Why this World: a biography of Clarice lispector by benjamin Moser: Celebrated existentialist and modernist Clarice lispectors unusual life saw her transition from the struggling child of Ukranian immigrants to a quirky and beloved Brazilian literary superstar. What i talk about When i talk about Running by haruki murakami: Some of the greatest works of contemporary literature, like the wind-Up Bird Chronicles, sputnik sweetheart, and After Dark, burst into existence thanks to their authors passion for marathon training. Imov: a memoir by Isaac Asimov: even readers who dislike science-fiction still witness Isaac Asimovs thumbprint in the popular culture surrounding them, so it pays to stay in the know about his life, works, and philosophies. Rent Girl by michelle tea: The mission District in San Francisco serves as the piquant backdrop for the irreverent, hilarious, and honest writer Michelle teas straightforward memoir of prostitution, drug abuse, and the girlfriend who led her down that path. Lucky: a memoir by Alice sebold: During her freshman year at Syracuse, this bestselling author suffered a horrific rape by a stranger, and she frankly discusses both the trauma and the resulting painful healing and criminal justice process here. A heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by dave eggers: david Eggers curious memoir mimics the natural state of memory, with plenty of bluntly admitted edits and embellishments meant to illustrate an overarching theme of veracity versus storytelling. The autobiography of Mark Twain by mark Twain: learn all about how one of the literary worlds most razor-sharp wits approached his own writing and perceived the world around him with almost eerily keen insight.
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Literature i know Why the caged Bird Sings by maya angelou: From a small Arkansas town to the streetcars of San Francisco, one of Americas most beloved poets ruminates on the life that led her to such a stellar writing career. Butterfly in the typewriter: The flat Tragic Life of John Kennedy toole and the remarkable Story of a confederacy of Dunces by cory degradation macLauchlin: The tragic, complex story behind a confederacy of Dunces author and his posthumous publication is as incredible as the pulitzer-winning novel itself. A moveable feast by Ernest Hemingway: Ernest Hemingways time amongst the expatriates of Paris between World Wars is immortalized here, with stories of his friendships with Gertrude Stein, pablo picasso, ezra pound, and famously. The autobiography of Alice. Toklas by gertrude Stein: Rather than penning a straight-up autobiography, celebrated modernist Gertrude Stein chose to reflect upon her life surrounded by the intellectual and creative elite through the lens of her secretary and lover Alice. On Writing: a memoir of the Craft by Stephen King: Both an autobiography and a pretty handy-dandy guide to not writing terribly, the master of horror delivers a necessary read for English majors especially. Though, of course, anyone can benefit from his advice! Reading Lolita in Tehran: a memoir in books by azar Nafisi: Half autobiography, half literary criticism, reading Lolita in Tehran explores how reading groups kept a professor and her female students together as the ayatollah Khomeinis rule suppressed their rights to an education. Why be happy when you could be normal? By jeanette winterson: Oranges are not the Only Fruit, a landmark of lgbtqia literature, pulled considerably from author jeanette wintersons own personal traumas as the lesbian daughter of radically pentecostal missionaries. Speak, memory by Vladimir Nabokov: This non-chronological memoir explores the controversial, but still beloved, writers life in Russia prior to his American immigration.
A long way gone: Memoirs of a boy soldier plan by Ishmael beah: 12-year-old Ishmael beah came of age pressed into forced service as a child soldier as sierra leones civil war swelled. He fought for the government, brainwashed and trained to murder rebels with an ak-47 if they dared to challenge the overarching authority. Night by Elie wiesel: One of the most acclaimed, popular autobiographies of all time follows the authors survival at Auschwitz and subsequent trauma of losing everyone and everything he held dear. Cod: a biography of the fish that Changed the world by mark kurlansky: Without the humble cod providing sustenance on long sea voyages, imperialisms reach never would have stretched as far as it did. Even non-humans leave enough of an impact on history to warrant biographies; they just dont make for the most engaging interview subjects. Alice: Alice roosevelt Longworth, from White house Princess to washington Power Broker by Stacy. Cordery: The headstrong, hyperintelligent daughter of Teddy roosevelt never let the prevailing arbitrary expectations of women stand in the way of her enjoyment of everything life had to offer — and not shying away from offering her opinions, either!
