Biographies, Memoirs and Autobiographies in 2022

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Biographies, Memoirs and Autobiographies in 2022

Jan 1, 2022, 2:30 pm

Write about the biographies you have read this year!

Editado: Jan 3, 2022, 11:14 am

Zelda: A Biography
by Nancy Milford
2.5/5 stars
This is the story of Zelda Fitzgerald, her life, her marriage to Scott Fitzgerald and her fight against mental illness. This was an awfully long book not helped by the extremely small print. It seemed to me that a lot of the information was repeated but the author was thorough in her research.

Jan 4, 2022, 9:05 am


On 1/1/2022, I posted this at the end of the 2021 thread, but thought it should go here. So I am re-posting in case anyone wants suggestions for 2022.

I have been off LT for a while, but I read a number of biographies, memoirs and autobiographies in 2021.

Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey: adolescent drivel.

A Promised Land by Barack Obama: long-winded and self-serving. did not finish. Needed a good editor.

I Came as a Shadow: An Autobiography by John Thompson: surprisingly good. Interesting insights into black experience in America as well as college basketball.

Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival & Hope in An American City by Andrea Elliot: terrific. Although it ends on a hopeful note, a heartbreaking story of what it is like to grow up black and poor in America and how government agencies that are supposed to help and protect children often do the opposite.

Now reading Three Girls from Bronzeville A Uniquely American Memoir of Race, Fate and Sisterhood by Dawn Turner: Oft to a good start.

Happy reading in 2022.

Jan 4, 2022, 11:42 am

>3 jwrudn: I love your comment on Greenlights. I have that on my TBR list. I think I will delete it -too many books -too little time to spend on drivel! LOL!

Jan 8, 2022, 12:32 pm

Call the Nurse: True Stories of a Country Nurse on a Scottish Isle
Mary J. MacLeod
5/5 stars
This was a wonderful recollection of a nurse’s time working on a Scottish Isle in the late sixties. There are two more books in this collection and I look forward to them. This reminds me of the writings of James Herriot’s books.

Editado: Jan 20, 2022, 1:15 pm

Forever Dobie-The Many Lives of Dwayne Hickman
by Dwayne Hickman
4/5 stars
This was a wonderful autobiography of Dwayne Hickman who starred in the TV series The Many Lives of Dobie Gillis which aired from 1959-1963. He talks about his life on the show, his career as an actor and life after being an actor including running a Las Vegas resort and later as a CBS executive where he managed comedic shows like MASH and more. Highly recommended!

Fev 5, 2022, 12:11 pm

Nurse, Come You Here!: More True Stories of a Country Nurse On A Scottish Isle
by Mary J. MacLeod
This is the second book in the series of MacLeod’s life as a nurse and mother. In this one the family, re-locates to California due to her husband’s new job. She talks about life in the USA compared to life on the Scottish Isle they lived on but unfortunately she was unable to work as a nurse since she did not have a license to practice in the US. I am enjoying her books. There is one more book in the series that I look forward to reading.

Fev 12, 2022, 2:52 pm

I finished The Education of an Idealist by Samantha Power. Power has led a very interesting life, to put it mildly, and her memoir is well worth reading, although at 554 pages it presents something of a time commitment. Power was on the spot as a war correspondent during the siege of Sarajevo and at other tragic hot spots. She won a Pulitzer Prize for her book, A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, in which she was strongly critical of what she saw as the U.S. government's lack of response to genocidal campaigns around the world. She went to work as an advisor to Barack Obama during his time in the U.S. Senate and worked in his presidential campaign until she had to resign following an unfortunate incident in which she allowed a reporter who was interviewing her overhear her referring to Hillary Clinton as "a monster." Once Obama was elected President, however, he wasted little time bringing Power into the administration. At first Power was a middle-level official in the National Security Counsel, but eventually she was appointed to the much higher-visibility position of U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Power is a good writer, so her descriptions of all of these absorbing periods, in addition to her childhood and personal life, kept my attention throughout. Details of what it was like to be a mid-level government official were enlightening, in terms of learning from the inside how government works. But, not surprisingly, it's her time as Ambassador to the U.N., and her accounts of the many battles she fought there, that are the book's true anchor. As I mentioned above, this is a long book, but one I found well worthwhile.

