Category: Biography & Autobiography

Be Inspired by the Awesome Biography Recommendations!

Each week, Bookstr scans bestseller lists across the Internet to learn what people are reading, buying, gifting, and talking about most — just so we can ensure consistent, high quality recommendations. This week’s nonfiction picks are new biographies for you to dig into and be inspired! Dig in and enjoy!

 

 

 

5. Becoming Dr. Seuss by Brian Jay Jones

 

Image via Amazon

 

Becoming Dr. Seuss by Brian Jay Jones is all about the classic American icon: Dr. Seuss. Whimsical and wonderful, his work has defined our childhoods and the childhoods of our own children. The silly, simple rhymes are a bottomless well of magic, his illustrations timeless favorites because, quite simply, he makes us laugh. The Grinch, the Cat in the Hat, Horton, and so many more, are his troupe of beloved, and uniquely Seussian, creations. Theodor Geisel, however, had a second, more radical side. It is there that the allure and fascination of his Dr. Seuss alter ego begins. He had a successful career as an advertising man and then as a political cartoonist, his personal convictions appearing, not always subtly, throughout his books—remember the environmentalist of The Lorax? Geisel was a complicated man on an important mission. He introduced generations to the wonders of reading while teaching young people about empathy and how to treat others well.

 

4. Smokin’ Joe: The Life of Joe Frazier by Mark Kram Jr.

Image via Amazon

 

Smokin’ Joe: The Life of Joe Frazier by Mark Kram Jr. tells about Joe Frazier, the famed rival of Muhammad Ali. Joe Frazier was a much more complex figure than just his rivalry with Ali would suggest. In this riveting and nuanced portrayal, acclaimed sports writer Mark Kram, Jr. unlinks Frazier from Ali and for the first time gives a full-bodied account of Frazier’s life, a journey that began as the youngest of thirteen children packed in small farm house, encountering the bigotry and oppression of the Jim Crow South, and continued with his voyage north at age fifteen to develop as a fighter in Philadelphia. Tracing Frazier’s life through his momentous bouts with the likes of Ali and George Foreman and the developing perception of him as the anti-Ali in the eyes of blue-collar America, Kram follows the boxer through his retirement in 1981, exploring his relationship with his son, the would-be heavyweight Marvis, and his fragmented home life as well as the uneasy place that Ali continued to occupy in his thoughts.

 

 

3. Rough Magic: The world’s loneliest horse race by Lara Prior Palmer

Image via Amazon

 

Rough Magic: Riding the World’s Loneliest Horse Races by Lara Prior Palmer is about an unforgettable ride across the rugged terrain of Mongolia. At the age of nineteen, Lara Prior-Palmer discovered a website devoted to “the world’s longest, toughest horse race”―an annual competition of endurance and skill that involves dozens of riders racing a series of twenty-five wild ponies across 1,000 kilometers of Mongolian grassland. Riders often spend years preparing to compete in the Mongol Derby, a course that re-creates the horse messenger system developed by Genghis Khan, and many fail to finish. Prior-Palmer had no formal training. She was driven by her own restlessness, stubbornness, and a lifelong love of horses. She raced for ten days through extreme heat and terrifying storms, catching a few hours of sleep where she could at the homes of nomadic families. Battling bouts of illness and dehydration, exhaustion and bruising falls, she decided she had nothing to lose. Each dawn she rode out again on a fresh horse, scrambling up mountains, swimming through rivers, crossing woodlands and wetlands, arid dunes and open steppe, as American television crews chased her in their jeeps. Told with terrific suspense and style, in a voice full of poetry and soul, Rough Magic captures the extraordinary story of one young woman who forged ahead, against all odds, to become the first female winner of this breathtaking race.

 

2. Fay wray and Robert Riskin by Victoria Riskin

 

Image via Amazon

 

Fay Wray and Robert Riskin by Victoria Riskin tells of a famous Hollywood love story. Fay Wray and Robert Riskin lived large lives, finding each other after establishing their artistic selves and after each had had many romantic attachments—Wray, an eleven-year-long difficult marriage and a fraught affair with Clifford Odets, and Riskin, a series of romances with, among others, Carole Lombard, Glenda Farrell, and Loretta Young. Here are Wray’s and Riskin’s lives, their work, their fairy-tale marriage that ended so tragically. Here are their dual, quintessential American lives, ultimately and blissfully intertwined.

 

1. Chamber Music: Wu Tang and America by Will Ashon

Image via Amazon

 

Chamber Music: Wu-Tang and America by Will Ashon tells of the legendary story of the Wu Tang Clan and its impact on American society. Will Ashon tells, in thirty-six interlinked “chambers,” the story of Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) and how it changed the world. As unexpected and complex as the album itself, Chamber Music ranges from provocative essays to semi-comic skits, from deep scholarly analysis to satirical celebration, seeking to contextualize, reveal and honor this singular work of art. Chamber Music is an explosive and revelatory new way of writing about music and culture.

