Biographies

Black is the body : stories from my grandmother's time, my mother's time, and mine book cover

Black is the body : stories from my grandmother's time, my mother's time, and mine

Emily Bernard

305.48896 /Bernard
Memoir, Literary Nonfiction, Biographies

An extraordinary, exquisitely written memoir (of sorts) that looks at race--in a fearless, penetrating, honest, true way--in twelve telltale, connected, deeply personal essays that explore, up-close, the complexities and paradoxes, the haunting memories and ambushing realities of growing up black in the South with a family name inherited from a white man, of getting a PhD from Yale, of marrying a white man from the North, of adopting two babies from Ethiopia, of teaching at a white college and living in America's New England today. From the acclaimed editor of Remember Me to Harlem: The Letters of Langston Hughes and Carl Van Vechten ("A major contribution," Henry Louis Gates; "Magnificent," Washington Post).

Anne M's picture

Emily Bernard’s acclaimed memoir, “Black is the Body: Stories from My Grandmother’s Time, My Mother’s Time, and Mine,” is a collection of personal essays documenting experiences from her own life. These stories follow her time growing up in the South, getting an education at Yale, and teaching at a college in northern New England. The poetic memoir illustrates how her experiences are formed and framed through the lens of race. She writes, "I am black--and brown, too. Brown is the body I was born into. Black is the body of the stories I tell." It is incredibly personal and beautifully written. -Anne M

Romantic outlaws : the extraordinary lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and her daughter Mary Shelley book cover

Romantic outlaws : the extraordinary lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and her daughter Mary Shelley

Charlotte Gordon

BIOGRAPHY Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft
Biographies

Shawna's picture

Mary Shelley's 1818 publication of Frankenstein brought life to one of the most recognizable horror creatures. Learn more about her and her mother, philosopher and feminist, Mary Wollstonecraft in this 2015 Biography. -Shawna

Mary Shelley book cover

Mary Shelley

DVD MOVIE DRAMA Mary
Biographies

"The real-life story of Mary Shelley, and the creation of her immortal monster, is nearly as fantastical as her fiction. Raised by a renowned philosopher father in eighteenth-century London, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin is a teenage dreamer determined to make her mark on the world, when she meets the dashing and brilliant poet Percy Shelley. So begins a torrid, bohemian love affair marked by both passion and personal tragedy that will transform Mary and fuel the writing of her Gothic masterwork." --

Shawna's picture

Mary Shelley's 1818 publication of Frankenstein brought life to one of the most recognizable horror creatures. Learn more about her and her mother, philosopher and feminist, Mary Wollstonecraft in this 2015 Biography. -Shawna

Seduction : sex, lies, and stardom in Howard Hughes's Hollywood book cover

Seduction : sex, lies, and stardom in Howard Hughes's Hollywood

Karina Longworth

791.43 /Longworth
Nonfiction, Biographies, History

An exploration of "Hollywood's glamorous golden age via the cinematic life of Howard Hughes and the women who encountered him--sometimes at the expense of their minds and souls"--Dust jacket flap.

Anne M's picture

If you are a fan of Karina Longworth's "You Must Remember This" podcast, this is the book for you. Longworth sorta, kinda started this book through her podcast--some of her earlier episodes make up the chapters describing Hughes' time in the 1930's. But this is a much deeper dive. So much so, that I think I now know too much about Howard Hughes' love life. -Anne M

Guru book cover

Guru

1960- author RuPaul

BIOGRAPHY RuPaul
Biographies, Art / Art History

"A timeless collection of philosophies from renaissance performer and the world's most famous shape-shifter RuPaul, whose sage outlook has created an unprecedented career for more than thirty-five years. GuRu is packed with more than 80 beautiful photographs that illustrate the concept of building the life you want from the outside in and the inside out. As someone who has deconstructed life's hilarious facade, RuPaul has broken "the fourth wall" to expand on the concept of mind, body, and spirit. This unique perspective has allowed RuPaul to break the shackles of self-imposed limitations, but reader beware, this is a daily practice that requires diligence and touchstones to keep you walking in the sunshine of the spirit. Once you're willing to look beyond the identity that was given to you, a hidden world of possibilities will open its doors. Throughout the history of humans on this planet, there've always been shaman, seers, and mediums who are able to interpret both high and low frequencies and remind humans to look beyond the surface for the truth of who we really are. And who we really are is an extension of the power that created the universe (aka: God in drag). FYI: most people are not willing to hear or accept that. That is RuPaul's secret for success, not only in show business, but in all aspects of life, especially in navigating the emotional landmines that inhibit most sweet, sensitive souls." --

