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Autobiographies and Biographies

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sonic1   

As I said in another thread I am reading the ultimate, and arguably first, biographer (Plutarch).

 

I recently read a biography on Johannes Brahms which I forgot the name of. It was a very good read, and the same author, if memory serves right, did a bio on Charles Ives which I started but didn't finish.

 

I am at work so I cannot look it up at the moment.

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I just picked up Michael Owens bio from the library , as my random choice and I also got Michael J Fox bio from the market (10p :shock:) I will be starting these soon.

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I just picked up Michael Owens bio from the library , as my random choice and I also got Michael J Fox bio from the market (10p :shock:) I will be starting these soon.
How are the books? any good? :)

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Debbie   

I love reading biographies. At the moment I am reading Nigel Hawthorne's. It's been on my shelf for ages and I am really enjoying it.

 

Peter Ustinov's autobiography, Dear Me, is good too. I first read it about 20 years ago, but I still remember it.

 

I also recently read autobiographies by Julian Clary and Boy George one after the other. I found them very interesting, as they are both the same age as me, near enough, so a lot of the references have resonances for me. They also grew up not very far from each other, but the differences in their lives far outweighed the similarities! Julian Clary is just so much more intelligent, and it really shows in the two books. I liked him much more after I had read the book, and I liked Boy George much less!

 

Debbie

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Sugar   

There was a story in one of the newspapers today (although I can't remember which one) that said that Celebrity Biographies are the books that readers are most likely to put aside without finishing them. I thought that was quite interesting!

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I have quite a few biogs on my TBR pile:

Ronnie O Sullivan

Julian Cleary

Anthony Kiedis (lead singer of Red Hot Chili Peppers)

Gloria Hunniford (about her daughter Caron Keating)

Feel - Robbie Williams

 

I enjoyed the Michael J Fox, it is quite sad, he is so young and talented and is very ill with Parkinsons Disease.

I recently finished Being Jordan, which was surprisingly good and very honest. I am really beginning to enjoy these books, they are a great light read in between heavier novels.

Anne x

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Kell   

I loved the Michael J Fox one - I got it for Xmas a few years back & was so moved by it!

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:cry: another one I picked up was called "Too many mothers" it was by Roberta taylor who was in Eastenders and is now in the bill she talks about her childhood and it's well worth checking out :)

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~Andrea~   

I hadn't read any biographies or autobiographies until this year (I thought I should rectify the ommision) I read my first two autobiographies and loved both. (Ugly - Constance Briscoe, and Daniella Westbrooks, both are in the overcoming the odds vein which I think is what I liked so much)

 

I'm now on the search for more. I think I will try Julian Clary and M J Fox as they have both been recommended here

 

I think I am more interested in autobiography than biography. (Although it depends on the biographer and how much input the subject has which may vary from book to book.)

 

Many years ago I started but never finished Brian Keenans and Terry Weights (although they may have been specifically about their kidnap rather than their lives I can't remember). I would like to retry Terry Weight's one day. I've heard John McCarthy's is very good.

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I rarely read a biography unless I admire that person. I thoroughly enjoyed John McEnroe's biography. He has a very dry wit. I also picked up and read Roger Black's (a hero) as it was 10p from the library. I could see why they were selling it off - it was dull, but I learned how much training and injury he went through.

Frank Skinner's was good and interesting, very conceited man though. The worst biography was Delia Smith - my cookery heroine - dull, dull and dull!! :roll:

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I read a few and quite often they are people I don't particularly like eg Jordan, Sharon Osbourne, Posh.

 

Have also read

 

Julian Cleary

Daniella Westbrook

David Ginola

 

I enjoy them all for different reasons:D

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Fiona   

I haven't really read many bio/autobiographies.

 

I have read two written by Claire Tomalin - Samuel Pepys and Jane Austen, and I have her one of Mary W thingie (famous feminist, you know her.) I want to read her one on Thomas Hardy too when it comes out in paperback. I find her style very natural and she kind of makes it like a story, very intimate as if they're your friend and not some guy that exixted and 'here's the facts of his life very boring, innit?' like I have found some other autobiographies to be like...

 

I want to read more though. I have read Piers Morgan's 'memoir' thingies which was more about the life of a tabloid editor then about Peirs Morgan as a person but nevertheless, very interesting. And I have David Blunkett's 'tapes' as well and it's actually very good and very interesting if a bit long.

