Tag: biography

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.

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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.

 

 

 

Featured Image Amazon

 

Be Inspired By Our Nonfiction Biography Picks!

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. ‘The Ride of a Lifetime’ by Bob Iger 

 

image via amazon

 

The Ride of a Lifetime by Bob Iger is a biography by the CEO of Disney, offering tips and life advice from Iger’s fifteen years of service to the company. When Bob Iger became CEO, the Disney company was a shallow parody of itself. But Bob Iger committed to the fixing the company with his new ideas. Ten years later, Disney is the most respected and powerful media entertainment corporation in the world. Sharing stories about Marvel, Star Wars, and Disney behind the scenes, this is a must read for Disney fans.

 

4. ‘Accidental president’ by A.J. Baime

 

image via Amazon

 

The Accidental President by A.J. Baime tells the biography of the man who didn’t sign up to be President but got the job anyway: Harry S. Truman. Selected as FDR’s fourth term Vice President, he was an ordinary man until FDR’s sudden and shocking death. This biography follows Harry S. Truman in the one-hundred-twenty days he was president, during which he was forced to preside over some of the toughest moments the nation ever faced: the founding of the United Nations, the fall of Berlin, victory at Okinawa, firebombings in Tokyo, the first atomic explosion, the Nazi surrender, the liberation of concentration camps, the mass starvation in Europe, the Potsdam Conference, the controversial decision to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the surrender of imperial Japan, and finally, the end of World War II and the rise of the Cold War. This is a fascinating look into the man who never was supposed to be President but became one of our strongest for the brief period he was in office.

 

3. ‘Madame Fourcade’s Secret War’ by Lynne Olson

 

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Madame Fourcade’s Secret War by Lynne Olson is the true tale of a young woman who led a spy network against Hitler’s Nazi Germany. In 1941 a thirty-one-year-old Frenchwoman, a young mother born to privilege and known for her beauty and glamour, became the leader of a vast intelligence organization—the only woman to serve as a chef de résistance during the war. Strong-willed, independent, and a lifelong rebel against her country’s conservative, patriarchal society, Marie-Madeleine Fourcade was temperamentally made for the job. Her group’s name was Alliance, but the Gestapo dubbed it Noah’s Ark because its agents used the names of animals as their aliases. The name Marie-Madeleine chose for herself was Hedgehog: a tough little animal, unthreatening in appearance, that, as a colleague of hers put it, “even a lion would hesitate to bite.” Now, in this dramatic account of the war that split France in two and forced its people to live side by side with their hated German occupiers, Lynne Olson tells the fascinating story of a woman who stood up for her nation, her fellow citizens, and herself.

 

2. ‘Every Man a Hero’ by Ray lambert 

 

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Every Man A Hero by Ray Lambert is the unforgettable story not only of what happened in the incredible and desperate hours on Omaha Beach, but of the bravery and courage that preceded them, throughout the Second World War—from the sands of Africa, through the treacherous mountain passes of Sicily, and beyond to the greatest military victory the world has ever known.

 

1. ‘Mind and Matter’ by John Urscel 

 

image via Amazon

 

Mind and Matter by John Urschel is a memoir by the former offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens, giving him the opportunity to tell his story. John Urschel developed an appetite for mathematics when he was young, devouring math contests, exams, and textbooks by the truckload. But when he reached his older years, football challenged him in a new way and he became thrilled by the physical contact of the sport. With his two loves competing for his attention, his football and love of math, he shares pivotal moments from his life to inspire others.

 

 

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5 Upcoming Books Being Adapted for Film (That You Should Read)

 

We’re in an age where a lot of book properties like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and HBO are grabbing books by the truckload to adapt them for television and film. With even more book adaptations arriving this fall, but some might end up flying under your radar, owing to the source material being more obscure than Stephen King or George R.R. Martin.

Thus, here are 7 books being adapted for the fall and winter that you might want to read before they get their onscreen counterparts do.

 

5. ‘Watchmen’

 

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Watchmen is a seminal graphic novel by famed writer Alan Moore, telling the story of a supremely screwed-up batch of superheroes against the backdrop of an alternate history of America, where Richard Nixon is still President and the world is on the brink of nuclear annihilation.

