Favorite Biographies, Autobiographies, Memoirs?

Discussion in 'Reading & Writing' started by Priscilla King, Mar 3, 2015.

  1. Priscilla King

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    Some people have listed their favorite novels and fiction writers. I'm wondering which nonfiction narratives other people here like. Do you have a favorite biography, autobiography, or memoir?
     
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  2. Ruth Belena

    Ruth Belena Active Member
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    I read a great many biographies, memoirs etc. I prefer them to novels. Some that I've read would seem far-fetched if they had been fiction. These are just two examples:

    Claire Tomalin wrote The Invisible Woman about Ellen Ternan who was the secret mistress of Charles Dickens for many years. Dickens did everything he could to keep their relationship private, because he wanted to maintain his image as a man with moral values. In spite of all he did to cover up the facts, she was able to write this fascinating book and reveal their full story.

    Carol Ann Lee wrote The Hidden Life of Otto Frank, a biography of the father of Anne Frank. It is rather harrowing to read about what happened to the family after they were discovered hiding in the annexe, which is where the diary of Anne Frank ended, but for her father the story never ended. After the war he was responsible for editing her diary and promoting it, but he was also very image conscious and was not averse to manipulating the facts.
     
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  3. Richard Paradon

    Richard Paradon Well-Known Member
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    I had no idea that that book existed. While I do wish to read it (probably can not find a copy here in Thailand - no English libraries) I am not sure if I want to re-visit the horrors of that evil era. (edit) I did read some reviews of the book a few minutes ago (made the edit time by one minute) and now I do want to read it. It seems as if Otto Frank's life and keeping Anne "alive" is a worthy read.
     
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    Last edited: Mar 4, 2015
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  4. Ruth Belena

    Ruth Belena Active Member
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    The evils of the Nazi regime do appear of course, but the biography reveals a lot more about his family background, his early life, marriage and setting up his business in Amsterdam. Then, after the war, the book covers Otto's life in the US, where he devoted much of his time to the publication and promotion of his daughter's diary.
     
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  5. Richard Paradon

    Richard Paradon Well-Known Member
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    There is one used book shop that does have some English language books in it. When I go to the city in a day or two, perhaps I will be lucky and find a copy!
     
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  6. Richard Paradon

    Richard Paradon Well-Known Member
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    Funny about timing, Ruth. Last night I happened to watch "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas." It is fiction but concerns the short lived friendship between the young son of a concentration camp commander and a young boy imprisoned there. Really angered me as the possibility of it being true is too high.
     
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  7. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    Good movie. I saw it in the theater and again on Netflix or Hulu. It could have used a little more development, but it was very good.
     
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  8. Priscilla King

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    Two for the Wish List! In the 1970s we used to receive a news magazine edited by people who weren't vicious but were quite anti-Semitic. One week a headline screamed that Anne Frank's diary was "a fraud" although it said, right in the book, that writing and rewriting her diary had become one of the self-education projects they were doing as a group to stay sane. I'd not be surprised if there were even a couple of entries about "what's wrong with my father," that OF had burned, to go along with the "what's wrong with my mother" entry that made it into the published book. Not enough to make it "all lies" in my opinion.

    Then again, I came along late enough to get the edition that included the proto-feminist, don't-want-to-be-just-a-housewife entry and the reference to girls fondling each other "as proof of friendship." With the foreword that mentioned those bits having been cut from an earlier edition.
     
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  9. Teresita Campaner

    Teresita Campaner Active Member
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    Ever since, i have been fascinated with success stories and personal achievements of ordinary and famous personalities. Their inspiring stories feed my curiosity of what makes some people achieve so much and others so little? Personalities like Warren Buffet, Oprah Winfrey, Donald Trump, Manny Pacquiao, and many others inspire me with their definitions of success.
     
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  10. Molly Fenster

    Molly Fenster New Member
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    Since I was a small child I always liked Robinson Crusoe. The story has always been so touching to me, for some reason. It is truly a masterpiece everyone should read at some point of their life.
     
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