 

I want to read some by Antonia Fraser - I have Charles II and The Weaker Vessel. I think the biographer is quite important - a good biographer will be able to make anyone sound interesting through the use of their language. People who just jumble words together aren't very good. I find Tomalin insites a true interest in the person, and treats them like a living human being rather then some historical document.

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I have John Diamond's autobiography on my TBR list - husband of Nigella Lawson who died of oral cancer. I saw a moving documentary about him many years ago so when I saw the book I bought it.

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Nici   

I'm not really into biographies - the only one I have read is Robbie Williams - Feel and that was only because someone got it for me as a pressie!

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Kylie   

Being a big Beatles fan, I've read a LOT of biographies, both Beatles and solo. And they're not the same thing over and over, as you might expect. A lot of the authors bring a new perspective or have something different to tell.

 

I read Gene Wilder's autobiography recently, and I have a biography of Graham Kennedy on my shelf. Other than that, I'm not too interested, although Richard Branson kind of intrigues me and I think it would be interesting to read one of his (he has more than one, right?)

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Oblomov   

Whether a particular biographical book is good or otherwise depends on several factors. The actual life events of the principal character, the writing skill of the biographer and so on, but most importantly the reader's personal interest in the subject. Thus, I would find a well written biography about Roger Bacon, Francis Drake, Martin Bormann, James Stewart or JFK very interesting because those characters appeal to me. Others are bound to have their own preferences.

 

I rather liked The Outsider, Tim Bower's biography of Robert Maxwell. There was a character very much like Maxwell named Alfred Lowenstein in the 1920s and he too died under mysterious circumstances. I am still trying to find a good biography on Lowenstein; the only account about him is an awful book by William Norris called The Man Who Fell From the Sky. It is so preposterous that I could not help posting some very disparaging comments about it.

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When I was a teenager I read quite a few sports autobiographies - these guys were my heroes. Not so much anymore, I now know they are mostly written by someone else and have even heard some sports guys deny they've said the things that are in their own autobiographies! Is there zero accountability in the sports world?

 

I enjoyed the biography written on Frank Zappa; that guy was pretty smart, involved in freedom and funny.

 

I think, in general, you've got to find someone you admire to enjoy a biography on their life or section of their life. It's satisfying knowing a few odd bits when the subject comes up at cocktail parties and trivia games. So, I'd not read on an historical figure just because they were famous for a period; they'd have to have done something that I really respect - which as of this typing I can think of .... very few.

 

I think it's time to google autobiographies and see how many are narcissistic and yet unimaginative enough to be called "My Life."

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Oblomov   
I think, in general, you've got to find someone you admire to enjoy a biography on their life or section of their life.

 

I agree totally. The person who fascinates me more than any other is the 13th century English mystic and early scientist Roger Bacon. Not enough is known about him for a full-fledged biography, but reseachers have gathered enough information for a few good works. These include Roger Bacon: In life & Legend by E Westacott and The First Scientist by Brian Clegg.

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Echo   

I recently read a fantastic biography of Coco Chanel, and one of Queen Victoria. I'd like to read more, but there's never enough time! I'd like to read some biographies of my favorite authors, I think that would be fascinating!

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Liz   

I quite enjoy biographies, but I have to be in the right sort of reading mood to pick one up an stick with it.

 

I'm currently reading Monty Python's autobiography. I am really enjoying this and as it's an autobiography rather than a biography, it means that the humour is there.

 

From what I can remember at the moment, I've read.........

 

# Quite a few biographies on Christians and missionary work.

# Four biographies on the band REM and a few on John Lennon and The Beatles.

# Four books on Peter Cook, one on Graham Chapman and one on Vivian Stanshall.

 

There are also a few which I fancy having a go at:

 

David Attenborough

Stephen Fry

Michael Palin

Alan Bennet

Bob Dylan

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Me and the OH love autobiographies and here are some of the best ones we have read so far so any more suggestions but not sport please or z list 21 year old celebrities. Music, actors and general hell raisers please!!!

 

The Dirt - Motley Crue (a must but very filthy! Dirty boys)

No blacks, No Irish, No dogs - John Lydon - really interesting

Take it like a man - Boy George - Hilarious

Freaky Dancing - Bez - Very funny

I'm with the band - Pamela Des Barres

Evil Spirits - Oliver Reed

Dear boy - Keith Moon

Numerous Doors and Jimi Hendrix books

 

To read:

Slash

Nikki Sixx - The heroine Diaries

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Nici   

I have read all the Robbie Williams autobiographies and I am really looking forward to getting Slash for my birthday! :readingtwo:

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