The diary of a young Girl by Anne Frank: During her familys stint hiding from nazis in a cramped, netherlands-based attic, 13-year-old (15 at the revelation time of capture) Anne Frank kept a journal meant to bolster her spirits and attempt to make sense. Confessions by saint Augustine: Theological heavyweight. Augustine of Hippo knew a thing or two about sinning, and his reflections on the apple past came to leave a huge impact on Catholicism. Which, in and of itself, has left a huge impact (for better and for worse) on world history. Empire of the summer moon: quanah Parker and the rise and Fall of the comanches, the most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History. Gwynne: Witness the downfall of the comanche peoples through the eyes of their courageous, dedicated chief who just couldnt stand up to the raw power of firearms. Comfort Woman: a filipinas Story of Prostitution and Slavery Under the japanese military by maria rosa henson: During World War ii, the japanese armed forces imprisoned women from occupied territories and oppressed and raped them as prostitutes and sex slaves. At 15, maria rosa henson found herself chained to such dehumanizing horrors, which she suppressed for nearly five decades before publishing.
Incidents in the life of a slave girl by harriet Jacobs: Both booker. Washingtons Up from Slavery and Frederick douglass The narrative of the life of Frederick douglass obviously deserve reading for insight into the experiences of slaves in America, but Incidents in the life of a slave girl exists as one of the only surviving autobiographies uniquely. Angelas Ashes: a memoir by Frank McCort: Irelands saddening history of crushing poverty pops into startling life in this story of a depression-era family struggling beneath a father whose alcoholism renders his wife and children desperate and an overarching sociopolitical climate with few opportunities. First They killed my father: a daughter of Cambodia remembers by loung Ung: loung Ung lived a charmed life thanks to her fathers political clout, but the rise of the despotic Pol Pot and his Khmer rouge dismantled and destroyed everything when she was only. Her family split, with the children forced into excruciating manual labor. Jarhead: a marines Chronicle of the gulf War and Other Battles by Anthony Swofford: Members of the Armed Forces didnt just fight against the Iraqis during the first Gulf War — they also struggled against intense psychological, mental, emotional, and physical pressure almost as damaging. Infamous Lady: The True story of countess Erzsebet Bathory by kimberly. Craft: Hungarys Blood countess spawned a plethora of legends about her insatiable predilection for murder and possible vampirism (sorry, twilight fans, but vampires arent real) receives a more thorough investigation here, with primary documents either dispelling or confirming some of her more egregious crimes.
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Catherine de medici: Renaissance queen of France by assignment leonie frieda: The art worlds most famous patroness and cultural icon of the renaissance era frequently attracted as many scorching detractors as she did ardent admirers, so a rich stew of myths managed to engulf her with. But once the right historian launched a painstaking inquiry into her personal letters, the reality eventually emerged. Philip Johnson: The Architect in His Own Words by hilary lewis and John oconnor: In a series of intimate interviews, a veritable supernova of architectural significance selects his 20 favorite works and explains the thought process behind them and why he considers them so personally. The diary of Frida kahlo: An Intimate self-Portrait by Frida kahlo: Beloved, passionate Frida kahlo and her tragic, tumultuous life come to readers in her own unique voice and artwork, placing her laudable oeuvre in its proper context. The quitter by harvey pekar and dean Haspiel: Underground comics juggernaut Harvey pekar. American Splendor fame shows fans the origins of his notoriously negative, but always provocative and insightful, outlook on life.
