Biographies, Memoirs and Autobiographies in 2024

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Biographies, Memoirs and Autobiographies in 2024

Dez 31, 2023, 5:14 pm

Another year of great lives!

Jan 1, 9:24 am

I'm starting the year with Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow.

Jan 1, 1:29 pm

I have started Learning to Live Out Loud by Piper Laurie.

Jan 9, 1:02 pm

Learning to Live Out Loud
Piper Laurie
4/5 stars
I knew about Piper Laurie, the actress but I don't think I ever saw her in many films but I going to check out some of her older films. She was the mother in the horror film Carrie (which I did see). She also lived quite an interesting life. I really enjoyed her autobiography. She just recently died in 2023 at the age of 91.

Jan 10, 3:05 pm

Jan 10, 3:17 pm

>5 LynnB: That sounds interesting- going to put it on my list!

Jan 11, 8:54 am

I'm about 1/3 thru and it's very interesting.

Jan 16, 11:53 am

A Girl from Yamhill
Beverly Cleary
4/5 stars
This is one of two biographies written by Beverly Cleary. This is the first one and it details her life growing up in Yamhill, Oregon. This is a juvenile biography but I really enjoyed it and I think adults will really enjoy this book too. I am going to read her second book My Own Two Feet and am looking forward to that one also!

Jan 23, 9:39 pm

I'm starting Elon Musk by Walter Isaacson

Jan 24, 1:24 pm

My Own Two Feet: A Memoir
Beverly Cleary
4/5 stars
This is the second memoir from Beverly Cleary, writer. The book starts with her college years during the depression including WWII, working at a library and ends with the publication of her first book. I really enjoyed this book too! I am surprised this is a Juvenile book but it is definitely a book adults will enjoy!

Fev 13, 11:30 am

Gracie: A Love Story
George Burns
4/5 stars
Written by the actor George Burns, he talks about his life and his love for his wife and partner Gracie Burns. He talks about his adopted children since Gracie couldn't have children and he also goes over their roles in entertainment including films, radio and television. Very entertaining!

Fev 17, 8:56 pm

Giant: Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean, Edna Ferber, and the Making of a Legendary American Film
Don Graham
4/5 stars
I have seen this film years ago and highly enjoyed it. The author did a nice job of relating the history of the making of this film and the events around the actors lives in that time period. I am definitely going to re-watch it.

Fev 21, 1:03 pm

Good Boy: My Life in Seven Dogs
Jennifer Finney Boylan
4/5 stars
This is the autobiography of Jennifer Finney Boylan who talks about her life when she becomes a transgender. She also writes about her love of her dogs and what she learned from each of them. Nicely written.

Fev 21, 1:13 pm

>12 JulieLill: discovered Edna Ferber last year on the author challenge and fell in love. Will have to read this book!

Now reading wifedom about 60 pages in and I cant count how many passages Ive marked so far. Really an excellent read

Fev 28, 1:04 pm

Crying in H Mart
Michelle Zauner
4/5 stars
This was a wonderfully written autobiography about the rock musician, Michelle Zauner. She writes about her life as a musician, and her Korean family but she also talks about her mother's cancer diagnosis and the effect it had on her family. Highly recommended! Biography

Mar 5, 9:45 am

A couple of days ago I finished The Teammates: A Portrait of a Friendship by David Halberstam. This one's really for baseball fans only. As the title lets on, The Teammates is a book about the friendship between Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr, Johnny Pesky and Dom DiMaggio, four members of the famed Boston Red Sox teams of the late 1930s through the end of the 1940s. All in all this is a well-written and affection portrait the the four players and their friendship over the decades. It's also a fun look back at a bygone era in baseball. You can find my longer review on my Club Read thread.

Mar 20, 6:58 pm

I'm reading Anastasia: The Life of Anna Anderson by Peter Kurth. I know that recent DNA evidence shows Anastasia is buried with her family, but I remain interested in the life and times of pretenders.

Mar 21, 2:38 pm

I finished Homage to Catalonia which, as most here will know, is George Orwell's memoir of his time in Spain during the Spanish Civil War. Orwell came to Spain to fight against Franco's ultimately (and tragically) successful Fascist takeover attack against the Republican government of Spain. Orwell's own political sympathies were Socialist, and he quickly joined the POUM militia, POUM being an acronym for what translates to English as the Workers' Party of Marxist Unification. Orwell describes his time in the trenches in the Catalonian mountains, where in the event, cold, hunger, lice and rats were as big a drawback as Franco's forces. The POUM troops were also very short on weapons and ammunition.

I very much enjoyed and was interested in Homage to Catalonia. Orwell writes with clarity, a terrific eye for detail and description, and humor. You very much get the feel for what it was like to be in those mountain trenches, despite (or maybe because of) Orwell's understated, wry writing style. He describes the mood of optimism, togetherness and idealism of Barcelona when he first gets there, and observes with regret that when he returned from the front lines just a few months later, the whole mood of the revolution had dampened, and class divisions were already reasserting themselves. Orwell also tells us of his bewilderment and eventual irritation at Spanish politics, but his great and abiding affection for the Spanish people.

