Biography

Happy Birthday Mark Twain!

Mark Twain, one of America's best-known and well-loved authors, was born on November 30, 1835. His works have been translated into hundreds of languages, and Hollywood continues to produce film adaptations of his books. The first volume of his autobiography was published in 2010 on the centenary of the author's death as he did not want some of his more scalding opinions and observations in print until he had been dead at least a century. The book was published by the staff of the Mark Twain Project — an archive that contains Twain's private papers.

Book Club Choices: December 2011

The perfect book for a book discussion is one that's not too easy, not too hard, that will hold the interest of a diverse group of readers and will also inspire a lively discussion. For additional book club resources check out CPL's Book Club in a Bag kits.

The true memoirs of Little K by Adrienne Sharp

The tiger's wife: a novel by Téa Obreht

Life itself: a memoir by Roger Ebert

A trick of the light by Louise Penny

The blind assassin by Margaret Atwood

Time was, Time is… November 2011

Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope

It was nearly a year ago when a tragic shooting took place at a political event in Tuscan, Arizona. Six people died and many more were wounded, including first time congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords. She was horribly wounded with little chance of survival, let alone recovery. This is the extraordinarily moving story of public service, love, strength, hope and the long, hard road toward recovery as told by Gabby Giffords, her space shuttle commander husband, Mark Kelly and author and Wall Street Journal columnist, Jeffrey Zaslow.

Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope by Gabrielle Giffords, Mark Kelly, and Jeffrey Zaslow

Evelyn Lauder, Breast Cancer Activist

Evelyn Lauder, the longtime breast cancer activist who helped to create the pink ribbon as the symbol of the fight against the disease, died November 12 at the age of 75. Born in Vienna, Austria in 1936, she came to the United States as a young child when her parents fled from the Nazis. The family settled in New York where she met her future husband, Leonard Lauder, whose parents owned a small cosmetics firm. She eventually went to work with at her mother-in-law Estee Lauder's company which today has revenues of nearly $2.5 billion. During her long career Evelyn was instrumental in developing and marketing new products, including Clinique. She was also a leading philanthropist and became very involved in the fight against breast cancer. Along with her friend, editor Alexandra Penney, they created the idea of a pink ribbon as a symbol for breast cancer. In 1993 she founded the Breast Cancer Research Foundation which has raised more than $350 million and supports researchers around the world. Mrs. Lauder was also an avid gardener and photographer, as well as the author of several books including In Great Tate: Fresh Simple Reasons for Eating and Living.

J. Edgar Hoover

The highly anticipated new film J. Edgar opens this weekend. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Naomi Watts, Judi Dench and Armie Hammer, it explores the public and private life of J. Edgar Hoover — one of the most powerful, controversial and enigmatic figures of the 20th century. Hoover was considered the face of law enforcement in America for almost fifty years. From the time he became acting director of the Bureau of Investigation (predecessor to the Federal Bureau of Investigation) in 1924, to the end of his tenure there at his death in 1972, Hoover was both feared and admired, reviled and revered. Prior to this new film Hoover has been portrayed many times before in both film and on stage.

In Memoriam

Two notable figures from recent American history passed away this week. Andy Rooney, the curmudgeonly commentator on CBS’s 60 Minutes for more than 30 years, died November 4 at the age of 92. Rooney died one month after he had signed off from "60 Minutes" in October after a 33-year run. A statement from CBS News stated that he died of complications following minor surgery. Rooney began his journalism career as a correspondent for the Stars and Stripes newspaper and was awarded a Bronze Star for his work during the Normandy invasion. He joined CBS News in 1949 and joined "60 Minutes" in 1968, first as a producer, then as a commentator ten years later.

Boxer Joe Frazier died November 7 at the age of 67 after a brief battle with liver cancer. Known as Smokin' Joe Frazier, the former heavyweight champion was the first man to beat Muhammad Ali when he knocked him down in the 15th round at Madison Square Garden in March 1971. He was a top amateur for several years before becoming the only American fighter to win a gold medal in the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo.

New Celebrity Biographies

If you're looking for some great new reads about your favorite actors, sports stars or musicians, then you're in luck. There have been a plethora of celebrity biographies and autobiographies published this fall on everyone from Shaquille O"Neal to Spencer Tracy. More great titles can be found below:

The Garner Files: A Memoir by Garner, James/ Winokur, Jon/ Andrews, Julie (INT)

Happy accidents by Jane Lynch

Harold: the boy who became Mark Twain by Hal Holbrook

National Book Festival

If you weren't able to attend the National Book Festival in Washington D.C. on September 24-25, videos of the event including authors' talks are now available. Historian and author David McCullough appeared at the 2011 National Book Festival, as did Sylvia Nasar, Cassandra Clare, Wally Amos, Sara Paretsky, and more.

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