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Writers' Biographies and Autobiographies

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Does anyone else particularly enjoy reading biographies and autobiographies about writers? I find their lives fascinating and often surprisingly different from the impression I've formed from their writing. Sadly, several seem to sucumb to depression as they get older.

Some of the authors' biographies/autobiographies I remember :-

 

P.G. Wodehouse (just as nice a person as I'd imagined)

Gerald Durrell
e.e. cummings
Mary Wesley
Dodie Smith
James Herriot
C.S.Lewis
Julia Childs
Agatha Christie

Katherine Mansfield
The Mitfords

The Brontes
 

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Ted Morgan wrote a wonderful, massively detailed and insightful biography of William S. Burroughs. 

 

I loved Joe Orton's diaries, which were published after his death.  What a fascinating, complicated, hilarious character he was.  John Lahr's biography of him was also very good.

 

Helene Hanff's autobiography, Underfoot in Show Business, is warm, witty, and marvellous.

 

I keep meaning to read George Plimpton's biography of Truman Capote, but there it still sits on my shelf, unread.  Capote is one of my favourite authors, so I must read it soon.  I've read Conversations with Capote by Lawrence Grobel, which is captivating.

 

 

 

Edited by Onion Budgie

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I’ve never read an author’s biography but I would be interested in reading more about someone like George Orwell as he seems to have lead a very interesting life. I know a lot of his stuff is autobiographical to a certain extent but nonetheless I imagine a complete life story would be a great read.

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22 hours ago, Onion Budgie said:

Ted Morgan wrote a wonderful, massively detailed and insightful biography of William S. Burroughs. 

 

I loved Joe Orton's diaries, which were published after his death.  What a fascinating, complicated, hilarious character he was.  John Lahr's biography of him was also very good.

 

Helene Hanff's autobiography, Underfoot in Show Business, is warm, witty, and marvellous.

 

I keep meaning to read George Plimpton's biography of Truman Capote, but there it still sits on my shelf, unread.  Capote is one of my favourite authors, so I must read it soon.  I've read Conversations with Capote by Lawrence Grobel, which is captivating.

 

 

 

 

All sound very interesting but I'd particularly like to read Helene Hanff's autobiography and Conversations With Capote.  I've only read 84 Charing Cross Rd and In Cold Blood by the respective authors but both were memorable.

 

14 hours ago, Brian. said:

I’ve never read an author’s biography but I would be interested in reading more about someone like George Orwell as he seems to have lead a very interesting life. I know a lot of his stuff is autobiographical to a certain extent but nonetheless I imagine a complete life story would be a great read.

 

1984 and Animal Farm were part of our high school reading curriculum, but I know next to nothing about the man. I see he stated in his will that there were to be no biographies published about him and the first wasn't published until 1972, 22 years after his death.

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To be honest, I'd recommend anything by Helene Hanff.  All of her six books are autobiographical in one way or another, and they're all fab.  (I wish she'd written more than six!)

Edited by Onion Budgie

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9 minutes ago, Onion Budgie said:

To be honest, I'd recommend anything by Helene Hanff.  All of her six books are autobiographical in one way or another, and they're all fab.  (I wish she'd written more than six!)

 

Thanks for that OB! I'd never thought to look for more of her books, but I will definitely do that now. :)

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The best I have ever read is "Timebenders" the autobiography of Arthur Miller. Could not put the book! I had to read this book standing up!

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