Thursday, June 20, 2013

Bios, Memoirs, Etc

You're at your local library. You go to the biography section. Reviews aside, who are you most likely to pick up a book about should there be one. There are a few people who have always fascinated me. The Alcott family and that circle in Concord has always interested me. And then there's this crew.

1000 books, according to the doc on SHOWTIME, have been written about Marilyn Monroe. Why does she interest us so much?



Snubnose Press is having an anniversary sale and all of their books including mine are for sale for $.99 on Amazon. If you have a spare buck, they have lots of books for you to read.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hemingway (I'm sure I've read more by and about him than any other person)
Churchill
Simenon
Lincoln
Henry James
Hammett
Hitler


Jeff M.

Anonymous said...

Movie stars of the bygone era, particularly if their lives were especially tragic or scandalous (sometimes the two go hand-in-hand): Gloria Grahame, Lana Turner, Barbara Payton. I've also enjoyed biographies if central figures in the Beat movement--more than I've enjoyed most Beat writing, if truth be told.

Deb

Margot Kinberg said...

Oh, thanks, Patti!! There is definitely something about bios...

George said...

I'm a sucker for bios of philosophers and deep thinkers. I have a thick bio of Albert O. Hirschman waiting to be read.

Anonymous said...

Bob Dylan's book was surprisingly good. I've read several bios of Elvis. Jim Morrison.

I've read a lot of sports books, mostly baseball. Leo Durocher's NICE GUYS FINISH LAST was excellent. THE GLORY OF THEIR TIMES and other similar books (I like oral history, like Studs Terkel) by Lawrence Ritter. Memoirs by Jim Brosnan and Jim Bouton.

Even if you hate the NY Yankees, if you have dealt with an aging parent you should read Harvey Araton's wonderful DRIVING MR. YOGI: Yogi Berra, Ron Guidry and Baseball's Greatest Gift.

Old-time Hollywood, as Deb mentioned, is another long-time interest of mine. William Wellman's memoir A SHORT TIME FOR INSANITY is a good one. For the more salacious details, Kenneth Anger's HOLLYWOOD BABYLON books are a must read.


Jeff M.

Dan_Luft said...

I think I most like oral histories of moments in time. I remember really liking a book about the recording of KIND OF BLUE. I also really liked TRICKY DICK AND THE PINK LADY about when Nixon ran for the senate.

John said...

I used to eat up biographies about movie stars, but I can get all the facts I need these days by reading brief bios at imdb.com.

these days I'd probably opt for forgotten scientific figures. Nearly every crime novel I read drops the name of someone I have never heard of.

Exampole: In THE FRIGHTENED MAN by Dana Chambers there is a passing reference made to Sir James Jeans. Had no idea who he was. Googled his name and turned up fascinating info. He was an astronomer and physicist whose work has been overshadowed by Einstein's. Jeans was responsible for early work in quantum theory, and wrote some of the first books about basic physics and astronomy intended for a non-scientist reader. Kind of like the Brian Greene of the 1920s. I'd read a biography about him. Or Alexis Carrell or Sergei Voronoff, also little known scientists.

Oh, and I'd like to find some biographies of publishers in America. The history of publishing and lives of publishers -- especially the evolution of the reprint houses and their eventual demise due to the rise in popularity of the paperback book -- is also an interest of mine.

John said...

"Exampole?" Good grief. You know what I meant. SpellCheck in these comment boxes would be a big boon for Blogger.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Love the Max Perkins bio. I used to read a lot more bios than I do now. I wonder if it is that we can find out so much on the Internet. On the other hand, the last few books I have read have been non-fiction--bios of sorts.

pattinase (abbott) said...

My husband is working on the Pink Lady events right now. Eerie, Dan.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Patti, I have never read any books about Monroe or seen any of her films. She has never interested me as an actor or a celebrity. I have read and enjoyed the biographies and autobiographies of Gandhi, Nehru, Tagore, Shaw, and Churchill. I'm hoping to read Christie's and Wodehouse's bios soon.

Olivia V. Ambrogio said...

Rachel Carson
James Tiptree, Jr.
Have not read much, but fascinated by, tidbits about Darwin and Hammett (not together, although that would be interesting)

pattinase (abbott) said...

Yes, Darwin always interests me. I always find May Sarton's journals interesting too. So much about gardening in them.

Richard R. said...

Newscasters. For some reason they fascinate me. I've read biographies and auto-biographies ofEdward R. Murrow (three of them), Walter Cronkite (2 of them), Harry Reasoner, Dan Rather, Charles Karault, David Brinkley, Mike Wallace (2 of them) and Andy Rooney.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I remember reading several of these when these guys seemed more relevant than now.

Charles R. Rutledge said...

Not surprisngly I like bios about authors. Scanning the shelves I see Raymond Chandler, Bram Stoker, Mark Twain, Dashiell Hammett, Charles Dickens, H.G. Wells, Jane Austen, Ross MacDonald, Robert E. Howard, H.P. Lovecraft, Agatha Christie, Rudyard Kipling, etc. However, my favorite memoir in the last several years was Jerry Lewis's book, Dean and Me. Go figure.

pattinase (abbott) said...

That was a good one. I like the one about Ray Carver and Richard Yates. Also Scott Fitzgerald.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Carver and Yates were both fascinating characters.

Jeff M.