Fev 19, 2022, 1:49 pm

>4 JulieLill: I hope I have not mislead you - my son-in-law but he is a Mathew McCaughey fan. Still, I think there are many books to read that are better.

Fev 19, 2022, 2:05 pm

I have two memoirs to recommend. The first is Three Girls from Bronzeville by Dawn Turner, which I read recently. The three girls are the author, who was a writer for the Chicago Tribune, her best friend and her younger sister. Bronzeville is a historically African-American section of Chicago. The book is an affectionate (though somewhat sad) history of Bronzeville and of growing up there. The girls' lives take dramatically different turns, but they remain close until the end. The second is Paris To the Moon by Adam Gopnik. I have read it before but I am re-reading in advance of a three month trip to Paris. Gopnik was enthralled with Paris after visiting there as a child. He was a writer for the New Yorker and moved with his family (wife and young son Luke) to Paris for 5 years. He has many sharp and often amusing insights on raising a family in a foreign country and on French life and culture, in particular, the differences with America. The book is 20 years old so some of the observations may be out of date, but it is charming, funny, and well-written.

Fev 22, 2022, 12:39 pm

Welcome to Dunder Mifflin: The Ultimate Oral History of The Office
Brian Baumgartner and Ben Silverman
4/5 stars
I loved The Office and when I found this book at the library, I put everything else down to read this wonderful book told by everyone who acted, produced, wrote and worked on the series. If you haven’t seen the series -don’t read this book but definitely see the series then read this book. Highly recommended for fans of the series!

Mar 21, 2022, 1:32 pm

Editado: Mar 21, 2022, 2:02 pm

I finished The Reluctant Mr. Darwin: An Intimate Portrait of Charles Darwin and the Making of His Theory of Evolution by David Quammen. In The Reluctant Mr. Darwin, David Quammen has delivered a well-written and researched, but relatively short, biography of Charles Darwin that also provides clear explanation of his work and famous theory. Quammen also makes clear the revolutionary nature of Darwin's findings, particularly within the context of Victorian England, where all scientific belief was firmly rooted in Anglican creationist theory to greater or lesser degree. Quammen tells his tale in an engaging, sometimes even breezy, style, upon occasion inserting himself into the narrative to mention his decisions about what to include or leave out, about his research, and about what he knows from his close readings of Darwin's diaries and other works and what, instead, he feels "we can conjecture." (I should point out that these "conjectures" are on minor matters only, such as what Darwin might have been thinking of when he made particular notations in those diaries.) I suppose some readers would find this style annoying, but on the whole, I appreciated this manner of telling the story (although were were isolated spots where I felt Quammen did cross the line from "breezy" to "glib").

Mar 27, 2022, 11:54 am

>15 LynnB: There have been mixed reviews on the Doudna biography here on LT, but I enjoyed it quite a lot.

Editado: Mar 30, 2022, 5:14 am

Abr 2, 2022, 3:37 pm

>16 rocketjk:: It's so much more than a biography. I really enjoyed it, too.

Editado: Abr 3, 2022, 6:19 pm

Alexander Hamilton A Life
Willard Sterne Randall
4/5 stars
I knew little about Hamilton’s life before reading this book but Randall paints a portrait of a very smart and interesting man who was willing to become involved in the building a nation. Highly recommended!

Editado: Abr 6, 2022, 1:57 pm

Helter Skelter- The True Story of the Manson Murders
Vincent Bugliosi
4/5 stars
This is the fascinating and horrible story of the Manson murder spree when 5 people were killed in an attack masterminded by Charles Manson that occurred in August 1969 near Hollywood. Vincent T. Bugliosi Jr. was a Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney and the lead prosecutor in the trials and this book was written by him. I thought this was a well written, detailed account of the crimes and the trials of the people involved in the crimes.
I was curious to see who was still alive of the people involved and found this article from March 2022.

Abr 11, 2022, 12:04 pm

Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops?: The Lost Toys, Tastes, and Trends of the 70s and 80s
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
3/5 stars
The authors talk about the bygone products, TV shows, stars and trends of the 70’s and 80’s. If you grew up in that time period you will probably get a kick out of this book. Anyone up for a candy cigarette?

