Reading Guides: Biography, Autobiography & Memoirs

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Biography  |  Autobiography/Memoir


Subject Author Title Call Number
Allen, Woody

Evanier, David

Woody: The Biography PN2287.A53.E93 2015

"In this first biography of Woody Allen in over a decade, David Evanier discusses key movies, plays and prose as well as Allen's personal life. Evanier tackles the themes that Allen has spent a lifetime sorting through in art: morality, sexuality, Judaism, the eternal struggle of head and heart.       

Beethoven Swafford, Jan Beethoven: Anguish and Triumph ML410.B4 S94 2014
Swafford’s magnificent new biography of Ludwig van Beethoven peels away layers of legend to get to the living, breathing human being who composed some of the world’s most iconic music. More than a decade in the making, this will be the standard Beethoven biography for years to come.
Bradbury, Ray Eller, Jonathan R Ray Bradbury Unbound eBook

At the height of his powers as a poetic prose stylist, Bradbury shifted his creative attention to film and television, where new successes gave him an enduring platform as a compelling cultural commentator. His passionate advocacy validated the U.S. space program's mission, extending his pivotal role as a chronicler of human values in an age of technological wonders.

Brando, Marlon

Mizruchi, Susan L

Brando's Smile: His Life, Thought and Work PN2287.B683 M49 2014

Brando the movie star: the hunk; the scandals. Mizruchi finds the Brando others have missed: the man who collected books; the man who rewrote scripts, trimming  his lines to make them sharper; the man who consciously used his body and  employed the objects around him to create believable characters; the man who used his fame to foster Indian and civil rights. She shows how Brando's embrace of   foreign cultures and outsiders led to brilliant performances in unusual roles to foster empathy on a global scale and to test himself.

Burroughs, William S. Miles, Barry Call Me Burroughs: A Life

PS3552.U75 Z7427 2014

In Call Me Burroughs, biographer and Beat historian Barry Miles presents the first full-length biography of Burroughs to be published in a quarter century—and the first one to chronicle the last decade of Burroughs's life and examine his long-term cultural legacy. --Provided by publisher.

Cummings, E. E.

Cheever, Susan

E.E. Cummings: A Life PS3505.U334 Z565

A major reassessment of the life and work of the novelist, painter, and playwright considered to be one of America's preeminent twentieth-century poets. Cummings was and remains controversial—called "a master" or "hideous.  He grew into a dark young man and set out on a lifelong course of rebellion against conventional authority.  Cheever's book gives us the evolution of an artist whose writing was at the forefront of what was new and daring and bold in an America in transition.

Edward I Morris, Marc A Great and Terrible King: Edward I and the Forging of Britain DA229.M67 2015

Describes the later part of the life of Englands King Edward I, who travelled to the Holy Land, conquered Wales, raised one of the greatest armies of the Middle Ages, and fathered fifteen children.

Gaiman, Neil Campbell, Hayley The Art of Neil Gaiman PR6057.A319 Z55 2014

With unprecedented access to Neil Gaiman's personal archives, author Hayley Campbell gives an insider's glimpse into the artistic inspirations and musings of of the world's most visionary writers. The result is a startling, intimate glimpse into the life and mind of one of the world's most creative visionaries. The book is the first comprehensive, full-color examination of Gaiman's work to date, tracing the genesis of his creative life as a starving journalist in the UK to his life as a successful comic book writer and, ultimately, a bestselling novelist.

Goodall, Jane Peterson, Dale and Marc Bekoff The Jane Effect: Celebrating Jane Goodall eBook

In her nearly 60-year career as a groundbreaking primatologist and a passionate conservationist, Jane Goodall has touched the hearts of millions of people. The Jane Effect: Celebrating Jane Goodall is a collection of testimonies by her friends and colleagues honoring her as a scientific pioneer, an inspiring teacher, a devoted friend, and an engaging spirit whose complex personality tends to break down usual categories.

Judas (apostle) Stanford, Peter

Judas: The Troubling History of the Renegade Apostle

BS2460.J8 S73 2015

In this fascinating historical and cultural biography, writer and broadcaster Peter Stanford deconstructs that most vilified of Bible characters: Judas Iscariot, who famously betrayed Jesus with a kiss. Beginning with the gospel accounts, Peter explores two thousand years of cultural and theological history to investigate how the very name Judas came to be synonymous with betrayal and, ultimately, human evil.

Kaufman, Andy Zmuda, Bob and Lynne Margulies Andy Kaufman: The Truth Finally eBook

Comedian and Taxi star Andy Kaufman, known for his crazy antics on screen and off, was the ultimate prankster, delighting audiences with his Elvis and Mighty Mouse impressions while also antagonizing them with his wrestling and lounge-lizard alter ego, Tony Clifton. Some say he died in 1984, while others believe he performed the ultimate vanishing act..

