a doctor or nurse, she used her skills as a hairdresser to help Afghan women, who have a long tradition of running their own beauty salons. That’s how the Kabul Beauty School was born. Nonfiction. 301 pages.
What makes a happy person, a happy life? George Dawson, a 101-year-old man who learned to read when he was 98, reflects on the philosophy he learned from his father--a belief that "life is so good"—as he offers valuable lessons in living. Nonfiction. 260 pages.
The author describes life growing up different in an odd family, his unusual talents, his struggle to live a "normal" life, his diagnosis at the age of forty with Asperger's syndrome, and the dramatic changes that have occurred since that diagnosis. Nonfiction. 302 pages.
The surprisingly hopeful story of how a straight, non promiscuous, everyday girl contracted HIV and how she manages to stay upbeat, inspired, and more positive about life than ever before. Nonfiction. 233 pages.
Heartbreaking, hilarious, and at times enraging, Piper's story offers a rare look into the lives of women in prison - why it is we lock so many away and what happens to them when they're there. Nonfiction. 327 pages.
Two kids with the same name were born blocks apart in the same city within a few years of each other. One grew up to be a Rhodes Scholar, army officer, White House Fellow, and business leader. The other is serving a life sentence in prison. Why? Nonfiction. 250 pages.
Many people in the U.S. believe that the dangerous world of human trafficking is something that happens to foreign women, men and children -- not something that happens to their own children and neighbors. They could not be more wrong. Nonfiction. 183 pages.
Jal, one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, witnessed and perpetrated unspeakable brutality in his country's civil war. Shocking, inspiring and finally hopeful, War Child is a memoir by a young man determined to tell his story and bring peace to his homeland. Nonfiction. 262 pages.
One of the first African American students to integrate Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957 tells her story about the threats and emotional abuse she endured on the path to integration. Nonfiction. 312 pages.