Tag: biography

Empowering Female Biographies For Women’s History Month

Happy Women’s History Month! This month, we take the time to celebrate all the fierce women of history and recognize their outstanding lives of achievement and legacy. To start off this month, here are five must-read biographies of women that have certainly shaped history.

I AM MALALA– MALALA YOUSAFZAI

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You have most likely heard of this inspiring young woman. In October of 2012 when Malala’s story garnered worldwide attention, watchers from all parts of the globe avidly tuned in as this courageous young woman fought for the rights of girls everywhere. Courage radiates off the pages of this autobiography and you will surely admire Malala’s journey.

 

Zelda– nancy Milford

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Her husband is one of the most famous authors in literary history. Young Zelda Sayre’s life is chronicled from her childhood through her adult life, as she became Zelda Fitzgerald, and in turn, a prominent figure in the literary world beyond. Milford eloquently tells of the struggles and trying times behind the glamour of the roaring twenties and the shining legacy of The Great Gatsby.

 

Madame curie: a biography– eve curie

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This biography written by Madame Curie’s own daughter brings a personal touch to the story of one of the greatest female scientists of all time.

The collective autobiographies of Maya Angelou– Maya Angelou

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This collection of memoirs will let you into the intimate details of Maya Angelou’s life and mind. This book chronicles the many milestones in her life, from her childhood to her adulthood.

The immortal life of henrietta lacks– rebecca skloot

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Rebecca Skloot writes the unbelievable story of Henrietta Lacks, the woman who contributed revolutionary cells to science without knowing it. Skloot takes dives deep into the Lacks family, science, and the circumstances surrounding the revolutionary HeLa cells. Much is revealed about this strong woman’s life in this utterly fascinating account.

 

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You’ll Love This Informal Biography of George Washington

There is a new book, written by Alexis Coe, that is defying the rules of what makes up a normal biography.  Her new book, You Never Forget Your First, was released today and starts off with several listicles about the first United States President, then moves on to more traditional composition.

 

image via penguin random house

 

Coe’s book has some infographics scattered throughout her book, and she states in an interview with Smithsonian Magazine, “I make these lists for myself, and it’s sort of like being in the archives.  I wish readers could see everything, and they don’t get to.  This is an offering from me to the reader, telling them, “You know how to read this book.  You have everything you need to feel as though you’re an expert.”

 

The infographics in her biography of George Washington are really engaging, to the point where I myself got caught reading the sample of her new book.  The facts serve to make the book a little more fun for the reader (history books can usually be dry).  Coe talks more about this: “I want this book to be a sort of equalizer and to be fun. History is fun, even when it’s a difficult subject matter.”

 

 

Coe mentions that her book is seen as a little disrespectful for George Washington due to its style, but she of course has an answer for that.  In the interview, she says how George Washington’s actions clearly show his power and masculinity, and that many authors who write about his life tend to overwrite about this.  “I don’t feel a need to protect Washington,” Coe states, “he doesn’t need me to come to his defense… He’s everywhere.  He’s just fine.”

Coe also says that her biography of George Washington serves to change the way people write about him.  She wants authors to feel a little more freedom when writing about him, and she hopes her book can inspire others to follow in her footsteps.

 

image via pittsburgh post gazette

 

The book itself follows an informal style that separates it from other biographical books.  This alone makes me more eager to read a book like Alexis Coe’s.  If you’re interested, do check out the sample linked above, and consider getting a copy of the book!

 

 

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Five Ways to Fight Reader’s Block

Do you live under the looming weight of the sword of Damocles that is your TBR pile? Does it watch you day and night, unconquerable and ever growing? Do you fear you’ll be crushed one day if you close a door too hard? This article is for you.

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It happens to all of us. Plenty of good books to read, at least a little time (there’s always time for books), and yet, do books get read? There are a thousand comics about how many MORE books we’ll buy, even when the TBR pile starts to take on a life of its own. I don’t know what’s to be done about that, but I do know some tricks for getting out of a slump and back to what matters.

 

Read Something Shorter

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It can work! Have you been reading every LOTR book back to back like I tried to when I was twelve? I was a FOOL, and you are too, no offense. I know why you’re not reading. Get yourself out of a rut with something lighter, or even just physically smaller. I like to pick up poetry chapbooks for this, but anything will do, poetry, short stories – try and pick something with bite sized pieces, so you can feel accomplishment with much less focus.

