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Lena Dunham, George Bush, Bob Hope, and More

If you’re a nonfiction reader, there are a lot of new options for you this fall. Parks and Recreation star Amy Poehler has a new memoir out; former president George W. Bush has a new book out about his father, George H.W. Bush; there’s a new biography of comedian Bob Hope; and lots more.

With all these options and all the buzz surrounding them, how do you know which books are actually worth reading?

To help you judge, we compiled highlights from some of the best reviews of this fall’s most popular new nonfiction books.

Happy reading!


Hope by Richard Zoglin

The New York Times: “Mr. Zoglin sees a great, gifted performer who gave the world endless amounts of hilarity, generosity and showbiz savvy. And it seems to pain him viscerally when Hope casts a shadow over his own achievements. This book is so enveloping that it’s hard not to share some of that pain.” (More)

The New Yorker: “Zoglin’s biography Hope (Simon & Schuster) does such an effective job of arguing the appeal that even the Hope-hater comes away eager to see more of his good early work, and more sympathetic to the forces in his life and in the country’s which left him hard to like at the end.” (More)

New York Post: “[The book] not only casts doubt on whether Hope was ever legally married to the former Dolores DeFina (who died in 2011 at age 102) — it chronicles a long list of his rumored sexual dalliances, some of which went on for years.” (More)

Vanity Fair: “The new book is terrific — scrupulously researched, likely definitive, and as entertaining and as important (to an understanding of 20th- and 21st-century pop culture) as its subject once genuinely was.” (More)


The Andy Cohen Diaries by Andy Cohen

Los Angeles Times: “The book, inspired by the posthumous The Andy Warhol Diaries, functions as a sort of mashup of Twitter and Instagram for fans who have a longer attention span.” (More)

Time: “An unexpectedly great new work of gay literature has come from an unlikely source: The guy who runs the Real Housewives franchise.” (More)

Today: “Who might be a little mad when she reads his book? ‘Mariah Carey,’ Cohen mused. ‘I just talk about the machinations that went into that booking and the behind the scenes [stuff, like] me sitting in the other chair [to get] her good side. But I think we’re going to be cool.’” (More)

InStyle: “It’s full of delicious celebrity ish and dish, with his casual star mentions including Lady Gaga, Cameron Diaz, Madonna and more. And that’s exactly what he wanted.” (More)


41 by George W. Bush

Financial Times: “41 turns out to be a helluva good read. All that’s endearing about the Bush family comes bursting forth in this bouillabaisse of history, reminiscence and political folk wisdom.” (More)

The Washington Post: “George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st president of the United States, is the only commander in chief in modern times who has declined to write a memoir. Now George W. Bush, the 43rd president, strides into the void with a book of his own intended to give voice to his modest father’s life and legacy.” (More)

The New York Times: “The author makes no pretensions to objectivity and, in truth, this is more Hallmark card than biography.” (More)

The Wall Street Journal: “Disclosures, however, are not what makes 41 such a worthwhile addition to the library of books on the American presidency. Rather it is the examination of the senior Bush’s character that is unique and valuable.” (More)


Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Entertainment Weekly: “In her new book, Yes Please, Amy Poehler dishes about the improv biz, her years on Saturday Night Live (don’t miss the chapter called “Humping Justin Timberlake”), motherhood, hosting the Golden Globes, and, oh yeah, what she’s going to do when Parks and Recreation ends its run next year.” (More)

Poehler in an interview with NPR: “In the book, I write about growing up. The demon voice was around, but it didn’t really live in my room. And then when I started liking boys, it moved into the top bunk and stayed there for a while. I think … you fight against that voice and you have to find a way to live with it, because it will not go away.” (More)

Los Angeles Times: “It’s a great story, and not because it’s full of famous names (which it is) or that it ends in a highly emotional and effective way (which it does) but because it is self-damning and hopeful at the same time.” (More)

