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Lives of the Writers: Comedies, Tragedies (and What the Neighbors Thought)
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Lives of the Writers: Comedies, Tragedies (and What the Neighbors Thought)

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4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  166 ratings  ·  38 reviews
Shakespeare wrote with a feather quill and ink; Emily Dickinson wrote with a fountain pen; Isaac Bashevis Singer wrote on a Yiddish typewriter. But what did such writers do when they weren't writing? What did Jane Austen eat for breakfast? What could make Mark Twain throw his shirts out the window? Why would Zora Neale Hurston punch a fellow elevator passenger? Lives of th ...more
Hardcover, 96 pages
Published September 26th 1994 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Heidi
Interesting book. Not as great as I had hoped. Enough to remind me again that I prefer most authors' writing, and NOT their lives! Definitely some weird, messed up people. Quick facts to keep a younger person's interest, though not much for them to do anything with. I'm not sure what audience this would work for, since I was only interested because I enjoy classic literature and was an English major. This book seems aimed at ages 8-12. Are there children that age who are interested in knowing bi ...more
Josiphine
My favorite of this series for obvious reasons.
Katherine
This collective biography features the intimate details of the lives of some of literature’s most important figures – Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, and Shakespeare among others. Children’s authors such as E.B. White and Hans Christian Andersen round out the collection, providing children not only with glimpses into the authors behind the books they will read in school, but also into ones they will read at home.

The book is organized by chronology, from Murasaki Shikibu in the tenth century to Is
...more
The Reading Countess
Krull does it again. Twenty famous writers' lives are ripe for the picking. Infused with the juiciest of tidbits (enough to keep even the most reluctant middle schooler sit up and take notice), I've personally bookmarked POE, DICKENS and DICKINSON for future use with my students.

Highly recommended.
Pontiki
What a great way to get to know more about all these famous writers! The illustrations were the best, and all the bits of trivia were fun. It was also interesting to hear about how many of these such well known people were poor and and only became respected posthumously.

I really like the choice of writers, with the first, Murasaki Shikibu, being such an unusual individual, especially in her time. I was amazed at the number of women who never married, again pointing toward their unconventionalit
...more
Mandolin
The second book in Krull's "Lives of..." series covers an assortment of famous writers including de Cervantes, Shakespeare, Austen, Poe, Dickens, Dickinson, Sandburg and others. Rather than focusing on the dry details of their lives, Krull goes for what really interests us about other people: their foibles and quirks and oh-so-human idiosyncrasies. Although she covers the basic facts and dates about the authors in a brief opening summary, Krull primarily focuses on the juicier details of these a ...more
Taya
Oct 22, 2009 Taya rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: pbgs-4
This book takes a delightful twist on biographies. It is a compilation of short biographies of different famous writers throughout the years. Included in the content are humorous pieces of information not commonly known about these people. Also, each new person is caricatured in a slightly comical, yet still representative way. I just find this book to be extremely original and enjoyable, though I admit my opinion is biased as this topic is very close to my heart. The thought behind the set up o ...more
Powder River Rose
Actually this is excellent bits of information on many different writers. Good for any who wish to know a little bit or a little bit more. Narration is good.
Naomi
A phenomenal book giving short bios of some of the best classic authors complete with caricatures of their image.
Tawny
This book contains short, candid biographies of 19 famous authors. Favorite lines:
1. "First one has to endure terrible adversity," [Hans Christian Andersen] assured his mother, "then you become famous" (29).
2. "When you have a garden, you have a future," [Frances Hodgson Burnett] once wrote (65).
3. Writing was an escape: "It's such fun just to give way and let your pen go off with you into the uttermost parts of the earth and the mountains of the moon" --Robert Louis Stevenson (67).
4. [Langston
...more
R
Great resource and quick bit of information on authors and their lives.
Jean Marshall
Jun 17, 2008 Jean Marshall rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Middle school teachers, children and parents
Aimed at 8 to 12 year-olds, this book contains brief biographies of famous authors from a variety of centuries and countries, including William Shakespeare, Langston Hughes, and Murasaki Shikibu. Although the writing is occasionally oddly worded and confusing, the text is appropriate for the age group as well as entertaining and informative. Each biography is also accompanied by a clever illustration of the author.
Marcia
So many fun little tidbits--so much tragedy--so much talent! I love this series of books, and revisited this one on audio on today's walk. A reminder of how rampant tuberculosis was and how many lives it claimed. Genius and madness run side by side with some of these folks. Jane Austen, the Brontes, Dickens, Poe, Dickinson, Twain...are all covered. Many did not gain fame while alive and many died very young. No depth, but fun for those with an interest or to add dimension to an author study.
Megan
This wasn't quite as engrossing (to me) as this author's lives of famous musicians book, but still chock full of interesting tidbits. I think the fact that I already knew quite a bit about the subjects somewhat negatively influenced how well I enjoyed it. Nonetheless, it was good stuff, and succinct. I thought the compendium of short bios was a good way to get a decent overview of a particular set of people.
Heather Denkmire
The brevity surprised me. It was like a magazine, little bits and pieces. Snippets. It worked fine as something to listen to while doing dishes, but there was nothing compelling or particularly interesting about it. (That's not true, some of the writers had interesting or odd personality quirks.) I'd recommend this to someone who isn't really in the mood to do much deep thinking. Again, it worked fine.
Sher
Jun 03, 2010 Sher rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
Like the other books in this series, this one is delightful. It is easy reading, but Krull does not hold out any details of the lives of the writers she discusses. I have read works by most of these authors, but now am eager to read works by those I have not read as well.