Cash: The autobiography by johnny cash: Only the man in Black himself could perfectly translate his transcendent badassitude from real life onto the printed page. Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the culinary Underbelly by Anthony bourdain: Culinary arts still qualify as arts! Anthony bourdains deliciously snarky, candid autobiography explains his passionate relationship with food as well as the realities of working in a fancy-pants restaurant. If Chins could Kill: Confessions of a b movie actor by Bruce campbell: Bruce campbell wrote up a refreshing and fun glimpse into the hollywood life from the perspective of a man perpetually in the throes of cult status — and, of course, absolutely loving. History maus: a survivors Tale by Art Spiegelman: This Pulitzer winner sees the acclaimed artist interviewing his father about his harrowing Holocaust experiences and eventual impact on his later family life. The Story of my life by helen Keller: Most people know the story of Helen Keller and Anne sullivan, the teacher who believed in her despite her visual and hearing impairments, but they dont always know about her later career as a hard-hitting activist campaigning.
Use them as a launching point to read about even more men and women you might find fascinating! The Arts, the lives of the Artists by giorgio vasari: Wallow in the majesty of the greatest Italian Renaissance artists, such as Michelangelo, leonardo, giotto, brunellschi, and others of lofty, lasting influence. Persepolis by marjane satrapi: Renowned graphic artist and cartoonist Marjane satrapi ruminates on her childhood during the Iranian revolution, expatriate experiences in a less-than-loving Europe, and return to a militant regime. Naked at the feast: a biography of Josephine baker by lynn Haney: While known primarily as a vaudevillian and muse to the likes of Pablo picasso, the fabulous Josephine baker also stood up for civil Rights and la resistance and smashed glass ceilings for women. Jackson Pollock: An American Saga by Steven naifeh and Gregory White Smith: Steven naifeh and Gregory White Smith earned a pulitzer for their look at the troubled life and ideologies behind the heavily influential abstract impressionist painter whose work was far, far more than just.
The diving Bell and the butterfly: a memoir of Life in death by jean-Dominique bauby: As the editor-in-chief of, elle in France, jean-Dominique bauby chronicled the latest fashion triumphs and tragedies until a stroke rendered him largely catatonic. But his mind remained lucid, and he communicated using a system of blinks, which eventually led to this amazing biography of a fascinating, trendsetting life. Born Standing Up: a comics Life by Steve martin: Comedy isnt easy, and some of the best, most influential practitioners worked hard and suffered worse in order to achieve even a sliver of what they have. Just Kids by patti Smith: During the 1960s and 1970s, musician and poet Patti Smith and photographer Robert Mapplethorpe stood at the forefront of some major creative, political, and social changes, which the former chronicles in provocative and insightful detail. Henry darger: In the realms of the Unreal by john. MacGregor: Although this biography mostly covers the reclusive outsider artists massive output of thousands of pages of illustrations and writing, his curious life story and almost magical energy for creation fully deserve contemplation.
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Zelda: a biography by nancy milford Amazon Remembered primarily as the wife of The Great Gatsby author. Scott Fitzgerald, zelda's life was a tumultuous one. Milford's biography paints the portrait of a talented and tragically mentally ill woman let down by an overbearing husband and the patriarchal society of America's roaring twenties. 1: by Blanche wiesen cooke amazon The first in cooke's two volume series is a deep and detailed look at the childhood, adolescence and early political life of Eleanor roosevelt. This book takes the reader from the many family deaths she witnessed as a young girl to her European education, as well as her marriage to fdr and rumored affairs with best friend Lorena hickok and bodyguard Earl Miller. Warrior poet: a biography of Audre lorde by Alexis de veaux Amazon Considered the essential biography of poet and activist Audre lorde, de veaux's Lambda literary Award-winning book follows Lorde from her Harlem roots to her years of marriage and motherhood, black and queer activism. Because if we cant learn from experience, we can at least learn from the experiences of other people! Bookstores and libraries practically bend assignment with biographies as a result of this total truism, although some quite obviously have just a little more to offer the world than a few of their shelfmates! Whether because of some deep digging into history and culture, staggering insight into the human condition, or laughter and great storytelling — or, obviously, some combination thereof — the following stand as a primer on the biographies and autobiographies with plenty of content to keep.