Rolling Stone: “You never know when Amy’s going to drop some oh-so-underline-able knowledge like ‘If you can surf your life rather than plant your feet, you will be happier.’ She’s chock full of pump-you-up sayings.” (More)


Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

The Guardian: “Dunham has now made what are essentially three versions of her autobiography by the age of 28: a film, three seasons of a TV show and a book, and the gruel is running thin. The anecdotes in the book often feel like rejected ideas for Girls episodes, which, in fact, at least one of them was.” (More)

Slate: “None of it goes far or deep, perhaps because admitting to and unpacking a thirst for greatness is a lot trickier than explaining you’ve had stupid experiences in bed, or harbor insecurities about your neck.” (More)

Jezebel: “Not That Kind of Girl is Dunham in the heat of that impulse, nothing more or less important than the ‘feverish need to reveal who she really is, as much to herself as anybody.’” (More)

The New York Times: “In order to enjoy Not That Kind of Girl, we must dissolve the ‘you’re either with us or against us’ critical barrier around Dunham. She did not come first, and she will not be last, but she has earned the right to be listened to, to be judged on the quality of her writing, even when what we read sounds familiar” (More)


Killing Patton by Bill O’Reilly

USA Today: “Bill O’Reilly, the opinionated host of The O’Reilly Factor on Fox News, is about to shake up the world of history with his latest bold claim — that Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin ordered the assassination of Gen. George S. Patton.” (More)

The Washington Post: “Killing Patton lacks almost any narrative at all. It is a Great Dismal Swamp of a book, with themes suddenly arising from the mist of some researcher’s industrious endeavors. ” (More)

The Washington Times: “Careful shoe-leather detective work buttressed by research, access to decades-old correspondence and never-before publicized interrogations of sources from around the world have combined to give readers Killing Patton.” (More)

The Huffington Post: “It is not about new or penetrating discovery, but the same ol’ same ol’ only through this greatly successful marketer and his hired writer–a scheduled feeding for an audience already ‘on the farm.’” (More)


Small Victories by Anne Lamott

Kirkus Reviews: “[Lamott] examines moments in her life when she has confronted her personal suffering and pain, drawn on her faith, and found compassion, kindness and the ability to forgive despite the odds against her. Many of the people who feature in these short narratives were dying from cancer, yet the author was able to extract quiet moments of joy from each relationship, and she gracefully imparts that feeling to readers.” (More)

Publishers Weekly: “[Lamott] returns with an essay collection that tackles tough subjects with sensitive and unblinking honesty.” (More)

The Huffington Post: “No wonder so many love her — Lamott looks right into the dragon’s mouth. And, at the same time, she takes the measure of her own ridiculousness. And it works. It all works!” (More)

Associated Press: “The author’s faith is a strong part of her foundation and informs her views of the world. She infuses her storytelling with Christian principles and Zen insight, and manages all this without sounding preachy.” (More)


Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

The Economist: “In this eloquent, moving book Atul Gawande, a general surgeon and author of other thoughtful works on the doctor’s trade, explains how and why modern medicine has turned the end of life into something so horrible.” (More)

The Wall Street Journal: “Dr. Gawande’s book is not of the kind that some doctors write, reminding us how grim the fact of death can be. Rather, Dr. Gawande shows how patients in the terminal phase of their illness can maintain important qualities of life with medico-surgical assistance.” (More)

The Guardian: “Being Mortal is not a plea for assisted death, although Gawande is not against the idea of making drugs available to terminally ill people who are suffering. He is mainly concerned that reliance on assisted death is yet another distraction from what makes the end of life meaningful, not only for the dying, but also for those around them.” (More)

The New York Times: “Dr. Gawande (heading for 50) has turned his attention to mortality, otherwise known as the one big thing in medicine that cannot be fixed.” (More)

Looking for great deals on non fiction ebooks? Checkout what’s on sale now in BookBub’s non fiction section.



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About Mary Ellen Bellusci

Mary Ellen Bellusci is a longtime resident of Baltimore, Maryland... A foodie, traveler, writer, and pursuer of happiness.