Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

Reply
Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
0 Kudos

Memoirs

Have you recently, or not so recently, read a memoir of someone associated with Current Events that you think worthy of calling to the attention of other readers of this board? 

 

Perhaps we can use this thread for that purpose.  

 

Obviously, many observations on a memoir are possible.  Hopefully, our individual approaches can provide suggestions and ideas for others.  Among the questions will surely be ones of why read about this person at this point in time, how objective or how biased did the viewpoints seem to be, why did you read it, what was fascinating or seemed particularly important, what was boring or tedious or difficult, ..., to suggest a few. 

 

 

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Memoirs - Current Events - Madeleine Albright

Now that the system will allow me to reply to this thread...

 

Let me start it with Madam Secretary, A Memoir by Madeleine Albright.  I  had first picked up Madam Albright’s book The Mighty and the Almighty a year or more ago when some of us had been discussing fundamentalism religious movements.  I dabbled in it (a chapter here and there), but never sat down and read the whole thing.  Sometime later, I picked up Madam Secretary among bargain books.  Several months later, one of the members in the group in which I had been in discussion offered me a hardcopy, signed version – “Autographed for University Bookstore, Seattle-Bellevue” says the sticker on the book jacket.  (I know not the path this book travelled to NJ.)

 

This is a tome, and I had never gotten around to reading it.  Then, I noticed an  unabridged CD version among the newer acquisitions in our local library (an AAUW gift).  Now, some twenty CD’s and a bit of a fine for being overdue, I have been through the entire book.  It has been an enjoyable ~24 hours – most of it in not very concentrated listening, i.e., while driving or doing other activities.  Madeleine Albright herself did the recording, which gave it a most personal quality.  (An abridged version is available.)

 

Why read/listen to it?  Well, for me, whose daily life is far from international politics, it provided a window into that world and a perspective and background for current news.  Far enough away (an entire two-term administration) from current events, it gives an overview of events and players distant enough to almost seem a look at history and yet recent enough that names, locations, events and policies are still germane in many cases.  I also enjoyed tidbits of what it was like to break barriers or just function during the period when Madam Albright was the highest ranking woman in American politics.

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Memoirs

As I was searching to see if there was already an Al Qaeda thread this morning, I encountered this earlier post (and thread) from Jon that I might well have used rather than creating a new one on "Memoirs."  Mea culpa, although hopefully we can share some biographical reading even wider than that associated with an upcoming election.  But, I suspect Jon intended that anyway.

 

Political autobiographies - what do they mean to you? 

 


Jon_B wrote (excerpt):

 

 

How do you - as readers and as voters - feel about books like these?  Have you read these autobiographical books by McCain and Obama?  If so, do you feel that they have helped you understand either candidate in a way that you did not previously?  Or do they simply confirm ideas that you already had?  Do you think its possible that a support of one candidate might in fact decide to support the other candidate after reading one of these books?  Or do you find it more likely that most voters would interpret the content of these books in a way that supports the impressions they already have of the candidates?  Overall, how useful do you consider these books - not only as historic artifacts, but as part of the reading voter's role in political process itself?


 

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
Inspired Correspondent
utopian
Posts: 103
Registered: ‎04-13-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Memoirs

I've read many political memoirs.  One that sticks out in my mind is "An Hour Before Daylight" by Jimmy Carter.  I do not like or respect Jimmy Carter but this memoir of his childhood in Plains explained a lot to me.  He grew up in what we might consider a third-world country.  No electricity, running water, etc. and an almost feudal organization of society.  It always amazes me how people unwittingly expose themselves in their memoirs.

 

Another would be Barbara Bush's memoirs.  She endlessly records her social engagements with Saudi oil men.  She seems not to realize the political implications of revealing her family ties to oil interests.  I'm not sure how or if it effected the Bush presidencies, I was just surprised how open she was about the connections.

 

 

Mike Deaver wrote a good book about the Reagan administration.

 

Dick Morris has written some really venomous books on the Clintons.  "Because He Can" and "Rewriting History".  Very revealing.

 

Nancy Reagan published her husband's letters to her "I Love you Ronnie".  I found them surprisingly sweet and beautiful.  Whoever doubts the sincerity of their love has not read this book!

 

"My Mother Golda Meir", written by Menahem Meir gives a wonderful son's view of a great woman.  