 

 

 

Featured Image Amazon

 

Have You Read This Oprah-Approved Alicia Keys Memoir?

In 2015 Oprah announced that she and Flatiron Books had started a new imprint that would focus on publishing nonfiction stories called “An Oprah Book,” and nearly four years later, back in March, we got the name of their first imprint title: More Myself by none other than Alicia Keys!

 

 

If you recall, the announcement itself was something special. It came out in a YouTube video where Alicia Keys unveiled the cover of her new book, describing it as “part autobiography, part narrative documentary.”

Check out the video below!

 

 

Back then, Oprah Magazine noted that “[w]ith this announcement, 2019 seems to be yet another breakout year for Keys” and ABC News quoted Flatiron as saying “the memoir [is] a ‘360-degree perspective’ on [Alicia’s] life, from her childhood in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan to her spectacular, Grammy-winning rise.”

It’s an awesome story, especially considering that Alicia Keys has made great strides in the past few years.

 

IMAGE VIA USA TODAY

 

In 2007, her third album, As I Am, had a Hot 100’s number one single “No One” and sold 5 million copies worldwide, according to MTVLater that year, the album earned three Grammy Awards. That same year she portrayed Georgia Sykes in the hit film Smokin’ Aces, a film which also starred Ben Affleck, Ray Liotta, Ryan Reynolds, and Chris Pine.

And now this Oprah-approved Alicia Keys’ memoir has hit a bookshelf near you just yesterday!

 

IMAGE VIA AMAZON

 

Amazon describes it as “[a]n intimate, revealing look at one artist’s journey from self-censorship to full expression.”

Want to get it? Do you? Well join me and click here to get it!

 

 

 

Featured Image Via GRAMMY.COM

His Wife Lost Her Memory, So He Wrote a Book About Their Life

When Camre Curto started to lose her memory, her husband wanted a way for her to remember their ten-year relationship together. Now, Steve Curto, 38, has written and self-published But I Know I Love Youa book about everything from their first date to the birth of their son. But Camre, 31, has no memory of any of the book’s events.

image via amazon

Camre suffered a seizure and stroke on the day she gave birth to the couple’s son, Gavin. Though her pregnancy was fairly normal, she began to experience frequent vomiting in the third trimester. 33 weeks into the pregnancy, she had to be rushed to the hospital, where she went into a grand mal seizure.

The doctors conducted a c-section to save the couple’s baby, but after the seizure, Camre also suffered a stroke that wiped out her short and long-term memory.

 

“She couldn’t recall memories prior to her brain injury and she can’t remember short-term memories now,” said Jessica Smith, Camre’s occupational therapist. “What happened to her is extremely rare.”

“When I met Camre, she made me want to be a better person and that’s what I loved about her,” Steve Curto said. “Then this happened and I just wasn’t going to give up hope that we could regain what we had. This girl, she has no idea who I am but she loves me and we’re going to make this work.”

image via mycitymag

Camre spent more than a month in the hospital after the birth, beginning to recover from the trauma of her stroke. Steve wrote But I Know I Love You in part to help Camre regain her memory during recovery. The title comes from something Camre said when she first came home and she and Steve were sitting on the couch.

“We were sitting on the couch and she told me, ‘I don’t who you are but I know I love you,'” said Steve. “That has always stuck with me. That has been the driving force behind everything.”

Featured image via MyCityMag

Bookstr’s Three to Read This Week 10/23/19

We have reached that point in the season where your decision to go out is dependent on whether or not you want to throw on your jacket, search for a semi-warm place to loiter with your peeps, and take thirty to fifty minutes to figure out what to eat.

If that was as unappealing for you to read as it was for me to type, then let us boycott the outside world, and dive into the tales that the writers of today have worked so diligently to craft.

Check out Bookstr’s Three to Read, the three books we’ve picked for you to read this week!

Our Hot Pick

Twice in a Blue Moon

 

 

Synopsis:

Sam Brandis was Tate Jones’s first: Her first love. Her first everything. Including her first heartbreak.

During a whirlwind two-week vacation abroad, Sam and Tate fell for each other in only the way that first loves do: sharing all of their hopes, dreams, and deepest secrets along the way. Sam was the first, and only, person that Tate—the long-lost daughter of one of the world’s biggest film stars—ever revealed her identity to. So when it became clear her trust was misplaced, her world shattered for good.

Fourteen years later, Tate, now an up-and-coming actress, only thinks about her first love every once in a blue moon. When she steps onto the set of her first big break, he’s the last person she expects to see. Yet here Sam is, the same charming, confident man she knew, but even more alluring than she remembered. Forced to confront the man who betrayed her, Tate must ask herself if it’s possible to do the wrong thing for the right reason… and whether “once in a lifetime” can come around twice.

 

Why?

