Best Books of 2008

Top 10 Books: Biographies & Memoirs

Best of 2008
Welcome to our Best of 2008 top 10 lists for Biographies & Memoirs. This year we've put our editors' picks and our year-end bestsellers for each category on the same page together, so you can easily compare. Click on "Editors' Picks" to see our editors' list of the best biographies and memoirs of 2008, including our top pick, Michael Greenberg's Hurry Down Sunshine, a beautifully crafted and moving memoir of the summer when his 15-year-old daughter was diagnosed with mental illness. And click on "Customer Favorites" to find the bestselling biographies and memoirs at Amazon.com during 2008. (Ranked according to customer orders through October. Only books published for the first time in 2008 are eligible.) See more editors' picks and customers' favorites in our Best of 2008 Store.


Editors' Picks | Customer Favorites
1. Hurry Down Sunshine
Hurry Down Sunshine
by Michael Greenberg
4.2 out of 5 stars (118 customer reviews)
In Stock
Other Press
September 9, 2008
Hardcover

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List Price:$22.00
Price:$17.71
You Save:$4.29 (20%)

Amazon.com Review
Amazon Best of the Month, September 2008: Michael Greenberg's spare, unflinching memoir begins with a bang: "On July 5, 1996, my daughter was struck mad." Hurry Down Sunshine chronicles the summer when fifteen-year-old Sally experienced her first full-blown manic episode—an event that in a "single stroke" changed her identity ... Read more

2. Collections of Nothing
Collections of Nothing
by William Davies King
3.8 out of 5 stars (14 customer reviews)
Currently unavailable
University Of Chicago Press
July 25, 2008
Hardcover

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Amazon.com Review
Amazon Best of the Month, December 2008: One of the oddest memoirs of the year may well be the best. William Davies King is a theater professor who over his fifty-plus years has gathered, in countless binders and boxes, a vast collection of things nobody else wants: cat-food labels, ... Read more

3. Sitting Bull
Sitting Bull
by Bill Yenne
4.0 out of 5 stars (22 customer reviews)
In Stock
Westholme Publishing
April 28, 2008
Hardcover

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List Price:$29.95
Price:$20.45
You Save:$9.50 (32%)

Amazon.com Review
Amazon Significant Seven, April 2008: As a celebrated warrior, shaman, and leader of the Lakota tribe, Sitting Bull was both a fascinating and frightening icon to the expanding United States, a 19th-century cross-cultural superstar who was at once a friend to Buffalo Bill and the emblem of Native American ... Read more

4. The Suicide Index: Putting My Father's Death in Order
The Suicide Index: Putting My Father's Death in Order
by Joan Wickersham
4.7 out of 5 stars (42 customer reviews)
Out of Print--Limited Availability
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
August 4, 2008
Hardcover

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From Publishers Weekly
In spare prose, Wickersham (The Paper Anniversary) has produced an artful and vivid memoir. Within the index of suicide, she has found a form capacious enough for both intimate detail and general information; cold data and lyric moments; for mystery and for consolation. As she follows her father's suicide ... Read more

5. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life
The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life
by Alice Schroeder
4.2 out of 5 stars (386 customer reviews)
In Stock
Bantam Books
September 29, 2008
Hardcover

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List Price:$37.00
Price:$25.06
You Save:$11.94 (32%)

From Publishers Weekly
In this startlingly frank account of Buffett's life, Schroeder, a former managing director at Morgan Stanley... Read more

6. The Night of the Gun: A Reporter Investigates the Darkest Story of his Life--His Own
The Night of the Gun: A Reporter Investigates the Darkest Story of his Life--His Own
by David Carr
4.0 out of 5 stars (287 customer reviews)
Out of Print--Limited Availability
Simon & Schuster
August 5, 2008
Hardcover

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Amazon.com Review
Amazon Best of the Month, August 2008: In his fabulously entertaining The Kid Stays in the Picture, legendary Hollywood producer Robert Evans wrote: "There are three sides to every story: yours, mine, and the truth." David Carr's riveting debut memoir, The Night of the Gun, takes this theory to ... Read more

7. Can You Ever Forgive Me?  Memoirs of a Literary Forger
Can You Ever Forgive Me? Memoirs of a Literary Forger
by Lee Israel
3.8 out of 5 stars (26 customer reviews)
Out of Print--Limited Availability
Simon & Schuster
August 5, 2008
Hardcover

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Amazon.com Review
Amazon Best of the Month, August 2008: If David Carr's voluminous, well-documented Night of the Gun is the Warren Report of apologetic memoirs, Lee Israel's Can You Ever Forgive Me? is its cheeky, slim opposite. Barely repentant and witheringly funny, Israel recalls her short life of literary crime as, ... Read more

8. The Thing About Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead
The Thing About Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead
by David Shields
4.0 out of 5 stars (107 customer reviews)
Currently unavailable
Knopf
February 5, 2008
Hardcover

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Amazon.com Review
Amazon Significant Seven, February 2008: "After you turn 7, your risk of dying doubles every eight years." By your 80s, you "no longer even have a distinctive odor ... You're vanishing." "The brain of a 90-year-old is the same size as that of a 3-year-old." And it goes ... Read more

9. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
by Haruki Murakami
4.2 out of 5 stars (295 customer reviews)
Out of Print--Limited Availability
Knopf
July 29, 2008
Hardcover

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From Publishers Weekly
Murakami's latest is a nonfiction work mostly concerned with his thoughts on the long-distance running he has engaged in for much of his adult life. Through a mix of adapted diary entries, old essays, reminiscences and life advice, Murakami crafts a charmi... Read more

10. White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson
White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson
by Brenda Wineapple
4.6 out of 5 stars (20 customer reviews)
Out of Print--Limited Availability
Knopf
August 12, 2008
Hardcover

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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. In 1862, Emily Dickinson wrote to Thomas Wentworth Higginson, a noted man of letters and radical activist for abolition and women's rights, asking if he would look at her poems. He did and recognized immediately their strange power. As Wine... Read more