Kyi, Aung San Suu Peterson, Rena The Burma Spring: Aung San Suu Kyi and the New Struggle for the Soul of a Nation DS530.53.A85 P44 2015
Suu Kyi, the daughter of the late General Aung San (who secured freedom from Britain's imperial rule in 1948) initially had no desire to enter politics, but she had always made it clear that should her country need her, she would return. She would soon find herself embroiled in civil strife, then imprisoned in her home for fifteen years. But after decades of struggle, there is cause for renewed hope. Her party will be a major contender in the 2015 elections, a potential breakthrough after years of military dictatorship.
Mona Lisa Hales, Dianne Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered ND623.L5 A7 2014

Dianne Hales has followed facts wherever she could find them on the premise that the woman in the Mona Lisa is indeed the person identified in its earliest description: Lisa Gherardini (1479-1542). Lisa Gherardini was a quintessential woman of her times, caught in a whirl of political upheavals, family dramas, and public scandals. Descended from ancient nobles, she gave birth to six children and died at age sixty-three. Her life spanned the most tumultuous chapters in the history of Florence, decades of war, rebellion, invasion, siege, and conquest—and of the greatest artistic outpouring the world has ever seen. Her story creates an extraordinary tapestry of Renaissance Florence, inhabited by larger-than-legend figures such as Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Machiavelli.

Obama, Michelle Slevin, Peter Michelle Obama: A Life E909.O24 S58 2015 

A comprehensive portrait of the First Lady describes her working-class upbringing on Chicago's South Side, her education at Princeton and Harvard during the racially charged 1980s, and her marriage to the future forty-fourth president.

Pope Francis Ivereigh, Austen.

The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope

BX1378.7.I94 2014
With the Francis Revolution just beginning, this biography will provide never-before- explained context on how one man's ambitious program began--and how it will likely end--through an investigation of Francis's youth growing up in Buenos Aires and the dramatic events during the Perón era that shaped his beliefs; his ongoing conflicts and disillusionment with the ensuing doctrines of an authoritarian and militaristic government in the 1970s; how his Jesuit training in Argentina and Chile gave him a unique understanding and advocacy for a "Church of the Poor"; and his rise from Cardinal to the papacy.
Petty, Tom Zanes, Warren Petty: The Biography ML410.P3135 Z36 2015

Born in Gainesville, Florida, with more than a little hillbilly in his blood, Tom Petty was a Southern shit kicker, a kid without a whole lot of promise. Rock and roll made it otherwise. From meeting Elvis, to seeing the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, to producing Del Shannon, backing Bob Dylan, putting together a band with George Harrison, Dylan, Roy Orbison, and Jeff Lynne, making records with Johnny Cash, and sending well more than a dozen of his own celebrated recordings high onto the charts, Tom Petty's story has all the drama of a rock and roll epic.

Putin, Vladimar Myers, Steven Lee The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin DK510.766.P87 M93

The epic tale of the rise to power of Russia's current president—the only complete biography in English—that fully captures his emergence from shrouded obscurity and deprivation to become one of the most consequential and complicated leaders in modern history, by the former New York Times Moscow bureau chief.

Scalia, Antonin Murphy, Bruce Allen Scalia: A Court of One KF8745.S33 M87 2014

This is the compelling story of one of the most polarizing figures ever to serve on the nation's highest court. Antonin Scalia knew only success in the first fifty years of his life. His sterling academic and legal credentials led him to the Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit in 1982. Just four years later, he outmaneuvered the more senior Robert Bork to the Supreme Court. Breaking with the tradition that justices should speak only through their decisions, he tested the Court's ethical boundaries with opinionate speeches and contentious public appearances, turning the institution into a partisan target.

Stewart, Jon Blitz, Michael Jon Stewart: A Biography PN2287.S683 B55 2014

This biography profiles Jon Stewart, television's most incisive deliverer of the fake news. As the host of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, he has attracted a vast audience that sees him as one of the few credible sources of cultural critique TV.

Wilson, Taylor Clynes, Tom The Boy Who Played with Fusion: Extreme Science, Extreme Parenting, and How to Make a Star QC774.W55 C59 2015

By the age of nine, Taylor Wilson had mastered the science of rocket propulsion. At eleven, his grandmother's cancer diagnosis drove him to investigate new ways to produce medical isotopes. By fourteen, Wilson had built a 500-million-degree reactor and become the youngest person in history to achieve nuclear fusion. Clynes narrates Wilson's extraordinary journey—and reveals how our education system shortchanges gifted students, and what we can do to fix it.