Whether we love the idea of love, or love to love, or love a good love story, even the crankiest of us root for love to prevail. The feels are strong with New York Times bestselling authors Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings. Their latest release, Twice in a Blue Moon, captures all the emotions of dealing with the unpredictable adventure and rollercoaster⁠—there are undoubtedly many downs here and there⁠—that is your first love. Shondaland reviews, “This emotional, sweet, and surprising novel about first loves and second chances will leave a tender spot in your heart.”

 

 

Our Coffee Shop Read

Curious Toys

 

Synopsis:

In the sweltering summer of 1915, Pin, the fourteen-year-old daughter of a carnival fortune-teller, dresses as a boy and joins a teenage gang that roams the famous Riverview amusement park, looking for trouble.

Unbeknownst to the well-heeled city-dwellers and visitors who come to enjoy the midway, the park is also host to a ruthless killer who uses the shadows of the dark carnival attractions to conduct his crimes. When Pin sees a man enter the Hell Gate ride with a young girl, and emerge alone, she knows that something horrific has occurred.

The crime will lead her to the iconic outsider artist Henry Darger, a brilliant but seemingly mad man. Together, the two navigate the seedy underbelly of a changing city to uncover a murderer few even know to look for.

 

Why?

Time to move over, True Grit. A new unlikely buddy-cop duo has arrived. Elizabeth Hand’s Curious Toys is a transportative, historical thriller, providing a protagonist with a knack for action and initiative, against the backdrop of turn-of-the-century Chicago. In an age without Google Maps or the internet, Pin will use nothing but her wits and her brilliance to root out the city’s elusive murderer. Take this thriller to your next coffee stop—just in case the caffeine doesn’t do enough to get you pumped.

 

 

Our Dark Horse

Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years

 

 

Synopsis:

In this follow-up to her critically acclaimed memoir, Home, Julie Andrews shares reflections on her astonishing career, including such classics as Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, and Victor/Victoria.

In Home, the number one New York Times international bestseller, Julie Andrews recounted her difficult childhood and her emergence as an acclaimed singer and performer on the stage.

With this second memoir, Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years, Andrews picks up the story with her arrival in Hollywood and her phenomenal rise to fame in her earliest films–Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music. Andrews describes her years in the film industry — from the incredible highs to the challenging lows. Not only does she discuss her work in now-classic films and her collaborations with giants of cinema and television, she also unveils her personal story of adjusting to a new and often daunting world, dealing with the demands of unimaginable success, being a new mother, the end of her first marriage, embracing two stepchildren, adopting two more children, and falling in love with the brilliant and mercurial Blake Edwards. The pair worked together in numerous films, including Victor/Victoria, the gender-bending comedy that garnered multiple Oscar nominations.

Cowritten with her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, and told with Andrews’s trademark charm and candor, Home Work takes us on a rare and intimate journey into an extraordinary life that is funny, heartrending, and inspiring.

 

Why?

If anyone deserves a sequel to their memoir, it’s Julie Andrews (there’s a reason why The Sound of Music is always getting re-released in theaters). Andrews recounts the larger-than-life journey that is her Hollywood fame and success, while also opening up about her personal turmoils across the years. If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about the legendary icon behind the legendary voice, Home Work will make an ultimate fan out of you.

Fun fact—Julie Andrews voiced the giant ancient sea monster in Aquaman. Let that “sink” in.

 

All In-text Images Via Amazon.

Julie Andrews Will Voice Her New Memoir’s Audiobook

Earlier today Entertainment Weekly reported that Julie Andrews, known as the iconic leading lady in both Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music, will voice the audiobook version of her forthcoming memoir Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years.

 

Image via Goodreads

 

This isn’t Andrews’ first venture into the world of writing. Previously, the actress published Home: A Memoir of My Early Years, a work that explores her difficult upbringing and earliest experiences with performing.

Home Work picks up where Home left off,  in the 60’s, when Andrews was cast by Walt Disney as the “world’s most famous nanny.”

 

 

And who better to tell her story of success than Andrews herself? Among her other talents, Andrews is often recognized by her voice. Her soothing lilt, and posh accent, is a sound that many have come to associate with childhood comfort. Children who grew up on Mary Poppins, as well as children who grew up on The Princess Diaries, all think of Andrews with the same kind of childlike love. Her career has endured for so long, she’s earned her status as Hollywood’s doting mother.

 

Image via The Irish Times

 

Home Work provides a behind-the-scenes look at the career that thrusted Andrews into icon status. The actress shares anecdotes from the sets of her most iconic works, details you wouldn’t find anywhere else. Entertainment Weekly shared one snippet about how, on a rainy day, Andrews was forced to ride in the back of an ox-drawn cart full of camera equipment to get up the muddy Alps.

 

 

In her classic, Julie Andrews charm, the actress writes:

“I happened to be wearing a fur coat. It was the 1960s after all, and the humor in the contrast between my attire and the mode of transport wasn’t lost on any of us.”

Andrews’ memoir will hit shelves on October 15th, and the audiobook will be available the same day!

Featured Image Via Wikipedia