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katylikescornnuts
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Registered: ‎06-17-2007
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Biographies?

I was given the assignment to read a biography or two this summer, and
I have no idea which one to choose! If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

(i've already read 4 on Johnny Depp, but I can't write about him...again).

= ]
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becke_davis
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Re: Biographies?

If you are looking for a biography, I think the most important thing is to pick a biography of a person you are interested in, whether they are a current entertainment star, a political figure, a famous person in history or someone who invented or discovered something.

Go to your local library or book store and look at the bookshelves where the biographies are displayed. Just scan those to find which ones might interest you. I can recommend biographies that were interesting to me, but it's more important to find biographies that will interest YOU.
Melissa_W
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Re: Biographies?

What are your favorite periods in history? Do you like science? Math?

You could have an ample list just from those categories:
Elizabeth Blackwell
Eleanor Roosevelt (any of the Roosevelts, actually, including Alice Roosevelt Longworth)
Nicola Tesla
Thomas Edison
Albert Einstein
Marie Curie
Watson and Crick
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Coretta Scott King



katylikescornnuts wrote:
I was given the assignment to read a biography or two this summer, and
I have no idea which one to choose! If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

(i've already read 4 on Johnny Depp, but I can't write about him...again).

= ]


Melissa W.
I read and knit and dance. Compulsively feel yarn. Consume books. Darn tights. Drink too much caffiene. All that good stuff.
balletbookworm.blogspot.com
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Everyman
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Re: Biographies?



becke_davis wrote:
If you are looking for a biography, I think the most important thing is to pick a biography of a person you are interested in, whether they are a current entertainment star, a political figure, a famous person in history or someone who invented or discovered something.

This differs from my experience. Many of the biographies or autobiographies I have found most fascinating and enjoyable are about people I had never heard of, or had had little previous interest in, but which came to my attention in some way or other.

Some specific examples: Mary Kingsley's Travels in West Africa was a Folio book offering and I bought it on the basis of the blurb -- I had never heard of Mary Kingsley before. But I found the book mesmerizing and entrancing. I had never heard of Beryl Markham, but a friend lent me a copy of West with the Night and I loved it. I ran across Shackleton's name when I was reading about Scott's polar expedition, had never heard of him, saw a copy of Shackleton's Boat Journey in a used bookstore, bought it, and loved it. And there are many other examples.

That's not to say that I don't also enjoy some biographies when I pick them out because I am already interested in the people, but in many cases those disappoint because I have a preconceived notion of what I want to know about the person and the author doesn't share my interests, so I go away disappointed.

But I really recommend not limiting one's choices of biographies just to people one already knows something about.
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Everyman
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Re: Biographies?



katylikescornnuts wrote:
I was given the assignment to read a biography or two this summer, and
I have no idea which one to choose! If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

(i've already read 4 on Johnny Depp, but I can't write about him...again).

= ]


What sort of things are you interested in? Adventures? Quiet lives? Young people? Writers? Historical figures? Ordinary people who have undergone interesting experiences?
_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
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becke_davis
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Re: Biographies?



Everyman wrote:


becke_davis wrote:
If you are looking for a biography, I think the most important thing is to pick a biography of a person you are interested in, whether they are a current entertainment star, a political figure, a famous person in history or someone who invented or discovered something.

This differs from my experience. Many of the biographies or autobiographies I have found most fascinating and enjoyable are about people I had never heard of, or had had little previous interest in, but which came to my attention in some way or other.

Some specific examples: Mary Kingsley's Travels in West Africa was a Folio book offering and I bought it on the basis of the blurb -- I had never heard of Mary Kingsley before. But I found the book mesmerizing and entrancing. I had never heard of Beryl Markham, but a friend lent me a copy of West with the Night and I loved it. I ran across Shackleton's name when I was reading about Scott's polar expedition, had never heard of him, saw a copy of Shackleton's Boat Journey in a used bookstore, bought it, and loved it. And there are many other examples.

That's not to say that I don't also enjoy some biographies when I pick them out because I am already interested in the people, but in many cases those disappoint because I have a preconceived notion of what I want to know about the person and the author doesn't share my interests, so I go away disappointed.

But I really recommend not limiting one's choices of biographies just to people one already knows something about.




Hmm, you may be right. I guess I'm trying to look at this from the viewpoint of someone who has not previously shown an interest in biographies. As for myself, I was like you -- the books that fascinated me were people I didn't already know much about, like Marie Curie. When I was young I was also interested in people like Clara Barton, Florence Nightingale, J. Edgar Hoover, etc. My favorite biographies included those of Lillian Hellman and Frank Capra. So I guess it really doesn't matter what biography you start with -- if they led a life that was interesting enough to rate a biography, their biography is probably going to be worth a read!
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MattW
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Re: Biographies?


katylikescornnuts wrote:
I was given the assignment to read a biography or two this summer, and
I have no idea which one to choose! If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

(i've already read 4 on Johnny Depp, but I can't write about him...again).

= ]



The discussion here is perfect - getting to better know someone with whom you're already familiar is fun, but it's even more fun to learn about someone you don't know. I have a particular appreciation for nonfiction, and I always think it's a good idea to research someone who's a current newsmaker, such as Bill Gates or Tiger Woods. Then there's historical figures like Laura Ingalls Wilder or Eleanor Roosevelt. And then, of course, there are biographies for Hollywood celebs, like High School Musical's Ashley Tisdale or Madonna. Whatever bio you pick out to read for your assignment, getting to know somebody else's history can be an inspiration.
Matt
Teens Editor, B&N.com
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becke_davis
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Re: Biographies?

