Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Biographical Bonanza!

I've been marveling about what a spectacular year this has been for fiction -- just about every major novelist has a new book out this fall. But this fall also offers a biography bonanza! There are new biographies and memoirs from just about every time period. Here's just a sampling of the wide variety of subjects covered in new books, some biographies and some memoirs: George Carlin (he was working with Tony Hendra on his memoir for several years before he died), Ted Kennedy, Abigal Adams, Louisa May Alcott, Donald Barthelme (this book won the Oregon Book Award this year), Gabriel Garcia Marquez, John Cheever, Winston Churchill, Queen Elizabth, Graham Greene, Louis Brandeis, Patricia Highsmith, Dorthea Lange, Flannery O'Connor, Ayn Rand, Cornelius Vanderbil (the book won the National Book Award), Woodrow Wilson, Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt (multiple books), Pat Tillman, Rayond Carver, Leslie Caron, Margaret Drabble, Mary Karr, Rita Mae Brown, Janis Ian, Harold Evans, Mary Piper....Whew! I'm getting exhausted just listing them all -- and there's many more I haven't even mentioned!

Today I'm going to highlight just a couple. Open: An Autobiography, by Andre Agassi, is an amazingly honest memoir from one of the greatest tennis players in history and one of the most intriguing personalities in the game. Agassi was aided in writing his book by J.R. Moehringer, Pulitzer-prize-winning journalist and author of one of Broadway Book's bestselling memoirs, The Tender Bar. Good writing is not something you can always count on in a "celebrity memoir," but given Moehringer's assistance on the project, I think you will be quite satisfied with this one.

The other book I wanted to point out is Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong, by Terry Teachout. This biography tells the story of the twentieth century's most influential jazz musician, a great artist who was also a great man, an entertainer so irresistibly magnetic that he knocked the Beatles off of the top of the charts four decades after he cut his first record. In his new book, Teachout has drawn on a cache of important new sources unavailable to previous biographers, including hundreds of candid after-hours recordings made by Armstrong himself.

If you -- or someone in your life -- enjoys delving into the lives of others -- contemporary or historical, famous or infamous, widely known or little known -- you are sure to find something to please just about every taste.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.