For Biography Lovers, NextReads had put together a list of must reads:
Cheever: A Life – by Blake
Bailey Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 3/10/2009ISBN-13: 9781400043941 ISBN-10: 1400043948
Only six weeks before his death from cancer in 1982, American novelist and short-story writer John Cheever received the National Medal for Literature at Carnegie Hall. Beginning with that moment, biographer Blake Bailey presents a riveting portrait of this literary icon, painting him as a complex man with a deeply conflicted soul. Bailey examines all aspects of Cheever’s life, from his alcoholism to his secret bisexuality to his difficult relationships with his children. Pick up this comprehensive and well-researched biography to learn more about Cheever, one of the most talented writers of the last century.
Yogi Berra: Eternal Yankee – by Allen Barra Publisher: W. W. Norton Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 3/29/2009 ISBN-13: 9780393062335 ISBN-10: 0393062333
Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra, one of the greatest baseball players of all time as well as one of the most quoted, has yet to be the subject of a full-scale biography. But thanks to author Allen Barra (whose last name is surprisingly similar to Yogi’s), Berra has now received his due. Among the topics that Barra covers are Berra’s childhood in St. Louis, his record-breaking career with the Yankees, and his success as a manager for both the Yankees and the Mets. If you’re in the mood for more biographies of baseball greats, check out Richard Cramer’s Joe DiMaggio: The Hero’s Life or Jonathan Eig’s Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig.
Flannery: A Life of Flannery O’Connor – by Brad Gooch Publisher: Little, Brown Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 2/25/2009 ISBN-13: 9780316000666 ISBN-10: 0316000663
In this new biography of Southern novelist and short-story writer Flannery O’Connor, author Brad Gooch illuminates the iconic author’s life, times, and personal relationships. Born March 25, 1925 in Milledgeville, Georgia, O’Connor graduated from Georgia State College for Women before attending the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She wrote controversial, unsentimental portraits of the American South, but her career was cut short when she died from lupus at the age of 39. Drawing on interviews with O’Connor’s literary and childhood friends, Gooch’s standout biography is a must-read for anyone who wants to know more about this enigmatic American writer.
Live Through This: A Mother’s Memoir of Runaway Daughters – by Debra Gwartney Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 2/11/2009 ISBN-13: 9780547054476 ISBN-10: 0547054475
When former Newsweek correspondent Debra Gwartney divorced her husband, she decided to move from Arizona to Oregon with her four daughters. Her plan was to build a new life for herself and her children, but instead Gwartney’s life was torn apart when her two eldest daughters, 16-year-old Amanda and 14-year-old Stephanie, ran away and began living on the streets. Live Through This is Gwartney’s powerful story of her frantic struggle to find her missing girls, to rehabilitate them, and to rebuild her relationship with them. Kirkus Reviews calls this memoir an ‘”achingly beautiful chronicle of unfathomable sorrow, flickering hope and quiet redemption.”
Considering Doris Day – by Tom Santopietro Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 3/20/2007 ISBN-13: 9780312362638 ISBN-10: 0312362633 April 3, 1924.
Doris Day appeared in 39 movies and released more than 600 recordings, making her one of Hollywood’s biggest success stories, yet to many people she is remembered only as the wholesome, compliant woman that she often portrayed. In Considering Doris Day, author Tom Santopietro analyzes both the best and worst of Day’s movie roles, studies her vast catalog of music, and examines her surprisingly tumultuous personal life. For more on Day, pick up David Kaufman’s Doris Day: The Untold Story of the Girl Next Door.
Jane Goodall: The Woman Who Redefined Man – by Dale Peterson Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 11/15/2006 ISBN-13: 9780395854051 ISBN-10: 0395854059 April 3, 1934.
Known for her groundbreaking studies of chimpanzee behavior, Jane Goodall is also a tireless advocate for animal, environmental, and humanitarian causes. In this in-depth profile, author Dale Peterson, Goodall’s colleague and occasional collaborator, offers a personal perspective on this dedicated scientist and naturalist. From Goodall’s close relationships with family members to her years with the Gombe chimpanzees and her establishment of radical new standards in the study of animal behavior, Peterson’s biography depicts a complex, charming, and remarkable woman.