Author Title Call Number
Axelrod, David

Believer: My Forty Years in Politics

JF1525.C6 A3 2015
Axelrod, for better and worse, redefined the techniques by which modern political campaigns are run. The heart of Believer is Axelrod's twenty-year friendship with Barack Obama. Taking a chance on an unlikely candidate for the U.S. Senate, Axelrod ultimately collaborated closely with Obama on his political campaigns, and served as the invaluable strategist who contributed to the tremendous victories of 2008 and 2012

Ben S. Bernanke  

The Courage to Act: A Memoir of a Crisis and Its Aftermath HG2557 .B47 2015

In 2006, Ben S. Bernanke was appointed chair of the Federal Reserve, capping a meteoric trajectory from a rural South Carolina childhood to professorships at Stanford and Princeton, to public service in Washington's halls of power. There would be no time to celebrate, however—the burst of the housing bubble in 2007 set off a domino effect that would bring the global financial system to the brink of meltdown. 

Collinsworth, Eden

I Stand Corrected: How Teaching Western Manners in China Became Its Own Unforgettable Lesson HF6389.C653 2014

A fascinating fusion of memoir, manners, and cultural history from a successful businesswoman well versed in the unique challenges of working in contemporary China.

Copeland, Misty    Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina GV1785.C635 C66 2014

As the only African American soloist dancing with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre, Misty Copeland has made history. But when she first placed her hands on the barre at an after-school community center, no one expected the undersized, anxious thirteen-year-old to become a ground-breaking ballerina.

Crais, Clinton 

History Lessons: A Memoir of Madness, Memory and the Brain RC394.A5 C73 2014
Part memoir, part narrative science and part historical detective story, History Lessons is a provocative, exquisitely crafted investigation into what it means to be human.
Cumming, Alan 

Not My Father's Son: A Memoir

PN2287.C692 A3 2014
When television producers in the UK approached him to appear on a popular celebrity genealogy show in 2010, Alan enthusiastically agreed. He hoped the show would solve a family mystery involving his maternal grandfather, a celebrated WWII hero who disappeared in the Far East. But as the truth of his family ancestors revealed itself, Alan learned far more than he bargained for about himself, his past, and his own father.
Gates, Robert M.

Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary of War

E897.4.G37 A3 2014

The former Secretary of Defense offers a candid account of serving Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Griner, Brittney

In My Skin: My Life On and Off the Basketball Court

GV884.G78 G75 2014
Hailed by ESPN as the world’s most famous female basketball player, Brittney Griner, the dunking phenom and national sensation who is shattering stereotypes and breaking boundaries, now shares her coming-of-age story, revealing how she found her strength to overcome bullies and to embrace her authentic self.
Heimlich, Henry Heimlich's Maneuvers: My Seventy Years of Lifesaving Innovation RD27.35.H44 A3 2014

The thoracic surgeon is best known for having developed the Heimlich Maneuver, the world's easiest-to-learn and most universally known method to save people from choking to death on food or foreign objects. But many don't know about Dr. Heimlich's other life-saving inventions. He is the inventor of the Heimlich Chest Drain Valve, which saved thousands of lives during the Vietnam War, and the Heimlich MicroTrach, which provides a remarkably efficient way for people to take oxygen.

Henderson, Artis

Unremarried Widow: A Memoir

DS79.76.H458 2014

A journalist and essayist traces the difficult process of picking up the pieces of her life after it was shattered by the death of her husband, a Texan soldier whose Apache helicopter crashed in Iraq. His death mirrored the death of her own father in a military plane crash when she was five, leaving her own mother a young widow.

Mills, Marja  

The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee

PS36562.E353 Z75 2014

Mills was given a rare opportunity to know Nelle Harper Lee, to be part of the Lees' life in Alabama, and to hear them reflect on their upbringing, their corner of the Deep South, how To Kill a Mockingbird affected their lives, and why Nelle Harper Lee chose to never write another novel.

Nelson, Willie    It’s a Long Story: My Life ML420.N4 A3 2015          

The iconic Country Music Hall of Fame artist and 10-time Grammy winner shares the story of his personal life and career, from his early ambitions and indelible relationships through his bankruptcy and founding of Farm Aid.

Steinem, Gloria My Life on the Road HQ1413.S675 A3 2015

Gloria Steinem had an itinerant childhood. Every fall, her father would pack the family into the car and they would drive across the country, in search of their next adventure. The seeds were planted: Steinem would spend much of her life on the road, as a journalist, organizer, activist, and speaker.

Turner, Brian 

My Life as a Foreign Country

DS79.766.T87 A3 2014
In 2003, Sergeant Brian Turner crossed the line of departure with a convoy of soldiers headed into the Iraqi desert. Now he lies awake each night beside his sleeping wife, imagining himself as a drone aircraft, hovering over the terrains of Bosnia and Vietnam, Iraq and Northern Ireland, the killing fields of Cambodia and the death camps of Europe. In this breathtaking memoir, award-winning poet Brian Turner retraces his war experience—pre-deployment to combat zone, homecoming to aftermath.
Young, Neil

Special Deluxe: [A Memoir of Life & Cars]

ML420.Y75 A3 2014
Young has fashioned a second work of extraordinary reminiscences about his Canadian boyhood, his musical influences, his family, the rock 'n' roll life, and one of his deepest, most ebullient passions: cars.

Last Updated: March 2016

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