My husband and son like to read biographies about people like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison (Oracle), etc. but I would say they take it one step further -- they also like reading about how some of the big companies got started. I guess you could still call them biographies, even though they are about companies instead of people. Some of these books that come to mind include the story of Google and Starbucks but there are really too many to mention!
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MattW
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Re: Biographies?

[ Edited ]

becke_davis wrote:
My husband and son like to read biographies about people like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison (Oracle), etc. but I would say they take it one step further -- they also like reading about how some of the big companies got started. I guess you could still call them biographies, even though they are about companies instead of people. Some of these books that come to mind include the story of Google and Starbucks but there are really too many to mention!



Hi all-

Since we're talking about biographies, there's an interesting conversation going on now about boy books & getting boys to read. If you want to join in the discussion, it's here .

Message Edited by MattW on 06-29-2007 10:04 AM
Matt
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coreen222
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Re: Biographies?

Speaking of Biographies, has anyone read the Beatrix Potter one that came out recently? I just started reading a mystery series in which she is a character and the book was a resource for the Susan Wittig Albert (the author of the series) and I remember hearing about it on a talk radio show a while back. I am considering picking it up after I finish this book.
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MattW
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Re: Biographies?



coreen222 wrote:
Speaking of Biographies, has anyone read the Beatrix Potter one that came out recently? I just started reading a mystery series in which she is a character and the book was a resource for the Susan Wittig Albert (the author of the series) and I remember hearing about it on a talk radio show a while back. I am considering picking it up after I finish this book.



I haven't heard about that Beatrix Potter bio - do you know what it's called? Also, what's the mystery series you're reading?

Also, I was wondering if you saw the movie Miss Potter and what you thought.
Matt
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coreen222
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Re: Biographies?

The biography is called "Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature" by Linda Lear. I haven't seen or was even aware of the movie. Did you see it? Is it good?

The series I am reading is called "The Cottage Tales of BEatrix Potter" by Susan Wittig Albert. I found the books on the mystery board here at B&N. I was never much into mysteries, but I wanted to try out a new genre, so I thought this would be a good place to start, since it is somewhat historical fiction, somewhat biographical, and somewhat children's literature (although the book was written for adults, I think it could easily cross over to children's lit.)

I am enjoying it, although it is very different from what I usually read, but that was what I was looking for.



MattW wrote:


coreen222 wrote:
Speaking of Biographies, has anyone read the Beatrix Potter one that came out recently? I just started reading a mystery series in which she is a character and the book was a resource for the Susan Wittig Albert (the author of the series) and I remember hearing about it on a talk radio show a while back. I am considering picking it up after I finish this book.



I haven't heard about that Beatrix Potter bio - do you know what it's called? Also, what's the mystery series you're reading?

Also, I was wondering if you saw the movie Miss Potter and what you thought.


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MattW
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Re: Biographies?

Thanks for the tip, Coreen22. I did see the movie Miss Potter, and I thought it was a pretty good glimpse into Beatrix Potter's life (although I wasn't thrilled with the leading actor in it, who shall remain nameless here). One nice touch in the movie was the incorporation of animated Peter Rabbit characters - it helped bring the books to life, but they didn't bring on so much animation that it got annoying. Before the movie was released, I wondered if it would help people find the books; I think it must have because it centered so much on the books themselves, not on juicy morsels from the author's life (not that there are so many).

I'll check out The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter - sounds interesting!
Matt
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johanna49
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Re: Biographies?

Coreen222,
It seems like we like the same kind of books. I really like the mystery books by Susan
Wittig Albert with A fictional Beatrix Potter. They are fun. I think young people in Middle School may like these books.
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agnijay
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Re: Biographies?

I had to do one, and I'm really into hockey, so I did Wayne Gretzky. Choose one you like.
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Re: Biographies?

Ooh! The Spring I was twelve I read the biography of all of Henry's wives. By Antonia Fraser. I swear, you will cry for Anne Boleyn...

Fraser's brilliant. I would definitely try her.

Oh, by the way, don't mind the fact that I was twelve, you'll find it in the adult section. Everyone thought I was retarded for reading it. Even my teacher seemed to think I was mentally out of it. Perhaps I was. lol.
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Lloydinadobler
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Re: Biographies?

i had a biography assignment last quarter and i read a book about Rudolph Valentino that was really interesting. i didnt like the authors writing style and i dont even really remember his name but if you are looking for an interesting person Valentino is a good one.
"Yet, sadly, accidental rudeness occurs alarmingly often. Best to say nothing at all, my dear man."
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ABI
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Re: Biographies?

lol...my friend's reading a biography of Flea. He says it's good - but he would judge you solely on your opinion of Flea if her could. Fortunately, he has somwaht of a conscious. I think. :smileywink:
"There is nothing easier than self-deceit."
"Bombing for peace is like f***ing for virginity"
"There is no such thing as death, only the absence of life."
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platinumpink
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Re: Biographies?

I've read biographies on F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway (and I've read books written by both), and I liked them both (Warning: both authors don't have happy endings)
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jpbookworm
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Re: Biographies?

biographies are ok
OMG cant wait 4 Brisingr on September 20th