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Category: Biographies - Memoirs

09/24/12


New Non-Fiction at RPL

Check out the New Non-Fiction page
(click the Books, Movies, Music tab on the main Regina Public Library page. Then click on New Book Releases to see a selection of the newest books added to the collection.)

From the New Non-Fiction selections:

Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child
by Bob Spitz

Here's what the Publisher's Weekly review had to say:
On November 3, 1948, a lunch in a Paris restaurant of sole meunière, the sole so very fresh with its delicate texture and cooked like an omelet in nothing but a bath of clarified butter, changed Julia Child's life. In that moment, Child (1912-2004) recognized and embraced food as her calling, setting out initially to learn the finer points of cooking, and French cooking in particular.
In this affectionate and entertaining tribute to the witty, down-to-earth, bumptious, and passionate host of The French Chef, Spitz exhaustively chronicles Child's life and career from her childhood in California through her social butterfly flitting at Smith and her work for a Pasadena department store to her stint in government service, her marriage to Paul Child, and her rise to become America's food darling with the publication of Mastering the Art of French Cooking and her many television shows. In spite of her miserable failures in her early attempts to prepare food for her husband, a determined Child enrolled in courses at the renowned French cooking school, Le Cordon Bleu, where she mastered everything from sauces to souffles. Spitz reminds us that Child had always possessed a tremendous amount of excess energy with no outlet for expressing it. With the publication of her cookbook and the subsequent television shows, she discovered the place where she could use her cooking skills, her force of personality, and her abundant charm. Released to coincide with Child's centenary, Spitz's delightful biography succeeds in being as big as its subject.

Other books about Julia Child (using "Child, Julia" as a subject in the RPL catalogue).


07/31/12


Carly's voice : breaking through autism

Carly's voice : breaking through autism
by Arthur Fleischmann with Carly Fleischmann

Summary: The extraordinary and moving story of Carly Fleischmann, a teenager with severe autism who, through technology and today's social networks, has become a passionate advocate for kids everywhere.

Related link: Globe & Mail article The Swamp of Autism: a challenged marriage and a child without a voice

More books about children with autism (this list was generated by using key words autism children parents and sorting by date)


05/22/12


Wild : from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Wild : from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

Summary: A powerful, blazingly honest memoir: the story of an eleven-hundred-mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe-and built her back up again. At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother's death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State-and to do it alone. She had no experience as a long-distance hiker, and the trail was little more than "an idea, vague and outlandish and full of promise". But it was a promise of piecing back together a life that had come undone. Strayed faces down rattlesnakes and black bears, intense heat and record snowfalls, and both the beauty and loneliness of the trail. Told with great suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild vividly captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.

Read the New York Times review: The Tracks of an Author's, and a Reader's, Tears: ‘Wild’ by Cheryl Strayed, a Walkabout of Reinvention

Want more like this? Here's a list from the library catalogue using the key words "travel*" and "hiking".


02/03/12


Behind the Beautiful Forevers

Publishing insiders suspect that Behind the Beautiful Forevers: : [life, death, and hope in a Mumbai undercity] is going to be the big breakout book of 2012. Here is the description from Random House:

Annawadi is a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport, and as India starts to prosper, Annawadians are electric with hope. Abdul, a reflective and enterprising Muslim teenager, sees “a fortune beyond counting” in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. Asha, a woman of formidable wit and deep scars from a childhood in rural poverty, has identified an alternate route to the middle class: political corruption. With a little luck, her sensitive, beautiful daughter—Annawadi’s “most-everything girl”—will soon become its first female college graduate. And even the poorest Annawadians, like Kalu, a fifteen-year-old scrap-metal thief, believe themselves inching closer to the good lives and good times they call “the full enjoy.”

But then Abdul the garbage sorter is falsely accused in a shocking tragedy; terror and a global recession rock the city; and suppressed tensions over religion, caste, sex, power and economic envy turn brutal. As the tenderest individual hopes intersect with the greatest global truths, the true contours of a competitive age are revealed. And so, too, are the imaginations and courage of the people of Annawadi.


