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Autobiographies and Biographies


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#41 happyanddandy

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Posted 19 June 2007 - 04:08 PM

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.

#42 Nici

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Posted 19 June 2007 - 05:11 PM

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!

#43 Kylie

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Posted 19 June 2007 - 10:46 PM

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?)

#44 Oblomov

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Posted 20 June 2007 - 12:05 PM

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.

#45 wrathofkublakhan

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Posted 20 June 2007 - 01:34 PM

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."

#46 Oblomov

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Posted 20 June 2007 - 04:56 PM

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.

#47 Echo

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Posted 24 June 2007 - 08:30 AM

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!

#48 Liz

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Posted 24 June 2007 - 01:11 PM

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

#49 kitty_kitty

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Posted 10 February 2008 - 05:59 PM

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

#50 Nici

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Posted 10 February 2008 - 06:10 PM

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

#51 Kylie

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Posted 10 February 2008 - 09:55 PM

I've heard good things about Motley Crue's autobiography. Even though I'm not interested in their music, I'd love to read it. Our staff library recently got a copy of it which I keep eyeing off :readingtwo:

#52 LucyD

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Posted 11 February 2008 - 11:54 AM

I got the Russell Brand one for Christmas and LOVED it. So outrageous and frank - no glossing over anything.
Keep meaning to read the Peter Kay one, I think he is hilarious. :readingtwo:

#53 kitty_kitty

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Posted 11 February 2008 - 06:42 PM

I've heard good things about Motley Crue's autobiography. Even though I'm not interested in their music, I'd love to read it. Our staff library recently got a copy of it which I keep eyeing off :readingtwo:


I am not interested in their music but you do not have to be really to enjoy the book

I got the Russell Brand one for Christmas and LOVED it. So outrageous and frank - no glossing over anything.
Keep meaning to read the Peter Kay one, I think he is hilarious. :)


I read and loved it too

#54 Esiotrot

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Posted 11 February 2008 - 08:10 PM

I recently read a fantastic biography of Coco Chanel,


Hi Echo - could you give me the details of the Coco Chanel book please? I would love to read it
Many thanks
Kx :readingtwo:

#55 kateleopald

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Posted 11 February 2008 - 09:48 PM

I have just finished My Son Marshall, My Son Eminem, which was written by his mum. Not my usual cup of tea, but must say I thoroughly enjoyed this!!!

#56 frankie

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 10:02 AM

I love (autobiographies) and memoirs - if they're good!

So far I've read

Deborah Spungen: Nancy (A sad but great read! I've read it about three times)

Mark Paytress: Sid Vicious:The Art of Dying Young (to get the other side of the Sid&Nancy-story, I enjoyed Nancy much more and my sympathies are on her side)

Anne Frank - The Diary of a Young Girl (I've read both the first version and the second version that was published after Otto Frank's death)

Beth Peters: Britney Spears (please don't ask me why, I'm not a fan and reading this is so unlike me)

Frank McCourt: Teacher Man

Carol Shields: Jane Austen (A great bio!)

Pentti Saarikoski: Toipilaan päiväkirjat (Pentti Saarikoski is a Finnish writer, poet and translator. This is one of his journals and it's from the time he was checked in a hospital for delirium; he was an alcoholic)

Tuula-Liina Varis: Kilpikonna ja marsalkka (Tuula-Liina Varis is a Finnish writer who was married to Pentti Saarikoski and this is a sort of memoir of their relationship and of Pentti Saarikoski. This is one of my favorites!)

Ronald Hayman: The Death and Life of Sylvia Plath (This is also one of my favorite books. Before reading this I thought Sylvia Plath was a really weird nutjob but reading the book made her a real person to me, and I began to understand why she was the way she was and why she did what she did. After reading this book I immediately ordered Sylvia's unabridged journals. I'm sorry to say this but thank gods Ted died so we can appreaciate all of the journals)

Augusten Burroughs: Running with Scissors and Dry. One of the funniest writers ever, which is saying a lot because of the serious and even horrific things he writes about.

I have a lot of biographies on my TBR. I want to read anything Augusten Burroughs has ever written (although some of his work isn't autobiographical). I'm also planning to read on Stephen Fry, H. C. Andersen, Doris Day, J. K. Rowling, Marcel Proust, Marie Curie, Marilyn Monroe, Dostojevski.

#57 Ruth

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 10:15 AM

I'm not a big fan of (auto)biographies, but I have got the Deborah Spungen book on my tbr 'And I Don't Want To Live This Life' - which I think is the one you mentioned Frankie? I want to get round to it soon.

#58 frankie

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 10:22 AM

I'm not a big fan of (auto)biographies, but I have got the Deborah Spungen book on my tbr 'And I Don't Want To Live This Life' - which I think is the one you mentioned Frankie? I want to get round to it soon.



Yes that's the one Ruth! I've read the book in Finnish and it was called Nancy and I didn't stop to think that it could be named something else in English :smile2:

#59 Ruth

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 10:41 AM

I'm really glad you enjoyed it - I will have to bump it up my to-be-read pile!

#60 frankie

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 10:43 AM

Do bump it up and let us know if you liked it! :smile2:




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