Saturday, December 11, 2010

Biography and Memoir Roundup

"Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen." ~ Mark Twain

Here's a short list of biographies and memoirs that garnered plenty of attention from critics and more importantly, local readers. Several are older so we're thinking you may have missed a great read along the way...

Autobiography of Mark Twain
One hundred years after his death, Twain still sells. For more information, check out the book's companion web site : Mark Twain Project Online.

Life by Keith Richards
The party stories take a back seat to Richards' descriptions of how the Rolling Stones made musical history. Also enjoy music CDs plus Criterion Collection film Gimme Shelter or Martin Scorsese's Shine a Light.

Drinking : a Love Story by Caroline Knapp
Read Knapp's 1996 memoir along with Gail Caldwell's Let's Take the Long Way Home (2010).

Composed by Rosanne Cash
A book by a musician who's much more than the daughter of country legend, Johnny.

Breaking Night : My Journey from Homeless to Harvard by Liz Murray
The author describes her journey from a fifteen-year-old living on the streets to her acceptance into Harvard.

Just Kids : from Brooklyn to the Chelsea Hotel : a Life of Art and Friendship by Patti Smith
This one won the 2010 National Book Award in the nonfiction category. Also give a listen to the author's CD, Horses, which is often included on lists of best all-time rock albums.

Dead End Gene Pool by Wendy Burden
A sometimes irreverent memoir by the great-great-great granddaughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt.

Unbroken : a World War II Airman's Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
Another can't put it down book by the author who gave us 2001's Seabiscuit. Meet Louie Zamperini, now in his 90's, and expect to be changed. Listen to an author interview, courtesy of NPR.

Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain
The latest from the tough talking professional eater.

Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff
The Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer brings to life the most intriguing woman in the history of the world: Cleopatra, the last queen of Egypt.

Bob Dylan in America by Sean Wilentz
Cultural/historical analysis from a Princeton professor and serious Dylan fan.

Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man by Bill Clegg
A literary agent squanders success in favor of a two month crack binge. Pairs nicely with Augusten Burroughs' Running with Scissors.

At Home in the World by Joyce Maynard
More a mother-daughter story than anything else, the author also writes about her relationship with reclusive literary icon, J.D. Salinger.

I'm Down by Mishna Wolff
Wolff grew up in a poor black neighborhood with her single father, a white man who truly believed he was black. Humorous, poignant, and offbeat.

Decision Points by George W. Bush
The former president offers a candid journey through the defining decisions of his life and presidency.

Born Round: A Story of Family, Food and a Ferocious Appetite by Frank Bruni
Bruni, restaurant critic for The New York Times, describes his struggles with food. Hilarious and compelling.