Once again, the art work by Kathryn Hewitt is beautiful, full of symbolism and humor.
Michael
A beautiful book with juicy tidbits on twenty literary luminaries - generally 2-3 pages per author. I never would have imagined some of the lives of these well-known authors. I like the style, but just as you get interested in a particular person, the biography is over. So I prefer her longer book-length biographies as in the Giants of Science series.
Angie
I enjoyed some of the bios more than others (I skipped Mark Twain because I am not a fan).

Excellent overview of some of the great classical writers. Although, I was disappointed that the authors showcased were mainly British and American. What about the great German, Czech and Russian writers? At least Hans Christian Anderson was the first one.
Beth
I borrowed this from the public library so I could read the section about Hans Christian Andersen to my 8th-graders as a supplement to a lesson about fairy tales. I'm thinking about reading a section to them each day so they can learn about different authors, as my students are not exposed to a lot of literature.
Rachel
very interesting book with 3-5 page chapters on different writers throughout history. has funny and informative cartoon-like page size pics of each person and tells about what they lived through (connection to history) and gives some of their works. really like this one
Kevin
Ahhhhhhh, i picked this up hoping it would be a quick overview of landmark writers. Instead it was Cliff Notes for idiots. Redundant I know. Who in the world would want to study the greats written by the non-great, and by that i mean the lousy. despicable text in all ways.
Theresa
This is an excellent book for learning background info on various writers such as Mark Twain, Langston Hughes, William Shakespeare, Jack London, Carl Sandburg and many more. You get a little hint of thier lifestyle and childhood. It's a wonderfull book!
Linda
Upper elementary or Middle school level. Interesting information on writers -- Shikibu, Cervantes, Shakespeare, Austen, Andersen, Poe, Dickens, Bronte(s), Dickinson, Alcott, Twain, Burnett, Stevenson, London, Sandburg, White, Hurston, Hughes, Singer.
Ben Schnell
It really helps to be introverted to become a famous writer of literature. Most of these people were, sometimes extremely. Dickinson is a great example. But, then again, not all of them were.
Snorkle
I didn't appreciate some of my favorite authors having their heads drawn so out of preportion. I didn't feel like the information given in the book was worthwhile enough to read this book.
Lauren
It was so cool to read about all these great authors. Some of the authors I read about had very messed up child hoods. Though I guess that explains why they were writers.
Heather
Reading level 6.9

LOVE THIS BOOK!!! The biographies are great, makes learning about famous writers fun, and it makes you want to read their books!!
Denis
The portraits of the writers along with the telling bios that accompany them make the subjects of this little book come alive for the reader.
Kersten
My Aunt bought me this book a long time ago because I love writing and am always interested in what other writers went through in their lives.
Melissa Luttrell-Hill
Loved this. So much information that I never even knew about some of my favorite authors. Great resource for grade schoolers.
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