Abr 13, 2022, 1:05 pm

Chuck Amuck: The Life and Time of an Animated Cartoonist
Chuck Jones
4/5 stars
Chuck Jones who worked for Warner Brothers, discusses his life growing up and his career in animation, drawing Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pigs and many more toons. This book contains lots of his sketches and drawings. I enjoyed it and all the sketches, cartoons and pictures.

Abr 20, 2022, 5:18 pm

Mister Death's Blue-Eyed Girls
Mary Downing Hahn
4/5 stars
Set in 1956, two young high school girls are killed in the woods causing great consternation in their community. Buddy, a young man is thought to have killed them but is let go. Will they ever find the killer(s)? This is based on a true story. This is also considered a Juvenile book but I really enjoyed it and wondered why it was in that section because I think adults would enjoy it. I have read Hahn’s other books and would like to read more of her.

Abr 30, 2022, 5:01 pm

The Tender Bar: A Memoir
J.R. Moehringer
4/5 stars
Author JR Moehringer writes about his life growing up in New York City with his mother who was abandoned by his father. He spends a lot of time with his uncles as they substituted for his father and learns from them. I really enjoyed this memoir!

Abr 30, 2022, 5:32 pm

>25 JulieLill:, so did I. The movie was such a disappointment.

Maio 6, 2022, 12:06 pm

The Brown's Chicken Massacre
Maurice Possley
4/5 stars
Maurice Possley discusses the shockingly, true story of the massacre of the staff of a Brown's Chicken in Illinois, as they closed down the store one night in January of 1983. It took 10 years and advances in DNA testing before they could solve the case. Well researched and written.

Maio 9, 2022, 12:06 pm

Wizard of Oz: An Over-the-Rainbow Celebration of the World's Favorite Movie
Ben Nussbaum
4/5 stars
This is a short book celebrating the movie - The Wizard of Oz. The author discusses a myriad of topics on the film, the actors who performed and even talks about the Broadway musical - Wicked. Definitely for fans of the movie.

Maio 24, 2022, 12:58 pm

Maio 27, 2022, 1:13 pm

Maio 28, 2022, 2:17 pm

The Little Girl Who Fought the Great Depression Shirley Temple and 1930’s America
John F. Kasson
Kasson relates the story Shirley Temple, one of the most popular child actress of her time period amidst the background and history of the Great Depression. He explores the films she was in, her popularity with the public who had sent her four thousand letters a week at the height of her fame and her parents who supported her but also spent most of her money, leaving her very little after her career was over. Highly recommended.

Maio 28, 2022, 2:19 pm

The Little Girl Who Fought the Great Depression: Shirley Temple and 1930s America
John F. Kasson
Kasson relates the story Shirley Temple, one of the most popular child actress of her time period amidst the background and history of the Great Depression. He explores the films she was in, her popularity with the public who had sent her four thousand letters a week at the height of her fame and her parents who supported her but also spent most of her money, leaving her very little after her career was over. Highly recommended.

Jun 9, 2022, 11:55 am

A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II
by Sonia Purnell
5/5 stars
This is the amazing story of Virginia Hall, a woman who had lost her leg in a hunting accident at the age of 27 and who ended up becoming a spy in World War II for the SOE (Special Operations Executive), helping to organize and aid the French Resistance. After the war, she ended up working for the CIA. Highly recommended!

Jun 11, 2022, 6:33 pm

The Bee Gees - How Can You Mend A Broken Heart DVD
Wonderful documentary on The Bee Gees and covers them from childhood till the end of their careers. Barry is still alive - but I am not sure if he is still performing. Highly recommended!

Jun 15, 2022, 1:17 pm

This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor
Adam Kay
5/5 stars
This is the diaries that Adam Kay kept while being a resident in the National Health Service in the UK. After 12 years in school and working as a doctor, he quit his job. Fortunately for him, he wrote this book and ended up selling about 1.5 million books. I enjoyed this immensely and could empathize with him and the pain he dealt with treating the sick and their families, working non-stop, missing meals and sleep, dealing with administrators and the constant change in policies. Great book!