11/17/11


Charles Foran wins the Governor Generals Non-fiction award for Mordecai: The Life & Times

Charles Foran: Mordecai: The Life & Times

Mordecai: The Life & Times by Charles Foran is biography as high art, illuminating not only the character of Canada’s most provocative writer, but also, in the most vivid and compelling fashion, the times and places in which he lived. This is a grand, sweeping work that sets the standard for future literary biography.

Go to the Canada Council for the Arts site for the full list of winners.


11/04/11


Unbroken : A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

Unbroken : A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
by Hillenbrand, Laura

Summary: From Laura Hillenbrand, the bestselling author of Seabiscuit, comes Unbroken, the inspiring true story of a man who lived through a series of catastrophes almost too incredible to be believed. In evocative, immediate descriptions, Hillenbrand unfurls the story of Louie Zamperini--a juvenile delinquent-turned-Olympic runner-turned-Army hero. During a routine search mission over the Pacific, Louie’s plane crashed into the ocean, and what happened to him over the next three years of his life is a story that will keep you glued to the pages, eagerly awaiting the next turn in the story and fearing it at the same time. You’ll cheer for the man who somehow maintained his selfhood and humanity despite the monumental degradations he suffered, and you’ll want to share this book with everyone you know. --Juliet Disparte/amazon.ca


09/12/11


Categories: Biographies - Memoirs

Top Ten Biographies

The Top 10 Biographies of the last 12 months. This list appeared in Booklist (Vol. 107, number 19/20).

To read Booklist reviews of these books, click on the link above and click on the book title.

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Top 10 Biographies: 2011.

Hooper, Brad (author).

FEATURE. First published June 1, 2011 (Booklist).

Since our previous Spotlight on Biography, the past 12 months have shown us that to ever think that the art of biography is slipping or sliding, even temporarily, is ridiculous. Read the following examples of the best of the past year, and see what we mean.

Alice Neel: The Art of Not Sitting Pretty. By Phoebe Hoban.

Judicious and ardent, Hoban has created a galvanizing portrait of a “rebel artist” who remained true to her humanist convictions.
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Colonel Roosevelt. By Edmund Morris.

Morris completes his fully detailed, dynamic triptych of the restless, energetic, on-the-move first President Roosevelt.
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A Complicated Man: The Life of Bill Clinton as Told by Those Who Know Him. By Michael Takiff.

What Takiff delivers is an astonishing collection of 171 interviews, collectively offering an intimate portrait of former president Bill Clinton.
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Edward Kennedy: An Intimate Biography. By Burton Hersh.

For readers exhausted at the thought of another Ted Kennedy book, this one is beautifully written and exquisitely detailed with plenty of new material.
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Fab: The Life of Paul McCartney. By Howard Sounes.

This is the first comprehensive, candid, and up-to-date portrait of Sir Paul McCartney.
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Galileo. By John Heilbron.

A complete portrait illuminating how a bold pioneer forged surprising links between science and the humanities.
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How to Live; or, A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer. By Sarah Bakewell.

By casting her biography of Michel de Montaigne as 20 chapters, each focused on a different answer to the question “How to live?” Bakewell limns Montaigne’s ceaseless pursuit of this most elusive knowledge.
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Joan Mitchell: Lady Painter. By Patricia Albers.

Painter Joan Mitchell is no mere “second-generation abstract expressionist,” Albers avers in the first comprehensive biography of this ruthlessly independent, flagrantly blunt, highly educated artist.
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Washington. By Ron Chernow.

This magisterial biography is a vastly enlightening, overwhelmingly engaging treatment of a great man.
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Will Eisner: A Dreamer’s Life in Comics. By Michael Schumacher.

