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Biographies and Memoirs > Favorite Memoirs and Biographies

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message 51: by Lee, Mod Mama (last edited Nov 19, 2010 08:56AM) (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
Sounds inspiring Chrissie! You've been reading some great books lately, you're really on a streak!

message 52: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Nice! I don't know abou Nothing in the World, though....

message 53: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie I absolutely adored Two Babushkas and my review is here:

message 54: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) | 157 comments I just finished Benjamin Franklin: An American Life, and it was terrific! I felt Benjamin Franklin was practically a personal friend by the end. Even had tears in my eyes at one point.

Wesley the Owl: The Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His Girl from your list Chrissie was awesome. My husband recommended that to me and we both loved it.

Another one we both enjoyed was How Starbucks Saved My Life: A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else

message 55: by [deleted user] (new)

I enjoyed the Starbucks book, too.

message 56: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Laura, I am glad you really enjoyed Wesley the Owl. Who would have ever thought owls could be so attached to people. I real eye opener. And I loved Caltech! Wasn't that the name of the university?

I have been thinking abbout adding the book you read on Franklin. Could you tell me why I should read it? What was particularly special about this biography on him?

message 57: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) | 157 comments I think it was Caltech, if I remember right Chrissie!

I'm still pretty new to bios, but this one was for me the opposite of dry. It was very real and almost read like fiction. I had to keep reminding myself that this was something that actually happened. Plus, I had no idea what an interesting person Ben Franklin really was and how much he did with his life. He was involved in so many things, and accomplished so much with only a couple years of grade school education. Plus, he's a guy you can't help but like.

I have always been terrible at history and have never been a big fan of non-fiction. But having finished that book, I've now decided I'd like to read a bio about each of the US presidents. And I now feel like I can do this, and I'm actually looking forward to it!

If this book can do that - I feel like almost anyone would love it.

Please let me know though if you have any other questions. I love this book!

message 58: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) | 157 comments Here's my review of the book as well Chrissie:

4.75 stars. I loved this book. Isaacson did a fair and balanced job, describing the man without whitewashing over his flaws. By the end, I felt like Franklin was mine, like he somehow belonged to me. I knew he would be an interesting person, but I had no idea how much this man did with his life. Nor did I understand just how involved he was before there was any US at all. We could still be a British colony without him - or even a French one! Something else I never learned in school, France's involvement.

This is the opposite of a dry history book. This is real life, described in such a way that you feel like you were a part of it, and know all of the players. When Franklin left France for the last time, toward the end of his life, there were tears in my eyes. This from a confirmed history dummy who has never had an interest! Well, that's all changed now. Thank you, Mr. Isaacson, for making this old patriot leap off the pages, and for making me know and really care for him, and for history, for the first time in my life. You deserve a gold star for sure.

message 59: by Diane (new)

Diane  (DianeDJ) Diane D. wrote: "I finished A Ticket to the Circus: A Memoir. I gave it 3 stars, but would have given it 3 1/2 if I could have. I liked the tone of Norris' writing, simple, as if she is conversing w..."

Now that Norris Church Mailer just past away on Thanksgiving week, this memoir is even more special to me.

message 60: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Laura, you have convinced me! I even added it to my wishlist that has higher priority than my to-read list. At least 50 %, no much more than 50% of non fiction books are dry, but there are many that are NOT. Of aLL of the books in that list I composed above, none are dry. I detest dry non-fiction! I highly recommend No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II by Goodwin. I promise you will not go to sleep! Goodwin has also written a book about Lincoln that I want to read. I am mentioning these b/c you were interested in reading a biography of all the presidents.

Diane, I have also added the book you mentioned here. I hadn't before b/c I haven't read any books by Mailer. Do you have to ba a fan of him to get the most from this book? It sounds interesting that it is about political, social and family life.

message 61: by Diane (new)

Diane  (DianeDJ) Chrissie, I had never (and I still haven't) read anything by Norman Mailer. This book, told in the voice of his last wife, is exactly that - her voice. Simply and honestly told. So, no you don't have to be a fan of Norman Mailer.

message 62: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Diane, that is good! It doesn't appeal to me.

message 63: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) | 157 comments Chrissie wrote: "Laura, you have convinced me! I even added it to my wishlist that has higher priority than my to-read list. At least 50 %, no much more than 50% of non fiction books are dry, but there are many tha..."

I'm a huge Doris Kearns Goodwin fan. I really love her personality, but my mom has read all of her books and loved them. I actually started that book you mentioned Chrissie, but at the time I was working and going to school and didn't have time to finish. She is definitely the opposite of dry, I agree!

message 64: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Laura, I whole-heartedly agree!

message 65: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Under a Cruel Star: A Life in Prague 1941-1968, which I read over Xmas, was fabulous. My review follows: I cannot praise it enough!

message 66: by Diane (new)

Diane  (DianeDJ) Chrissie, you always read the best Eastern European books!

message 67: by Chrissie (last edited Jan 04, 2011 10:51AM) (new)

Chrissie Diane, I like learning about these cultures. Maybe that is why I enjoy them so much. This simply shows in my reviews. So somebody NOT interested in these cultures might dislike the books I like...... but you like such books as much as I do! You simply must read this. I tried to clearly explain what made the book special, so that those not interested in the given topic will skip the book! We all like different things.