Jun 22, 2022, 7:32 pm

I finished 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows. This is the memoir of Ai Weiwei, a famous Chinese conceptual artist, architect and activist. Although Ai Weiwei has struggled determinately and consistency against the censorship and other oppressions of the current Communist Chinese regime, and has presented his conceptual art in major exhibitions and museums around the world, this is the rare memoir in which the portrayal of the author's childhood is actually more interesting (or at least that was my reaction) than the portrayal of his or her adulthood. That's because Ai Weiwei's father, Ai Qing, was also famous, a world renowned lyric poet, who was targeted and harshly oppressed by the forces of Mao's Cultural Revolution. In approximately the first half of his memoir, Ai Weiwei relates his time as a child, moving with his father and his half-brother from one remote and desolate punishment outpost to another, with only intermittent contact with his mother. From his father's early comradeship with Mao, through the descriptions of these horrible work settlements and Ai Qing's day to day degrading humiliations as a "Big Rightist" who is made an example of on an hourly basis, Ai Weiwei walks us through the events and repercussions of the Cultural Revolution and describes the profound loss of history and Chinese cultural identity that resulted.

Oddly, though, once Ai Weiwei grows to adulthood and, especially, once he becomes a noted artist and activist, the narrative flattened out for me. Perhaps some of this has to do with the translation from Chinese to English. Ai Weiwei certainly has led a fascinating and, it seems, a quite admirable life. His conceptual art installations have been aimed at promoting ideas of freedom and individuality, of protesting against the harshness and absurdity of the repression of the Communist regime, and of pointing out the regime's corruption and ineptitude as they steer the country toward capitalism under the guise of communism. One of the issues for me, as I think back on the reading experience, is that Ai Weiwei often presents his own activities in isolation, as if he were the only activist in China. Occasionally other names are mentioned, but I found it off-putting that so much of Ai Weiwei's narrative consisted of statements along the lines of "I created this work in order to say that." Well, it's a memoir, so of course he'd be talking about his own accomplishments, but he seemed to me to be entirely self-focused. With a few exceptions, the entirely of Chinese history during the time under discussion seemed to me to be focused too sharply through the lens of his own perspective.

One example of this sort of thing: In his role as an architect, Ai Weiwei had an active role in the designing of the stadium (referred to by Ai Weiwei as "the Bird's Nest") to be used for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The description of the teamwork and creative process in this work was very interesting. But Ai's final comments on the endeavor had me scratching my head:

"The design of the Bird's Nest aimed to convey the message that freedom was possible: the integration of its external appearance whites exposed structure encapsulated something essential about democracy transparency, and equity. In defense of those principles, I now resolved to put a distance between myself and the Olympics, which were simply serving as nationalistic, self-congratulatory propaganda. Freedom is the precondition for fairness, and without freedom, competition is a sham."

I found Ai Weiwei's assumption that any more than a slight handful of observers would notice a message of freedom in the design of a stadium to be unfortunately self-absorbed, and his shock that the Chinese government was using the Olympics as a propaganda tool, despite the artistic splendor of the stadium design, to be more than a little disengenuous.

I have waited much too long to say that Ai Weiwei is clearly a man of courage who has inspired a great many of his internet followers, and admirers of his art, to maintain a resistant attitude toward the oppression of the Chinese regime. He has done so despite the constant threat to his own freedom, even to his life. In this, we has clearly been inspired by his father's example. Also, I have a lot of respect for conceptual artists, those who attempt to challenge our preconceived notions of reality, life and politics through their work. Ai Weiwei's output, and the degree to which he is clearly admired and respected by other artists and curators, speaks volumes about the value of his accomplishments. Many of the installations and exhibits Ai Weiwei describes sound like works I would love to see and experience, and there's quite a lot of interest in the memoir about the creative process in general. And as a tour through Chinese history from the end of World War 2 through the present day, and as a close-in look at the threats, oppressions and dangers experienced by artists fighting to stay relevant within oppressive regimes, 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows is a valuable narrative and testimony.

Jul 1, 2022, 11:59 am

Chocolate Wars: The 150-Year Rivalry Between the World's Greatest Chocolate Makers
Deborah Cadbury
4/5 stars
Deborah Cadbury, a Quaker family relative of one of the famous chocolate makers relates the history of chocolate, the manufacturers who made the chocolate and the rivalries between the chocolate manufacturers including Cadbury, Milton Hershey, Nestle, Lindt and Forrest Mars. Very interesting!