 

Screenshot from HBO's 'Watchmen'

Image Via 5Forty

 

Although it already had a Hollywood adaptation by Zack Snyder in 2009, HBO is adapting the book as a series that is set to premiere in October 2019. Well, kind of. Instead of adapting the book straight, its a sequel to the graphic novel, set 30 years in the future and showcasing the fallout of the book’s mind blowing ending. Although Alan Moore is NOT a fan of his work’s adaptations, hopefully this one can win fans over with its new take on the classic material.

 

4. ‘The Good Liar’

 

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The Good Liar tells the story of a conman who meets a wealthy widow online and intends to swindle her out of as much money as he can, confident she’ll easily fall for his charms. But the widow proves a harder mark than expected and the conman finds himself falling for her for real, despite himself.

 

'The Good Liar' movie poster

Image Via IMDB

 

This novel will see its big screen debut in November, starring Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren. You’ll have to read it or watch it to see the outcome of the con, one last scam that reveals the inner most hearts of people.

 

3. ‘The Earthquake Bird’

 

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The Earthquake Bird is set in Tokyo in 1989, where an English woman called Lucy with a dark past flees to Japan for a new lease on life. But her dark past haunts her, as her best friend is murdered and she begins an affair, with an ominous cloud growing darker on her each day.

 

Stars of 'The Earthquake Bird'

Image Via Deadline

 

Details on its film adaptation are scarce but its going to be a mystery film starring Alicia Vikander with a release sometime in 2019.

 

2. ‘His Dark Materials’

 

Image via Amazon

 

His Dark Materials is a trilogy of fantasy novels set in a world called the North, where witch-clans rule and armored polar bears are used as weapons of war. The series centers on a young girl called Lyra, who finds herself in conflict with her fearsome uncle and dark forces conspiring against her, all to save her friend who was kidnapped.

 

BBC's His Dark Materials

Image Via Radio Times

 

Probably one of the more high profile adaptations on the list, the fantasy series is being adapted by HBO and the BBC, where the first season will debut in late 2019. It will focus on the events of the first book, with more seasons doubtlessly to come after to focus on the rest of the series.

This is one you shouldn’t miss and the original books are classics, making them well recommended to check out.

 

1. ‘how to build a girl’ 

 

 

How To Build A Girl is a semi-autobiographical novel by Caitlin Moran, published in 2015. The book follows a 90s teen who reinvents herself as a fast talking, gothic writer and critic. By age sixteen, she’s become a fully fledged hard rocking, chain smoking woman who writes for high profile magazines. At once funny and horrifying, the book is a coming of age novel that showcases how the world can fail you and how making yourself into something else isn’t an escape.

 

Screenshot from the movie

Image Via Variety

 

The film adaptation is coming sometime this year, starring Beanie Feldstein, Jameela Jamil, Chris O’ Dowd, and Alfie Allen. Its set to be a hard look at growing up we all need to see and read.

 

 

Featured Image Via Amazon

Audrey Hepburn

New Book Reveals Audrey Hepburn’s Anti-Nazi WWII Efforts

A new book called The Dutch Girl: Audrey Hepburn and World War IIwritten by biographer and historian Robert Matzen, will provide “proof” that Audrey Hepburn was involved in anti-Nazi resistance as a young teenager in Holland.

Hepburn achieved fame for her roles in films like Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Roman Holiday, but until now, the story of her role in the Dutch Resistance has gone untold. Her son, Luca Dotti, now believes that it’s “a good time to tell my mother’s story and to know her as more than just an icon of beauty and style.”

 

'Dutch Girl' by Robert Matzen
Robert Matzen, author of ‘Dutch Girl’. IMAGES VIA AMAZON AND GOODKNIGHT BOOKS

The synopsis provided by Amazon reveals the type of content the book will include:

Audrey’s own reminiscences, new interviews with people who knew her in the war, wartime diaries, and research in classified Dutch archives shed light on the riveting, untold story of Audrey Hepburn under fire in World War II. Also included is a section of color and black-and-white photos. Many of these images are from Audrey’s personal collection and are published here for the first time.

Besides being personally affected by the Nazi regime—Hepburn suffered from hunger and malnutrition due to scarcity of food—she also experienced loss at the hands of Nazis. Hepburn’s uncle, Otto van Limburg Stirum, was executed by Nazis for his refusal to support the regime in 1942.