Jane eyre - is a detailed and in-depth look at the writer's life, going beyond her typical melancholy upbringing by exploring her fierce ambition and indisputable creativity. Marie curie: a life by susan quinn, amazon, marie curie's contributions to modern science altered the field of medicine forever, and her journey - from being turned away from academia in Poland because of her gender to her two nobel prizes - is a fascinating. Florynce "Flo" Kennedy: The life of a black thesis feminist Radical by Sherie. Randolph Amazon Flo kennedy was an outspoken activist in the black power and second wave feminist movements, and Randolph's biography traces her progressive upbringing, graduation from Columbia law School and major involvement and influence on America's fight for civil rights. Catherine the Great: Portrait of a woman by robert. Massie amazon Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Robert. Massie tells the almost-unbelievable story of the Prussian princess who would come to rule russia for over 30 years, overseeing the country's vast and rapid 18th century expansion.
cells of her cervical cancer, and her story sheds a light on the dark history of medical experimentation on black Americans. Frida: a biography of Frida kahlo by hayden Herrera, amazon. The mexican artist was one of the most influential figures of the 20th century, known primarily for her inspiring and honest depictions of womanhood through art, as well as her friendships with other important cultural and political figures and her tumultuous relationship with fellow artist. Indira: The life of Indira nehru gandhi by katherine Frank, amazon. The first (and only) woman to be India's Prime minister was a highly controversial figure in 20th century global politics. Her life was a deeply dramatic and political one, from her early days as the daughter of India's first Prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, to her assassination in 1984. Pretty in Ink: North American Women Cartoonists by Trina robbins, amazon. Trina robbins' book of female cartoonists from North America starts with an 1896 comic strip and takes us all the way to contemporary artists like alison Bechdel, who wrote and illustrated the award-winning graphic novel, fun Home. Charlotte Brontë: a fiery heart by Claire harman, amazon, claire harman's biography about, charlotte Brontë - the eldest of the Brontë sisters who infamously wrote.
Around he is, even if you cant see him. The book of my lives by Aleksandar Hemon is out now (Picador). Your textbook tears-of-a-clown story, as Martin traces the beginnings of his career, from listening to comedy on his dads car radio, learning magic and landing his first job at Disneyland to his tv writing, the loneliness of life on the road and, eventually, silver-haired superstardom. Its cleverly written, disarmingly frank, frequently moving and, as you might expect, funny as hell. Key details: Nerdily noting the reaction to each joke in a ledger: excellent!, statement big laugh or quiet. Martins also great on capturing the culture of the late sixties and seventies, describing how the streets of San Francisco simmered with a toxic vitality. This Women's History month, one of the greatest ways to honor those who came before us is to celebrate the extraordinary lives of some phenomenal ladies. We've rounded up 11 biographies of 11 vastly different women, whose remarkable - and often controversial - journeys will inspire and educate.
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Recommended by Aleksander Hemon: I seldom read writers biographies; no patience for speculative analysis that can reduce someones work to a consequence of, say, fathers alcoholic neglect and Mothers not-so-latent homosexuality (or is proposal it the other way around?). But Mark Thompsons, birth Certificate: The Story of Danilo kiš, published in 2013, deals with my favourite and one of the 20th-centurys greatest writers. My ex-wife used to admonished me saying: you only like complicated people! She was somewhat wrong about people, but I do like my writers complicated, and no one is more so than Danilo kiš: a child of a jewish father (killed in Auschwitz) and a montenegrin mother, he lived through the worst of the 20th century, even. Thompson builds his story by taking kiš's early biographical note (entitled Birth Certificate) as its floor plan. He tracks the evolution of his ethics and aesthetics, which, for many an Eastern European writer of my generation, provided guidance in weathering variable cataclysms. Kiš wrote his great works: a tomb for Boris davidovich ; Garden, Ashes ; Encyclopedia of the dead, as if there was something at stake in literature — because there. Thompson understands where kiš comes from — geographically, aesthetically, ethically — and has done enormous amounts of research and interviews. His writing is passionate, driven by the desire to be with kiš, to keep him around.