Jul 5, 2022, 5:21 pm

I finished Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave by Frederick Douglass. I waited far too long to finally read this classic and powerful testimony of the evils of chattel slavery in America. Douglass tells in straightforward fashion his story of the frequency of whippings, the demeaning and demoralizing nature of living life enslaved and the daily pains and degradations endured by the enslaved men, women and children he knows as a youth. Enslaved from birth, Douglass, once he became old enough to understand the full ramifications of his situation, acquired and retained a determination to find freedom. His first step was to surreptitiously learn to read. As such, this is also a testament to the enduring possibilities of the human spirit. Anyone with a doubt as to the absolute evil of American slavery will be disabused of such doubts after reading these searing 126 pages.

Jul 10, 2022, 7:08 pm

Barnum: An American Life
Robert Wilson
5/5 stars
This is the biography of the amazing PT Barnum, who ran a museum of oddities, brought life to the circus and introduced some of his most famous acts to the American public including Jenny Lind, the Swedish songstress, Jumbo, the elephant and General Tom Thumb. The author paints a wonderful picture of his life, his family, the people that surrounded him and mostly his drive to entertain people. Highly recommended!

Jul 21, 2022, 4:22 pm

The Good Good Pig: The Extraordinary Life of Christopher Hogwood
Sy Montgomery
5/5 stars
This is the delightfully true story about Sy Montgomery, naturalist, writer and radio commentator, who along with her husband raised a pig who was sickly. With the help of their neighbors providing food and support, he recovered quickly, grew to 750 pounds and was a friend to the neighbors, a local celebrity and a beloved pet.

Ago 18, 2022, 12:24 pm

Editado: Ago 28, 2022, 4:15 pm

The Last Castle: The Epic Story of Love, Loss, And American Royalty In The Nation's Largest Home
Denise Kiernan
4/5 stars
This was quite an interesting story of George Vanderbilt, his wife and the building and history of the Biltmore House on 125,000 acres in North Carolina. The author takes us through the good and bad times of the family including what happened to them from both World Wars and the Depression. I have never been to the estate but I really enjoyed this book.

Editado: Set 7, 2022, 2:39 pm

The SUPERGIRLS – Fashion, Feminism, Fantasy, and The History of Comic Book Heroines
by Mike Madrid
4/5 stars
Madrid discusses the history of the comic supergirls from the beginning in the 1940’s until the 2000’s. Very detailed and interesting.

Editado: Set 19, 2022, 9:05 am

Ponzi's Scheme: The True Story of a Financial Legend
Mitchell Zuckoff
4/5 stars
Charles Ponzi, an immigrant from Italy came to America in 1920 to make it big. Unfortunately, life was hard in America but he eventually latched on to a scheme in Boston that made him a lot of money at the expense of others. Unfortunately, his scheme ended to be a house of cards falling when he thought he had it made! Well written and very interesting!

Set 20, 2022, 12:44 pm

I've just finished the astounding baseball memoir, The Boys of Summer, by Roger Kahn. My friend picked it as his selection for the monthly reading group we're both members of. I was a bit surprised to realize I'd never read the book, as it is of course considered a classic of the genre and was, in fact, a trailblazing book when first published. The writing is wonderful and the insights into the lives of ballplayers during the 1950s, and of so many other aspects of human nature in general and the ways in which our perspectives about our own youths change with the passage of time, are outstanding and compassionately rendered. If by some wild chance you're interested in my longer review, you can find it on my 50-Book Challenge thread.

Editado: Set 30, 2022, 11:32 am

Strong Boy: The Life and Times of John L. Sullivan, America's First Sports Hero
Christopher Klein
4/5 stars
Klein does a wonderful job describing the colorful life of John L. Sullivan, pugilist and sports icon who was born in 1858 as he follows the ups and downs of his life and career till his death in 1918. Despite the lack of TV and radio, Sullivan’s popularity was one of the highest in the US and he was considered the US’s first sports hero. Highly recommended!