 

Audrey Hepburn
IMAGE VIA ORLANDO SENTINEL

Hepburn began working with the Dutch Resistance at the age of fourteen. One of the ways she helped was through using her talents as a performer to participate in “black evenings” or illegal performances which featured music and dancing, which also functioned as informal fundraisers. In order to keep the performances secret, the windows of the venue would be blacked out (hence “black evenings”) and guards would be “posted outside to let us know when Germans approached,” according to Hepburn.

 

Hepburn assisted in more direct ways as well. According to Matzen, “Audrey once said that one of her jobs was ‘running around with food for the pilots… As a fluent English speaker, she could communicate with the pilots, tell them where to go and who would help them.” She also helped distribute the prohibited Resistance newspaper, risking her life in the process.

 

Audrey and Luca
Audrey Hepburn and her son Luca. IMAGE VIA LAREVISTA

Hepburn continued to demonstrate the same dedication to helping others during her later life, specifically through her work as an ambassador for Unicef. On this role, Hepburn commented, “I can testify to what UNICEF means to children, because I was among those who received food and medical relief right after World War II.”

It’s clear that WWII, and her involvement in it, shaped Hepburn’s life more than was formerly known—The Dutch Girl is significant for the way it will allow Hepburn’s truth to finally come to light.

The book will be released on April 15th, 2019.

 

FEATURED IMAGE VIA PAGESIX

Chaucer’s First Female Biographer Discovers His Outrageous Fashion Choices

When we think of Geoffery Chaucer, we think of The Canterbury Tales, a work loved by literary scholars and passionate readers the world over (and loathed by undergraduate English majors). We do not, however, think of “a teenager wearing leggings so tight one churchman blamed the fashion for bringing back the plague.”

According to The Guardian, Associate Professor of English at Jesus College, Oxford, Marion Turner, who is Chaucer’s first female biographer, is also the first to look in depth at Chaucer’s fashion choices. While The Guardian notes that scholars have long known that Chaucer wore a ‘paltok’, bought for him as a teenager by his employer Elizabeth de Burgh, Turner notes that nobody seems to have investigated what exactly a ‘paltok’ was!

 

image via telegraph.co.uk (credit: ap)

 

Turner has discovered that paltoks were tunics, but not just any tunics! They were “extremely short garments… which failed to conceal their arses or their private parts.” She explains:

“No one had ever thought about what they were before [but] I found these were completely scandalous items. The paltok was skimpy and scanty, and underneath that there are these long leggings, or tights. Contemporary sources say they emphasised the genitals, as they were laced up very tightly over the penis and bottom, so you could see everything.”

 

Black and white image of Dr Marion Turner

IMAGE VIA THE GUARDIAN (DR. MARION TURNER)

 

Turner’s biograhpy, Chaucer: A European Life notes that the theologian John of Reading “explicitly blamed [paltoks] for causing the plague,” and “feared judgment from God for such outrageous sartorial choices.”

There were many biographies, written by men, throughout the years focused on Chaucer’s masculinity due to how he writes sympathetic women in his stories and poetry, in a time where toxic masculinity was the norm. Chaucer was someone who was ahead of his time and was with independent women, like his wife, who made her own money, and they lived independently rather than the traditional ways of marriage like most people lived by. Turner speculates that he took care of his daughter and always visited her at the nunnery where she was staying.

 

image via theconversation.com by Mrs H. R. Haweis

 

I loved it when Marion Turner gave a thoughtful explanation and connection to Chaucer’s feminism (at least I believe he’s a feminist) and his flamboyant fashion choices and make sense of it in his most recognizable work, The Wife of Bath. The most famous female figure in his work, the academic said “becomes an authority figure, which is great, because one of the things she talks about in her prologue is how men wrote all the stories and history is biased against women, and Chaucer makes her into an authority figure with gravitas. Of course she’s not a real woman, she’s Chaucer in drag, but he’s still emphasising the importance of recognising the bias of the literary canon.”

 

Read more of the article from The Guardian if you want to learn more of this fascinating find in literary history!

 

Featured Image Via The Guardian (Photograph: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)