Heidi K's picture

Ru always makes me smile on TV, and this book is a good antidote if you find yourself in a dismal mood. It features many nuggets of Ru wisdom, and great stories from Ru's career. -Heidi K

The new Negro : the life of Alain Locke book cover

The new Negro : the life of Alain Locke

Jeffrey C. Stewart

BIOGRAPHY Locke, Alain
Nonfiction, Biographies

"A tiny, fastidiously dressed man emerged from Black Philadelphia around the turn of the century to mentor a generation of young artists including Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and Jacob Lawrence and call them the New Negro--the creative African Americans whose art, literature, music, and drama would inspire Black people to greatness. In The New Negro : The Life of Alain Locke, Jeffrey C. Stewart offers the definitive biography of the father of the Harlem Renaissance, based on the extant primary sources of his life and on interviews with those who knew him personally. He narrates the education of Locke, including his becoming the first African American Rhodes Scholar and earning a PhD in philosophy at Harvard University, and his long career as a professor at Howard University. Locke also received a cosmopolitan, aesthetic education through his travels in continental Europe, where he came to appreciate the beauty of art and experienced a freedom unknown to him in the United States. And yet he became most closely associated with the flowering of Black culture in Jazz Age America and his promotion of the literary and artistic work of African Americans as the quintessential creations of American modernism. In the process he looked to Africa to find the proud and beautiful roots of the race. Shifting the discussion of race from politics and economics to the arts, he helped establish the idea that Black urban communities could be crucibles of creativity. Stewart explores both Locke's professional and private life, including his relationships with his mother, his friends, and his white patrons, as well as his lifelong search for love as a gay man. Stewart's thought-provoking biography recreates the worlds of this illustrious, enigmatic man who, in promoting the cultural heritage of Black people, became--in the process--a New Negro himself"--

Jason's picture

Winner in the Nonfiction category -Jason

Educated : a memoir book cover

Educated : a memoir

Tara Westover

BIOGRAPHY Westover, Tara
Biographies

"Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her "head-for-the-hills bag." In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father's junkyard. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara's older brothers became violent. As a way out, Tara began to educate herself, learning enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University. Her quest for knowledge would transform her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she'd traveled too far, if there was still a way home. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Tara Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education offers: the perspective to see one's life through new eyes, and the will to change it."--Provided by publisher.

Beth's picture

The #1 most popular book of the 2018 Adult Summer Reading Program -Beth

The brilliant deep : rebuilding the world's coral reefs : the story of Ken Nedimyer and the Coral Restoration Foundation book cover

The brilliant deep : rebuilding the world's coral reefs : the story of Ken Nedimyer and the Coral Restoration Foundation

Kate Messner

jE Messner
Picture Books, Biographies, Nature, Science

Looks at the life of the coral restoration pioneer Ken Nedimyer, from his early fascination with the ocean to his ongoing efforts to save and rebuild the world's coral reefs.

Casey's picture

Kate Messner and Matthew Forsythe's new picture book biography about Ken Nedimyer is absolutely stunning. This is a perfect place to start learning about our rapidly changing oceans and the efforts being made to combat the bleaching of coral reefs. Parents and children will love this title, not only for it's beautiful artwork, but for the wealth of information and hope that it embodies. It's never too early or late to learn that individuals have the power to impact great change. -Casey

John book cover

John

Cynthia Lennon

BIOGRAPHY Lennon, John
Biographies

Shawna's picture

Inspired by the recent Last Podcast on the Left episode about Mark David Chapman (murderer of John Lennon) I checked out this personal biography about John Lennon, written by his first wife, Cynthia (Powell) Lennon. The unique perspective of this book helps it to stand out from the litany of biographies about the idealistic Beatle. -Shawna

The Beatles : the biography book cover

The Beatles : the biography

Bob Spitz

781.66092 /Beatles
Biographies

Shawna's picture

Listening to a recent episode of Last Podcast on the Left which covered the murderer of John Lennon made me think about my favorite Beatles biography. The length of Spitz's book can be daunting, but Beatles fans will quickly become engaged and read through this comprehensive biography. -Shawna