Out 10, 2022, 12:33 pm

I finished Ruling Over Monarchs, Giants & Stars: Umpiring in the Negro Leagues & Beyond by Bob Motley. Motley certainly led a fascinating life. Motley was a Black man born in the early 1920 in Jim Crow polluted Alabama. His dream was to be a ballplayer, but his talents couldn't keep up with those dreams. When World War II broke out, Motley became one of the first African Americans accepted into the Marines and saw combat, and a lot of it, in the Pacific theater. After the war, Motley decided to stick with his dream of making a living in baseball, but now as an umpire, for which he felt that his combination of Marine toughness and natural flamboyance made him suited. In fact, after many years of umpiring sandlot and semi-pro games, Motley made it to the top of the profession, at least as it existed for African Americans in the 1950s, a job umpiring in the Negro Leagues. By the 1950s, Major League Baseball had been somewhat integrated, as more and more Black players had joined the Major League ranks after Jackie Robinson, Larry Doby and several others had first integrated the game in 1947. Umpiring, however, was another story. I guess the difference was MLB's willingness to have Black players, in positions, despite their obvious talents, of relative subservience to management, but not, as umpires, in positions of relative authority. In other words, it was one thing for a Black man to be able to strike out a white player with fastballs and curves, another for a Black man to call a white man out on a borderline pitch or a close play at first base. And not only were the Major League umpiring ranks still segregated, but even the minor leagues as well. Motley kept pushing, however, and eventually was hired as the second African American to umpire in the Pacific Coast League, a very high minor league.

So the story that Motley has to tell is, obviously, fascinating. A constant thread throughout the memoir is the pervasiveness of Jim Crow, from his childhood days of having to duck down out of sight when the Klan came roaring through his family's poor Alabama small-town neighborhood to the dangers and humiliations the Black players experienced during their barnstorming journeys through the South, right into the 1950s. The memoir does have some flaws, though. For one thing, Motley was already in his 80s when he finally sat down and told all these stories to his son, Byron, who then produced this "as-told-to" narrative. As Motley says himself near the book's conclusion, many of the specifics of time and place had faded for him by then. So in the reading, there are times when recollections that you wish would be more detailed and specific remain general, and the narrative is often somewhat flat, with cliches relatively common. People are often "thrilled," and they "marvel" and so on. In addition, Motley umpired in the Negro Leagues at a time, post MLB integration, when the Negro Leagues were beginning to implode, with teams folding and investment waning for lack of interest. So I'm a bit dubious of Motley's claims that there was no diminishing of the quality of play over the seasons that the Negro Leagues gradually shrank from three full leagues to one four-team league. Nevertheless, many of the tales Motley does tell are fascinating. His stories of umpiring behind the plate when the great Satchel Page was pitching are priceless. And many others of his recollections of events both on the field and off make this memoir well worth reading, particularly, though not necessarily exclusively, for baseball fans. This is, overall, an American story.

Out 17, 2022, 12:01 pm

>52 LynnB: That sounds interesting!

Out 18, 2022, 10:36 am

>53 JulieLill: It is. Just one page on each woman...but I can research further into any one of them.

Out 22, 2022, 6:11 pm

Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape
Jenna Miscavige Hill
4/5 stars
This is the fascinating true life story of Jenna Miscavige and her life in Scientology. She describes her and her family’s life and roles in Scientology, where life for children and adults are very different and highly structured from those on the outside. Children are harshly punished for disobeying and parents and children are separated at an early age and forced to work doing menial tasks. Definitely, a page turner.

Editado: Out 22, 2022, 6:14 pm

Caddyshack: The Making of a Hollywood Cinderella Story
by Chris Nashawaty
4/5 stars
This is the wonderfully interesting book on the making of the film Caddyshack. Nashawaty dishes all the dirt surrounding the production of the movie. Definitely for film buffs!

Out 28, 2022, 9:01 am

I'm reading Is There Bacon in Heaven: A Memoir by Ali Hassan

Out 29, 2022, 7:07 pm

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Irin Carmon
3.5/5 star
This was quite an unusual book about RBG. It talks about her life with her husband who ended up more of a stay at home husband but still working and supporting his wife, her law career and her eventual rise to Supreme Court judge. It was also quite a fascinating look at the juggling the nominees go through before getting on the court.

Out 31, 2022, 3:05 pm

Nov 2, 2022, 6:55 pm

Notes on a Cowardly Lion: The Biography of Bert Lahr
John Lahr
3/5 stars
This is quite an extensive book on Bert Lahr who was probably best known for his role of the Cowardly Lion in the film, The Wizard of Oz. Written by his son, the author traces his family life and extensive career on Broadway, in films and Vaudeville and the actors and actresses he worked with.