In addressing the life of Will Eisner, now known as the father of the graphic novel, seasoned biographer Schumacher zeroes in on the essence of Eisner’s success.
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09/10/11


Stolen Life: A Memoir by Jaycee Dugard

Check out the New Releases page on the Regina Public Library website.

Here is one of the books mentioned in the Best-Selling Nonfiction Releases:

Stolen Life: A Memoir by Jaycee Dugard

Summary: Dugard recounts, in her own words, her story of being kidnapped on June 10, 1991. She was 11 years old.
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from the Maclean's review: When Jaycee Dugard appeared on TV in an interview with Diane Sawyer last July, her poise was astonishing. The California woman was kidnapped at age 11, held captive for 18 years, and raped repeatedly by her captor, Phillip Garrido. Dugard calmly acknowledged that certain sounds still haunt her—locks clicking, beds squeaking. She radiated compassion for her own children, to whom she gave birth when she was 14 and 17, and both of whom were fathered by Garrido. So dignified, so down-to-earth, so…normal. At least one viewer wondered: how is that possible?
Her new memoir sheds some light. . . . Click here to read the entire Maclean's review.


07/18/11


Under an Afghan Sky by Mellissa Fung

Under an Afghan Sky: A Memoir of Captivity
by Mellissa Fung

BIO 958.1047092 FUNG

Book description: In October 2008, Mellissa Fung, a reporter for CBC’s The National, was leaving a refugee camp outside of Kabul when she was kidnapped by armed men. She was forced to hike for several hours through the mountains until they reached a village; there, the kidnappers pushed her towards a hole in the ground. “No,” she said. “I am not going down there.”

For more than a month, Fung lived in that hole, which was barely tall enough to stand up in, nursing her injuries, praying and writing in a notebook. Under an Afghan Sky is the gripping tale of Fung’s days in captivity, surviving on cookies and juice, from the “grab” to her eventual release.

Follow this link to read an essay by Mellisa Fung "Becoming the story: Mellissa Fung on the difficulties of writing a hostage memoir" in Quill and Quire magazine June 2011


06/25/11


Author Robert Kroetsch

Readers of Canadian literature will be saddened to hear of novelist and poet Robert Kroetsch's death at the age of 83.
Click here for the CBC news story, including a synopsis of his work.

Although Kroetsch was well-known for his fiction and poetry, he shows up in the non-fiction world, mostly musings and interviews about writing, including:

Abundance : the Mackie House conversations about the writing life
Summary: This conversation between Robert Kroetsch and John Lent is guided by love -- of the word, of stories, of reading, of teaching. These two veteran writers circle around the topic, returning to the centre, to the question "where's that damn story?"

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Labyrinths of voice : conversations with Robert Kroetsch
Summary: The voices of other novelists, poets, and critics participate in this series of conversations—they agree or disagree, illustrate or elaborate on Robert Kroetsch’s own words as he talks about literary influence, the importance of game theory in literature, the uses of myth, and approaches to narration.

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A Likely Story : the Writing Life by Robert Kroetsch
Summary: A Likely Story recounts the writing life of Robert Kroetsch, one of Canada's foremost writers and literary theorists. With incisive wit, humor and penetrating insight, Robert Kroetsch follows the events of his life, both real and literary, that have moved him from the bareness of desk and computer into the secret places at the heart of the writing experience. Throughout this chronicle, he toys ironically with the notion that he ceases to be himself when he writes, that writing allows him to escape from the confines of self into exciting varieties of the essay, story and poem.A Likely Story records in loving detail that escape. It is a remarkable assemblage of confessional personal essays, one of the principal elegiac poems of out time, a cowboy poem and speculative pieces that defy literary classification. Through them all Robert Kroetsch enters the landscape of recollection, discovery, delight, self-deception, play, grief and revelation, and through them all he insists with customary boldness: "I am attempting to write an autobiography in which I do not appear."

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Typing in Robert Kroetsch as an author search brings up all SILS holdings by him, including his many books of poetry.

Click here to see the post on the Fiction Files blog, highlighting Kroetsch's novels.


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