David Itzkoff’s monument of a biography is an intimate and thorough examination of Robin Williams as both man and performer. From his years as a reclusive kid playing up in his attic bedroom, to his early days of standup, to the runaway success of Mork and Mindy, to movies, addiction, recovery, and fame, his need for affirmation was the thread that drew him forward. He sought that affirmation by working tirelessly, and Itzkoff chronicles the actor’s successes and failures, as well as his close friendships in and out of show business, to create a deep psychological portrait. Robin Williams possessed an earnestness and a craving for honesty that made him shine brighter even as it threatened to destroy him. This is a bittersweet read, with highs and lows, but the Robin Williams who emerges is as compelling as his greatest performances. — Chris Schluep
This raw memoir about growing up as a transracial adoptee will reverberate with anyone who yearns to belong. Chung writes about identity, race, motherhood, and her journey to find her true self. Her book starts with her struggle as a Korean child adopted into a white family, then digs into her growing relationships with her adopted family, husband, birth family, and children. Through letters and emails, Chung makes sometimes difficult discoveries about her birth family. The work closes with reconciliation for her families, the truth about her adoption, and understanding about herself.