Nov 7, 2022, 8:20 pm

Just finished Terry Pratchett: a life with footnotesWilkins does a good job with this, tho there were sections that were repetitive, and I wanted more info on the books besides the sale numbers. But the final section where he talks about the bugarance, as Pratchetts mind and skills start slipping was so powerful. have kleenex handy (I think this is coming to the US later this month)

Nov 7, 2022, 8:22 pm

>37 JulieLill: Id read that!!! mmmmm Cadbury.....

Nov 8, 2022, 9:19 am

Old Sparky: The Electric Chair and the History of the Death Penalty
Anthony Galvin
5/5 stars
This is an interesting book about the history of the death penalty, the electric chair and the people who underwent execution. Written in 2015, I would love to see this book added to include any changes in the death penalty and its outcomes.

Nov 11, 2022, 10:43 am

The Wolf Man
Kenny Abdo
3/5 stars
I thought this book was an adult book but it turns out that it is an easy reader book. But I did read it though I really wanted to read an adult book on The Wolf Man. This is one of a series of books on Hollywood Monsters for children. I will have to be more on alert when I order books. I am sure there is something out there about the wolfman and/or Lon Chaney on an adult level.

However, the most interesting part of the book was that the script of the movie was based on writer Curt Siodmark's Dresden experiences when the Nazi's took over. It did not come from German folklore.

Nov 19, 2022, 12:26 pm

by A. Scott Berg
5/5 stars
I love A. Scott Berg and would read anything by him. He doesn't disappoint in this detailed and interesting book on the life and times of Lindberg which recounts his life, his tragedies and triumphs and his death. Highly recommended!

Nov 25, 2022, 1:32 pm

Dolls! Dolls! Dolls!: Deep Inside Valley of the Dolls, the Most Beloved Bad Book and Movie of All Time
Stephen Rebello
4/5 stars
If you have ever seen Valley of The Dolls, you’ll love this book that covers all the dirt in the making of this movie based on Jacqueline Susann’s 1966 book. Rebello thoroughly covers every aspect of the making of this movie!

Nov 25, 2022, 4:19 pm

!!!!!I told this before, but I tried to read that book in jr hi (hiding it from parents tho they had never banned a book from me) But dad noticed and told me he wanted to read it, and tell him what I thought. Um, ok

Wil have to check this out!

Nov 28, 2022, 9:15 am

Nora Ephron: A Biography
Kristin Marguerite Doidge
4/5 stars
This isn’t the first book I have read about Nora Ephron but she is such an interesting subject to read about and was such a success in her career with writing and film that not every book on her can contain all that we know about her. When I checked this out from the library I work at, one of the patrons saw that I had that book and she wanted to check it out too. I think Ephron’s life was not long enough for her fans, family and friends yet she will still be a role model to women everywhere!

Nov 28, 2022, 12:28 pm

I finished John Heartfield: Laughter is a Devastating Weapon by David King and Ernst Volland. Helmut Herzfeld was an artist and graphic designer who came of age as an artist during the fraught and chaotic days of 1920s Weimar Republic Germany. He changed his name to John Heartfield as a political protest against what he saw as the disastrous rise in toxic German nationalism that had already led to the insane, meaningless carnage of World War I. Heartfield was a founding member of the short-lived but extremely influential Dadaist movement and, along with artist George Grosz, is credited with more or less inventing the art of photomontage. It was obvious to Heartfield that German industrialists were manipulating the politics and economics of the day and criminally exploiting German workers. He became a lifelong Communist, a very early member of the German Communist Party. Heartfield turned his artistic talent, plus his anger, determination and sharp wit, to message-bearing graphic design, most notably designing dozens of classic covers for the weekly German Communist Journal, AIZ, or Arbiter Illustrierte Zeitung: in English, Workers' Illustrated Newspaper. His profoundly affecting and often savage designs took on the monied interests and, increasingly, the rising fascist movement, personified of course by the Nazi's. Heartfield portrayed Hitler as being not only hateful but corrupt, funded, as can be seen in the book's cover image, by the industrialists themselves as a way to keep the workers in line. When the Nazi's finally took power in 1933, Heartfield had to flee Germany, literally escaping out a window and hiding in a trash bin for seven hours when the Gestapo raided his studio. The AIZ set up shop in exile in Prague until the Munich Agreement in 1939. Soon Heartfield was in England, where his determined anti-Fascist bona fides didn't mean much to the British authorities, who interned him for being a German national and a Communist. Released after six months due to poor health, Heartfield remained spied upon and, to a certain extent. He moved back Germany, specifically, to the DDR, in 1950, where he was once again viewed with suspicion due to his 11 years in England, not being formally admitted to the DDR's Academy of the Arts until 1956.