The Last Princess: The Devoted Life of Queen Victoria’s Youngest Daughter – by Matthew Dennison Publisher: St. Martin’s Press Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 2/19/2008 ISBN-13: 9780312376987 ISBN-10: 0312376987
April 14, 1857. The youngest of Queen Victoria’s nine children, Princess Beatrice was called “Baby” throughout most of her childhood. In fact, it was Victoria’s intention to keep Beatrice always by her side, even vowing that her youngest daughter would never be allowed to marry. Nevertheless, when Beatrice was 27, she fell in love with Prince Henry of Battenberg; Victoria reluctantly agreed to the wedding on the condition that Beatrice remain her devoted companion. In this entertaining biography, author Matthew Dennison recounts Beatrice’s fascinating and almost unfathomable life. To know more about Queen Victoria’s relationship with her children, don’t miss Jerrold Packard’s Victoria’s Daughters.
Willie Nelson: An Epic Life – by Joe Nick Patoski Publisher: Little, Brown Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 4/21/2008 ISBN-13: 9780316017787 ISBN-10: 0316017787 April 30, 1933.
Born in Depression-era Abbott, Texas, pop-culture hero Willie Nelson is as beloved for his country music as he is for his cowboy-hippie persona. Published to coincide with Nelson’s 75th birthday, this portrait by biographer Joe Patoski traces the artist’s rise from his poverty-stricken childhood to the heights of fame. Patoski pays particular attention to Nelson’s legendary performances, his partying lifestyle, his brushes with the law, and his turbulent personal life. Fans of Nelson might also want to grab The Tao of Willie: A Guide to the Happiness in Your Heart, written by the outlaw himself.
Focus on: People and Animals
Grayson – by Lynne Cox Publisher: A. A. Knopf Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 8/1/2006 ISBN-13: 9780307264541 ISBN-10: 0307264548
While it’s easy to envision crossing paths with seaweed and fish while swimming in the ocean, can you imagine what it would be like to suddenly find yourself swimming alongside an 18-foot-long whale? Thirty years ago, that’s just what happened to 17-year-old Lynne Cox early one morning while swimming near Seal Beach, California. In Grayson, Cox describes her encounter with a baby gray whale who had become separated from its mother and discusses her efforts to reunite the pair. Cox’s memoir of her magical, unforgettable aquatic encounter is “moving and thrilling” (Booklist).
From Baghdad, with Love: A Marine, the War, and a Dog Named Lava – by Jay Kopelman with Melinda Roth Publisher: Lyons Press Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 10/1/2006 ISBN-13: 9781592289806 ISBN-10: 1592289800
A member of the Marines, Kopelman was in Fallujah during the first week of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq when his battalion discovered a three-week-old puppy in an abandoned house. Though forbidden to have pets, Kopelman took the dog, whom he named Lava, back to his base and set about caring for him. From Bagdad, with Love is Kopelman’s story of his relationship with Lava and his efforts to bring the pup back to the United States. Dog lovers who enjoy this book and want another canine rescue story should look up Mark Levin’s Rescuing Sprite: A Dog Lover’s Story of Joy and Anguish.
The Cowboy and His Elephant: The Story of a Remarkable Friendship – by Malcolm MacPherson Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 9/3/2002 ISBN-13: 9780312304065 ISBN-10: 0312304064
Elephants are some of the most expressive animals in nature, capable of demonstrating joy, anger, and even grief, which cowboy Bob Norris–the original “Marlboro Man”–knows firsthand. In 1988, Norris adopted a ten-month-old orphaned elephant, Amy, who had been spared from a culling operation in her native Zimbabwe. Norris raised Amy on his ranch in the American West and the two developed an unbelievably close relationship. This moving book recounts their friendship and is packed with information about elephants and their behavior. Want to read more about these majestic creatures? Give Katy Payne’s In the Presence of Elephants a try.
Chosen by a Horse: A Memoir – by Susan Richards Publisher: Soho Press Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 6/1/2006 ISBN-13: 9781569474198 ISBN-10: 1569474192
In a memoir that is certain to touch the hearts of animal lovers, author Susan Richards details how she nursed an abused horse, Lay Me Down, back to health, and in the process healed her own damaged soul. A recovering alcoholic, Richards already had three other horses when she adopted Lay Me Down; while nurturing the neglected horse back to health and integrating her into the existing herd was a challenge for Richards, in exchange Lay Me Down helped her to overcome her somewhat dysfunctional outlook on life. If you enjoy this book, don’t miss Richards’ follow-up, Chosen Forever.
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