Mar 24, 9:50 pm

thanks to dan, I decided to recheck out the brave escape of Edith Warton I had less tired eyes today than I did last night. Of the three bios Ive read this year this is the best. Well written, hits all the right spots and does not like the other two feel the need to bore us with every place they saw and every place they went to and who they were with. I loved reading about her life and how she did indeed make her escape. Loved her friendship with Henry James, Fitzgerald, Walter Berry and her true love, Walter (last name)?and so many other authors, I had liked the few books and stories I read, but this book has made me a fan of Edith Warton as the incredible person she was and as an author who left us the works of art she created,

Loved the mentions of her books and how they came to be. I was interested in three stories: Copy,the line of least resistanceand the book of the homeless

(one thing that amazes me about this time period was how peoplle at a drop of a hat can travel by ship back and forth sometimes several times a year. This esp in the case ofthe glimpses of the moon wow!

Also surprised by her work during WWI to help refugees, children and others, and wrote articles in Schibners letting people know first hand what was happening there, hich may have helped America to get involved.

a few quotes I enjoyed:

Attached to a packet of papers "to my biographer, make the gist of me"

When her sister in law writes about the woes and privitations of old age, she writes: "the farthest I have penetrated this ill-famed Valley, the more full of interest and beauty too have I found. It is full of its own quiet radience, and in the light I discover many enchantments which the midday dazzel obscured"

Mar 26, 10:04 am

Mar 28, 10:10 am

I finished Robert Owen by Joseph McCabe

This is a short, clear biography of visionary English social reformer, Robert Owen, written by Joseph McCabe, who was himself, 70 years later, a prominent Rationalist writer and lecturer. (McCabe's wikepedia bio here:

Robert Owen was a British industrialist in the early 19th century who spent his life and a major bulk of his money attempting to improve the lot of the British working class in a multitude of ways, including promoting shorter work days (the standard at the time was 14 hours per day), raising the minimum age of factory employees from 7 years old to 10 or 12, creating schools for children and even day care at company and/or public expense and full equality for women.

Owen spent his long life trying to set up enlightened industrial town and factories and agitating for his ideas, first in the English Parliament and then, giving up on the politicians, among British society as a whole. He never gave up on trying to replicate his success in Scotland, and in trying to point out the ultimate justice and economic advantages of improving the lot of factory workers, including champion and financially supporting the early English labor union movement. Not surprisingly, his pleas fell on deaf ears among British industrialists and politicians.

Abr 3, 1:43 pm

Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens
Eddie Izzard
4/5 stars
This is the autobiography of Eddie Izzard, comedian and entertainer who was born in Yemen but also lived in Wales, Northern Ireland and England. Raised by his dad after his mother died which greatly affected him. He has come out as genderfluid. He is also involved in politics. Very interesting!

Abr 15, 10:48 am

Not Your China Doll: The Wild and Shimmering Life of Anna May Wong
Katie Gee Salisbury
4/5 stars
This was a wonderfully interesting story about the American Asian actress Anna May Wong. She grew up in America, lived in Los Angeles and worked in her family's laundry business where she was discovered. She starred in the Douglas Fairbanks' film Thief of Bagdad and that started her career. Well written!

Editado: Abr 16, 1:28 pm

I've just finished The Mountains Wait, a memoir by Theodor Broch. Broch was the mayor of the far northern Norwegian town of Narvik when the Nazis invaded in 1940. The book begins with Broch getting away over the mountains into neutral Sweden, having escaped arrest for his resistance activities several months after the Nazi's arrival. But then, quickly, we go 10 years back in time to Broch's arrival in the town with his wife. He is a young lawyer intent on starting a practice away from the bustle (and competition) of Oslo. Pretty soon, Broch finds himself on the city council, and then the town's mayor. In the meantime, war clouds are gathering over Europe, though the folks of this sleepy town somehow assume they'll be spared.

But, of course, they aren't. In April 1940, German destroyers show up in the fjord. The Norwegian Navy ships on hand refuse to surrender, but are almost immediately sunk. Broch describes the Nazi's arrival and occupation of the town, their temporary departure when the English attack, and then their return. He describes well the town's day-to-day life during this time, as well as the dangers and tragedies of the various bombings and naval bombardments that take place.

But, finally, Broch's activities in getting information out to the British and other minor acts of resistance are discovered, and he has to flee. Broch eventually made his way to the U.S., where he became active in trying to raise money for the training and supplying of the Norwegian military and government in exile. He travels the country, especially the midwest, where Norwegian immigrants have been settling for decades. when Broch talks to American college students, he is frequently asked how Norway could have let itself be caught by surprise. That's until the Pearl Harbor attack, when those questions naturally cease. Finally we visit an airfield in Canada where Norwegian airmen are being trained. The Mountains Wait was published in 1943, while the war, obviously, was still ongoing. Broch couldn't know that Norway would still be in German hands when the Nazis surrendered to the Allies.

This book has been on my shelves since before my LT "Big Bang" in 2008.