Monday, November 01, 2010

Who's Who?

Biographical Reads You Might Enjoy
Memoirs, biographies, and autobiographies always pepper the many reading lists you (and we) consult when looking for an up close and personal read. Here are but a few of the latest you might like to add to your reading list.

Extraordinary, Ordinary People by Condoleezza Rice
This (less about politics) memoir by our former Secretary of State has caught major buzz in magazines and on the TV talk show circuit. Add this one to must-read bestsellers by the "formers" : Tony Blair (former British Prime Minister), Nelson Mandela (South African statesman and former political prisoner), and Jimmy Carter (former President).

by Rosanne Cash
Firstborn daugther to country music legend Johnny Cash tells her story straight up. On the tune side, we highly recommend Rosanne's 2009 tribute title The List.

Other recent titles by or about contemporary musicians : Dave Mustaine, Johnny Winter, Keith Richards, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, and Patti Smith. Smith's book is a 2010 National Book Award finalist, in the non-fiction category.

Washington by Ron Chernow & First Family
by Joseph J. Ellis
For Founding Fathers and their families fans, try the above. Catch companion stories about the former and latter titles on NPR.

Growing Up Laughing by Marlo Thomas
A fun read from the star of the 1960s TV show That Girl, or creator of Free to Be... You and Me, or fundraiser for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Other celebrity reads (several fairly weighty, some light as air) John Ritter, Sal Mineo, Liz & Dick, and Warren, among others.

Operation Dark Heart by Anthony Shaffer
Shaffer delivers an exciting, eyewitness account of fighting terrorism in Afghanistan using the military's most cutting-edge espionage tactics. Pair this one with T. H. Bagley's excellent Spy Wars (2007) or Larry Devlin's Chief of Station, Congo (2007).

Original Gangster by Frank Lucas
The above is all about the Harlem crime boss whose life inspired the 2007 film American Gangster. For another true crime fix, try Douglas Starr's The Killer of Little Shepherds about French serial killer Joseph Vacher and early criminologist Dr. Alexandre Lacassagne.

Grant Wood by R. Tripp Evans
In this major new biography of America's most acclaimed, and misunderstood, regionalist painter, Grant Wood, who painted American Gothic, is revealed to have been anything but plain, or simple.

The Last Boy by Jane Leavy
Drawing on more than five hundred interviews with loved ones and fellow baseball players, the author crafts a deeply personal biography of Mickey Mantle, weaving her own memories of the major league slugger with an authoritative account of his life on and off the field.

Click here for a selection of other recent books about baseball and its players.