 

"The Forgotten Woman" by Gandhi's grandchildren.

 

My Early Life by Winston Churchill is a fantastic book.

 

But my all-time favorite political memoir is the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin.  This book should be required reading for every American school child.  It's about his life, but it's also about what it means to be an American. 

Distinguished Wordsmith
Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Memoirs

But my all-time favorite political memoir is the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin.  This book should be required reading for every American school child.  It's about his life, but it's also about what it means to be an American.

 

I agree completely.

 

This book was suggested as a book to read in the History Book Club here, but so far has not been selected.  Maybe you might want to go there and push for it as a reading selection?  

_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
Distinguished Bibliophile
Ryan_G
Posts: 3,295
Registered: ‎10-24-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Memoirs

I agree that Madame Secretary is a wonderfully insighful look into the foreign policy decesions of the Clinton administration.  I read it when it was first released and have it on my rebuy list.

 

I also enjoyed the following memoirs:

 

 

Talking Back 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leap of Faith 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Living History 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"I am half sick of shadows" The Lady of Shalott

http://wordsmithonia.blogspot.com
Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Memoirs

It's been a good while since I read it, but I, too, thoroughly enjoyed the memoir of Queen Noor.  Thanks for reminding me.

 

A good used copy of Madame Secretary should be readily available these days.  (I know to whom my extra copy will go.  Sorry!  I haven't seen it among the bargain books recently.)  I do suggest listening to at least part of the video -- it was fun to hear Albright's own voice.

 


Ryan_G wrote (excerpts):

I agree that Madame Secretary is a wonderfully insighful look into the foreign policy decisions of the Clinton administration.  I read it when it was first released and have it on my rebuy list.

 

I also enjoyed the following memoirs:

 

 

 

Leap of Faith 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
New User
HollyReviews
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎09-13-2012
0 Kudos

Re: Memoirs

I'm not usually a reader of memoirs, always thought of them as sad and tragic. A friend recently suggested Bad Luck Cadet and Bad Luck Officer by Suzie Ivy. They are about a woman suffering from a mid-life crisis who decides to fulfill her dream and become a police officer. She looses weight and get's in shape but then faces the struggles of being a female in a male dominated field. The books were funny and sometimes heartbreaking. I loved them because she is not superwoman and has no problem telling about her mistakes and learning experiences. I fell in love with her and her triumphs too. The humor had me rolling on the floor in places. Book I is still .99 but I may have enjoyed book II more. It's a MUST to read them in order.

Bad Luck Cadet     

New User
the_walker
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎10-05-2012
0 Kudos

Re: Memoirs

[ Edited ]

Pardon my intrusion here, but being new here, have not been able to find a good place to post this. I recently published my book Coming to Astoria, a collection of stories from growing up. 

I'm one of those people it's best to keep off the social sites, since I tend to speak my mind and so have no connection or friends online outside of relatives and a few co-workers.

I have not been able to get anyone to buy the book, not even the few friends and relatives I have, so I'm asking for some help. Is the problem the book description, the book cover, the price or the fact that there are no reviews? 


If I can't get friends and family to buy it, then what chance do I have with complete strangers? I don't think it's the content, since they haven't even read it yet, or are they waiting for that first person to say if it's good or bad. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

 

I recently changed the book description, going with something totally different. This is what I had before:

 

Coming to Astoria begins in Palestine, in the middle of the war between the Arab nations and Israel. The story moves to Jordan, where things seem to get worse. Finally settled in the United States, a young boy struggles to fit in, facing conflict at home and outside. Explore the Arab culture as the boy grows into a man. 

 

Coming to Astoria is about an Arab boys journey from the Middle East to America. The story begins with the grandparents, a Palestinian family whose simple lifestyle is turned upside down by the Arab-Israeli wars. Forced to leave their home, they search for a safe environment, only to end up in the refugee camps of Jordan. Their eldest son and his family find peace and safety in America, settling in Astoria, New York. 

The story continues with the grandson, who struggles to fit in, and his experiences as he moves across the United States. 

Coming to Astoria is at times amusing, sad and informative, as the Arab culture is brought to life through the eyes of Omar, when he goes back to Jordan, hoping to reconcile with his family after the death of his father, only to drift further away.

 

 Here's the book itself: 

Coming to Astoria