I've only touched on some main points of Heartfield's astounding and fascinating life story. This book is mostly filled with large and colorful prints of Heartfield's most famous posters and book jacket arts. In many cases, we see the original montages flanked by the finished products including the use of shading and text that appeared in AIZ and elsewhere. I would be remiss if I failed to point out that his art was not only anti-capitalism/fascist, but also in many cases pro-Communism, in which he stongly and determinedly believed.

Dez 4, 2022, 9:28 am

Paul Winchell
4/5 stars
Probably best known as a puppeteer and TV star, the rest of his life was a series of ups and downs especially regarding his mother. But he was also an inventor and friends with Dr. Heimlich. He consulted with him about using hypnosis during surgery and worked on an artificial heart. He also experimented on electric cars and was the first to develop disposable razors among other things. Highly recommended and very interesting!

Dez 4, 2022, 11:04 am

Dez 7, 2022, 2:15 pm

I finished Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet A. Jacobs. This is an extremely well written and harrowing autobiography of a woman who, born in 1813, grew up a slave in North Carolina. Due to a protective mother and a kind "mistress" who even taught her to read and write, Jacobs as a girl was not even aware that she was a slave. But her mother and mistress died in short order, and in her mistress in her will, "left" Jacobs to her 5-year-old niece. This put Jacobs in the power of the girl's father, who proceeded to sexually harass Jacobs relentlessly. Jacobs refused to submit, and due to highly unusual community status of Jacobs' grandmother (who had long since bought her own freedom), Jacob's tormenter a prominent doctor, had to refrain from force or physical punishment. However, the psychological torment he subjected Jacobs to was horrible enough and remains a constant theme throughout most of Jacob's narrative. In the meantime, a relationship with another white man brings Jacobs two children. And while the father reneges on his promise to free both Jacobs and their children, Jacob's fight to protect her young son and daughter, along with her determination to evade the clutches of her tormentor, create the dominant, determined themes of her story, leading her into desperate sacrifices and risks. Through all this, Jacobs provides a detailed, horrific picture of chattel slavery.

Jacobs' book, published after her eventual escape to the North, became an important document in the abolitionist fight against slavery. Although not the first slave testimony, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl was the first widely distributed slave account written by a woman.

Dez 10, 2022, 12:42 pm

Annie's Ghosts: A Journey Into a Family Secret
Steve Luxenberg
4/5 stars
Steve Luxenberg knew that his mother was an only child but then there was an episode that occurred at the doctor’s office when she talked to her doctor about a sibling that was institutionalized when she was quite young. The author had never in his life heard of this sister of his mother. It wasn’t until his mother’s death that the secret came out. He started to research his mother’s family and uncovered the truth about the aunt who he never met. I thought this was quite an amazing story and thoroughly researched.

Dez 20, 2022, 11:30 am

Muppets in Moscow: The Unexpected Crazy True Story of Making Sesame Street in Russia
Natasha Lance Rogoff
4/5 stars
Rogoff tells her tale of working for Sesame Street in the 1990’s and trying to get the post- Soviet Russians to embrace a Russian Sesame Street to air in their country. I really enjoyed this book and the author does a nice job relating her time in Russia and the people she worked with.

Dez 30, 2022, 3:23 pm

Just before the year's end I finished The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution, C.L.R. James' classic, 1938 history of the Haitian Revolution and biography of its brilliant and charismatic leader, Tousaint L'Overture. This is a fascinating, multi-dimensional history and biography of a chapter of history I knew very little about. My copy was a second printing of the book's 1971 republishing with a new introduction and an appendix by the author.