 

Borrow from the Library

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I know, I know, you have them in your house! But hear me out. No, It’s not about the fines, though I obviously don’t want to pay the fines either. If I keep library books too long, I feel bad! They expected it back! Someone might be waiting for it! I gotta get it back on time. This might be more of a me thing, but do you want to let librarians down? Please. The ticking clock might lead you to finish the book quickly. Plus, checking out books proves that people use libraries, making it harder to cut their funding.

 

Try Audio Books

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Image via Medium

I’ve never been an audio book person – at least since I was a kid – but they’re great for reader’s block, or if you’re super busy. You can cook, or clean the house, or listen on the bus. Plus, if you just don’t find yourself reading, an audio book takes almost no effort to experience. If you’ve ever felt like you don’t read like you used to when you were a kid, this might be a good way to get back in your stride, and quickly check a few things off your TBR.

Also, and you didn’t hear it from me, you can get audio books from libraries for free. Ask a librarian!

 

Try a New Genre

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Have a huge pile of science fiction you can’t seem to get through? Maybe grab a biography or a graphic novel. Too much historical fiction got you confused on who had affairs in real life and who was made up? Read some manga or get a book that’s pure fiction. If your book is already all biographies or something, try something a little less dry, throw a thriller or some high fantasy in the mix. Maybe even a genre you really don’t read. Shake it up!

 

Reread a Favorite

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Everyone has a handful of books they could read a thousand times. Even if it doesn’t feel productive, rereading a book you love can get you back in the swing of things, and remind you what you love so much about reading. Plus, it’s always nice to revisit an amazing book, whatever the reason. After that, you can go on and find a new favorite book, or three. I miss reading. Let’s get on this, friends.


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New Biography Offers inside look at Melania Trump

CNN’s Kate Bennett has covered Melania Trump, current First Lady of the United States, since her husband took office in 2016. In her new biography, Free, Melania, Bennett offers readers the first behind-the-scenes look at Melania. Bennett makes the case that most of the rumors about Melania aren’t exactly true – she’s not just a trophy wife, nor is she a secret member of the #Resistance.

image via macmillan publishers

To research Free, MelaniaBennett met with some of Melania’s childhood friends who knew her as an aspiring model. She traveled to New York, Mar-a-Lago, and Melania’s home country, Slovenia. In one passage about her traveling to Slovenia, Bennett writes:

Ask a Slovenian if ‘resting bitch face’ is a thing in their country, and they will look blankly at you and say, ‘it’s just ‘face.’

In a recent interview, The Washingtonian‘s Andrew Beaujon sat down with Bennett to talk about all things Melania.

Bennett even had something to say about the whole “I really don’t care, do u?” coat fiasco in 2018, when Melania wore the now-infamous coat to visit migrant children.

Image vie Esquire

That jacket is the biggest mystery of Melania, and there are many, many mysteries of Melania. It was a terrible, terrible decision [to wear it] and will be part of her legacy.

I always say that there are no Melania Trump coincidences. If you were to ask her, “Did you wear that white pantsuit at the State of the Union as a symbol?,” she would say, “No, I just wore the white pantsuit.” But there’s no question that everything she does, especially nonverbally, is a thoughtful decision. Which was why the jacket was so strange….The worst thing about the jacket was that it negated the impetus she had for making that trip, which I think came from a good place.

Bennet and Beaujon talked about the issues Melania’s taken charge of in the last year – vaping and bullying – but Bennet could not confirm whether Melania’s youngest son, Barron, vapes. And, of course, Bennet commented on the conspiracy theory that Melania Trump is being held hostage in her marriage:

AB: Which brings us to their relationship. Does she like him?

KB: This answer always surprises people when I tell them. The answer is: Yes, she does. They speak throughout the day. On the phone. Constantly.

This is another thing that surprises people: She really digs living in the White House. I don’t think she would have chosen to be First Lady, but now that she’s there . . . . I’ve never thought she was trapped.

For more of Kate Bennett’s musings on the First Lady, pick up her new book Free, Melania available from Macmillan Publishers.

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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

 

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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.

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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

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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

 

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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

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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.

 

 

 

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