Biography

 

If you're looking for a readable memoir, browse this list of suggestions for your next read.

Between the world and me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Also available in: e-book | audiobook | large print

For Ta-Nehisi Coates, history has always been personal. At every stage of his life, he's sought in his explorations of history answers to the mysteries that surrounded him -- most urgently, why he, and other black people he knew, seemed to live in fear. What were they afraid of?

This title can also be checked out in multiple copies for a book discussion.

When it came to her elderly mother and father, Roz practiced denial, avoidance, and distraction. But after her elderly mother's encounter with a ladder, the tools that had served Roz well through her parents' seventies, eighties, and into their early nineties could no longer be deployed. The themes here are universal: adult children accepting a parental role; aging and unstable parents leaving a family home for an institution; dealing with uncomfortable physical intimacies; managing logistics; and hiring strangers to provide the most personal care.

Explore the lives of many artists. The books below are found in our children's collections, but may appeal to wider audiences. Find more artists and art in our collections: just ask any librarian.

Describes how Van Gogh's insomnia, possibly a symptom of mental or phyical illness, allowed him to view the night sky while everyone else was asleep and influenced how he saw the world around him.

A story inspired by the life of the influential French master artist considers how he transformed his dreary childhood community in northern France through his expressions of color and form.

Reporter : a memoir by Seymour M Hersh

A memoir of renowned investigative journalist Seymour Hersh's life as a reporter.

Bruce Lee : a life by Matthew Polly

This probing and perceptive biography reassesses the remarkable and tragic life of the third Kennedy son, Robert Francis Kennedy - a man who would almost certainly have been president if his violent assassination hadn't intervened. Features extensive interviews with family members, friends, journalists, Washington insiders, and civil rights activists. Profiles the pivotal roles RFK played in the many major events of the 1960's - the Cuban Missile Crisis, the civil rights movement, and the war in Vietnam.

Nikola Tesla invented the radio, robots, and remote control. His electric induction motors run our appliances and factories, yet he has been largely overlooked by history. In this biography, the author presents a comprehensive portrait of this farsighted and underappreciated mastermind.

Robin by Dave Itzkoff

The most definitive biography to date of the poet Pablo Neruda, a moving portrait of one of the most intriguing and influential figures in Latin American history.

May 3 has been designated as World Press Freedom Day in recognition of a "free, pluralistic and independent press" and its essential part of a democratic society. Indeed, the purpose of journalism, said Chicago newspaper columnist and humorist Peter Finley Dunne in the early 1900s, is to "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable."  And in the words of President Barack Obama: "Journalists give all of us as citizens the chance to know the truth about our countries, ourselves, our governments. That makes us better, it makes us stronger, it gives voice to the voiceless,  it exposes injustice, and holds leaders like me accountable."

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4, 1968.

On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was fatally shot as he stood on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. At the time of his murder, King was a polarizing figure -- scorned by many white Americans, worshipped by some African Americans and liberal whites, and deemed irrelevant by many black youth. In The Heavens Might Crack, historian Jason Sokol traces the diverse responses, both in America and throughout the world, to King's death. Whether celebrating or mourning, most agreed that the final flicker of hope for a multiracial America had been extinguished. A deeply moving account of a country coming to terms with an act of shocking violence.

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