message 68: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie I highly recommend Shanghai Diary: A Young Girl's Journey from Hitler's Hate to War-Torn China which was very informative and the kind of book that immediately sucks you in. The author fled in 1939, 10 years old, with her family to Shanghai, one of the few countries that left their doors open to the European Jews! My review follows, if you are curious about the book's contents and the prose style:

message 69: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie You must read I Have Lived A Thousand Years: Growing Up In The Holocaust. Yes, it is a holocaust memoir, so I could have put it in the thread for strangely comforted memoirs, but since I have given it 5 stars it goes here. Excellent, gripping writing. Even in this horrible tale, the sun does shine. Here follows my brief non-spoiler review:

If you read only ONE more holocaust book, choose this!

message 70: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Local Wonders: Seasons in the Bohemian Alps simply must be checked out! This book too gets five stars. It is completely different from the last one I mentioned here.

Here follows my review:

message 71: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie I just finished The Tale of the Rose: The Love Story Behind The Little Prince. It is a memoir about Consuelo and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, written by Consuelo. It was in fact a letter written by her to Antoine. I think it is wonderful, absolutely wonderful. It will be appreciated by anyone who truly loves The Little Prince. I felt that many of the reviews here at GR were unfairly negative, so if you are interested in reading another pov, here follows mine:

message 72: by John (new)

John I have just started All Over But the Shoutin'. So far I am only part way through the prologue and I love it already. Got to be a good sign. I'm not surprised though because Bragg's other book about the same family Ava's Man is one of my favorite books of all time

message 73: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie John, thanks so very much for introducing me to this author! I have put Ava's Man right smack up at the top, on my highest priority shelf, the shelf from which I choose the books I must buy.

message 74: by John (new)

John Chrissie wrote: "John, thanks so very much for introducing me to this author! I have put Ava's Man right smack up at the top, on my highest priority shelf, the shelf from which I choose the books I must buy."

I found some YouTube postings of Rick Bragg reading from and talking about his books. Worth looking up!!

message 75: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Thanks for the tip.

message 76: by John (new)

John Now that I have heard Bragg read from his books it is his voice and his drawl I hear when I am reading them.

message 77: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie That's fun!

message 78: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie John mentioned Ava's Man, so I read it and really did like it. Here is my review:

It is about the author's grandfather, who lived in the Appalachian foothills during the Depression.

message 79: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie I just finsihed The Dressmaker of Khair Khana: Five Sisters, One Remarkable Family, and the Woman Who Risked Everything to Keep Them Safe which, being a biography, was right up my alley. This book truly inspires hope for the future of Afghanistan. Kamila Sidiqi is a woman you should know of. This book is true, while A Thousand Splendid Suns is fiction. Here follows my spoiler-free review:
Hopefully, after reading the review, you can better judge if it is a book you want to read.

message 80: by [deleted user] (new)

Could anyone recommend a biography of Winston Churchill? I am interested in his home life, rather than his political career. Thanks!

message 81: by Laura (new)

Laura | 294 comments I saw a book on this subject a few days ago, I will try to find it again.

message 85: by Laura (new)

Laura | 294 comments Winston Churchill: this one was recommended by Ed Hahn, a GR friend of mine and Chrissie

message 86: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
Thanks for all the additions Laura!

message 87: by Laura (new)

Laura | 294 comments my pleasure Lee...

message 88: by [deleted user] (new)

Thank you, Laura! xoxo

I just finished Mr. Chartwell by Rebecca Hunt, which gave me a glimpse into his personal life. But, I want to find out more about him and his family life. I'll check out the titles you've listed.

message 89: by Ellen (new)

Ellen (Hantsuki) | 5 comments I would say Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck is my most favorite memoir.

message 90: by Kim (new)

Kim (KimMR) | 931 comments A memoir that I love and think of as a comfort read is Our Hearts Were Young And Gay: An Unforgettable Comic Chronicle of Innocents Abroad in the 1920s. It is also a favourite of my mother's. She recalls laughing out loud while reading it on a bus more than sixty years ago.

message 91: by [deleted user] (new)

That's always a great recommendation, Kim!

message 92: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie I must add these here:

A Bed of Red Flowers: In Search of My Afghanistan and My Childhood. Absolutely excellent, as I have blabbed elsewhere.....

message 93: by Lee, Mod Mama (last edited Jun 16, 2011 09:52PM) (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
Chrissie, thank you for adding them to the thread AND the shelves! xoxoxo

message 94: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie I try to do my part. I was a little sloppy on adding all the books to each individual thread......

message 95: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
You did great!

message 96: by Laura (new)

Laura | 294 comments Lee wrote: "You did great!"


message 97: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie No, no, no - just what we all should do to keep the group tidy and organized.

message 98: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) Chrissie wrote: "No, no, no - just what we all should do to keep the group tidy and organized."

But, Chrissie, You've always done at least/more than your fair share, so thank you!

message 99: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie I like this group!

message 100: by Laura (new)

Laura | 294 comments Chrissie wrote: "I like this group!"

keep going Chrissie, keep going....

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Authors mentioned in this topic

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